PomonaLIFE is much like Pomona California, but it is not in any relation. I am a classics minor from the University of Guelph and an English Lit major, so for me Pomona is the Roman Goddess of fruit of abundance who is particular with the craft of cultivation, and she is associated with the harvest and the cornucopia, and I mirror that to artist.
We spend months, days and years cultivating our craft and then we really sit for the community to enjoy, so whether it would be music, food, or visual art expression, it’s a way to bring people together to show off our personal style and expression in a community environment. So for me PomonaLIFE is about sharing the gifts that we have and to bring people in.
When I do my shows locally, or when I travel its sourcing that local vineyard to bring the wine, that chef to show off his unique style, that yoga person coming in and doing demonstration, or somebody doing a dance, that’s anything that makes us feel good. And I found my artistic voice because it was stifled for so long, that when my mom passed away a few years ago, it prompted new inquiry for me to go deep and figure out what makes me happy, what makes my soul sing. And it turns out its drawing. And it’s creating these environments where expression is a livelihood, as much as it is an accent to what we do. And I just promote the arts, and it’s a journey.
2. So you talked about your mom passed, was that the spark or inspiration that led you to develop your artistic career and creating PomonaLIFE?
Yes to branch out, pun intended. 🙂 So my art focus is on trees, my white to black ink, on paper specifically, and I do different things, mixed media projects with them. But why trees?
It’s a voice that has been with me for such a long time, just a fascination with mother nature, and my own reverence, and spending a lot of time in cottage country growing up. My mom was a big supporter in everything I did and when she passed, it was almost like I started to draw life. These trees are growing within me. It’s a whisper that I follow and listen to and because its all stippling and pointillism, and it take such a long time to grow one of these pieces, it mirrors a tree, in how long a tree takes to grow. But it’s also the connection between maybe the ethereal and the spiritual world and actually this physical world.
So yea when mom passed away, I started drawing this conduit and it made me feel really close to her, because she wasn’t necessarily here physically to comment on what I was doing, but when I am drawing, I feel like she sits with me. Spending a lot of time with her growing up we had a cottage very remote, so there weren’t a lot of kids around during the summer time when we would be out there. So it was again, that time whatever she was doing or what I was doing, we were sharing space together, and I find that to be very comforting and soothing for every aspect of my life.
So whenever I have a bad day or maybe a conversation didn’t go very well, or maybe I just need a time out, I pick out a pen and a piece of paper and that’s my healing. And that’s how I am able to deal with everything that comes my way. I am currently writing a book right now called, Creating Life Art. And it uses these skills of... just going to the catacombs of your mind, and don’t worry about what you are going to create at the end, just know that you are giving yourself that space, to make a new recipe, to do that dance, to write that song, to just breathe in that freedom.
And as we know in whatever, whether it is a survival job and working as a waitress to pay those bills because we are working on that play, or you enjoy being a lawyer, but maybe there’s something else within the lawyer that we can do that we want to do.. whatever it is that is necessary to get the bills paid, we still have that other side of us that we need to cultivate, and that’s balance, that’s health. And my mission is to promote that and as much as it is to live it.
Community, so the community that we build within our family, the community we build within our friends, maybe within our profession. My 4 key values in life that I extend to PomonaLIFE are authenticity, connection, community, and confidence. What aligns, what’s my truth, what’s my integrity, well is my value system and its those top 4.
And so when the going gets tough, I create personally, but then I also reach out support other creators and that makes me feel good. If I’m not being able to do something right in my life necessary, then I want to go out and help someone else and doing the good makes me feel good. Also in aligning with different programs, whether it be volunteering, my background is in education, so sometimes I would go do free tutorials for elementary kids or high school kids just to show that resources, we get so bogged down that we won’t actually see things clearly, it’s nice to have someone else to say, hey we’ll try this.
Mama nature! I have a photographer just go out and see something new. My tag line as an artist is “the skins of trees have an inside voice.”
So for me, the skin of a tree is the metaphor like you say.. and it is also a mirror to people. There’s not one tree that is the same as all the other trees. There’s not one person that is the same as everyone else. You know we may have similar cultures, or ethnicities, but we are all individuals and that is the same of the tree. It’s also, its such an awe, it shows me - I can’t explain it except that when I get bored, yea, I will switch to something else.
But I mean so far, there’s been.. I want to say thousands that I’ve produced. I’ve been doodling my whole life. I didn’t call myself an artist until when mom passed when I started producing bodies of work, because they grew pass the size of the coaster, that was that concept of where my mind is going to take me. And honestly, whenever I need inspiration, it’s a blank piece of paper. You know it’s a feeling, it’s a song, its an emotion, it’s something else going on. I don’t premeditate what I create, that’s another unique part of how I draw, I have no idea what I’m drawing, it just comes out. And I’m just as surprised as you of what comes out at the end. It’s just a matter of me having the patience to get there. And it is passion that drives me and letting go. Complete freedom.
5. What are some other ways where art and creativity can add value to our lives besides in the form of expression?
Survival. I mean we don’t all look the same, so why should we all dress the same. You know? I love fashion, I’m not a stylist, but I love how I can play any role by just what I am wearing. And its about feeling good, living good, and that come in every area of our life. How we cultivate the garden outside our home, what kind of car we drive, sure.. but its expression is everything.
You can’t be stifled, and that’s the beauty of it, and that’s the joy of living. My goodness, you know that’s why we have variety, that’s why we don’t just have one store to shop at. That’s why we have multiple, and then is also doing good embedded within what we purchase. The future of my art and PomonaLIFE is working on collaborative projects where you buy a T-shirt from me and it’s eco- friendly wear and I’ll have a charity align with it, you are buying good you are feeling good, because I’m helping build a rainforest. Or there’s a certain tree that I’ve drawn that goes to children hunger in Africa or I work with a jeweler who is upcycling and taking garbage and turning it into something beautiful that we are wearing. It’s about aligning and helping one another within the community as much as it is showing off our individual style.
Yea, go left instead of right. If you are a painter, pick up a pencil. I mean I took a painting class the other day, and it was fun! I mean, for me I don’t use a lot of color because color evokes emotion. And my pieces are so emotional with the black and white. And the propensity between the black ink and the page and what’s growing and coming out, it is its own piece. But I enjoy color too of course I do. And I want to play in there, and experience that.
So just do something different and don’t be afraid, and I get down on myself (of course I do), but at the end of the day I take a deep breath and I realize, wow.. you know.. nothing is ever wasted. I recycle 90% of my products, my materials, whether it be a larger piece and the little scraps of paper I put into another collection called, my feel good collection or I even take things around my house and remake them. Your mason jar becomes something else, like for a plant. I’m always creative, finding a new way to look at things, and also the people I meet always inspire me too. Don’t ever estimate the conversations you have in the coffee line, or in the grocer. They are these little universal nudges that bring us together, we are magnetic beings, and once you understand that you know everyone in your circle has a message for you. As much as you have one for them, its also about listening to what’s going around us also.
(Theresa) And it’s so amazing how every second of your life, there’s an opportunity to create.
Yes! yea get discouraged, but don’t get discourage. Don’t let it snowball you. Like I say for me its community, its reaching out to certain people that I know when I’m having a moment, especially in writing, my editor is my BFF. Take a breath. I preach balance, but I don’t always live it. Because I get so stuck in my head, because of all these things and all these projects I want to do. And so for me its the disconnect to reconnect, its just turn off the phone, go for that walk. And I get a lot of inspiration just by putting my feet in the ground, and hugging a tree.. I know..
(Theresa) Totally. I just love how everything is an art. Life is an art, cooking is an art, like everything in our life is an art. And trying to find that balance and what that is for you.
7. What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their artistic career to help them gain the confidence to pursue it and get their work out there?
Start local - whether it’s the museums, the cultural events, looking at the resources that are accessible to you that are free. So meetups, whatever your area of interest is, and building in that local community, to inspire, and to also to be inspired. And have a survival job, so have something else you are doing on the side.
For me I’ve always been in hospitality, whether it be food and beverage where there’s some interaction where I’m connecting with people all the time. I’m an introvert/extrovert, but when I put on my waitressing belt, or I put on that suit, its I’m interacting with people so I’m getting out of the house, and I’m able to support myself. But then I’m also networking, because I’m a personality too, and people want to get to know me. And it’s nice to have these passion that is aligned with my art. And sometimes this generates free business, because people get to know you and they like your brand. I mean art is branding, it’s about having a product that people want.
So I’m a big fan of cross-pollination. I mean I’ll go to business networking events, where it’s a bunch of suit. I’m not in finance or business but I like to see the other side, because these are potentially my clients, because I can go into their home and recreate their personal space or I can do something within their business space, but it’s the fact that once we branch out, pun intended, we are able to do something different that’s not necessarily part of us but we realize it really is, and that we are all really mirrors of one another.
(Theresa) Beautiful, so is that how you transcend the ‘starving artist’ cliché?
Yes. Definitely, you have to. It’s also like the roles we play in life. The mother, father, the child, the CEO, the temp, whatever it is our role is. We have so many hats to play, it’s just about how we show up, but when we consistently show up in our truth, the universe aligns with us, and brings us the opportunities. It’s not easy. Nothing in life is easy. It’s a journey, it’s not a destination. And you know if you ask me an hour ago, of course no, I’m not successful, and if you ask me right now, of course, yes, I’m successful. It’s just a matter of perception that I want to have. And setting goals, reaching those platforms that make us feel good because I did that today.
And I would say with artist especially, have a body of work that you can stand on, have a body of work that tells a story, that talks about who you are, why you create, where you find inspiration, and how you create and where you are going? Much like your creating your resume for your future employer, picture your art as your resume.
(Theresa to audience) What Andrea says here is so brilliant and is so applicable for anyone who is pursuing your dreams in doing something you love.
And that’s partly of what I’m also working on with artist, called ‘Creating Life Art’. And it helps package art and your voice into a body of work that gets you grants, that can get you into that door for that exhibit. It’s amazing whenever I am having a bad day, and I pick up my portfolios and I look through them, and I’m like oh yeah, I did that. I’m so busy looking ahead that sometimes I forget where I come from.
Yea, my book. The theme is ‘How I Change My Life With A Pen.’ And I’m very grateful for all of my learning curves and experiences. I’ve almost lost my life a few times. So I’m here for a reason, and there is a purpose in this. And seeing you know my mom was sick for a little while and seeing her courage and her passion and her love, and all the gifts that she gave us, and that she is still giving us you know. She’s physically not here, but she is so here because I’m a living embody of her. I mean I look like her when she got married and its something as I get older, I look more like her, and I feel like that’s something I can hold on to in such a beautiful way, then I want to show other people that death is not finite, as much as we believe it to be. Because we are infinitely abundant if we just keep doing this cultivating and growing and sharing and building, and so that’s my biggest one. It’s don’t get discouraged, keep going, because there’s a lesson in here for me and that also I know I can help others.
(Theresa) And I love how you say death is not finite, it’s about the legacy that you leave behind.
Yea, and it’s as simple as a recipe you’ve given. It doesn’t have to be huge. It’s a hug, it’s a smile, it’s an impression.
Unfortunately, a good family member passed away last night, and that’s been a jolt and it puts a lot of things into perspective. Again, it was a brain tumor, and it took him very quickly. My mom had a brain aneurism, and the doctor said it was a miracle that she survived. Her body lived, but part of her didn’t live. When she finally passed, it was breast cancer that got her at the time. It’s one of those things, we are more durable than we give ourselves credit for (our physical body), but there’s so much more to the physical body. I celebrate death, It’s a transition, it’s a change, and its all about how we use what we are given and that’s a big thing.
(Theresa) I’m sorry for your loss but I love your attitude about celebrating death, and what it means and what it transcends into.
Yea, like you said it is the legacy, it’s the fact that we were here and there’s a reason. I mean he had a beautiful and wonderful life, and yes we are all sad, especially his immediate family, but he can do so much good still because we resurrect his memory and we apply the goodness, and its beautiful and its how I look at my mom. And we have those memories and feelings to draw from.
"Urgency points you in the wrong direction” – A Hicks, especially in business. I learned the hard way right?
(Theresa) Yup I hear you.
And "Change with change, grow with change; prosper with change." – A. Currie
And my favorite quote that is part of my tag line is
"When there is vulnerability there is love, when there is love there is creating." - A. Currie
And that’s how I live, because it wasn’t until I got knocked down, when mom passed, did I start drawing right? Survival for me. And it wasn’t necessary like I’m gong to make money doing this. It was more like I don’t want to feel like shit so I’m going to do what makes me feel happy. And it just happens to be millions and millions of miniscule dots on a page.
(Theresa) – well you are an amazing artist. Your creations are just phenomenal. Check out some of Andrea’s amazing work here.
So I post everything, I’m constantly blogging, so PomonaLIFE. I’m on twitter, facebook, instagram, so just stay connected within the community. You are going to be inspired daily, whether it be a quote or a tree. And as you know I’m constantly feeding out love and goodness into the world. And transmuting any negativity that comes through as just love and you know learning curves. And announcements will always come up on my feed too of what I’m doing. I do a lot of stuff within wellness community, in acupuncture clinics, or massage clinics, I have a couple of affiliates in BC and Toronto and that’s where I’ve been showing my art right now. Working around the galleries, so just stay connected through the social media. I support artist too. So tag me, I link you, I pass it on. My facebook page is where I put a lot other artists work too. I’m a lover not a fighter.