Lately I've started contemplating ways that I can connect more deeply, that are fun and fulfilling for me, and give the best that I have to offer. Over the past year, actually on my birthday I said "I want this next year to be one of expansion and building relationships." Well, I love to write and as it happens, more and more cool things keep happening so...Bingo, here we are. Thank you for taking the time to check out what's going on, caring about what I'm doing, and just being the dope person that you are.
Okay, enough with the feel good fluff-fluff for now and onto the juicy stuff. So, here's something you may or may not know about me: In general, I relish doing my own thing. Left to my own devices, I will have absolutely no issue amusing myself regardless of where I am. It's taken a fair amount of effort and introspection on my part, to value extrospection. Even still, I'm very selective and ask myself a number of questions when taking advice from someone.
"Does this person know what I'm doing?", "Have they maybe done something similar?", "Is there some inherit merit to what they're advising me to do?", "Is it clear to me that they genuinely care about the success of what I'm doing?". I've opened up to listening and appreciating the sentimentality, but putting it into action is a different story. Now if I continually receive advice which bears fruit from someone in particular, well, what do you do but keep that person around and listen to what they say? My close friend Shane is one such person.
During the time of my showing at the Gypsy House Cafe, I would regularly come in and paint live during weekdays. One day, Shane drops by and observes as I'm working on my Scheherazade piece "Timeless Vignettes". Now when I'm composing a piece, I'm deeply inspired by the story and weave the meanings into the very fabric at every conceivable level. Scheherazade's story is made up on stories within stories within stories, and what I aim to do is blend the lore together in my own way.
Shane listens intently, and though he's not someone who I hear talk about 'myths' per se, he is deeply interested in stories (The meteoric rise of Billie Eilish, Post Malone or the late Nipsey Hussle would be right in his wheelhouse). My passion is obvious to him and he advises (with his personal brand of urgency) that I start a Twitch channel so I can share all that goes down in the studio with an unlimited number of people.
I can share not only the visual work, but also talk about my process, the storytelling, book reference, current cool things happening, but best of all I can simultaneously connect with a very broad number of people in a deep way. I've found the best advice is that which I hardly have to think about because it just makes so much sense. It clicks. With that I invite you to check out the channel at https://www.twitch.tv/mattqkstudio and tune in to the first stream tonight at 7PM Mountain Time.
'Industrious' Coworking Space
I learned a very important lesson about social media recently that goes something like "You never know what can happen". Some time ago, I see a call for artists posted on Facebook and think "Well okay, cool, never hurts to throw my hat in the ring.". That post sits dead and I soon forget about it. A few weeks ago, Michael Weslosky of 'Industrious' coworking space hits me up on Messenger, asking if I'm still interested. I promptly reply and we set up a meeting at his space in Boulder.
I show up with a selection of my tapestries and a print, and am greeted on the 5th floor elevator on the way up to the 7th. He tells me that the zoning laws in Boulder limit the height in the downtown area to preserve the picturesque view, so they're the only building in the area that is that tall. You can literally look down from where we were and see the next tallest building.
I'm immediately taken by the atmosphere detailed with wood, lined with books, and most importantly the addictive compound that's even better than coffee: Silent focus. Michael begins to tell me about the rotating artist program, I share my mission of unlocking the creative spark within people, and we bond. He apologizes that it took so long to reply to that post (Again, I'd completely forgotten about it until he messaged me), in the midst of which he mentions it had been 6 months since that post was made. 6 months.
Apparently the social media was managed by someone else who dropped the ball on that post and Michael picked it back up, but that's beside the point which is this: "You really never know what could happen." Needless to say, I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to be featured in this space. I'll be there for the next few months, and we're planning to hold an official opening probably in mid-May. You can check out Industrious here: https://www.industriousoffice.com/
Near Future Plans - Immersive Art Meditation, The Big Picture, and Azreya
Within the last number of months I've had the great fortune to collaborate with some close friends who are along a similar path of benefiting humanity through storytelling and/or creative education. Similarly to my thought process about taking advice, here are some things I look for: "Do we have a compelling idea that it would be best to play out?", "Are they not just passionate but committed, even obsessed with delivering on a vision?", "Can we have a working relationship where each of our individual skills and tendencies come together, where we can simultaneously be in our own lanes or collaborate fluidly?", and again "Can I perceive that our motivations are aligned towards a worthy ideal?". In your own case, you may have questions that you prefer to ask but in general, if you can check those four boxes then chances are you've really got something on your hands.
I would be remiss not to begin with the brainchild I've shared with my fiancé Helena, 'Immersive Art Meditation' a.k.a. I AM. Our sessions come out of a shared passion for benefiting humanity through an understanding of archetypes, love of storytelling and commitment to expanding the influence of art through guided meditation. Helena is licensed in Shadow Work and brings her training to craft deep, cathartic visualizations which have left us tearful several times. I get to share the personal and interpersonal meanings and story of each piece within 'The Edge of Myth' series, providing deep encounters through the art as a perceptual mirror.
This concept came about following an online event I did called 'In Search of Beauty' where I spoke about the relevance of myth, my journey as an artist, and my desire to create a better world between artists and supporters. Soon after this event, a flash of insight came to Helena where the name 'Immersive Art Meditation' or I AM originated. Neither of us had heard of such a thing and we could both see the intersection between relevance and novelty. I was immediately sold and from then, I AM would seamlessly and spontaneously weave itself into our conversations. It became clearer and clearer to me that this was beyond something that we could've just scribbled out with hard thought but rather that comes out of the alchemy of our shared passion.
'The Edge of Myth' series is a spiritual and psychological journey featuring archetypes from across the world, each representing phases of The Hero's Journey popularized by Joseph Campbell, and representing the chakra points. I'm very pleased to say that each session we've held has been as rewarding, if not more so, than the previous. We seek to ultimately demonstrate I AM as a new method for artists along a similar path to present their art to engaged participants.
We've now gone through all seven sessions and have gained experience, consistent participation, and a working formula. We're currently intent on beginning sessions again and conceiving what the 2.0 experience is gonna look like. The best place to keep up on the updates and feed your own passion for storytelling in art, please join our growing community in the Immersive Art Meditation Facebook group.
Yet another collaboration which has arisen out of the 'In Search of Beauty' event is my current project with my close friend and fellow artist Juannean Young. Juannean is an abstract artist, life and business coach, author, oracle, podcast host and probably a number of other hats I'm not even aware of. She's brought me into one of my artist groups called 'Reach Studio' at Redline Art Center and has been a creative ally in the years I've known her. Our combined motivation for spreading creative and professional education to artists has led us to create 'The Big Picture' podcast.
We're currently very much in the midst of formulating the episodes and plan to release it within the next number of months. We'll be covering a vast array of topics relating to creativity from the spiritual aspect, to functions of creativity, professional pathways, and so much more. That's all I can give you for now, hopefully just enough to whet your appetite for what's to come. You can check out Juannean's work at https://www.juannean.com/
Tricia and I came together through a 'Strangers to Superfans' event put on by the Kite + Dart Group who teach business principles centered around alignment, Source Commitments...Basically putting your business together in such a way that is good for both you and those you engage with. Their courses have been an absolute game changer for me and if you're a small business owner or endeavor to become one, I highly encourage you to check out their teachings.
Coming out of one of their free events, the shared interests between myself and Tricia became apparent. She's written a number of fantasy and romance novels using a character driven process. By that I mean that once she has enough of a personality structure, she can unfold a whole narrative which plays to the identity of that figure. Such is the case with Azreya, the subject of a short story set in Aztec culture.
I've literally had this name in my head for years that I thought sounded cool, suggested some of her traits, and before I knew it Tricia had laid out an entire narrative structure crafted just for Azreya. Now's the part where I dance that fine line of talking about it without telling too much: Her journey is one of grappling with her own identity in relation to the world around her, reconciling with her own unique lot in life.
We're currently in the midst of fleshing out the story and finalizing the illustrations, and approaching the process of actually putting the book together. So sit tight while we button this thing up and watch what we come up with. You can check out Tricia's work at https://triciacopeland.com/.