This marks the first in a monthly series of interviews. I’ve done a handful in the past (here and here are two examples); moving forward, my intent is to introduce you (on a regular basis) to some very special people…individuals who work equally hard at their craft and at living an intentional life. Someone new each month, sharing thoughts on creativity and discussing current work dear to his/her heart. Each individual who joins us will also generously offer some sort of giveaway. It could be a handmade item, a spot in a workshop, a collection of stones or crystals…anything that’s connected to the feature artist’s work. Their gift to you is of their choosing. This series will, I hope, create space to explore what creativity looks like to different people; I hope it will also create space to spread a little love through the gifts of our guests. I’m excited to begin this series with you.
Today Mindy Tsonas joins us. She’s badass, mixed with gentle, mixed with sensual, mixed with artist, mixed with guide, mixed with someone who always seems to have a hand outstretched. Years ago, I attended Squam Art Workshops; Mindy was there too. I only “knew” her from Instagram, but at one point in the weekend, she and another friend were walking towards me on the road – and I don’t remember what either of us said – but I remember that she embraced me in a hug. That’s Mindy. It’s a pleasure to watch her and her work progress and bloom; she’s someone who is always creating in one form or another. She’s whimsical and grounded. Intuitive. Caring. Really wonderful. Are you ready? Here she is…
Can you tell us about your creative work and business?
Hello. My work in this world is as an Embodiment Artist, activist, and the owner and creator of Studiofemme, a dynamic gathering space for women wishing to become more powerfully themselves. It’s a place where we are free to explore our edges and connect in the tender places of intimacy, identity, creativity, and sexuality. Really my work is about helping others claim the full complexity of who they are, unshame all their desires, and express the truths of our heart.
What does creativity mean to you?
To me, creativity is a conduit for connection. It is meaningful, purposeful, and is a way for us to build bridges to one another. As a little girl I always remember using my creativity to make things for others. It is a love language for me as much as it is a passionate endeavor.
Creativity also is a way I connect with my body. The tactile, sensory, and physical act of creating helps me feel more embodied and integrated, and is an important part of moving energy through my system. If I am feeling stuck, I know that is simply a story in my head and often just moving paint around or scribbling words on a page is enough to create the shifts I need to keep moving forward.
Two words that surface in your work (correct me if I’m wrong!) are juicy and vulnerability. Can you share with us how you help others dig into the juiciness of their lives and their art, and how you help them open to vulnerability?
Juicy and vulnerability are absolutely a part of my creative landscape. The juiciness is about accessing and allowing the full range of ourselves to be expressed…depth and breadth. It is inhabiting all of our light and shadows, and giving ourselves permission to claim who we are, fully, and without judgment. I used to believe I was just a creative person, but I realized pretty quickly that that is just one facet of my femme. My longings are more than just artful ones, and so I say yes to exploring them all.
This is where the vulnerability comes into play. Just like coming out in the full expression of your creative self, so too is the process of blossoming into other parts of our truth, one tender step at a time. I always check in with myself to ask, “Is this action/desire moving me closer to my truth, or further away?” It’s a pretty honest gauge for moving towards and sharing more vulnerable parts of ourselves.
Living intentionally – soaking up the juiciness and opening to the vulnerabilities – requires gentle attention. How do you honor your creative/artistic/business passions while also tending to those you love (yourself included)?
After more than a decade of digging deep, my creative life is finally a fully integrated aspect of how I show up in the world. It is a part of everything I do as a Girl Boss, as a parent, and simply as a woman in the world trying to live her truth. When I try to compartmentalize my world into separate corners, that is when I feel tension and the friction of everything struggling to fit together and coexist. When I can embody my work and passions and soul as one, be who I am in every space and context, that is when I am most powerful and joyful and free in all realms and roles. Nurturing one part then feeds the whole system. Self care simply becomes a necessary part of that equation, not a separate thing I do just when I have time.
One of your new endeavors is a podcast, The Underneath, which you’re recording with your husband, Alex. I’ve listened to the first few episodes and appreciate how your candid conversations seem to effortlessly blend the work of relationship and intimacy with creativity and living in general (I do love connections). Would you like to share a bit about your brave, new project?
The podcast is a brand new adventure and the first creative collaboration between my husband and I. Although I have been sharing stories about our life together for many years now, the act of speaking our truth is adding a new dimension to the creative process. The vulnerability of out-loud is a new edge we are exploring together. Being part of the LGBTQIA landscape and living a non-conventional life, we wanted to be a voice out there for others. We also both believe in the value of sharing the imperfect process underneath the polished outcomes, thus the name. It’s really just us talking about life and love and sometimes the hard things. The messy parts are so much a part of real life, especially as creatives.
And now, some lighter questions…
What’s the weather in your corner of the world today?
A huge storm has just finally past. It feels like a metaphor in so many ways.
When was the last time you laughed?
I laugh all the time…maybe last night at yoga.
What’s your favorite color to wear?
My color story is black and grey neutrals with colorful pops of pink and maybe turquoise, here and there. I can’t find anything in my drawers, because it’s pretty much a sea of black, my go-to for sure ;)
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Toast with a fried egg and a little side of kimchee, decaf coffee with almond milk and agave.
If you close your eyes right now, what word comes to mind?
LOVE. Always love.
And now for the giveaway!
Mindy is generously giving away one spot in her brand new, upcoming online class (February 12-18) Studiofemme // Tiny Revolutions…your life is your revolution, a week long adventure in Art, Love and Embodiment as Activism! In Mindy’s words, “We will write, paint, tell stories and get messy, all for the purpose of positive change in our own lives, and out in the world.”
To enter the giveaway, here’s what you need to do:
Leave a comment below. Maybe share one way that creativity surfaces in your life. Or maybe just say hello. Whatever you like.Comments are now closed.
Wanna enter more than once? Share a link to this interview on Facebook or Instagram. For each share, you’ll be entered another time!
Please make sure to tag me, so I see the post!
Comments will close at midnight PST on Sunday, January 29 , 2017. The randomly-selected winner will be announced here in this post on Monday, January 30. …And the winner (selected by a random generator) is Suzanne! (email coming your way, Suzanne). Thanks to all who played along here and on Instagram. xo
I hope you enjoyed this chat with Mindy as much as I did.
Thank you, Mindy, for being here with us.
Sending a little love your way, m
I am a Sensualist, Embodiment Artist, and Provocateur. Part sparkle maker. Part shadow dancer. Part soul seeker. As a woman and person of color in a queer and open marriage, I’m also a Revolutionary inside my own life and out in the world. In a nutshell, I talk about girl-power as its own sacred Love Story. I help guide women into the extraordinary Wonderland of themselves. Through juicy creative pursuits and honest explorations, my passion is to inspire others to shake loose and get naked in empowered, exquisite truth. Delicious freedom and expansive joy is always the discovery. My magic tools for going deeper are art, love and sex-positivity…my wild sacral shimmy. I write, I paint, I touch, I dare. I make things both tangible and intangible to hold space for universally meaningful experiences and luscious conduits of connection.