I met Andy Schneider's wife, Hope Lafferty, through a local writing group in Nashville. She had so many interesting things to talk about, one of which was her husband. I learned that he was a musician, and since I have a musical life (playing classical piano), I knew straight away that I wanted to have him on the blog.
More recently, I've come to know Andy through his "Happy Hour with Andy Schneider" variety webshow. He sings and tells jokes...it's definitely a light-hearted time! Andy recently launched a site on Patreon, to support his webshow as well. Patreon is a great way to support Creatives - I hope you'll check it out.
What does Creativity mean to you?
When I do things right, I don’t feel as though I’m expressing myself. I feel that I’m bringing forth an idea or presence that comes from somewhere else and needs a conduit to reveal itself. I’m the conduit.
How do you expand yourself creatively?
I make a conscious effort to push myself, sometimes into uncomfortable areas, to see what ideas are there. The push is technical, genre, medium, every dimension.
Were you creative as a child? If so, how have you evolved through the years? Did anyone encourage you, especially?
Yes, always. My Mom encouraged me to see art museums, history museums, learn art, music and science. My favorite three words as a kid were, “Mom, I’m bored.” Little has changed, except I’m now finding ways through new mediums of video and still images, mixed with music and comedy to entertain myself, and hopefully others. I’m never bored, but that drive to occupy myself is constant.
What inspires you most?
I’m not sure. It’s everywhere, in everything I see and hear. The only thing that doesn’t inspire me is watching people do things that aren’t their mission. Unhappy drudgery is a bore.
Do you have any gratefulness practices?
Sure, that’s really important! I’ve been through a few things in my life that make it easy. The great thing about the passing of years is that you go through stuff that isn’t fun. The point of that stuff is to make you aware of how great all the other stuff is.
Do you daydream often? If so, does it inform your work?
What, huh? Sorry, I was thinking of something else. Sure, I’ve got to lose focus on the busy-mind stuff to hear those creative thoughts.
How does a relationship and/or children affect your creativity?
My wife is 100% on board, so I’ve got it made. She supports everything I do and understands that being creative and doing creative work isn’t a choice. The choice was made for me, and now I’ve just got to do it.
How do you care for yourself to ensure you’re available when ideas present themselves?
I avoid dayjobs. They'll suck the energy right out of you.
How do you balance life and art effectively? Or, do you?
I tend to let 'er fly. Sometimes I wish I had more time to have fun and recreate, but my work is all I've ever wanted to do, so I let the work win my time, generally.
How do you deal with creative dry spells? Do you make space for them, or push through?
Not sure I've had one for years.
How do you deal with change, especially when it comes to creative mediums and passion?
Immersion. I go to bed watching YouTube videos and reading about my new interest. Wake up several times in the night to write things down. Then I get up and put them to practice.
How does criticism affect you?
Love it. Nobody's ever going to love 100% of what I do, but I know enough people enjoy my work to keep going.
Do you enjoy collaborating, or prefer to work alone?
I love it.
Do you work in a studio/space designed specifically for your creativity, or on the spur of the moment/anywhere inspiration strikes?
Pretty much anywhere. As a touring musician, I learned to make a studio anywhere. Generally, if I have a laptop or tablet, I'm making something.
Is it important for you to have a creative, inspiring environment?
Not really. The work has to get done, whether my creature is comfortable or not.
Do you plan thoroughly for projects, or go with the flow?
Plan thoroughly, with allowances for new ideas and natural developments to run their course.
Do you have a preferred way of cataloguing ideas?
Yes! Right now I'm really enjoying Microsoft OneNote. It's always in sync on all my devices, so at any moment, I can jot down an idea or lyric, and it will be there when I'm ready to develop it.
Do you utilize social media? If so, how?
Big time. My new show, Happy Hour With Andy Schneider is a live broadcast on YouTube. Then I clip some sketches or songs from it and make a shorter video for Facebook and I'm now adding Instagram and Vine.
What is your typical day like?
Up at 9am, working at 9:15am to 7pm. Then relax for a couple of hours, and end the evening catching up on internet news and new techniques for my art and business.
Do you believe art can change the world? If so, how?
Of course. Nothing ever happens that isn't necessary. Judging things as good or bad is irrelevant, because as the flow of things goes, everything happens for a reason. To that end, everything is connected and art seems to keep happening. Art changes everything, and everything changes art.
Do you surround yourself on a daily basis with creative, inspiring people?
I like to. That's why I like to take small acting gigs. I'm no actor, but I love hanging out with them. They seem to have a great, fun take on life.
What effect do you want your art to have on the world?
Donald Judd said art only has to be interesting. If someone is interested in what I do, that's enough. They'll take away what they need.
What music, if any, plays while you work? What are you listening to at this very moment?
Nope, never. Draws me in way too much.
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
Yes, don't aspire. Be. Being creative is free and if you hear the call to be creative it's your duty to answer.
Do you have any favourite books?
The Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee. If you take out the stuff in the middle about the technical aspects of fighting, it becomes a brilliant book on creativity and artistry. Really.
Do you have any upcoming projects/collections to share?
I've loving having this new webshow, Happy Hour With Andy Schneider. It's live music and comedy, cartoons and film shorts. I can't wait to collaborate with more Nashville artists.
Where can we find your art?