Gina Rizzo Bishop

The Artist


 

“The Role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” – Chekhov

GRB 8

There is little distinction between my professional and personal life.  I take what I do in life to heart— it is personal– I am an artist.  Growing up in an artistic family has molded my perception of work in unique ways. Work was play and play was work— I was a performer and I loved to be on stage. It allowed me to feel the spotlight at a very young age–it was never forced upon me and it never felt like work. My adult life has been about the passionate pursuit of finding new creative ways of being on stage and stepping back into the warmth of that light every chance I get…

I can remember being 9 years old, heading to the Palace Theatre in Times Square (where I was currently employed in a Broadway Show) riding the NY subway with my mother, when a woman looked down at me and asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and, without hesitation, I replied: “a waitress!”  Because, for me (especially at that time) being on stage felt like anything BUT work. And, really it still does.

Performance Art is my passion. And, so you can call me an “Actress”, a “Dancer”, a “Singer” a “Performer”, a “Writer” or any variation in between but, inside (where it really counts) … I am none of those things specifically and exclusively. I am all of those things, I am an artist. And, I am proud to call myself such- Because I associate all of those as being channels for which I express my most authentic self…. I refer to them as the means for which I bridge my “professional” and “personal” self – as One.

And, because of this… I have returned to this art over and over again in my life. It is the single thing I care most deeply about. It is my zen, my flow and my way of life. It is easy to see that at times where I was not involved in creative projects that allowed me to extend pieces of my inner artist, I was most depleted. I felt less like myself and more “normal” than ever. And, for me…the complacency of normalcy, has taught me a great deal but, it is not a place I will choose to be, ever again.

Taking a “leave of absence” from show business, as a teen & young adult, only helped me gain clarity. The experiences I have had as a choreographer, teacher, volunteer, student, traveler and waitress (lol) have helped me hone my craft in uncountable ways. Nothing has brought me closer to the truths of the stage or the camera as personal life experience…  No coach or teacher will ever be able to give you that. No amount of money will be able to buy a workshop that can give an artist, what living can… And, for that I am grateful.

The difference between the kind of artist I was as a child and the one I am now, as a young adult, has inevitably evolved. And,  while I have learned to focus my energy in different ways… I still refer back to the child in me, who did it for one sole reason: Because She Loved It! And, that is the root of why I continue to pursue ways to express myself in the performing arts. It always brings me Home. It always instigates me to dig deeper into the whole complexity of being human and it always… just feels “Right”!

So, as I’ve said many times… I refuse to make a choice between doing what i love and making a living. I believe both can be done, gracefully. And… i vow to spend a lifetime investing in this belief and I say THANK YOU… to the persistent artist in me — always there reinforcing my deepest purpose and my closest passions– I honor you. And so it goes… “The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.”― Emerson (or play dress up, feel the limelight and call it an honest days work).

 

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