Creative burnout can hit hard—both physically and emotionally. We talked to our friend Marleigh Culver about her experience with, stress, wellness, and self-care as an artist.
Tell us about yourself!
Hi! I am Marleigh and am based in Los Angeles. I am an artist, creative consultant and designer.
What kind of artwork do you create?
I have always love abstract, large-scale painting and anything color focused. I try to emulate these and the power of my favorite artists in my work. I love abstract shapes, things from nature or inspired by painting and the play of the medium. I’m always seeking to create beautiful and saturated-with-color paintings.
Hilma: What inspires your work?
I find inspiration anywhere from water spills, leaves, nature documentaries, and sculptures. I love randomness and unpredictably so I try to bring that in with the drawings of my work.
"There is an endless amount to learn from nature."
How do you draw inspiration from the natural world?
I’m really obsessed with colors and shapes found in nature because the science and math are fascinating. I love to figure out why an animal might do something or what color plants hummingbirds like. There is an endless amount to learn from nature and that’s why I like to take what I see and blow it up or make it explode with color.
How do you take care of yourself?
It’s been really difficult this year to feel settled. I like to go on walks in my neighborhood because it’s beautiful and green and full of inspiring architecture. I use CBD products if I feel anxious. I have a list of daily to-dos to quiet my mind and make life feel a little more manageable. Drinking tea and using a back massager really helps to feel calm!
"Stepping away from the medium or work you do is so important. If you force work, it'll be without integrity."
What are your personal best tips to avoid creative burnout?
Stepping away from the medium or work you do is so important. If you force work it’ll be without integrity. If you compare or pressure yourself to others you’ll never be as great. Trying activities and journalling helps keep me sane and fresh with my work. Trying something and failing is really good for you, the humble-ness and knowing that something doesn’t work for you creates more space to make things you love.
What are some ways for artists to de-stress?
1. Do drawing exercises to loosen up, anything with blind-contour or mindless drawing is good.
2. Reading about other artists and their struggles and learnings makes things feel less stressful.
3. Clean up your work space.
4. Visit museums or enjoy other activities that inspire you
5. Find something that inspires your work that isn’t related to art, for me it’s gardening.
Have you ever found ways in which your creativity was blocked or depleted due to health & wellness?
Always, I had a health scare where I was almost numb on the left side of my body, that scared me, the anxiety of the situation lasted a good 1.5 half until I felt like I could move beyond the experience. If I don’t sleep well, eat well, or take time to rest by closing my eyes and allowing my brain to go wherever, I’m not going to make work that feels like me or is good. Anxiety really can crush any success I may have.
How have you stayed creative throughout this year?
I watch a lot of movies that I love and look at work by classic artists, I love to study their trajectory and find similarities in their thinking or process. Moving to LA from NYC has helped so much to feel at home somewhere and to create work reminicense of the feeling I get being here.
Tell us about your inspiration or creative process behind the holiday collaboration with Hilma!
I had been working on photoshoots for a client and the food styling and finding interesting aspects about the vegetables we were using definitely opened my eyes to how to see things a bit differently. I looked at a lot of images and botanical drawings for both ginger and chamomile and tried to find the connect between my work and the subjects. I already appreciated Hilma’s aesthetics and wanted to remain in that world of feeling bright, clean and nourishing.