“Making Art is the Most Spiritual Experience I Have Ever had” – Amanda Sage
A few weeks ago I had the honor of welcoming one of my favorite artists, Amanda Sage, to Lucid Planet Radio. We had a lively and heartfelt discussion about a whole host of topics, including transformational culture, traveling, tattooing, music, dreadlocks, festivals and even her personal self-care practices: For example, she calls herself an “intuitive opportunivore” (a lifestyle I can definitely get behind!) and she loves yoga and contemporary classical music. Fans of Amanda will cherish this glimpse into her life, and her openness towards answering the questions that the fans wrote in for the show. You can listen to the whole interview in the Lucid Planet Radio archives.
But above all, we talked about the creative process, that holy grail of the artistic life that so many of us are pursuing, the mystery and wonder of the inspirational force that runs through each of us, and the spiritual experience that comes from the surrender to the divine source of wisdom and knowledge that we all share. In the interview, Amanda reminds us that making art is the most spiritual experience she has ever had, and it can become terrifying with time because of the unlimited potential each of us possesses. She asks, “once you master the instrument” (in this case, the mix of pigment, medium, water, brush and your motor skills) “then what are you going to paint? What is going to come out of that? What are you going to say?”
The creative unknown can be scary and intimidating, like staring into an epic void of pure consciousness. And yet it is through this process of channeling our infinite creative potential through artistic media that we connect to our deepest selves and our truest essence. Amanda was very generous to share valuable insights for aspiring and experienced creative people alike, to help us all connect to our artistic flow and find creative fulfillment.
1. Learn to Listen: “The Painting is Speaking to You.”
In order to make great art, we must learn to listen to ourselves, to the environment, to other people, and to our universe. As she has delved deeper and deeper into her art, Amanda has become highly sensitive to the world around her, collecting imagery and ideas, looking for patterns, seeing repetition as a sign, and treating her environment as a tool to bring her work into fruition.
Sage tells a beautiful and profound story of how she learned to listen while training with her mentor, visionary art pioneer, painter, sculptor, architect, designer and true legend, Ernst Fuchs, who passed away at the age of 85 on November 9th 2015, only five days after this interview. For more on the life and the work of this great man, please visit his website!
During her early 20’s, Amanda was working on a painting with which she had become increasingly frustrated. She wanted to throw it out the window, but instead she brought it to her mentor and asked for some help. Ernst took the painting and cradled it in his hands (in what she describes as an almost ‘maternal’ fashion) and he said, “This poor painting is sick! Let’s take care of it”. He sat her down and told her: “You’re not listening to the painting. You need to listen to the painting because it is speaking to you!”
Amanda says that it all hit her so hard in that moment, because she was in such a struggle with the piece. Suddenly it all made sense. Of this story, she says “This is something I carry with me every time I pick up a brush or a piece of charcoal, I go into a dialogue and I’m very aware of that dialogue.” Ernst Fuchs and Amanda Sage went on to found the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art together in 2013.
2. Go with the Flow: “The Best Ideas Come Back”
Amanda Sage believes that “true creatives are never finished with a piece. You never walk out of work and go home. It is a continuous process that is always evolving within you.” So I asked her, from one perfectionist to another (haha) how do we overcome this? How do we know when a piece is completed? She explains that we have to go with the flow. “Sometimes,” she says, “you kill it and you’ve got to go resurrect it again.”
The key to letting go of the perfectionism comes from getting out of the way of yourself and your own mind. “The colors and the brushes will tell you if you ask them- what is the next thing I should do?” but we must get out of our minds because our minds can be ten steps ahead, and can overload us. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Amanda recommends finding that ONE THING that you know for sure. Maybe all you know that one little section needs to be painted blue. That’s fine, paint it blue, and then figure out the next thing you need to do. Simplify. And remember that the best ideas will always come back when the time is right.
3. Collaborate: “Dance with Each Other and With the Cosmos”
Amanda Sage describes collaboration with other artists as “the best times and also a great challenge, but I embrace challenge.” She explains that “it is a great expansion tool to work with others” and likens the collaborative process to a dance with someone else and a conversation with the cosmos and with the world. When we collaborate, we get a glimpse at the uniqueness of human creative expression, and a chance to see so many diverse approaches to making art. She says that through collaboration,
“You find ways of stretching, moving, mimicking and doing different things that just add to your overall experience of life. I have learned so much that way, and my most valuable tools I have learned through watching other people painting.”
For Amanda, the key to successfully collaborating involves keeping an open mind, and an open willingness to step into someone’s space and be respectful of that space. Don’t be afraid to share space with others, just remember to be AWARE that you are sharing this space and engaging in this beautiful cosmic dance of creating. It is through the collaborative process that we can craft a dynamic perspective that creates a whole.
4. Be Flexible : “The World Will Take It and Run”
One of the biggest misconceptions that still persists in our culture is the idea of the ‘starving artist.’ Indeed, many people want to be artists but are afraid they won’t be able to make a living. This is nothing more than a self-limiting belief – You can make a living from your art, or you can’t: Either way, you are right.
Amanda’s advice is to “start small, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket!… You’ve gotta stay on your toes and be flexible.” Amanda has never had another job besides doing art, and she has been able to continue to do this because she has remained open to doing lots of different things throughout her career, like doing portraits, or coloring etchings. The key is to diversify, while remaining clear and not taking on too much.
Her advice is to focus on creating a smaller body of work, but really make it good. You can post one image on Instagram or Facebook, and if that image is really amazing, then, she says, “the world will take it and run.” This philosophy places an acute emphasis on actually finishing pieces of work, instead of having numerous unfinished projects.
5. Sit Down and DO the Work: “It is Life Enhancing”
Amanda Sage and I both agree that everyone is born an artist, although many of us get distracted and confused along the way, forgetting who we truly are. So how can we really get those creative juices flowing? Amanda shares some excellent tips from her experiences:
- Prioritize Your Time: There is always less and less time, and there is only so much time in a day, so we must put extra effort into making the time for art!
- Start small and take baby steps! If you can’t do it on your own, get your friends together and draw, like doing ‘spin-drawing’ together.
- Learn to say NO: Amanda battles a lot with this one, being so curious and so open, she wants to experience and try everything. “But to actually be able to do these things, I have to focus my energy!”
- Fight the FOMO: Life is always moving, and there is always fun stuff going on. “I want to keep running to the next most awesome thing, but there is no tiring of awesome things out there- there is so much of it.” Remember, awesome experiences will always be there. So instead of feeling FOMO if you are missing great things, remember that YOU doing your creative work is equally great!
- Treat Art as Your Medicine/Meditation: Think of making art as an important part of your daily meditation or self-care practice, as Sage reminds us: “Doing anything creative takes us into a space inside our hearts and minds that is very profound. It is something that stops time in a way that allows spirit to come through us…and this is life enhancing.”
6. Take Responsibility: “The Future is Up to All of Us”
The world is waking up, and a new paradigm is emerging fusing art, music, psychedelics, spirituality, sustainability, technology and more, with an emphasis on one united humanity in a race against time to save our planet. Amanda Sage believes that art plays an important role in waking up as a society and as a species, because of the healing power of art to impact us on a visceral level that we can FEEL, rather than understand. For Amanda, art can be an inspirational guide through surrounding ourselves with images that are uplifting, thought-provoking and positive. This is an anchor that brings us back to truth, and we need that now more than ever. She reminds us that “we are at a point now where our environment and the future of planet Earth is up to us waking up and taking responsibility for how we have gotten here.”
Art can unite us, and transfer across the world in an instant. Amanda talks about being approached at a festival recently by someone who had her painting as the screensaver on his phone for two years. Seeing how people have responded to her art has become a testimony and reminder for Amanda. She says, “Let the work be a reminder and medicine to come back to our center of something that we KNOW is truth.” We all share this responsibility as creators.
The main goal of my radio show and website TheLucidPlanet.com is to help people navigate the global shift of consciousness so that we can heal ourselves, help each other, and save the planet. I am an optimist and a believer that we CAN make positive changes in our world, and it starts with each one of us, RIGHT NOW, in this moment. I asked Amanda Sage what she thought about our future, and she had this to say:
“We all play a very large role (in where the future goes). The more we can do for ourselves in taking little baby steps towards changing habits that we know are not serving us anymore, the ripple will effect others and we will continue to attract to us the most amazing things we can possibly imagine… If we allow it. I think that we have a very bright future ahead of us! It is to be seen right, but take each day as it comes and do your best!”
I couldn’t agree more. To find out more about Amanda Sage’s art, clothing line, workshops, projects, forthcoming art book kickstarter and more, connect with her on Facebook , follow her art fan page, and visit her website, AmandaSage.com. And don’t forget you can listen to our entire interview on the Lucid Planet Radio archives.
Love and Gratitude <3 (and art!)