FEATURING: Leah Tumerman

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

Ideally, Creative Community functions as an intimate, enthusiastic, toss into action. I'm envisioning a giant blanket, held at its perimeter by so many makers. In this vision, we know each other well, not only through our tiny glass screens. Everyone gets a turn to be heard and lifted, tossed! Of course feedback helps us to answer our important questions. But I think the world provides us a lot of 'nos' and shakedowns. What we need from community is a giant YES, encouragement to pursue our most creative and terrifying urges. We get to our best work by making work, and if our Creative Community supports us with affirmatives towards producing, the sooner we will arrive.


How did you discover your creativity?

When I was young, my mother and sister and I were constantly creating. With mom at the helm, we would write plays and craft sets, endlessly sing songs, and sometimes I would paint. Mostly though, we dove deep into the corners of our imagination, unbridled, youthful and unedited. We would perform for a camera, or friends and family. Sometimes we'd exist in this kind of space for hours without an audience. I grew up and into adulthood with a profound respect for potential, magic and the unknown. My work now, is keeping all of that alive.


Name the biggest challenge you have had in growing your business. How did you solve it?

My biggest challenge has been learning to trust the uniqueness of my work, and voice. That it is mine and different than others' , and that it need not be otherwise. I am concerned most with making good work, and as much of it as I can. I believe that if I focus on this, the rest falls into place. For better or worse, I rarely concern myself with the logistics of business, or growing one. My business, is making good paintings. My lessons live therein. When the work is honest and true, and exists in bounty, I have my best chance at good business.


What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?

In 2011, I applied for my first public mural in Rogers Park, Chicago. I knew how to paint and assumed I would teach myself to paint 770 square feet in public space. I just barely got the job, and it took three months to finish as I balanced painting days with a full-time waitressing gig. It was my big break, because I learned to leap towards things out of reach, and then put in the hours to make them work. I broke myself of certain fears, specifically the fear of seeming or being unqualified. That's not for me to worry about. My first public mural commission broke me out of the kind of fear that keeps one from ascension. Though I still often experience rejection, and even more often educate myself after obtaining the work, I do not shy from the pitch.


What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?

Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
6 or 7 black ink Le Pens, pilfered from an old side job. 
3 Packs of birth control from my most recent trip to Planned Parenthood.

Full Name: Leah Tumerman

Profession: Artist, painter, muralist, illustrator

Industry: Fine art




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