***Flygirl Fridays***

I had the opportunity to take a course called "Flying Lessons" given by a very talented artist - Kelly Rae Roberts. It was an excellent course that covered such topics as letting go of yours fears, going after your true passion, and many other things. One of the best things about the course was, I got meet and learn about a lot of talented artists, all in on different paths, but all working towards making their dreams come true and learning to take flight. Flygirl Fridays is all about these wonderfully talented people and a little bit about them, so you can get to know them as well!

Please join me in welcoming
Jade Scarlett!
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jade Scarlett, I’m from Sao Paulo, Brazil but I have been living in New York City for the past 21 years. I’m newlywed and I have a 16y.o. son from a previous marriage. I was raised in an environment where art was not only discouraged but I was also told constantly that I had no talent and should therefore abandon any silly ideas about being an artist when I grew up, despite the fact that all I ever wanted was to be one. It took me many years to find the courage to start making art regardless of the fact that I didn’t believe I had the right to. Eight years ago I was very ill, suffering from a profound depression resulted from a deadly battle with an eating disorder that nearly killed me. It was through art therapy that I finally found the strength to overcome my demons and allow my childhood dreams of being an artist to surface. It wasn’t easy, the voices inside my head were very strong, telling me every second of every day how I didn’t have the right to do it, asking me constantly who did I think I was to have the nerve to walk into an art store and buy pencils and paints and dare to make art. I remember clearly the way I felt when I had my first painting lesson. My acrylic painting set was neatly arranged on my desk and for that one hour the teacher was there with me, I was nervous, frightened but ecstatic. After she left, I washed the brushes, emptied the water container and arranged everything neatly again. That entire week I had to wait until my next lesson, I didn’t dare to even touch anything, after all, who did I think I was to try and paint by myself? I simply gazed at it longingly, anxiously waiting for the next class and that magic moment I would have “permission” to experience the thrill of holding a brush and making marks on the canvas again. It was a long road to finally free myself from the fear that held me back, it took me a long time to find the confidence to draw and paint without the teacher. Art saved me, literally, from spiraling down into the never ending hell that living with an eating disorder is. Slowly but surely, the voices that were keeping me from living a happy and healthy life were being silenced by the other, much more important voice that helped me sort the mysteries of color theory, painting techniques, and the like. More and more I would just tell my demons to shut up already, I’m too busy figuring out the value range in this painting, or what colors to use or something like that.

Two years ago, life decided to play a cruel joke on me and once again I was battling depression. For two years, I went to numerous doctors trying to find out what was happening to me. Without any changes in my diet, I started to gain a tremendous amount of weight, and for someone still recovering from an eating disorder, that was a major blow. I was finally diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome, caused by a tumor in my brain, which made my body produce excessive amounts of cortisol, thus the weight gain. Art once again played a major role in my road to recovery. After surgery to remove the tumor, many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, the Cushing’s was somewhat under control but because the ordeal had a tremendous psychological impact on my still fragile psyche, my doctors decided I needed a different approach in therapy and knowing how important art was in my life, they sent me to a shrink who was also an artist. Blessed be that man, who understood from the very beginning that the way to approach me was not from a shrink/patient point of view, but to create an artist to artist relationship. Our sessions were more like a casual meeting between two artist buddies and by using unconventional methods, he was able to help me overcome the aftermath of the disease, dealing with the depression and bringing me back to life. Art had saved me again. It’s been two years now, I feel much better, still dealing with health issues, some days are better than others, but for the most part, art is what keeps me going, and gives me the strength to overcome anything. I wouldn’t know how to live a life without getting my hands all messy with paint and ink and glue and just having a great time creating art that speaks to me and heals my soul by silencing the voices that have hurt me for so long. Ultimately, through art I have learned to accept the simple truth that I *am* worthy, I do deserve to be happy and do the things I love most in life and most important of all, to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all.

What is something that you really love, and why?
I love teaching; I really have a passion for it. I used to teach EFL years ago and more recently I started teaching decorative painting. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I’m teaching, I came to understand that my biggest satisfaction is to see that bright light in my student’s eyes when they have that wow moment where they realize they too can do it, whether is being able to speak and understand English or paint something they love.

What would your dream project be?
My dream is to have a large studio/gallery/art store/art school that would function as a meeting place for other artists to display and sell their art, work collaboratively, teach classes, sell art supplies and also have a partnership with an art therapist willing to offer their services for free to help young girls to overcome eating disorders through art and in the process, realize how worthy, deserving and unique they are. I know how important that is and how the term “Art Saves” is indeed very true.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I ever received was from my grandmother, who taught me that there’s much strength to find in community. Life’s hardships are better dealt with when we have a strong support system to help us overcome obstacles. It took me a long time to learn how to trust that I didn’t have to be alone, that I was worthy of receiving help.

Where does your inspiration come from?
I find inspiration in everything around me. The beauty of nature, an exceptionally gorgeous sunset, the feeling of the wind brushing against my face, the music of my favorite musicians, the changing of the seasons, gazing into the eyes of my love, paintings of my favorite artists, a smile on my son's face, and even in the most mundane of activities such as watching suds forming on the surface of a dish I'm washing. Inspiration is everywhere, in everything, all the time if only we allow ourselves to be open to the beauty and poetry of everything around us.

What do you think is the biggest thing holding you back?
Fear, I guess. Even though I have learned to trust myself and just do what I love, there are still moments where I catch myself asking who do you think you are. I want my art to make a difference, to speak the truth that is hidden deep within my soul and there are times I feel I hold back and I don’t necessarily translate those feelings into my paintings. That’s when I usually experience a creative block, when I look at my pieces and think that everything is very “vanilla” and I’m not allowing my true self to speak. I want to paint with abandonment and I feel that fear is the primary thing holding me back from doing so. Fear that I’m not going to be able to make that kind of art, fear that no one will understand or even like what I’m trying to say, fear that I’m being overly influenced by the artists I admire and thus not allowing my own style to shine through, and I guess most of all, just plain fear that I’m not good enough, that I’m a fraud, not a real artist.

What change do you think would most help your business grow?
Definitely, better time management. I work full time, I have a family to take care of and therefore I only have a small amount of time left to dedicate to making art “and” tending to my business. I get overwhelmed often because I don’t know what to do first. I’m trying to create a schedule and follow it strictly to hopefully improve my time management skills.

What’s the biggest thing that you took with you from Flying Lessons?
The community, without a question. Even though I don’t spend as much time as I wish I could in the FB group, just knowing that all those amazing artists are there to support each other in a loving, caring and non-judgemental way gives me such a joy. That’s very precious to me; I really love being a part of such an incredible group!

Thank you so much for the honor of giving you this interview, Violet. I know how much I enjoy reading  your blog and I hope I others will enjoy reading my interview as well. This has been at the same time difficult but freeing, I still find it very hard to be open about myself, but I’m glad I didn’t hold back and just said it how it is. Shine Brightly!

You can read my artistic musings on my blog:http://jadescarlettart.blogspot.com/

I'm also on:
Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/JadeScarlett?ref=si_shop
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/JadeScarlettArt
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/jadefantasyart/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jadescarlettart
My FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jade-Scarlett-Mixed-Media-Art/194214697264692