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I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with my creativity and artwork. I am the one at fault in this relationship. I get distracted, my priorities get out of sorts, and then I find that I’ve gotten so far away from my creative self that it takes time to repair that relationship and get back.

This is usually due to pressures of what I feel I should be doing. Or the fear that spending time on artwork is not time well spent when there are bills to pay and my “real” career path to pay attention to. Artwork was always viewed in my life as something “on the side”. This has been damaging to both the value I placed on it in my life and the constant apologizing I’ve done for spending any time on it. Time making was viewed as a hobby by some in my life and eventually I allowed that narrative to weave its way into my brain.

But, while working on my doctorate, I felt a stronger and stronger pull to get back to prioritizing creativity. Using the analytical part of my brain so intensely for so many years in my education and career made my creative side start to itch. Also, during this time my personal life was very stressful, and nothing soothes my frazzled self like creating. I found I explained the lack of creativity in my life as being “far away from myself”.

As I grew more in my doctorate program and discovered research methods that incorporate the arts, I knew I’d found my path. Art as data. This was my language to use. And so I found a bridge back to myself.