Hello to all of Justin’s friends and supporters! I’m Jules, one of Justin’s long-time friends and colleagues.
I’ve been invited by Justin as a guest blogger and my topic of discussion today is something I don’t just feel but AM…creativity! It’s a burnt out opinion that not everyone can be creative and I fully intend on shattering that perception as long as I have breath in my body. EVERYBODY and I mean absolutely everyone is creative. Humans are a curious species by nature and we are all capable of taking something we think or feel on the inside and turning that outwards into a tangible item whether it be something you’ve written, said, painted, sculpted or engineered.
Art is more than just technique. It’s about feeling. It’s about expression. It’s about taking something that is purely YOU and getting it out into the world for other people to look at, interpret, and appreciate. I grew up in a small town of 3000 people in Southern Ontario and at age 6 my dad discovered my talent for drawing things to scale. We traveled to Florida a lot for summer vacations as a child and my thing was to get postcards and then bring them home and enlarge them on my sketching paper. At age 6 I could take a postcard of Mickey Mouse and the gang and enlarge it to the size of an 8×10 or larger purely from vision. I could figure out angles and measurement without the need of a ruler or protractor (something that doesn’t come easily to everyone). My father decided to put me into art classes outside of schooling. Naturally, I was totally averted to the idea as I was a REALLY timid child. But to art classes I went and surprisingly enough to me I stuck with it for 7 years. Art class became kind of “my special time”. I didn’t have the perfect childhood. Times at home could be very rough on me emotionally and art class was an hour and a half a week that I could just go and be with other artists to get away from it all. No talking was necessary. I just needed that time to go inside my own head and let whatever it was that I was thinking about or feeling come through those firing neurons down into my hand and out of my pencil or paint brush. Art for me was therapeutic, as is for a lot of other people. It’s a chance to express yourself freely without judgement or fear, and that is why it is so important to me to spread of the word, nay beauty, of art!
As I got older, teachers wanted an answer… “What do you want to be when you grow up Miss Monk?” My father pushed me to find something to do with my art. I can remember at 12 years old telling my father “Dad you can’t make any money being an artist”. Now I think, “how sad that the world we live in doesn’t encourage artists to believe in the importance and value of what they’re creating”. I sincerely did not believe I could ever have a life making art. I thought it was just something I was good at that didn’t matter. The years rolled on and I continued growing my knowledge and technique taking art in high school and finally venturing away from realism and into the surreal. Abstract. Wow! It was something new and completely different for me. For the past 5 years or so I’ve been focused on integrating my realist technique with portraits INTO an abstract kind of background or scenario for the character and my goodness what a challenge it has been. I’ve never had more fun than when I don’t know what I’m doing. It just goes to show you that in life, whether it’s creating a piece of artwork, or applying for a new job or a promotion at work, or going out of your comfort zone dating someone new…you HAVE to push yourself to attempt the unknown….you never know how you might surprise yourself and find something new that you absolutely LOVE that you didn’t think was possible or could ever happen to you.
After high school I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. My family thought medical would be a good idea. It’s a good job, with good pay and I was caring enough to be able to handle the stresses and responsibilities of nursing….yet I wasn’t convinced. I applied for a double major at the University of my Nearby City of Windsor and got it. Visual arts and communications…I wasn’t excited. It just felt like “the NEXT step”, you know? It was like I was following the succession of events that society has shoved down my throat as the normal thing to do. Go to school, get a job, find a husband, buy a house, have some kids…and then, well you know. I continued pondering what my life would be like. “Would I ever leave this area?” A lot of people would go to school and eventually follow those same successions of events and NEVER leave. That couldn’t be me. I thirsted for more. One day while lying in bed and watching “Whatever happened to?” it dawned on me, “It would be so cool to work in the movies”. A few hours later I had googled every school I think in nation for film. The next day would change my life’s path.
I got a call from my adviser at The Vancouver Film School asking if I’d like to be a part of their student body in the following terms. I told them I had thought about it maybe after 4 years of schooling at home in Windsor. They proceeded to ask me why not do it now? I couldn’t for the life of me think of a good enough reason to say no. I applied and got in. Then came the inevitable question…”how am I going to afford this?” It just so happens they had a scholarship for a FULL ride to their school. So I applied. It was an essay based off a few key questions like “Who inspires you the most? Who are you? And where do you want to be in 5 years”? I thought of all the b.s bluster they might WANT to hear and then thought…”I’m going to write it from the heart, because if they don’t like that then they don’t like me and I don’t need to go to school there”. Out of hundreds of applicants, myself and 2 others won. I would be going to school in Vancouver, for film, completely free. I couldn’t believe it. If it had not been for that curiosity provoked inside me to search for something more, to keep it creative…then I wouldn’t be writing to you today.
After school I came back to Ontario to work. That’s where I met Justin. I was his supervisor for the AM800 A team (a broadcast promotions team in the Windsor-Essex County region). We made friends immediately and began a friendship lasting well over 3 years now. Justin and I both have the same view of helping others around us whether it be locals in Windsor or all the way in Haiti, which is where we traveled next. As many of you know Justin traveled to Haiti for six months to live with Emily Hime, at Maison Ke Kontan Orphanage, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. What many of you might not know is that I filmed it. Justin and I spent about a year of our friendship fundraising and working for the orphanage in Haiti to try and make a small difference. After being in Haiti my thirst for travelling became even more insatiable and my next stint would become working as an international photographer on the high seas. For six months I traveled Alaska, Central and South America working as a photographer for a cruise line. I have a blog about it that I will post at the bottom.
Arriving back in Canada, just two weeks ago, I’ve been experiencing an array of emotions but mainly just being very thankful for this colourful life I’ve been living. One of my mantras is that “No one will fix your situation but yourself” and “If you are not trying to fix your situation, then you have no right to complain”. Before leaving for life at sea I was feeling stagnant and depressed. Living in isolation for six months has given me a profound appreciation for such things like driving my car, or watching a movie with friends which may seem mundane to the people who experience that on a daily basis but I promise you, every little thing you experience in this life is a blessing and do not forget it.
My life’s message and purpose, I’ve discovered, is to share my knowledge and creativity with the world and to inspire others to not become stagnant or unchallenged by life. So my challenge to you, whoever you are that is reading this, is to get out there and try something new. Apply to something you didn’t think you could get, try something you’ve always wanted to but were too scared to, go out and meet some new people, share some interesting conversation with a stranger, try new food, create something that is completely you whether it’s a song or a painting or a piece of furniture! If I can get one thing across to you it is that this life is short, it’s unpredictable and it’s both horrible and awesome at the same time so live life for the quiet moments you took for granted, don’t settle for a less than remarkable life and lead a life that will have you remembered long after you’re gone.
Peace and love,
Please visit my photography website at www.jlynnphotographyart.com if you’d like to see what I do for a living and book a photo session. Capture those moments in life and have a tangible keepsake for years to come!
You can also check out more of my artworks and talks at my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jlynnphotographyart and my blog: julialynnmonk.wordpress.com/!
There’s ALSO my youtube.com/julialynnmonk and my twitters at twitter.com/julesmonk and twitter.com/jlynnphotoarts.
Please do like, share and tweet my stuff if you enjoy my work as an artist. Help me to inspire others to keep dreaming and making those dreams a reality!