Today I’m bringing a very special guest to my blog. Her name is Coriander and she’s just about the grooviest person I know. I met Cori in college. She was a fellow art history student and we had some classes together, and both attended Latin Club (yeah, we were cool like that).
Cori is a self-proclaimed Renaissance woman. She writes, she draws, she acts, and she sings. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that she can’t do. Wednesdays are dedicated to art and travel, and today we’re letting our artistic side shine. Check out the short Q&A I did with Cori and see her artwork below.
It’s a little longer than most of my blog posts, but I hope you’ll stick through until the end. She’s got some great advice and definitely speaks from experience. Enjoy!
(Disclaimer: I didn’t feel the need to censor Cori’s in her images or her words. This interview is not vulgar, but there are some swears and naked ladies!)
Me: What made you realize you had a talent for art, and what made you decide to make this into a business?
Cori: I’ve been drawing ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon. I used to consume paper and actually drew on the empty backs of whatever I could get my hands on at the time…and margins of books… I don’t think it was so much of a realization, as just something about me that always was. :)
I don’t like to go into a lot of detail about my past, but as it pertains to the question I did spend a lot of my life reacting to situations instead of growing up in a traditional sense. There was a great element of lack of control and attempting to please others, which left me feeling largely vulnerable and helpless – very much a victim mentality. Turning my art into a successful business venture was something that I wanted to do for ME and me alone. I think maybe floating around in my subconscious somewhere it makes me feel proud of myself and makes me feel like I have at least some measure of control as to what happens with my life. It’s not the most popular decision I’ve made to some, but I’ve learned how to handle that. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without my Thomas though, as cliché as it sounds, he really is my biggest fan. <3
Me: It seems as though your main subjects tend to be faeries. What drew you to them and how would you describe your style?
Cori: I love faeries and I have a deep connection to them. To me it feels like something very old and familiar. They’re as intrinsic to my sense of identity as say my eyes…or my hair…you get the idea. I just simply love them, everything about them…even the dark, dangerous aspects of them. It is all so fascinating to me. I will be honest, I obsess over them…which works out for me because I honestly think people with obsessive personalities get the short end of the stick in society sometimes, lol. It’s kind of a mutual thing; I can have a focus for my obsessive personality and they get their sparkly, mythological egos stroked by being drawn incessantly, lol… ;)
How would I describe my style?…….Errr, I suppose the best way to describe it would be “multi-faceted”….yeah, that’s a nice elegant word. That’ll work. ;)
Me: Where do you draw your inspirations from? Which artists influence you the most?
Cori: Definitely from a myriad of places. I would say a good 85% of it comes straight out of my head, but I am also inspired by artwork, pictures, poses, you name it. I’m also incredibly inspired by my dreams. I have a very active “dream life,” lol.
…But as far as specific artists, I would say definitely Luis Royo, Susan Seddon Boulet, Georgia O’Keefe, and the Pre-Raphaelites and Neo-Classicists (John William Waterhouse) that came right after the PR’s. I’m also very inspired by Da Vinci and I try to incorporate chiaroscuro into my pieces as much as I can….key word here is try!
Me: No one is perfect and everyone can improve their craft. What’s one thing you are working on to become better at?
Cori: Oh that’s easy. I’m a notorious perfectionist with a heavy salting of obsessive compulsive. I’m CONSTANTLY on my own case about my problem areas. Right now what I’m really grinding on myself is landscape composition, accurately being able to draw various flora (a good idea as a FAERY artist, lol!), and trying to play around more with dramatic lighting and use less white in my shading. I am a total white-aholic when I shade.
I’m not going to even get into what I’m trying to improve on in regards to my acting, writing or singing. I’d be talking about it for weeks!
Me: If you could pick JUST ONE piece from your artwork that is most representative of you, or one that you are most proud of, what would it be and why?
Cori: Gaia Persephone from the deck I’m currently working on, The Sidhe Queen Oracle. The whole deck is just one of the most intimidating things in the world for me. It’s been a hard journey, both on the inside with my self-confidence issues and on the outside with various opinions that have been made. I kinda came out of left field with this deck, but that’s pretty much the way I do everything, lol. I didn’t and don’t want these pieces to be just pretty pictures that represent the public consensus on what Faery Queens should be. What’s the use of having an artistic voice if you’re only going to use it to reinforce the same old stuff that’s been around for centuries? No judgment to those who decide that that path is right for them, but it’s not right for me. I needed to go my own way with this deck and carve my own path and express my own ideas and thoughts about how things are. Gaia Persephone was the piece that solidified for me that my point-of-view was and is valid. It may never be more than foolish presumptions from a foolish girl to others, but that’s finally OK with me. It did take me a hell of a long time to get to that point though…
Me: Art is art in my book, whether or not you paint pictures with color or with words. What advice would you give to other “starving artists” out there?
Cori: I could write a friggin book on this subject. I think first, you need to be honest with yourself from the get go. Following your dreams fucking sucks. It is a painful path, and I hear told it’s rewarding in the end, but I’m honestly still walking it so I can’t tell you anything about that, lol. I can tell you that it’s hard, people will vilify you for things you didn’t think you could be vilified for, there’s a good chance a portion of your family or close friends will vehemently disagree with you, you will struggle financially, you will face almost constant and soul-crushing adversity, you’ll know rejection so well people will think you two have a “sexual past” (yeah…I’m still working on the “comedienne” thing…)…..the list goes on and on. Not trying to scare anyone, but there is nothing about this that is easy. If you happen to be one of the few who never have to go through these things on your path to make your dreams a reality, then you are one very, very, very lucky individual. But for most of us poor suckers, it is one hell of a hike.
Once you’re honest with yourself about what you’re in for and you decide that you still want to go for your dreams, it helps to have a financial plan. I, unfortunately, was not that lucky (or intelligent…depending on who you ask, lol). Ideally, you would put away some money but with this economy, Goddess only knows how that would pan out. However, a financial cushion makes the road less rocky so do whatever you can to cushion yourself without allowing yourself to put your goals to the side. Be very, very strict about your financial expenditures, for example; there is no real need to buy stock in bulk and store it with the hopes of unloading it for a profit at a later date with all the print-on-demand options on the internet that require zero capital start-up. Just remember that Murphy’s law friggin has it out for artists and creatives….if something can go wrong, it usually does and there’s a good chance you’ll end up looking like a leech that’s out of touch with reality. It’s just the unfortunate social stereotype that tends to hang over the heads of struggling, indie creatives and it just makes everything that much more difficult. What you can’t change, you learn to work around….or at least, you learn not to give it a deliberate reason to seek you out.
Which leads me to my next and final point. Make sure you are as self-sufficient as you can possibly be. Back to the Murphy’s law thing – don’t give people an excuse on a silver platter to make your life difficult when you are already treading a path that is not a societally popular one. The way I see it is that there are plenty of opportunities out there for people with money, but if you can’t afford it, then it was probably not the right (or ultimately fruitful) way for you to go to begin with. If you’re creative enough, you can find a way through regardless of whatever lack you may be experiencing in your personal situation. Ingenuity and resourcefulness are very handy personality traits to possess when you’re pursuing your dreams.
Other than that, I’d say never ever ever give up. No matter what happens to you, so long as you keep moving forward (even if you’re crawling), you’re getting that much closer to making your dreams happen….just make sure to take care of your nails if you find yourself crawling for an extended period of time (trust me on that one).
Me: What’s your preferred genre of writing?
Cori: I write Adult Fantasy Fiction. I used to write poetry and lyrics obsessively when I was younger. I may do so again one day when I develop enough self-confidence to record an album.
As far as reading, I am a notorious non-fiction gal. I am addicted to knowledge and learning and I’m especially fascinated by the things that society is scared of or casts off as crazy. I also find mythology very intriguing. Yep, I’m a sponge.
Me: What writing project are you working on now?
I am unwittingly beginning the first book of my massive fantasy fiction series. I say unwittingly because I had originally planned on holding off on writing until I had finished with the deck so as not to overwhelm myself (and because writing scares me). However, inspiration doesn’t bow down to the whims of “mere mortals,” so I’ve found myself starting the first book much, much earlier than I had anticipated.
The series is going to be inspired by and feature the Sidhe Queens from my oracle deck. The series will have 13, maybe 14 books initially, one for each Queen. I will not release the name of the series at this time, but the first book will be entitled, “Rhiannon.” I have released a small snippet from the first draft on my Facebook page. That is the only part of the book the public will see until it is published.
It is my hope to create my own World with this series and use the initial books as the framework for that World under which all of my other novels will piece in somehow…kinda like a cross between Forgotten Realms and how Stephen King interlaced a lot of his books with his Dark Tower world. I’m also quasi-open to the idea of making my World accessible to other authors the way HP Lovecraft did with his Lovecraftian Mythos, but that is something that I am going to extensively think about before I make a final decision.
Me: What other writings do you have planned for the future?
Cori: There are some things that I keep very close to myself and defend viciously. Unfortunately for the transparency of this interview, this is one of those things. I will say that I do have definite and grandiose plans for my future, as I set very high standards for myself and others. Additionally, I will say that by and large, I’ve learned to keep my plans and especially those plans concerning my future very loose and adaptable. Like I said, Murphy’s law has it out for me, man! ;)
Me: What experiences have you had in terms of acting?
Cori: Most of my experiences with acting have been primarily on stage, though I am concentrating on making a name for myself in film. I have completed undergraduate coursework in theatre that roughly equates to the normal credit range of a Minor. Unfortunately due to university politics that at the time drove the credit requirements for a Theatre Minor to be as high as that of an average Major, I do not have an official Theatre Minor on my transcripts. Regardless of this setback, I’ve studied acting as well as very thorough and extensive coursework into the history of theatre and the Greek plays that started it all. It makes me sound somewhat like a dork when I try to comment on various celebrity-related online venues, but I do believe that it is very, very beneficial knowledge for any thespian, stage or film to possess….that is, if they’re actually interested in developing their craft as opposed to say…flashing their silicone bewbs all over the place. Ask a plastic barbie doll who Orestes or Electra are if you’re in need of a good laugh. ;)
Me: What was your favorite role?
Cori: I played Miss Hannigan in Annie. I accidentally wore black undies under a see-through peach dress for one performance. I was in high school. The whole school saw me. Good times.
At least it made her character more believable, though for a high school production, I’m not too sure they were that concerned with character integrity.
Me: What’s your dream role?
Cori: Agh, I know I’m going to get flack for this lol, but I have no shame. I really would like to portray Anna in 50 Shades of Grey. I know it’s one of those “shoot for the stars, girl’s out of touch with reality” things, but I can’t help it. The heart wants what it wants. It doesn’t concern itself with rational, logical, statistical thinking (perhaps that’s why the heart and mind fight so much?).
I haven’t the faintest idea as to how to go about making this happen but it’s something that I desire very strongly and something that I think I would do an excellent job at. And yes, I have absolutely no issue showing my bewbs and juju to the world if the storyline is in the right place! I’m not too interested in using the naked female body as objectification though. To some there is no difference, but there is a definite distinction between the two in my opinion.
Check out some other pictures Cori has shared with us!
If you like what you see, or just want to learn more about her, you can visit these links:
Link to “Rhiannon” excerpt.
In her own words…
I am a Fantasy Faery Artist, Actress, Writer, Singer, Entrepreneur and Spiritualist. I am a wingless Faery trapped in a human body and I absolutely adore cats, the fluffier the better. I hold a current 4.0 GPA in the University of Crazy Cat Ladies in Training with a specialization in Feline Linguistics (I get lots of practice). I am head-over-heels in love with the sexiest tall, dark, and handsome type that pretends to be a gothic nerd….he’s not. Don’t let him fool you with his shockingly fluent nerdspeak…