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Meet the Maker - Stacy Russo

Stacy Russo

Meet Stacy Russo

Stacy Russo is a California poet, writer, artist and love activist who is committed to creating books and art for a more peaceful world. Stacy's books have been featured on National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting System, Sirius XM Radio, KCET Artbound, LA Weekly, and various other media channels. 

Read her story below

How did you get into art and writing? Has rejection ever affected your creative process?

My creative work is in the areas of writing and art. My experimentations with both started in the 1980s punk rock scene in Southern California. Early on I was involved with making zines with my friends that included collage techniques and writing. The social justice and activism elements of much of my work, especially my writing related to oral history and story gathering projects, is definitely rooted in my political awakening through punk rock. Since then several life experiences have contributed to where I am now, as well as the work and art of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Pablo Neruda, bell hooks, Frida Kahlo, Mary Oliver, and Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Rejection is always part of the process, as are negative reviews, once your work is out there in the world. I can still be hurt and struggle with these things even though I’m aware that art is subjective and whatever you create is not going to resonate with every person.

I believe creativity is a form of knowledge. We can learn a lot about ourselves and the world through creativity so it contains a wealth of knowledge. Creativity can also contribute to healing us and our communities.

What kinds of jobs did you have leading up to the start of your creative venture? How do you envision your brand growing in the future?

I have a full-time professional career as a librarian and associate professor at Santa Ana College, so balancing my career with my art and writing is often challenging. It takes a lot of focus. Thankfully I have a lot of passion! Most of my art and writing is completed in the evenings and over the weekends. A majority of my free time is spent on my creative life. 

I’m currently working on a book project titled BEYOND 70: The Lives of Creative Women that features interviews with amazing women artists who are close to age 70 or older. This will be my seventh published nonfiction book if all goes well, which is just incredible to me. It is the result of tons of hard work! I’m also completing the final art for my next illustrated book for people of all ages: Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore.

Describe your day at home or in your workspace? 

I do all of my writing on my laptop at my dining room table and all of my art standing at my kitchen counter. It’s the perfect height! You could say I’m a kitchen artist and dining room table writer.

Describe your perfect day out and about locally. 

I’m vegan, so pre-pandemic time, my perfect day would surely involve going to one of my favorite vegan restaurants, such as Seabirds or Cafe Gratitude. Yum yum! Whenever possible, I enjoy spending time at LACMA and visiting bookstores and hanging out in cafes around Los Angeles and Orange County.

I want to keep creating art and books that contribute to hopefully making the world a better place. I put my heart and soul into every project. 

If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go? Why? Yes, this is totally hypothetical, so places that are real, fictional, mythical, or in the stars are totally options.

Well, I wouldn’t necessarily move there, but, if anything was possible, I would like to open the Wild Librarian Bakery and Bookstore right here in Santa Ana! Currently, the Wild Librarian is a place in my imagination that feels very real! It’s been a dream for close to eight years now. 

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