Change Artist: Maryann Devine

It’s time to introduce you to the next fabulous Change Artist in this series, Maryann Devine.

Maryann spent the last chunk of her life being a pretty amazing writer and creativity teacher, and a marketing & publicity strategist. And an artist. Except that at some point, she found it difficult to even call herself an artist, and didn’t make art for 13 years.

Now, she’s not only making art (every day!), she’s sharing it.

I’m thrilled to have a front row seat to her transformation.

Here’s a peek into Maryann’s life as a Change Artist…

What’s the big change you’d like to see in the world?

I dream of a world where the hard lines between artist and audience are blurred. We are all creative, regardless of whether we call ourselves artists or not. And we all benefit when more people are connecting with their creativity on a regular basis.

We get smarter and quicker solutions at work. We get world-changing innovation. We get art that touches us and challenges us.

But it doesn’t stop there.

I’d like people to feel free to make their art as if no one was watching — tinker with a poem, just for yourself, or play around with color, for the sheer joy of it.

Because, to me, creative expression is a form of self-care, as much as moving the body, or quieting the mind, or giving yourself a nourishing meal.

It makes everything 100 times better.

What changes have you made personally, either as a result of, or in order to do your big work?

I tucked my business into bed for a nap!

I’d been working for myself for nearly seven years when it suddenly occurred to me that I never questioned the need to keep it going.

And after thirteen years of not making art, I was making it again, and itching to share it with the world.

I am very pro-nap, so my business, Kindergarten Mind, went to sleep for a while so I could focus on fully embracing the label of ‘artist’ once again.

Luckily, I was already committed to Unbelievable Ease with none other than you! You helped me navigate the unfamiliar waters of reinvention, and introduced me to techniques that are seeing me through this (exciting) transition.

Big change takes energy, how do you rejuvenate and care for yourself?

What works for me in terms of self care is constantly in flux — and I’m okay with that. Here’s what I do right now:

  • Write every day. It clears my head of clutter, and at this point, writing = thinking for me. I can’t do without it.
  • Make art every day. Once I realized I *had* to make art my #1 priority, it was easy to let this happen. It feeds me. I can’t not do it.
  • Sleep as much as I need, when it’s possible, nap-time included!
  • Guard my alone time with my life. As much as I love my friends, and teaching, and getting to experience amazing art (like Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera — a five-hour marathon of gorgeous music and spectacle), I can’t possibly have enough solitude.

Big change takes vision, which others may not always get, how do you deal with critics?

I don’t often encounter nay-sayers. It may be that I am magically attracting the people who most resonate with my message, and no one else. It may be that I’m just lucky.

But I can say this: the potential for negative criticism used to worry me, especially when I was changing the focus of my business. What would people think? Am I enough of an expert?

I expect that critics will show themselves eventually, but I feel confident enough and passionate enough to say: so what? I can’t control what people think of me, and it’s none of my business (as RuPaul would say). As long as I’m connecting with people and making a difference, none of that matters.

Big change takes action, how do you move forward consistently?

I try to keep in mind the bigger picture — where does this action take me? In one of our sessions, Shannon, you helped me conjure up a metaphor: when I look at my to-do list, it’s like looking at the preparations for a much-anticipated trip. I may not really want to do X, Y, or Z on my list, but they get me to my destination, and I can feel good about that.

Want to learn more about Maryann & her work? Experience it?

See her latest creation. Or read a secret message. Or discover a surprise.

Photo of Maryann by Kylie Bellard. 

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