In our new blog series, we get to know the instructors who will be teaching at this year’s Brighton Flow Festival.

In the final part of our Q&A series, we talk to Amanda Thompson of Creatively Curious about her love of Mandalas and how you can make art a daily practice.

1. How long have you been drawing Mandalas?

I discovered Mandalas in 2012 and was hooked.

2. What inspired you to start?

At the time I was working in homeless hostels and ran an art group and needed something that had a beginning and an end, that anyone could do regardless of artistic ability, that would help calm their minds and give them a useful tool to help in times of stress. It was also a spark that helped ignite their creative sides. 

3. What is a surprising fact about being an artist?

When you know it’s who you’re meant to be it becomes your life. I could never not draw, it’s who I was born to be. Also, it’s about practice, the more you do the better you get it really is that simple.

4. What do you love about teaching Mandalas?

I am passionate about getting people to engage with their creative sides and found freehand Mandala drawing a great tool to do this. I also love the fact I can run a workshop and no two Mandalas are ever the same. Everyone will go home with a finished piece of artwork and they have a way to calm their mind. 

5. Have you had any disaster art moments? What did you learn from it?

I spent three years daily drawing and posted every day on Instagram and Facebook. One year I sketched people and did some rather shocking self-portraits, scary would be the correct word for them.

What I learnt was to make art regardless – bad or good. I was still putting pen to paper and doing it. After three years daily practice my confidence as an artist and my artistic skills have improved 100% if I had just thought this is awful and given up with my daily practice I would not be where I am today.

6. What are your plans for the coming year?

I am so excited! I am launching my hand made notebooks in September, I have plans for other products in the pipeline.

I will be running more workshops and setting up my own online group to encourage people to take up daily practice and the benefits that daily creativity has.

We all need to look after our mental wellbeing, and I want to help people to find time in their busy lives for self-care and enjoying their creative sides.

7. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting to draw, what would it be?

Get yourself a sketchbook, put pen to paper and just do it. Inside your sketchbook there are no rules you can be whoever you want, find something you like and start drawing it or find a drawing class and go for it. 

8. Who inspires you?

I have always been inspired by Tracy Emin since I saw her Un-made Bed just before she won the Turner Prize, and have been a fan ever since. I like her balls in a mostly male-dominated world of art. I went to her newest exhibition recently, it was amazing, I love her brutal honesty and that shows in her art.

I love the painter Peter Doig and love his landscapes his use of colour is just wonderful, when I saw his work for the 1st time (not in a book) it was so beautiful I cried.

Also, I must mention my wonderful mentor Ali Mapletoft she is a fantastic artist and brand leader in her own right. She is inspiring, creative women like me to become the leader of their brands. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Amanda!

You can find out more about Amanda and her Creatively Curious adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

Learn from Amanda and three other amazing teachers!

Book your ticket for the Brighton Flow Festival taking place on November 16th 2019 at the King Alfred Ballroom. A full day of workshops and play (and hanging out after!).

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