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Community Connection: How to Live Life Creatively in Every Way

January 19, 2010
 If you have attended a Late Night, Family Celebration, or First Tuesday in the past two years, it is likely you have experienced the magical storytelling of Ann Marie Newman.  Audiences of all ages are captivated by the enchanting worlds Ann Marie creates with her animated voices and expressions, colorful costumes, and playful props.  Likewise, DMA staff enjoy the creative ideas that Ann Marie brings as a collaborator to both new and established programs.  It was my pleasure to sit down and talk with Ann Marie, whose personal definition of “Creative Bliss” is when she is merging her traditional and classical art skills into unique works of art. 
 
 

Ann Marie often includes the audience in her storytelling.

 Please describe your creative process.

I start my day by waking up and allowing myself to have ten minutes to let my imagination flow.  I often think about a storytelling idea or creative project that I’m working on.  I also take a bath and try to soak in the water for twenty minutes.  I do some major brainstorming in the water and allow myself to daydream.  Afterward, I might sketch or take notes to capture my ideas.  I nurture my creativity, like some people might do yoga or run on the treadmill to start their day.  My creative process is extremely intuitive.  I don’t have an end in sight; I start in the middle and work outward. 

To what other aspects of your life do you apply a creative thinking approach?

Creativity is a part of how I present myself every day:  I’m always changing my
     hairstyle.
I’ve applied creativity to every job I’ve ever had.  I used to be a hairdresser, and
     I viewed my work as sculpture.
I never take the same route, whether driving somewhere or shopping in a
     grocery store.
I explore.
I take things that already exist, like stories or artworks, and add my own voice.
I go on walks and notice colors of houses and what people do with their yard.  I
     might come home with sticks or other things I’ve picked up and include them
     in an artwork.
I go to the mall and look at window designs and come home with ideas.
I carry a notebook in my purse at all times and write down ideas as they come to
     me.  

Ann Marie and a young summer camper make a 3-D version of Jackson Pollock's Cathedral.

 

What most inspires you? 

All creative people inspire me; I am a reader of biographies.  The last biography I read was about Andrew Wyeth, and his story had a huge impact on me.   When I was a teenager, I read everything I could about Andy Warhol.  He showed me how to live life creatively in every way: his life was like art, like a crazy novel.  Laurie Anderson also inspires me.  I’ve been watching YouTube videos of her and reading everything I can about her.   

Tell us your idea of a perfect day.  

To wake up and have my dreaming time, and then to move from one medium to another and keep moving around.  For instance, I might start with creative writing, then move on to a recycled wool project, then on to a recycled bottle-cap project, and then come back and re-read my writing.  I like to work on multiple projects, so my ideal environment is a warehouse (I’ve taken over three rooms in our house).   

Have you made any resolutions for 2010?  

Yes, to develop as a performance artist, not just a storyteller.  Performance art is first and foremost experimental, and performance artists are true pioneers.  They are risk-takers.  They mix the visual with sound with storytelling with conceptual ideas and movement.  It is so open-ended, and I like the freedom of it.  

Become immersed in Ann Marie’s imaginary worlds at upcoming Late Nights and Family Celebrations.  On January 30, Anne Marie will co-teach a family workshop in the Tech Lab.  She will also be featured in programs during March as the Center for Creative Connections visiting artist.  In addition, Ann Marie will teach several summer art camps in 2010.  

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