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

There was a long period of time when I felt like everything I made had to be amazing. Screw that.

I’m so far past that I think I might be going in the opposite direction. I liken it to choosing friends when you’re really young.

At first, you want everyone to be your friend. You have an insatiable desire to be liked. And you quickly learn what behaviors are widely accepted and which are not, so perhaps, you adopt the behaviors that reward you with praise.

And then you realize how exhausting it is to keep up that many friendships, and how unmanageable it is to spread yourself so thin. You start to get anxious over presenting yourself in the best way possible, and you worry that if your friends see you for who you are – imperfect – they won’t like you any more.

And some day, you rebel against that. You clean closet. You get rid of friends that don’t accept you for your weirdness and your flaws.

Well folks, here we are. I cleaned out my closet a while back. Since then, I’ve been sharing my failed images. I’ve been sharing the times when I hate creating, or nothing goes right. I’ve been sharing those moments of sheer panic, frustration, and anxiety. I share everything. Everything art-related, it’s all out there.

I’ve stopped caring if you (the broad You), think I’m a bad artist or a good one, or an artist at all. I don’t care if you hate my art, share my art, wish my art had never been made. I don’t care if you make fun of me, think I’m weird, or any other mundane, idiotic thing someone might think.

Because honestly, it is boring. And it is silly. And it’s not worth our time – mine or yours.

So if you’re here, it’s likely because you’re weird too. Because you accept me for who I am. Because we’re weirdos and we love it, and hey world, we don’t care.

Speaking of that long period of time where I did care what people thought, seeing as it took a while for me to be as empowered in my weirdness as I am now: I used to be ashamed when I made something that wasn’t great.

This new image I made the other day isn’t my best. But I love it. It satisfied a primal need to create. I wanted to make something where before there was nothing. One of the greatest and most interesting things about humans is our desire to play God – to create where once there was nothing. In so many ways. Artists are the obvious example.

So I made this thing. It’s a self-portrait covered in hands. I’ve done that before. I touch on this a lot in my voicemail. And when I finished it, I thought, “Hmph. It looks a lot like other images I’ve made. It’s not special. I shouldn’t share this.”

And then I realized what I just did. I just degraded something I made simply because it isn’t the most fresh and new thing. Simply because I thought YOU might be bored with it.

And when I say YOU, I mean the YOU of the Internet that steps on artists who don’t fit their vision. People who think that art is made for them, personally. People who get bored too easily because that’s the time we live in. And the people who don’t care how fulfilled an artist is by their own work.

That is not you, because you’re still reading this. (Well done, by the way. I ramble).

I loved making this picture.
I love this picture.
I love creating. Everytime. No matter the outcome.

I’m so glad that I’m intentionally making time for myself to create no matter what. No matter the whim or inspiration; no matter the hang-worthiness of it. No matter. No matter.

And that is what I wish you for you. To create without worry. To create because you must. To create because you feel a primal urge to make something out of nothing. To create, no matter what.

No matter.

No matter.

Inspiration & moons,

  • February 20, 2019 - 9:50 am

    Margherita Introna - To create because you must… Ah, this right here! I wake up everyday and say this to myself.
    And this is a beautiful image. Raw, primal and beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2019 - 12:31 pm

    Anna D Bruce - I am so glad that I am still part of your closet 😉 BTW getting voicemails from you is the best. I am glad that you continue to be you and create. I like creepy and weird as portrayed by my Instagram. Seeing your work gave me some sort of permission to be weird – I guess it was more encouragement. I’ve always been weird. I pretended to be dead in so many pictures of mine while in college… lol I posed by graveyards and pretended to be a dead bride on more than one occcasion. I never really cared because I thrived on being weird. But then I started adulting in the traditional way a nd somehow thought I should be contained. For many years I was. But what I have learned is that the more “me” I am, the more of the right people are drawn to me and the more authentic I feel. I think it’s important that we be our most truest selves. The wold has to much “normal” and non-descript. We need more uniqueness out there!ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2019 - 1:18 pm

    Heather Buechel - I love these voicemails from you. I wish I could meet you in person some day but I know that is not possible for me so this lets me be in your world a little more and you so inspire me. As a disabled self-taught artist I learn so much from you and your posts and your tutorials. I loved being part of your last community on facebook. It’s hard for me to come up with new things being so limited and I love that you just do what you love and screw the rest and quite honestly that’s been my attitude lately as well tired of social bias and rejection and my creative journey continues and that includes just being myself.ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2019 - 1:54 pm

    Gallagher Green - Great audio and post in general! I love this photo because it reminds me of the older version of its self, something about the connection between them makes even more powerful. So glad you took the time to create this when inspiration hit. ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2019 - 9:08 pm

    Kristin Indorato - Thank you for sharing of yourself so intimately. Your art—and your words—are a daily inspiration. (This moving photo included.) Those of us who are driven to create but crippled by fears of “putting ourselves out there” have so much to learn from your incredibly brave spirit. Thank you for continuing to make your honest art and open up so eloquently about all your inner workings. Having taken your two-week challenge and followed your story, I am now pouring over with ideas and taking action to see my visions through, despite having less time than I’ve ever had. I thank you truly.ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2019 - 8:57 am

    Julie - Of late, I’ve been wondering why I haven’t seen an email from Brooke; I miss her inspiration, her thoughts, her promotions. So, I jumped over to YouTube; nothing! Wait, what? So, I jumped over to her blog only to see several posts I’ve missed. Ah, I’m caught up, I’m up-to-date with the latest Brooke content online. While reading this latest post of yours, I’m reminded of a student I had (when I taught first grade) who used to tell me how weird I was as a teacher and friend to the family. It’s been 10 years since that initial ‘weirdo’ statement, and it continues to be our theme. All my life I’ve been different, I’ve thought differently, taught differently (never subscribing to traditional teaching norms), and loved being weird. But with that came resistance especially in “what a teacher should look like” realm. As an artist, it felt super ok, as a teacher, it was frowned upon by many co-workers. This post of yours, Brooke, has reminded me of the importance of being me and weeding out that closet. Many thanks!ReplyCancel

  • March 10, 2019 - 9:05 am

    Beata Rydén - I love you Brooke! You are always so honest and that´s what I truly like about you. It´s just you and your unique voice and it´s truly inspiring <3ReplyCancel

I need to explain some complexities of my personality to properly tell you where I’m going lately.

The first is that I spend a lot of time in introspection – in my head. I think A LOT. I stare a blank walls and papers, A LOT. I am not easily bored. All of that thinking leads to little discoveries that excite me and I love to experience those little excitements and surprises. And then, I condense those thoughts down to bite-size chunks, which I share in blurbs on social media.

As a result, you see the squished up version of my brain on a regular basis, if you watch my posts. But the implication of that is multi-tiered.

One – I come off as being very heady and connected to my deepest emotions at all times. I’m not.

Two – I don’t show you my…fun?…personality a lot. Fun is definitely the wrong word. I’ve literally never described myself that way. So…maybe…free-spirited? or restless? or disjointed? or laid-back? or…

In any case, three – Sharing those little blurbs means that I’m not sharing the works-in-progress – the thoughts that jumble up and make less sense and feel more and desire condensation but aren’t ready for that.

So, here I am. Journaling. Letting anyone who wants to be here into my brain in a less curated way. The result: voice memos, journal-style vlogging where I’ll share all the different types of creativity I’m up to, and more laid-back sharing of content no matter the genre.

I’ll share updates about my novel-writing process, the new photo series I’m working on (both of them!), my sculpture projects, and more.

What does more include? Well…hiking (where I location scout and find inspiration), reading (where I imaginary location scout and find inspiration), traveling ( where I dream location scout and find inspiration)…speaking of dreams, I’d love to tell you about mine. They’re terrifying. Nights are exciting in my house.

So, here we are in journal one.

Created in 2009. but exactly how it feels to journal for me.

And here’s what I’m feeling.

Anxious. Because, well…I want to be more vulnerable. But even that is a lesson and a chore, because it doesn’t always come easy. I’m a really private person and will remain that way in my personal life. So sometimes it’s hard to separate creativity from personal stuff. And sometimes that makes vulnerability hard. But it can work, and here I am, trying.

Fulfilled. Because I know that detailing my adventures in creativity and inspiration will bring me even more depth and inspiration.

Silly. Because…who wants to read this? Or rather, and more importantly, because I don’t care who reads it and I’m doing it anyway.

I’ve never journaled before. Never. Never had a written notebook of my thoughts (except for that summer I tried to impersonate Harriet the Spy). Never had an interest in remembering my days. Never had an interest in parsing through my thoughts that way.

To be honest, I think quick, I process easily, and I don’t lament the past.

But I want to push myself into new ways of exploring and connecting.

For context, here are some projects I’m working on:

  • I have a new body of work that will be displayed in New York in June. I’m knee-deep in preparations for that, but the snow has been keeping me from shooting a lot. I’m aiming for the first week of March when the snow is meant to be melted to dive in big time. I’ve been sourcing props from my local antique store and I’ve got very in-depth images planned. It’s a series about rebuilding humanity. I kind of love it. (a lot).
  • I’m working on a very personal series about grief and death that I’ve talked about a lot in these parts. No news of where it will debut or when. It’s constantly changing. But it’s so, so fun to shoot. Think paint and syrup and clay and dirt and everything wonderful in the world. And decay. Obviously.
  • Novel! Novel novel novel! Is that word starting to lose its meaning to you? ME TOO. I wrote my novel for four years, realized how bad it was, threw it away, and became a student of the craft of writing. I’ve read 70 books in the past 1.5 years and started from scratch writing a detailed outline. That’s getting edited RIGHT NOW, ya’ll!!!!
  • Art book, whaaaaat! That’s a long time coming. My first fine art coffee table book is coming out later this year. It’ll be a 256 page beauty of my work from the past decade that I can’t tell you any more about, yet. YET!
  • Promoting Passion Roadshow! For four years I’ve hosted the Promoting Passion Convention, and I decided this year to do mini Promoting Passion events in more cities so that more people could join in. I’m working hard on it right now, confirming cities/venues/guest speakers. It’s hard work, no kidding. I’ll tell you more about that next month.
  • I’ve had to put ceramics on the back burner lately because it is the least developed of my artforms and personal things have taken a front seat in that time slot. Maybe MAYBE more on that later.

In the spirit of this journal, let me tell you how I felt this past weekend:


Anxious beyond reason, because I haven’t been able to work on my new series much between travel, snow, and just plain indecision. I rarely suffer from indecision. WHAT EVEN IS THAT? So I was freaked out and frantically trying to find a solution. My solution: GO SHOOT EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE RIGHT NOW. So I did. And it was terrible. Obviously. So my husband sat with me for 2 hours as we re-hashed the images and figured out a creation plan. Whew.

I also recognized my need to be in complete control. It’s a constant battle over here. First, because my sister was in the hospital having gallbladder surgery, I was desperate to go be with her. But, in all honesty, she didn’t want me hanging around her room while she was trying to sleep. So I had to take a step back. And that reminded me that I tend to be a bulldozer. I think I know what’s best and I trudge forward no matter the cost. So I took a step back and recognized that art often imitates life, and that I need to chill out and let things flow.

And in the coming week…

I’ve got a Sony Alpha Female retreat to attend (YAY and HORRIFYING). I am such a socially anxious person that even typing this made me breath really shallow and feel a shaking in my stomach. I kind of want to throw up. The thought of being in a group of women, no matter how inspiring, where I don’t get to be the unequivocal leader…is NOT my jam.

I am only comfortable in a group if I am the leader of it. It’s something I recognize about myself as a character flaw and as an asset. Right now, it is what it is. But I’m committing and showing up so that I can help the women there as much as possible…and even open myself to being helped, too.

See, I struggle with that immensely. I don’t like to be helped. I like to be in control, as I mentioned. So in any case, that’s the big issue of the week that I’m working through, and I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

What have been the highs and lows of the past week for you? What are you excited about this week?

Do you think this journaling thing is going to work for me? Do you like the voice memo?

Until then, creative warriors,

  • February 18, 2019 - 12:12 pm

    Anna - I think the voice memo was a nice touch. I always gobble up anything you put out there so no matter what it is, you know I will watch, listen, feel, read. There are so many things I would love to comment on but I have forgotten already what to say. For the roadshow, you know you have a home – if you chose to accept my help and happen to be road showing in Denver. That will be a couple hundred bucks saved on hotel that could go towards something else 😉 plus I am not a bad cook. Secondly, these past two weeks I have felt more anxiety than I have in a long time. The pressure of selling to survive at this point is just eating me alive. I feel overwhelmed by business tasks and trying to figure out what’s truly an important task. Trying to creat content that showcases more of my process and work in hopes to build value is also overwhelming. Every day I go to bed feeling like a failure because I just haven;t done enough. More, more, more. I feel like a fraud right now. But I am not all miss downer over here. I seized an opportunity to put together a solo art show along with opening reception at a local coffee shop. Kind of a big deal for me but it’s still in the works. Sigh. Back to my hole.ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2019 - 12:27 pm

    Daniel Serva - Well, you should not feel silly. I read all this and I think it’s awesome you made the desicion to share more aspects of your art/life. I feel very connected with your words as I also suffer social anxiety. I find beautiful the fact that even with those feelings you push forward and expose to meet ups outhe of your confort zone. And makes me want to try that more often 🙂 as we all, you have an unique voice and I’m glad i’ll can hear more of yours from now on. Big hug 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2019 - 3:09 pm

    sheryl - i’m so glad you are open to be vulnerable and share your inner thought process. it’s quite enlightening. this on a day that i really just want o curl up and isolate. thanks, Brooke.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2019 - 10:32 am

    Gallagher Green - I LOVE the voice memo! And if it lets you blog without taking up so much of your time then it is a win-win!
    I remember that movie Harriet the Spy it was really good, but that has been a long time ago. I think there were a LOT of kids running around that summer spying on people! LOL
    Can’t wait for the PPCRS (RS=Roadshow) location release, I plan on catching one in Europe since I will be living there by then!
    Great blog post, and voice thingy. I can’t wait until the next one.
    Those photos of how you felt of the weekend, no offense. But I nearly fell out of my chair laughing! You should have those printed on shirts! ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2019 - 10:57 am

    Janice - I admire that you don’t lament the past. I am a slave to it. Literally. I will probably always be. I’ve come to a place where I don’t feel as much of a victim of it, but now and again I feel the full impact of it in my heart and in my head.

    I come from a feeling place I would have to say 100 percent of the time. I imagine myself creating images around my lamenting of the past and everything that is in my head. I am a full time nurse and I haven’t found a way to dedicate myself to anything else, as desperately as my soul seems to need it. I am working toward moving out of my condo into a new one and maybe a new space will lend to that experience. I pray that is what happens.

    I hope you bring your road show to Boston, or Portsmouth, or somewhere in this area. I came to your page looking for details about this years promoting passion convention, thinking that this year I would try hard to make it there. But maybe you are coming to me…. 🙂

    As always, thank you for being so approachable and so relatable. To me it seems like connection. I spent 12 weeks doing a photography intensive a couple of years ago, which turned out to be more about discovering myself than making photographs. Connection was a large part of it, especially with myself. It doesn’t come easy to me, and I think that is what draws me to your work.

    Anyway, thank you for every single thing that you do.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2019 - 6:26 pm

    Tom Hakett - A: Knock, Knock!
    B: Who’s there?
    A: Control freak
    B: Control fre…
    A: Now you say “Control freak who?”ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2019 - 10:24 pm

    Andy g williams - A random question.

    When do you get boring stuff done like cleaning, gardening, paying bills etc. I just find that real life gets in the way of creating. Are there enough hours in the day!?ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2019 - 12:44 am

    Larissa Salton - You are an amazing strong powerful and creative woman I have enjoyed following your progress for many years and have your books sitting proudly on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to meeting you in Melbourne for the Promoting Passion tour I will be flying down from Queensland and I have managed to get a room at the Windsor Hotel where I will be sneaking a lot of background and texture shots eeeeeeeeekkkk so exciting. See you in a monthReplyCancel

Of all the weird things I’ve asked people to do with me, I think this one takes the cake.

On one of my annual visits to India I went on a motorcycle tour. It came highly recommended and we were told it would be a really fun time. And it was, but not in the way we expected. We visited the Mother Theresa house, Garbage Mountain (where our motorcycle broke down in front of a pile of dead dogs), a cemetery, and finally, a funeral pyre.

We sat witness to a funeral and cremation of a man and saw the family gathered, grieving but also celebrating. It felt wrong to be there, and we soon asked to leave so that the family could have privacy, though the funeral space was open to the public.

On that same trip, I watched a a hearse went down the street, carrying the dead in a glass car so that everyone could look in.

I started to realize that death in India isn’t the same as death in America. That death in so many cultures is less taboo. Sometimes death is a celebration; sometimes it is a cause for weeks long mourning. Sometimes we put a wall between us and it, or sometimes a thick, ornate wooden box. Sometimes, that box is made of glass, and sometimes those in mourning ask others, strangers, to join in with them.

Death is not such an easy thing to grasp once you’ve started traveling and understanding other cultures. This peek into how death is treated in India gave me pause, and started me thinking about death as a subject for serious introspection. Two years later, the idea for this series was born.

Though these images will not be featured in the final series, it was one necessary step in my exploration. These images were inspired by that glass car in India, and serves as a window – or really, an invitation – to get a little closer to death.

Here I am explaining to Payton how she would get up and into the coffin.

The experience of this photo shoot was all of these things: hilarious, freezing, difficult, dangerous (at times), and above all, absolutely wild.

Testing, apparently, to see if it would fall on our heads.

I had an amazing team helping me. And when I say helping, I mean doing a lot, if not most, of the heavy lifting. My friend Dave Junion had the coffin made locally and we used his forest, his fork lift, and his building skills to get it strung up in the tree. Dan McClanahan lent us his height and strength as we tied the coffin to the trees. KD Stapleton took behind the scenes images and drove some of the heavy machinery. And Randy Verhasselt worked the fog machine and helped work out the electrical wiring.

Isn’t she AMAZING for doing that?!

Not least of all, Payton Bottomley, our model, fearlessly got into that coffin. I got in first to test it, and we did put it through some rigorous testing to make sure she would be okay. She didn’t flinch at the idea, and remained excited before, during, and after the shoot.

Step 1: Put the coffin on a fork lift.
Step 2: Drive the fork lift into the forest.
Step 3: Tie rope onto two trees after the distance has been measured.
Step 4: Raise the coffin to the height of the rope and attach.
Step 5: Pray. (Just kidding, mostly).
Step 6: Set up the heater underneath the coffin to warm it and set up the the fog machine.
Step 7: Test shots.
Step 8: Get model in place.
Step 9: Shoot from every conceivable angle…because we are not doing this again.
Step 10: Hot chocolate and high fives.

And so the shoot went. It took 3 hours from start to finish. It was a beautiful day, absolutely frigid, and we laughed so much we cried.

One of the most exciting parts for me was that I got to shoot from the forklift. Dave operated it and lifted me higher and lower. I would motion to KD if I wanted to move, then she would motion to Dave to move the lift. I was able to get lots of angles thanks to this!

Do you want to know the secret to getting people to do weird stuff with you? Acknowledge that their contribution is worthwhile and appreciated. Be weird…as weird as you genuinely are. People love to hang out with weirdos. Create. Being part of a true artistic creation process is priceless, and a lot of people will recognize that. Give your energy and passion, and you will attract people who are looking to ignite their own energy and passion.

Here is the heater under the coffin to make it as warm as possible. It was only mildly successful, but did help.
Post-shoot laughs!

That’s my secret. I am wildly passionate and energetic about life, and I never fail to find friends who want to help me bring my visions to life. Though these images aren’t going in the series, they will remain a testament to what can be accomplished when your passionate vision gets loosed on the world.

  • January 21, 2019 - 5:29 pm

    Gallagher Green - I want to start with being completely honest. When I was reading the bit about the motorcycle trip my brain read India and Indiana, I was thinking “Who know Indiana was so different.” then the smarter half of my brain said, “You are a moron, it’s India!” LOL

    You should have called me when you shot this I would have loved to help with “Step 10.” I am the best at the part!
    I have spent a lot of time up in loader buckets, but I have never taken photos from one. I need to though.
    3 Hours seems like really good time, I would have thought it might take longer than that. You always have such a great team around you, and that helps. 🙂
    The images are beautiful, thought-provoking, powerful, and very inspiring. It makes me feel like nothing is over the top. 🙂
    That is a lovely Gehl skid steer! ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2019 - 5:35 pm

    Vicki Kurasz - Photo #11 is freaking me out. How?!ReplyCancel

  • March 10, 2019 - 9:12 am

    Beata Rydén - I absolutely love this!!! The whole concept is amazing <3ReplyCancel