It’s important to have mentors, people in whose advice you can trust; for me American born artist Brooke Shaden embodies all that a mentor should be.
I discovered Brooke, like many of my fellow attendees through the internet.
A large part of Brooke’s success is the community she has built around her. She enthusiastically engages equally with everyone from gallery owners to corporations; to the people she helps through her charity The Light Space, to loyal fans (like me).
Brooke’s worldwide tour entitled ‘Promoting Passion 2019’ is sponsored by Sony - making it readily accessible to creatives everywhere.
Promoting Passion on Tour 2019
Everyone (100 attendees approx) got a hug from Brooke as they entered the auditorium of the David Game College in London last Saturday.
In true Brooke ‘messy’ fashion, handprints were next on the agenda with kids paints and a giant canvas; undeniable proof of our presence.
I have a lot of photography friends who will be eager to hear what technical techniques we learned and I can safely say none; which saves you asking.
Photoshop, cameras etc they’re all just tools. Promoting passion is all about exploring emotional connections, making art; a hero’s journey if you will. And the only person who can do the work is you. Learning to strip away the medium and figuring out what’s left, is your legacy. Art is just a messenger, your legacy is the message.
Being in a safe creative space last Saturday made me realise that the camera club I had been a member for for nearly five years was not a safe space; so I’ve left.
An important point and one I know will reverberate with a lot of people, especially when it comes to social media; is the damage social media can do. In the age of followers and likes; feelings of insignificance can flourish when work we put out there basically flops.
So be on your own path. I’ve always written blogs for myself, like a diary ( I get a little embarrassed when someone quotes something back to me; meaning they’ve read it!).
You have been warned, by all means use social media but if it ever makes you feel insignificant, give it a break or work on a new approach to connecting with your audience. If what you produce creatively comes from an honest place, people will recognise and relate to that.
Listening to the special guest at the event, the amazingly talented children’s book illustrator and social entrepreneur, Gillian Gamble I realised how important it is to unfold creatively at your own pace; whether that takes months or years it’s up to you, but don’t get bogged down by it (It also made me realise that if I never get another distinction or award I’m ok with that just so long as what I produce is true to my legacy).
And so begins the process of remaking myself as an artist, trusting myself as an artist and being part of a supportive community; whether online or in person.
At the end of the day all the attendees were given the task of writing a letter to themselves to be opened in May 2020. I won’t divulge the contents of mine, you’ll just have to watch this space. But it was an interesting exercise.
The main image in this post was shot on the day with models Chloë De Witte and Saraswati Patel with styling and lighting by Ceridwen Images.
I wanted the melting wax of the candles to mean something; to form something, which is why I choose an antique bust of a women processed to look like wax underneath the candle wax drips.
Big thanks to Brooke, K.D, Jessy and Gillian for all the hard work and everyone who attended to make it an unforgettable experience. Special shout out to Sony - thank you for supporting creatives worldwide.