This month, we're exploring all things creative: looking at the relationship between meditation + brainwaves + creativity, and hosting plenty of events to flex our creative muscles. To prep us, we interviewed some of our favourite artists around town to give us some insight about how creativity shows up for them. Today, we have Alexa Mazaarello, an incredibly talented photographer, storyteller, and the creator of Body Thoughts.
Tell us about what you do!
I am a photographer specializing in portrait and lifestyle work. I work most often with women and women-led businesses.
Were you always creative? When did you realize this?
This is a really weird question for me to answer. When i was little i excelled in math until about grade 10 when my interests in philosophy and english and photography took over. Except that in high school I won a t-shirt making contest where I drew people holding hands and standing ‘around the world’ for earth day. I don’t think that is very creative - I think I must have seen it somewhere or something. ANNNND I think I won because of my ability to colour within lines and make the finish product look polished. I may be exaggerating but I think it’s funny I ‘won’ that contest. So back to my interests in writing, philosophy, and the arts…I think that happened because I’m a feeler (sensitive) and those confusing years had me searching for ways to understand what was going on.
Being a teenager is hard. I was lucky to go to a school that offered photography as an elective. I don’t remember anyone really saying to me ‘you’re creative’ - this probably was expressed mostly in my personal style or how I saw the world. When I started my first blog (during undergrad) to share my personal photos (yooooo, Tumblr) that’s when I started getting feedback on my “creativity".
What is your creative ritual (or perhaps you don't have one)?
The closest thing to this is the need to explore new places-literally seeking novel things-so this means being moving all the time - planes, trains, boats, vans, cars - all of this elicits sooo much inspiration for me.
How would you describe feeling "in flow"/ tapping into "the flow"?
When do you know you're there? This feeling feels peaceful and time, as we are used to experiencing it, goes away. This can happen during a photoshoot - most recently I felt it during a personal creative shoot where I was starting to practice some still life stuff I’ve been wanting to try.
What is the best thing about creating art for a living?
Well, not to be a downer, BUUUUUT it’s personally challenging. I also think that is the best part about it. I get to explore parts of myself that a regular pay check wouldn’t force me to think about. I have to generate my own work, be self motivated. It’s a privilege, yes, but it’s also extremely tiring sometimes. There are always highs and lows. I have to sometimes question my ethics when taking on project - not too much now with the specialty I’ve chosen (I attract really fantastic female clients who are the most down to earth) but all of these things factor into the balance of ‘making art’ vs ‘making a living’. Final answer: maybe the best thing then is the opportunity to create something from nothing, regardless of how difficult that is.
If you could experiment with and master any other medium/ form of expression, what would it be? (dance, paint, etc.)
printmaking or clothing design (*but I’m way too lazy to learn how to sew).