Featured Artist: Sheri Heller
Sheri Heller is a psychotherapist by profession who began taking photos as a teenager wanting to capture the beauty of her surroundings when she travelled. She credits her father’s artistry as well as her own interest in the Great Masters for giving her an affinity for the visual. Sheri says that traveling to new lands and being exposed to new cultures was a refuge for her from difficult circumstances. Photographing her travels allowed her to memorialize her experiences that sustained her, much like an author would jot down the details of important events. For Sheri, this ritual of eternalizing moments through photography is an ongoing process in her life.
She kindly agreed to answer some questions for Creativation Space below:
Your photography is stunning. Have you displayed or marketed your photos? If yes, how do you market your artwork?
Recently a friend invited me to display my travel photography at a wine-tasting in NYC. Through my Flickr photo stream, I’ve donated select images for educational books and sundry-like resources. However, putting energy into marketing my photography has not been a focal point- in fact at the wine tasting event a friend who is a fellow photographer, playfully admonished me for not pricing my exhibited work! Having my images monetarily defined somehow feels out of sync with my intention to share an aesthetically pleasing experience through my photography. However, I certainly see the significance with ascribing monetary value to the fruits of one’s artistic expression. It just doesn’t feel commensurate with where I currently am.
Did you consider yourself creative when you were a child?
In general I think children are naturally creative, as our defense is less elaborate and solidified and our subconscious imaginings are more accessible. The difficult conditions I grew up with were conducive to my seeking solace through books, music, my imagination, and acting/theater when I was 10 years old. As a child, creativity and the arts offered me respite from the internal and external chaos in my life. Writing stories allowed me the means to channel my struggles and at the same time get distance from them. I found identification through books and music and endeavored to play the violin and guitar. Acting was a cathartic release, and surprisingly so since I was a very self-enclosed shy child. On a fundamental level being able to appreciate the beauty found in art and to give expression to that part of myself offered me the hope of an alternate reality where difficulties are given higher meaning and truths are told.
Tell us a little about yourself, what you do and if you have any creative projects planned currently or for the future.
I am a New York State licensed clinical social worker, certified addiction specialist, Ericksonian hypnotist, and interfaith minister. My love of, and involvement in the arts lends itself to perceiving healing as a creative process, and accordingly, to access the creative resources within all of us that lead to actualization. I am the founder of the Sistah Tribe-Phoenix Project, and I have co-authored the play “Let the Phoenix Rise” which has been performed for traditional audiences and marginalized, traumatized, and culturally under-served women and girls in the public sector. “Let the Phoenix Rise” is a reference and a catalyst for the young women in recovery, to tell their own stories via poetry, fairytale, mask work, dramatization, and through a variety of fine art mediums that will morph their ideas and words into visual form. Its full production is planned for mid summer 2012.
Please share with us how do you sustain your creativity throughout the years?
My steadfast commitment to self examination and growth is a daily creative process. Working with my own, and others subconscious material , organically inspires me to give creative form to ideas existing beneath the realm of conscious awareness. Being a viewer of theater and performance, a listener of music , and an appreciator of the fine arts keeps me engaged and open to diverse forms of expression which ignite in myself the desire to tap into that resource as well. Travel also fuels that desire for exploration and risk-taking that creativity requires. Lastly, being as authentic and truthful as I can be, so that I can allow my Self to speak through whatever endeavors I undertake is integral to my channeling my creative impulses.
You can find more of Sheri’s travel photos here
The Phoenix Project Therapeutic Theater Collective
Tax Deductible Donation Site for The Phoenix Project