I have a confession to make…I’ve probably hinted about it on this blog before, although I’ve never actually come right out and said it, I don’t think.  Some may look down on me for it, some may think less of me, but I don’t care, I just have to say it…

…I am an actor.

Once, I was even in a play where we all got our pictures on a big billboard.  My mom saved the part of the billboard that had my giant face on it.  Then occasionally I pose in front of it, because it’s awesome.
Yes, it is true.  But I had to get it off my chest and out in the open, because it’s as big a part of me as art is!  I’ve been doing both of them for about as long: for as long as I could pick up a marker or a crayon, I’ve been drawing, and for as long as I could stand up and say words, I’ve been acting.  And heck, theatre was how I met my husband, how I got my first job, and how I got a lot of my first freelance art/design gigs.  I owe a lot to it.

I acted in plays as a teenager, although I stopped for a while during college.  Although I went to art school, there was no theatre program, and in my department it was almost looked down on if you had too many outside interests except for Doing Your Art.  Which makes no sense, because wouldn’t your outside interests make your art even richer?  That way you’re not just in an art echo chamber, where you just stare at other people’s art, and then yours can’t help but come out derivative of theirs.  That’s my philosophy: the more places you can draw your influences from, the better.
We sometimes have script-reading parties at our house: we pick a play and a bunch of our actor friends get together to read it.  Good fun.  At some of these parties, I make cookies.
And has it helped my art, or has the art helped my theatrical activities?  Sure, I think so.  Doing theatre gives you more confidence: you get up onstage and WANT to make a fool of yourself, or at least want to be outside your comfort zone.  After I’ve had to be killed onstage, be nearly naked onstage, do silly dances and sing songs on a ukulele onstage, things like sales pitches and approaching gallery owners hold few terrors.
Plus, the animation students I knew in school used to take acting lessons to increase the realism of their animated characters’ movements and expressions.  Before they animate a sequence, many of them film themselves acting out the scene and watch that.  I also will take pictures of myself posing, gesturing, or making the same faces as the characters I’m drawing.  If you’re too self-conscious to make a goofy face, you can’t draw that same goofy face.  See?  Visual art and theatre DO intersect in helpful ways.
Yes, I did make this beard to wear in a show…no, I wasn’t playing the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar.
And, in fact, when I directed a play about an artist a couple years ago, I painted the artist character’s paintings myself, which were used to decorate the set.  So it really came in handy that I knew how to paint!  We also ended up using my actual easel and brushes as props in the scene where you see the artist painting.  And I’ve done a little set-painting, made props and costume pieces (like the beard seen above), taken show photos, and designed logos and posters for shows.  So really, all of my artistic disciplines intertwine together on many of the shows that I do.
And then, of course, my senior thesis was based on a play, Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”  So there was that.
I will probably continue to do both painting and theatre, off and on, for most of my life…hey, I’ve been doing them both for about 25 years, why stop now?  Even though currently the balance is shifted a little more towards art, and I’ve scaled back the number of shows I’m doing in this upcoming theatre season so that I can do more art shows and have more time for that (probably only directing one play, assistant directing another, maybe being in one or two if I get cast…considering I used to do a play every month, just about, this is definitely a scale-down!).  But it might shift back…if I do too much of one, I start to miss the other, so who knows what might happen in the future?