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Joyelle: Why I Make Art

My name is Joyelle Brandt, and I am an artist/blogger/songwriter/mommy. Kind of feels like an AA introduction doesn’t it? But I guess that is appropriate, because creating is kind of an addiction for me. I do photography and mixed media art, and I write and record songs. Creativity is my sanity-keeper, through the sometimes long days at home with my 3-year-old son. I love being a mom, it sure beats all the day jobs I had before, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I turn to my art to express myself, to relieve stress, and to remember the person I was before having a child.

I had an opportunity to clarify this for myself last August, when one of the neighbourhood kids was over for a playdate with my son. She’s 8 years old, and seemed fascinated with exploring our house. In particular, my microphone and Digi 003 were quite interesting to her.

“What is this?” she asked.

“My recording equipment.” I responded.

“Why do you have it? What’s your job?”

“Well, mostly my job is being Gabe’s Mom, but I am also recording a CD.”

“So you’re famous?”

This one caught me off-guard. Unsure how to respond I stammered… “Well no, but I’d like to be… Um, I mean not really famous, like those people who are stalked by Papparazzi or anything, but…” How does one explain the concept of an independent musician who creates music for love, and has long since realized that she is not cut out for a touring musician’s lifestyle?

We moved upstairs, where she turned her attention to a multimedia art piece I was working on. Again, the questions: “Did you make this?”


“So you’re a famous artist?”

Wow. The fame thing again. And I wondered, is this just a natural response for someone who has grown up in our fame-obsessed culture? Is it assumed by today’s youth that to pursue an artistic calling is really a pursuit of fame? Because I’m pretty sure that the majority of creative people have absolutely no interest in fame whatsoever, and in fact many creative people are quite introverted. Finally I found a response: “No, I’m just someone who likes to make things, it makes me happy.”

And that’s really what it’s all about for me. I still have dreams of achieving a level of success that would allow me to make a living through my creative pursuits, but when it comes down to it, I make things, whether they are recordings, art, or otherwise, because it is what I do, because it makes me feel truly alive. When I am creating I feel that flow, the hours slide by me unnoticed and the worries of the day disappear from my consciousness. And I want to have that feeling as much as I can, in every aspect of my life.

My goal is to live my life artfully. Charles De Lint summed it up best when he said “All endeavor is art when rendered with conviction.” Creativity is not limited to artistic expression, although it is often manifested that way. It is a way of thinking, a way of being in the world.

I want to make art out of everything I do, from the way I parent my son, to how I decorate my house, to how I throw a party, to how I paint a canvas. It’s all the same thing. Because at the end of my life, it is not the level of fame or not-fame that will define my life. It’s whether I lived true to myself, whether I made of my life a work of art. So here is to the artful endeavor, and to all the creative people out there. May you live your days beautifully, and find joy in every creation.

Joyelle can be found blogging through the days here. You can listen to her songs here. Some time this year, you can visit her brand-new Etsy shop. She hopes.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joyelle, it is so very nice to meet you here. What an interesting realization you picked up on via this child. I have been seeing these same things with my oldest who is now 21 and used to create things for the pure PLEASURE of it but has now moved on to a phase of being in constant pursuit of money. I truly hope the pendulum swings back a bit to his roots which was this first love of creating.

    January 12, 2011
  2. Hi there,

    I can so relate to so much of what you say (art especially as I am not a musician!) and it def keeps me sane.

    I am in the process of trying to build an interactive art project site that embraces art as part of a whole ‘life’ process thing – an interesting project with stories as my starting point!

    It’s curious what you say about not wanting to be famous but happy making, musician Mike Oldfield couldn’t perform to large crowds so concentrated on doing what he loved – making music! It’s so great to get in touch with what you love doing and do it.

    I wish you loads of luck in your endeavours.


    January 12, 2011
  3. What a neat life you have-I look forward to following along with you!


    January 12, 2011
  4. Loved reading more about you… you are a precious and talented soul.. wow!

    January 12, 2011
  5. Lovely, lovely piece of writing! A fantastic reminder that their is great value and joy that can be gained from creating something just for yourself.

    January 12, 2011
  6. Joy #

    Hi Joyelle, (what a pretty name!) I was so happy to read your post here today. I can’t wait to follow you to your blog when I have more time. Love the artwork and am anxious to hear some of your music. Thanks for the great (and inspiring) observation–making art whether on canvas, a guitar or in our homes is all part of the gift of being creative.

    January 14, 2011
  7. Greetings Joyelle!
    Thank you for reaching out to the world to express these wonderful personal insights and feelings. I so enjoyed reading your thoughts, listening to your music and viewing the artwork, it is all soulfull, inspirational and from the heart.
    This makes it very real, something that is sometimes hard to find these days.
    I am also a person who’s passion and joy in life has been creativity with many forms of art and nature. I joined the blog site. I raised my three children as a single parent, sometimes living entirely on things I made and sold at art fairs. In my early days I never dreamed of selling what I painted or made, rather did not like the idea. As I got older and found myself under pressure to support 3 children, I turned to making things as that was really what I knew best and could do well. So I had to find the balance of art as a love and art as a business. In selling I found a new purpose and joy, a new dimension–that I could connect very directly with people and give them great happiness. Since then I accepted that it is part of my role to share my love and skill with others in this way. I also wrote a “How To” book on my things so others could be inspired .
    To find other people who love the process of creating as I have –is very touching and fullfilling in itself—this is the beauty of technology! I listed my contacts on the blog sign up. Again, thank you for sharing , your art , music and person are all wonderful and inspiring.


    January 16, 2011
  8. beautiful post, Joyelle. I’m always fascinated by the perspectives of children and it is often a reflection of what they see in society. i’ve had similar conversations with my father, not so much about becoming “famous” but more about making money. he doesn’t get the whole art thing, and i think he probably appreciates my photography more than anything else….because he’s seen that sell so much. whenever i create something new, no matter what it is, he question is “can you make money of it?” bugs the heck out of me. sure, we’d all love to be able to make a living through our art, but the true artist in all of us creates for the love of creating, not for the dollar signs that might follow. i do well with my jewelry and my photography, so i have to keep those up, but there are so many other things i like to explore that i try to find time for. right now, i’m taking an online painting class (and it’s a great reminder that i am definitely NOT a painter! 🙂 but it’s something different i wanted to try. maybe it’s like that old the journey being more important than the destination quote. it’s what we learn along the way and the happiness that the simple act of creating brings us that makes it all work.

    January 17, 2011
  9. I love the art. It’s visual and verbal, which I dig the most! I will check back on your Etsy site. Keep making more!

    Mommy Theorist

    I am a photographer mom. And I also write and edit.

    January 17, 2011
  10. I love your post, Joyelle, and it’s a delight to have you at Studio Mothers. Your piece — and your work itself — reminds me that creativity really is a synonym for living life fully.

    January 21, 2011

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