Recently, I interviewed a local Nashville artist, Beth Inglish, who is featured in the NowPlayingNashville Artist Directory. Beth has been instrumental in the artist community in Davidson County. She is the founder/creator of the Nashville Creative Group and most recently has her work featured on a WeGo Transit Bus called The Joy Bus. It was truly an honor to hear how Beth has been influenced to create and how she is using this creativity to further grow Nashville’s artist community.
You say that you knew you were an artist at a young age. How old were you and what made you come to this realization?
I really can’t pinpoint an exact moment when I realized I was an artist, but what I can remember is that I always had something in my hand to draw. Even if I didn’t have paper, I would draw — on the walls, inside the cabinet doors, and inside my closet. At 4-years-old, I would sit at the piano bench and just play with the keys listening to the sound they made when I pressed down. By that age, I was already in dance studying ballet, tap, and jazz. I was singing in the Church choir and playing chimes. I was also sewing with my Grandma by hand and on the machine. Art was all around me all the time and it was wonderful!
Who inspired you to become an artist?
My Dad. My Mom. My Kindergarten teacher. My Art History professor. A complimentary stranger. My friends and community. There wasn’t one person who inspired me, it was the culmination of many small interactions and experiences that kept me moving on a path to create.
At what point in your life, did you decide that painting was your passion and why?
Painting became my passion when I moved to Nashville in the Fall of 2007. By then I had been making art for a few years, I started with graphite on paper and eventually moved onto collage. Painting was a natural progression into exploring new mediums. I’ve been painting ever since!
What do you want others to receive from your paintings?
To feel the energy of a free spirit that has surrendered to joy, love, and peace – an open heart full of love pouring out abundantly flowing into theirs.
I’ve seen a lot of your paintings over the years, one of my favorites is the one you did of Dolly Parton. What is one of your favorites and why?
My favorite painting is a piece I made in the summer of 2014 for a show called Release. The painting is titled, Simplicity, and I love it the most because of the way I felt when I was painting it.
The feeling I had was very memorable to me in that moment, as if my body and hands were taken over in the Spirit and the painting painted itself. I titled it Simplicity because it truly was breaking down shapes and color into it’s most basic form. It still brings me peace every time I see the work.
Most recently, you worked with MTA and The Studio 208 on The Joy Bus Nashville that features your painting on the inside and outside of the bus. Tell me what it was like working with these organizations and how it felt seeing your art on a WeGo Transit bus.
It was so incredible working with WeGo Transit and The Studio 208. We were more like friends then colleagues and worked collaboratively to create the finished design. I had very specific design parameters that I had to work within and MTA was so open to all my ideas. Ashley Segroves, owner of The Studio 208, was very supportive and kept all the meeting dates and deadlines organized, so all I had to do was think about the art. View Beth’s creative process of the Joy Bus from her blog.
Seeing the work on the bus for the first time was unbelievable. I really couldn’t believe my eyes. It was bigger than life to see it across a 40-foot bus. I’ve been smiling ever since!
How long is The Joy Bus operating and what would you like for bus-goers to learn from art on the bus?
The Joy Bus is operating until September, the final date is undetermined. I don’t necessarily want the bus-goers to do anything. My intention is for them to just be. We are human ‘beings’ and the bus helps people to connect within through messages to discover all over the bus such as “Rest well with peace, you are loved for who you are not what you do”… and so on.
You’re also the founder and creator of Nashville Creative Group. How did the group form and tell me how it has grown over the years?
The group is going great! We formed in 2012 as a small group of friends and now we have over 7,500+ members reaching thousands of artists in Middle Tennessee every day.
It’s grown organically by word-of-mouth and continues to grow rapidly the more members we add. It’s truly amazing the impact it has made by connecting so many creatives together.
We continue to host monthly meetings featuring our “Show & Tell” format giving artists the opportunity to connect and share their work with a larger audience.
You are always encouraging others, whether it’s through creativity, being true to themselves or growing individually. What are some key ways for others to channel their inner creativity in life?
I was just thinking about this the other day while I was preparing for my Creative Mornings talk this month. What I realized is that when we start a project and don’t finish it, it put us in some strange perpetual loop that will not stop until the task is complete.
My best advice to channel inner creative in your day-to-day life is to complete the task looming over you. Just start finishing up all the things you said you were going to do – one at a time. All that really means is to decide. Decide to either throw it out or finish it. That means doing the things everyday that you know you need to do to keep moving yourself forward, excuse free. Eliminate the blocks once and for all.
Primarily, you focus on painting and visual arts but you also do photography, songwriting and writing, as well as some marketing. Elaborate on these other artistic talents a bit more.
No matter what the medium, I’m creating all the time. I live an artful life, so everything I create has my voice and vision. I put thought and meaning into all that I do from setting the table to making the bed. I want everything to be beautiful!
More than anything lately I’ve been cooking a lot, which is something I love to do. I also dance every day. I’ve even been building land art at Percy Priest Lake just for fun. I also serve bi-weekly at my Church and have been helping expand their reach on social media.
How do you find the time to do it all?
It’s simple. I made it a priority to live fully every day. I spend my time doing the things I love and creating the life God guides me to live.
What’s next for Beth Inglish? Anything new that you’re working on?
Well … I am speaking more, it’s something I really love to do. I learned that from hosting the Nashville Creative Group. I have a gift to speak from the heart and I want to explore where that takes me.
I’m always working on like ten projects, whether professionally or personally, so I try to keep everything moving along with my friends and clients at a pace that feels balanced.
Fun Facts About Beth:
What’s your favorite color? Caribbean Blue.
Favorite painter? I love all the painters from the Impressionist movement, not necessarily for their work, but for how they lived their lives. I fell in love with art-making after learning about the history of art and the stories behind the work and artists.
Favorite place you lived that inspired you other than Nashville? St. Croix, USVI
Did you inherit your creativity from another family member? If so, who? My Dad. He’s a songwriter and musician and was always creating at home.
Favorite place to eat in Nashville? I cook all the time, so I don’t really go out to eat very much, so I’d have to say my home… or anywhere with Thai food!
Any animals? My pup, Muddy Waters
Favorite nonprofit to support? I have so many favorites, but I love to support those helping people overcome trauma from past life experiences, especially those using art and creativity to impact healing. Poverty & the Arts and Your Heart on Art both do this!
Any other hobbies? Hiking? Dance? Right now, I’m spending all my free time at Percy Priest Lake. I live just a short hike to my favorite lake spot and spend entire days just swimming and jumping off the cliffs. I also love dancing all types of dance, cooking all types of food and connecting with friends.
Learn more about Beth Inglish at binglish.com.