I started Promoting Passion years ago. It was a way of bringing together two seemingly opposed words: promoting, and passion. What if, I thought, we could learn to share our passion confidently, and in doing so inspire others to be confident in their passion? How could that change the world?

I started a blog.

And then a convention.

And now a tour.

Because education, inspiration, and community should be accessible. Because without a family of creative weirdos, we too often feel alone. Because why the hell not.

Six weeks ago I set out on the Promoting Passion tour. This tour allowed us to come together as a family of 800. With sponsorship from Sony and Sony Alpha Female, I was able to bring accessible education and inspiration around the world.

I visited: London, Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Toronto, Vancouver, and Melbourne. Without Sony believing in the message of Promoting Passion, I could not have made this tour possible, and certainly not at the price point I was able to. They went all in to support us.

I just got home from spending 5 weeks on the road. It was a grueling schedule. Travel – event – travel – event – repeat. I would have broken under the pressure of it if not for my best and most trusted friend, KD. She was there every step of the way to support, encourage, and lift us all up. When the curtains closed, she cleaned every event space, made sure I had food to eat at the end of a 12 hour event day, carried bags and boxes, and truly cared about all of our well-being. If you have one goal in this life, it should be to find a friend that comes close to her. It is rare, and she is precious.

The theme of the tour was legacy. How do you cultivate a legacy with all the noise around us? What steps can we take to roadmap our way to being legends?

I laid it out as best as I could: my own personal path to legacy, and an open invitation for others to join me. It was beautiful. There were so many tears and so many laughs. Thousands of hugs. New friends and old. Paths forged before my eyes. Artists blooming everywhere I looked.

Not all of us get to understand the impact we can have on others in our lifetime. But I witnessed on this tour, without a doubt, that we are all making a dent. That we are all touching someone. That we have the ability to exceed our most narrow limitations and to soar above our potential.

But only – ONLY – if you respond to the call. If you respond to your ability to make change.

Response – ability. Take it or leave it. That is the choice we are all given.

Each group was so different. The energies different, the hugs, the talks, the essence of each tour stop. But one thing remained. We are all artists, and we have something to say. With resilience and pride I watched people find their legacy, watched them say it out loud for the first time, or embody it truly.

My legacy is to inspire creativity in others. Or at least, that’s what it is right now. This tour made me feel like I’m getting closer to that legacy. And it made me want to reach higher, gain more, and give more.

I am so very thankful for everyone who joined me on tour. To everyone who gave me a hug, gave me a knowing look, let me know we are connected, let me know I am not alone in my fears. To everyone – you are my creative family, and with each other we raise the tide for everyone.

I will leave you with a quote that I shared in my lecture on tour, one that I hope you are taking to heart right now, and one that inspires me to keep chasing my legacy:

“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

If you came on tour with me, I’d love to hear your takeaways. And if I didn’t get to see you this time, then next time, it’s for you.

Sending you all my most precious creative energy,

  • July 2, 2019 - 8:02 am

    SarahJ - Brooke, dearest Brooke! I am so happy I was able to attend in NYC and see so many creatives I’ve met before and also meet some new ones. Thank you for all that you do for this community, you are truly a blessing of an artist. I have recently decided to forge down the path of fine art and do it my way no matter what others think of it. It’s an often dark and scary road but there’s something I have learned from you and others in the industry like you, I am not alone. I know I have others to help me learn, grow and share my fears with and that is a beautiful thing. So thank you for giving of your time and your energy to help people like me realize our dreams, our legacy. <3 SJRVReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2019 - 8:11 am

    Sue - Brooke has this way of empowering others without sense of judgment. This coupled with a group of creative minds in one room given the freedom to be as weird and wonderful as they wanted and create with their own unique intent was something truly special. I’ve always had similar ideals and goals and it was freeing to be invited to be a part of something bigger than myself all while contributing as only I can. We all have something to offer this world and sometimes it takes someone believing in you to replenish that spirit within us. Thank you Brooke. The “burden” I left behind has already bloomed within days of letting it go. Just amazing. Thanks for always being a guiding light.ReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2019 - 11:13 am

    Alicia Robichaud - This tour was for me an event I will NEVER ever forget. I felt a huge personal growth and know that I have left with a few more people in my corner of friends. I attended the Toronto Location and while it was difficult for me to make it there the cost of the conference made it so much easier to have to pay for the hotel and airfare. I felt so blessed to be in the presence of so much creative force. Both in Brooke, Danielle De Silva and all of the other attendees. I also feel like I left a part of myself behind when I left. A part that no longer served me, a burden I have been carrying for far too long. I have now started working on my very 1st self portrait project. I don’t exactly have my legacy put into words yet but one thing I learned is that I need to take the time to really know myself deeply and authentically. It is okay to be lost and it is okay for that to be difficult but in the end I will come out the other side, having found the light that was in there all along. Thank you Brooke for inspiring me not just on this tour but always. You’re energy, kindness and light shine through always and it was amazing to finally meet you in person.ReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2019 - 12:16 pm

    Gallagher Green - That is such a great quote! I will try to remember it for sure.
    As you said, you have created a blog, a convention, and now a tour. I think the next step is an art college! LOL

    The way Sony has worked with you has really won them my business because they are what I love in a company.

    I have seen so many of my good friends from all over in these photos, it is so wonderful! Wish I would have been there, but the stars just didn’t aline. I will be at the next thing for sure!

    KD is so incredible, there really needs to be a festival planned to honor her! ReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2019 - 1:18 pm

    Susan Bertram - Hi Brooke! It was so great to see you and KD again. I’m so glad you were able to come to Atlanta. And I’m glad you have such a supportive friend in KD. My only regret is that I didn’t talk more people into coming with me. It was such an inspiring and motivating day – your talk would have been perfect for anyone! But it was a great shot in the arm for me. I was missing the community since leaving PPC in October. The day lifted my spirits and reminded me to keep going, no matter the fears, doubts, etc. of which I seem so plagued. And I had a wonderful coffee date with Gary and Vivian a couple of weeks ago! So glad to have connected with them. You have such a kind, open heart, and loving spirit. I’m sure you’ll inspire people for a very long time to come. I definitely got to take home a piece of the treasure. Thank you, Brooke and KD!! xoxoReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2019 - 6:11 pm

    julie powell - Hi Brooke,
    after so many years of being able to meet you, talk with you was wonderful, the whole day was wonderful and I got to share it with so many artistic friends. It has reignited my passion and help me to re-evaluate my goals and objectives. Thank you so much, I now know what I want my legacy to be and I have already started on that journey. Thank you. A big thanks to Joel and KD as well. With light and inspiration – JulieReplyCancel

  • July 3, 2019 - 4:41 pm

    Jess Breisnes - For me, purchasing a ticket to the tour, on a whirlwind impulse the last day of early bird prices, was an investment in myself. Monetarily, yes, as I have few excess funds, but more so in focus and intention. Putting myself first has never come easily to me. I would much rather obsess over those I hold close to my heart. It was a promise to myself to keep growing creatively and part of my quest to reclaim my life from the growing force of anxiety.
    I made an attempt to keep my expectations low and my mind open, having no idea what to expect and having never attended anything like this. Brooke put me at ease with a hug at the door. Every word out of her mouth was utterly fascinating and the intimate, small nature of the Vancouver event made it seem like a room of friends catching up. However I found my frustration grow as I tried to embrace thoughts of legacy.
    The word grated against my ears. It seemed all wrong for how I see myself and the work I create. This discord with the general theme initially had me feeling like a fish out of water. An imposter in a room full of true artists. The feeling stuck with me and bloomed in my thoughts. Burning away on the back burner. Trying to assess my discomfort with the idea of legacy.
    Fast forward a week and every single thing in my life has changed. Legacy as a concept crystallized abruptly in my mind on Monday night as tragedy struck my life with unanticipated force. My Mum passed away suddenly at age 64. We were as close as two people can be in one life without sharing a bed. Although we did that too, back when I was a little girl completely dependent on my kick-ass single mother.

    I find it hard to visualize my life without her. But of one thing I have become certain. My legacy. To take the ugliest parts of my life and create beautiful things with them. I couldn’t put it into words the day of the Vancouver event, but that experience was an essential catalyst and prepared me in unexplainable ways to channel my grief into something constructive.

    Timing is such a weird, wonderful, occasionally horrible thing. Thank you, Brooke, more than I can ever say, for helping me look deeper into my creative life and prepare myself for the wild unknown of the future.ReplyCancel

  • July 4, 2019 - 6:52 am

    Anne-Laure - Dearest Brooke,

    I will never be grateful enough for this. Your way of being and creativity are truly an inspiration. While I love your photos I knew I was coming to feel and soak up your energy. I arrived with a lot of anxiety and sadness and while those can hardly go away spontaneously I left so inspired and hopeful. Thank you for everything. I will soon start your online course on compositing and I hope you will reopen your online session someday. Take a good care of yourself and always stay yourself! Anne-Laure (Melbourne)ReplyCancel

  • July 18, 2019 - 3:39 pm

    Suzanne Barber - I have a whole journal of ideas and quotes and inspiration from the Dallas session. It was like a year of therapy concentrated into a single day. My biggest takeaway was probably to actually do something-even if it’s scary-even if I fail-even if it’s embarrassing. The biggest gift I received was your vulnerability. I have started re-framing my perceptions and fears. I entered an art show, and reminded myself that it was a positive step regardless of the outcome. When the fear showed up, I was able to think “this will at least make for a funny story of how I started out.” But I actually won second place in photography (even though I had not thought before that my composites counted as photography!) And when I had to hide out in the bathroom from the emotional hangover of getting the award in front of all those people, I was able to remind myself that it didn’t make me a fraud. I saw in our session that lots of others feel the same way sometimes. I have been so inspired and encouraged by your tour. It was an unexpected but welcome turning point in my life!ReplyCancel

Y’all, what a night. What a week. What a journey these few months have been. I went from a strong concept for a photo series to creating the images and knowing in my heart that it didn’t work. So, I tweaked the concept, made new images, and it failed even worse.

Then I took a step back and rethought the situation again, this time only taking into account what spoke to me and not what I thought I should be doing (why haven’t I learned by now?). And, in the past 10 days, I have produced some work that I am most proud of in all my portfolio.

But then the time came to share it with my gallery. In all these months, even as the days quickly tick by to my exhibition in June, I hadn’t shown them anything. That’s some foundational trust right there. But today I decided it was time. With 7 images nearly complete and a few more on the way, I sent it.

I shared the individual images as well as composites of how they would be exhibited. I hit send on that email and held my breath, literally refreshing my email every few seconds to see if a response had come. I was so anxious, my heart beat out of my chest. The waiting is the worst part.

What if they hate it? How will I make a whole new series in a month? How will I produce something worthy of a NYC solo exhibition? Will I have to do a retrospective of my current body of work instead of showcasing something new? What if they cancel the show?

And then all of those questions fled. The email came in. She loves it. They all love it at the gallery. And with a few words, I remembered that these relationships, while fundamentally business, are also family. JoAnne, Tayler, and everyone at the JoAnne Artman Gallery support me like I am family. They have for almost 8 years.

They took a chance on me as a baby artist. Only 23 years old with extremely little experience. They not only gave me a show with them, but they chose to represent me. To bring me up as an emerging artist and showcase my work. They believed it was important. They still do.

And that gives me chills. There are days that I can’t believe I have support like that. Mornings I wake up and doubt my vision, times I think no one cares. But then nights like this come along, where I get so much support from someone who never had to take a chance on me, and I remember how incredibly supported I am.

I can’t wait for this show. I think it’s going to be beautiful. I really do.

If you want to come to the opening, here are the details:

JoAnne Artman Gallery
511 A West 22nd St.
New York, NY 10011
Showing: June 13, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Artist’s Reception: June 13th, 2019 from 6pm-8pm

  • March 28, 2019 - 8:26 pm

    Sydney Paige Richardson - I’m so incredibly happy for you! What you have shared on Instagram is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see the images when you post them (I’m way too far away from New York). Thank you for the voicemail this evening. It was great to listen to something so happy before I go to bed! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • March 28, 2019 - 10:30 pm

    Gallagher Green - It is 12:30 AM (I am shot!) I am just finishing some re-reading and writing, and I saw this post and had to listen to it. I am so glad I did, this makes me so incredibly happy! I am aware that I only know a tiny bit of what all happened, but I know this series has been very hard for you to hunt down and find you grove with. I am so proud of you for hanging in there and doing it!
    Great job!!!ReplyCancel

  • March 29, 2019 - 6:17 am

    Mati Gelman - Ahhh your happiness resonates in your voice! I was excited to hear you talk about it. And I really can’t wait to see it when it opens in June! Woohoo!ReplyCancel

  • March 29, 2019 - 6:55 am

    Maureen Denny - Big congrats! That is incredible news. Listening to your voicemail almost made me cry happy tears for you. It’s a beautiful reminder that we all are human and experience self doubt. Pushing past it is a muscle we have to exercise. Thank you for a beautiful reminder and story. ❤️ReplyCancel

What an intense couple of weeks. I’ve worked 14-16 hour days every single day. I launched Promoting Passion. It was insane. I got a much better response than I ever thought possible. Full disclosure, my goal was 200 sign-ups in the first week and 300 total. I got 600 in the first week. I’m flabbergasted.

But in addition to launching my event, crunch time came for a series I’m working on. I started working on it seriously 3 months ago. Nothing worked. I hated everything I shot, I didn’t feel connected to it. I was trying something really different and it didn’t resonate.

I tried changing ideas and forcing my way through it. I did this up until a week ago. I found myself up to my knees in mud with a heavy cobblers shoe shooting hundreds of pictures that I knew in my gut weren’t going to work. To boot (pun intended), I did the whole shoot with a drunk man yelling at me about how interesting I looked and how life is better naked. It was weird, and I was unhappy, and well, don’t I look it in this picture?

So a week ago I did something to change my circumstance. I scrapped the series as I knew it. I changed the theme slightly. I made myself sit down to a serious brainstorming session. And it worked.

By letting go of what I thought I had to do, I embraced a whole new vision. The ideas flowed effortlessly. I started to feel connected to my creativity again. And when I went out for that first shoot, I was so happy. I felt alive.

Every shoot since then has evoked the same feeling. I’ve been out shooting every single evening for a week. Experimenting. Attempting. Succeeding. Failing. I’ve managed to make four images this week for the series. Two of them I’m iffy on, but think will work out once I edit some more. Two of them are some of my favorite images I’ve ever made.

I’m ecstatic, through the roof, so happy for my creativity to be in full swing and embracing every day. Even though the days are long, and dinners have been late, and my Star Trek consumption and book are slightly neglected…I’m so happy.

I’ll debut the series in June in NYC. More details on that later.

Sending inspiration,

P.S. If you want to join the Promoting Passion Tour, here is more information.

  • March 26, 2019 - 6:03 pm

    Stacy Honda - I needed to hear this today! You give me hope. I’ve have been trying to force creativity lately and have been getting nowhere. I know my frustration is just going to make it worse. Brainstorming with a fresh piece of paper sounds like a good idea! : )
    I’m so glad you are back to happily creating! And that grumpy looking picture with your muddy feet is hilarious: )

    Thanks for the message!ReplyCancel

  • March 26, 2019 - 10:40 pm

    Gallagher Green - In this photo, you look like you are a minute away from beating the drunk with the cobbler’s shoe. You really look fed up! And I see why. I can’t stand being around anyone that has been drinking at all. Probably due to my history, but I just want nothing to do with it!
    Two out of four is really good! And the two you have shared a bit of on Instagram look really great!

    I have been burning the midnight oil as well (it is 12:28 AM right now” my brother and I have been loading and hauling scrap metal to sell all day, and then I write until after midnight. It is a little rough, but I have to keep doing something creative.
    Can’t wait for the release of the series in June. ReplyCancel

The word is SPONTANEOUS, Brooke.

I’m letting my voicemail do the talking for this one. Mostly because I’m stressed today. And I have too many things on my to-do list. And I need to go to the grocery store. And I’m hungry. And I want to watch Star Trek (Voyager).

See, I’m getting better at taking care of my entrepreneurial self. And I’m attempting to not write my 161st blog post. I only half succeeded there. If you listen, you’ll understand.

Love and hugs,

  • March 15, 2019 - 7:50 pm

    Ale Fragoso - I was having one of those days myself today and this audio gave me peace! So thank you ♥ReplyCancel

  • March 15, 2019 - 9:29 pm

    Gallagher Green - Now, this sounds weird or even creepy, but something about listening to you talk, in this little podcast is very calming for me. I instantly feel less stressed.
    It has been stressful but not stressful all at once. I quit my job, but my brain tells me every day I need to go to work when I don’t. So my days just feel wrong.
    However, I also do not have an income now, but I have tons of work to do before I can leave for Europe. It has been stressful even though I am freer. Then yesterday there was the shooting in New Zealand, these always upset me so much, and I also get so angry. Then if I leave the house everyone in this area is so pro-gun, I have to listen to them.
    The past few days have been hard, so thanks for this, I feel better.
    I am going to do some writing.ReplyCancel

  • March 18, 2019 - 3:54 am

    Hanisa Valentino-Santimano - I am one of the many creative soul that every so often I look up at your work but mostly I enjoy reading your messages that are attached to your images. I just listed to your voice mail, and I’m very excited for your road tour that will take you to the UK, and would love to know more about it, if you already have dates and venues organised for London…or maybe Scotland??

    Every time I listen to you or read your thoughts I look in the mirror and I see myself!! You are teaching me, showing me parts of me I would otherwise not notice. So….thank you!ReplyCancel

Attaching to my weirdness.

What is weird art? I think, maybe, there is art, and there is not art. Weird art is just art. That’s how it should be, in my opinion. The weirder the better. The more surprising, the more it feels like art.

I looked back through my images lately, and I noticed that I was freshly drawn to the weird stuff – the body morphing, the distortions, the Photo-shopped flesh. I wanted to belong to that type of weird art genre again.

I let it go because I became too aware of the art world and my position in it. I became savvy to the idea that I was creating weird art instead of just doing it. It became something separate from me.

I need to learn to attach to it again. Let it fill me. I need to do it no matter what, because weird art is the only art worth creating – for me.

This is just a musing on my need to get back to that place. Today it started by acknowledging what I’m currently drawn to in my own body of work. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll get out there and try to create with that inspiration again.

No, not try. I’ll just do it. Art doesn’t have to be good, after all. And, better if it’s not.

  • March 4, 2019 - 9:34 am

    Gallagher Green - I have never created an image with a morphed or distorted body, it is something I should really try. However, I have now posed for one, while in Colorado for Aurora I posed for Dale. I am now going to be a centaur! LOL So I am getting closer to morphed or distorted art. 😉ReplyCancel