We had the good fortune of connecting with Cyndy Carstens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cyndy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is really about possibilities. Without taking chances our lives tend to stalemate and we become less than our dreams. Playing it safe all the time, our dreams simply fade away into a reality that is unrewarding and dull. One must find a balance between uncertainty and security. For instance, I am not going to gamble my life on unsafe driving habits or invest my hard-earned moneys into an unknown enterprise/entity who makes promises they cannot possibly keep. Also, I find those who risk their lives for the thrill of a moment incredibly stupid or lacking in self-appreciation. I like the word possibilities. It gives my own dreams wings. I knew from a young age I wanted to be a full-time professional artist but I had no idea what that would look like; which roads I would need to travel; or even the slightest clue how to get there. Stepping out into a world I knew nothing about was frightening but I knew without risking failure, I would never know success. That has pretty much been the story of my life. People telling me that I need to “play it safe.” Don’t start your own business, you will fail. Don’t study art, you will fail. Don’t move your family to another state where you don’t know anyone, you will fail. Don’t open an art business during a recession, you will fail. I guess I have never been very good at taking advice from naysayers. Roadblocks are generally put in place to stop you from doing something deemed dangerous. I prefer to think of life’s roadblocks as an incentive to find a different path . . . to believe in the possibilities.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Finding one’s voice in making art is not as easy a challenge as one would like to believe. It takes a lot of effort, years of practice and plenty of frustration, to find your voice through art making. It is not simply a matter of perfecting techniques. It is what you “say” with those techniques. Think of it this way – making art that speaks is similar to the difference between someone to plays the piano and a maestro pianist. It is not the notes but the way in which they are pronounced – with emotion, resolution, and sensation. That is art – in all genres. For me like many artists, my art-making floundered around experimenting, trying this or that, and finding limited success. It was not until my heart was shattered, my life turned upside-down and I felt completely lost – helpless – did my art-making start to whisper in a clear voice. After 15 years of listening to my art’s voice, it is no longer only a whisper but sings with full expression. It is said the best art (visual, musical, composed word, or theatrical) comes from tortured souls. I believe that to be true – but it is one of those things that until you live it, you doubt its validity. In its simplest term, my art-making is about hope – and sharing that hope to everyone who sees the work. I could rattle on about conceptual ideas, philosophical or literal meanings, but the truth is much less complicated. “I paint light and light is hope.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Favorite Restaurant: – Cafe Forte, Scottsdale, AZ Most fun/interesting places to visit: The Arts District in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ – especially The Scottsdale Artwalk The Musical Instrument Museum, Scottsdale, AZ Tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture – Taliesin at Sunset, Scottsdale, AZ Cattle Track Arts Compound, Scottsdale, AZ Downtown Glendale Historic District, Glendale, AZ Picnic at Indian School Park, Phoenix, AZ.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Success, no matter what definition it is given, cannot be achieved on our own. The old cliche, “It takes a village,” is true in every part of our lives. We do not exist in individual little bubbles. I never really think of myself as successful, per se. I am a work in progress, and to that end, I think I always will be. My husband and children are my heroes. Without their support (and sometimes doubt), I know in my heart I would be nowhere close to who I am or where I am. The risks I have taken over the years have involved them in every step and had an affect on their lives as well as mine (some good, some not so good). One of my college professors once told me the difference between a successful artist and one who fails is not talent – it is determination. I pray my decisions and persistence has made a positive impression on my children. I want them to know they can grow as big as their dreams.
Twitter: Carstens Fine Art @CarstensCyndy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cyndy.carstens/ and https://www.facebook.com/CarstensFineArt/