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Mae Mitchell :: Photographer, Actor + Human

Updated: Dec 28, 2019


Meet Mae. Damn. What an honor to interview this brilliant woman. She is beyond resilient, kind, and the MOST creative. She also happens to me my sisterrrrrrrrr! Check it out, creatures - This goddess is full of some seriously juicy creative vitality:


My name is Mae Endicott Mitchell.  I am 31 years alive and I currently live in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I was born and raised in a sleepy fishing village on the coast of Maine. I attended Bennington College in Vermont, where I studied Theater, photography, dance and political science. I am a photographer, and actor and a human.


boredom is miracle grow for the mind


What is creativity to you?

Creativity as defined by the dictionary, is   "The use of imagination or original ideas especially in the production of an artistic work.” I believe there is no standard definition. It means something different to everyone, whether they consider themselves to be artistic or not. For me, I think it’s a way of life. I was diagnosed with a smattering of learning disabilities as a child, I think I always knew that my brain worked a little differently, it just meant that I had to work really hard to find ways for traditional schooling to work for me. Enter creative problem solving, something I currently consider less of a skill and more of a way of life and less of a job title. The process of creatively reframing the way I think about the things that make living in the city challenging has enabled me to live here for the past 9 years. I’m currently working with children and  so much of my job is about connecting in a way that encourages their own creativity. The circumstances of my upbringing are so different than what kids growing up in the city are faced with on a daily basis. I didn’t really  have many screens, I had a backyard, a bike and my sister. It is my joy and my challenge to help teach these kids that boredom is miracle grow for the mind. In turn, they remind me that we are always learning, always growing and that no matter where in the world you live, there is beauty to be found, it’s all in how you look for it.  

  

In turn, they remind me that we are always learning, always growing and that no matter where in the world you live, there is beauty to be found, it’s all in how you look for it.

What creative project(s) are you working on now?

Right  now, my partner and I are developing a script to be made into a feature film. He is a director and I am an actress. This type of creative work is new to me, my role so far as been primarily in character development. The “ who, what, where,why” of these fictional humans fascinates me. Creating backstories that help inform their behavior as seen in the script, it’s almost architectural and I love it.  We are also in the process of setting up our first home together, looking at what “home” looks like, feels like for us. It’s an ongoing project including acquiring recycled  furniture from the 70’s and rearranging my collection of animal skulls and plants.  


What was your favorite creative project?

I think my favorite project to date was a site specific/ experimental theatre piece that was performed in an old colonial house on Governors island just off of Manhattan. The audience followed us from room to room inches away from the story as it was being told. The playwright and the director really leaned into the characters informing the story, so as we dug deeper into our parts, the story shifted and grew in unexpected ways. It was the most creative involvement I have ever had as an actor, a truly special experience that I will never forget.   


What does creative flow feel like for you?

I never really know when it’s going to hit or where it’s going to take me, so when it does I have to commit to running with it. I don’t currently have a disciplined practice or fixed format for getting in the groove, specifically to produce work. That’s something I would like to work on developing.  


What gets in your way from your creative process, how do you overcome these blocks?

 Me. I am my own biggest obstacle. I often have to physically move through it, walk around the park for a bit, dance in the kitchen, take a shower. Whatever it takes to get out of my head and into my body, what I call “active breaks” it’s not scrolling through instagram, it’s leaving your phone at home and getting some air. 


Did anyone ever criticize your creative work? How did if feel, what did you do?

I had a teacher in college criticize some of my creative character development for a production of Uncle Vanya. It was my first big production and I felt like I was on track, he did not agree. I felt really discouraged by his remarks, stating that I “ wasn’t doing the work, not digging deep enough”. I thought, well how am I supposed to do that, aren’t you supposed to be teaching me how? I called home and my father said something along the lines of “ He can’t see how you feel, you have to show him. Use it.” he wasn’t wrong and neither was my teacher.. I could dig deeper I could push myself to open up further, so I did. I used it. 


What are you inspired by?

Things that make me tick creatively:

Maine

Bones

Things that are forgotten or abandoned 

Birth/ Death

Nature

Things that are forbidden 

Elders 

new places

Stories

What could be

Found photographs 

Family structures

Children


What music are you into right now?

 I fluctuate between upbeat pop music that literally elevates my heart rate ( Carly Rae Jepsen ) and oldies ( Sam Cooke & Harry Belafonte). We are trying to compile some sort of wedding playlist which has unearthing favorite songs from different times in each of our lives, it’s been a wild trip.


One piece of creative advice.

You are an original, one of a kind, work in progress. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep failing. Forgive yourself and know when to take a step back and go for a walk. Because of you, regardless of what you choose to produce or put out out there for others to share…. the world is a more colorful and abundant place to be. 

...guys, read that again:


You are an original, one of a kind, work in progress. Keep moving, keep pushing, keep failing. Forgive yourself and know when to take a step back and go for a walk. Because of you, regardless of what you choose to produce or put out out there for others to share…. the world is a more colorful and abundant place to be.


To keep up with the magic of Maine, follow her on Instagram at @maenotjune and @birch.and.bone

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