Feature of The Week: Kelly Sundsvold!

Published on June 1, 2015

This Week we are privileged to feature the exuberant and multi-talented Kelly Sundsvold. She is without a doubt a bright ray of light in our #CreativeMondays Community and in all she does… Her story will ignite that child like spark of creativity within and inspire you to venture to be creative again. Listen up, and let her story reignite that flame within again…Yeah, catch the spirit and go with the flow!

Who am I?….

I am a Mom, a writer, a wife, a daughter, a musician, graphic designer, a singer, a worship leader, a blogger, a sister, a child of God….

“Art pries us open.” (Amanda Palmer)

My love for creativity and art started as far back as I can remember. I remember as young as 4 or 5 years old, coloring on the floor with my Dad.

I was a big daydreamer.  I enjoyed drawing from a young age. The places, people, or situations I would imagine in my daydream would come out in my simple childhood drawings. It was an early outlet for my imagination to wander to.

Music was also a huge part of my childhood. My Dad had played clarinet in High School and I wanted to learn how to play. So at 7, he handed me the top half of a clarinet (because that was all I could hold at such a young age..) and began to teach me about sheet music. At 10, I was finally old enough to join the school band.  But because I had already been playing for 3 years and could read music, I found the band to be more of a fun social time, than an actual place that challenged me musically.

At home, we also had an organ. I longed to play both the guitar and piano. The organ somehow fit one of those, and I would sit down and play around on it. I didn’t have any music for the organ, but longed to play the music that I would hear on my cassette tapes, or had learned in school.  So I would sing along until I found the note I was looking for, and then figure out the pattern for the melody. Little did I know, I was practicing ear training, and learning to play by ear.

I still longed to learn guitar. In 9th grade, I borrowed a guitar from a friend’s dad, and taught myself to play. I picked it up fairly quickly, and then began leading worship for our youth group on our monthly weekend outreach events.

“Every artist was first an amateur.” (Ralph Emerson)

During this time, I was slowly developing as a writer. I kept a journal,, and also wrote creatively for school contests. I usually scored well and would get high awards for my writing, but never really chased the awards. To me, writing was an outlet.  Writing was a free escaping of the mind….daydreaming with purpose.

As I got into my late teens, my writing became my way to vent frustration or angst in my heart. When and unexpected thing happened in my life, writing and journaling became my outlet for the pain. My writing became very dark, but yet vague and abstract. The music I listened to was also very dark, and matched the expression I felt on the inside. I look back on the poems and stories I wrote during that time, I can remember the tears as I would write the words in the notebooks. I heard once that “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” Writing, paired with listening to music, was an escape from my unhappy  reality.

“To live the creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Pearce

In college, I decided to pursue communication with an emphasis on writing, journalism, and graphic design. In my 2nd year of school, I landed an amazing opportunity at a local pharmaceutical magazine to come on board as their assistant editor. This experience allowed me an incredible freedom in my creativity. Often the Editor would hand over entire projects or upcoming magazines for me to layout, design, and edit.

As I got more comfortable with the pharmaceutical language, my journalism about the topic improved. It was definitely not an area I had a lot of previous knowledge with, but writing in that way challenged me as a writer.

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see.” (E. Degas)

About 8 years ago, I began blogging. I began with a small family blog that I only shared with my immediate family and friends as a way for them to hear the stories and see pictures of our quickly growing children. My younger brother always commented on how much he enjoyed my writing. I thought he was crazy, and just said it because I was his big sister.

My two girls were usually at the center of whatever I was writing about. I enjoyed sharing the funny points of their life and writing with a tad of sarcasm, humor, and drama.

Four years ago, I began a new blog about healthy eating. The blog exploded in traffic. Contacts and connections happened all very quickly, and I got scared of the success and the vulnerability of my writing. More than anything,
I feared the judgement. So I stopped writing and shut the blog down.

“Music is what feelings sound like.” (Unknown)

Two and a half years ago, I started leading worship at my church. This adventure into ministry has been like none other! It has challenged me in my faith, musicianship, my leadership, and stretched me personally. God has used the worship leading to let me connect and minister to so many people. It has been amazing to be able to serve my church in this way. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to use music to connect to a Loving God.

In December of 2014, I decided to go back to blogging. Determined to push out the fear and not back out. KellySundsvold.com became a writing outlet for me to again write about daily life as a mom, my walk as a Christian, and also about leading worship.

Fear of vulnerability creeps up, as it has in the past, but through constant encouragement of friends, family, and the Creative Mondays Crew, I keep plugging along!

Creative Mondays is more than a group that meets on Twitter on Mondays,
It’s a liberation of a creative mind.

I’ve only been a part of the group for a few months, but everyone has been so encouraging and open to all the different ideas. Creative Mondays is a mindset, no wrong answer, everything has multiple perspectives….I have really enjoyed a group where I’m free to be who I am, without fear of criticism.

“Creative people need a big open space to play in and get messy.” (Kelly Sundsvold)

When creating this feature and trying to define who I am as a creative person, my husband said “You aren’t just one thing, or one title. You’re all these things. Don’t put yourself in a box because you think they expect you to be in a box. You don’t like boxes.”

It’s true. I’ve taken enough personality tests to realize when I’m in a box, I long to escape it.  I am always open to trying new things or expanding my creative skills beyond my comfort zone. “Creativity births more creativity.” The more I try and maybe fail, the further I am stretched as a creative person. The “fail” gives birth to imaginative ideas to make it work.

The two things I’ve learned from exploring different avenues of creativity is;

1. Don’t ever quit and

2. Keep trying. A work of art whether it’s a song, a poem, a blog post, a painting…or you’re just playing with playdoh….

It doesn’t exist until you make it exist. Art brings your dreams and imagination to life and that can take time to develop. However it’s well worth the ride.

Website: www.kellysundsvold.com

Twitter: @kellbell500