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Is Fear of Failure holding you back? w/ Marissa Childers, An Artist

In this episode of the Arts to Hearts Podcast, Marissa Childers and Charuka Arora share their personal journeys into the world of contemporary art. In this engaging discussion, Marissa speaks openly about her experience of moving away from home for grad school, which greatly influenced her work and helped her develop a passion for working with her hands. She also delves into her transition from accounting to ceramics and her fears and insecurities about not being able to make a living from her art.

Charuka also relates to Marissa’s experience and discusses the common perception of artists as poor and struggling. Both artists emphasize the importance of having a sense of urgency and making the most of their time to pursue their creative dreams.

Throughout the podcast, the artists shed light on the challenges and insecurities of pursuing art while highlighting the strengths and determination required to make it happen. Listeners are treated to an engaging discussion that delivers a high level of semantic richness and valuable insights into the world of contemporary art.

Whether you are an artist or appreciate art, this podcast will inspire and inform. So, grab your favorite beverage and settle in for an engaging and insightful discussion on pursuing creative dreams.

Topics covered in this podcast

  • 02:28: Interview with Marissa Childers: Exploring the Influence of Domestic Objects on Her Work
  • 04:42: Conversation between Marissa Childers and Charuka Arora on the Evolution of Marissa’s Work with Clay
  • 09:49: Conversation between Charu Kaarora and Marissa Childers on Pursuing a Career in Art
  • 15:18: Conversation on the Impact of Past Experiences on Creative Paths
  • 16:35: Conversation on Social Media Pressure and Living in the Moment
  • 25:17: Conversation Between Marissa Childers and Charuka Arora on Cutting Down Consumption and Influences
  • 26:53: Conversation between Charuka Arora and Marissa Childers on the Impact of Growing Up in a Small Town and transitioning to a Bigger City
  • 32:43: Conversation on Nostalgia, Self-Discovery, and Embracing Identity
  • 41:45: Conversation on the Unique Journey of Artistic Expression
  • 42:55: Interview with Artist Marissa Childers: Exploring Inspiration, Hard Work, and Finding Your Voice
  • 45:43: Interview with Marissa Childers: Advice for Pursuing an Artistic Career

About Marissa Childers

Hello, my name is Marissa Childers. I grew up in the small town of Florence, Alabama where I attended The University of North Alabama. I started working with clay my junior year of college. Honestly, until then, I had no clue what ceramics was and never would have imagined it to be something I could become so passionate about. My plan was to graduate as an accountant, but believe it or not, playing with dirt was a little more exciting than dealing with numbers all day.

​I decided shortly after to swap over my major and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Ceramics. Following graduation, I moved to Snowmass, Colorado to be a ceramic intern at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. This internship opened so many doors for me as I was given the opportunity to work alongside many incredible artists, make connections, and learn the ins and outs of what goes into being a ceramic artist. 

I left my internship and drove straight to Oklahoma to start grad school at The University of Oklahoma. It was interesting to have the majority of my graduate experience during the pandemic, but it was the best decision I could have made. It really pushed me outside my comfort zone and made me try things that I would have never considered beforehand. I can honestly say that I fully enjoy my process and the things I’m creating, and I’m excited to see where this new body of work takes me!

Watch & Listen to this podcast Episode.

Key Highlights from the Episode

Q. Charuka: Okay, let’s also see that domestic objects very influence your work, and I love how you add those, you know, the cable sweater networks, and like you know, the patches and the textures, and I am somebody who loves textures. But, um, tell me something: did your work always be associated with something like this, or were you working very differently? How has it evolved over time?

A. Marissa Childers: So honestly, I’ve only been doing clay for 6 years, so I haven’t been doing it for very long, and in some sense, 6 years seems like a long time. But. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, the time passes quickly, so looking back on it, like, 6 years is not that long.

Um, so I actually went to college to be an accountant and was doing that. I was doing a lot of math and numbers, and I got to my junior year of college and decided that this is not what I wanted to be stuck doing for the rest of my life. Um, and I actually dropped out of college for 4 years and worked a lot. You know, odd-in jobs and my dad is a woodworker, so he does cabinetry and furniture, and he makes hardwood flooring and all of those things, so I started working with him.

When I was nine or ten years old, I got into that routine of working with my hands and making things, but I never looked at it as an art form. I just saw it as a craft, but not necessarily an art form, and I think that was just because of my dad. Having that, as you know, was his job. That’s what he did daily, so I just viewed that slightly differently.

But then once I dropped out of college, I was like, “You know what? I thought, “I think that I am happier doing that, like something with my hands. So. I went back to college and was like, I really want to, you know, do something within the arts.”

I didn’t know what, and so, um, yeah, and so I was like, I knew that that’s what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know exactly what medium or what it was I wanted to do when I enrolled back into college. Um, the only class left available was because I enrolled so late with ceramics, and it was just like this lovely little accident that I ended up in the class, and I didn’t know what it was, so I mean. I showed up on the first day, and they were like, “Here’s your clay,” I was like, “What are we doing in this class?” It was hilarious at the time, but I looked back at it, and it was like, “Well, that’s really nice that I had no expectation, you know, for what the class was going to be, and then it ultimately ended up changing my career path. My life, and you know, I just had this when I sat down with the first project. I had this instinctive connection with the clay, and it was something that I had never felt doing anything else.

So I felt like that was, you know, my Ah moment where it was like, “Okay, this is what we are doing.”

Q. Charuka: Tell me something. I want to know about this because I have had a similar journey. Like, you know, I didn’t come from an art school; I actually did history, and then I found myself trying a bunch of things in advertising, and then I was like, okay. Even then, art never seemed, from possibility. For some reason, becoming an artist was never an option because it never seemed like a career. It always started like, “Okay, I thought it was a hobby,” and I never met a real artist in the sense of a working artist who could make a living out of it.

But I’m just trying to pinpoint what I can think of now. Um, you know, you do many things, and you and I had the same sense of urgency as you did. It was just that, you know, I’ve faced it this much time, I need to make the most of it, I need to go quicker and faster, and there were a lot more insecurities and inhibitions. Of course, there were many more strengths, and I want to speak about both, I’m sure, because many of our listeners, Um. Have the same parts, like, for me, say, one of my biggest fears was that because I had moved so many different things, I would have this fear that I didn’t know if I would be able to stick to this or not because anytime you go deeper into something, you figure it out. Oh my god, this isn’t what I thought it would be. Did you have any fears in the sense of having any fears for the first, and if so, what were those?

A. Marissa Childers: I mean, I think that there are a lot of fears that arise when you decide, “Hey, I’m going to pursue art because I know it’s different. You know, around the world, and depending on what kind of background you’re coming from, But. I didn’t come from a lot of money, so you know, like the idea of ending up not with a lot of money, I’m like, okay, well, I’m used to that, but it would be nice to be able to actually make money from what I’m doing. So I’m not struggling, and I find myself in some weird, strange situation where it’s like, “Oh, it’s putting a lot of stress on me. Yeah.

Q. Charuka: But did that mean that for you, the first association with being an artist was the idea of starving artists pursuing a career, and most of us had that?

A. Marissa Childers: Yeah, I think it’s a very common, um, interpretation of, you know, when someone talks about being an artist, the first thing they think of is that you’re poor. So you know, I had to sit down and ask myself,

“Is this something that I could actually do and make a career out of?” I think at the end of the day, it was more like, “Is this what I want to do? Am I willing to kind of take those risks?”

Something that I enjoy and actually loves doing, and I loved it enough that you know that wasn’t a big deal for me to like to turn me off and like make me go pursue something else, and you know once I had decided yes, this is what I want to do.I think I kind of just chatted with myself and was like,

“You know, this is what you’re doing. There’s no turning back. You need to be motivated and dedicated to this and make it work”

and I think when you can do that for yourself and be kind of your own motivation, things are much more manageable.

Q. Charuka:  Do you think you’ve had anything that you know has shaped who you are today regarding what you have done in the past?

A: Marissa Childers: And, oh yeah, definitely. I mean, I get what you’re saying entirely about feeling like I wasted my time and my money with this, and then I’m like changing my mind and going over here. I think it’s normal to have those feelings because, unfortunately, it’s essentially a race against the clock.

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