Beth Inglish is a painter, writer, and musician from Nashville, TN. She is passionate about the art scene in Nashville - so passionate, that she started the Nashville Creative Group (which is how we came to meet). The group is over 1,000 members, very community-oriented, and meets monthly.
Beth's current work is a journey into her own healing. Throughout the process, she was drawn to the work of Basquiat, Munch, and Kahlo , because of the powerful stories that came through in their work. The many lines in her work signify action and boundaries, leading her from the past and present; and the flow of blue, especially, symbolizes faith and truth. Her hope is that you, the viewer, are able to connect with her story, and have the opportunity to heal as well!
What does Creativity mean to you?
Creativity is everything to me. It’s my thoughts, ideas, visions, actions -- it’s how I express my inner light and connect with others.
How do you expand yourself creatively?
I write, sing, play guitar, paint, draw, dance and put creative play in to as much as I can. I am always thinking, writing down and reviewing ideas, putting them into action, trying and failing constantly.
Were you creative as a child? If so, how have you evolved through the years? Did anyone encourage you, especially?
I’ve always been creative and I’ve always felt a little bit different than everyone else. Growing up that was hard because I never really found a place I fit. My family was very musical and my Dad taught me how to play piano at a very young age, so I’ve been reading and playing music all my life. I always loved coloring and sewing too. Since I can remember I have been creating something, whether that was arranging flowers I picked from the yard, sewing a pillow, rearranging my bedroom, writing a song or drawing a picture.
What inspires you most?
For me, inspiration strikes randomly. Ideas just seem to pop into my head, or I see pretty colors or shapes that inspire a thought. I get so excited sometimes that the inspiration turns to passion and passion turns into action. I truly believe that the more I am at peace the easier it is to be inspired. So I find ways to find that peace like being outdoors, writing and feeding my spirit.
What turns you on creatively?
I just love bold colors, blocks of color, line, energy and excitement. If I see that, I feel that -- and it feels good!
Do you have any gratefulness practices?
Most definitely. Every morning I restart my brain to be on track for the day. When I meditate in prayer I think about how thankful I am for everything and let go of anything weighing me down. I want to be blessed so I can be a blessing and think about ways I can help others everyday.
Do you daydream often? If so, does it inform your work?
Constantly. I live in my daydreams, I always have. My thoughts influence what I do, especially my creative work. My creative work are my daydreams manifested.
How does a relationship and/or children affect your creativity?
My husband affects my creativity in both positive and negative ways. He is very supportive and helpful so that boosts my creativity, but I do like to work alone and if he’s around I get distracted.
Is there a Creative, past or present, that you would give just about anything to work with? Who, and why?
Basquiat. He was such a free living individual who let his authentic self be visually present in everything he did. I want to have that same freedom of expression.
How do you care for yourself to ensure you’re available when ideas present themselves?
I practice awareness. I listen to my mind, body and spirit to keep it in balance. If I’m tired I rest, if I’m inspired I work, if I’m hungry, I eat. I simplify life so I can make as much room as possible for my creative journey.
How do you balance life and art effectively? Or, do you?
It’s always a balancing act, but the best thing I’ve done for myself is to remove the pressure to create. Creation for me happens in seasons. Sometimes I’m painting a lot, sometimes I’m playing music and sometimes I’m resting. I used to feel guilty when I wasn’t working, and now I have found a peace in knowing that everything happens when it’s meant to happen. I can’t force creativity out of me, but I can create an environment for it to flow effortlessly.
How do you deal with creative dry spells? Do you make space for them, or push through?
When I’m not working, I’m resting. I don’t called them dry spells, I know there is a purpose for that time. It gives me time to think, for seeds to grow and space for creativity to happen authentically.
How do you deal with change, especially when it comes to creative mediums and passion?
I love change! I like to take risks and keep life interesting. Change is growth, so why resist it?
How does criticism affect you?
I have a gentle spirit so any type of criticism affects me, but generally it takes me 2-3 days to get over it and move on. So in the moment when I’m feeling hurt I know it’s only a matter of days until I forget about it. I find peace knowing it’s only a temporary thing.
Has your work ever been copied? If so, how did you deal with it?
Yes it has. I handle it professionally, sometimes a lawyer does have to get involved. I realize that it’s something that will happen. I can’t control others, but I can control myself, so I deal with it like any other challenge.
How important is self compassion to your creative process?
It’s so important and so hard. I am my own worst critic and it does affect me. It keeps me from working and sometimes makes me very depressed. I really rely on my friends to lift me out of that and remind me to silence “the committee” in my head.
Do you have any other mediums you use to express yourself creatively?
I write music, play guitar, sing, paint, draw, color, sew, cook, dance and live creatively. I will express creativity any possible way I can.
Do you enjoy collaborating, or prefer to work alone?
Both. There’s a time to be alone and a time to be with others. I get different energies from both experiences and value them equally.
Do you work in a studio/space designed specifically for your creativity, or on the spur of the moment/anywhere inspiration strikes?
I have a space designed specifically for work and places for all my materials. I thrive in an organized space so I prepare it according to what I’m working on. It’s filled with natural light, mirrors for reflection and pretty things I love that make me feel happy.
Is it important for you to have a creative, inspiring environment?
Definitely! I love lots of light and an open space. When I get ready to work I turn on music, get a glass of water and go for it!
Do you plan thoroughly for projects, or go with the flow?
I’m a planner. Every project I execute is thoroughly planned out, sometimes it takes years, months or days, but either way each one is building on the last. Even though I plan everything out, I always allow space for spontaneity. I make a plan to let things flow!
Do you have a preferred way of cataloguing ideas?
I write everything down in a notebook that I bring with me everywhere I go. I always have to buy the kind with spirals too so I can write on the front and back of each page easily. Once I finish a notebook I go back through it entirely and rewrite notes in my new book. I keep my lists and ideas up to date, too, so I continue to pursue them.
Do you utilize social media? If so, how?
Do I ever! I use social media to build my audience, share information and connect with my followers. It’s a major tool I use in my marketing strategy since I primarily use digital platforms to market my work globally. I mostly use Facebook, but also use Twitter and Instagram. I have accounts for all major platforms, but don’t use them all daily.
What is your typical day like?
A typical day… there’s no such thing! I wake up, have coffee and get to work. That may be work towards balancing my mind/body/spirit, work on the computer, work in the studio or meetings. I work long hours because I’m so passionate about what I do and want to do it all the time! I listen to myself and keep a to-do list always reprioritizing things that need to get done. I prefer to paint in the mornings/early afternoons because I’m not a night person. Early to bed, early to rise make my body the happiest!
Do you have any rituals that help to set your creative time and/or space?
I wouldn’t call it a ritual, but I do like to journal, stretch and meditate to get my mind set for the day. I like to keep a clean work space, so I usually pick up and reorganize around my space to prepare for painting. I always have music on, so that’s a must before anything can happen!
Does spirituality and/or culture play a role in your creativity?
Yes most definitely. I know God is the source of my gifts and I listen to His instructions to know what I should do with my gifts. Sometimes it’s work for my own heart and sometimes it’s work for others. Whatever God leads me to do, I do it.
Do you believe art can change the world? If so, how?
I do!! Creating art is a beautiful way to express yourself without saying a word. It affects the brain differently than expression through voice, and it is a powerful method to communicate visually. It’s such a personal experience that can be shared with others and help activate conversations that may have been hard before the art was involved. Art can also be a collective experience that brings people together. I believe the world has to change one person at a time and if more people were creating art we would live in a very different place!
Are you active in your local art community? If so, how do you help and support each other?
I am VERY active! I love artists and being around artists so I started an artist group called the Nashville Creative Group. It’s an online platform where we come together to communicate and we have monthly meet-ups to learn from speakers, group projects or each other. Sometimes we collaborate on projects and show work together. It’s mostly for community, we want to inspire leaders and see more groups and programs result from the entire community connecting online and offline.
Do you surround yourself on a daily basis with creative, inspiring people?
Yes!! I HAVE to! I am hardly ever around anyone non creative. When I am around non creatives I get extremely introverted and uncomfortable. I guess I feel insecure because in some scenarios I’m the weird one. I do things differently that the world, I have a different path and I don’t like having to explain that to someone, I want to just connect like I do with other artists. It’s like we just get each other and that’s when I feel the most inspired to be who I am!
What effect do you want your art to have on the world?
I want my artwork to connect with people and bring them joy. I want the viewer to sense my spirit and energy and know that I made it for them. I want my story to inspire others and bring people together.
What music, if any, plays while you work? What are you listening to at this very moment?
Right now I’m listening to instrumental piano. I like to listen to all types of music, but when I’m working I love music that inspires my spirit to be lifted.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
“Never stop painting.” - Michael Shane Neal
“All great artists give, so give everything all the time.” - Paul Harmon
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
Don’t doubt yourself, don’t underestimate the work that is required to succeed, find ways to keep your spirit up, know who you are and why you create, have a mission, work with and learn from other artists, get a mentor, have a financial plan to support your creative practice, never give up, wipe away the tears, keep going, join an artist group, go to art shows and events, go see art in other cities around the world, have fun and do work that makes you happy so you’ll always love what you do!
Do you have any upcoming projects/collections to share?
I am! My latest show, Release, opens August 1st at the Main Street Gallery in East Nashville. The opening reception is that Friday night from 6-9 PM and I will be playing music and talking about the art at 7 PM. The show will be up until August 28th.
Where can we find your art?