Samantha Andrews is the Experiential Learning Educator for the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville Tennessee. She currently lives in Nashville with her photographer husband, Matt Andrews (www.mattandrewsphoto.com), her daughter Sophia, Moonshine the cat and Velma the dog.
IA: What is playing in your CD player/iPod right now?
SA: G-Dragon’s Coup D’Etat. He is a South Korean pop star whose genre I had no idea existed until the amazing 17 year old that I mentor introduced me.
IA: What kind of jobs have you had?
SA: I’m lucky that I started working at an amazing visual art center as soon as I finished college. I am still there, but have had over six jobs within the institution. I currently work on a variety of educational initiatives and develop the content for an Emmy® award winning children’s television spot (www.fristkids.org). Before that… door to door vacuum sales, hula-hooping waitress, discount tobacco sales…
IA: Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
SA: Ooh, this is fun. Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and Peggy Guggenheim seated together, Alexander Pope & Poet Mary Oliver, then Tupac, Prince, and Bob Marley, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, Leonard Cohen and David Lynch, then Isabella Rossellini, Bjork, and Dolly Parton seated by me. Oh and my father-in-law, who is a historian and is always good for conversation. I’d make pot roast and we would drink lots of wine.
IA: If you could be any object, what would you be? Why?
SA: A pencil. The opportunities for greatness are infinite.
IA: When was the first time that you remember realizing that you are a creative person?
SA: I played alone outside a lot when I was little. I knew I was creative because I had to invent ways to enjoy myself.
IA: What is creativity to you?
SA: It is the means in which I translate critical thinking into actions. It isn’t something I access when needed or call upon to serve a task. Rather, it is the filter in which I process everything.
IA: What do you do to get into your creative zone?
SA: If you specifically are referring to artmaking, I usually need to put some space between me and my everyday obligations. I can’t be worrying about dirty dishes or laundry. I like to get outside, isolate for a bit, and let my brain become familiar with itself again. In terms of creative thinking in business, I love brainstorming. A wise woman is known to often say “good ideas come from all places.” I agree. Creativity is not exclusive to creatives.
IA: Do you think creativity is innate or learned?
SA: Creativity is innate but must be fed to survive. Skills and methods for applying creativity are learned and can be easily taught.
IA: Do you pay attention to others’ strong reactions to your work? Does that affect what you create?
SA: In business, I must because if the desired response isn’t achieved, then the method has failed. In regards to artmaking, I have never really cared what anyone thought of what I make.
IA: What item in your closet do you wear the most?
IA: Please finish this sentence: “It would be best if ____% of the world’s population were highly creative because ….”
SA: 50%. Too many cooks in the pot and we’d never get anything accomplished.
IA: If your creative work were edible, what would it taste like?
SA: Rock candy and dirt.
IA: What do you intend to achieve through your work?
SA: I recently had an epiphany while walking with a friend through D.C.. For years, when people asked me what I was passionate about, I would say “teaching,” or “education,” or “art.” But, in reality, my ultimate desire is to help people have meaningful experiences. It is the experiences we have that shape who we are. Creating positive, or even transformative, experiences for people is the greatest opportunity I could ever be given.
IA: Are there any other channels you use to express your creativity?
SA: I would love to continue my own artwork in kiln-firing and painting glass but I have absolutely no time for that. I make art with my daughter almost daily. This weekend we are making guinea pigs out of felted wool.
IA: Do you think there is a connection between your spiritual or religious self and your own creativity?
SA: Absolutely. “Go forth, tellers of tales, and seize whatever the heart longs for. Have no fear. Everything exists, and everything is true. And the earth is only a little dust under our feet.” (W.B. Yeats)
IA: How do you balance your personal life and your creative endeavors?
SA: I have come to realize it is all about patience. I know at this point in my life I must sacrifice the time and effort I could apply to artmaking in order to be dynamic and creative in my career, and to be a present and thoughtful mother to my little girl. I know both of those experiences are temporary and the time for my own creative indulgences will come around again.
IA: With respect to your creative activities, what has been the greatest obstacle that you have had to overcome?
SA: Fear of loss and fear of failure. I have been given many obstacles but just as many opportunities. I do not take anything for granted.
IA: What should every woman try at least once in her life?
SA: Lifting up and empowering another woman professionally or socially without asking for anything in return. Women are ruthless to one another in our culture. You’d be amazed at how good you feel and how much you can get accomplished once you stop seeing other women as competition.
IA: Are you a fan of cartoons? If so, what is your favorite one?
SA: Oh, of course! I love way too many. My favorite animated film right now is The Secret of Kells by the Cartoon Saloon team. Historical favorite is The Camaraman’s Revenge by Ladislaw Starewicz, and non-cartoon cartoon favorite of all time is Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Oh and the new Barbie Dreamhouse webisodes, believe it or not, are insanely clever.
IA: What would be the theme song to your life?
SA: Right now I will go with Gillian Welch’s Dear Someone.