Speaker 1 (00:00):
Don't get caught up in comparing yourself to other artists. There are, there will always be somebody who's better than you at art. Comparison is a thief of joy.
Speaker 2 (00:10):
This is the Bold Artists podcast.
Speaker 3 (00:14):
You have answers, and you're expressing them in your art. Your art is important, and it needs to be seen.
Speaker 2 (00:22):
Welcome, and let's get started with today's episode.
Speaker 2 (00:30):
Welcome to another episode of the Bold Artist podcast. We're so happy to have you here, whether you're listening on audio, or watching on YouTube on the Bold School channel, welcome to the show. Today we have guest artist, Steven Walden, of St. Louis, Missouri. Steven is a bold color painter of sports and pop culture. His work has raised just under half a million dollars for charity at the time of this interview. And that's quite remarkable. Stephen's going to tell us the story of how his paintings have raised money for charity, but more than that, we're going to get to know Steven's heart, and how he's a man of great empathy, caring so much for other people, and how he found the purpose of his life through helping other people through his artwork. And Stephen's also going to share with us how resistance is sometimes a clue to our insecurities and our fears of failure and how we can push through those obstacles and reach new levels in our life as an artist. Let's go right on over and get to know Stephen Walden, Stephen, welcome to the show. So glad you're here. Could we start out by hearing a little bit more about you and your artwork?
Speaker 1 (01:46):
Yeah. So, uh, thanks so much for having me here. Uh, I've been looking forward to it ever since you sent an email a couple of months ago. Uh, I am a artist who is based in St. Louis. I am an accidental artist in that I didn't know that I could paint until about five years ago or so. And so stumbled into it by accident from, uh, pursuing another career. But since I've been doing that, uh, I've helped raise money for charities around the country. Uh, I'm I'm right under half a million different charity events across the country. And I specialize in sports and pop culture and, uh, portraiture, uh, I paint architecture and buildings, but I hate it. Uh, and, uh, and yeah, and I've always used color in my palette, a bold color. Uh, and I've even used that word before I even discovered Sharla last year in her courses. Um, but, uh, it's, uh, it, it, it was just a natural fit when I did discover the course, uh, last year. So.
Speaker 2 (02:49):
Yeah, well, wow. That is excellent glimpse into your life. There's so much that I just want to ask right from that little introduction there. So, let's start first by, uh, you telling us a little bit about this charity work. This really intrigued me. So, uh, tell me about that, Steven, and what do you do for charity, and how do your paintings connect into that?
Speaker 1 (03:11):
So, I have to probably tell a little bit about my story and that I was persuing...
Speaker 2 (03:15):
Speaker 1 (03:15):
When I discovered that I could do art, I was pursuing my master's, uh, to be a therapist. And along the way, I took an art therapy class as an elective. And that's when I discovered that I could paint. And my classmates said, "Hey, you're really good at this. You should, you know, put your artwork out there." I'm like, whatever you guys are just saying this, just because you love me. And, um, but I did eventually. And, uh, my artwork got accepted into a local show here in St. Louis and someone saw my work and they said, "Hey, we like your work. You should be in this other show." And it just started to kind of build from there. And this was also happening around the time when I was getting ready to graduate. And, um, and also going through some other uh, major life changes, which we can talk about later. But I started to look at what would it look like if I, if, if I were to be a professional artist? And, um, I looked at what entry-level, uh, people with their masters in professional counseling, were making, and I'm like, I think I can do that with my art. Um, and, uh,
Speaker 2 (04:17):
I love that attitude, by the way. I love that attitude.
Speaker 1 (04:19):
Well, it's because it's just so sad, but entry level people make with their masters in mental health. Um, but I, I threw my hat over the wall, and I decided that, okay, well, if I'm going to do this, and it's not going to be just a solitary act where -- which art often can be -- uh, how can I use my work to help other people? It's the whole reason why I quit my other job as a copywriter and a technical writer to become a therapist was I wanted to help other people. And when I discovered that I could do art, I'm like, oh, this fulfills this creative side of me, but how do I check that box for helping others? And I, since I live in St. Louis, I thought, well, if I'm going to create something, I want to create something where an audience already exists. And in St. Louis, there are a couple of major passions here. There is the baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals. And also we have toasted ravioli, which if you've never had, it is amazing. It's ravioli, but deep fried basically. Um, and so, yeah,
Speaker 2 (05:20):
And I, and I, I quickly need to interject that you also learn something new about your St. Louis today from me. 'Cause I, I said to you that I thought there was a pretty famous chess sculpture in St. Louis. And you didn't know that.
Speaker 1 (05:35):
The largest chest piece it's somewhere here in St. Louis. So it's a wonder I haven't seen.
Speaker 2 (05:39):
Yeah. So, so you can add that to the ravioli and the baseball list.
Speaker 1 (05:44):
Who knows, maybe I'll maybe I'll do it eventually. Um, so in looking at what a art career would look like, and how I could help other people, if, you know, and, and also if I was going to go down the route of doing sports art, I thought, well, what if I started to join up with, uh, athletes who are humanitarians? And I started to, and St. Louis has been fortunate enough to have some really wonderful ones, specifically a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainright, and our, uh, the hall of fame, NFL quarterback, Kurt Warner used to play for the Rams now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, and, uh, Ozzie Smith, also another baseball player, uh, and doing events with the Blues that our hockey team, as well. And regardless, uh, waylaid underway, in that I reached out to Adam, and I said, "Hey, I know you've got this charity.
Speaker 1 (06:34):
I would love to do a piece for you. We could, I could paint it live at your event. And then we could auction it off to help raise funds for your event." And he said, absolutely. He tweeted me out. There's a whole story that goes along with that. My phone blew up. And that really, it put me on a fast track, uh, to... it Opened a lot of doors in other ways, like with Kurt, and with Aussie, and with a number of other, uh, charities and, uh, other sports franchises, as well. And so it was, uh, it, it really was a kind of butterfly effect of, you know, it flapped its wings and man, that butterfly just took me to places I did not expect to go. But it's the hardest job I've ever had. It's the hardest I've ever had to work. But it's the most rewarding, and the best job I've ever had.
Speaker 2 (07:20):
Wow. And so how did you, uh, discover the bold color painting and even Bold School?
Speaker 1 (07:27):
Yeah, so, like I said, I had decided that I, when I first started painting, I wanted to use, uh, I wanted my style to be distinctive. And that I was... I knew enough about sports artwork that was out there. And a lot of it is very, um, it's very naturalistic. It's very realistic. There's not a lot of the artists that's interjected into the piece itself because that sells.. You know, it's not hard to understand. There's no risk that's involved. And I don't mean to denigrate that, but it's easy. But I also knew enough from my background as a copywriter that I wanted my artwork to be recognizable from 20 feet, and someone to be able to recognize it within three seconds. And I love Leroy Neiman, who I know he gets a lot of crap, uh, but, uh, I loved him. I come from a comics background, and because I'm a nerd and loving, bright colors, Jack Kirby, Alex Ross, um, loving, uh, that style and just garish colors.
Speaker 1 (08:24):
I thought, what if I applied this to sports, it would be a unique way to make a, uh, to make my own imprint in the region. And it did. Okay. So that was in 2015ish. And as, uh, as time went on, I felt like that my artwork had plateaued in the sense that it felt a little samey. And I wasn't sure how to challenge myself. Oh, the other thing is that I'm all self-taught. I have never had a class before, outside of, uh, I had to take a, some classes in high school where I drew. And I did, I did like drawing, uh, for a time, and then I began to hate it in high school. And then I had to take a, uh, mandatory art appreciation, uh, an art class in college. I absolutely hated it. And I think I even made a C in it.
Speaker 1 (09:10):
So, so, which is so funny, but I think about it now. Um, but I, uh, I saw another artist, friend of mine, Tim Kent Moore, he posted on Facebook -- this was early 2020 -- that he had done a colorful pet portrait. And, uh, from, uh, from Charla's class. And Tim's also an established artist, and I loved it. I thought it was fantastic. I think it was a pug, it was a pug puppy, and it was fantastic. I'm like, this is, this is it. This is like, it felt like a doorway to figuring out how can I take someone who I get or who gets me in a similar my work, but also different in that I could tell that it was at another level in that I felt like I was, like I said, plateau is coasting. How can I go up? And I, the pandemic had just happened.
Speaker 1 (09:58):
Things were locked down, and I decided, you know what, I'm going to have some downtime. So, I'm going to commit to this class. And I did. And it's honestly, Marijanel, I think it's one of the best decisions I've ever made in taking Charla's course. And I'm so grateful for what she puts out there and, uh, just, you know, the tone that she approaches her, her work, and her students, and her audience. And, and I'm just, uh, I know that I'm also living my best life when I'm, I'm at my most grateful, and I would be remissed to not mention that. So thank you, Charla,
Speaker 2 (10:35):
For those of you listening and watching, and aren't quite sure which class Stephen's referring to, I'm sure it's the Bold Color Bootcamp at Bold School that, um, that really made a radical change there and helped you to level up. I love how you described it as sometimes we hit that plateau in our artistry, and we just need that person even one step or a few steps ahead to just pull us up to the next level and help us make a breakthrough artistic.
Speaker 1 (11:07):
So, it's a funny story in that, uh, it was probably about three or four years ago and or maybe three years ago. And I had all of my work displayed for an exhibit, and it was a huge show. And I had probably about 20, 25 pieces where you could see them all together. And that's not something that I don't think that a lot of artists do. For me, it's that I paint a piece, and then I put it away. It's onto the next one. I don't have that much room to display all my stuff, nor do I display all my stuff. Um, to me it feels like I would be hanging pictures of myself around my house. Uh, but someone who knew me very well, they, they looked at my work, and they said, you know, it just all looks a little samey. And that pissed me off in that.
Speaker 1 (11:55):
And I got really defesive, not, not to him personally, but I, oh, I was stweing about it. Which that's how I process criticism, right? It's, I got to get really pissed off, and I gotta go sulk about it, and then like, okay, I go eat my chocolate cake. And then, you know, that helps me absorb the emotion. And then the more that I thought about Mike, he's right. He's absolutely right. You know, I think often, you know, the things that make us angry are things that are true. And, uh, the, and we also lie best when we lie to ourselves. Because I was thinking, oh, no, I'm, I'm fine. They, they are different enough. Or it's like, it was intentional because, you know, you could see it's a branding, it was, you know, it's part of my, my look. And like, well, was it, or was it that I had gotten comfortable?
Speaker 1 (12:35):
And that's how my pieces started to look. And also, I didn't know where to go. I didn't, I didn't have anyone to show me how to do differently. Because again, you know, like I said, I didn't, I don't have any training. So, I was like reverse engineering, retrofitting. Um, or not even at that point, it was just, I didn't know where to go. So, um, and that was probably like, I don't know, a couple of years before I discovered Bold School. And then when I did, it was just, uh, it was Neo from the Matrix. I started to see the code, you know, of, of everything that existed behind, uh, of what makes some artwork work, and what was, what was so frustrating to me. And why I would look at a piece when I would be done with it. I'm like, man, why is this piece not as good as the other one? They gave me a vocabulary to talk about in a roadmap, talk about not only what was wrong with those or how they could critique my previous work, but how could I apply that to my future work. And where before I felt like that everything that I would create, I was in a rut and that it was very samey, very similar, like, okay, it's onto the next one.
Speaker 1 (13:40):
Almost like production line. To that, now I look forward to the next piece because I want, I'm going to be surprised by it, in that I don't know where it's going to lead. And a lot of that is with color palette and, um, not knowing, uh, what doors are going to unfold. Because I'd gotten a little, I'd gotten a lot formulaic with my work. And this is, I mean, we're talking, since I'm talking to, we're talking to, uh, an audience that's interested in art, and like the nuts and bolts of this, this is, this is like not, not stuff that I talk about to like, you know, with public facing. You know, they'll look like, oh, you're stuff is great and whatever. Which is which, you know, it feels good, but that doesn't help you grow as an artist. So, you know, we're getting, I'm showing you how the sausage is made.
Speaker 1 (14:20):
Right. And, uh, and that, uh, being able to apply that to my, my upcoming works, and I can always see, like when I finish something, I'm like, okay, I like this and this about it, but man, I could have done this differently. And also, it's that being able to let a piece go and not continue to mess with it, because that's just going to take away time for me moving onto the next one. And that work is so busy right now that I don't have a lot of time to do that. You know, it's like it is, it's like hustle, hustle, move onto the next one, which is because, I mean, we're recording this in late 2021, and a lot of things have opened up again. And to me the last three months have been like in 2020 and 2021, the first half of it had been trying to... they've tried to cram themselves into the last three months. And it has been exhausting. i'm the busiest I've ever been, and again, the hardest I've ever worked. And so now it's like I'm taking some, um, I'm pumping the brakes a little bit and, uh, and reminding myself to do that because that's also a struggle is that work-life balance. When you work from home, when your studio is in your home to have that balance. And if you're, if you work from home, then you're always at work. I mean, it's great for the commute, but in terms of, you know, the mental health break, it's not as much.
Speaker 2 (15:38):
Yeah. I get that, too. 'Cause I work from home, as well. So Steven, you mentioned having this same/same look on your work for so long, and someone mentioning it, and it just like stirring up all these feelings. And so, uh, what would have been for you, something like, uh, a real practical tip or a real practical, um, skill that you learned that began to differentiate your pieces and first level them up, but then also help them to stand apart from, even from each other.
Speaker 1 (16:11):
Uh, a couple of things stand out. Number one is learning the importance -- and importance is too small of a word -- but just the foundational impact of understanding values. And how important that is to making sure that a piece is going to work or not. And that it is, it is literally like the foundation of a house. If you don't have sound values in your piece, you are -- no matter how beautiful the house is, you're building on quicksand. It will not stand. That was a big one. And what I did, I'm such a nerd. I may have to step away and grab my example of what I did. I it's, it's such a teachers...
Speaker 2 (16:55):
Okay. The ones on YouTube will appreciate seeing it. If you, if you want to grab it and
Speaker 1 (17:00):
Okay, I'll be right back, but it's a total it's, it's, uh, for my teacher's pets out there for the nerds who like to do the extra homework, this is, you're going to be very happy about this. So I'll be right back. Okay.
Speaker 2 (17:13):
I can't wait to see what this is. I have no idea what to expect.
Speaker 1 (17:19):
It's utterly ridiculous.
Speaker 2 (17:19):
And we'll be sure to describe it for our audio listeners, as well, but YouTube will have a special, a special preview here of whatever it is Steven Walden's going to pull out for us. I'm assuming it has something to do with values.
Speaker 1 (17:33):
Speaker 2 (17:33):
We were talking about learning value. Okay.
Speaker 1 (17:35):
So the first thing is this thing, um, which is a value finder.
Speaker 2 (17:41):
Ah ha. I have one of those, too.
Speaker 1 (17:41):
Right? Which is in our, our, you know, our, I don't know, our school supplies list that we have to get. Um,
Speaker 2 (17:49):
So, so just to describe that for our audio listeners, it's called a gray scale. It has, um, values starting at white to black. And I believe, am I correct, Steven, that white is the one number one. And then up to the darker colors being labeled up to nine or 10, right?
Speaker 1 (18:09):
Yeah. Mine are, it's uh, it's, you know, wide of course it's going to be for on, on this one, which is, this is made by the Pixus corporation. P I X I S S -- there's a plug for you. Um, you, I got mine on Amazon. Um, but it starts, uh, at 100% black. And then as it moves down, we've got 90, 90, 80, 70, 60 all the way down to 10%. And then, of course, zero would be white. So, what I did is I realized, oh, well, paints that just come out of the tube. They already have a, uh, a starting value of where they are. So, I thought, well, what if I went through all of my paints, and I mapped out to figure out, well, what would be the starting value of a, um, for instance, a Liquitex Perault Orange, what would that be? And so what I did is I went through every single paint that I had, and I made a grid, and this is like stuff that probably, I mean, I don't think that it would be this obsessive in art school, but I just went through and I assigned everything a value. And that way I would know where they were a color existed on this scale.
Speaker 2 (19:21):
Yeah. So for the audio listeners, Stephen's holding up a chart that he made that has different colors in different values of all I'm, I'm assuming they're his, the paints that you have in your studio, that you, you mapped out all the values on a chart, on a piece of paper. And so, it's a reference for you. I love it.
Speaker 1 (19:40):
Not only that, but so I, I also did that, um, to the point that now I have a binder that this is,
Speaker 2 (19:47):
And book a whole book. It'll be the Steven Walden color book before you know it.
Speaker 1 (19:54):
But yeah. And it became essentially a Bible. And then I took that, and I converted that into an Excel spreadsheet where I'm not, I'm not this guy, I hate spreadsheets, but it's like, it just gave me a categorical way to break down and to demystify color. Um, and so it gave me a way to really, it changed... Just like when I took dance classes and how it changed the way that I heard music, and I would hear rhythm and how my body would move to it. Charla's class changed the way that I saw color. That I saw the world.
Speaker 2 (20:26):
I love that.
Speaker 1 (20:28):
There's a drop for you.
Speaker 2 (20:30):
Yeah, no, that's amazing. Thank you for sharing that. And I love the big binder that you've made full of all your colors. And that's definitely, you know, I got the answer that I was looking for. I said, how did you move things from being same/same? And it sounds like study was a big part of that.
Speaker 1 (20:47):
Speaker 2 (20:47):
Where, you know, sometimes we feel like we need to experiment more or push the boundaries of just brush strokes more. But, but then there's this other element of actually getting down to study, and that study can push our boundaries. That's a pretty remarkable concept just to push through the boundaries with study. In terms of being bold, you are, it's very clear through your artwork that you use bold colors and you use that word bold even long before you discovered Bold School. Um, but as far as being bold and making these bold moves and risks, putting yourself out there as an artist, what does that journey look like for you, Steven?
Speaker 1 (21:30):
Um, it is there, there's, there's something about embracing rejection. And not in the sense of rejection is ever going to feel good or failure is going to feel good. But to understand that it's part of the process, and you're, you're not a failure when you fail, as long as you -- this is so cliche, as long as you get back up. You only have, if you fail 50 times, you know, you only have to succeed once. And, and in that, it's that, uh, knowing the risks that I've taken, I've been rejected tons of times. And as, as creatives often, do we feel rejection, very intensely and very deeply. And I, I see that in the class and a lot in the Bootcamp. And when people will, what I, what I see is, you know, they'll, they'll post their color strings and their pallets and like, oh, this is how does this look. Or they'll post, you know, the, the supplies they just bought.
Speaker 1 (22:29):
And I think sometimes yes, it's because they're genuinely excited and they have this together. But I also know that there's that fear of, oh my God, what if I do this, you know, little Kenyan girl, and I totally screw her up, you know? And it's like, well, you're going to screw up, you know, but embrace that. And that, um, one of my favorite sayings is that sometimes creating, it's just, it's like making pancakes, you are going to screw up, but you know, you still get pancakes, you know? And so it's like, you're going to screw up, but you, as long as you're doing it thoughtfully and with intention, and you're paying attention to what is going on, and you are able to reflect on it and say, okay, well, what went wrong with this piece? Or what, what made this piece not necessarily as strong as I, I wanted it to be, or as it was in my mind's eye, as long as you're doing those things and you're open to feedback and changing and revisiting what we've done, what you've done before, then I think that that's your way out of it.
Speaker 2 (23:30):
[inaudible]. So, in all of the bold moves and risks that you've made as an artist, what has been one of your biggest highlights that's happened in your art?
Speaker 1 (23:39):
Doing speed paintings. Um, like, like David Garibaldi, the performance art. Getting in front of a crowd, painting something upside down within a few minutes and then flipping it. And then, you know, having them ooh and ah. Uh, doing that, uh, for the St. Louis Cardinals at their off season, uh, fan convention. That winter warmup. Um, this happens every January. I did that back in '18. And I told them that I wanted to do it even before I knew how to do it. I, you know, because I'd done, I'd done work for them before and helped them raise a lot of money. And they had trusted me in, you know, they're like, well, what do you want to do this, this upcoming year? And I said, I want to do a speed painting. I'm like, okay, cool. Let's do it. And I was like, oh, crap.
Speaker 1 (24:18):
Now I got to figure out how to do a speed painting. I had no idea. Uh, so, um, it was, it was throwing. So it's like, man, there's a fine line between bold and stupid. Um, and that, uh, I spent my Christmas break, uh, I committed to this, like in an October, but I didn't even rehearse. 'Cause they were like, oh, can we see like, you know, maybe some example of what you've done. I'm like, yeah, yeah, I'll get you a, sorry. I just haven't been able to, because of weather or whatever. It's like, I hadn't done it at all. I was procrastinating. And it was the week before I taught myself how to do an upside down portrait, speed painting of Stan Musial. And I did it at the event. And it was a huge hit. And it helped them raise a lot of money. And it was, you know, people still to this day, they come up to me and say, "You did that upside down Stan Musial piece."
Speaker 1 (25:02):
I'm like, yeah, I did. And you know, I didn't know how to do it until like 10 days before the event. So, and I was very proud of myself after that. Um, so it's, I think, you know, it, there's something about, I am pretty sure that I've stolen this from Brene Brown, but, you know, um, being courage is doing something and not knowing the outcome, uh, not knowing what the result will be. And, and yeah, there was a lot of risk, uh, that was involved in that. And that, you know, I could have totally failed on stage, or I could have had to go to the Cardinals and say, I'm sorry, I can't do this, even though I told you I was going to. But I didn't. And, um, yeah. And it was, I was very, very proud of myself in that moment.
Speaker 2 (25:46):
That is a huge highlight. And just to recap it, because there's just so much there that I'm amazed by that you promised the Cardinals you were going to speed paint for them before you even knew how to speed paint, and then you painted someone upside down and flipped it over and surprised them.
Speaker 1 (26:05):
Speaker 2 (26:05):
That blows my mind. That that blows my mind. That is a highlight and definitely something to be proud of.
Speaker 1 (26:12):
I, I, uh, I painted myself into a corner, so to speak, so...
Speaker 2 (26:18):
I love it. I love it. So, how do you approach your color palette and starting a piece? How much of it do you plan? How much of the painting dictates to you what it's asking for? Um, what does that look like for you, Steven?
Speaker 1 (26:35):
It has been something that, um, I haven't, I've only recently started to figure that part of it out. The values came first, and then the color palette came next. And it's funny because when I very first started going down this path, I was, I, I was dating a, actually an art professor. Um, and we had these great conversations about... I wasn't in class. You know, this is, this is, this is like five years ago. Uh, but this was, uh, and she talked about, you know, about me defining what my palette would be. And I thought that was so weird. And I'm like, what do you mean defining your palette? You've got all the colors in the world. And I didn't realize that there would be colors that I would glom onto. And there were some that I would reject and just have a distaste for. I know Axel has talked about, uh, having discomfort with green before. And, um, Axel Martinez, I believe. Uh, yeah.
Speaker 2 (27:32):
Yes. He's a mentor in Bold School and has been on the podcast, as well.
Speaker 1 (27:36):
Yes, And he's my number one height man.
Speaker 2 (27:38):
Episode. Okay. I believe episode four.
Speaker 1 (27:42):
Yes. Yes. Great episode. Great guy. Love his energy. Love you, Axel. Uh, but, um, but he, he mentioned that, and that I was like, yeah, it's like, I, I typically I steer clear of green. Um, but then someone, um, uh, talked about the color harmony wheek. Uh, which is a really interesting, uh, device that, uh, it, it helps you define what your dominant colors will be. What your compliments will be, and then what your accents will be. And I've started to play around with that. I still fight against it. Um, the one time that I gave into it, I thought it turned out to be an absolutely fantastic piece that I was very proud of because I used a lot of green and a color that I had a lot of discomfort with. And I was just, I loved how it turned out. Um, but, uh, trying to use more of that in the future.
Speaker 1 (28:32):
And again, the surprising thing to me is how much I have tried to roadmap out things that I thought... I thought art only had to be intuitive. And if you try to put a language around it, or if you try to define it, put a vocabulary around it, it by demystifying, it, it would, you know, it would make it not special. Or it would make the art suck or prosaic or whatever. But it's been the opposite. It's like, um, you know, trying all the ingredients in a kitchen, and then you learn, you know, which ones that you, you do gravitate towards. But then to learn how to, uh, you know, aren't are not even in that. I think there's something about learning more about cooking science. If we go with that, that path. It's all to say that the more that I've learned, the more that it has, uh, uh, knocked down those insecurities, which really that's what that, that resistance is about. You know, it's about an insecurity of... It is. It's also that fear of failing of like, if I use this, I'm going to screw it up, or I'm gonna mess it up. And, you know, I know that that's, that's certainly, what's informed that
Speaker 2 (29:42):
I've heard so many good things. You said a little bit earlier. You said if, you know, even if you fall down 50 times, as long as you get back up. And then just now you said the resistance is about insecurity and the fear of failing. That's so much good food for thought, just because we all, as artists, we have resistance come against us and reasons why it's so hard to get a painting out, or it's so hard to, um, sometimes just even just be there as an artist. We, we have feelings like, do I belong here? Is this important? Do I have value here? And, uh, it was it's even something Charla and I were talking about earlier today. We were recording a podcast and talking about the value inside of an artist, bringing that their, their self-worth comes out as they produce art and then even monetize the art. Yeah. And I'm hearing that in what you're saying, where, where you're saying that resistance has something to do with that. It's, it has to do with your insecurities. And, and when we begin to overcome that things get easier. Where we kind of rise above all of that resistance into a, a new space.
Speaker 1 (30:59):
I think there's something about embracing those moments, too. And that, that's interesting, like to be aware of it. Like, there's nothing wrong with having insecurities or resistance. I think those are, that's actually, that's great if that's happening. If you're not having those moments and you're coasting along, that's, that's like where I was pre-Charla, in that I was, I had gotten into a comfort groove that I had stayed in for so long. It became a rut. And when that resistance comes along, be mindful of it. Be intentional. You know, like sit in the corner, be like, Hey, I know you're not here to hurt me, but let's, let's really unpack this and see what's going on. Why am, why am I resistant to this? What is that about? Uh, what, what is the, what is this fear that's going on? What, what am I afraid is going to happen?
Speaker 1 (31:48):
What's the worst that can happen? You know, start pulling at those threads and, and embracing that. Like, I, I love it when I surprise myself with either, you know, like if a fear comes up or, uh, it, anytime that something new comes up, I mean, that's, that is, uh, I don't know. There's just something that's exciting about that. Like, oh, I didn't know that that was there. It's like, I, I, because I think that's, that's an indicator of depth and complexity, right? And it's the people that aren't willing to explore those nooks and crannies of theirselves that, you know, those are the ones that are not as interesting.
Speaker 2 (32:25):
Yes. I have learned that about being an artist. Is it's definitely a lot of, self-reflection a lot of what you just said, searching the nooks and crannies of yourself, understanding all that's in there. And then bringing it out for the world to see. And that's such a beautiful part of the process and that, that piece of final work, even the ones I'm seeing behind you here, the ones on YouTube can see it behind you, some of your pieces. That isn't the, those pieces, aren't just, you know, a painting you happen to do. They're an accumulation of life experiences that come out through your brush and your paint. And that's something I think the world doesn't understand about art and artists is that there's just so much inside that comes out, you know, all of life experiences come out through our art. So, in the beginning of the podcast, when you shared with me about using your work to raise funds and charity, one of the things you said that really stood out to me was your desire to help other people. And I've heard that as a continual thread through your conversation of just your desire as a person, as a human being, to help another human being and that your art is this bridge. Can you elaborate on that a little bit about what it really means to you as an individual, Steven, to be making a difference? Where does that come from in your life?
Speaker 1 (33:53):
Uh, existential crisis? Um, it's a thing that sent me into therapy to go to personal therapy was when I had I, this was, you know, probably about 15 years ago when I got a corporate job that was paying incredibly well. And I realized, you know, I was making great money, and I was able to get all the toys that I wanted. But at the end of the day, I was like, is this, is this really what it's all about? Is this going to be my holding pattern for the rest of my life, because something was missing. And that, that thing to me was purpose and meaning. And that it was only being purposeful for me. And because it was helping me get more stuff. And how could I help other people? That was the thing that I unlocked and going through my own therapy and realizing I want to help other people, which is the thing that, you know, maybe decide to become a therapist.
Speaker 1 (34:43):
Uh, and then when I realized that, well, okay, well, if I'm going to be an artist, how can I help other people? And also before, before I went corporate, I was a teacher and I taught, uh, English at the college level and writing. Um, and yeah, and so, but I loved, I loved, you know, working with people and helping them and helping them understand things. And you know, it, it, that, that to me gave me meaning. Uh, it's that I don't know what the purpose of life is. I know what mine is, is that to leave it, leave the earth a better place than when I came into it, you know, to help other people. And, you know, it's not just about me. I have to do something to, to serve something that's bigger than me that exists outside of me. And to me, that is, that is, that is helping others.
Speaker 1 (35:32):
And without that, um, that, and that was a big struggle for me in 2020, when all events shut down, all my charity events. I mean, we had some virtual things, but it's, it wasn't the same. And it plummeted dramatically. And not being able to help other people that was, that was a real bear to deal with and a real grind on, on my own mental health and, and, you know, really sent me inward. And so rather than helping other people in 2020, by taking this class, I'm like, you know what, I'm going to help myself.
Speaker 2 (36:05):
Which in turn has a ripple effect, helped other people. And so today in a way of helping, is there a tip or a word of encouragement that you'd like to give to artists listening, who may be looking at your work thinking, I want to paint like Steven, how did he get there? Am I ever going to get there? What would you say to that artist? Who's just that step behind you. Who's, you know, persevering to make it,
Speaker 1 (36:32):
Give yourself permission to suck. Um, sucking at something is the step first step to being pretty good at something. Giving yourself permission to fail and embracing that. And that knowing that that's a part of the process. And to think, you know, if you do fail, or if a piece doesn't turn out in the way that you wanted to -- that's something I hear a lot of artists struggle with is that they envision what a piece is going to look like, and they're so disappointed with the reality versus their own expectation. And also, you know, one of my favorite sayings is that, don't get caught up in comparing yourself to other artists. There are, there will always be somebody who's better than you at art. Comparison is a thief of joy. Looking at Facebook and comparing your art to other people, comparing your life to other people like, oh, I don't have the house I want, I don't have the car that I want.
Speaker 1 (37:22):
I don't have the partner that I want, whatever it is. Man, don't, don't do that. Take moments to look back and be grateful and think about the things that you have. And think back to the time when you didn't have those things, when you were that person that was like, man. What that person that you were in the past, what they would give to be who you are now. And I guarantee you'll find a lot of things. And that's where gratitude journaling comes in and taking time to figure out what are the things that I'm grateful for. And that that often helps pull, pull me and others out of a rut.
Speaker 2 (37:58):
I love that advice. Thank you so much. And we've really enjoyed having you on the show. Steven.
Speaker 1 (38:04):
I love being on here. I could go for another hour, but I know you got things to do.
Speaker 2 (38:09):
I know we could, all, we could all talk about art all day and it's really such an amazing opportunity at the Bold Artist podcasts, to be able to give artists voices and allow us to talk about art, talk about what we love and in, you know, be encouraging each other in the meantime.
Speaker 1 (38:26):
Speaker 2 (38:27):
Well, thank you so much for being on the show and for sharing all your insight and your journey. And we wish you all the best with your artwork, and all that's ahead of you, Stephen. Thanks for watching and listening everyone. I just want to remind you that we are also on Instagram at Bold Artist Podcast. You can just hop on over to Instagram and join in the conversation there. Leave a comment, ask the artists a question. You can even leave us topic ideas. We'd love to hear from you. So @boldartistpodcast on Instagram, and until next episode, keep creating.
Speaker 4 (39:15):