Twelve Questions with Karine Ponce
Karine Ponce is a holistic coach and the creator of Lunar Method, a wellness #zerowaste event planning business, where she works with people to revamp their health, lifestyle, parties, and home to cultivate an optimal life with more simplicity, beauty, and connection.
1. I want to begin by asking about your childhood exposure to the arts and how possible/accessible that world felt to you. Did you have creatives in your family or your family’s close circle of friends, or did you strike out in a new direction from your family culture?
As a kid, I was super creative and fantasized about getting lost in nature. However, we lived in a tiny two-bedroom apartment in a rough part of LA, so nature wasn’t exactly accessible to us. Forests and jungles felt a thousands miles away, the reality was that we lived in such a polluted area that I was diagnosed with environmental asthma, inhaler and all.
At 15 and a 1/2, I got my first official job working at Shakey’s pizzeria. I loved making money but hated having to dim my creativity to fit a role I didn’t particularly like. What I remember most about that first job, was a line cook named Jonathan.
He also lived in a rough neighborhood, much rougher actually. It was enough of a difference to make me never want to complain around him. He was often bullied by a dangerous gang that threatened his life on several occasions. Each time we worked together, he would ask me to teach him a new word I learned in school, a “fancy” word, he would say. We laughed, connected, and had a great friendship at the shop then would go home to our polar opposite worlds.
When I think of Jonathan, I can feel myself holding back tears because I never did figure out what happened to him. I’m not sure if he got out of of his home situation or not. What I do know is that I remember that connection so clearly amidst a seemingly uneventful job. I knew I had to leave my neighborhood and get an education, an opportunity many of my peers did not have the luxury of pursuing. I wanted to break the mold. I wanted to be thought of as SMART instead of creative.
So what did I do? I read tons of books, suppressed the artsy hobbies I had, got into a good college, and worked my way into a good office job. To most that would be enough, but I longed for creativity. I remember the last day working at my desk job, I walked down the stairs for the last time and thought to myself, it’s time to get f*^king creative again.
Nature, creativity, and human connection are the passions that have stuck to me like glue throughout my life. I’ve now made it my job to be creative every damn day, connect with new people that inspire me, and have chosen to live surrounded by nature. I tell you this story because it’s been a long journey back to finding my creative side. I’ve had to swim against the current to rediscover who I am and what I stand for. Let me tell you, it’s tough to go against the status quo.
I am now putting together the pieces of myself that had been lost for so long. I came to the conclusion that I want to be a Zero Waste Event planner. I can merge parts of me to be creative, express my connection and love for people by helping them prep for an important event in their life, and protect mother earth though incorporating integrity, sustainability and responsibility in our celebrations.
Both my parents were beautiful creatives. My mom painted on glass with acrylic and my dad is a talented illustrator. The narrative they told themselves was that they needed to be “practical” and that art was an expensive hobby not reserved for the poor.
Of course, it was not something they outwardly told me, rather she said it to me through her actions and her emphasis on practicality rather than creatively. Any time I would be creative as an older teen, it was quickly looked down upon.
2. Is there a formative image or event around creative calling for you? What made you want to pursue your artistic field? And was there anything in particular that gave you the courage to take that first step?
Travel was the catalyst that re-sparked my creativity. It felt daunting to think about “creating” after being in the workforce my entire adult life, so I realized my version of creating was through people and through the community. Travel was a natural and easy way to connect with people, places, and get out of my comfort zone.
3. What are some creative works of others that have made the greatest impact on you, stylistically or personally? Is there a work that makes you fall back in love with your craft or industry when you’re discouraged?
Yes, works like the magazine Kinfolk have really inspired me. I also love the blog EcoWarriorPrincess that talks about sustainability. Anything that bring nature and minimalism together makes me fall back in love with my craft. I am always inspired by Latin cultural influences such as Frida Kahlo and my indigenous Brazilian roots.
4. Can you share a low point on your creative path and talk about how you dealt (or are dealing) with it? Or can you speak about the greatest fear that you grapple with?
Yes, my lowest point was feeling unworthy. Something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I am creative in non-traditional ways. I am not a painter or sculptor however I am creative in the ways I bring community and bring a party or event to life with the vibe, feel, and flowers.
5. Could you distill the most important thing you’ve learned about your craft or your identity as an artist into one sentence?
I don't have an answer to this question yet, since it’s so early on for me.
6. Our childhood experiences shape us, the positive and the painful. Sometimes we have access to unusual resources, and sometimes loss, loneliness or lack can be a rich tool to move us forward. Are there any unusual circumstances, weird childhood habits, or difficult challenges that shaped the way you see or interact with the world? How might these things show up in your craft?
Yes. I grew up speaking three languages. That not only physically changed the neurotransmitters and the way my brain processes information but also gave me a unique ability to connect with people from different cultures and understand how they see that world, which in turn influences how I see the world.
7. Talk about a failure or disappointment—can be related to your career or not—that led to greater success or sent you on a more authentic or whole-hearted path.
I’ve had so many career failures in my life, I’ve lost track of the number count. From an outsiders perspective, it may seem as if I've only had failures, however, I look at all the jobs and experiences and see that they have led me to exactly where I am now. I was meant to be an entrepreneur and that’s why the other opportunities didn’t work out. The biggest failure, in my opinion, was spending my 20s chasing after a career I never really wanted. The biggest gift was realizing that I was actually on the right path the whole time and all those “failures” would lead me to where I am now.
8. What does a good creative day look like for you? What gets you in flow?
I am 100% a total extrovert. I am most in my flow when I can talk to clients, friends, colleagues, or anyone that I'm working with and share ideas verbally. A good creative day looks like a whole lot of communication for me.
9. What has your experience with loneliness and creativity looked like? How do you find creative community?
I am naturally always creating a community around me, I personally have not experienced loneliness.
10. What would be some things on your go-to resource list (ie. books, podcasts, online courses) that you would love to share with others? Any habits or spiritual practices that keep you on track or pull you up when you’re down?
As a holistic health coach, I am always talking to my clients about mindfulness and bringing awareness to our actions. That is the #1 thing I share with anyone and everyone that will listen. Bringing awareness to our actions.
I’m also a HUGE fan of the “Don't Keep Your Day Job” podcast, and I highly recommend the book, “The Upper Limit.”
11. What does success as an artist mean to you?
To me it means laughter, community, and financial freedom.
12. If you could go back in time and speak to yourself at any age, what age would you choose and what would you say?
I would speak to my 18-year-old self and say, I love you. You are so worthy, you are enough. Follow your heart and remember to be creative.
You can find Karine at Lunarmethod.com