Studio Chats: Lisa Currie

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Hello creative souls! Today, I’m so thrilled to share a conversation with Lisa Currie. Lisa is a Melbourne based author and artist. Her work, words + mental health journey inspire others to scribble, make art, and get immersed in their own creative world - for fun, for healing, for connection. Something we’re very much about here at The Color Kind. I recently received her latest book, Notes to Self: A Journal for Self-Care and am loving working through the pages at random, drawing, painting and embellishing it as I see fit. It’s a great creative outlet to play, process and explore. Let’s get to know Lisa and her process a bit more.

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Tell us a bit about yourself. Hi! I’m Lisa, and I’m an author and artist. I spend much of my time making self-reflective books for people to journal in. I really believe in the cathartic power and helpfulness of putting pen to paper. It’s just… my thing… coming up with playful ways for people to do more of that in their daily life.

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What is your FIRST memory of being creative? I vaguely remember as a toddler being in a caravan by the river, and one lazy day my dad used a biro to play join-the-dots with the freckles on my nose. We thought it was silly and fun. I feel like that exploration and playfulness has always been in my life. At crucial times it’s been my escape… my safe space to retreat into. My imagination is incredibly vivid and feels more real than real life sometimes.

When did you find your way back to creativity? Maybe 10 years ago I went through a rough patch with my mental health and right in the middle of that I was offered my first book deal, or the possibility of a book deal. It was the most surreal moment, I was dancing and squealing with surprise. Then the next day depression hit me like a ton of bricks again, and I felt like - huh? It was super confusing to have one of my life dreams dangled in front of me, but my mind be cloaked in this sadness and hopelessness.

Getting through that year, taking care of my health alongside creating The Scribble Diary, a book about self-reflection… it was the first time I felt a bigger purpose in my art. I began healing myself and taking care of myself by creating a resource to help other people do the same. And I’ve been doing that ever since.

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What’s your creative practice look like on an average day? A lot of thinking and scribbling. Going for long walks and stopping to jot down ideas on my phone. Maybe sitting at a cafe scribbling ideas in my journal. Answering emails and all that uncreative side of being a full-time creative. If I’m working on a book I like to set my timer for 45 minutes, focus without my phone or distractions, then when it dings I get up and do 30 star jumps or dance to a pop song in my living room - and repeat. Sometimes I stay up all night working but I’m really trying not to be such a night owl, for the sake of having a social life outside work. Occasionally I stay in bed all day watching Netflix because I’m my own boss so, it happens and I try not to feel too bad about it.

Where do you find your inspiration? Everywhere, but most directly from library books. I like wandering around the library and picking up random spines that catch my eye. The social science section is my favourite. Oh and vintage and antique bazaars! I love poking around for hours in those and finding weird kitschy stuff and random old ephemera. It’s a great practice in noticing and appreciating what’s actually there, rather than trying to find something familiar. It’s my happy place for sure.

Tell us a bit about your space and your tools. Normally my creative space is at home, in a corner of my bedroom or the lounge room, always with lots of ephemera tacked onto the walls. I use Rhodia pads of paper because they’re lovely and smooth to draw on. I use blue inky pens. I draw everything by hand, then scan and do a bit of tidying up in Photoshop. My main focus is on the ideas and presenting them in their most simple, intuitive form, so I spend a lot of time editing the way something is worded. It’s not always possible but feels pretty essential to have a big window to look out of while I work. And plants to water and tend to while I’m thinking.

For sounds to work to, I love the app Coffitivity. It plays the ambient sounds of a coffee shop!

I also love the album ‘For Those Who Know’ by the Brasstracks, it’s a jazz hip hop band, mostly instrumental. It’s basically the only music I can listen to while working and not be distracted.

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Rapid Fire Round.

Being creative means: indulging your playfulness and curiosity.

My creative habit brings me: deep joy and occasionally deeper frustration.

My advice to anyone looking to push themselves into a creative life: Turn your phone off and practice solitude. Give your mind the space to actually tune into its own frequency… rather than only consuming content on social media and other people. Just sit and think! Watch the sky roll by for a while.

Favorite book: So many. I’ll pick two! ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller I thoroughly love, and ‘The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More’ by Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb is the book I keep coming back to again and again.

Favorite movie: Frances Ha and Dirty Dancing are like old friends.

Best way to get out of a creative slump: Go for a long slow walk without your phone.

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My new book Notes To Self, a journal for self-care, is out this week and I am just so excited to share it with everyone! I’ve been quietly creating it for over a year, so now to see it out in the world and have people scribble in it and make it their own, delights me no end. I hope it’s helpful and comforting for anyone wanting to be a better friend to themselves and remember their own needs and wants.

Now run, run, run go by her book and have some creative time for yourself!