What Does a Multipotentialite Look Like? | Part I
All photos © Davide Greco

What Does a Multipotentialite Look Like? | Part I

Written by Valerie Wernet

Topics: Work

Puttylike contributor Davide Greco photographs multipotentialites in their many habitats and interviews them about their many passions. This week, we’re featuring some first images from his To Be or…To Be? project, accompanied by his fabulous subjects’ own words (translated from Italian, of course!).

I admire the contrasting ways in which these women have conceptualized their careers. Debora has woven together her different endeavors into a solid overarching theme; connecting psychology and dance to a core value of emotional authenticity. Camilla is more of a slash careerist, keeping her passions distinct but parallel. And both of them have a lot of diversity in their activities: inwardly-focused versus extroverted work, for example. I can’t wait to see what you take away from these stories!

+ + +

Debora // Psychologist + Dancer

I started dancing at the age of six. In addition to classical ballet, I have studied contemporary dance, contact and character. Now I’m working with Lindy Hop and Charleston, as well. When I was a child, dancing was like living in a special moment, both enjoying and concentrating  at the same time. Today, I use dance as a time dedicated to myself, in which I feel free to enter my emotions and to process them with my body and movements.

Debora in the dance studio

Dance and Psychology have many similarities. You have to be honest with yourself; you cannot pretend to do or be something, it must be genuine. In both disciplines, accepting and intimately understanding yourself can draw out many kinds of resources. As a professional, I believe that psychotherapy is itself a form of art. It is creative, expressive and open to innovation.

In psychotherapy, it is important that a practitioner can find a common code to share with a patient. Sometimes the use of images and metaphors make it possible to reach the core of that relationship. In therapy, as well as in dance, there are characters and scenes waiting to be interpreted, to which we try to give voice. Emotions are the thread that connects psychotherapy and dance. Dance without emotional communication is simply gymnastics.

Debora in her psychotherapy office

For a number of years, I have had a show in mind that would put a combination of dance and psychotherapy onstage. It is a bold project and I do not know if I’ll ever achieve it, but for now it’s in the pipeline. I probably need a dose of courage to pursue it.

Camilla // Ceramist + Dubber

I’ve always had a passion for design, especially for jewellery. Ever since I was a child, I have dabbled in creating ‘wearable objects’.  Acting has always been a part of me, too. Even in primary school, I loved the stage.

Camilla at work, dubbing

Italy has a long tradition of dubbing films into Italian; it’s as culturally relevant as pasta and slow food! I attended a theater school while studying at high school, and another one during university. I eventually graduated with a thesis on dubbing. Dubbing is a gratifying career, which gives me the opportunity to express myself and to improve at many levels.

In 2012, I began another wonderful adventure when my sister and I founded a jewellery business called Jamais Sans Toi. This step allowed me to work with my sister, Valentina. It also gave me the privilege of entering a world to which I’ve always felt called—design and hand-made artisan work.

Camilla in her jewellery studio

We work in clay, which comes from Valentina. She studied sculpture at art school and earned a diploma as a ceramic restorer. The idea of building a project with her motivated me and intrigued me a lot. We get along very well!

Acting, dubbing and handicrafts are far-away worlds in many ways, but they all travel parallel in my heart.

Your Turn

What worlds do you bring together in your life and your work? If you were the subject of a multipotentialite photo shoot, what locations would show your many sides?

If these images + stories resonated with you, keep an eye out for the next installment of What Does a Multipotentialite Look Like? on Puttylike in June.

neil_authorbioDavide Greco is a photographer and former aerospace engineer from Turin, Italy. He and his work are online at davidgreco.net. (Photo © Vanessa Vettorello, 2016)

29 Comments

  1. Holly says:

    I’m a single (but dating) mom of three, a full-time web developer, graphic and traditional fine artist (abstract paintings and realistic figure illustrations), and singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar player.

    Occasionally my graphic design experience comes in handy with my web development, and recently to create my own album art for a song I’m publishing. (First song I’ve ever written — then recorded, produced and published myself — and it’s official release date is 6/26/17!)

    Being a single mom has completely transformed my ability to plan, organize and otherwise manage projects and resources. It helps in every single area of my life!

    Writing music and the creative process in general, for me, can be a discouraging process at times. But I’ve found that tips and positive mindsets that help in one area will apply to all of them. For example, when I’m stuck in the writing process of a song, I learned to break apart the song into the different aspects of it: rhythm, tempo, lyrical message, melody, emotion (and potentially various instrumental pieces) — and then when I’m stuck on one, focus on the others. When I get stuck in art, I now realize I can break it up into composition, color, brush technique, value, message/emotion as well, and it really helped me think about things in a more supportive and somewhat objective way, rather than just beating myself up for not finishing/fixing it.

    As a multipotentialite, I find that the more skills/mindsets I study, the more every other skill or interest benefits from that new knowledge or experience.

    • Hi Holly,
      So cool to hear about how all your experience informs work in totally different areas. Congratulations on your upcoming album release!

    • Davide says:

      Thank you Holly, your words are very inspiring. I’ll try to figure out how to apply it to my creative process too!

    • Kendall Ball says:

      Wow thanks for your insights! I always worry about maintaining my numerous projects once I have children. It’s reassuring to see someone else succeeding at it!

  2. Fateme says:

    Brilliant project!
    Multipotentialite myself at the intersection of science/poetry/business. My location is the intersection of light and shadows!

    • Hi Fateme! The intersection of light + shadows = A++ Thanks for reading!

    • Davide says:

      Thank you Fateme! I’ve seen that you are italian too and that your current location is not that far. Contact me if you’d like to join my project and meet at the intersection! ;) We could at least have a conversation about that. Ciao!

  3. Anne-Sophie says:

    I love Davide’s work, it’s a great project, and the photos really spoke to me. The photographs of these two women were especially precious for me, because my two main identities are being a Psychologist, and a Ceramics teacher/Ceramic artist. As they mentioned, Art and Psychology are very emotional, intuitive, and authentic things to do, but I would be definitely photographed also in front of my laptop, where I make my research, and work as a digital project manager, which is my kind of my logical, analytical counterpart. Or, let’s not say counterpart, it’s just a part of who I am, and how I feel alive, confident and myself.

    • I wonder if art + psychology often travel together, because of their similarities. Feeling confident and alive both in the studio and on the laptop is such an asset. I bet you’re a force to be reckoned with!

    • Davide says:

      Thank you Anne-Sophie! I’m happy that the pictures spoke to you and that you can identify yourself too. As said, emotions are somehow a precious link between art and psychology. In both cases you have to be honest and sensitive. Being a psychologist means also to be very analytical I guess, but it’s beautiful to see how many people love to go deep and challenge themselves.

  4. Michael Feerer says:

    Over the past 35 years I’ve been an award-winning architect/planner > stay-at-home Dad actively raising my daughter > popular non-fiction author > non-violent visual effects creator/entrepreneur > fine art nature photographer > children’s middle-grade novelist > nature explorer/adventurer. The last three are still current. It’s been fun!

    The difficult part is I feel I need three lifetimes to fit everything in that I’d love to dive into. So the real challenge is CHOICE — choosing the few most compelling paths. Do any of you feel something like that, too?

    • I’m raising my hand over here! Choosing can be agonizing. Keep your eye on the blog, because I hear Neil is working on a post about just this topic :)

    • Davide says:

      Hi Michael! I see your point clearly. In my personal experience I’ve made a choice that brought me inside photography 24h/24h. This happened after years trying to match everything, but it didn’t work for me. I’m still happy about that choice and I can tell you that all my interests are still there. I know that somehow my scientific background entered in my photography and that sooner or later will kick the door again. I just don’t know in which form, but I’ll see. That’s why I consider my subjects as superheroes that manage to hold on with two passions at least. My hope is that it could be inspiring for someone.

  5. Tolu says:

    I am a medical doctor, researcher, public health professional, writer, speaker, coach, entrepreneur, youth mentor, child advocate and recently intrigued by design thinking. I struggle with confusion as to what route to go. I don’t enjoy the traditional medical route. I also do not feel appreciated by that community and feel like I have to hide and pretend to be accepted. I am tired of where I am but not sure where to go. No job title suits me.

    • I definitely don’t think you’re alone in struggling to find your place, Tolu. From what I hear, medicine can be a challenging field if you’re trying to branch out. Wishing you all the inspiration + forward steps!

    • Davide says:

      Hey Tolu, you’ve put a lot of irons in the fire (is that the correct english expression?). I don’t think you should aim to feel accepted by a community that you don’t like. Maybe it would worth to make your own path in scientific dissemination activities. I think the world need more people that can explain how things work from the inside. Probably you are already doing that. In that case just continue your diving! Job titles and labels are just.. job titles and labels. Let’s mess up things a little ;)

    • Dan says:

      I think I know how you feel, Tolu. I went to law school and told my classmates I never intended to practice. I then went and got an MBA and PMP certification. My logic was to embrace my “renaissance man” nature. But the downside was always feeling like I was on the outside looking in. This seems like a really cool community.

  6. Audrey says:

    I interestingly parallel Tolu in many ways. I am a registered nurse, public health professional, advocate for indigenous children, trained as a life coach, currently unemployed and just today was reading an article on using design thinking to job search!! While choosing my “next 50” Kick off point I am keeping busy studying a diploma in interior design and planning a move into dog training. It’s so freeing to know that there are other people out there who also can’t stick to a job (tsk tsk) or a geographical location in my case as well, I haven’t behaved like a “normal” person in a long time and it’s liberating to find a network of people who say that’s ok. When I worked in the hospital system other nurses would ask what my specialty was. I would reply that my specialty was being able to walk onto any ward or area and work a shift like I always worked there. I fought for 20 years for the term “generalist” to be recognised as a specialty in its own right.
    I would probably be photographed assessing a child in the outdoors and then decorating a dog kennel for a fur baby sitting nicely next to his kennel.

    • Davide says:

      Thank you Audrey for sharing your story and your photographic hints. I appreciate it!

  7. Bill Bryers says:

    I’m a Carpet and vinyl layer by trade so that makes me a pretty much of a hands on type of a guy and when something catches my interest, I go all out until I become pretty good at it and then lose interest. Now that I know that I’m a Multipotenialite, I love the fact that I do not have to focus on the one thing but explore to my heart’s content. I have a love for alot of things, my latest being the design and construction of toys and resources geared towards Early childhood. I love photography, fashion design and garment construction, I enjoy singing and have appeared on local TV. Because I am a Multipotenialite I am now looking at revisiting some of my pass passions and formulating a plan to see if I can add value to others. Have teamed up with a IT Wiz, so very excited.

  8. marzie says:

    I am a photographer, architect, lecturer of art history, translator of articles about photography and now I’m doing nothing but seeking for a phd on art! i also like philosophy and feminism studies and i wonder when to pursue these areas!

    • Hi Marzie! I think you could find some very rich intersections between Philosophy, Feminist Studies and Art. What would you like to write about for your Art PhD?

  9. Maria says:

    Davide, when you portrait multipotentialites: do they always look equally convincing executing their multiple passions? Because there’s a large part of me that always surprises people (physicist, researcher, pilot) while other passions (designing+sewing clothes, creating party-cakes) seem to be more credible.

    • Hey Maria! I look forward to seeing what Davide has noticed during his shoots and while scouting subjects, but as a woman with many passion I wanted to respond as well.

      From you name + your comment, I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re female-identified? It seems like the parts of you which surprise people are those that have wandered outside of traditional women’s fields and I have to blame SEXISM. Being reinforced and encouraged doing things that conform to what people think our gender is, while being undermined and undervalued when we step outside of gender norms, is so pervasive. Sometimes it’s hard to see the large patterns + to blame ourselves instead, but gender bias in the workplace (and everywhere) is still real.

      I think photography is a super important way for people to see their own experience and the experience of people who are very different from them depicted. Images can make something seem real, even when it sounds incredible.

      Anyway, I’ve made a very long comment + hope I haven’t put words in your mouth. Would love to hear your thoughts on this, too!

    • Davide says:

      Hi Maria! When I speak to my subjects I’m taking care of representing them for what they identify themselves. It’s important that they feel comfortable to be photographed in different situations. Of course I make a selection of the more powerful stories from a visual point of view, but besides this I only care about how the subjects want to be photographed.

      For me the multiple passions/careers have the same dignity if they have it for you. In your case I’d love to see your pictures as a pilot/physician and designer/artisan!

  10. Sasha says:

    Just wanted to say I loved How To Be Everything. When I saw it was on sale pre-release I immediately knew I had to read it and ordered it. When it was finally released I got through it in a few days, and it was everything I it promised to be. Enlightening, empowering, funny and practical. So awesome.
    Sasha
    (Doctor (Endocrinologist), blogger, life/career coach, musician,dancer)

  11. Anna says:

    Thanks for preparing this post, what a lovely insight into these peoples worlds. I am currently trying to work out how I can be a medical lawyer and a nail artist at the same time, wish me luck!

    Anna

    • Davide says:

      Hi Anna! Here is Davide. I thank you from my side. I’m always surprised about how many different interest people have. I wish you all the best!