Lately David and I have been doing so much soul searching.
It really feels that after months of travelling and immersing ourselves in different cultures and lifestyles, we aligned our return to Crete and this calmer episode of our lives, to connect to the very “source” of our creativity and the core of our own existence. Here, there are no distractions, and so get to ask ourselves many questions. We like to allow ourselves to do so with a mind that’s as open as possible, inviting all possibilities. Including our wildest dreams.
We got to think about how we got to live the way we live. How we met each other. How we stayed together. How we have healthy relationships with our families. How we are making a living out of what we love. How we met incredible people while creating & traveling. How one place spoke to our hearts and how we made it our home. How we want to continue evolving as human beings and as creatives.
Sometimes people say we are lucky, but nothing in our lives happened “accidentally”. Everything was either a manifestation or a process that we consciously decided to go through, everything had to do with intuition, curiosity and vulnerability. Once we really understood this, we understood that we have attracted just about everything in our lives so far. And we can keep doing so, just by using the power of our thoughts.
This is probably one of the most eye-opening things to realize, and it can give one so much hope – because really, it means that everything is possible. I wish that everybody in the world would gain that sort of faith in themselves and realize just how much power it can have.
Another interesting aspect in this concept, and a very creative one, is asking ourselves who we want to be, so we can cultivate that, embody it and eventually become that person. As every thought has an energy that can attract or repel things that can happen in one’s life – you can be anything you want, if you simply allow yourself to do so.
How does this work? One way to do so is to create and shape a persona in your mind and to let it inspire your endeavours.
Think about Frida Kahlo. Andy Warhol. Basquiat. Lady Gaga. Beyoncé, or what she has created as Sasha Fierce. None of this was unconscious. They created their personas and lived through those in order to become them. You may also call it an alter ego, or a muse. Whatever it is, it makes use of a creative power that we all possess. And it’s a pity to live a life without using it, especially if you’re a creative person or an artist, because it’s essentially what would allow you to live out your own truth and to stand out through your individuality.
This is what David and I have been applying for each of our personal projects lately, with music and art. Kinlake itself also has a persona. Every time we project ourselves and embody that persona, that’s when we create what we want out of it.
However – openminded as I want to be – I believe that this can also apply to somebody who doesn’t necessarily aim to create an artistic personality. Say, someone who doesn’t know what to do with their lives. Someone who dreams but cannot seem to make their dreams happen. Outside of artistic purposes, having a “persona” can also be useful way to guide you into doing things you wouldn’t normally be encouraged to, to living your ideal lifestyle, and building ambition or having a vision for a big life project. Of course, it should not necessarily be confused with building a brand, as this is a process that is deeper, more personal and more emotional rather than just being based off a strategical point of view. But why not give it a try?
The concept of shaping a persona is anchored in self-care, self-growth and of course, creative expression. It is a very interesting process. One that is ongoing, and which requires questions – and where the questions are actually more important than the answers. Sometimes, it reminds me of those quizzes that we’d do during our childhood and our teenage years. Exploring yourself is both fun and allows you to uncover your individuality. You can be either brutally honest at it, or imagine it as an extension of yourself, where you get to channel things that you wouldn’t normally allow yourself to. Ultimately if you enjoy the process and if you find that it gives you clarity and excitement, it can be taken quite seriously, as it can be viewed as your life’s main project – or the masterpiece that will attract all your dream endeavours.
You can be your own most important artwork and creative outlet. So the persona that you create can become what inspires and guides your entire life, no matter how you’ve been brought up or what way you live in now. Simply put, a massive opportunity for creative rebirth.
Your persona as you imagine her may thrive in a certain environment. This may be more or less obvious to you. Depending on the purpose of creating your persona (artistic endeavour, personal journey or both) it may be based off a place that makes “you” feel good, or that inspires your art, or that allows you to live in a way that fulfils you. Dare to think very openly and very intuitively, then ask yourself:
Where does your persona live? What aspects of this environment are important to her/him and why? How does it serve to inspire her, and to create her ideal life, to fill her with the right creative energy? Is she rooted there, or in a few other places? Or, perhaps is she not rooted at all, and does she thrive by wandering and adjusting to different environments?
Some personal examples
The persona of Kinlake is very close to our actual lifestyle, as Kinlake will always be an accurate depiction of how we really live our lives and what we really want to do. So when it comes to place, we like to think of where we “personally” want to be and where we feel inspired – which is where we are now. We figure that it lays roots in the Mediterranean, in the slow and quiet environment of Crete but wanders and adjusts in different cultures, reflecting the openness to new interpretations and possibilities (which is why we really are partly nomadic!).
When David was in the process of creating his musical alter ego, however, he became much more fixed on a vision and figured that place was a very important factor in how he would extract inspiration for the music he intends to create. He figured that this persona thrives in dry climates and desert environments, as the current state of the project should echo heat, thirst, rawness, undisturbed starry skies and quiet solitude.
You have a personality which you are aware of, more or less. But so does your persona as you could imagine her. She doesn’t have to be the complete opposite of you, in fact she may just feel as a better, extended or more aware version of how you perceive yourself.
How does your persona feel, from the inside and the outside? What are her character traits? What are her weaknesses and her strenghts? What makes her tick? What makes her eccentric? What touches her soul in the most profound way?
When imagining my own alter ego as an artist/creative, I tapped into that a lot and I still do. I believe that I extract a lot of inspiration from being in touch with the depths of my own personality, in particular some traits such as: being sensitive, emotional, compassionate, curious. It’s thanks to this sensitivity that I extracted many ideas for my creations and understood why certain themes (such as connection with nature and roots) kept coming back in my artworks – and why I also love to apply that personally when working on the projects that we do with Kinlake.
The way you feel when you enter a room and the way you are seen by others can be an interesting factor to explore as well. Perhaps in reality you feel quite introverted, weird, awkward – and perhaps it blocks you completely and you mostly prefer to be left alone. But then maybe you want to change that – perhaps you could imagine your alter ego to be more open, more confident, perhaps even slightly flamboyant. You have the right to imagine whatever you please. If the thought of doing so inspires you, then it can’t be a bad thing.
So how does your persona feel like, when she enters a room? Does she fill the space, does she attract attention, or is she invisible and frail? When she interacts with others, how does she make them feel? What feelings does she leave them with? Are these feelings of admiration? Curiosity? Warmth? Enchantment? Shock? Anger? How do others see her as she is sharing her journey, her art, her creations?
With Kinlake, this presence has changed over time. Kinlake’s persona started as very friendly, but perhaps it was a bit naive and undefined – which may have led us to project the wrong image of ourselves. Not just as a business but as a couple of creatives who put ourselves out there. Since we started embracing more personal creative projects, we wanted to shape Kinlake’s persona to be more confident, more artsy, more deep, more raw and perhaps slightly secretive – as we are inspired by leaving a bit of what we do to the imagination.
On a personal level, I’m still seeking what my own persona should feel like. In my private life, I strive to provide warmth and nurture to everybody who crosses my path – and I want every interaction to feel like a warm embrace, with positive feelings. I want people to know that I am a listener. But on a more artistic level, I like to have the space to express myself and have the ability to let people listen what I have to say and share. To invite them over to my way of seeing things. So the persona that I’m in the process of creating should be able to blend both, unless I see these things as two completely separate entities.
Your interests shape your inspiration – and a persona can allow you to explore many more interests than you would in real life. Let’s imagine: if the persona you have in your mind is a botanical artist & healer, then what interests does she have? Plants, of course. But perhaps she has a niched interest amongst those plants, being an expert in the domain of native english forest greens. Perhaps she’s also interested in astronomy and knows random stories from the universe. And maybe she’s a fan of folk music from the 60’s and knows all about that, as it plays in a warm sound through her vinyl record player. As I tell you all this, you’re probably shaping a whole person in your mind. So in the same way, your mind can shape the person you want to imagine being.
As a reminder, your persona can be further away from who you are, or pretty close. That’s up to you. You get to choose according to what feels most inspiring.
So what are your persona’s interests? What inspires her? Is there a particular topic, or several ones that she’s particularly obsessed about? That she loves to geek out on? Does she have any niche knowledge & feeling about a certain kind of music, culture, food, or a part of history? How does that inspire her creativity? How is it connected to her work?
For many people, having control over how your day unfolds, and designing one’s lifestyle can be a huge contributor to feeling their best and making the most of their creativity. So here, you can allow yourself to drift and dream, to look at the details or the big picture, to what is accessible or what’s completely opposite to what you’re doing now.
Most importantly, think of the lifestyle of your persona – and imagine it in a way that makes you tick, dream, feel inspired, eager to create.
What does her life look like? How does her day unfold? What keeps her busy? What’s important to her? How does she distribute her time? What are the little things that keep her inspired? And the bigger things?
That one’s a biggie for me. And probably the part that I’m “on and off” about.
I used to think that fashion and style was extremely superficial. But since our trip to Japan & Korea, I observed that from an external, more open-minded point of view and I realised that it’s simply just another means of expression. And a very powerful one at that. For some people and some creatives, style and self-adornment can be a huge way to embody their persona and to act through her as they imagine her at her best.
One of my favourite creative personalities to date is Frida Kahlo. Her style as a person is how she became iconic and how she kept being fuelled as an artist, to produce her best work. She didn’t just adorn herself to look pretty to others – she did so, so that she would be her own canvas to extract inspiration FROM. And her personal style extended way beyond what she would wear on her body, as it was felt in her home, from the small stylistic details to the crazy colors she would pick to paint the walls. She created that environment – and it was absolutely connected to everything she wanted to express.
What is the style of your persona? What are the colors of the clothes she wears? Does she wear any particular textiles, prints, cuts? Is there a particular culture or movement that subconsciously or consciously inspired her clothing choices? Why does she wear certain clothes? Is it for comfort? Simplicity? Flamboyance? Sensuality? Warmth? Does she adorn herself with tattoos? Jewellery? Flowers? Crystals? Feathers? (really, anything?)
I’m sure that within this post there’s a bit of food for thought for everyone. But I also know that not everyone will agree with this or understand that a persona can be an important part of maturing creatively. Writing this post makes me feel very vulnerable even though I wholly believe in what it is that I am sharing. Yet, I had to channel my “persona” to be able to actually put this out there!
To some, the concept of shaping a persona can appear as narcissism or delusion. And if you start applying this to your life and allow yourself to go quite far with it, of course, you shouldn’t be surprised that people will judge you for it. But hey, the message of creativity is never meant to please everyone – it’s meant to please you first. All true artists, explorers, boundary-pushers have haters, but by listening to their own intuition they also attract people who think like them and who can support them wholly. No matter what happens, magnetism will sort that all out for you!
What I know for sure is that creating & channeling our personas keeps our lives interesting and allows us to expand and attract what we want through what we do in life as a creative couple, but also through our personal artistic endeavours.
If you’d like to try this out, then just allow yourself to do so, whether it’s for personal purposes or for finding your creative alter ego. Project yourself as your persona. Do it regularly and often. Remind yourself to check in with her. Make mood boards if you’re into visual guidance. The more you think about it, the more you cultivate it, the more the world around you and your life will start accommodating what you created in your mind, bringing opportunities your way to keep encouraging you in this direction and open up exciting new paths.
A massive thank you to the friends & followers who shared their own experience on this topic – esp. Alejandra from Sieleth. And those who personally spent time here in Crete and personally discussed it with us! We love exploring life’s magic with you guys 🙂