ART LIVES HERE

Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District

Colleen Paul

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

Colleen Paul
Age: 32
Family dynamic: Mother, Lucille Paul and Sister, Frances Paul
Art Genre: Opera Singer
In Gateway Arts District: 3 years

Act I

The crackle of eggs and sweet dreams sizzling in a pan of
Organic butter.
A baby wailing
Sounds of water running…
Drip drip…it’s cold.
Frustration,
Drowning drowning…
Hope
Rent
Eviction notice
Hope
Confiscation of eviction letter
Air…
Grasping dreams,
Treading water…
Air
Dreams
Suffering for dreams…dreams…
Reality…
Dreamailty
Can an artists dreams turn into reality?

Poem by Valeka Holt

140726_4434

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

Almost on a daily basis, artists get asked the question, “what is it you do?”

It’s not a real surprise. Artists have spent centuries trying to explain to people what they do.

“Well, yes during the day I work at the bank, but at night I sing Opera, and on my days off I audition for plays.”

“Well, do you get paid to perform?”

Pregnant pause

“Ahhhhh no, but…”

“SO you’re a BANKER”

“NO I’m an ARTIST, I just need to pay my bills”

Corporate Americans don’t understand that just because a person makes money from banking, doesn’t make them a banker.

-Valeka Holt

140726_4164

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

Far too often this is the exchange that happens between Corporate Americans and Artistic Americans. Corporate Americans don’t understand that just because a person makes money from banking, doesn’t make them a banker. They are just going through the motions, playing the game, stepping into the shoes of a corporate individual just to make ends meet. But, what quenches their soul is burning the midnight oil while they put the last strokes on a commissioned painting, or playing drums until your neighbors call the cops.

So, what makes an individual an artist? Is it the individual who makes all their money from their beloved craft? Or could it be the person whom has multiple jobs and works strategically at making their art a full-time job? Could both be considered artists? Even more interesting, what does a day look like in the life of a full-time artist vs. the life of an individual who’s striving to make their art their financial haven?

We had the pleasure of sitting down with artists at different levels of their careers and asking them the infamous question: what do you do every day?

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

International Opera singer Colleen Paul is an intercontinental sensation. She speaks four languages and sings in seven. She just recently returned from living in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she performed in The Royal Danish Company’s 60th anniversary production of Porgy and Bess. While residing in the birthplace of Hamlet she also had the honor of performing for the Queen of Denmark.

So, how does this classically trained songbird keep her instrument tuned? Here’s a sneak peek into her daily routine:

8am

  • Morning Mediation
  • Operatic Breathing exercise
  • Eagerly checks email for new job offers and auditions for upcoming gigs
  • Checks social media for updates on production companies looking for opera singers
  • Sends portfolio material to US and Abroad Opera companies
  • Checks Opera based Internet sites for what’s new in the world of opera
Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

Colleen Paul photographed by Evan Wilder

12 noon Runs errands

4pm

  • Language learning time and translating arias to add to her songbook
  • Training time! (If her family is home she ventures to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and practices in an open classroom)
  • Corporate America Job Hunt

Pauls’ daily routine is pretty consistent, but she must be humble when it comes to the craft of improvisation, because if her family is home it changes the dynamics of her practicing schedule. However, what’s intriguing is that last on her daily to do list is looking for a corporate job. Paul explains I must stay focused on my dreams, and I have to have a job that’s flexible and doesn’t take my energy. I need my energy for my craft. Wise words from a young lady who travels all over the world and sings to Queens! Keep the dream first, and everything else will follow.

140726_4583Interview prepared by Valeka Holt

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