Free Spirit Spotlight Graphic

Today, I bring you a Free Spirit Spotlight interview with the lovely, amazing, and truly talented Stephanie Levy.  She is an American artist and mom who lives in Germany with her family.  Her creative energy is infectious and her lifestyle is an inspiration.  Stephanie reminds us that we are ALL creative and that it is important to face our fears and make space for self-expression, exploration and new discoveries! 

*Photos provided by Stephanie Levy.

Tell us a little about yourself and your creative life.
Hi, I’m Stephanie, an artist/illustrator originally from Tennessee, and for the last 15 years I’ve been living in Germany.  I have two little girls and a German artist husband, and we live and work in a 1920’s style apartment in central Munich.  I love to travel, to cook and share recipes, and to make artwork – mostly collages.  I am developing a couple of new projects this year that will incorporate a bit of everything I love…which is exciting, but challenging, too.  I also enjoy meeting and communicating with fellow artists, designers, and crafters, and I love how the Internet has made this so much easier on a global scale.
How did you come to a place where you embrace yourself as a creative being?
I have been interested in drawing, painting, writing down stories, baking cookies, and making things for as long as I can remember.  I suppose I started as a child and just never stopped.  I sometimes think I have never really grown up.  I’ve worked as a freelance artist and I’ve taught art classes, but I’ve never had a “real/corporate” job.
I have always been involved in a variety of creative projects, and fortunately my interest and energy has continued through the years.  I truly believe – I know – that we are ALL creative.  There is no doubt in my mind about that.  It is just a matter of staying creative and not letting the challenges of life crush the energy behind the loves and passion we had as children.  Picasso said, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he (or she) grows up.”  And he was right.
What’s your favorite art medium for self-expression?
I love collage because I can use such a variety of different materials – paint, ink, papers, glue, found objects – and combine them in unique ways.  It’s a little like putting together my own puzzle whenever I create a new collage.
What is a free spirit to you?
A free spirit is someone who realizes that we are all free, or at least have the potential to be free in our minds.  Most of our personal boundaries are limits we create for ourselves. Too often fear holds us back from going after what we really want.  A free spirit tries to live out her/his passions, her/his true path, as honestly and deeply as possible.  There is no such thing as security in this life, so you might as well go after what you love most.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by the countless number of creative people I see on the Internet every day – people going after their dreams, starting businesses, sharing their creative and personal ups and downs, the beauty they find in daily life.  It is incredibly exciting – you just have to be careful that you don’t spend all of your time surfing and becoming hypnotized by what other people are doing.  You do have to turn off your computer and get up and go do your own thing – and then share it generously with the world!
My children also inspire me to no end – my daughters love to paint and draw and are without question the most prolific artists I know.  They sit down and just make, make, make without feeling that they have to complete a masterpiece or something that will “sell” or “go viral” or whatever.  They just make for the love of making – and that is the ultimate inspiration.
How do you manage to find time and make space for your creative projects and do you have any tips to share?
This is the big question for most of us, isn’t it?  With two small children, it is not easy to find loads of time each day.  So I just try to use the time I have as well as possible. Sometimes there are dishes or wash or laundry to fold – and I just leave it and go to my art table anyway.  If I cleaned all day long and had a home that was spotless 100% of the time, I would never have time to make artwork.  My girls have an art table in the middle of our “studio/workspace/living room” – so they can draw and be creative while I am working. It is a fairly unconventional idea and probably not for everyone, but it works for us.
We live in the city and have limited space now, but I do hope that we will be moving to a larger living space within the next year.  My dream would be to have my own separate workroom and studio where I can really spread out and make even bigger messes!
What would you say to those who want to live a creative life and find their artist within, but don’t know where to being?
Trust yourself.  Get quiet and ask yourself what it is that you really want.  *What do you really want?*  If you can get quiet enough to listen to yourself, then you will hear the answer.  You already know the answer, but you do have to listen.  And then you have to act.  Believe in yourself and take chances.  Go for it.
I recently read Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star and I loved it.  Martha is so witty and she has lots of exercises to help you clarify what exactly it is that you want to do – what makes your heart sing.  It helped me gain focus on some new directions I’d like to go with my work.  Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is another deserved classic.  But it is not enough just to read these books – you must do the exercises  – at least some of them – and go forward in the direction of your dreams.  Step by step without fear. We have nothing to lose by expressing our creative souls; we only miss out when we don’t.
What other creative fun are you up to these days?
I am working on two new projects that I am really, really excited about.  One of the projects combines two of my great loves – European travel and art. The other project involves an ecourse that will be packed with creative artist interviews – another way to collaborate and communicate with the wonderful creative community we have here via the Internet.  I see so many exciting possibilities for uniting people interested in arts and crafts throughout the world, and my latest projects are geared in that direction.  The best place to find out about what’s happening with these projects during the upcoming months is on my blog.  I’ll be announcing specific dates in my monthly arts newsletter as well.

I’d like to invite all of you to visit where I share my latest travel adventures, recipes, studio sneak peeks and artist interviews on my blog, Stephanie Levy: A Studio With a View.

You can sign up for my monthly newsletter HERE.

Thank you so much, Stephanie, for sharing your beautiful, creative spirit with us!

Ahhh….now it’s time to get off this computer and go make some art of my own.  How about you?

Your Personal Reflection:  What inspires you and your creativity?  How about if you turn off the computer, the TV, and let go of the household chores today so you can paint, cut out images from magazines, knit or any other creative play that’s calling you?  Keep it simple and have fun!

p.s.  NacherLuver is the winner of the last give-away.