Roger Fernandes

December 14, 8:30am - 10:00am PST. Hosted at The Collective

part of a series on Tradition

About the speaker

Roger Fernandes is a Native American artist, storyteller, and educator whose work focuses on the culture and arts of the Coast Salish tribes of western Washington. He is a member of the Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe and has a B.A. in Native American Studies from The Evergreen State College and an M.A. in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University.

He has worked in a variety of arenas including Native education, social work, arts, and culture. As an artist he practices and teaches Coast Salish design and as a storyteller he shares storytelling as a foundational human process for teaching and healing. He currently teaches courses on storytelling and art at the University of Washington, Northwest Indian College, and other learning institutions.

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Q&A with Roger Fernandes

[CreativeMornings] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
[Roger Fernandes] The ability to first envision and then make something new.

[CM] Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
[RF] I honestly believe my creative inspiration finds me. It comes from somewhere mysterious inside of me. My brain is only a conduit to the making of the vision.

[CM] What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
[RF] That the word “art” does not exist in ancient human vocabularies; the idea that “art” is a specialized human activity that only a few people identified as “artists” can do denies that all humans are capable of creativity and creation.

[CM] Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
[RF] Dakota Camacho, a local young Chamarro (Guam Indigena) artist, performer, creator who’s work spans millennia, generations, cultures, and performance styles.

[CM] What are you reading these days?
[RF] “Primitive Man as Philosopher” by Paul Radin; excellent examination of how western culture denies the philosophical depths of “primitive” cultures.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larson; Saw the movies, loved the character Lisbeth Salander, wanted to fill in the blanks.
“We Are The Clash” by Mark Anderson and Ralph Heibutzki; a look at the punk band The Clash and their efforts to create a more accessible musical style (read: sales) and confront their betrayal of their original revolutionary commitments. Also ingeniously weaves the politics of the time (Reagan and Thatcher) with the story of the band’s philosophical struggles.

[CM] What myths about creativity would you like to set straight?
[RF] First, as a storyteller, I get annoyed with the use of the term “myth” to infer something untrue. One aspect of a mythic story is it’s ability to speak to another part of one’s psyche in a different language than the brain wants to hear. But, assuming that was not your intent in the question, I challenge the notion that only a few people are creative and the majority of people are not. All humans are creative/artists; all humans are spiritual beings; all humans are singers; etc. etc. Why does this culture insist on telling it’s members all the things it says they are not? When, in fact, they are those things. That might be a better question.