The Interview with Cerri Lee: Art within Us
Do you think that artistic abilities are given only to some people, or is anybody able to awaken them in the same intensity? And if anybody can, how?
I feel that most people can develop artistic skills to a good level, no matter how bad they think they are. Picking up a pencil and drawing or playing with modelling clay is something that most children do without even thinking. How they develop that later on depends entirely on how they feel about the activity and the feedback they get from the people around them. With encouragement the joy of creating can stay with you throughout your life.
However there are some people who are driven to create, they cannot do without it in their lives; they may or may not make a career out of their chosen medium, but they constantly work at it. What they work at may be painting, drawing, sculpture or it may be gardening, cake making, dance or writing, it really does not matter it is a passion for them and they feel empty without it.
And then there are the Artists who have something extra, something that goes beyond just being able to draw or paint. It is more a question of how they see the world and then interpret it. People like Leonardo da Vinci or Rodin the sculpture, they looked at the world and saw something different and wanted to paint or sculpt an idea or a concept, not just what they saw with their eyes, they go beyond artistry and into visionary.
What helps you develop and improve your artistic ability? Is there anything you´d recommend to us to be more creative?
What helps me develop my creativity? Lots of things really: my druidry is an inspiration, a constant seeking for new ideas both in the natural world and in exploring lots of culture’s folklore and myth, reading up on techniques and trying new things all the time.
I get a lot of chances to stretch my abilities through the commissions I take on interpreting other people´s ideas can be sometimes frustrating, but also incredibly rewarding when it works and people are happy that you have captured what they had in their own vision.
Reading and close observation are the keys to any artwork, if you don’t understand your subject how can you interpret it?
What is the meaning/function of art? (in your opinion of course)
In my opinion art’s meaning is subjective, a piece of music, writing or visual art can say one thing to one person, but may convey something entirely different to another. This is good to know as an artist as you put a lot of yourself: your ideas, emotions and inspirations into your art, but then you have to let it go and not worry what other people think it means; if it is good art then it will touch people emotionally in some way as long as it does that, for me it is for filing its function.
What is the meaning/function of art in pagan practise?
Spiritual art, whatever the path, has always been full of cultural ideas and magical symbology. Its function often is to convey religious instruction, story or ritual. In the times before writing this would have been a useful aid to religious rites, art of this kind can say more in one image than a whole lot of talking sparking ideas and emotions within, allowing the viewer to have their own experience without the overlay of the priest or shaman. Symbolic art can be best described using the the idea of mandalas; you have a whole journey within a single image, similar to a labyrinth, where the viewer can walk through a sacred landscape and access altered states of mind, contemplating the symbols held within it and so they are using it as a focus for devotional activities.
Who inspires you?
So many people inspire me. I think within the people who inspire me most are the ones that live with passion and commitment to their emotional, spiritual and creative lives. People who see the whole world as learning experience and value every aspect of it, striving to make it better for themselves and everyone else. People, who are open to new ideas and ways of being and encourage others to do the same.
There are many famous examples of these kinds of people such as Eddie Vedder (from the band Pearl Jam), Leonardo Da Vinci to name just two. But to be honest I think it is the ordinary person in the street who has been through dreadful pain and suffering and yet still manages to be happy and caring, the nurses that care for people every day, the people who rescue animals and the environment from abusers of all kinds, they are the ones who inspire me most.