brandi reynolds: joy rebel
Do you know what it’s like to read something and feel like the writer was reading your mind or wrote the piece just for you? That’s what I felt like when I read a recent column written by Wish Studio contributor, Brandi Reynolds. In the column she had great ideas for artists who are just getting started. When I clicked the link to her blog and saw that the full title of her blog was “Joy Rebel Photo: The Sublime Art of Being Authentically You ™,” I thought, “I like this girl already.” After reading a few posts, not only did I like her, but I felt like I knew her. I think you’ll feel the same way. She’s got a way of making you feel cozy and happy and comfortable in your own skin.
As I read Brandi’s blog, I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could interview her and share her insights with my readers? I’m super excited Brandi agreed to do it! Hooray! I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did!
And the Joy Rebel thing? What is that? Read on to hear an explanation from the Joy Rebel herself. There’s even going to be an entire day dedicated to the joy rebellion next week!
artcetera: When did you know you were an artist?
joy rebel: Like every kid, I knew I was an artist when I was younger. Kids don’t question that they create. It’s as natural to them as breathing. I started losing that confidence about the 5th grade or so…right about the time I started caring what others thought of me and wanting to fit in.
I finally got comfortable calling myself an artist again about three years ago.
artcetera: Do you support yourself with your art? And if so, how and when did you make that transition?
joy rebel: Not completely but I will. I plan to be a completely independent artist-entrepreneur by the time I’m 35 (in about a year and a half)
artcetera: How did you find your voice as an artist? Any recommendations for others who are still searching?
joy rebel: I had to take that risky first step and try to create art. I had to learn to be okay with making mistakes and accept the fact that sometimes, my art was going to suck. And realize that’s not the end of the world. We compare ourselves to the Herb Ritts and Picassos of the world because we don’t see their process, just their end result. When the truth is, they had to stumble and learn and re-learn just like everyone else. Their journeys took years. They just didn’t have to walk the journey in a reality TV world. And they figured out what I have come to know, that our mistakes are our greatest teachers. I have learned more from not liking something I’ve created than I ever have from something that I loved.
I truly believe that each of us have a soul voice. Each soul has something it wants to express and usually, that expression gets buried under layers of every day stuff. And because it’s our soul, it’s our deepest expression; we want it to be beautiful. It’s important and special and a little vulnerable. What I’ve come to realize though is our soul is a lot less sensitive to that kind of stuff than our ego is. Our soul just wants to create. Our soul knows our creative power is endless. Our soul trusts the process. And the more we try and make mistakes, the closer we get to what our soul is really, truly here to express.
Try it all. Make a mess of things. Screw up royally. Throw your stuff in the trash. Decide you hate one medium and try another. That’s what my process was and I feel more comfortable and confident as an artist because of it.
artcetera: What do you find most rewarding and most challenging about living life as an artist?
joy rebel: Discovery is the most rewarding and challenging at the same time. Like pretty much every one I’ve met, discovery means dumpster diving into all the emotional crap I’ve been carrying around for years. Yet, being able to face my fears and let go of old beliefs, to feel myself get lighter and more confident as breathe into a new layer of awareness is incredibly rewarding.
artcetera: Any advice for artists with “day jobs” who would like to make a living as an artist some day?
joy rebel: I am an artist with a day job so I’m right there with you. And I’ll be honest, I’m not one to say just quit your day job and support will magically appear. For those that believe that or have done it and been successful, rock on! I am truly happy for you. However, I have a mortgage to pay and I’m not willing to dump that responsibility solely on my husband while I’m still building this dream. I am totally comfortable with having a plan and working towards that plan while continuing to save and financially support my vision. So my advice would be to do what’s right for you. You may leap completely into the void and land softly or you may choose to do the journey on foot like I am-it’s about what’s right for you.
artcetera: Who or what inspires you (online and off)? What are your favorite blogs?
My husband inspires me on a daily basis. He is so creative and he trusts the universe implicitly. He rarely worries about anything and he’s so giving and funny. He always inspires me to love unconditionally. My life coach, Michele Wahlder is one of the most genuinely joy bright and encouraging people I’ve ever met. I am honored to have her in my life. My spiritual community unity church of dallas. Every time I walk through those doors, I feel peace and I am constantly expanding my understanding of love and joy and inspired to shine my light in the world. Goddess Leonie is someone I’ve known on line for years and her joy is real and infectous. I feel better every time I step into her virtual world. Christine Kane is a performer and life coach who I adore because she is so positive and funny and realistic. I also see so much creativity, growth, fun and inspiration on the blogs of the joy rebel crew. There are so many amazing people there – many whom I’ve read for years and have really grown to enjoy and admire. There is such diversity. People like Tabitha and Lance and Kiki and boho mom come from radically different perspectives, experiences, backgrounds and cultures yet through it all, there is an undercurrent of compassion, growth and empathy. I would encourage anyone to check out my joy rebel blog roll on my blog. And of course, I love meeting new friends like you Darrah!
artcetera: Awww…shucks. Right back at ya! …. I hear you’re a Joy Rebel. What does that mean, how did it come about, and how can I join you in the rebellion?
joy rebel: Being a joy rebel is the sublime art of being authentically you ™. It came about earlier this year (2009) when I came to a crossroads in my creative journey. I thought I knew how I wanted to express yet suddenly, I started questioning everything.
What came about from that time is that I truly felt called to express and share joy. Yet I had these old beliefs that to be joyful meant I must wear flow-y clothes and listen to new age music and be light hearted and happy all the time. What I realized is that true joy is not about being in a good mood all the time. It’s about honoring and celebrating ALL emotions by feeling ALL of them. True joy comes from within. It’s a confidence to be you. It’s knowing you are a unique expression of the divine. So I ‘rebelled’ against my old ideas and decided I could share joy in my way – hence the name.
Since everyone is divine and has their unique expression of joy, everyone already is a joy rebel! However, if you’d like to play along with the joy rebel community, I post weekly missions every Monday on my blog. These are just fun ways to express yourself and get in touch with your joy. I’m not much for formality so there are no obligations ever to do a mission; I trust that each person will join in as they feel called to do so.
Thank you Darrah for providing a space for me to share!
artcetera: Thank YOU, Brandi! It’s been fun getting to learn more about you and your creative path. Thanks for the dose of inspiration.
To learn more about Brandi, visit her joyful blog, her lovely photography website, or her Etsy page. Wanna get in on the Joy Rebellion? Joy Rebel Day is on July 1!
We’d love to hear from you! Share your questions for the Joy Rebel and let us know if you are planning on celebrating Joy Rebel Day.