We had the good fortune of connecting with Randall Garrett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Randall, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?

The most difficult decision I’ve had to make would be to follow the vision for my life without reservation. For over twenty years, I was in the workforce as a community college teacher and gallery director. It was a satisfying life, but the last few years of that journey, I felt myself drawn toward something even more fulfilling. I wanted to work with others, to help them find and express their vision for life, but putting my finger on exactly how to do so was challenging.

In 2016, I took a one-year appointment as a full-time faculty member. It meant leaving the security of my position as gallery director for the possibility of a long-term appointment. At the end of that year, I didn’t get the permanent job, and suddenly found myself a part-time instructor, with no job security. It was then I made the decision to really explore what this calling was that I felt inside.

Over the next five years, I taught Humanities classes through El Centro College, developing a course called “Identity, Culture, and Performance,” which explored social performance, that is, how our everyday lives are a type of performance. Through creative exercises, my students came to a deeper understanding of themselves, their identities, and their roles in society. It was some of the most rewarding work I had ever done as a teacher.

Then, last year, I was suddenly laid off from Dallas College, along with hundreds of other instructors. With the pandemic, enrollment was down, and the college had entered into a period of restructuring. Suddenly, even the minimal security of a part-time adjunct teaching position was taken away. I had been rebuilding my brand with Plush Gallery, but had no steady income to speak of. With a mix of both excitement and fear, I dove fully into the creation of my new business, one which would be based in the work I did as an instructor teaching my students about social performance and creative expression.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

For a long time, I have been fascinated with video, creating short clips of performance art and spoken word. And more recently, I had gotten excited about vlogging. In early 2020, as the pandemic arrived and life went into a kind of suspended animation, I suddenly had the time and space to explore this new medium of expression. Just as the borders closed, I traveled to Mexico to began creating weekly vlog episodes for my YouTube channel. From the start, I knew the series would revolve around art and creativity, but other than that, I really had no template on how to proceed.

For the next year, I discovered how to share with others my own journey of personal growth through self-expression. I would post episodes about my work as an artist in the studio, the shows I organized at Plush Gallery in Dallas, and my adventures traveling and learning a new culture in Mexico. Soon, it began to feel very natural to use my own voice and share my experiences I knew I wanted to find a way to inspire others to find their vision and grow their life’s purpose.

Over the course of 2021, I developed the branding and content for my new business. I decided to call this work “creative mentoring,” to show its basis in both creativity and self-expression, as a means of guiding others toward finding their own voices and living more purpose-filled lives. Later in the year, I took on my first clients.

Now, I host bi-weekly sessions in which I work with my clients to uncover their own areas for personal growth. It is deeply satisfying to see someone open to their own self-expression, and in doing so, to find and more fully express their life goals. I am currently hosting quarterly workshops in and around Dallas, and am developing a plan to give creative retreats in Oaxaca.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

Well, we’d start out with a visit to Top Ten Records, on Jefferson Street in Oak Cliff, to say hi’ to Lily Taylor and catch a live local spoken word or music performance. Then we would drop by Lucky Dog Books, a little further down Jefferson, to chat with Steve Cruz and find some cool used books to read. After that, we’d go for a bite at Rincon Tapatío or La Reyna de Mariscos, also in Oak Cliff, two places which feel like Mexico.

Then we’d go for a walk along the nature belt of the Trinity River trails, to see the beautiful grasslands and wildflowers along the river. Or, we could go out to White Rock Lake, and view the sunset across its waters. A visit to Daisha Board Gallery, in near West Dallas, would be in order, and then to Pencil on Paper Gallery in the Riverfront area, to say ‘hi’ to Valerie and Emmanuel. And finally, we’d stop by the Union coffeehouse on Cedar Springs, to drink a cappuccino or chai latte, and engage in some chill conversation in their quiet, well designed space.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

As a seeker in my twenties, I got to know an elder contemplative named Paul Hinnebusch. He was a Dominican monk, who taught me the foundational aspects of how to live a life of self-reflection, what has come to be known as mindfulness. Then twenty years ago, I traveled to Vietnam, meeting a young Buddhist monk named Phuong. He took me into his monastery in Huế City, and showed me the monastic lifestyle he lived, one based in mindfulness.

This inspired me to begin practicing both yoga and meditation, which brought me into a deeper connection with myself and everyday life. I read “Peace is Every Step,” a book by Thích Nhất Hạnh, and for the first time saw clearly how living a life of gratitude and present moment awareness can be transformational. These influences were brought into my creative practice, along with the philosophy of artist Robert Rauschenberg, whose goal was to “bridge the gap between art and life.” And so, I had the foundation for a life which could be based in both creative expression and presence.

Website: https://www.randallgarrett.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/therandallgarrett/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_randallgarrett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therandallgarrett

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/therandallgarrett

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