Mallory Hodgkin is a beautiful human being. She came to do the typical Forging Flame thing, where she comes and talks about her creative process and inspiration and whatnot, and instead, wound up doing the typical Forging Flame thing, where we have a super-deep conversation and wind up having our effing socks blown off with wisdom and profundity.
In case you’re coming here fresh, here’s a little of Mallory’s bio- she’s a super-prolific artist/illustrator with a knack for melding the fun, whimsical, and vibrant with the subtly sinister. She’s a full-timer, keeping the bills paid with her art, and freelancing as an illustrator to fill in the gaps. She’s in it, all the way.
In Mallory’s telling of her background, she refers to a time in her life when she had a really solid corporate gig, making a very livable wage, but working too hard to spend a suitable amount of time with her dying grandmother and forced to turn entirely away from art and creativity. (Sadly, the insurance game doesn’t leave much room for such shenanigans.) Having worked some moderately ugly corporate gigs in the past, Ryan and I both know very well how stifling…how constraining that existence can be. For Mallory, ultimately…it broke her.
As I was sitting there listening to her speak, in an instant, I was immediately pulled back to all the intense feelings of despair I’ve personally experienced at jobs past, not being able to exercise an ounce of creativity in the workplace, and eventually feeling akin to something like an overloaded pressure cooker full of boiling tar and thumbtacks, just steaming and shuddering and waiting to explode on the next poor SOB to look at me the wrong way.
Given her life now, and all of the wildly creative people in my life, I was intensely curious to hear about that “breaking point” experience, so I dug a bit deeper into that time of her life. Admittedly, I was a little bit nervous about what we were about to hear, as the depths of human depression get inky-black. What she said completely fragmented my perspective in the most glorious way. She pulled me right into the realm within which I can only assume her muse takes residence.
She said, “I broke….but more like a glowstick…”
…..damn. Let that sink in.
She needed to be broken to be set ablaze, and she found that on the other side, she was okay. Better, even.