91 episodes

A Spiritual Artist with Christopher Miller is a podcast series that shares stories of enlightenment and growth from conversations with today’s spiritual artists and thought leaders. An artist is defined as anyone that is consciously connected, present and inspired while practicing their discipline. Conversations with guests explore how making art engages us in emotional, wholistic and spiritual growth. Christopher Miller is an artist, writer and speaker in Dallas, Texas.

The Spiritual Artist Podcast Christopher J. Miller

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 15 Ratings

A Spiritual Artist with Christopher Miller is a podcast series that shares stories of enlightenment and growth from conversations with today’s spiritual artists and thought leaders. An artist is defined as anyone that is consciously connected, present and inspired while practicing their discipline. Conversations with guests explore how making art engages us in emotional, wholistic and spiritual growth. Christopher Miller is an artist, writer and speaker in Dallas, Texas.

    How to Stay Centered in Peace with Human Rights Activist and Mystic Hadi Jawad

    How to Stay Centered in Peace with Human Rights Activist and Mystic Hadi Jawad

    In this episode, host CJ Miller questions Peace and Human Rights Activist Hadi Jawad on ways each of us can promote peace in our communities. How does someone promote Human rights and Peace on an individual scale? Hadi encourages the listener to familiarize themselves with the 30 principles of the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights and begin looking at news articles through the Human Rights lens. 
    Podcast Host CJMiller met Hadi Jawad while serving on an Interfaith Panel with a diverse group of Christians, Muslims, and Jews and quickly became friends. According to Hadi, it is ingrained in the human spirit to love and be kind to each other. 
    Hadi is a Dallas peace, justice, and human rights activist. He is a follower of the principles of non-violent resistance, as exemplified by the Reverend Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, and he opposes militarism and war. He served on the board of the Dallas Peace Center as an organizer from 1997 to 2015, chairing their Middle East Peace Committee and media spokesperson. He led efforts to organize protests against the US invasion of Iraq that culminated in the largest anti-war demonstration in Dallas history on February 15, 2003.   
    Hadi comes from a culture steeped in oral tradition and values the importance of storytelling and shares a story from his youth playing in his neighborhood. A wandering Sufi walked by and engaged him. The Sufi was dressed in traditional clothes and holding a begging bowl. At the end of the conversation, the Sufi stabs the dirt with his stick and picks something up. He motions for Hadi to put it in his mouth. In his memory, Hadi tasted the sweetest candy that he had ever had in the whole world and recognized the mysticism of the world.  
    The future activist was always gravitating to finding the good and miraculous in relationships. While Hadi was passionate about mathematics, he didn't want to enter the arms industry as an engineer, and instead, he pursued managing and owning a forklift business. Only years later did he listen to his true calling and decide to be an advocate for Peace and nonviolence. 
    According to Hadi, Judaism is the root of a tree, the trunk and the branches are Christianity, and Islam/Sufism is the foliage. Hadi explains some principles of Sufism. Sufis believe that anything material and non-material is one being, regardless of the question: Love is the answer. He defines this as the unity of being. 
    How do you stay in the centeredness of Peace: 
    When you're heart is being pierced, feel the pain and stay true to yourself. We are connected through our suffering. Reach out to others. Express gratitude for being alive.  Hadi is drawn to helping the underserved. He tends to look for opportunities to help those who have fallen through the cracks, and he believes that comes from his mystical side. He's drawn to mysticism and mystical thought and believes that love is mysticism.  
    According to Hadi, mystics understand that many of our desires are counterfeit coins and that mystics know where to find the real gold. Hadi shares a story about a villager who demands a diamond from a mystic. The diamond is represented as a rock, and the villager returns it the next day and says, "Give me the wealth that made it so easy for you to give the largest diamond in the world away." 
    Hadi believes that mystics know where the wealth is. It's not in your car. It's not in your relationships. It's not in a mansion. It's in our hearts. It's in love. 
    Hadi is working with  Rick Halpern, Director of the Human Rights Program at SMU, to make the City of Dallas a Human Rights City that supports the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document is uploaded to the Spiritual Artist Today website and can be found in the practice guides section. 
    He concludes the inter

    • 47 min
    Why Artists Should Do A Solo Show: Artist and Poet Dan Collins Explores Pollinator/Not Pollinator

    Why Artists Should Do A Solo Show: Artist and Poet Dan Collins Explores Pollinator/Not Pollinator

    CJ interviews Dan about his current one-person show, "Pollinator / Not Pollinator (But mostly Bees)," at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park until April 28, and about the challenges of a solo show. Dan shares how he considered many different aspects when theming his show: 
    The Texas Discovery Gardens location His attraction to drawing insects His environmental consciousness His poetry A bit of humor  He explains how producing a solo show differs significantly from submitting to a group show. It forces you to focus on your message, quality, and intent. A solo show expresses a unique aspect of you; who are you?  
    Environmental awareness is a strong message for Dan's show. Art has a responsibility to express the existential issues that we face today. You cannot find a place on the earth that doesn't have evidence of human beings.  
    Dan's show features paintings of insects and animals, all represented in a square format. Dan chose to present each creature abstractly to make an environmental statement. Additionally, he wanted to challenge himself compositionally by working within the confines of a small square. This exhibition showcases Dan's unique artistic style and his commitment to environmental awareness.  
    Dan uses writing and fine art separately as well as together. CJ and Dan discuss how he included poetry in his show and agree that artists don't have to "stay in our lane." We can mix different artistic disciplines.   
    Dan Collins, the local Dallas artist and poet, has maintained an artistic practice his entire life, participating recently in group shows such as Fresh Faces 2 x 2 at the White Rock Bath House and community art events such as the White Rock Studio Tour. He is co-owner of Tree House Studio with his wife, Rebecca, where they offer classes and workshops. His poetry has been published in various print journals and online. He is a commercial printer by profession. Now that he is closing in on retirement, he is looking forward to devoting all his time to visual and literary creative pursuits. He has contributed to and participated in the local literary scene in various capacities for over a decade. 

    For more information on CJ, visit www.spiritualartisttoday.com.
    Instagram: cjmillerart, thespiritualartistpodcast 
    TikTok: spiritualartist123 
    YouTube: spiritualartist123 
    Facebook: @thespiritualartistpodcast

    • 42 min
    Meeting the Creative Muse After Midlife with Sally Jean Fox

    Meeting the Creative Muse After Midlife with Sally Jean Fox

    Podcast Host CJ Miller sits down with writer, artist, and podcaster Sally Jean Fox to discuss her new book, "Meeting the Muse After Midlife, a memoir about finding hope and meaning after 50"– mainly through creative expression. 
    Sally's journey includes releasing limiting beliefs, tapping into her intuition, and listening to the guidance of two muses, Isabel and Marco. She explains that aging is not all doom and gloom, nor a bed of roses, but the ideal place to take creative risks. We keep our imagination and creative power throughout our entire lives. 
    CJ opens the podcast by asking Sally to unpack one chapter of her book, “Finding the Girl in Madras." Sally explains how the "girl in Madras" is her own younger self and shares how two boys teased and humiliated her in fourth grade. She carried the shame of the experience for many years. As she began her muse-led journey, she released the pain caused by their comments and accepted herself. 
    Part of her healing included drawing faces and realizing that there are no ugly faces for an artist. Ultimately, it became a healing journey. CJ encourages listeners to find a childhood photo, re-examine it with fresh eyes, and send love to their youthful selves. Sally recommends drawing the photo, writing about it in your journal, or even singing a song about it. 
    Sally originally hesitated to share the concept of her muses, subtle personified presence that came into her life for guidance. Her first muse, Isabel, was gentle and maternal. Her second Muse, Marco, had a stronger, encouraging voice. While she wrestled with the question of their source, she decided it didn't matter; her muses rebuffed her inner critic and provided a counterweight. Approval is seductive, she emphasizes, but ultimately, we should enjoy the freedom to be ourselves. 
    Sally refers to some of Father Richard Rohr's teachings: the first half of our life is about building infrastructure, ego, and financial gain; the second half is an opportunity to embrace our spirituality. 
    Ultimately, she encourages the listener by issuing this challenge, "Do you help people in life? Do you forgive? Do you seek joy? Do you want to eliminate suffering in the world? Those are the things that speak to me." 
    The writer holds an MBA and PhD from Fielding Graduate University and lives with her horse and husband on an island near Seattle. For more information, visit her site, www.engagingpresence.com, and follow her Engaging Presence blog, or listen to her podcast, "Vital Presence."  
    For more information on CJ's book, podcast, or Spiritual Artist Retreats, visit www.spiritualartisttoday.com. His book, "The Spiritual Artist," can be found on Amazon. 

    • 57 min
    Turning Disabilities into Art Ability with Photo Realism Artist Leonard Buscemi

    Turning Disabilities into Art Ability with Photo Realism Artist Leonard Buscemi

    How do we use our perceived disabilities and turn them into assets? In this episode, Host CJ Miller interviews Photo Realism Artist and Art Educator Leonard Buscemi (Lenny) on a unique gridding system that has propelled his students to win state and national awards. 
    Born with ADD and dyslexia, Lenny was raised in a "disability-aware" household and forced to discover fresh ways to navigate his artistic skills. He's developed a precise method of gridding to create stunning works of photorealism, leading to a life-long passion for helping those with mental handicaps and disabilities. 
    While waiting for his father during a sales call, Lenny found a book with an art activity where you draw as you look at a grid overlay on an original image. Later, he read about Johannes Vermeer and the use of a camera obscura. A camera obscura is a box, tent, or room with a small hole in one side or the top. Light from an external scene passes through the hole. The artist used a projector to trace the image. Lenny was experimenting with these techniques when his teacher emphasized the imp 
    His art mentor often said, "It doesn't matter how you get to the result with artwork. It's the result that matters. You don't walk around a museum and say, "How did they do that." 
    Lenny discusses how to make a grid for painting to help his students with their process. He found a way to use the system without leaving marks on the art and recommends starting with black-and-white projects before moving on to color.  Lenny references the book by Betty Edwards, "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain," as good reference material. He recommends breaking the art process down into bite-sized pieces. 
    CJ and Lenny discuss the importance of honoring art students by displaying their work at home and in schools to encourage creativity. He believes in positive reinforcement. Lenny says, "Inspiration is for amateurs. It's about doing the work." 
    Lenny paraphrases Romans 8:28, "All things work together for those who love the Lord." 
    According to the art educator, "We can experience bad things and say they destroyed us, or we could say that they created character in us so we can assist others." 

    • 56 min
    Release Trauma and Increase Creativity with Psychotherapist Dr. Don St. John

    Release Trauma and Increase Creativity with Psychotherapist Dr. Don St. John

    In this podcast, CJ Miller explores and unpacks the effects of trauma and creativity with psychotherapist Dr. Don St. John.  
    Dr. Don has spent a lifetime exploring healing modalities after being raised by a physically and verbally abusive mother and an "almost non-existent" father. His recently revised book, "Healing the Wounds of Childhood and Culture," is available on Amazon. He has been engaging the four pillars of wholeness for almost 60 years: the Somatic, the Psycho-emotional, the Relational, and the Spiritual," and has taught and presented to the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Brazil. 
    CJ shares how he often asks his art students to reflect on their lives and see how their artwork was received as a child. He has found that moving past these situations can release new levels of creativity. 
    Dr. Don explains that his first response to the abuse was to freeze and live in a fantasy world. It wasn't until his early twenties that he recognized a need for healing. "Trauma affects your entire being, even your very tissues," said Dr. Don.  "It affects our ability to relate to each other and our capacity for love." There is a creative aspect in turning those wounds into gold. 
    The interview includes the importance of listening to ourselves and others, addressing stored trauma in the body through the Continuum Consciousness movement, reexamining cultural belief systems, expressing gratitude, and listening to that internal voice for guidance.  
    Dr. Don reminds us to view trauma resolution as an "adventure of a lifetime" and recognize that you're having this moment because of everything that came before. 
    Dr. Don is certified as a Continuum Consciousness Teacher and believes in releasing trauma through the body. Trauma keeps us from living in the present because we are trying to protect ourselves from the wounds of the past. He assists people in fluid movement explorations to release trauma and resistance. 
    Continuum is an approach to exploring how we live in and move through our bodies. Continuum is a portal to a deeper awareness of, and connection to, embodiment, movement, learning, growth, well-being, and creativity. Attention to internal experience through breath, sound, meditative awareness, and fluid movement expands our experience of embodiment. Listeners can find local teachers for this modality by visiting www.continuumteachers.com. 
    In conclusion, Dr. Don encourages listeners to embark on their healing journey and become lifelong learners. He encourages everyone to be aware of the benefits of therapy and concludes the interview by asking, "Can you let love in? Can you increase your capacity for love?" 
    For more information on Dr. Don St. John, visit https://pathsofconnection.com/
    Facebook: facebook.com/don.s.john.90
    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/don-st-john-36636a55
    For more information on CJ Miller, visit https://spiritualartisttoday.com 

    • 55 min
    7 Ways to Start an Abstract Painting Using Shapes with Crystal Nelson

    7 Ways to Start an Abstract Painting Using Shapes with Crystal Nelson

    Crystal Nelson is a mixed-media artist based in the DFW area. She studied printmaking and painting at the University of Texas El Paso and recently retired from teaching art for over 25 years. 

    In this college artist interview, Crystal shares seven ways to make shapes. Crystal often starts her work with collages by working out the color, shape, and textures. She uses a variety of methods to create exciting shapes in her work.

    Crystal recognized that she has a limited visual vocabulary after realizing she tends to repeat the same shape repeatedly and has investigated novel ways to discover new shapes. 

    Number 1: Look at the packaging in your recycling bin and examine it for new shapes.

    Number 2: Cut plastic letter stencils in half to create fresh shapes.

    Number 3: Explore negative space around letter forms on stencils.

    Number 4: Before glazing, move the layer of transparent shapes around to see if they reveal a 3rd shape. 

    Number 5: Paint your tissue paper with watered-down Golden Fluid and gel medium, and let it dry before using your stencils to cut out new shapes.

    Number 6: Use cheap Sulphite drawing paper and paint with sample house paint. Both paints are latex and work together. Extra tip: Use pre-painted Sulphite drawing paper to test placement. 

    Number 7: Cut your shapes of old newsprint or porous book pages. According to Crystal, creating a story, whether layered or textured, is essential. Painting is a dance of adding and subtracting. At the end of the episode, Crystal reminds the listener, "In creativity, there is getting attention and paying attention," and there's room for both. 

    Crystal has created art as long as she can remember, but for the last 4-5 years, she has primarily focused on making process-driven abstract art. She loves exploring intuitive abstract acrylic painting through textures, shapes, and color and finding the story within her surfaces. 

    She teaches mixed media and Gelli printing workshops and recently curated the Deconstructed Exhibit for the Visual Arts League of Lewisville at the Lewisville Grand Theater. Crystal's motto is "Seek Beauty, Seek Truth". 

    For more information, follow Crystal Nelson on Instagram @crysdnelson. For more information on CJ, follow him on Instagram @thespiritualartistpodcast or @cjmillerart 

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

SageDenise ,

On my favorites list!!

I love this podcast and Chris’s genuine approach to life and his guests! It’s a certain feel good every time I listen.

Sage Denise ,

Inspiring and uplifting

I love this podcast! As a coach, inspiring writer, spiritual seeker and emerging artist, it speaks to my inner artist looking for inspiration.

gaflet ,

Practical spirituality.

Great insights into being present to what we do. Quite timely.

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