Creativity Is My Voice – JR Butler (Part 1 of 2)

JR Butler is a muralist, sculptor, potter, painter, digital artist…you name it! He is also a good friend of mine and an integral part of the Siler City and Chatham County arts community. I recently asked him for his thoughts on creativity and his creative process. Here’s what he had to say…

To me, creativity is a passion to recognize the possibility of presenting unique, new ideas and using whatever means to bring this vision forward. I feel grateful that I possess this passion. Creativity is like a hypothetical muse that exists in my mind. It is the voice I hear most clearly in my head; it is my voice. When I’m able to use it to speak out loud, it is the truest, rawest expression of me. When I truly expose my creativity through art, I feel the change in energy from people who experience it. I know that my creative energy has caused them an emotion that is real. This is what motivates me above all things to create: to know that I have created an experience that has an emotive quality that resonates with the viewer. That they have felt me for the moment through my art. When someone truly appreciates my creativity and my art, it’s as if that voice has become a part of me that the viewer will take with them…a part of me that will live on with them and in others who view this work.

I am affected by the emotional energy of others every day. This is the best way I know to share those feelings with others. They may not always know what the art is about, but if it has made people feel my emotions like I feel theirs, then I feel good about that transfer of energy.

Mural by JR Butler, Siler City, NC

My all time favorite movie is the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and my favorite line in a film is delivered in that movie by Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka: “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers in the dream.” This is my mantra. So when people want to blame Ozzy Osborne for my actions…(((buzzer)))…the correct answer is Willy Wonka!

As an artist, a dreamer, a creator, I believe those of us who create are on a quest to find what is closest to godliness…and it’s not just cleanliness, folks. It also has to do with the act of creation and the ability to live eternally, just as the pharaohs sought and have so far attained with their artistically elaborate tombs. It is art.

Some would argue that art is one of the differences between humans and animals. However, if you have not seen art in nature made by animals and the forces of rock, you haven’t seen our world. I am an artist and I am here to help open your eyes. Art is not only what we have placed our claim on as humans. I can show you art I have collaborated on with a dog, insects, and nature. We have only just scratched the surface on knowing what art is and what it can be. I have been on this quest for as long as I can remember and I will continue on this path. As long as there’s another breath, I will be reaching for it to make my art.

Diversity Mural, by JR Butler, Siler City, NC

Finding Community: Just Show Up

 
 

Bill and I recently showed up and celebrated author Tara Lynne Groth’s book launch.

Creating art or writing are reclusive practices.  Sure, I look for inspiration from others who create.  But I bring ideas into my lair (a.k.a. my art studio which I call my Zen Room).  There, I ponder these inspirations in solitude as contemplation massages the right side of my brain,

A while back, a friend told me, “Just show up.”  Simple, yet powerful words.  But for introverted artists and writers, this can be difficult.  Just show up equals Put yourself out there.  And that can be downright scary.

However, by just showing up, I have become a part of a community…actually, I’ve become a part of a few communities.  I have been showing up at classes and critique groups, and that has made all the difference (tip of the hat to Robert Frost).

For writers in the North Carolina Triangle area, I highly recommend Triangle Writers, a creative writing group of over 900 members that curates events and activities with the goal of getting published.  I’ve been to many seminars and a few critique sessions through this freelance group.  In fact, in December, I’m hosting a Children’s Book Critique Group in Pittsboro/Chapel Hill through Triangle Writers.

A few months ago, I came across a post for Children’s Book Writing classes through IgnitingWriting.com and I showed up.  I’ve made great friends and have challenged my creativity, taking it in new directions through these classes and groups led by children’s literature expert Susie Wilde.

When I attend Living Poetry meetups and author talks, I buy their books which give me encouragement to publish my own.

Check out MeetUp groups near you.  There’s so much to do, to learn…if you just show up.

Are there other communities that have made a difference in your creative world?  Tell me about them, so I can spread the word and all the good that happens when we just show up.

– Barbara