Overview: Adam Williams, creator and host of the Humanitou Podcast, wraps up Season One of the podcast, and talks about the newest goings on around Humanitou and his plans for the season break before he jumpstarts Season Two early in 2021. Along the way, he talks about Lewis Hyde’s classic book, “The Gift,” and how it’s influencing his perspective on art creation (and even selling) as a means of gift giving, and how we all can play a role in keeping the energy of generosity flowing in the world. These things and more in this season-ending episode of the Humanitou Podcast.
EP 108 SHOW NOTES, LINKS & TRANSCRIPT
“The Gift,” by Lewis Hyde
Procreate app for iPad
Connect with Adam Williams / Humanitou:
Humanitou on Instagram: @humanitou
Humanitou on Pinterest: @humanitou
Subscribe: Humanitou Newsletter
Portrait of Adam, by Becca Williams
“Tupac Lives” by John Bartmann | freemusicarchive.org
Welcome to the Humanitou Podcast. I’m Adam Williams, creator and host of this podcast series about humanness and creativity.
And if this is the first time that you’re hearing me say that, then I’ve got some good news: this is the perfect time for you to go back to the beginning of this podcast series and catch up on the first 27 episodes of the podcast.
You’re gonna have at least a couple months to do it. Because I’m pushing pause on recording through the end of this year, maybe a little bit into next year. I’ll be back to kick off Season Two early next year.
And, by the way, if you get through all those podcast episodes — first of all, that’s awesome, very cool and thanks for that — there are a lot more conversations that you can read on the website. Like, 75 of ’em.
You might already know this, but before I started the Humanitou Podcast in March 2020, I published these one-on-one chats about humanness and creativity as text-based Q&As. So you can go give that archive a look. Lot’s of amazing people.
Look, season one of the podcast overall was … amazing. I’m blown away by the people who sit with me as guests for this podcast. I’ve talked with folks who are living, working and making a difference in locations from coast to coast across the United States, and beyond.
I’ve listened and learned as they have shared such incredible stories and insights, and wisdom and points of human connection for all of us. And so have listeners in 50 countries on six continents across the earth.
And that connection to each other, to the universal understanding of humanness and creativity, is what it’s about, right? It’s what Humanitou is all about.
As always, my intention is to share this platform with humans and voices that reflect a real and diverse and inclusive array of lived experiences, of ways of expressing their humanity, and of making sense of this life and what’s going on in us and around us.
So I’ve already started reaching out to pencil in future guests. Season Two guests. I’m connecting with fantastically intelligent, creative, caring, thinking and accomplished people that I look forward to getting to know, and to learning about and learning from, and then to sharing those conversations with you, starting again next year.
I’m excited about it. I want to tell you about the folks I’ve been in touch with, but I think it’s best if I hold on a little longer. All will become known.
In the meantime, though, for the next couple months, here’s what I’m gonna be doing:
- Catching up on transcriptions for the Season One episodes of the podcast. Some of them have transcriptions. Many do not. I got behind. It takes me several hours to work with each transcript. That’s even when I have an auto-transcription that I’m then just cleaning up. But a worthwhile one, even if a little behind schedule. So I’m going to get back to that.
- You can find the podcast transcriptions on the website — humanitou.com — with each episode’s show notes. And, really, if you know someone who is hearing impaired and you think they’d enjoy the Humanitou Podcast, please direct them to the website, so they can connect with all of us through the transcript versions.
- I’m also going to be creating more and more of my own artwork during this break between seasons. So, that’s cool. In fact I’ve already started. My wife turned me onto the Procreate app on the iPad, and I’m running with that. I’m creating daily, sometimes multiple pieces a day. I’m also throwing myself out there in this process, making myself uncomfortable and vulnerable, because I’m making that work public. I’m posting the work more or less daily on Instagram, and I’ve started sharing on Pinterest. You can follow me on both platforms @humanitou.
- Another project in the works: I was working on a poetry and photography chapbook at the beginning of this year, and then I set it aside when we all took that hard left turn into covid and more chaos and all this stuff that I’m sure we’ll all remember — or wish we could forget — about 2020. That book is around half complete, and I really want to get back to it. I want to finish it, and I want to get that into what is my next thought here …
- I also recently launched my online art shop, so I want to get that chapbook into my new art shop. Now, a pretty cool thing about this, something that has me feeling really excited, is that it creates a great way for you and I to further connect, to further push this thing of Humanitou forward. Not only for me personally, I think. Like I often say in the outro to the podcast episodes, “Together we can create a more kind, thoughtful and creative world.”
Well, maybe especially because I’ve been reading Lewis Hyde’s book, “The Gift” — maybe you’ve heard of it; it’s somewhere close to 40 years old now — I have a new lens on the power of art as gift giving, even when the art is sold and bought, and on that exchange as a way of co-creating good and generosity in the world.
So a small digression here, about art and gift giving, that I think is worthwhile:
Sometimes as artists, we feel a weird push-pull between the myth, this idea of “starving artist,” as if starving is mandatory, as if it’s required, as if it’s the only thing we’re permitted, as if, if we choose the path that is creativity and of being an artist, that all we’re permitted is to theoretically have the joy of such a fortunate, lucky life, but then it, it … it’s almost as if it’s arrogance and ego if we that pushes ourselves to then promote our work so that we don’t starve.
In “The Gift,” Hyde raises questions about the distinction between art as commodity and art as gift. We often refer to artists as people who have been bestowed with gifts, with talents, for creating. What happens with the work they create, how it’s received and treated, can determine whether the work ultimately is a gift or if it’s a product, a commodity, a matter of commerce.
Hyde writes: “That art that matters to us — which moves the heart, or revives the soul, or delights the senses, or offers courage for living, however we choose to describe the experience — that work is received by us as a gift is received. Even if we have paid a fee at the door of the museum or concert hall, when we are touched by a work of art something comes to us which has nothing to do with the price.”
He continues: “I went to see a landscape painter’s works, and that evening, walking among pine trees near my home, I could see the shapes and colors I had not seen the day before. The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.”
Another essential point of gift giving, which Hyde makes, lies in not treating gifts as acquisitions, as property or material accumulation to hold onto, but rather to keep the giving flowing, even if it’s in a different form and even if it’s at a different time than when the initial gift is given.
So, say, you receive a book as a gift, and maybe it’s a couple months later you give a flower to another, but the giving and the sense of generosity keeps going.
When buying artwork, however, one can look at it as an exchange of gifts. If an artist is a conduit for sharing creative gifts, talents given to them, and the artist sells work they create as a means of inspiring and touching the heart of the recipient, then the purchaser of the work, then the purchaser also has gifted resources, in terms of money, which also affords time and materials to the artist to then sustain that life and create more gifts.
So it’s, I think, an amazing, virtuous, positive, light-shining cycle that we all can participate in.
More specific to me and you and Humanitou … This podcast and the Humanitou website are supported, in part, by donations from generous listeners, which — thank you to those who do offer their support, to those who can afford that, uh, the generosity that’s behind that always means multiples more than any dollar amount, ultimately, uh, to know that there’s that support.
It’s that sense of giving, to me, that I then turn around and I feel the encouragement for the self-funding, or in the creating and selling, in the exchange of gift, to further sustain Humanitou and this work.
With the opening of this new online shop then, uh, for making my artwork available, it, it … it’s just a vehicle, another way to grow the gift giving cycle that nourishes each of us.
So, like with Humanitou as a podcast and a website, I tend to create and focus on creating artworks that have a positive, light-shining element to them.
In this regard, I’m offering artworks that I picture you putting up as inspirational pick-me-ups in your creative work space or by your office desk, or on the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror. Or as a way to, to give a gift to someone that you love. Wherever a ray of sunshine and a reminder to just breathe and to just be needs to go.
You’ll see a range of my creative focuses. Simplicity is one of those key areas for me, because I love distilling things down to the simple, and I continue to be amazed, actually, at how simple is almost never easy. It just looks like it is.
It’s like poetry through visuals, in this case, because you’ve got to work and work and work to refine the thing down to its essence — and then to leave it alone! Just leave it alone. Just let it be, which sometimes is hard for me. Sometimes I need my wife, Becca, to look at it and say, “Yeah, you’re done. You’re done. Walk away.”
But these artworks, they’re abstracts and line drawings and illustrations and photography.
And so what I’m doing in the shop is I’m making the art prints affordable. I hope that it’s broadly affordable, so we can spread the gifts and the good far and wide. I’m really stoked on this new shop and my new creative work, the new creative practice that I’ve started recently, uh, like I said, on a daily basis.
And part of that’s going to fuel the shop, and part of that’s going to fuel the Humanitou Podcast and, and beyond. So, this pause from recording new episodes for a couple of months, I think it’s going to be a creatively inspiring and energizing period. And that through whatever comes through me, that I’m going to be able to shine that inspiration and energy back toward you.
Also, one last really necessary shout out related to the shop goes to Becca. She’s creative and talented in many ways — actually, you can listen to her share some of her story in episode one of the podcast — but this is why I’m mentioning her now:
She has sold her jewelry in various places over the years, and now has created new, super-cool, limited edition pieces using reclaimed and vegan leather as base materials, and she’s offering them only in the Humanitou shop. So that’s pretty cool. I feel honored to have that opportunity to join with her for that.
So, yeah … I invite you to check out her work — and mine — in the shop: humanitou.com/shop.
Now, onward. What else? While between podcast seasons:
- I’ll be blogging much more often. Short posts. Process and behind-the-scenes stuff from the art studio. And other things.
- I’m also preparing for a family move. We are heading deeper into the mountains in Colorado, quite possibly, probably. Maybe that even means I’ll be podcasting from a new home studio setup come Season Two of the Humanitou Podcast.
- And somewhere in the mix of all this — and the holiday season — I’m hoping to just truly pause, take some deep breaths, and to let good vibes, better, better vibes for a new and brighter year take root, and sprout. I hope we all have a chance to do that. I think we deserve it.
So … Season Two in 2021.
I want you to have a great rest of your year, and I wish you well. And here’s to a fresh new year coming soon. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other.
Between now and then, feel free to stay in touch. I’m always open to listen, to read if you want to send me messages. Like I said, you can find and reach me through Instagram or Pinterest (again, @humanitou). You can email me: adam @ humanitou.com. You also can subscribe to the Humanitou monthly email newsletter. We have lots of points of connection.
Now, as always I leave you with this question: How are you living humanness and creativity in your life?
I’m Adam Williams, creator and host of the Humanitou Podcast. Thank you for being here for Season One, and I look forward to seeing you again for Season Two.