The Working Artist 

It’s about being an artist. Not just making the work, but creating an artful life. It’s about being bold, taking risks, making work, building a career, telling stories, finding inspiration, seeking information. It’s about owning who you are and the magic that happens when you JUMP.


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And in the end, I got an amazing interview.

I brought no Italian with me to Rome.

At the Brazilian Embassy, I tell the guard that I am to see artist Vik Muniz. The guard speaks no English. My best mime only warrants a raised eyebrow. In desperation, I plead, "Parlez francais?" though I do not. A call is placed and I gather that I have been mistaken for a French journalist of great repute. "French" because every one now speaks to me in French, though my only reply is my customary Gallic shrug. "Journalist of repute" because I was granted the sole private interview with the artist so they assume I must be somebody.

The red carpet is rolled out as a diplomat whisks me upstairs to Vik. Introductions are made, in French, to Vik as he looks at me, baffled, points, and exclaims. "It's you!" We embrace as I explain how I am chasing him, wanting an interview for my Working Artist project, and how I connived to arrange this meeting. 

They give us an ornate room to talk in private. Vik helps me set up and, as I struggle with my equipment, he patiently teaches me how to use my tripod. Oh God, I repeat to myself nervously. The Ambassador drops in to say hello. Oh God. A white-gloved man in uniform silently serves us espresso. I am shaking with caffeinated nerves. But he was the same Vik Muniz he has always been, generous, brilliant, hilarious, insightful, and gorgeous. And in the end, I got an amazing interview.


Angels Go Crazy

I remember that I was late for the plane that day.

I'd been walking up and down Madison Avenue all weekend, looking for the perfect handbag. I have a thing about purses. Now, as I ran for a cab to the airport, I saw it. The One. But it was too late. I nearly wept, knowing I would never, ever forget it as long as I lived. An over-reaction perhaps, but we all have our quirks. 

On the plane, I asked the man next to me what he'd been doing in NY. He said he'd been walking Madison Avenue looking at handbags. I looked doubtful. He said he was a handbag manufacturer. I told him about The Handbag That Got Away. He pulled out a catalog and I found it on page 3. A few days later and it was at my door. 

Fast forward to my last flight. London to Phoenix. Small talk with the man next to me revealed that he was the VP of Sales for my favorite sock company. Yes, I have a favorite sock company. I walk a lot. I waxed on and on about the quality of his company's socks, which is unrivaled. A few days later a big box of socks was delivered to my door.

God, I love to travel. A chance to let the angels go crazy and do their thing.

It begins to rain as I contemplate the meaning of "cultural."

The weekend. "What do you want to do?" Something cultural, I insist.

NOT the pub. Perhaps the Damian Hirst exhibit? Or the Hockney show? He scowls. He has another idea.

For 158 years, Cambridge and Oxford have come to London to row against one another in the greatest boat race of the year. The Cambridge vs. Oxford Boat Race, the stuff of legend. We discuss which team to support as we stand in the long line to get in, only to find it longer to get a beer or use the bathroom. Typical. The race is about to begin but I can't see the river. "The river?" There must have been a misunderstanding. For we are not at the Cambridge vs. Oxford Boat Race, rather an "homage to," he explains. This is the Cambridge vs. Oxford GOAT race.

It begins to rain as I contemplate the meaning of "cultural." Then they are off! We can't see them from where we stand by the finish line, and the crowd is huge. We wait, uncertain what is to come. A train passes behind the field and Companion's eyes widen in fear as he holds me closer, certain it's the sound of thundering hooves and we are in danger of being trampled by a herd of enraged goats. I decide not to tell him about the train. A woman stands in the middle of the course to get a better picture of the goats when they come. "She's mad," he mutters as he looks for an escape. Then the entire crowd presses forward and screams, "Here they come!" Companion's fear is palpable - until the crowd parts to reveal two little goats trotting along happily next to their handler. Cambridge is in front. And then the race is over.

I look at Companion and sigh, "OK, let's go to the pub."

Follow What Scares Your Most

I am just passing through, in town for one night on my way to someplace else.

I am meant to be meeting another man in the pub tonight. But he isn't here yet. I buy a pint of bitter and turn to find a place to set it down. There is a space next to the handsome man. Naturally, I set my beer down there. 
We start talking. Small talk quickly makes way for conversation. Before too long I am confiding in the handsome man. I don't confide in everybody, you know. But something about him makes me want to tell the truth. I tell the handsome man that I am uncertain of my next step, of where to go next. He smiles at me and urges, "Follow what scares you the most, Crista." 

And so I did. And we continue our conversation to this lovely day.

"Throughout our lives, we may only meet a few people who touch us on a spiritual level and change our paths. Crista is one of those people." Jane Seaman, Best-Selling Author

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