Clairandean

:: AGE

32

:: LOCATION

Toronto-Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

:: MEDIUM

Watercolours, black ink, guitar

:: IDENTIFIES AS

Artist. Aunty. Healer. Songwriter.

As a womxn, why do you think it is important to create?

There are stories uniquely ours. It is time now where womxn must support each other, encourage each other. We must do away with competition and help each other heal. Taking the time to create is my expression reflecting my deep reverence for womxn. I already know what its like to live in isolation from other womxn, I never want to experience that again. Womxn need each other. That is why we create, at least why I create my personal celebration of their journey.

What has been your proudest moment as an artist/creative?

When womxn come up to me and say “I love that.” I was invited to a workshop series Gyalcast Academy, it is a workshop series for womxn of colour, helping us to further ourselves in the creative freelancing world and deepening and/or integrating our practices in self care. Self care over everything is what I learned. This workshop series is based in Toronto and it made me realize that I am not alone. There are many of us who have experienced trauma and heal, and there is many of us struggling with self doubt who are committed to self love. Sitting there in a circle with these group of women allowed me the pride I never experienced before as an artist and as a womxn of colour.

How do you define love?

Support: warm hugs, rest at night, nourishing food. Love allows and encourages for growth and freedom. Cuddling.

Describe the space that you like to create in?

Bright yellow walls. Scattered notebooks and clothes. dried flowers. Display of oracle cards, childhood pictures, collected feathers, amethyst stone, a couple of handmade pottery goods.

What do you like to listen to while you create?

Ambient music, Jazz, Classical, Folk and Neo-soul.

What is your earliest memory of making art?

I use to draw in the blank pages of my mother’s dental text books, I was about 3. Yes I do have clear memory of that. I also used to spend a lot of time at my Godmother’s house, she didn’t have cable, but she always had stacks of yellow paper for me to draw on. So when I was there that is what I would do, draw for hours. When I was 11 she bought me my first sketchbook and I spent a lot of time drawing in that.

Do you have any words of advice for young womxn/artist/creators out there?

Let go of people who think you should find a ‘real job’ and forget your art. Forget lovers who ask you to give up your art to care for them, its a trap of self-sabotage. Your art expression is important in this world. Hold closely to the ones who encourage you on your creative path, believe them when they say they dig your art. Pick up a copy of Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ Stop telling yourself you don’t have time. You always have time to create. Create a list of loving affirmations for yourself. Read them often, if not daily. Keep a notebook where you write loving letters to yourself and when you are in a shit mood read this notebook. Collaborate with others.

What social issues do you care about most?

Self-care for womxn artists of colour. Clean water and clean food.

What could you not live without?

Children, womxn and flowers.

How do you make time to create?

I am currently engaged in childcare I am rediscovering when is the time to create. Evenings and weekends are the times when I art.

How does your mental health affect your work?

Creating art is my mental health. I have put my art on the back burner before and experienced a very deep depression. My life is not worth living with out art making, whether it be a small drawing, writing a song, or completing an illustration.

Who are your influences/inspirations?

My Godmother who stepped in as second mother to me. My brothers and sister who push through conformity and make brave steps to be artists full time. I have wonderful friends who include healers, writers, singers and mothers who show me how to be courageous in the uncertainty of life; who have made friends with the unknown and practice using their intuition.

What message do you want to spread with your art?

Healing and well-being is possible for anyone. Inner-peace can be attained through your desire and convincing yourself that it is possible no matter where you are in your life.

What is your hope for the future?

That there will be a variety of safe spaces where like-minded people who can come together to discuss their traumas, desires and needs without the threat of ridicule or judgement. More spaces where people of colour really get rest and nourishing food. I hope that the cost of living goes down so that families and friends can have more intimate time with each other and not spend the day slaving at jobs that drain them. Smaller classrooms for children.  Spending more time outdoors and less in front of screens. Where parents get more naps and cuddle time with their children. Less condos and more community gardens. I hope that we turn away from the standards of Hollywood beauty and learn to accept our own beauty. That we develop more compassion towards ourselves and each other.

Do you have a piece (s) of practical advice for readers on how to make it as an artist? This could include how you carve out time? Promote your work? Create space for your work? Whatever you want!

I am still learning how you ‘make it’ as an artist. Know that you are always an artist whether you are famous or not. Whether you are well known or not. Let others help you. Look to post one thing a day concerning your interests on social media. Use only the social media that speaks to you the most. Do not give up but do not burn out. Let go of guilt about resting ┬áLove what you do and do it daily. Reaffirm to yourself you are on the right path. Talk to your artist friends often. Celebrate your tiny victories, be thankful for each day you wake up to walk on this artist journey. There is no manual, but each day is a new chapter.