creative thinkers: stephanie fizer on creative ownership

Do you own what you create? Do you put your own stamp on the process of creation?

Do you give yourself permission to break the rules because the rules are only there be broken? If I’m working on a craft project, I’m the kind of crazy person who follows a pattern or tutorial and then junks it half way through. I do my own thing. It rarely turns out the way the picture promises but I inevitably learn a great deal from the experiment. I use the instructions as a guide for my own creative process, not rules that dictate a certain outcome.

And when I’m happy with the result, I own it.

I find this trait especially apparent in those who are “self-taught.” I’m a self-taught web designer, you’re a self-taught crochet aficionado, she’s a self-taught writer. At some point, we were told that it doesn’t matter where our ideas or skills came from – we just have to own them to use them to their full potential.

When you have a sense of ownership over what you create, almost without fail, others will look on what you can do with wonder.

I recently spoke with Stephanie Fizer – an illustrator & artist who truly owns her own creative career. I found out that “creative ownership” is a theme in her process – and has been since she was a wee ballerina.

Tara: I love that you’re a self-proclaimed “self-taught artist.” Sheesh, that gives us all hope! What is something that you have been taught by someone else – unrelated to art – that has shaped your art or creative process?

Stephanie: Well, even though I’ve never taken an actual art class, I did study ballet for about 22 years–started when I was three and even studied it for three years in college. But my dance instructor through my teens was so wonderfully encouraging when it came to letting me explore my creativity. She always let me choreograph dances for some of our performances and just always allowed me to be so creative every day. It was pretty amazing and although I’m not involved in dance anymore, that teacher really gave me the confidence to continue to explore my artistic side in different ways.

Tara: oh! that’s so cool.

Stephanie: This is why I tell people who are going into a creative biz to really truly love what they do – I loved dancing but when I started doing it for 8-12 hours a day, the shiny wore off a bit and I ended up not loving it so much.

Tara: couldn’t agree more! Do you think that a sense of ownership (choreographing performances…) lends itself to creating?

Stephanie: Yes, even though there isn’t a physical record of the dances I choreographed, I still remember having the same feeling that I have now when I create new work, this amazing sense of having added something lovely to the world, like chipping off a tiny piece of my soul and handing it over to the world.

Tara: Nice. I think that must help you assign real value to it as well. So many artists have difficulty seeing their work as valuable…

Stephanie: so true! This is something that comes up time and again in my e-course. We always end up discussing this fear that artists seem to have about putting their work out there. I think it’s something the plagues all artist when they are starting out and then pops up again from time to time. It’s easy to let the fear get the best of you, let it really affect your confidence, but i’ve found that it’s best to just acknowledge that fear and then just shut it out and move on!

Tara: Amen, sister.

Allowing for risk-taking and deviation while creating gives us the opportunity to create something that has an intrinsic value. The product of our deviation is something that is not a mere copy but a unique product marked with our own point of view. By all means, start off with a guide or a formula – a set of instructions to shape your creating – but don’t stop there. Use a sense of creative ownership to give yourself permission to create something new, different, and distinctly yours.

Take ownership of what you create today.

Visit Stephanie’s blog and Etsy shop.

9 thoughts on “creative thinkers: stephanie fizer on creative ownership

  1. Very inspiring article/interview and I totally relate. I did technically go to “art school”, but I completely consider myself self-taught. This sounds a bit funny, but I think it’s something you just feel inside.

    My creativity and drive has always come from within (due primarily to the incredible support my parents always give me), and I never felt compelled to follow the rules of any given institution or do what was expected or applauded. I followed my own path and my passion and that has always lead me in the right direction.

    Thanks for sharing this amazing read :) it reaffirms my stance about owning one’s creative path.

  2. Loved this interview. I feel the same way as Stephanie where she mentions having “this amazing sense of having added something lovely to the world, like chipping off a tiny piece of my soul and handing it over to the world”. I think I have also come up with something unique, which at first I was afraid to show to the world, but as the admiration of my work by others increases, so does my confidence! (Tara, congrats on your blog. I never miss these interviews! They are very inspiring and I can sometimes relate to the interviewee)

  3. Lovely. I especially like what she said about her ballet teacher. Even one person in someone’s life that full embraces and encourages creative exploration is huge. Building tribes is great, but how many people could use just -one- person? I hope to be that for people in my life. It’s another way of “adding something lovely to the world.”

  4. Great post…I personally need some kind of structure, some set of rules to start things up. However, the important thing to realize is that you don’t want to be constricted by a formula. Allow yourself deviations, so you can keep learning and growing. I suppose it’s a fine line we all have to dance upon!

  5. great, inspiring interview! I am self-taught too! I always work after my own designs. I find it quite boring to work after a pattern which is not made by myself.
    Of course you get influenced by everything you see around, and especially the techniques I use, are ancient…but there are anyway so much possibilities to create something of your own, and it so much more satisfying !
    Btw I love to read your brainy blog!

  6. I had a really bad dream last night about what I posted in this blog. So I need to correct myself :)… I felt really bad because I said I considered myself “completely” self-trained although I did technically attend “art school”. Well this is partly true just because I do like to do things my way and follow my own creative path, not conforming to norms. But I must admit, I was so inspired by many of my professors and fellow students indirectly. Their passion was contagious and their talent intoxicating. So to make matters fair I need to correct myself and say I am both :)…

  7. I couldn’t agree more – my best creative ideas are when I teach myself something – even if I end up using the same techniques other people use, it feels so much more “mine” when I figure out how on my own – it makes my creations feel really personal that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *