Receiving the grant from Creative Pinellas has been a gift that keeps on giving. Having my ideas funded means I’ve dreamed a bigger, more concept driven story with my art than I’d dare do without financing. But abundance must be well managed, or it may be squandered. A blooming garden is a lovely thing, yet a wild one may be overtaken by weeds. A grove without a hand to harvest it will see its fruits rot in the sun. Artistic visions may never come to fruition if the creator becomes lost in the realm of fantasy. But who dares to manage the unmanageable creative?
Last week, as part of my award, I had my first meeting with my mentor Selina Roman, a photographer whose work is currently exhibited alongside my photo-hero Cindy Sherman, and who was awarded 2nd place in the Files and Film Exhibit at Mize Gallery last month. I was ecstatic when I heard that she is a photography professor since I’ve always considered researching that career track.
Having a mentor has always been a dream of mine. My expansive ideas rarely fit comfortably in boxes, and although my work is enjoyed by many, like most artists I struggle with making a successful business out of my art. I’ve always felt that my career would benefit from partnering with an already successful visionary. I imagined that my woes would dissipate if I could just apprentice under a talented professional artist.
My long awaited meeting with my mentor did not disappoint. Selina’s guidance was wise and firm. She told me that by focusing on the end result without first creating something towards it, I might never get there. She said that ideas change as you work with them, and that focusing on the big picture before experimenting with initial thoughts could waste time. It may lead to disappointment if the story changes along the way, as it often does. “Make your vision real, start here and now with what you already have.” I agreed completely with her sage advice. After our stimulating conversation, we determined a deadline for me to start working on my current ideas. I left feeling grateful to have such a respected creative helping me focus on what matters.
Creative Pinellas has also opened doors for me to take a business course for creatives called Co-Starters. One of our classes opened with an engaging speaker named Bryan Voliton, owner of Beach and Main and founder of the podcast “Un Manageables”. In it, he interviews artists and small business owners, exchanging ideas about the challenges and joys of being an ‘unmanageable’ creative.
When Bryan spoke about his creative coaching business, my ears perked up immediately. I’ve focused my lens primarily on artists because they intrigue and inspire me. I’m always finding ways to connect artists to resources and to people on their wavelength. While exploring my own talents beyond light painting over the years, I’ve noticed that I love to guide, connect, and encourage fellow artists
A classmate this week told me that I have a knack for it. She said that what I do with my camera I have also done through my words in class: I take in a person’s story and energy and then translate and reflect their ideas clearly back to themselves, charged with inspiration.
After his speech I told Bryan, “I’d love to learn from you. Coaching feels like a part of my journey.” After seeing my work, he reached out to me saying that he could see us partnering creatively. Since then we’ve had long conversations, made plans to collaborate, and met up to experiment with my light painting technique, resulting in the work you see here.
Getting clear about my ideas and staying focused has been challenging. I feel lucky to have found not just one but two amazing guides in this seemingly unmanageable journey. Selina provides structure and advice based on her highly trained eye and photographic knowledge. Bryan helps me focus on my vision beyond the visuals, questioning my motives and incorporating my varied talents in designing a fulfilling career. I am so grateful to have found people bold enough to tackle my ‘unmanageable’ energy. I know my work and path can only improve with their guidance.
Light Painting Photography: lindacostaphotography.com | Instagram: @lindacostaphotography
Model: Bryan Voliton | Instagram: @bvoliton
To find out more about Selina Roman’s work visit her website: selinaroman.com
To find out about Bryan Voliton’s creative coaching business visit: beachandmain.com
Listen to the Unmanageables podcast at: unmanageables.com
*A very Happy Birthday wish goes out to you BeVo!