Writer, Doodler, and Love Warrior—that’s how J. Clement Wall describes herself. Her mission statement is to make art, do work, and engage in shenanigans that inspire fearless love, soulful evolution, and wild creativity as a way of life.
I’m thrilled to have connected with J and I’m excited to share her with you!
At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?
Honestly, I still struggle a little with that term, and before that I struggled with when I could call myself “a writer.” (Was it after I got my degree, after I’d been published, after I’d landed my first writing gig?) Somewhere along the way, I started thinking of myself as a creative, and that feels right to me, less a title to be earned and more a state of being. I create incessantly. It isn’t something I have to fit in or make time for; it’s like eating and sleeping. If I go too long without making something I start to wither.
How would you describe your spirituality?
Soulful. Grounded. Evolving. I believe that whatever divinity exists, it exists inside each of us, which is an exhilarating and sometimes scary sort of faith. In the midst of all the violence and cruelty in this world, believing in the basic goodness of humanity takes a certain doggedness… and practice… like all religions do.
How does your spirituality find expression in your art?
I think for me it might be the other way around; my art is an expression of my spirituality, a celebration of life and love.
How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating? Is it an intentional process that you can duplicate?
I think I (and all artists) connect to the divine flow every time we sit down and do the work, because really, what is more divine than the act of creation?
Ideas come from everywhere—news items, tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest, nature, the work of other artists and writers, the words of a song, overheard conversations, my dog.
I am easily inspired.
How do you decide which ideas to pursue?
I pursue the ideas that won’t let go of me. I’ve found the tenaciousness of an idea doesn’t always guarantee its success, but it does guarantee I’ll stay enthused through completion.
How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?
I think they go hand in hand. In my art and in my spiritual practice, I spend most of my time not knowing the answers. I’m learning more and more to trust the process, to lean into my uncertainty and be open to surprise because that’s where all the growth happens.
Find out more about J and her work at www.judyclementwall.com. Visit her Etsy shop for note cards, prints, and more featuring her inspirational doodles. She says, “I spent all of 2011 publicly committed to fearless love. For one year, I loved wildly out of my comfort zone. It was exhilarating, surprising, and scary. It was everything I never imagined, and it changed my life. I wrote about it in a collection of essays you can download here.”
With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Like us on Facebook at Art as Worship, then share your art and comments. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship. Namaste!
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Great interview! Of course, you had a great subject to begin with 🙂
I’d like to think a lot of art is spiritually inspired. Look at all the great classics–Michelangelo, etc–their work is preserved in chapels and museums for the rest of us to marvel at.
It’s great to listen to artists and their messages, whether they are written with interpretations or free for us to interpret ourselves.
Yes, Karin, good point! I guess it’s no coincidence that so much art is housed in places of worship; the link between art and spirituality is clear. In fact, I think the act of creating art, in all its forms, is, in itself, a spiritual one. By extension, regularly producing art (writing poems, for instance!) constitutes a spiritual practice, even for artists who don’t think of themselves as spiritual.
“I spend most of my time not knowing the answers. I’m learning more and more to trust the process, to lean into my uncertainty and be open to surprise because that’s where all the growth happens.” Me too, J…although I might have to change the “most” to “all.” It takes a serious amount of trust to “trust the process” but the alternative is pretty much hell so I (most of the time) choose trust.
I love you, my friend. You are the best kind of good…
Thank you, Julia. And yes, trusting the process is one of the things that I keep having to relearn. It helps to start practicing a completely new art form. When you do that, there is no grounding in previous knowledge so there is nothing to do but let go and trust.
Great interview! When you talk of how you “pursue the ideas that won’t let go of me”…that really resonates with me. I have had similar experiences when what I call a “nudge” just kept at me until I created whatever that art was to be. That is a powerful thing.
Thank you for sharing these aspects of your creative process. It’s inspiring!
I think it’s so important to, on the one hand, let ourselves by nudged, and on the other, not tie our sense of self to the outcome of those nudge-y adventures. They won’t all be successful by traditional measures – having produced a beautiful piece of art, for instance, getting published, selling something – but I do think the nudges move us north, and that’s the the most important thing.
Thank you back, Deborah!
J, I loved hearing more from this side of your life . . . it is hard to articulate our spiritual beliefs sometimes (or all times). It’s what I wrote about too this week!
Yes, I agree, and it’s especially hard when our spiritual beliefs either fall outside conventional religion altogether, or outside the dogma of the religion we’ve chosen. I’m very grateful Vanessa asked me to do this. I think the more we all talk, the easier this conversation will be, even for people who disagree with each other.
J and Nina, I think the more conversations like this that we have, the more we are able to find we agree on… and fewer areas of disagreement. We just sometimes call something by a different name that underneath is really the same thing. ~Vanessa
Really lovely interview! I especially love the part about the act of creation being divine. That’s something I’ve thought about quite a lot, too.
Me too, Annie! It feels like the one spiritual “fact” I’m sure of.
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