It’s been a hot minute since our little creative cloud, Courtney, floated out of the Tay Ham window and into the wild blue of new experiences. Before her departure we made a special greeting that represents all the pure, positive energy she brought to the team. Now that we’ve inducted it into our new HAM JAM collection, it only makes sense we reconnect with its inspiration. So we sat down with the artist, writer and full-time free spirit (and the steamy mug of pomegranate white tea clasped between her fairy fingers) to catch up and replenish our depleting stores of good juju.
TAY HAM (TH): First thing’s first – what are you listening to?
Courtney (C): Have you heard of Vulfpeck? You should listen to their stuff. Also, the Lijadu Sisters – it’s like Nigerian 70s punk funk. And I just discovered Herbie Hancock. I’ve been on that funky Soul Train kick lately. Like, gimme some bell bottoms!
TH: And books – what about those?
C: I’m currently reading “Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously” by Osho. It kind of takes a play into acknowledging your fears, unveiling them and projecting them more in your art; or acknowledging fears and still going on that adventure. Fearful people acknowledge their fears like they exist for everyone, but they still go out and adventure and take themselves to places they’ve never been before and are encouraged to take the next step because they never know when their next step will end.
Have you seen [Osho’s] video that’s been going around Facebook? It’s about how “fuck” is the universal word and he goes on this spiritual rant about how you can use it. It’s the best.
TH: Haha! This is so informative. Do you use the word fuck a lot?
C: I would say so.
C: Usually surprise, like “Oooh fuck!” Like you would say “Oooh shit!” but with fuck in its place. Or like, “Oh fuck! I wasn’t expecting that!” But if I’m stressed or mad I say “goddammit.” Like, really murder it.
TH: You don't seem like the type to get stressed. Do you?
C: I get overwhelmed and I think that contributes to stress. School and work mostly. I also have intense visions for how I want to just keep doing art and keep going with these projects, but sometimes I’m not patient with myself enough. Or, it sucks not letting myself have as much of a social life. It’s a balance between rest, a social life and creativity. Those are three most amazing things and a lifestyle by itself. When you’re working so much you’re compromising a lifestyle. That’s something a lot of artists do.
TH: How do you deal with stress?
C: I think I need to do physical things to combat stress. Like ride my bike. I think it puts me in my body most. I can get really lazy with yoga if I’m not with somebody else. I can’t intense yoga by myself. I went to do Salty Dog Yoga at the beach the other day and I couldn’t find the place, so I decided to just do yoga on the beach by myself. So I get on the beach, crawl on my mat, do some stretches and I fall asleep! But that’s what I needed! It’s what my body needed. Sometimes you just need that good Sunny D.
TH: Since Tay Ham, you’ve been working in a very calming place, right?
C: Yeah, for Dr. Z! She does network spinal analysis – it’s good for elderly and people who have physical injury.
TH: Interesting. How does that work?
C: Instead of cracking the bones and aligning them, you just touch certain “gateways” along the spine. Through breath work and focusing attention into those places, it relieves nervous system tension and that naturally aligns your spine. By not holding so much tension in your body, you’re able to relax and you become more flexible with how you deal with stress on a daily level.
TH: What have you taken away from that practice?
C: I’ve noticed that the more emotionally flexible I’ve become and by considering the perspectives of why I feel overwhelmed, I can come to a better conclusion about it. Knowing how to calm myself down and not overreact. That has helped the flexibility within my drawing. I’ve been drawing more things by hand and I’ve noticed more soft, playful movements within my drawing gestures. It’s not so intense and rugged and “this line has to be perfect and I’m going to erase it until the curve is perfect.” I’m just going to let my arm move naturally and it ‘s going to create what it wants to create and I’m not going to judge it and it always turns out fucking sweet. It’s so cool.
TH: What art projects are you working on now?
C: I’ve been dipping into a lot of different mediums and I have this idea of drawing all of the people I love on Illustrator. One thing I’ve been really thinking about lately is not selling my art, but selling an experience. So after I draw these pictures of people that I love, and share their story of how their love has impacted me, I'll bring them all together in a room and sit them down and tell them how awesome they are.
Working with Tay Ham has inspired me to dip into that unknown territory. The way [Taylor] puts colors together made me not doubt myself as much. Like, I don’t need to know color theory; it’s just what looks good in my palette.
TH: What’s your current palette?
C: Right now I’m really into burnt oranges, yellows, maroon and soft greens – more of a tropical, African style of colors. I usually go towards pastels, but I’m thinking of fazing those out. Going towards bold colors really scares me, so I’m just going to do it.
(Re: This bad ass illustration she recently drew. See the blog she wrote on Abra HERE.)
TH: How do you send good vibes?
C: Well, I like handwritten letters! And when I see something striking about someone I make sure to let them know how much of an impact that can have. Like, seeing someone’s creative potential and acknowledging it in that moment and just being super stoked on it. Every moment you have to the opportunity to let someone genuinely know that what they’re doing is good, is powerful. Mostly letting someone know that they look really happy doing something.
TH: We feel better already :)