Creative of the Month - Clay Boutte
Updated: Jan 13
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Vinton, Louisiana. At the time the population was less than 3k. I grew up all over the south, but mostly in north Georgia.
Did you go to college? If so, where did you attend and what did you study?
I started college in Georgia, at Gainesville State University. I planned on transferring to The University of Georgia, but finished my degree online through the University of Phoenix, once I moved to Chicago. I studied business and communications, with a focus of sales and marketing.
When did you realize you had a passion for photography?
I have always had a camera in my hand, ever since I could remember- whether it be a disposable, polaroid, film, or digital. I realized at a very young age that I had a passion for photography, but it wasn't until the middle of my college experience that I realized I wanted to pursue photography as a career.
What made you decide to move to New York?
I decided to move to New York after gaining some work in that market for a couple of years. I would travel back and forth from Chicago to NYC, and each time I came to New York I fell in love with it more and more. I understood that the type of work that I wanted to do was in New York, so it only made sense to make the move.
What are struggles you face as a creator?
Like all creators, I struggle with self doubt in my work sometimes; but the beauty of that is it makes me grow and work harder. I also struggle with creating art that sometimes has guidelines and timeframes... sometimes you want less restrictions and/or more time, but that's what comes with part of this business, so I learn to do the best I can in each situation.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by taking care of myself first. It's very easy to not say "no" to anyone or any job/project. I've learned that I have to make time for myself. I have to be introverted in order to be extraverted. Sticking to a healthy routine as much as possible helps me to stay motivated and not burn out.
What’s a difficulty in life that you had to overcome and how did it make you grow as a person?
The biggest difficulty I have had to overcome was changing my mindset in the way I was going through life. I believe that things happen for a reason, whether we think they are good or bad in the moment, but something great will always come out of it. I've learned to stay positive (at least try my best to do so) and to not attract negative energy towards myself. Changing the way you think about anything and everything is not an overnight process and it's challenging at times. I will always be working through this challenge. Fortunately, this has made me grow tremendously as a person in all areas of my life as I understand myself and others better now, and can look at situations from different perspectives. I am more aware of my feelings and can handle situations with more ease and less stress.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years, I see myself continuing to work around the world in my path of photography, but also working in other creative areas, such as video directing and creative directing. I see myself happy and enjoying each day for what it is.
How would you describe your photography?
I create emotion through my work, and see it as a moment rather than just a photograph. My work is clean and classic. People probably know my work best from my black and white work, but I also have a love for color photography as well.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am influenced by music, films, traveling, other artists' creations, and the people I surround myself with.
If you had to live in any city outside of the united states, where would you live and why?
In this moment, if I had to choose to live anywhere outside of the United States, I would probably choose Paris. The more I visit this city the more I am excited to see what it has to offer. Paris, to me, has the best fashion. The architecture is amazing, and I find the culture very interesting. It holds many great memories for me.
What’s something interesting people would be surprised to know about you?
People would probably find it interesting that I used to have a pet pig when I lived on a farm as a kid.
Do you have any tips for beginner photographers?
If I could give any tips to beginning photographers I would say... be yourself, be inspired, understand that art and growth doesn't happen overnight, know that everyone's eye is different, do not compare your journey to someone else's, challenge yourself, accept the fails, learn from the fails, and try your very best to stay positive about every situation.
What’s your spirit animal and why?
I would like to think my spirit animal is a phoenix, although I've been told that my spirit animal is a deer hahaha. I'll just leave it at that for this question!
Who is your role model and why?
I don't have one particular role model to mention... there are many people who I consider roll models for all different reasons, whether it be friends and family or well-known creators. They each hold something special in the way that they handle their business, life, or art.
If you could make any change in the world, what would it be?
If I could make any change in the world, I would help people to understand that everything is working out for them.