Suter Falls, waterfall Tennessee

Over the past few weeks I have had several friends say they would love to know more about my creative journey so this week I decided to share a little about myself for The Creative Push. Consider this a bit of a creative check-in and an introduction if you don’t know anything about who I am or why I started this artist’s platform.

It is hard to believe that it is May and this morning it was 50 degrees out. I love being on the lake in the summer, and with this cold, it might be July before the water temperature is warm enough for this Florida gal to swim. This time last year I was hiking at Suter Falls, Tennessee with friends as we all were going into lockdown from COVID-19.

Sheri Oneal Hiking Winding Stairs

When we shut down last year I went into complete mental overload because I could not figure out how to generate income as a photographer. With all the isolation and the fear of what was ahead, I started thinking deeply about my life, where I was and the direction I was headed. COVID-19 gave me the time to emotionally dive in and reconsider what I wanted, what I needed to change, and plan what I hope to do next. I realized I have been going through the motions, and I needed to put on my big girl pants to start building the life I want rather than waiting for it to find me. Time is not endless and I need to make my next 20 years matter because they could very well be my last.

Sheri Oneal shooting photos of a music artist on set.
Shooting an artist for the music industry in Nashville.

I wonder if any of you have felt the same with all that has happened in our world over the past crazy year. My focus in life has always been on my career, income, and the future while being on autopilot. My public identity has been that of a commercial photographer but as I age the things I have loved privately continue to tease me with joy. My love of writing and making art has always been on the back burner with self-talk of “someday I will get to those things.” I am sure you all have your own “someday” list.

Boxes made from repurposed cigar boxes.
Boxes made from repurposed cigar boxes.

As I dove into all of my uncomfortable feelings and realizations I started to notice how insecure I was when thinking about revisiting what I might do because of my fear of sharing them with others. Imposter syndrome and social anxiety have always been difficult hurdles in my life but it suddenly occurred to me that those were the things I loved most!

Sheri Oneal working in her art studio.
Sheri Oneal in her art studio working on a piece of art for ReTune Nashville flood relief project.

As a teen, I believed I was the weirdo whenever I shared my creative ideas. I felt as if I never quite fit in and it made me deeply introverted at times. Society allows kids to experiment with art encouraging creativity when they are very young but diverts creative thinking towards a path of unity when choosing a financially secure career. Today my anxiety with networking and mingling among strangers is likely the result of those feelings. The isolation of last year allowed me to identify, acknowledge and try to understand on a deeper level.

Sheri Oneal as a kid on Lake Kerr in Florida.
A young Sheri Oneal on Lake Kerr, Florida.

Today our culture is changing. The creativity of posting random videos showcasing our uniqueness publically now has the potential to make more money than that of a 4-year college degree minus the price tag. There are more creative people visually producing dopamine-induced content to the masses than ever before and today the weirder the idea the bigger the audience. 

"Love Is Mysterious" art piece.
“Love Is Mysterious” art piece.

As I research all of these avenues of what is out there among our creative markets I feel that self-expression has become more acceptable than at any other time in history. I want to embrace that, help others find their outlet, and offer motivation. Those desires in life need to be nurtured not added to a “someday” list! 

"Love Is Kind" art piece from Live Is series.
“Love Is Kind” art piece from Live Is series.

I built this site wanting to interact, share and help others get excited about art, creativity, and learning. I am still trying to determine the direction I need to take to make it work and I need feedback to know what I should do next.

Normally each week I share an artist interview with you all but I wanted to do a Creative Check-in and offer some personal thoughts. I felt the need to reach out, to see if anyone reading, watching, and finding inspiration in what I have shared so far? 

The Creative Push Vlog On YouTube

My video this week offers my own personal thoughts and ideas as an artist for The Creative Push.

What is on your list? How can I help? What can I provide? I want to hear from you! Tell me how I can be of service here to help you find some kind of creative joy or learn something new. 

Thank you for reading, if you liked this story please share it with other creatives. I hope that you will sign up to be a part of this creative tribe! 

To read more artists’ interview stories visit The Creative Push blog!

To listen to more interviews check out The Creative Push podcast!

To see my photography visit Sheri ONeal Photography!

There are more stories are on the way!!

Do you know someone who would make for an interesting interview? Please feel free to reach out via email and social media! I’m always looking to connect.

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