The Creative Genius Podcast - Episode 01 Cultivating Creativity with Insiders's Studio Founder & Artist Amanda Evanston

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Show Notes Episode 001 - Cultivating Creativity with Insiders's Studio Founder & Artist Amanda Evanston (Subscribe and Listen here

In the first episode of Creative Genius, we sit down with Amanda Evanston to hear about her own journey of cultivating creativity. She recently launched Insider’s Studio, an online community where she teaches art classes, gives weekly talks and stewards a supportive, nurturing community. 

Pursuing your creative passion is a big move. Often our biggest obstacle is ourselves. Our doubts, our confidence, and that little voice within that might be telling us “you can’t do it”. Believing in ourselves and finding a way to push past that voice and listen to the voice that’s been telling us “you can do this” instead, is critical in unlocking our creative genius. In this episode Amanda tells us the one key thing in how she was raised that she credits with her being able to be a creative person and how even if it was missing in your childhood, it’s not too late to lock it in now to cultivate your creativity

“It’s important to know you have this amazing thing inside of you, and that you can shepherd it and let it grow.” 

My favourite Amanda Evanston work tends to be whatever she is working on, but if I had to pick one this is it... 

Find out how more about how to join her Insider’s Studio 

Kate Shepherd: website | instagram | facebook

Amanda Evanston: website | instagram | facebook 

quote, "why shouldn't it be me?" amanda Evanston founder of Insider's Studio and artist on succeeding as an artist


Read the FULL transcript from Episode 1 of the Creative Genius Podcast with guest Amanda Evanston of Insider Studios below

Kate Shepherd 0:04
One day, maybe about four years ago, I woke up one morning and realized that I had this radiant friend that lived inside of me. I may cry. I'm sorry. That's alright. Okay, you're comfortable. Okay, okay. I should have brought kleenex. Who I had been shoving down for most of my life trying to make her Be quiet trying to just I didn't understand what you want to say I just, and I, in just in not even a special moment. It was just I had just dropped the kids off from school and it was a rainy day and I just came home. And I felt her I felt her and I it something in me broke open and I just realized that I had to dedicate my life to her and letting her out and I went to art school, like I went to the school that you had to audition to get into. That was like fame for high school. Like when I went to call it like I went I've been art I am so lucky to be sitting here today with Amanda Evanston. Amanda is a lifelong artist with some pretty interesting claims to fame. She wants brought fettuccine to Oprah and the Spice Girls. She's been a cleaning lady, a commodities broker. She was a taxidermy assistant. And at one point, she was a presidential campaign intern. Although sadly, because of the non disclosures she signed, she can't tell us any of the stories, but apparently there are stories. She has a fine art degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, she's old sold over 2000 original works of art. And over the years, she shared her craft and little clips and snips on social media. And in the last 15 months, Amanda launched inside our studio, a truly incredible online art class membership site, with weekly classes inspired by Monet, Kaos. And mostly I think flowers. Amanda's beautiful eye for color and form. Her flowing generosity, irreverent wit and warmth make her an approachable and easy to adore teacher and guide. And her sharp yet deeply compassionate wisdom and insight are infused in each class. So it's not surprising, but it is impressive that an incredibly engaged community has sprouted up around Amanda and her inside her studio, which we'll talk more about in a bit. Welcome, Amanda. Thank you.

Amanda Evanston 2:24
Thank you, man, I need to hire you as my hype man.

Kate Shepherd 2:29
That's in Oh, but that's just what happens when you tell the truth. While you're

Amanda Evanston 2:34
very kind, thank you for the very, very, Jacuzzi warm welcome.

Kate Shepherd 2:41
So welcome. I really I admire you so much. I'm just so grateful to have the chance to talk with you today.

Amanda Evanston 2:47
I'm excited for this podcast and where you're you're taking it in? And yeah, what but the places you will go the places we will Yeah. Be a part of the journey. Well,

Kate Shepherd 2:59
I'm glad you're here too. And yeah, we were just talking a little bit before the show about why I created creative genius, the podcast. And it's, it's because I guess over the years as an artist, I've heard way too many people say things like Oh, I'm just not a creative person, or I wish I could be a creative person. And there's always this soft little sadness in that statement every single time I hear it, I don't think the person who's saying it realizes that it's there. No. So I'm on a little bit of a mission now to help people understand and to see that actually, every single one of us has the capacity and I would even argue the responsibility to be creative. So like that, yeah, I feel like it's we were given these get their gifts that they're that are given to us. And you know, the one of the main premises of gifting is you don't hold on to it. I mean, in my in my worldview about gifts. So that's kind of my intention with with the podcast and why I'm wonderful. I'm so excited to talk to you. Because I just feel like you're such an amazing role model that obviously people respond to, you know, you've just you've got a beautiful spirit and it just it you radiate. And and I feel like you have a lot to teach people and help that healing process for the for the Yeah.

Amanda Evanston 4:10
Oh, well, I I'm flattered that you would include me in that. I think a lot of people can help each other. But I think what people, particularly women, I would say adult women, I don't want to put a number on it. But it seems like it's a very hard thing. I very rarely see it under 40. Women get to a certain point. And it's like, they don't realize they've essentially spent the first decades of their life like you said, shoving down their best self. Yeah, or rearranging themselves to accommodate something that really never accommodated them, or frankly really wasn't worth it wasn't worth the time and the drama or the tears of money or whatever else. And it's like suddenly takes a drive in the rain or light goes off or there's a pandemic or whatever it is shake the tree that's a metaphor. I overuse it shakes a tree and you're like, yeah, oh, wait, I have other things. I have other things inside of me. They're not there. Being an artist isn't like some Timbuk to mythical thing that is impossible. It's literally, it's a trip to the art store. Maybe, or maybe you already have some supplies at home, and you just give your self permission for an hour to do the thing. And there it is. It's a choice. It's not. It's, um, you know, it can be a journey or a career, whatever it else. But it really is. It's a choice that you make you sit down and you say, Okay, I make art, therefore, I'm an artist. And there you are. Yeah, that's it. That doesn't take a lot doesn't it's very uncomplicated. And what people need is to hear other people saying that because nobody's saying, Yeah, everybody's contributing to this narrative. You have to go to a performing arts high school, or some sort of, you know, pedigree program or whatever else. Anybody who contributes to the conversation that says, No more gatekeepers, no more permission, seeking no more seeking validation from somebody else. Who doesn't deserve that kind of pedestal in the first place.

Kate Shepherd 6:15
It took me Yeah, it took me years of being a professional artists having sold hundreds of 1000s of dollars of my work in a market. Yeah. And Vancouver, before I would call myself an artist without feeling like I was lying. And why is that? Because I didn't because I didn't have letters after my name, or I didn't finish what you know, all of what you're saying. I mean, if that's not there for me anymore at all, like at all, I fully own it. But But yeah, that's kind of the the the intention for creative genius is to help have that conversation because there has been that crunch of the rising like there's this pandemic has squished us in a way that we do have to face a lot of stuff that we maybe could have avoided. Yeah, a lot of people yeah,

Amanda Evanston 6:54
there's a lot of people I've never known a year or so many people, divorces, moving cross country changing, you know, faith, religious dynamics, with people changing the way they eat, changing the way that they live, changing jobs, Paul, I know more people who have shifted jobs than have stayed where they are. I've used the metaphor before. And this, you know, depends on what faith discipline you come from, but I consider myself a person of faith. And if you've ever given somebody a gift, like you've given whatever it was, it was a thing in a box, or it was a candle or coat and gave it to somebody, give it to them. And they didn't do something good with it. Like they just didn't appreciate it. Like they just didn't, they were I mean spirited about it, they just didn't know what to do with that gift. Well, what happens if you don't give them more gifts? Or if you do, they're not special, you don't spend a lot of time and effort on it. And I feel very strongly that art was a gift that was given to me. And the greatest compliment to my Creator is to use it. And it's also a very worthy investment of my time, because in utilizing that gift, I've been shown time and time again that I'm given more, because I am take advantage of what is before me. I feel like I've been given so so much and I have a responsibility to use it. But if I you know, if I was God, and I gave somebody something, and they put it in a box under the bed. Yeah, no, that's not. It drives me up the wall because like you I've had so many conversations with people, women in particular, who tells in they say they're very comfortable admitting, oh, all these years I really wanted to sing or I studied this in college, and I never did anything with it. And it's almost like they brag about it. Like it's some sort of it feeds in this martyr complex. Yeah, sort of like, yeah, I have this thing, but you know, there was always something else. There was always something else that took priority. And it's okay, I don't need to pursue this. I don't need to pursue this. It's like, alright. You're walking wasted. Potential. Yeah. And that if that's your thing, that's your thing. But hon, don't brag about it to me, like I'm gonna agree with you that it's okay.

Kate Shepherd 9:14
No, it's It's not a badge of honor. No, yeah. Yeah, I would love to see that, that kind of smashed through because that is it's everywhere. And it it makes it almost difficult to you know, do this work of claiming that yourself as an artist and wanting to express it you've got I find that it's almost like, I'm fighting against this current of, well, don't talk about yourself and don't be don't be proud of yourself. And don't be you know, I used to be in a relationship with somebody who, whose parents when when they were small, didn't allow them to look in the mirror because they thought it was too prideful. And I just think like I you know, I want to teach my children to look in the mirror and say, like, wow, you magnificent, like,

Amanda Evanston 9:54
and what a strange time that is for those unfamiliar with that I Not to that degree, but I am familiar with that concept. And I now I think it's such a strange time because I was raised. Not that discipline, but to not be prideful about things. And now, I'm, you know, it's it's we're inundated with social media, it's it's selfies are are not only good, they're celebrated and you should be comfortable. And what do you mean to not be comfortable with that? And why are we going on? And do you really need to put on makeup before you take your picture before you share the thing before? It's like, we're just inundated with this sort of mixed messaging. It's a confusing time isn't it

Kate Shepherd 10:35
is and and there's a there's a pendulum thing probably too, right? Where it's like, we were not allowed to be prideful. Now, maybe we're just kind of going a little bit too crazy with all the, but there is somewhere in the middle where you're allowed to say, I have this amazing thing inside of me. And I'm going to shepherd it, and I'm going to let it grow. And I'm going to be it. You know,

Amanda Evanston 10:55
I agree. And I think for me, I went many years, I never, I never want to show my face that's very uncomfortable showing work. I never wanted things to conjunction, I think when I recognize when I make art, it is it I say I can feel myself shift, which is a weird thing. But people know what I'm talking about when I say it. There's something when you for me when I make art, I feel like it comes from my best and truest self. It is the best and highest use of my time and my hands and my materials and, frankly, my money to buy the materials and all the rest of it. I think if something if you recognize that something comes from your truest self, why wouldn't you want to share that with the world? What and then you also have to use the sort of It's a basic exercise of Do unto others you know, I almost the last time I was on social media or in person, what have you and I resented somebody for sharing something from their highest and truest self. Never. Yeah. Never have I ever resented somebody for for exercising and sharing something they truly love. If I did that, if I resented somebody or said something negative or poo pooed somebody for doing that, that would say a lot more about me than it does about them. Absolutely. No, I don't. I'm not. I think the more we can contribute to the this idea of like, just we'd like to say don't care about what other people think we're all going to care about what other people think. But you can be choosy about the people. Why do you need everybody's seal of approval? It's literally not a possibility.

Kate Shepherd 12:35
It's not I didn't realize that till I was you know, maybe in my 30s did it dawned on me that I was like, oh, even if I could please the set of people that I've chosen. There's there's just it's always going to be growing and moving and shifting and that's not so why would I bother? It's just it's like a fool's errand like you just can never. You can never get there.

Amanda Evanston 12:56
You can never reach it. Somebody a long time ago told me that you guys have 31 flavors in Canada.

Kate Shepherd 13:02
No, but it sounds delicious. Is ice cream?

Amanda Evanston 13:05
Yes. Oh, it's called Baskin Robbins I officially renamed but we did at one point have basketball and now Baskin Robbins here are all combined with Dunkin Donuts and they smell too bad even want the ice cream. But in regardless, the concept when I was 80s 90s, I was young 31 flavors was an ice cream shop and they had 31 buckets. Supposedly, half of all scoops sold were vanilla. Because there's just a market for vanilla ice cream. They're vanilla, I'm curious. I'm not one of them. But I don't begrudge those people who do that there's also there's whatever chocolate and pistachio and unicorn ripple and sherbert and all these other kind of wonderful things. And they rotate out all of the other flavors. So much of our culture caters us to this idea that the only thing worth pursuing is the making of the vanilla because that's the most popular right? Just pursue the thing that is the safest and the most popular and get those there's always a market for that but there are you know, Turtle fudge ripple enthusiast. It is a smaller market. But those people are hardcore, and they will support and spend money and applaud the turtle fudge ice cream makers of the world. Why would you compete about every other you know? Well and person pursuing vanilla? Just make your niche niche and advocate

Kate Shepherd 14:31
I that I mean I totally agree with that. I remember the first time I went to Tokyo that that play Have you been to Tokyo? No, I wish it was wild, amazing place like if you're in the downtown core, any one of the downtown cores. They're these high rises that are I don't know how many storeys tall and because the everything is so dense. You might have the Baskin and Robbins on the 11th floor. And so on the outside of the building, there'll be a neon sign that says Baskin Robbins logo and then 11 F You know, to go, you know, to go up to the 11th floor. Yeah, but every time you go into one of those worlds, it's like an entire universe on that floor 11th 11th. And there's the most. Like, there's a guy who just makes hibiscus flower petal tea. And there's, you know what I mean? Like, that's all he does. His family has done it for 300 years. That's all they Yeah. And there is something to be said for, for doing that, and not trying to be all things for all people, because you just can't, and why not just get great at the thing that, that you love and feel so inspired by?

Amanda Evanston 15:33
And in this day and age when the internet provides this direct Autobahn of information exchange between yourself, your friends, your family, your audience, or customers? Why wouldn't you? Like why would you not want just just set up shop where you are your again, your happiest, truest, highest self? And then just to let it shine? Well,

Kate Shepherd 15:59
how did that happen for you? So you, you know, I listed all those things. And I'm sure you did a million more things before I have. I doubt it.

Amanda Evanston 16:07
I am, I have a very, yeah, I never accomplished any sort of great, you know, accolade, or achievement in any other career. But I've had a few, or at least jobs, maybe not career. But to me, it's to make a long story short, the most succinct explanation I tend to give is that I, I went to art school, got the same message that everybody else got, you probably have some variation that you can make art. And you know, some of the stuff I made was good. Some of it was not good. But the only people making a reliable living off of their art are pursuing through galleries, grants. And what I what I would call as gatekeeper culture. It's a sort of thing where you need somebody else doing the selling in the business. And then they take half the money, which in many cases they deserved. That did not seem like a good way to go to me. So I ended up taking a lot of classes in graphic design. And that was fine. And I thought I'd be a graphic designer. And I never was I ended up getting all these other office jobs and stuff. But whatever job I had, up until a few years ago, if there was one person on staff who knew how to use graphic design software, that made you a valuable person, that meant that you were saving the company 1000s of dollars, if you knew how to do graphic design, because most unless you're you know, some enormous company you don't have on staff people to do that. So I was a graphic designer, and then somewhere, probably right about 30, I kind of had a I wouldn't say a quarter life crisis, a quarter, half midlife crisis, I don't know I looked at the numbers, frankly, because that's my other discipline is the money, frankly, is I looked at the money and I said all of this, I'm being underpaid, how am I going to do this and ever make a salary, but I could ever retire or ever not have to worry about a medical bill or a veterinary bill or whatever it is, it's like I need to make more money. So I ended up just say, I'm going to be a freelance graphic designer. And I thought that was a smart idea. Because I thought, well, I'll be in charge. And I'll just work twice as much and make a bunch of money. And what people don't tell you is that when you're a graphic designer, and you're a free agent, money comes in batches, and there would be everything was feast or famine. And there were a number of famine times that things were not good. And so I said, what I'm going to do to offset the the low season is I'm going to become a commercial artist or commercial illustrator, I'm going to have a portfolio of work that people can use for licensing. So like on again, I wasn't dreaming the dream of fine art. I was just thinking, Well, you know, there's I bought a roll of paper towels, and it was sitting on the on the kitchen counter and there was you know, pictures of flowers on it. I said well, so that there's someone is doing that and somebody is getting paid, why shouldn't it be me? I love it. That's the one asset that I think I have probably more than most people I know, as I asked the question, why shouldn't it be me? What do they have that I don't? I don't, I can draw flowers. I can feed flowers. And I have I have a scanner and a decent camera I can I can photograph and document things. And those are things that I couldn't have said 10 years earlier artists in this day and age, we have tools in the toolbox. The things I can take on my smartphone now. Yeah, you can document things differently. I'm sorry, I'm rambling. So I love it. Long story short. I was trying to get an agent for some sort of commercial illustration licensing something or other and somebody told me that agents love people that do botanicals because you can always sell them. So I was painting every morning I get up and Early wasn't, I think Fancy a little card table, and I would pay introduce some variation of a botanical sentence or a flower. Sometimes you refined some divs or something. And it just, it was very restorative. Doing it with a purpose in mind, I had never not painted, even since art school, but it never really went anywhere. It just went to a pile under the bed during those botanicals was great. And I started sending them around to various agents and agencies, not one of them had any interest in me never went anywhere. It was a total bust wasn't feeling so good. And then it was about October of 2015, I had one of those again, it went from feast to famine, and

a retainer relationship suddenly got yanked. One of my very good clients essentially declared bankruptcy. And so I wasn't going to get paid for like six months of work. Somebody else consolidated was enough. It just It went from being like, everything I thought was reliable was not there. And I had rent to pay. And I had bills and was looking at what was going on. And all I saw was this giant stack of artwork, a bunch of flowers. And I know I had been sharing them on Instagram and stuff. And people said, Oh, that's good. That's good. You should sell these. And I was like, oh, no, I can't sell these somebody is going to license these, these are going to end up on paper towels, I'm going to make $37 Every month off of my flower paper towel money. Anyway, so I listed them I got on Etsy. And I listed them. And I told everybody, you know, this is the date two weeks from now I had the discipline, I knew that I needed to have some momentum to build up, I didn't want pity sales. And so that's going to happen. This is the date everybody come. And I did the same thing that I do. Now I sent an email, said everybody, you know, this is it, come if you want. And, um, they didn't sell out, but most of themselves, it was not a smash success, but most of them sold and and it was enough to financially, you know, set me up for a month or two, which is enough to get the heat off and get other things going. And I had a conversation that night. And I essentially said, this isn't the most amount of money I've ever made. But this is the best money I've ever made.

Kate Shepherd 22:19
So is that the moment was that? Was that the moment where? Because that was one of the questions I had for you is kind of like when did you know that you had to let this kind of art and this way of being with your art sort of take over and be

Amanda Evanston 22:32
that was probably that was probably it. I'm very superstitious about my own past and money trauma and things like that. That's heavy. i There's money that comes in and doesn't feel so good. This money came in and it felt very good. And as I said, that's, that felt like a lighthouse moment. It's like I don't know where that light is coming from. But I think it's telling me something had to do to pay attention.

Kate Shepherd 22:59
How did you feel that? What did it what did the good what does good money feel like in your body?

Amanda Evanston 23:03
What a good question. I don't know. That's a very good question. But I it it's a very personal it's a meridian line. There's like a yes. No, kind of almost. It's

it's a yes. No, it's also it's a knowing that I want it to happen again. I sold paintings to people. When I was selling more in person, my Studio Gallery. I've sold paintings to people and I've said okay, I'm gonna cash this check. But I hope there isn't a check number two, like you just you know, yeah. It's just a gut. It's a gut feeling. Yeah. But here, you know, that's it. Part of the world that we live in. And the core of capitalism is if somebody wants to pay you for something, you know, you show the respectful exchange and you take it. You don't have to repeat it. You don't have to pursue it. Yeah. Having the wherewithal to recognize you know, when when, again, you're your Creator with the universe or whatever sends you a sign that this this door is open. This door is opening, you know, don't ask it to knock twice that's important.

Kate Shepherd 24:17
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This is something else I wanted to bring up with you i A couple months ago, made a very large piece that my children were involved in and it's been such a tremendously tumultuous year for us and that you may read they wrote poetry about flowers that original poems On the, on the face of this canvas that we worked on the cast layers together, and it was just they were really involved in this and then a family member who is also to date my greatest collector.

Amanda Evanston 25:12
So that always starts like that. Yeah, the best way to go.

Kate Shepherd 25:16
Well, I posted a picture of this not saying it was for sale, just you know, I mean, I, I'll tell you a little bit more in a minute, why don't dance or why haven't danced, but I was dancing while I painted. This was listening to music, and I was by myself and I was singing and, and there was just so much of me in this piece. And she emailed me that morning and said, Well, how much and it shook me and I was like, I, I want the money. I'm a newly single mom, I'm asking my art to support me. But I really feel connected and attached to this painting. What

Amanda Evanston 25:45
do I do or remember this? Yes, yeah, I do. Remember that you

Kate Shepherd 25:49
actually hopped on. I think you just felt those video? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Do you remember what you I would love it? If you could remember what you said? And

Amanda Evanston 25:57
I think I told you Yeah, like, you told the universe, you're making a brave move. Tell me what to do. And the universe literally. Yeah. So don't ask it to not go and ask.

Kate Shepherd 26:08
And I feel like for for the, for the person who's listening to this right now who's saying, Look, I've just finally let myself call myself an artist. But I feel really, there's so much of me and my emotion in these pieces. I finally busted through all of this stuff, after all these years. And these pieces are so important. How do I let them go. And I feel like that is a very important intersection in our trajectory as artists, like we need to get through that intersection. Because if you start holding on to things at that point, oh, boy, like, what's going to happen? Oh, it can't get

Amanda Evanston 26:40
into like Mrs. Hashim territory, if you just start making stuff that's personal. And then you start personalizing everything, and you just ended up with a house of ghosts. Yeah, things that don't really need to be there. And that's, it's artists such a it's a confusing thing, because it is beautiful. And it is decorative. And it can serve a purpose. There are people who want art because they have a hole on the walls, and it makes them feel better to have it filled. But I don't know. There should be some guts of the artist in the work, if you want to call it art. Okay, yeah, you got to have some, some of yourself invested, it should hurt a little. I don't like the word should. But this is one of the occasions that I really think it's well warranted. It should hurt just a little to say goodbye. If you're not doing that, push for it in the next one. It's okay. Not everything needs to be Yeah, you know, your personal manifesto. Not everything needs to be the watershed moment from the before and the after you capital, why you, but it, you got to have some of yourself in it. And if you buy into the concept that you only want to make stuff that isn't personal, the seasons going to be short. I don't mean to doomsday that. But I want to be honest with anybody who's pursuing this and just wants to make decorative work or just wants to make what will sell or just wants to make what's pretty nice and joyful. There's a time and a place for that. And I don't poopoo it, but the season is short.

Kate Shepherd 28:19
Do you feel like it's I used to have my, my most of my professional life as an artist has been as a jeweler, and I used to have a jewelry instructor in college who had these, I mean, she would make jewelry medallions for like Viking TV shows, and they were like, wow, it would take her weeks and weeks to make like one shield and she was so talented. And she was this humble, very quiet French woman. And there's no way she could have made a living on these kinds of pieces because, you know, feast and famine, it's that, you know, movie industry all that stuff. But so she had kind of like a commercial line of jewelry that did quite well too. And she that was one of the things I felt that I learned from her not just technically I learned a lot from her but that was one of my most important lessons from her was like what can you create yourself a bread and butter line of things that you know people will buy and that there's a little bit of you in it? And and then have your sort of almost like two branches of your of your work? And do you do that? Do you have like, are they all? Hey,

Amanda Evanston 29:20
I could see it might look that way. Um, they're definitely works or collections I create in batches where the collection as a whole has some sort of driving force behind it. Maybe not every individual piece has required personal sort of wrestling. But I made a commitment a long time ago to say commitment that makes it sound very grandiose, really it's again it was a business decision. I understand there's art that sells multi 1000s of dollars, very high end and usually in a gallery dynamic. And then there's, you know, the opposite end where things are extremely affordable to the point that they're comparable to, you know, a print that you would see in a big box store. There's, it appears to me, there's not a whole lot in the middle. There's not a whole lot of people operated in the middle. And yet, if I look around at the people I know at the homes that I visited, I know a lot of people who have, you know, disposable income, they want to live amongst art, they know the energy that comes from original art is different than the posters the thing the from the big box store, and then they're not gonna spend $10,000, even if they have that kind of thing in the bank. Painting is not where they're going to spend it. However, this is a whole giant. Yeah, wide open window in the middle. Yeah. So if I show up every day, I treat my artists a job. And that's the thing people don't like hearing, I treat my art like a job. So it pays me like a job, I'm at work in some capacity, but it's making the art for the back end of the business, it's a roughly nine to five undertaking, if I pursue that, I'm turning out a volume of work that I can keep my prices sort of low. Every day, I have the ability to create and tap into myself where I'm pulling out again, that kind of gutsy personal thing. So that's in there, too. And people get something that, you know, I have, I don't even know how many first time collectors purchase through me. And that sets them on a lifetime of buying other people's stuff. So I feel good about that. They win. I win. Everybody wins.

Kate Shepherd 31:38
So I That's wonderful. That's a great way of doing it is yeah. And it's it's

Amanda Evanston 31:45
one of those things, I think, I don't know if you got it, but I always understood from art school was that there's fine art, and then there's commercial art, and these two things cannot intersect and that you if you make things that aren't expensive, it's not real art, or it's you're selling yourself cheap, or whatever it is, and that. Again, I think that's a gatekeeper. Paper. I was just gonna say again, but it's another gatekeeper moment. Yeah. And it's also it's, um, it's really sort of a form of classicism, the concept that art only belongs to Uber wealthy people. I mean, that's a really vile concept when you think about it, because I think of art is something that, again, being in the presence of original art, whether it's a painting that hangs on your wall, or it's public art, or it's a public library that is designed in an artful way, whatever it might be, those sorts of things. They change the rhythm of people's lives, they really do. And to say that that's only deserving of people who who have a lot of money. I don't buy that I'm not okay with it. And I don't want to contribute to that. I never

Kate Shepherd 32:47
looked at it that way. I think that's amazing. We all

Amanda Evanston 32:51
we're all part of it. The same time. I don't I don't want to. There's other kinds of like, well, that's my RGB, cheap and readily available. That's like, No, I get I know what my materials worse. I know what my time is worth, we figure out in a reasonable way, and make a very solid living selling original work. I'm never going to make it in the 1% just doing that. But it's a good way to make a living. Yeah. Okay with that, and I don't see a whole lot of people in that space, which means it's extremely open to me. Which again, from a business perspective, supply and demand works in my favor.

Kate Shepherd 33:25
Yeah. I think and I think that's something that probably a lot of people listening to this right now are, who are who are wanting to start to get into that place of selling their work. Yeah, struggle with because I know I did for a really long time, I underpriced by work which has so many ripple effects to your fellow artists to your own work to the person receiving it. Like I if you know, whenever I was in a gallery on one of the little Gulf Islands I was in over the weekend, and I walked in, and this painting just stopped me. And I could not stop thinking about this painting. Mm hmm. And actually, I had a ridiculously magical moment, I found out who the artist was. And everybody knows it, too. There's about 400 people who live on this island, and they go that's on and she lives over there. And you could talk her husband does sculptures over weather. And so I emailed her that night, and I just said, All I want to tell you is I saw this piece yesterday. And there's I don't even know why. But it just spoke to something so deep in me. And she wrote me back a one line email that said, are you still on the island? And I said yes. And she said, Can you meet me outside the gallery tomorrow? And I was like, Yeah, but it's Sunday, it'll be closed. So I just I went not knowing what. And we sat down and we had like an hour long conversation but the various wonderful very first thing she said to me when we sat down was I've decided to gift you this painting. Oh, no, she just gave it to me that she had never met me. And she but she could feel we discussed this at length. She could feel that the thing that I felt and she could feel that I was feeling it and she felt it too and she just said that moved her and she knew she had to she knew she had to To me that is like, so now that's up on my wall. And it's the first thing I see when I come up the stairs every morning. And it tells me that life has so much more to give you than you could ever think it's not linear, there are a few absolute gifts are going to come to you without even you asking and in unexpected ways and to just expect magic. And that, yeah, that that's what that means to me now. And anyway, that was just kind of a side note, but I

Amanda Evanston 35:24
have a wonderful story, it was an it's an important reminder, because I think so often as artists, or at least painters in particular for you, and that, you know, could turn out to whatever a painting of a pair or a sailboat or whatever it is. And you could give an it could mean really not much more to us than the cost of the materials. But you could give it away and change somebody's life. Absolutely give it away. And that could become really sort of a talisman for all the years to come. Yeah, for them, you could have a very powerful impact without a tremendous amount of effort or money. Like what, what an amazing use of talent and skill and what a compliment to you and to her.

Kate Shepherd 36:08
That's amazing. It was magic, I really did feel like I was in some kind of bubble of magic. That one thing I did want to I want to just cover with you. Because I really feel like this is something that almost everybody is struggling with. And, and not and we talked about it a little bit a minute ago, how not the conversations not happening. But when I was little when I was in I think I was in grade one. I had a music teacher, her name was Mrs. Holmes. And she made me stand in the back row of choir, I was already short. So that basically ensured that I was invisible. Yeah. And she asked me to mouth the words, because she said, you know, you just don't have a very nice voice. And we don't want you to mess up music. And that not only zipped me up with my voice, but it also made me feel like I wasn't entitled to engage with music. And so I didn't dance, I didn't feel like I could dance. And I think somehow over the years, I just sort of like, let that filter on to all my creativity and that contribute a shame so much to the

Amanda Evanston 37:09
unacceptable. Yeah. But I think

Kate Shepherd 37:14
from that, from what I can see, and this is the this is the reason I'm doing the creative genius series of work. From what I can see that kind of trauma, and it is trauma. Oh, yeah, is happening all the time, and has already happened in the past a whole bunch. And so, you know, for the person that's listening right now, and is kind of like nodding their head and saying, Yeah, I have never been able to reconcile this deep desire I have to create with these messages that I was inundated with as a child through all these different places that I'm just not good enough.

Amanda Evanston 37:45
What would you tell that person? Well, a couple of things. And the first thing I will add to some somebody who briefly studied to be an art teacher, which is odd that I now so much of my income comes from teaching art, because it's not where I chose to actually pursue. But anybody who has studied the pedagogical sciences, anybody who has pursued teaching at all will tell you, Miss Holmes, Mr. Jones, whoever it might have been, if you are listening, and there was somebody who said something to you that haunts you to this day? No, that was not a teacher. No, that was not an informed adult. That was a human being who did something out of line, not only with their profession, but just with their person. That was a low point for them. Everybody has some I have them all the time with my own kids. There are moments in parenting I really wish I could do over again. I have a feeling for you, Kate. If Miss Holmes was around, and she knew that two grown women were talking about her on the podcast, she would crawl in a hole she would be so ashamed that something so flippant could be so hurtful, and and really hateful might be the word I would use and so impactful. That wasn't a teacher saying those things that was just a human being who temporarily lost their mind and common sense. So yeah, put it in perspective. Okay, let's compartmentalize that pain. Put put it in perspective. The second thing I would tell you is that for me, this is this gives you some insight into my character. I love those opportunities. Because I am a vengeful Christian. I'm not I'm I like to think I'm a nice person, but in my truest form, there's a streak that loves a good vengeance story. Uh huh. What greater revenge would there be than to show, Ms. Holmes? Not only can you sing, not only are you capable of learning to sing because some people come to things more naturally than others. Let's face that, but something but You, despite the pain that somebody would inflict has chosen to move beyond it has chosen the greater outcome. I like that story. I like that story. I love that story. Movies love stories like that. Let let that spur you let that fuel the fire into something better. Which is it sounds a bit petty. I admit that, I'd love to tell you that, you know, we just need to neutralize it. But if it ever works, yeah, if it haunts you, and it's still it's still itches in your brain? Use it. I think it's a lot easier to use it then than to pretend it never happened.

Kate Shepherd 40:40
Yeah. And I, you know, in the last couple of years have adopted this. Saying that I tell myself and something kind of uncomfortable happens. I'll just say, Oh, this is happening for me. That's not to me. And I actually familiar with that. Yeah, that shift is, is really beautiful. But did you do you ever have any big like, did somebody ever say anything to you that,

Amanda Evanston 41:02
that that affected you? Or? I was very, I was very fortunate. I never had a haunting moment where somebody said, there was one particular thing in art that I was bad at. I was told more times than I could count that I I was never going to be an honor roll student, I was never going to be smart. I was always you know, it's okay. That you need the extra help. It's okay that you because you're good at art. It's almost as though that was the like, the thing that that I was praised for because I couldn't praise me for much else. I really was not a good student. I still as an adult struggle to read sometimes. I still basic math, there are times it just doesn't click in my head numbers have a very special place. And I there's a lot of us out there. It's not unique. Sometimes people admit like they're dyslexic. Like, it's this enormous source of shame. It's like, Do you know how many of us we're just, we're not necessarily why wired to do well on tests, or, you know, Western public education system? We're just, that's okay. Yeah,

Kate Shepherd 42:09
there's so many good things. Yeah.

Amanda Evanston 42:11
So I get no, did I ever have anybody telling me I was not great at art and things. Now, I did have a number of adults who were important people, to me, people I love I loved or continue to love who, frankly, we're like, why are you going to this college and pursuing art? It's never going to pay, it's never going to turn in anything good. You know? If this is why are you racking up debt, just go get a job as a receptionist, just go do this other thing. This is not responsible to pursue this. And for a lot of years, I thought they were right. And now, again, I love a good vention story. I am very, very happy that I never gave up. I'm very happy.

Kate Shepherd 42:56
Yeah, that's I guess that's the thing is that it it? Because that's one of the things that I think a lot of us struggle with is what are our, we create these limiting beliefs? You know, we pull together all the information from the world that we are, yeah. And then we make them into our beliefs. And that becomes our worldview. And it becomes really hard to extract yourself from that, to see the world in a different way. And so yeah, that's, that's, it's good to know that you had that you had you always had that drive, or that, that knowing about yourself, your confidence, it's like a deep confidence, I guess.

Amanda Evanston 43:27
It's a deep confidence. But it's also I think I had the good fortune of having parents who really drilled into me from a young age that like it's not okay to seek validation from somebody else. Your opinion of yourself is more valuable than anybody else's. Whatever authority figure, whatever, teacher, whatever, even whatever, parent, that's fine, your opinion of your yourself comes first. Everything else is a distant second, if you don't have that, right, nothing else is going to make sense.

Kate Shepherd 43:54
I feel like that's so rare. And I guess I I do want to give some some help to people who didn't have the fortune of being raised that way. I think so many of us actually.

Amanda Evanston 44:05
i That's bizarre to me that they didn't they didn't learn that there. I've I've said that out loud to people who are baby boomer generation, they're, they're well into life and they're like, wait, but you know what? I think I know that. Wait, like, it's like, Beep bop boop, like the wiring of the robot just like somebody like Wait. My opinion of myself matters more than the stranger on the street. My opinion of myself matters more than the teacher who was juggling 35 of us in a classroom and barely knew me. My opinion of myself matters more than the parent who never had the time to invest and because they were just trying to keep a roof over our head and sometimes they were short with us and like, your opinion of yourself matters first. If you lock that in, you will have clarity on everything in your life, your relationships, your job, your career, your work. grocery list. I it'll untangle a lot.

Kate Shepherd 45:04
I love that so much. I feel like oh my gosh, I feel like I have about 11 and a half 1000 more questions for you. But I'm also aware of the time and

Amanda Evanston 45:15
I know well, we want to be courteous of your listeners. So yeah, maybe

Kate Shepherd 45:19
well handled. I know I'm so I loved every minute of it. I, I would love to have you back on the show. At some point. I'm sure we could talk forever on here. But I have one last question for you. And I think it's tying tying into what you just said. But if you had a billboard, and everybody who comes to the show, I asked him this question. If you had a billboard that all of these sweet souls that we've been talking about, who don't believe in themselves, or feel like they're not good enough, or don't know how to put themselves first, if they were all guaranteed to see this billboard, and it was going to get their attention? What would you what would you put on it? Oh, what a question.

Amanda Evanston 45:57
Or she thought of this first. Ah, well, I guess it sounds cliche, but it's the thing that I always come back to it's, I would say, quote, they call them growing pains for a reason. That's something that runs through my mind all the time that they the concept that pain, whether it's personal or professional, whatever it is, those moments are really they're not, they're not just paying their their growth that that you will, you cannot go through something difficult without coming out. I slightly bigger. And I'd like to think a slightly better person. That's not always the case. I don't I'm not that trick. I would not say that everybody experiences pain comes through it. You know? Yeah. Fantastic.

Kate Shepherd 46:37
But it's a pretty Yeah, it's a pretty reliable formula. Like, yeah,

Amanda Evanston 46:40
I think so. It's embracing Gross is a good thing. And that no, yeah, growth doesn't happen within your personal comfort zone. And your whole life. Never exceeding your comfort zone. You'll never grow. That's right. And growing people are happy

Kate Shepherd 46:57
people. That's right. Well, when I decided to do this podcast, actually, I felt something I hadn't felt in a very long time, which was I was nervous about it. was wonderful. I yeah, I was just like saying, Thank you. Because yes, it means I knew I was on to something. Yeah. Well, it's, it's been absolutely amazing. And Wonderful to have you here. And I admire his mind so much, you so much for having me. Thank you. It's

Amanda Evanston 47:22
wonderful. All right. Well, let me know when I can come back. And we'll Yak some more.

Kate Shepherd 47:27
That sounds really good.

Amanda Evanston 47:30
Thank you. Thank you. 

Kate Shepherd 47:31
Well thank you, Amanda.

Amanda has given us some really wonderful things to think about in this episode, hasn't she? Why do we give our power to gatekeepers? And how about let's just stop doing that. If we're lucky enough to know what we love doing? And yet we're not doing it? That is a choice? Is it the best choice for your one wild and precious life? And what do we have to tell ourselves to allow ourselves not to follow our dreams anyway? Amanda was lucky enough to be raised by a family who deeply ingrained in her the idea that it was simply not okay to seek external validation for what your heart wants, from what to eat, to what to paint to what to do with your life. And while many of us were not so fortunate to be raised that way, I love her reminder that we can lock this in now and enjoy a new kind of clarity, peace and fulfillment in our lives. I have a fun challenge for you for this episode to the first friend that pops to mind right now. Don't overthink it. There's a reason you thought of them. And I'm willing to bet there's something they really need to hear in today's episode. See a picture of my favorite Amanda Evanston painting and find links to her websites including information on how to join her incredible insider Studio Community in the show notes on Kate That's sh E P H, E rd. Please take a minute right now to subscribe to creative genius and leave us a review in iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We have an incredibly inspiring lineup of guests coming up. You won't want to miss a single one. And we'd really love to hear your feedback on today's show. Thank you for listening. And may you find an unleash your creative genius

1 comment

  • Barbara Balkin

    What a wonderful podcast! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to you and Amanda Evanston chat. So inspiring for me, an artist that doesn’t seem to make enough ‘make art’ time from my teaching art classes. And that billboard idea at the end is brilliant! I’m so looking forward to listening to the next podcast. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and be inspired by you and your guests.

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