We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina E. Cline and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina E., why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Creativity is haunting. It walks slowly methodically behind you just to the left. A quick glance back and it’s gone. Hiding. Breathing. You know it’s there. You can feel it. It’s right there surely! I could’ve sworn. It lurks and waits. Stalks and premeditates. And once confronted in the day light grime, you come to accept this part of yourself that is the most true of who you are-more than spoken word or song can ever relay. You have come to terms with it. It’s an itch you can never fully scratch. A fix that only lasts so long. It’s unrelenting. It pokes and prods until the need is met. It’s glorious and profound and solidified quiet. It’s a way of being in the world. It’s the living proof of process in its very essence. It cannot be tamed. Ever. You can put creativity in a zoo but wild and given the chance, it will run free. And why shouldn’t it? Why shouldn’t it run free? Misunderstanding. We always try to tame that which we don’t understand. But we do understand this. And if we listen, like the siren’s call, we must follow. It’s the existential crisis: it’s the ancient painted hand on the rock, it’s the tick tock of the clock that never ever stops ringing in your ear until the day it stops cold, the ravens caw that awakens you from your drone automatic replies, the wind churning the skin to move, to go, to do in wild free abandon. To answer the burning question of why pursue an artistic or creative career, my response is, I had no choice. None whatsoever.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My career path has been a mosh pit. In fact, there are two career paths. Artists will understand what I mean when I say I technically have had two career paths but only one have I cared about. My artistic career started in acting. Classically trained but always drawn down the back alley towards more experimental theatre and what was once called “Avant Garde”. I was a part of a NYC theatre company for 11 years which allowed me to come face to face with deep creative research through mind and the physical form. It has confirmed my inner compass and inner direction. With that internal regulator, life events brought me from there to here. What was once the external drive to create and perform transitioned into an intense rich conversation with my creative self. What has always been true? What is the essence? In some ways reminiscent of minimalism, I started to rediscover a dialogue from within. I returned to my youth, what presented itself at the beginning. The raw. The unencumbered. I once again started to hang out with my dad in his garage like I had done when I was 5. And then it all came flooding back. Creation in its natural habitat; a clean garage, old parts to be reused with incredible stories attached to them. Building became effortless. Construction and design were intrinsic-and the stories unfolded. We began developing our style and language, our building language. We became architects. Not in the occupational sense but in the human sense. We are all architects. We build, construct, design, and develop our lives, hearts, and souls over and over again. With that viewpoint as the pulse, out came SteelPopShop. And then there is the other career path. The one that makes the money. The other life that is in the realm of 9 to 5’s and 401k’s. I don’t particularly find it interesting, but I do find it necessary. Having a roof over my head and eating is good stuff. I like having those options. I spend the majority of my time in this particular realm. It tends to be all consuming. And that’s where the metal meets the road. The difference for many artists like myself and other career paths is that at one point or another we encounter the dilemma that in order to pursue an artistic path we might, (even for a brief time), have to pursue another less ideal career in order to support our artistic bent. It can be a daunting road at times for sure but one that also allows me to see and experience the duality of our society-which only breeds insight, camaraderie and humility. For ultimately, I am no different from anyone else seeking to pursue their calling. So out of these two paths I come. Inspired. Exhausted. Spurred on by the relentless hunger of being an artist and me continuing to find a way through the quagmire.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If it were a week of adventuring, the week would be more about time spent working internally and collectively rather than adventuring physically. With that in mind, we would start with grabbing some coffee and maybe a quick couple of rounds on the pinball machines down at Mutiny Information Cafe before heading further south on Broadway to browse antique shops like Vintage Blu Décor with a final stop down west Evans at Salvage Design Center to find the perfect signature piece. After lunch at Las Delicious, we head to the scrap yard to find bits and bobs we need to add to our signature piece for our redevised steel project. Finding schtuff we each can’t live without we meet up with my Pops at his garage and start to drag out all our loads of junk I’ve hoarded just for this reason. We spend the days welding, painting, spraying, gluing, filing, cutting, bending, scraping, and getting dirty with it. A dream we started back in Park Hill when we were just rug rats. When we are spent, we go for walks along the creek near Bear Valley keeping lookout for the rogue black and white guinea pig. Back home we order in from Jerusalem Restaurant and sit on the balcony watching the sunset. We spend the entire week devising our piece ending with a drop off of our collaboration at Harperrose Studios Gallery & Goods in Leadville. Repeat. And Repeat. And Repeat.
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?
So many people to mention-and hug. For always and forever my gratitude runneth over for my Father. The “Pop” in SteelPopShop. He’s a master at redevising. He is a machinist, engineer and ol’ hot rodder in his own right. His ability to problem solve is incredible. Time and time again whether it be for a rat rod or a piece he is working on, no matter how difficult the pickle he seems to be in, there is always a way through. Admirable. He is so patient with me and my wanderings. Still after all of these years he lets me rummage around his shop looking through drawers for the “right” object while he very quietly inspires me with his unique eye and spatial relationship. He makes for no one in particular yet for everyone. He proudly adds his handprint to the cave wall like the rest of us. I plan to do the same.