Get to know Boontarika (Boonie) Sripom
Boontarika "Boonie" Sripom is a creative who loves working in community mental health. She earned a MA in Clinical Psychology, and a BA in Studio Arts where photography was focused on. performance was used as a means to heal and rewrite her narrative. Performance is her favorite art medium because it can be so vulnerable, raw, and intimate for all involved. She is on Facebook often where she discusses MBTI(R) Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (R), creativity, and science with her online friends. Boonie likes making YouTube videos on mental health and creativity, and hopes to inspire more people to keep their inner children alive through play and art.
City, State, Country: Irvine, CA, United States
Website or Blog address: www.organizedmesses.com
What is your definition of creativity?
I define creativity as the channeling of energy, and nonverbal processing of emotions, thoughts, and circumstances. It may or may not result in a product, and I consider the process/journey to be far more valuable than any measurable thing. Creativity is self expression and healing, it's finding one's inner voice from one's inner child, and nurturing it to thrive across the lifespan.
Tell me about your family life...
I live with my sister and we spend time doing sister things: talking about relationships, clothes, and going to the gym. I have a twin brother with a young family, and I visit to play with his wonderful babies to instill creativity and awe of our natural world. My parents live an hour away, and I have gardened with them since I was a little girl. Being in nature and touching the soil has always grounded me, and given me a sense of home, even when I'm away from my family.
Do you have primary creative medium?
Writing, brainstorming about ideas related to creativity/science/education, painting with acrylic to illustrate my synesthesia. (Synesthesia is a concomitant sensation and especially a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated)
Please describe your creative process...
My creative process is inspired by events/happenings, conversations, and people I come across. The emotional responses that I have are paired with color. As a synesthete, I "feel" colors, and pair colors with certain subjective qualities in people I meet. For instance, my dad is mustard yellow and it makes me feel comfortable, safe. Highly intuitive people in my life are magenta, and curious people who are searching for themselves are bright light green to me. I have an image of these colors in my mind, like paint in water, and have the colors guide my painting process. To me, there's not much "meaning" in what I make, it's just a way to illustrate to others the colors I see or feel when paired with certain stimuli.
Tell me more about your experience with synesthesia...
Synesthesia is the blending of the senses. The most common form is grapheme-color where colors are associated with numbers and letters. Somehow the neural wiring in certain parts of synesthete brains cross. As a result, I feel color, and see splashes of paint in water in my mind's eye when thinking of certain people or highly emotional moments. I pair colors with people in my life, and their subjective traits that I experience with them. For instance, highly intuitive people are magenta to me, and extremely curious and growing people are light bright green.
I had an affinity for colors as a child, and loved drawing and coloring rainbows on my schoolwork. I didn't realize it (synesthesia) was a thing until recently. My professor, Jennifer DeFeo, assigned chapters from The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat where each student was to write and present on the case involved. My chapter was on creativity and Autism. I resonated greatly with the narrative because I do see brains as beautifully complex things where perceptions of normal vary so much. I shared about my synesthesia and encouraged expanding on definitions of empathy.
How has synesthesia impacted your life?
Synesthesia does help me with my gut feelings about people. The colors I see can give me a feel for the emotional states of a person, if the dialogue and body language presented matches the colors I see. It's another way for me to inventory and process my subjective experiences of others. The colors are also a way for me to check in with my own emotional experiences of someone's narrative. It hasn't happened in years, but when I was overwhelmed I would see clouds of black and red. I have learned to do more self care and more consistent checking in, so it hasn't happened in a while.
Have you experienced barriers to your creative work? What are the biggest barriers to continuing your creative work?
The barriers are related to the greater culture's depictions of being an artist or being creative. Many people dismiss it as an actual craft that deserves compensation, so many artists choose to pursue art as a hobby. This is a barrier because it limits how many great works can get produced within a lifetime, and it could also deter people from feeding their inner artists because bills need to get paid. If you're an artist, mental health stigmas and being seen as "strange" or "eccentric" are also barriers to work through. Sometimes labels are enough to stop people from being who they are. For me, income is a huge part of not pursuing art more consistently. Self doubt is also a huge barrier. We are our worst critics, and finding courage to "put it out there" is a big deal. Most of us in FB creative groups stop short of sharing because the piece is never "complete".
How old were you when you realized that you're an "artist" or a "creative person"?
Looking back on your childhood who mostly influenced on your work?
I don't know! It's something to process.
If you could give a new mother advice about honoring her creativity while mothering, what would you tell her?
Being messy is part of brain development. Messy art and allowing children to play in the dirt (with your supervision) is okay. The children will be okay with good enough parenting, and part of good enough, is allowing for mixing of paints and play dohs (instead of "Do Not Mix The Colors"). To me, creativity is also about being okay with mistakes and accepting less than perfect. Laughing at mistakes can also be a creative way at responding to something. It can teach resilience and new perspective to move forward. There can be beauty and joy in things that are not perfect.
What work are you most proud of?
My YouTube videos. It took lots of courage and mistakes and self acceptance to share my thoughts on something I thought many could relate with. I want to encourage my fellow creatives and geeks to heal and nurture their best selves to grow.
To find out more about Boonie's work visit her website