A Colonised Mind Can’t Create - In Conversation with Ruby Savage
Ruby Savage interviewed by Koumbah Semega-Janneh
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Raised on a mantra of “freedom, healing, peace and power in music,” Ruby Savage is a London based Music & Culture Curator who brings a special kind of affirmative energy to creative projects she gets involved in.

We caught up with Ruby about her newest project, Artist Recovery Club, taking people through a process of rediscovering the artist within  - inspired by the iconic book The Artist’s Way.

She also shared a creative exercise with us from her practice to help us tune into our creative needs.


Koumbah Semega-Janneh  

So this book, The Artist’s Way - it's kind of this iconic book…


Ruby Savage  

A cult book! It's such a mad book. I started reading it and thought, 'This is a bit kooky, but I'm kind of into it.' 

And, yeah, I can honestly say that it sort of kick started a lot of change in my life. It made me realize I had healing to do. A lot of it. And not just creatively. But like, being a mixed woman that had grown up in a predominantly white area of Amsterdam, I was blocked in so many ways. I had a lot to process.

And, you know, in order for me to flourish, and really know myself and understand myself, before I could share myself, my artistic expression, there was a lot of healing that needed to be done first. 

I truly believe when you start investing real time in yourself, proper searching your soul and inner workings. Doing the actual work. Things start to shift. Not necessarily solved, but they definitely change. 

And you know, the change is not easy. It comes with chaos. But I've always been into growth. As much as I fear change, it's also something that pulls me. I'm curious. I am curious about my potential. 


KSJ  

So how would you describe The Artist's Way? 


Ruby Savage  

A path to love. And that sounds so corny, but like it's mad, love is at the core of creative recovery, art and our connection to the world and each other. Working through The Artist's Way I realised, it’s all connected - creative and artistic expression, love and spirit is all connected. 

I was never raised religiously but I did experience spirituality through the art of music. And creative recovery is a spiritual journey, one that told me in order to get to my artistic potential I had to start showing love to myself and trust something unimaginable. Trust the universe would answer my wildest dreams - trust in something I couldn't see, or buy or touch. 

There is no guarantee, but you start listening to your own inner voice, paying attention to it and from this place you start to build on love, and from there you start to flow. 

And that's what Artist Recovery Club is about. We start getting back to things that bring us joy, the act of doing that is showing yourself love. Life is not without trauma. Noone escapes it. In our space we start to accept and move forward with love for your whole self. 


KSJ  

Tell us about Artist Recovery Club.


Ruby Savage  

In the course I take people through the 12 weeks that are presented in The Artist’s Way book. And like you said, a lot of people have the book, have it on the shelf collecting dust. It's kind of hard to do it yourself, even start yourself or stay motivated. So what the club does is hold you accountable. Because we are now doing it together. 

And they're really intuitive exercises, because they help you to explore what are the things that really bring you joy. And they're often buried. For me, pursuing DJing was a buried dream - because I was scared to do what I desired the most. 

So lots of exercises remind you - for example, if you could write down 10 imaginary lives, what would they look like? Just because you're not going to live exactly all of those lives, you can still tap into elements of it, most likely today. I started pursuing DJing by taking my love for music more seriously. Spending time learning the craft. 

So that's another part of what we do in the 12 weeks, we really make space to explore these interests and desires with no intention or pressure of it becoming like a job or a business. It's just for you. And I think that's a huge part - like we're so driven to deliver, to produce, to perform. Monetise our hobbies. We're doing the opposite here. 

Do something that has absolutely no other purpose than just enjoyment for an hour or two once a week. And it has a profound effect on your life. For me that's why I call this course love because it's like that is love, giving yourself joy is love. That kind of love leads to revolution. 


KSJ

So the Artist's Way has been called out as quite a white book, and it's probably a reason why a lot of people have sniffed at it. What does it mean to you to be running a course with this as the central text?


Ruby Savage  

Yeah, it is so white and the writer’s privilege shines through deeply. And especially in her examples - it’s painfully dated and blinkered at times. 

So we are open about this at the club. We speak about it. Bring it to the surface. For example, suggesting to go to an 'ethnic neighborhood' and try out 'exotic foods' as a suggested ‘artist date’ is just so off. I mean, she's talking about buying a pony! Like, what are you talking about?

So I revise the concepts, ideas and fit it to likeminded people that are aware we live in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy which has a huge effect on our daily lives - on most of us. And it blocks us.

But also, she wrote this in the 80s, 90's. And that's long before social media and the internet and World Wide Web took over the world. And those are factors that dominate huge parts of our lives, personally, and professionally, creatively. 

And I see them create insane amounts of creative block. That is not at all mentioned in this book, because it didn't exist. So that awareness gets included into my course as well. And it's so great, you know, I use switching off as a tool to find back our sources of inspiration - our own source of inspiration, joy, hidden desires... 

And creating space to think about your path, rather than being lead. Because ultimately for me it's about giving people tools that will help empower them, breaking down current social structures. I believe we can. But in order to do that, we need to first free ourselves to create.

So you know, I try to turn these tools into lil weapons that work against systems that take away our joy. Using the tools to liberate ourselves so we can start to think for ourselves. Free ourselves.


KSJ 

What philosophy do you bring to it?


Ruby Savage  

A colonised mind cannot create. There it is and that's where I really bring my own vision into The Artist’s Way, and where I'd like it to go. It acknowledges that we hold a lot of crap in our minds and bodies that doesn't need to be there, and prevents us from doing what we want to do. Go where we want to go. Create what we want to create. 

It reminds us that there are so many outer forces that enter our being in many, many forms, which end up occupying space where it does not belong, which prevents us again, from living or being our full selves, and our full potential. 

It also reminds us that we can fucking fight it. Beat them at their game - that we can liberate ourselves. Love is revolution. But like with any revolution, you know, you got to fight force with force. 

So at Artist Recovery Club, we do the work. And we start to heal, and we take back what is ours, our joy, our dreams, our creativity, our souls. And when we start to do this, it becomes sky's the limit. We get in touch with spirit and understanding, a deep understanding of love. 


Upcoming courses:

Create Your Culture workshop: 21st October 2021

Artist Recovery Club 12-week course: Early 2022 (date tbc)

Sign up / more info at artistrecoveryclub@gmail.com

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