Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Madi Kreates. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Madi, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love to hear about when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a creative path professionally.
I never intended to make art a career. I was painting and writing poetry for fun and to help cope with the struggles I was experiencing in my life. One day one of my friends saw a painting I did and was like “wow that’s really cool, I want to buy it.” I thought she was kidding but she was so serious. She bought it right then and there and hung it up in her house. That was 4 years ago and it’s still hanging up. I think she bought it because she knew that all my work came straight from my emotions. That first painting being sold became a snowball and other people began asking about my work. They asked why I kreated what I did and how and they were interested in not only the painting but in me and my story as well. Painting for me started as a way to cope healthily instead of succumbing to self-harm. I realized telling my story through my work, painting or poems- was affecting people in a positive way. It was showing people that there is someone out there who feels similarly to them, and showing that they aren’t alone. I felt like I found my voice and I needed to use it to help other people find theirs. So I knew I had to keep sharing my work and my story no matter what.
Madi, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Well hi! I’m Madi. I have been writing poetry for 16 years and painting for 6 years. I first started kreating to help cope with my mental health struggles and depression. One day about 4 years ago a friend came to me and said they were going to start an open-mic night and that I was going to perform some of my poems. I laughed in his face because I very rarely shared any of my work with anyone and he had never read my writing either, but eventually I caved and he put on the show and I performed. We continued to put on these open-mic nights and I continued to perform and talk openly about my struggles with all kinds of things in my work, and more people started to come and started to tell me they resonated with what I was saying. A long time ago, my life started changing when I found more people who were open with their stories and struggles. It saved my life on several occasions to know that I was not actually alone in the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing so intensely. When I kept on doing these poetry shows and realized that I was affecting others in a positive way just by sharing my life, I knew that I had to keep doing it. I began showing my paintings as well around different shows in Atlanta and any time someone would ask what inspired me, I would be honest- I started painting to help me stop self-harming and most often a painting they would ask about would be inspired by the negative feeling I was experiencing. Saying these things opened up the avenue to discuss mental health issues and how it affects the people and community around us. Since then, I have dedicated myself and my career to the helping profession, even outside of art. I will soon receive my Bachelors of Science in Human Services where I hope to move on to become a therapist certified in behavior analysis with a focus on art therapy. I am a firm believer that art is beneficial in helping people sort through their emotions. I am a kreator of paintings, of poetry, and of positivity. All of my work is a story, a testimony to when I could have let my demons ravage over me but didn’t. It is truth and it is healing for not only me but the others who are inspired by and/or affected by my work. It is my hopes with my brand MadiKreates to give power, strength, and healing to the community around me with my vulnerability. I hope that my stories and work show that there is strength in vulnerability, and that I spread positivity by looking towards the light even if I can’t always see what is in front of me.
: Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I think the main goal that is driving my kreative journey is to let as many people I can know that they are not alone! My kreative journey is driven by my passion of kreating a better life for myself mentally and emotionally and sharing that with others to show them that they are absolutely capable of doing the same types of things. Everyone is capable of becoming self-aware, emotionally intelligent, and expressive. Not only do I want people to love and accept my art, I want people to resonate with the reasoning behind my art. I want people to look at a piece and wonder what made me kreate it, I want them to think “wow if she was able to express herself when feeling so negative, maybe I can too.” Right now I am a year and a half clean from a 13 year long battle with self-harm. This is something I am beyond proud of because I feel like I am at a point in my life where I am ready to do whatever I can to advance mentally and emotionally and step out of those negative coping mechanisms. I advocate for and to myself when I am able to paint instead of reverting back to those negative ways and strategies. It is my goal to show people that they can do this too, and make dope art while they’re at it.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I had to unlearn what “good” and “bad” art is. For a long time I didn’t share my work because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like my art did not compare to those who I thought were/are “good” artists. I had to learn that art is subjective and there is someone out there who will resonate with my kreations. The more I painted and wrote, the more time I spent on my pieces, the better I got, but to me, I had to completely lose what I thought good art meant. Now, I think good art has heart, emotion, and passion in it. If someone is having fun and doing something that makes them feel good then who cares if anyone thinks if its good or bad. And when it came to intertwining so much emotion into my work because of using it as a coping mechanism- I really had to throw that notion away because no one can tell you if what you are feeling is good or bad and no one can tell you your art is good or bad. Well, you shouldn’t listen to them anyways if they do…. but regardless, there is something out there for everyone.