Meet Kelsie Grazier
Hello Lady! Introduce yourself!
Hi there! My name is Kelsie and I am from the suburbs of Vancouver in small town called Ladner. You will often find me painting with a cup of tea and my cats nearby in my home studio on the water.
What does being a creative mean to you?
Being a creative means that I look at the world differently. I am often seeing color compositions in sunsets; I get grumpy if I haven’t painted in a few days; I am okay with spending hours and hours alone in my studio; my house must be visually pleasing and calming otherwise I feel uneasy; I am inspired by my surroundings and often think “oh- that would be nice to paint”; it means that it feels like Christmas every time I have new art supplies; and when I connect with other creatives it is nice to know they get it.
Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?
I don’t remember a definitive moment but more of an innate understanding growing up. When I was 8, I began painting classes with a well-established local artist. I do know for sure that I looked forward to every Tuesday after school, to continue on my painting while drinking the best hot chocolate ever. I still have my first painting, hydrangeas on a bench done with acrylic on canvas. I continued the classes until I graduated school in grade 12 while also taking as many high school art courses as I could.
I was surprised to be accepted into a fine arts diploma program when I applied on a whim! Then I transferred to our local art and design university. It was so inspiring to have teachers who had their own art practice outside of teaching. I lost that innate understanding when I went on to become a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and I didn’t paint for many years because the studies took priority. I grew up with a moderate hearing level, but it wasn’t until a devastating blow of losing all my hearing not long after starting my teaching job, that I realized I HAD to be creative. Now, I don’t compromise one or the other but I do both part-time.
What is your favorite work ritual?
When I enter my studio, I put on my apron. This simple act is significant because it means that my mind has been cued to prepare to paint. This gesture became important to me when one of my art teachers explained the significance of a uniform when you enter your workspace. Many other professions have this, and it helps to bring a formality to your process. It is a ritual of quieting your external stresses and an act of intention to create.
Among the obvious reasons, I need to have a clear space before I can work. In my intuitive painting process is easy to smear and transfer the oil paint onto my desk, which can end up wrecking the whole piece! Also, I must have a cup of tea nearby, but I don’t always remember to go back downstairs to make it after I have boiled the kettle!
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
When I feel overwhelmed, I can’t think clearly. This is when I need to step back and process what is going on. It helps me to have to-do lists in my business planner to chunk my time in the day and know my deadlines. I often embed some self-care by having an epsom bath and meditating. Meditation and mindfulness is something I began doing when I felt I had no control over my sudden hearing loss and permanent roaring tinnitus. Using meditation as a coping strategy has helped all areas of my life, but boy, is it a hard thing to practice! I can hear again now, thanks to cochlear implants, but I still meditate because I have found so many benefits from it.
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
Courage – It takes a huge amount of courage to take that first (second/third/tenth) leap in. But also courage is needed to put your work out there, which feels so vulnerable because often you have put your heart into your work. It takes courage to let down your guard and allow the world to judge a piece of you.
Tenacity – Creating is the easy part! It takes a lot of tenacity to put the in hours behind the scenes to operate a business. There are going to be shit times (no, really) but it is your tenacity that will keep you going to begin fresh another day.
Curiosity – I believe that we are lifelong learners; it doesn’t end the moment we get out of school. School is just a space or maybe a tool where you learned how to explore. Let your curiosity guide your practice, allow yourself to ask “what if I…” Don’t be afraid to ask questions for the answers you don’t know. Allow your questions to have questions.
What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful?
I love this quote by Maya Angelou, “success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” I think that is just it; success is when you are content with your life. There is no definition for achievement because it is individual to each person, success is all relative. I think chasing your dreams, pushing past barriers, doing your best until you know better, and being true to yourself will lead to success. I think I am successful when I allow space for what makes me feel balanced and I am authentically myself. Also, I will feel like I am thriving when I have helped and inspired other people in my journey.
What has been the best advice you have received?
The best advice I have received is from my mom, my whole life she has been my biggest advocate. She taught me work ethic and self-advocacy because growing up I watched her spend 14 years in school part time to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher. Even when I didn’t always want to hear it, she will say, ‘you have to go and do it yourself, because no one is going to do it for you.’ At the same time, she says, ‘it never hurts to ask.’ For me those go hand in hand, if you want to achieve something, you must be willing to put in the time, but if you need help or advice or friendship, ANYTHING, you can always ask for it. What’s the worst they can say?
Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational?
Okay, so I feel a little embarrassed to admit this because I didn’t really watch her talk shows and I get major eye rolls when I mention her name, but, a woman I find hugely inspirational is Oprah. The work she does with her Super Soul Sunday show and the people she interviews are uplifting and motivate me to live my best life. However, one of the main reasons I admire her, is for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. I have visited the country and it is beautiful but definitely has its challenges. I watched a documentary on how the school began and cried. I bawled for the girls being interviewed who were so positive despite coming from hard upbringings, I cried to see these girls and women support each other in a world that often pushes each other down, and I cried because I was so inspired. I would love to open a school with a creative philosophy for underprivileged deaf students. Maybe one day, who knows!
To follow along with Kelsie's art work visit here!