Originally from the Minneapolis area, Scott Ward studied commercial design and illustration at the University of Minnesota. Scott has worked as an artist and designer in advertising, clothing design, graphic design, theater design, landscape design, interior design, illustration and murals, and has shown his paintings in many galleries around the country.
After his introduction to The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, Scott found himself facilitating creativity groups and eventually becoming a community leader with a focus on community development and engagement. He presently serves as the Executive Director of the Fairhaven Association in Bellingham, WA. Scott still finds time to create art.
2:22 Growing up as an artistic kid
3:03 Discovering The Artist’s Way
4:26 Being a full time artist-entrepreneur
5:52 Getting into the world of community engagement
7:12 Fairhaven’s initial organizational challenges and dealing with them
9:12 The importance of giving credit whenever it is due
12:15 Managing time as an active artist plus community leader
13:55 Drawing up the blueprint for Fairhaven’s future
14:23 Working on the Space Needle mural project
18:27 Analyzing elements of Scott’s artwork
20:04 Daily routines and rituals to power through the day
23:48 When rejection from priesthood brought clarity to life’s purpose
25:30 Leaving a legacy and making a difference
27:15 Dealing with challenging decision making processes
29:16 Painting the big picture: keeping the whole community in frame
30:14 Thoughts about the future
32:56 Change is inevitable - taking small steps as a budding artist
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Up Your Creative Genius -
Patti Dobrowolski 00:03
Hello, Superstars! Welcome to the Up Your Creative Genius Podcast, where you will gain insight and tips to stomp on the accelerator and blast off to transform your business and your life. I'm your host, Patti Dobrowolski. And if this is your first time tuning in, then strap in - because this is serious rocket fuel. Each week, I interview fellow creative geniuses to help you learn how easy it is to Up Your Creative Genius in any part of your life.
Patti Dobrowolski 00:39
Hey, everybody, it's Patti Dobrowolski with Up Your Creative Genius. Oh my gosh, okay, I just want to say: my most favorite person in the world today is on the podcast - Scott Ward. And Scott Ward, if you don't know him, he's an amazing visual artist, who became an accidental Executive Director for the Fair Haven Business Association. It's not really the business association, but the Fair Haven, you know, Association for where he lives. But he is amazing. He's been an actor, he's created clothing. He's done everything possible - interior design, like if you look out in the world, at things, you'll see Scott Ward imprinted on most of them. And he has a beautiful collection of artwork that has really just kept its its beauty over time - I was gonna say it's just so iconic, the stuff that you draw, I have a number of them in my home, I will say - and one of them he gave to us for our wedding, which is just so incredible. So, I thank you, Scott, for being here. Hey, by the way, I didn't mention this, but he also is a musician and singer. Really incredible. Okay. Welcome to the show, Scott.
Scott Ward 01:51
Hi, Patti. It's nice to see you.
Patti Dobrowolski 01:53
Nice to see you too. And so we haven't seen each other in a long time. Because of COVID - It's kind of a drag. I know but just in another month, I'm going to be standing - hopefully, cross your fingers, you know - side by side with you, that will be so incredible. So, Scott, tell people about you. How did you become an artist? And then how did you end up working as the executive director in Fair Haven? So, get us in the trajectory of how you, from the beginning of time, bring us to the present moment?
Scott Ward 02:22
Yeah, it's not the life I ever imagined. You know, I grew up as the artistic kid. That's what I was recognized as, everybody saw me as the artistic kid. And fortunately, I had a couple of really fantastic teachers in Junior High, in high school who globbed on to me and said, "We're going to nurture you as much as we can", and then, you know, after high school kind of pushed me on my way. And then, you know, I went to school and studied fine art, and realized I could never make it as a fine artist; I have to, you know, get jobs that pay me. And so I was doing all that design work that you mentioned: I was doing interior design, and clothing design and graphic design and, um...
Patti Dobrowolski 03:00
You had a whole line of cards at one point. Yeah.
Scott Ward 03:03
Yeah. I worked for a card company and was just drawing - making little goofy cards. And then in 1994, actually, Patti, you sent me "The Artist's Way" - the book by Julia Cameron. And it had just come out, and at the same time, another friend of mine in Seattle found the book and recommended it, and I thought: I should maybe pay attention to this. And so, you know, over the next few years, I not only studied that book and went through it, but started leading and facilitating groups to get other people to go through that book. And it's a fantastic process. You know, it's set up to be this and discover your creativity, really, it's a whole life purpose kind of process. And so in that I realized, wait a second, I'm being a little hypocritical in that I'm urging all these other people to be artists in the world, and I'm just avoiding it by being a designer, which was not a bad thing - it just wasn't completely who I was supposed to be. And so, you know, I jumped into being a full time artist, like right away. And within six months, I had my first show at this little restaurant in Seattle and sold a few pieces there. And then six months later, I had my very first one person show in this gallery in Pioneer Square in Seattle, where all the-
Patti Dobrowolski 04:15
Really, really big deal.
Scott Ward 04:17
Really big deal. And you know, the amazing thing that happened there was I sold every single piece in that show.
Patti Dobrowolski 04:24
Oh my god.
Scott Ward 04:26
Yeah. And so you know, it had to have started as an idea like a full time artist, and then a year later have a sellout show - it was a real fast trajectory. And it was a little overwhelming. I mean, it was stressful because I thought: how am I supposed to live up to that, right? It was like yeah, oh my god, this success is kind of unbelievable. What am I supposed to do with it? And so, I had a little bit of a dip or I thought, you know - can I really do this? But now it's saying that in the next 15 years I was a full time artist and you know, traveled around the country and did shows in a lot of different places and became the representative artist for several different nonprofit organizations and really was having this really fantastic artist's life where I was meeting fascinating, interesting people and going places that I never imagined being and doing a lot of commissioned work. So, creating artwork that never would have crossed my mind. And at the same time, I got to work with you, and this process of your unfolding and the graphic recording and change management stuff, and so learned a lot in that. So, fast forward to being a full time artist: we were living in Seattle, and moved into the Magnolia neighborhood, which is a nice affluent neighborhood that has a little village and my partner, husband owns a little shop there. And I thought, well, you know, I should probably connect with the business community, 'cause sometimes being an artist can be a solitary experience, right?
Patti Dobrowolski 05:52
Scott Ward 05:52
It's a lot of time at the easel. And if you're at all extroverted, that can become a really challenging life. And so I thought I needed to connect with the community and got engaged with the Chamber of Commerce there. And the Chamber of Commerce, there was kind of a mess. And not kind of a mess, it was really-
Patti Dobrowolski 06:12
It was really a mess.
Scott Ward 06:13
It was really a mess. And I thought, I think I know a few things that might be able to help them move forward. And so I stepped in and you know, within just a short amount of time became president of that Chamber of Commerce. And I have to say, that really is a lot of the work that I was able to do with you allows me to say to these folks, you know, let's get some clarity in what we're doing here, right? You have a vision, but you're not really living into it. And so let's really revisit that and start to line up with who we're supposed to be in the world. And so I made some changes there, which meant basically a whole turnover in their board. And-
Patti Dobrowolski 06:54
Oh, yeah, it was tricky. It was a tricky time.
Scott Ward 06:58
It was a tricky time, but I- You know, usually I'm so diplomatic and level-headed, and there were a couple of times where I lost it with them. I'm like: You are like 14 year old kids! I was yelling at them-
Patti Dobrowolski 07:12
Oh my gosh.
Scott Ward 07:12
You know, it was kind of what needed to happen because they were just stuck in a rut. And so anyway, now we live in Bellingham. And because I had that experience in Seattle, when we came to Bellingham, the little village that we live in is a neighborhood within Bellingham-
Patti Dobrowolski 07:29
Scott Ward 07:30
Yeah, Fairhaven. And it's a historic district. It's really sweet. And it's had this community / business association in existence since the mid 70s. So it's been around for a long time. And it was a completely volunteer organization.
Patti Dobrowolski 07:45
Scott Ward 07:45
And, you know, saying that those volunteers were able to do some really fantastic things over the years, like they really preserved the historic character, they created some wonderful events and some programs. However, there was a lot of dysfunction in what was happening, because the volunteers, they turned to their friends and they'd say: Hey, I want to put a statue in the village green. And their friends would say: Hey, yeah, let's do it. And then they would do it. And then they'd go to the board and say, Hey, we need $45,000-
Patti Dobrowolski 08:14
To put that statue up.
Scott Ward 08:16
Yeah. And the board would say, okay, great. And they'd kind of rubber stamp it, but there was no accountability, or no-
Patti Dobrowolski 08:21
No plan, right.
Scott Ward 08:22
No plan and no alignment with everything else that was happening. So every time somebody got a little wind to do something, they would do it. And that caused a lot of rifts in the relationships of the folks that were doing things. You know, it's like this recycled volunteer group that just went through, people would get upset, they get their feelings hurt, you know? And-
Patti Dobrowolski 08:44
Yeah, like every volunteer organization, you know, you're like a piece of coal when you go in and you're a diamond when you come out, because- or you're kicked out one or the other before you're a diamond.
Scott Ward 08:54
Yeah. And so there was this core group of volunteers that really had been active since the 80s. You know, it's only a handful, like half a dozen of them. And they would, like you said - they'd split people up, they use them, split them out, and became really, really dysfunctional. And so we show up, and of course, they had-
Patti Dobrowolski 09:11
And you set up Current and Furbish. Yeah, you have that beautiful little shop there in Fairhaven, and everybody should go see there because it's fantastic.
Scott Ward 09:21
Yeah, it's a great little shop and a great little village. And, you know, I thought - maybe I just should be done with this community work because it takes a lot of energy to do that, working with people and all the different personalities - but they came to me and they said: Hey, what do you want to do with us? Because they had written an article about me. So it didn't take long for me to realize that there was a lot of potential here. It wasn't quite as messed up as the Magnolia chamber head. And I saw that there was great potential here. And I also recognize there were some really easy things that could kind of fix what was going on. And that was - you know, one of the things was, in their volunteer organization, they'd never did any kind of acknowledgement - private or public - for their volunteers. There was-
Patti Dobrowolski 10:10
Oh my god, are you kidding?
Scott Ward 10:11
They didn't send out thank you notes. They didn't really say thank you. They didn't have an end of year celebration and I thought: You know, that one thing would make a huge difference.
Patti Dobrowolski 10:24
Yeah, people come back if you appreciate them. That's what it's all about.
Scott Ward 10:25
That's exactly what it's about. And then, you know, even just the folks that show up, they want to volunteer for one thing, it's important to acknowledge them, right? It's-
Patti Dobrowolski 10:34
Scott Ward 10:35
And even the people that say: Oh, no, no, I don't need anything, do not thank me publicly - find a way to thank them.
Patti Dobrowolski 10:42
Yeah, what I love about that is you acknowledge that they have their own way of liking to do that, because everybody's different. So some people, it's mortifying and frightening for them to be acknowledged publicly. So if you can find a way to do it, that gives them the spotlight in their own way.
Scott Ward 11:00
That's right. You know, I think it's even as easy as, say, you're in a group, we have monthly meetings, right? And so make sure, like, let's say, John is over there. And John doesn't ever want to be publicly thanked or appreciated, right? Make sure that whoever you're talking to, you say: Hey, I just want you to know that John did most of the work so that John overhears it, right? Then it's this thing where it's private, he gets it, you know, that he's getting it in theory, right?
Patti Dobrowolski 11:25
Scott Ward 11:25
And that will carry him. Carry him to the next bit of whatever he's doing. Anyway, we come in over - you know, the first few years we were here, I had heard several times, we really have wanted an executive director for a long time. But we just haven't done anything about it. Is this the universe telling me what I'm supposed to be doing? Right? How many times do you have to hear it?
Patti Dobrowolski 11:49
Yeah, that's right. That's cool.
Scott Ward 11:51
So finally, I just, yeah, went to the board. And I said, okay, it feels like I'm supposed to throw my hat in, help this organization by creating this position. And that's what they did. So that's why I really became the accidental Executive Director. I never intended in doing community work, I thought I was going to be a full time artist. This kind of, you know, exciting life. But I still get to do a little bit of that.
Patti Dobrowolski 12:15
Yeah. That's fantastic. So all right. Now you really run Fairhaven, but you're still like a full time artist. Right? So how do you balance all your time of all the things that you're doing, Scott? Cause you have a million things on your plate. How do you organize yourself?
Scott Ward 12:32
That's a lot. This kind of counteracts that the artists lifestyle and mindset is that I'm very disciplined. So I know that Thursdays are my studio day, like I have tell everyone - I put on my email, you know, the message, it says, Hey, I'm in the studio today, I'm not going to take your calls. And I'm not going to answer your texts. And so I just really am clear that at least Thursdays, I know, I have a full day of being in the studio. Then, there are other days where I'm a little more flexible about it. But it's-
Patti Dobrowolski 13:01
Scott Ward 13:01
And then when I'm working for the Association, I'm just really clear like - these are the days I'm available for the Association. But it really is that discipline that makes it happen, otherwise, I don't know how I could do it. It really is a lot.
Patti Dobrowolski 13:16
Yeah, I think when you have multiple things going on, it's important to - you have to schedule everything. And you know, people think, Oh, you've got, you know, you've worked for yourself, and so they have lots of free time. And yeah, that free time is filled up with a lot of things that are the behind the scenes part. And you have really finessed that over time, so that you're continuing to show your work, it's really well received, and - you've built Fairhaven into this consistent community engagement, which is awesome. Now you've got like a Draw your Future picture behind you, Scott - did you do that for your organization, for Fairhaven?
Scott Ward 13:55
Yeah, for Fairhaven. So three years ago, when I first started the process, we created a strategic plan, because they had had one - we revisited the mission statement, and then created that plan. And so in that three years, we really accomplished everything we had set forth. And so this process now is, what do the next 3 to 5 years look like? So since we've accomplished this, yeah, let's look forward. And you know, this is a fantastic process. People love it.
Patti Dobrowolski 14:23
Yeah, it's a little gap analysis, and then you're drawing real time and you're writing words, and you can see, here's this - it's very messy back there. So if you think to yourself: Oh, I can't draw and I can't do that - well, look, it's messy. That's the way we want it to be because you'll call out the things that are most important. And I just want to - for those of you listening, as Scott Ward really has been the behind the scenes studio artist for me for so many years - so these companies that I work with, I often will go in and and I'll do a rough illustration of their vision, but then I bring it home and I have Scott finesse it in the studio. Because I'm not a trained fine artist - you heard him say he was trained - but the stuff is incredible. But I wanted to share this one experience that we had doing a mural for the Seattle Space Needle because I thought this was- So, Scott, tell us a little bit about what happened. When we went in I got a commission to do a mural and the interior for the employees, right. So we ran some focus groups, and then we were going to do this. Now I knew I wasn't a muralist, so I immediately hired Scott to come in - I like wrote him right in the contract, so that I would have someone who actually knew how to do what I said I could do, right? And so, tell everybody what happened.
Scott Ward 15:39
Well, we had a lot of things happen.
Patti Dobrowolski 15:41
You mean, are you talking about meeting Five Seconds of Summer as they ran past us? (laughs)
Scott Ward 15:47
(laughs) It's crazy. But, you know, it was a good process, because we met with all the different department heads and got their input into what this image should be. And it really was - how long was that wall?
Patti Dobrowolski 16:01
It was 40 feet.
Scott Ward 16:03
Yeah, 40 feet long, and it was just the top half of the wall. So it was this long, skinny-
Patti Dobrowolski 16:09
4 feet high and 40 feet long. It was the mural that we did.
Scott Ward 16:13
Yeah. And it was kind of basically tell the whole story - the Seattle Center, and the Space Needle. And you know, it was taking all those ideas and putting it into this image, and it really was alike an elaborate map that you would do in, you know, a brainstorming session. It was great. I mean, I loved it.
Patti Dobrowolski 16:34
We had a little, a couple of SNAFUs in that though. So okay, so when you do a mural, like you pencil out the whole thing, and just want to say that it didn't totally match the drawing. I was in charge of moving the projector. So that was one of the things that Scott was able to fix. However, we go in to start to- We buy $1,000 worth of these paints, pens, no, paint, what were we- we've got pens-
Scott Ward 17:01
We started with the markers.
Patti Dobrowolski 17:01
We were going to use Copic markers. So we went in - I had tested it on the paint already, so I knew it would work and we go in on that day to do it. And the first pen stroke that we do, it pulls the paint off onto the pen. So if we spent $1,000 on markers, we were going to spend 5 or 6 thousand dollars to do the whole thing. So I go to Scott: Oh, no, what do we do? And of course, Scott knew the answer - you were like, let's go get some paint pens. Yeah, so we ran to the art store, and then we painted that whole thing together, which was so much fun.
Scott Ward 17:38
My favorite was - what was the little misspelling that-
Patti Dobrowolski 17:45
It was on the bus. I can't remember what it said, but it was- I missed a letter.
Scott Ward 17:51
Patti Dobrowolski 17:51
I did all the lettering. I had missed a letter in it. But it made sense. We've made sense, what I had written - but it was a funny in-joke, but they made us change it. I can't remember, I wish I had that here so we could show it off. I'll have to look at it, drop in the picture. (laughs) You know, do you prefer to- You did that that large format with me, but you spend many hours and days- you use some repeat images in your illustrations? What did they mean, and why do you use the same images? Tell me a little bit and give us some insight into your artwork?
Scott Ward 18:27
Yeah, you know, I think like most of us, we have recurring themes just in our life in general, right. And I think for me, I grew up in Minnesota, in a Catholic German family, and you know, all those things are very restricted, right. And so, are restrictive. And, especially as a gay man it's really restrictive, or as a little gay boy. And so I think I often paint about feeling trapped or wanting greater freedom. So you know, I did a series of images based around cages, birds in cages, and the birds kind of represent the soul, the cages, the situations I find myself in and then there's- I do a lot about home and feeling, wanting to feel a place of home and, you know, connection. Yeah, a lot of that. And I use a lot of green, because green represents growth and life to me and wanting to really grow into fully who I am. So it's a lot about freedom and belonging.
Patti Dobrowolski 19:26
Yeah, it's fantastic. And then you had a whole "Red Ball" series, which was really cool - really, so playful and fun. And all of his artwork has been described as very whimsical and it's really beautiful. It's just incredible. So kudos to you for all that sitting at that easel all that time. But now, tell us - I want to know, like what- and I bet you, other people want to know: what's your day look like? Like, give us the run of show for the whole day for you. So we know, like, how do you stay focused and in yourself and how do you, you know, complete your day, what kinds of things at the end?
Scott Ward 20:04
You know - like you, I have a little routine that sets me up for the day. So, the first thing I do in the morning is: with my little pot of coffee, I sit down and I write. I journal every morning - I have journaled every morning, for the last, I'm gonna say 35 years.
Patti Dobrowolski 20:22
Scott Ward 20:23
And in that, there is this great centering that happens - it allows me to kind of get the menial, gritty stuff out and really focus on what's important. And I can't imagine what my life would be without doing that every single day. And in that, it's also this sense of meditation and contemplation that sets me up in a really kind of peaceful and calm way for the day. Then, I do some kind of exercise: I run about four to five days a week, and we live-
Patti Dobrowolski 20:54
- About five miles, right? Five to something miles, like, you're crazy. Yeah, he's a crazy runner. I tried running with him, I just want to say: No, no, I can't really-
Scott Ward 21:06
I don't really like running. I don't like running. I mean, I like being done running. And a good run is when I don't realize I'm running, right? Like, when the ideation part of me takes place, and I forget I'm running, that's a good run. (laughs)
Patti Dobrowolski 21:20
(laughs) Oh, my god.
Scott Ward 21:22
But it's important, because there is also something really valuable in putting your body into a rhythmic mode that brings up the clarity and ideas. So, problem solving and creative processing all takes place in that-
Patti Dobrowolski 21:38
Scott Ward 21:39
-uh, physical activity. And that takes place in walking, too, especially when you walk alone - if you're walking with somebody, you have a tendency to have a conversation with them-
Patti Dobrowolski 21:48
Scott Ward 21:49
-which is something different. And so-
Patti Dobrowolski 21:51
-then yourself, talking to yourself in your head - or out loud! Sometimes I caught myself talking out loud - I'm like, don't talk out loud, it's no, not appropriate.
Scott Ward 22:01
Yeah. And we live close enough to the village, it's a mile. And so we walk - and that walk also is a really important thing, as far as just staying centered. And so then my day, who knows what the rest of the day is going to be like - with the Fairhaven Association, I sit in a ton of meetings. Like I, you know, it's not unusual for me to have five or six meetings in a day. And, you know, that gets to be a long day. So taking breaks in between, getting outside, moving a little bit is important.
Patti Dobrowolski 22:29
Scott Ward 22:30
Getting coffee, yeah, exactly. Chocolate-
Patti Dobrowolski 22:35
All the key things.
Scott Ward 22:36
Yeah. And then on my studio days, I really just am so focused on being an artist that it really is basically closing the door to my studio, being in there drawing out new images, or - I do a lot of commission work now, like most of what I do is commission work. And so, really, that process is connecting with the client, and getting their thoughts on what they're looking for. And then, you know, it's all about the creative process on that day, and really is staying focused on being an artist and wearing my painted clothes and not caring what I look like or, you know, being seen. And so - but every day is different. And that's what you get when you are working with, you know, all kinds of different people, and creating all sorts of different programs and events. And, you know, there's something kind of exciting about that, I don't know if I could live a life where every day was the same, right? It just wouldn't be stimulating for me or at all fulfilling - I just think there's something really exciting in the uncertainty of what the day is going to play.
Patti Dobrowolski 23:48
Well, and also to - I mean, yours is a life of service. Since I met you, you've always been serving someone - you know, in the community, or you served in your church - you served in all these different ways. And so, say a little bit about why you think service is important, or why is it important to you?
Scott Ward 24:08
You know, I recognized early on - well, in my 20s, I wasn't that way - I was pretty self serving, and part of it was this sense of survival - just wanting to know how I was going to make it through this life, because I didn't have clarity and, really, what I was supposed to be doing. And once I realized, oh yes, this is what I'm called to do-
Patti Dobrowolski 24:27
You were going to be a priest. I mean, that was gonna be true. That's part of your story, was you were going to be a priest. And then when they found out you were gay, that was it. You had to make a choice.
Scott Ward 24:35
Yeah, they rejected me. I mean, they out and out rejected me. And so, that was a huge thing, because for me I felt like, you know, I really am called to the spiritual unfoldment.
Patti Dobrowolski 24:49
Scott Ward 24:50
To have that kind of thrown back at me was really difficult. I thought: Really? I had this understanding that I was supposed to be making a difference. Not in just my life but in other people's lives. And so, it took me a while to bounce back from that - it was one of the best things that ever happened because it really made me clarify what my role was supposed to be. And being a priest - now, when I look back, I think I would have been miserable.
Patti Dobrowolski 25:17
Yeah, so I was gonna say that was a good choice. Definitely. How rigid could that have been, yeah. (laughs)
Scott Ward 25:25
There's some things about being a priest that I just found out that like-
Patti Dobrowolski 25:30
Scott Ward 25:30
And so, you know, just this idea of - I want to leave a legacy. And I think when people become parents, I think that's an easy sense of: Oh, yes, I'm leaving something behind in the world that will make a difference, right?
Patti Dobrowolski 25:45
Scott Ward 25:45
And I don't have kids, I won't ever have kids at this point. And I just thought, what can I leave in the world that will make a difference? Yes, I have my art and my mission with my artists to create inspired and inspiring uplifting images, right? And so, yes, I'll leave that. But I also want to feel like I'm leaving my little corner of the world better than the way I found it. And I think, you know, we say I live in service, but there's a sense of selfishness about living a life of service, right? It is about feeling good about what I'm doing in the world. And, and no, that's not ultimately the goal, it is kind of a byproduct of doing good in the world and lifting others up in the world, right there. There is some satisfaction from that. And that, yeah. And so it really is about the wanting to just leave a positive-
Patti Dobrowolski 26:41
Also, you know, you're very good about knowing - like, you really have a sense of 'knowingness' about what you like or dislike - and this I admire in you, because I'm not, sometimes not as clear in some areas around this, so I would default to Scott, when I was choosing certain things: "What do you think of that?" But you have a really clear sense. So when you're in a situation where you feel challenged, and you need to make a decision, what do you do to help yourself understand what the right thing is to do?
Scott Ward 27:15
I think it's different every time, right? If it involves somebody else, and there is some, maybe, misalignment in what's supposed to happen - I always remember that the other people or person involved has a whole story that has brought them to their perspective, right? And so to honor that, at the same time, you know, I have a whole story that's brought me to my perspective. And, you know, is there something that can happen that honors both of those stories, right? That's always the place I go to, there's got to be - anything's possible, right? So, is there this solution, is there this way forward that gives a nod to both or all sides of what's happening? So that's one way - if it's just me trying to figure out what's going on, it really is going for an extra run, or spending an extra page writing, or going for a walk - it really is putting myself back out into this place of: Okay, let's kind of ruminate. I also say, you know, before I go to bed, before I fall asleep - I will say: Let's find some clarity about this tonight, right? In the middle of the night, let's bring it into our dreams, let's bring it into our sleep, and let it to kind of figure itself out without my getting in the way.
Patti Dobrowolski 28:31
Scott Ward 28:32
Right? And so all those things are kind of me trying to get myself out of the way because we can be our own worst enemy.
Patti Dobrowolski 28:38
Yeah. You know, we have an opinion about what should happen, we have a - you know, we're always trying to make ourselves look good, our ego gets in there, and then instead of trying to see it from a distant field - like I sometimes will put it on a playing field, because like a chess board, and I can see all the players in the field, and then understand what their position is within that chess game, and then help us move closer to alignment - so that eventually, checkmate, and one of us wins. I mean, not in that sense, but you know, there's a solution that's better than both of us. That's fantastic.
Scott Ward 29:16
I actually, uh, as an artist, you know, I see people as different colors and shapes, right? And so, you know, I can say: Oh, yeah, that color and that shape will work next to this one, but this one here, it really needs to be moved over the other side of the painting, right? And so, I kind of see it that way, because I'm so visual, that it just is kind of - for me to create a community as an image. And there's care that has to be done in that, because it's not just saying: Hey, you don't get along with those folks. It's like, really - it's putting into this place that you would work really well over here. You'd be so valuable over here. We need you over here, right? And never, ever, put them-
Patti Dobrowolski 29:55
- put them outside of the picture.
Scott Ward 29:57
Patti Dobrowolski 29:57
You're out and you're not in the frame.
Scott Ward 29:58
Yeah, that's exactly right. There's -
Patti Dobrowolski 29:59
I love that - what a fantastic, but - what a fantastic way of envisioning that. Especially when we talk about community, are you thinking about teams? Are you thinking about whoever it is - family, you know, they all belong in the painting, somewhere.
Scott Ward 30:13
Patti Dobrowolski 30:14
Now, when you think about your future, and you envision your future, what's your big thing that you see happening for you? What's the one thing that you think: Oh, this would be so cool. Like, if this thing happened, you know, that's what I do. Sometimes this thing happened,
Scott Ward 30:32
If this thing happened...It's interesting, because I really love my life, like I love my life to be - I actually think it'd be greater if we've been closer to each other.
Patti Dobrowolski 30:39
Yeah. Guess we need to change that. (laughs)
Scott Ward 30:42
Yeah. But, you know, there's, I think, I don't really have any lofty goals anymore. I think it really is just to continue living, and growing a sense of integrity. Like, really being authentic. I remember growing up, and my parents were young, when they had, like, just basically out of high school. And I think they were still kids, right? When I was even six years old, they were in their mid 20s. And so I remember watching my dad, and he still had his high school friends; and when you hang out with them, he was one person; when he was at home with my mom, he was another person; when he was with us, he was another person; when he was with my grandparents, he was a completely different person, right? And I just watched how he kind of morphed into these different areas. And I realized, even then, that I wanted to be who I was, wherever I was - it didn't matter who I was with, I wanted to be me. And so, I've worked really hard to do that. And I wanted to continue to be able to do that, I still find myself, you know, being maybe a little defensive, or, you know, hold back or whatever. But I just want to be fully me, wherever I am. So I think that was kind of a lofty goal. But it's been an ongoing, lofty goal.
Patti Dobrowolski 31:53
Yeah, I think, and it's not always easy. I think, you know, a lot of things push, push everybody, you know, our buttons, and then suddenly we're back in an old frame of mind, where we are seeing things from a very black and white perspective, and we're not embracing and we're not, you know, open to whatever's happening. And I just want to say, you're honestly incredible. I just felt - I as a friend, as an artist, as everything that I've seen that you've done - I just have so much love and admiration for you, that I feel fortunate that I got into your schedule to get you on the podcast, so thank you so much for that. But tell the listeners if you would, like, you know, this is all about making change. Like, we need to learn how to pivot easily and be flexible to it. So what would you say to somebody who's listening, you know, who needs to make a change and isn't quite sure how to do it or wants to become an artist and isn't sure how to step out - what would you say to them to help them bring more of their authenticity to the world?
Scott Ward 32:56
First, I want to say that change is inevitable, right? You can sit there and say you don't want to change, fight against it - but think something's going to force you to change. And it's gonna be more painful than if you had made that choice yourself.
Patti Dobrowolski 33:07
Scott Ward 33:07
And then the other aspect of it is, you have nothing to lose by trying, right? Just try. And so, if you're not going to do anything, you're not going to get anywhere - you can sit and imagine things are gonna happen, but without action, nothing's gonna happen. My suggestion always, for folks that say: Hey, I really do want to be an artist - I say, every day, put yourself out there. And it can be the smallest thing - it's sending an email to a gallery or to an agent and just ask for feedback or, you know, find out what the process is. But everyday, one small thing - it could even be looking up another artist and seeing what their art was like, or talking to an artist and just finding out what they did, or what their day is like. But every single day, just do one small thing. And eventually, you'll start to find things that resonate with who you are, as an artist, and doors will start to open. It may not be what you think it's going to be - in fact, I can guarantee you, it's not ever going to be what you think it's going to be - but you have to be open to that, and trust. Trust is a huge thing. And you and I have talked about this many, many times over the years, because we knew each other when none of what we are now in existence or even what we had dreamed about. And so, you know, we, in the process, both recognize that once you put yourself into that - that journey, that you have to trust you're going to be taken care of. And you and I are living examples that that is true - that once you trust that everything you need is going to be there, it will be there.
Patti Dobrowolski 34:43
And that - if it doesn't look the way you think it's going to, just keep going, because something better is on the other side - cause you can't vision from our current reality. So we have no idea what the future is really like. So, if you can get way out there - like I always say, put the most outrageous things on your map, the most incredible things - because believe it or not, those are the things that you're going to be sitting there 10 years later saying, I don't know how that happened, but it did. Look, I put it on that map.
Scott Ward 35:15
Yeah, that's exactly right. And I think, because I know you, I give you a lot of credit for the life I have. Because it's been that, that idea that, don't be afraid to, you know, have - what's called the BHAG, right? The Big Hairy Audacious Goal, right? Don't be afraid of that, put it out there. Because if you don't ever put it out there, you're never going to get there, you have to be able to do that there. And, you know, this also reflects or goes back to what it's like to work with people - and a group of people is there are no bad ideas. Right? Every idea has validity, anything is possible. And once you step into that - and the other aspect of is: Yes, set those goals, but you have to take a step - there has to be action behind it. You can't just put the goal out there and then anticipate-
Patti Dobrowolski 36:02
-and sit in the chair watching TV at home, you know, it's just not gonna happen. You got to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Scott Ward 36:08
That's right, you can do that drawing and put that goal out there. You can dream about it, but you have to start walking toward it. And you know, like we both have said, you start walking, but then the road is gonna turn left when you thought it was supposed to turn right. Well take go left, because that's going to be a more beautiful road than the right would happen.
Patti Dobrowolski 36:29
Yeah, that you ever imagined it'll turn into something you never even imagined.
Scott Ward 36:34
Patti Dobrowolski 36:34
Oh my gosh, God, this was so incredible. I got kind of all moved by just the conversation. It's just so-
Scott Ward 36:41
Me too. I love you.
Patti Dobrowolski 36:41
I love you too. And it's just so great to have you here. I can't wait to have you back, and we'll have to do some kind of annual thing - and we'll just see where it goes. But for everybody that's listening, I encourage you to follow ScottWardArt.com. You know, go there and see what he's doing. If you're in Fairhaven, go to Current and Furbish, say hi to Cameron, his partner, and also find Scott - because where Scott is, a lot of incredible things happen - and there will always be art and there will always be play and there will always be fun, and probably wine too. I'm guessing-
Scott Ward 37:14
Well, I don't know- (laughs)
Patti Dobrowolski 37:18
There you go. Anyway, I love you so much. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here today. And so, for everybody that's listening, you know the drill - if you liked the show, you know forward it to your friends or, you know, write Scott an email at scott@ScottWardArt.com - just acknowledge him and then in the way that he acknowledges others, and just go out today and you know what to do, just - if you can - Up Your Creative Genius. Thank you so much, everybody!
Patti Dobrowolski 37:51
Thanks so much for listening today. Be sure to DM me on Instagram your feedback or takeaways from today's episode on Up Your Creative Genius - then join me next week for more rocket fuel. Remember, you are the superstar of your universe and the world needs what you have to bring - so get busy! Get out and Up Your Creative Genius. And no matter where you are in the universe, here's some big love from yours truly - Patti Dobrowolski, and the Up Your Creative Genius podcast. That's a wrap!