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Art Your Way: Nurturing Creativity, Self-Belief, and Authenticity

July 14, 2023 - Tag: Mindset

A few weeks ago, Nerida sat down with Lisa Congdon, Brook Gossen and Cass Deller with a special guest, Margo Tantau, to discuss their artistic journeys, the importance of authenticity, self-expression, and artistic spirituality in their creative businesses. They delve into their motivations, struggles, and key takeaways, uncovering valuable lessons for artists seeking to find their artistic voice, embrace self-belief, and live a soul-led creative life.


Design of Lisa Congdon

Nerida: Lisa, what was your motivation for your latest book, Finding Your Artistic Voice?

Lisa Congdon: My motivation for writing my book stemmed from my own experience as a self-taught artist. I realized that regardless of formal training, finding one's voice is a challenging process. When I decided to pursue art and build a business, it became essential for me to differentiate myself from others. The industry is filled with overlapping styles and influences, making it crucial to discover what sets me apart.

Finding my artistic voice was not a linear or logical process. It took over seven years of exploration and self-discovery. One significant moment was when I experienced a flow state, creating work that felt cohesive and true to myself. This realization led me to understand that finding one's voice goes beyond style; it encompasses subject matter and deliberate choices in self-expression.

It's important to note that our artistic voice is ever-evolving. Stagnation leads to boredom, so embracing change and growth is essential. To cultivate my artistic voice, I showed up consistently, practiced, and faced the discomfort of pushing my boundaries. It took about a decade for me to feel confident in my work, to appreciate it without embarrassment, and to be in a creative flow where the struggle was less daunting.

Now, by sharing my passions beyond art, such as cycling, I attract opportunities from companies seeking artwork aligned with my authentic self. Following our interests and creating work that brings us joy naturally leads to commercial success.

Key takeaways from my journey:

  • Show up and practice consistently.
  • Embrace discomfort to push artistic boundaries.
  • Your work will improve only if you push yourself.
  • Create art that aligns with your soul and brings you joy.

Design of Brook Gossen

Nerida: Embracing Self-Belief in Artistic Expression One of the aspects I admire in artists is their self-belief and how they communicate their unique artistic vision. It's crucial to express this self-belief in everything we do. Brook, How long did it take you to get to that point to really believe in what you were producing?

Brook Gossen: It took me a long time to develop confidence in my work. After a period of not creating, I realized that my initial attempts might not be great, but I committed to showing up every day and being accountable to myself. Social media played a significant role in shaping my artistic identity. I approached it like having a conversation with someone, staying true to my authentic self.

As I gained more confidence, I noticed that my artistic voice didn't change drastically. However, when I started receiving more work, I felt the pressure to appear more serious and professional, which caused confusion and self-doubt. It was a challenge to strike a balance in expressing myself authentically while meeting clients' expectations.

When it came to pricing my artwork, I initially undervalued myself. But as I recognized my worth, I began having conversational discussions with clients, explaining the value I could bring. It's not always easy, and there were times when I lacked confidence in asking for higher prices. I experienced instances of being ghosted by clients, but I also had clients who immediately agreed to the new prices.

I resonate with the idea that our art's value goes beyond monetary considerations. It's about how our work connects with clients' customers, the impact it has, and the personal brand we build. For me, the key takeaway is to avoid putting too much pressure on ourselves to create solely for social media. Instead, I focus on creating art that reflects my personal growth and evolution.

Nerida: I love that notion of the value that you can bring, there is so much more than a price. It’s how our work can connect to the clients' customers, it’s the changes it can bring about to who is wearing or using the products, also your following and your personal brand that will bring to the client.

Key takeaways from my journey:

  • Avoid pressuring yourself to create social media validation.
  • Focus on creating art that aligns with your personal vision and growth.
  • Your art's value extends beyond a price tag; it connects with people and evokes emotions.

Design of Cass Deller

Nerida: Cass, your art is about being Soul Led, what does that mean?

Cass Deller: For me, soul-led art means doing what feels right for me, rather than seeking approval or following trends. When we start our artistic journey, it comes from a place of love and self-discovery. However, we often get caught up in external influences like social media, Pinterest, or business advice from others. We make leaps without fully understanding why we're doing what we do, losing touch with our true motivations.

To progress, it's essential to reconnect with ourselves and our initial reasons for pursuing art. Are we still passionate about what we're doing? By nourishing ourselves from that soul-led place, our energy ripples through to our followers and the brands we attract. It becomes a natural progression.

Personally, I began painting at the age of 29 after leaving my corporate job. I followed my intuition, which led me to graphic design and wedding stationery. My primary goal was to wake up every day and love what I was doing, to feel passionate about my work. This pursuit of fulfillment has guided my journey. I believe it's okay to dip in and out of part-time work to nurture our creative souls and ensure we're creating artwork we genuinely enjoy, not art dictated by trends.

Key takeaways from my journey:

  • Spend quiet time with yourself to reconnect with your why.
  • Creating art with a connection to your soul is essential to avoid becoming a mere cog in the wheel.
  • Be true to yourself and pursue what brings you fulfillment.

Nerida: Living a Soul-Led Artistic Life for me, it's crucial that our art is not driven solely by monetary considerations. If we're not true to ourselves, how can we bring our best art to life?

Brook: My intention is to bring joy to people's lives. It's important to consider not just what we do but how we do it. The differentiating factor between soul-led work and work that lacks a spiritual foundation is having a sense of purpose. Understanding why I create art and how it can make someone happier, bring them joy, or foster a sense of connection is what truly matters.

Without purpose, we feel lost. It doesn't have to be a political statement or solely about making someone happy. It can be as simple as being a good boss to our assistants. Examining our purpose is an excellent exercise for growth and fulfillment.

Nerida: Margo, what does living a Soul-led artistic life mean to you?

Margo Tantau: To me, living a soul-led artistic life means staying true to who you are as much as possible. It's about regularly checking your alignment and trusting your gut instincts. You are the ultimate guide for your artistic journey.

For successful artists, the turning point often comes from avoiding overthinking and gaining feedback through sharing their work. The more you create and share, the more feedback you receive, providing opportunities for growth and learning.

Challenges are a great way to explore new mediums and develop your style in a particular medium. By committing to working on something for a set period and making it public, you can push yourself creatively. Even on days when inspiration is lacking, participating in drawing challenges and showing up consistently is one of the best things you can do.

My advice for maintaining motivation and finding new projects is to stay connected with creative communities, both online and offline. Keep your eyes open, seek inspiration from nature, and engage in continuous creative exploration. Remember, you are the boss of your own work.


In the ever-evolving journey of artistry, finding your artistic voice, embracing self-belief, and living a soul-led creative life are crucial for creating impactful and authentic work. Through consistent practice, embracing discomfort, and reconnecting with your passions, you can bring joy, meaning, and purpose to your artistic endeavors. Remember, as artists, you have the power to shape your own journey and leave a unique imprint on the world of art.