It’s time for another creative human interview! I love this creative human- she lives fairly close to me, is super-cool, teaches kid art classes, and has a killer blog. It’s Marina Gallovitch from Flash Bugs Studio, and here is how she candidly and beautifully answered my questions:
What’s one thing from your childhood that helped spark your creativity?
My earliest memory was in second grade where we went on a field trip to The Art Institute of Chicago. It was my first time in a big museum, and I specifically remember standing in front of Seurat’s La Grande Jatte. (Just like the scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off). I remember that we were given these portable little stools to sit while the docent explained the painting. If you’ve never seen La Grande Jatte in person, it’s gigantic! Even more gigantic for to 7 year old child. The scale of the painting was incredible. Yet, what struck me at that age was the remarkable way it was painted. I remember the docent telling us Seurat used tiny tiny little lines of color to create magnificent figures and a story. From that moment on I fell in love with color and with art.
What’s one thing you have overcome in your life?
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The biggest challenge I have dealt with in my adult life is grief. This is not a pretty story, but it is one I’m slowly getting more comfortable telling. I was in an intense relationship in my twenties with a really unstable person. He was amazing and creative, but he was mentally ill. At that moment in my life, I thought I could change him and we could live happily ever after. Unfortunately, his illness took him away from us too soon. Losing someone at age 26 was super intense and surreal. I always felt that I was a character in a movie and that these sorts of things happened to other people. Still, I made a choice not to give up on myself and not to feel guilty. I chose to live fearlessly and to find joy in the sadness around me. Eventually, I discovered a new normal in my life and I wouldn’t change going through this experience.
Did you go to college for what you are doing now?
Yes. I can actually say that I still use my degree for everything that encompasses Flash Bugs Studio. I went to the University of Iowa ( a long long time ago) where I double majored in Art and Film Studies and minored in Italian. Then I went on to receive a M.A. in Art Education from the University of Cincinnati. I have an extensive interest in painting, drawing, and I also used to do a lot of video work (before the digital age). When I had to get a real job, I became an elementary art teacher at a local public school where I taught pre-school-6th grade. Fast forward nine years later, and I am using every single one of my skills teaching private art lessons, taking photographs, blogging, marketing, and creating a brand. I absolutely love every aspect of Flash Bugs Studio.
Where do you go offline to find inspiration?
I find inspiration in many things. I really love getting out of the suburbs and going to the city to walk around different neighborhoods. I love the diverse mix of people, cultures, and trying new restaurants. In terms of visual inspiration I’m all over the place. I love the modern wing at The Art Institute of Chicago, or The Museum of Contemporary Art, but I also love going to local craft fairs to see what people are making. Sometimes, I’ll just head to my local library and check out old art books. I love artists like Lucian Freud, Richard Diebenkorn, or Andrew Wyeth. I’m drawn to the way they create figurative paintings.
What makes you unique?
This is a hard question to answer because the older I get, I feel less and less unique. Especially when I meet so many cool people on social media. In any case, I’ll try and answer as best I can. I’m a mom who is passionate about helping parents connect and cultivate creativity with their kids. I want to help alleviate the guilt parents feel about not doing enough or not being enough for their children. In terms of me personally, I’m first generation Greek-American girl who never became a coquette but reveled in going to underage alternative dance clubs, went to a zillion concerts, traveled overseas a ton, and hated authority. Today I’m an artful mom and wife, trying to buck the trend of putting my kids in every activity under the sun, while my husband rocks out with his bass guitar in the basement.
Music or silence while you’re creating?
I love listening to music while I’m creating. My favorite Pandora channels are Jamiroquai, Peter Bjorn and John, thrown in with some New Order. Sometimes I’ll keep NPR on all day too. Just depends on my mood.