Conscious Community Podcast
Seeking Connection – Interview with Justin Roberts and Scott Erickson
By Janae Jean and Spencer Schluter
For this interview, we had the honor of speaking with the dynamic and engaging Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson. Justin and Scott collaborated together on the book Prayer: Forty Days of Practice, which features images interspersed with reflections and practices to inspire connection. We spoke with them about how prayer is part of the human experience, uniting and connecting us to the Divine and one another, as well as the arts, sacred spaces and building community.
Justin McRoberts is a musician and songwriter, as well as an experienced speaker and teacher, giving workshops and leading retreats across the country. He has recorded 15 music projects since 1999 and is also the curator and host of the @Sea Podcast and @Sea Events. Justin has also authored two books about the creative life. To learn more, visit www.JustinMcRoberts.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JustinMcRoberts.
Scott Erickson is a touring painter, performance speaker and creative priest who mixes autobiography, mythology and aesthetics. His touring one-man show, We Are Not Troubled Guests, is a multimedia storytelling experience. Scott has been a working artist for more than a decade and his work has appeared on CNN, in National Geographic, as well as on Tyler Perry’s Passion Live on Fox TV. Scott draws from his background as an educator and visual communicator in all of his endeavors. He speaks at workshops and retreats across the nation. To learn more about his artwork, current live appearances and to access his downloadable art show, Spiritual Practices, see www.ScottEricksonArt.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ScottThePainter.
The following is only an excerpt from our full interview. Listen to the entire conversation by subscribing to the Conscious Community Podcast on your favorite podcatcher app or by visiting www.ConsciousCommunityMagazine.com.
Janae Jean: To start off, can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds? Scott, you are a visual artist, and Justin, you started in music. How did you come to write a book?
Scott Erickson: I’ve been a practicing visual artist for over a decade. When I tell people I’m a visual artist, their first question is usually, “How do you make a living?” So, I respond, “I do a lot of little things to make a little something.” I’m a painter, illustrator; I do art shows; I sell work. I’ve started doing more performance pieces, these multimedia storytelling events. Now I’m an author. So, it’s a lot of projects going on at the same time. But predominantly, I would say a lot of our language and ideas are based in imagery. When we want to have a transformative experience, we have to deal with the inner images that we have that we’re rooting our narratives and conversations in.
Justin McRoberts: I’ve always talked a lot, and since I was a teenager I’ve been using words in some way, shape or form to create moments. I started playing music professionally in ’98. A lot of what would happen is the storytelling element of the shows would just take off. People would comment that they were enjoying the storytelling just as much as the music, and I recognized that I was enjoying that more than the music. Then I started putting things down in blogs…and then on paper.
Spencer Schluter: Are you both coming from a Christian background?
Scott: Depends on what you mean by ‘Christian.’ That can stand for a lot of things in the world that I wouldn’t align with. Spirituality is making what’s invisible visible, and religion is the rituals, rhythms and practices that we develop around that visualization. So, the framework of Protestantism is what I grew up in. It still works for me, but there are aspects of it that I had to let go because those practices didn’t work anymore. I’ve found a renewed depth in a Franciscan spirituality; I’ve found some really helpful practices through the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.