Caroline Taylor was kind enough to be our first crayon to reveal her 20 shades. She's a writer, actress, singer, digital archivist and marketer. Advocate and activist, as needed. Overall though Caroline is a storyteller. Let's get to it then.
1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
I think of creativity as the energy that gets things moving, that makes things come unstuck, that moves like a breath of fresh air, that solves problems, that adds value, that rehabilitates and repurposes, that introduces beauty and inspiration, or functionality and efficacy. I think it means seeing beyond the current limitations of a place, a space, a person, and envisioning something else, or something "more", that isn't there at the moment… at least not in that form. Creativity also can be applied across a number of contexts and disciplines, to a number of different ends.
2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill
that you have developed?
I honestly think it's innate for all of us. Some are just bolder and more resilient by nature, nurture or necessity. Some have been discouraged along the way, or gestate things for longer, and I think it makes them less prolific in their creative output than others. But I do think that tuning into serendipity and the "what if" voice is a choice, and a practice, that can and often needs to be consciously encouraged and nurtured. I actively work on giving that creative voice a space to speak — though we are in negotiations about its proclivity for chattering on endlessly in the wee hours of the morning...
3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity?
Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
Books, music, theatre and film captured my interest early. I can't remember a time when I wasn't getting lost in other worlds. My interest in pursuing these disciplines (writing and the performing arts) was encouraged and supported, blessedly.
4. What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?
There's this thing people across disciplines talk about — "flow". For me, it's a resonance we can be lucky enough to experience or witness in creative work. And I think it reveals a vulnerability, an honesty and beauty that can be difficult to pinpoint or define, but which is incredibly inspiring. There are lots of things about a work that can impress me or amuse me or intrigue me, and you can talk about the nuts and bolts of a work in a critical discourse...but what really awes me is when someone has tuned in to something really pure, and found the way to express that. To me that's real beauty, the light of the divine shining through. And I evaluate myself on that basis as well — how true I am to what it is I'm trying to create, express, or channel. I'm happiest when I get there...and try to be gentle with myself when I don't. ;-)
5. Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
I think our environments certainly impact the work we feel compelled to make, as well as how we make it (particularly as it pertains to producing and marketing it, as appropriate). This is particularly so if your creative work is interested in interrogating the status quo. For example, when I was in the US, my one-woman show was very much created as a Caribbean girl's response to US notions of identity, prejudice, and issues of xenophobia. And wherever I am, at home in T&T or abroad, I am often very much moved to tell the stories of those in the minority, either by being marginalised or by being under-represented or under-valued.
6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?
I step away and try to centre myself, clear my head. Then I try to get back to the core of what I am doing and why. I talk to people whose input I value and trust. Then I get back at it!
7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
By making a choice in a moment to follow where it leads, and just start putting something — anything — together.
8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?
Yes. (It's a few, and they vary!)
9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured?
If it has changed, please explain how?
Yes... I think it's getting less apologetic, less fearful, and more grounded. And that has an impact on forms and formats and material that I engage with.
10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Probably time and experiences with people I love when things are intense.
11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
The people closest to me, including family, friends, significant others, mentors, colleagues.
12. Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
I can't help doing what I love, and at the end of the day that has to be enough. At the same time, I hope the work I make will resonate with people — either to make them think, or make them feel — so that is a gauge for me. It's probably less about acceptance than efficacy.
13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Absolutely. But I've always told myself and the people I come into contact with: redirection, not rejection. Re-assess, re-tool as needed, and come again if it's what you really want. I think it should be a motivator to continue striving to be your best self.
14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today?
Why or why not?
Some things I'd like to revisit now, as opposed to change — especially as an actor. There are roles you think you could play better as a result of your own growth or life experience. That applies to some of my writing work as well. I'd like to try new ways of expressing or exploring certain things.
15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Oh yes. Like with creative blocks and redirection concept, I try to take a step back and centre myself, try and talk it through if necessary with people I care about and whose opinions I trust, and then come back renewed and re-motivated to do better.
16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
That's a tough one! I'm not sure I could name just one. They're in very different media, and are special to me for very different reasons.
17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see that you would like to Mentor?
Ha! Yes, I've mentored, and always happy to support anyone on their journey. I really believe in paying it forward, and there have been people who've been unbelievably kind and supportive of me on mine.
18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Learn as much as you can about your craft. Do the work. Define your own goals and standards. Don't take shortcuts, and don't let other people define success for you. Stay humble. Always strive to be your best self. And pay it forward.
19. What would you most like to be remembered for?
Doing work that was meaningful, that added value, and that hopefully has some lasting impact.
20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?
Much thanks to Caroline for indulging us. We wish her continued success on her creative journey. Follow Caroline on twitter @carolineneisha.
Look out more, as we pursue the 20 shades of other creatives. Leave us your comments below.
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