We have decided to launch a new intimate style of interview into TheAppWhisperer – the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website. We feel it is important that our community feel close to each other, as it is this support that helps us to nurture one another, gain confidence and continue to grow.
This is our fourth interview, to read the others, please go here. Today, we are publishing an engaging, meticulous and acutely perceptive interview with refreshingly honest artist, Becky Menzies from London, Ontario, Canada. Enjoy.
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
Although I loved every art class throughout elementary and secondary school, and was encouraged often by my very talented mother to continue to explore my artistic nature as a young adult, I convinced myself I could never achieve her level of artistic ability. Instead, I pursued sports, and for a long time thought a career in law like my father would be my life’s path.
My Grade 4 teacher liked something about my nine-year-old artistic interpretations and suggested to my parents that I participate in an after-school art workshop. My mother readily agreed, and the seed of artistic recognition by someone outside of family was planted.
However, sports began to consume more of my time, and awards and recognitions emerged mainly from my athletic endeavours.
It wasn’t until recently (aka much later in life) that art finally settled itself back into my life in the form of digital, acrylic painting, fused glass, and textile art expressions. My first recognition as a digital artist happened in 2018 when one of my digital art submissions was accepted as part of the New Era Museum “Forced Captivity” exhibition in Paris, France.
My first unpaid job took place in my early teens when I worked as a volunteer for a few summers at a nearby school that provided programming for children with developmental needs. Paid positions at a children’s camp in the summer, and as a student campus security officer during the school year, helped pay for my years at university.
Private or state school?
Publicly funded education.
University or Work?
Who was or still is your mentor?
My mother was my sounding board throughout my life. She was thrilled to hear about my successes, listened patiently when I was problem solving, and propped up my flagging soul made raw by a ragged divorce and custody battle during my late-twenties. However, as one who did not suffer fools, she did not hesitate to tell me what I really needed to hear when necessary. Unfortunately, cancer took her away over a decade ago. I have come to realize that my mother didn’t just show me the specifics of particular artistic skills while I was growing up; rather, she just kept fanning the flame of creativity that she knew would one day catch alight. I miss our chats.
Lately, I have taken a risk, and reached out locally and globally to other artists who inspire me. Each has been very gracious and quite supportive of my efforts to unearth the artistic nuggets inside me that I left unattended for so long.
How physically fit are you?
Given that both my university degree and my first career were in physical and health education, I once had a reasonable fitness foundation. However, during the latter part of my education career, I was a school administrator and system leader, and my current career is in civil service. These more sedentary career shifts have led to a self-inflicted decline my physical fitness levels. My recent attentiveness to health through flexibility, mindfulness, as well as cardio and strength training, is starting to show some positive effects again. My renewed mantra is “one’s mind and body must be healthy, if one wants to pursue one’s passion”.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
If ambition includes relentless optimism; the willingness to take risks; the ability to accept and grow from rejection or failure; the determination to “pick yourself up and try again”; continual learning; and, supporting others who share your passion, then ambition matters more.
How politically committed are you?
In my current role as a civil servant, one’s personal political views are often not available for public display. Rather than engaging in formal political action at present, I look for ways to support my personal views on areas such as feminism, equity and inclusivity, anti-racism, cultural competence, and truth and reconciliation through my daily actions and learning.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
- Large scale? World peace
- Medium scale? An never-ending airline ticket that would take me anywhere around the world anytime
- Small scale? My own art studio
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Hunting … hunting for the perfect gift for a family member, the matching antique tea cup, the unique bed cover, the “right” paint brush, the most current digital art app … and, of course, the best storage systems to house (or hide) all my hunting finds.
In what place are you happiest?
My first response is that I am most comfortable when I am at home alone in my “zone” creating – that makes me very happy. And, yet, when I do step away from my comfort zone and travel abroad with my current husband, we inevitably take in some breathtaking vista and smile together with gratitude and awe – and that, too, makes me very happy.
What ambitions do you still have?
- To continue to learn
- To take more risks and submit more art for possible recognition in future exhibitions
- To create my own art studio
- To stay healthy
- To stay connected those who help me be a better version of me
What drives you on?
The positive impact that:
- My support to family and friends has on their well-being
- The joy of creating has on my own well-being
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
- Watching my daughter experience happiness and success in her adult life
- Marvelling at the success and resilience of my second marriage despite the many months we spend apart every year due to my husband’s work abroad
- Surviving a parachute dive in my mid-twenties during which my parachute wouldn’t open and I had to do some darn good problem solving on the way down in a short amount of time. The chute eventually opened, by the way.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
People who cut you off mid-story and … “That reminds me of the time when I … “.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would she think?
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
Four milk cartons of vinyl LPs … I know … ugh …
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
The intense polarisation of viewpoints that immediately objectifies others, resists the examination of other perspectives, shuts down middle ground discussions and problem solving, and deadens the achievement of viable humanistic solutions.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
I do wonder if there are energies and frequencies that are activated within us when a significant person in our life passes away. And, is it possible that these activated “vibes” give us the capacity to influence our circumstances, or the people around us, without our realising we are doing so?
For instance, how often have we believed that a loved one has paid us a visit when we experience a chance encounter with a stranger? Or believed a particular moment in time that impacted us deeply was sent to us by a loved one? Or, believed that the time we managed to avoid severe injury was because a loved one was watching over us?
Maybe “afterlife” isn’t about our own after-death experience when we pass away.
Maybe “afterlife” is about our ability to live on after our death through the legacy of energy that is generated and experienced by those we love and have left behind.
And, look at that. There’s that special paintbrush I haven’t been able to find for a while. Thanks, Mum!
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
I would say an “8”. And like a good glass of single malt Scotch, it certainly gets better as my time passes.
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