I am so fortunate to have been chosen as part of Lisa MacIntosh’s photography series ASK which features women she finds inspiring. I had a glorious sparkly morning posing for photos, and the shot chosen was just a casual moment we shared laughing. Brilliant!
In Lisa’s own words…
“Each and every day I see women – mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts without fame or fortune, commit acts of strength and love that impact people’s lives; unseen and with quiet courage.
Every mother is a working-woman, every daughter a caregiver to someone, every sister a friend, and every grandmother a mentor. With small gestures and sometimes Herculean efforts they change, for the better, the lives around them.
Both the women in the limelight and the women whose names I do not know are the ‘keel’ in the ship of humanity.
My portraits salute those female warriors who went before, are working for the cause of equality and love of community now, and the ‘ordinary’ woman who quietly inspires, engages and is a trailblazer.
And to those they may call ‘ordinary’ as they have neither accolades, medals, or recognition, I say you are: extraordinary!
This is my journey through Asking.”
You can see Lisa’s ASK gallery of inspiring women here!
Let’s Make Good Productions presents !WONDER WOMEN
As always, we are spreading EMPOWERMENT through a night of music and visual art!
$10 cover / $8 artists
Hosted by me! Kat Leonard
Featuring live music by: Roveena, Arlene Music, and Emily Rockarts
Visual art and live painting by: Carla Casanova
Friday February 9, 2018
The Painted Lady
218 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Meet Viktoria Dunker:
Artist, designer, sprite of the universe.
I met the bewitching Viktoria Dunker over a double-espresso latte with a squirt of hot chocolate, and I got more energy from her in our short exchange than I did after slurping my drink down with a slab of rainbow cupcake. My world has been more vibrant and vibrational ever since. She is an enchanting force that absorbs experience, churns it with an elixir of magic and inspiration, and explodes with the kind of genius creativity that spins the world like a galvanized disco ball.
What is your career? My favourite definition of “Career,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary is from the 1530s, which refers to “a running (usually at full speed), a course” (especially of the sun, etc., across the sky). I feel that this is an apt analogy to what I consider my career to be. Not so much a predefined entity, but rather a momentum- a trajectory in a general direction toward the unknown.
Is it the same as your passion? Yes
What is your passion? Living a life based on discovery and flowing reflection rather than one of attachment and sentiment.
What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? Remaining consistent enough to keep “it” together; remaining diverse enough to create inspiration and opportunity. I tend to meet a lot of people, and it can become both very exciting and overwhelming. It’s a challenge, bringing my presence, truth and highest mind (sometimes they are in conflict with one another!) to respectfully meet those along the way with the attention they deserve. It is a challenge that some of them have not been getting what they have needed and they try to latch on their attachments at the first sign of reciprocity. It’s a challenge that on the other end of the spectrum, can exist a cold, disengaged sense of entitlement that will never acknowledge what you are bringing to the game of life. The reward to navigating this is discovering trends on the human condition while catching glimpses of people’s depths and exchanging momentary intimacy that sheds light on the best places that we can go as we edge into an uncertain future in these vastly changing times.
What is your advice to others embarking on similar career? Meditate. Become personally aware. Go to the core of things rather than fixating on details. Stay alert and develop an instinct for taking the proper action at the proper time rather than following a however-many-step plan. At the same time, make lists of the practical actions you must take to fulfill certain aspects of your visions and keep as organized as possible. You wil find the balances in the fluxes.
Respect that there are also going to be times when your life is a complete mess. It’s alright to hit the bottom, but always get back up the minute you feel yourself hit the floor. Your best creative work is likely to follow if you catch the wave straight away.
Take nothing personally. Take everything personally.
Stay open to the signs the universe and your unconscious are offering you. They are in constant communication through the conduit that is you.
Keep discovering greater levels of personal truth with which to bond your integrity. It’s not always easy, but you will find ever-greater levels of happiness and fulfillment as you continue to do so.
Be open to life’s experiences as they come and go, but be very picky about who you spend your time with and discerning about what you do. You absorb a bit of everything you encounter and more of what you engage.
What does it mean to be an artist? It means tapping into the ceaseless flow of rhythm within and around you and bringing forth that which resonates most deeply with and from your core. You’re not just making pretty things. You’re opening your senses wide while seeking magic so that you may give others the opening to do the same.
5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Not exactly.
Why, why not? I really had no expectation for the future, and continue to remain fairly present. I just wanted the journey and me to take each other. It’s been a ride.
Where will you be in 5 years? Have you ever seen the film Lucy? I’d love to achieve ubiquity through all the dimensions. But if I must settle for a flesh and bone existence, I’d be happy with just being able to saunter through life, openly loving and experiencing genuine compassion and recognition with everyone I meet. We’re lucky to live in a time and a place where we don’t have to struggle for our survival. I can’t think of a better way to spend day to day life than feeding people, body and spirit . I would love to be in a position to manage my personal resources to help people learn to manage their own in order to sustain their living and thrive on their dreams.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self? …Be kind, for you never know how a small act will impact a whole life. In turn, follow your intuition and explore: you never know when turning left instead of right will change your destiny.
Sometimes nobody in your immediate circle will like you. It’s a very big world, so don’t squander your power and talent with doubt and insecurity.
Knowledge sheds light on the darkness of fear. And if your knowledge scares you, you have much to learn. Discover ideas in words. History in personality. People in actions. Learn what hunger and nourishment truly mean.
What would you say to your 80-year-old self? Tell stories of the past so that the present generation inhereting the gift of the world in which to define and divine for their own may make clearer sense and sensibility of it. Unless you’ve given in and decided to become a cyborg- in which case, put your mind online and develop the ability to package your stories into metadata and learn to reduce their complexity into universally understood allegory (with charts and matrices!), you might be on your way out. But continue to be mindful of the fact that others are just coming in and need guidance. For the love of good, please don’t shut up and shut down.
Never stop uncovering fresh, inherent truth in nature and experience.
And yes, it hurts, but it’s only going to hurt more if you don’t put coconut oil on it and dance!
How lucky are you and why? I’m lucky that social and material success never came before succeding at developing a strong platform of principles and ethics, and a relationship with karma. Mind you, these things are perpetually in the working, but I think it’s extremely important to mature with them and allow them to guide and prioritize how you wish to spend your energy in this limited mortal plane before simply chasing a means to an end.
I am extremely lucky to be the person I am, imbued with the unique understandings that I have in life- as we all are! Somehow, I’ve managed to pull through some incredibly trying times without becoming a total jerk. And even at times when I act like one, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to continue evolving from a life of being surrounded by intolerant people, to ones who are alright with me periodically making really weak and ignorant mistakes, knowing that somewhere down there, growth is happening and awareness is cultivating. I’m lucky to be surrounded by others who are also making conscious attempts to grow and better the world with themselves. I’m also really fortunate to realize that my path becomes part of the path of everyone I touch. As long as I keep my heart and mind in the right place, in open communication with one another, my growth becomes somehow part of yours. Vice versa. So thank you.
I’m lucky to have made plenty of mistakes to keep learning from.
What would people be surprised to know about you? I’m actually extremely shy…
What makes you laugh? Elusive moments with butterflies, absurd coincidence, ironies that seem too good to be true and the voices inside my head. A LOT of things make me laugh, and it often comes out in really bizarre contexts and lasts way too long. Usually while I’m alone in public places…
What is fun for you? Lalligaging in nature like nothing matters. The barely sensical, synesthesia freestyle sputterring in my mind like quantuum torrets, existential banter, dorks, nerds, geeks, finding that thing that makes a super serious person crack a glimmer of a smile. Yoga in trees. Drunk parkouring. Adding random people on social media, never talking with them, then years down the line having absolutely life-altering experiences with them. Watching people evolve. I’m down for lots.
What makes you question humanity? Any time a person acts divisively- out of fear- instead of summoning the courage, strength and foresight to proceed through life with acts of love. Other acts of oppression. Watching science performed artlessly and art sciencelessly. Compartmentalized thinking, victimizing, and sabotaging attitudes displayed cyclically.
What is your favourite quote? It’s so hard to choose, because not only is humanity in constant communication with each other, but the Universe is in constant communication with each of its constituents- including us. It’s hard to pick favourites when life is but a stream.
Twist my rubber arm, here are a couple from a book called “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm:
“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one “object” of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet, most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty.”
“If I perceive in another person mainly the surface, I perceive mainly the differences, that which separates us. If I penetrate to the core, i perceive our identity, the fact of our brotherhood. This relatedness from center to center – instead of that from periphery to periphery – is ‘central relatedness’.”
Is there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to?Yes! www.fatedesigns.net … this entity is pretty much inseperable from me at the moment.
Please provide something originating from someone else that you find particularly inspiring. Check these books out!
“Art of Loving” – Erich Fromm “Man and His Symbols” – Carl Jung “Seven Mysteries of Life” – Guy Murchie “War of Art” – Steven Pressfield “Secret Teachings of All Ages” – Manly P. Hall
Also, have a gander at these Manly P. Hall lectures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isPvvtsBYUA&list=PL2BDEFDA5573BE6F7
Thank you for your time and attention.
To Viktoria I would give all the time and attention I have to give. I find her endlessly fascinating and spiriting.
Please take the time to check out Viktoria’s links. The Manly P. Hall lectures indicated above explore the therapeutic value of the great art. It is worth a listen. “Art is something that the artist must do.” I feel that. I am also making it a mission to read every book on her list.:)
Please explore www.fatedesigns.net wherein you will find a visual splendour originating from Viktoria’s genius. I’m gonna get me some leggings stat and put some coconut oil on it and dance ! 🙂
May you all have a glorious day of exploration and brilliance. Enjoy the world with all the vigour you can muster. Be a creature of purpose.
Lots of love, everybuddy! 🙂
Meet M.K. Wood:
Author, dreamer, light of the world!
M.K. Wood is an author! It’s official! On this auspicious occasion of her first (but not last) book being published, I hounded her with questions about life and art and she answered! Behold! 🙂
What is your career? My dream career…writing, but I do love my job as a Manager in hospitality. I meet the most incredible people, and from all over the world. (One of the hotels is an older resort, I love it, the people, and the ocean view…there is nothing like it! Quality Resort Bayside Parksville, BC).
What is your passion? To me… passion comes from within, and it can arise from different experiences…it is felt more than anything. Really, it is simple for me! I am passionate for the little things in life; things that make me smile or double over laughing or cry or feel love… you get where I am going. Passion is a beautiful word and it means so many different things to me.
What are some of your challenges and rewards? I think age and wisdom (or lack of) has a lot to do with some of my own challenges. I used to repeat some horrible patterns. Each stage of my life is different and I am constantly learning to grow. It is learning to let go and breathe. The greatest rewards are the lessons I have learnt along the way. The incredible people I have also learnt from. I have met a lot of beautiful souls and for that I am extremely rewarded.
What is your advice to others? If you believe in something badly enough, do it, and believe in yourself. If it is something you cherish, listen to that. And do some research! I was trembling when I brought my manuscript in! But I did it.
How does it feel to be an artist? An artist…I don’t know if I ever thought of myself in that way. Thanks! How I feel? I am really happy and grateful. And, a little nervous!
5 years ago did you expect to be where you are today? 5 years ago? I don’t remember what I had for dinner last night!
Where do you expect to be in 5 years? 5 years from now…well right now I am writing down by the ocean and freezing my buns off, (amongst other parts)! So I am kind of thinking… a trip to the Big Island would be nice right now! 5 years from now…at peace with myself and really happy! With several sequels of Piper’s Pond published and they are made into movies…what? I can’t dream? It is five years from now!
What would you say to your 8-year-old self? “Believe in yourself, seriously… listen to that inner voice you hear, and it is okay to accept help sometimes…” I continue to say, to my eight years old self.
What would you say to your 80-year-old self? I see my 80 years old self; rocking on the front porch, “Holy crap! We are still alive!”
How lucky are you and why? As sappy as this may sound; I am lucky and grateful, to have a roof over my head, clothes, food, a beautiful family, and loving friends.
What would people be surprised to know about you? I am afraid of whales and clowns…long stories.
What makes you laugh? People with a great senses of humor, the movie Holy Grail, my kids, and I laugh at myself a lot…I find humor in life’s simplest idiosyncrasies.
What is fun for you? I try to see and find the fun in everything…I try.
What makes you question humanity? Unfortunately I am one of those “thinned skinned” people. I can usually sense evil and negativity. I call it toxins or toxic! There is way too much evil in this world right now. But light is stronger, so I try to stay focused on the good. (Too strange of an answer?)
What is your favourite quote? I am going with my Grade 12 high school yearbook: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller There are some incredible quotes out there and I could go on forever!
What is something you are proud to be involved in? Look for the Sequel to Piper’s Pond: Piper’s Pond The Unwritten Fairytale. I love volunteering for the Gleaners Organization, but sadly I missed going this year. I usually try to go twice a year into Oliver, B.C., The people there are incredible and have their own amazing stories to tell. The Gleaners can be found throughout the world and with volunteers of all ages working to help feed the hungry. The volunteers I have worked with over the years at the Gleaners are my extended family. My parents, my children, and I have volunteered in Oliver for years! www.okanagangleaners.com
I have a huge amount of respect for a woman named Judy Bergen. I had volunteered to go to Guatemala, and I had only briefly met Judy and her husband, Phillip, who run a project called Love Guatemala. I had no idea what I was getting myself into…it was a leap of faith. I wrote an article for the Oliver Chronicle about it (www.oliverchronicle.com/gleaners-to-guatemala-the-long-road-travelled). Phillip is now Judy’s guardian angel from above; it was an honor to have met and worked with them. Judy is an inspiring woman, loving, strong faith, and an extremely hard worker.
I could go way back and list a lot of really inspiring people that I have met throughout my life! Starting with my grandmother and parents!
Heather Babcock is “writing to exhale,” and her new chapbook Of Being Underground and Moving Backwards has been published by DevilHousePress. You should really check it out!
I asked Heather some questions on writing and she answered. Watch her lips move and her eyes sparkle here! Heather Babcock: On Writing!
For more on Heather Babcock please visit her website www.HeatherRoseBabcock.tumblr.com!
Carry on, everybuddy! Have a glorious day!
Love Kat! 🙂
Let’s Make Good Productions presents WONDERFEST!
To celebrate International Women’s Day we’re rounding up Wonder Women and Super Men to celebrate by spreading empowerment through art!
This WONDERFEST will showcase many artists such as singer-songwriters, spoken word/poets, story tellers, comedians, visual artists and motivational speakers!
3030 Dundas West
Doors open at 7pm
Show starts at 8pm
$10 at the door
We hope you can come out and be inspired to create by seeing all the incredible artists showcased at WonderFest!
Details on artists to come! WonderWomenWorld.tumblr.com
Meet Cate McKim: Writer, blogger, singer, hugger!
Ah, Cate… the wind beneath wings, the comedienne who sings, the positive encouragement this arts blogger brings! Cate is a tireless supporter of the Toronto arts scene and a generous and detailed recounter. Getting Life With More Cowbell blogger Cate McKim out to see your play, standup set, CD release, reading, book launch or art viewing is a real fricking treat! You can feel the support in the twinkle of her eye and the echo of her laughter and applause. Having Cate in the room makes everything better! It’s true. I have felt it. Cate is an incredibly positive force and everyone should be so lucky to know her and be loved by her. Typically on the other end of the interview, Cate graciously agreed to have the tables turned for this round. I’m hoping to get her dancing on the table next time. 🙂
A writer/copy editor who works at a social/market research firm by day and blogs about local, indie arts/culture artists/events by night. Writing and arts/culture are passions, for sure. I also love singing, which I also do after hours.
What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career?
Time and energy are the greatest challenges – going from a f/t office job to cover a show can make for a very long day, and then I’m often posting blogs during my breaks at work. On the upside, my office job gives me the security of a salary, benefits and vacation time – allowing me to be my own boss and make my own schedule for seeing and posting about shows, and booking performance gigs (which are mostly non-paying).
What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?
Make sure you book some time for yourself. And by this, I mean serious downtime, time with friends, time for solitude – whatever you need to refill and rejuvenate. And read. Lots.
5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?
How are the bionic knees working out?
I was almost born at a drive-in. Also, my two front teeth are fake.
People’s foibles (including my own), sharp-witted observation.
Mistreatment and cruelty – especially the awful way you see people treat other people and living things sometimes.
I use part of this quote in my email sig line:
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me. – the main character Elwood P. Dowd, from the play Harvey by Mary Chase; the movie version starred James StewartIs there anything else you’re involved in that you’d like to plug or point our attention to?
Please come visit my blog: https://lifewithmorecowbell.wordpress.com/
Meet Kat Harlton:
artist, dream catcher, genius,
positive force in the world at large.
Photo credit: Patrick Hodgson Photography
Once you meet Kat Harlton, you want her to be part of your world forever because she makes everything better. She is wise and witty, silly and steadfast, innovative and brave, supportive and nurturing; just what is needed to create a formidable empire, which is what she is forming. From the source, The mission of The Harlton Empire is to promote creative works by independent artists in the arts/entertainment industry.
And now an excerpt from this very interview that exemplifies to me the solid embrace that is knowing Kat Harlton. You’ll read it again down below so don’t get confused and think you’re deja tripping. I just think it bears repeating and I’m the boss of this blog, so enjoy. “My greatest sense of accomplishment always comes from being able to stand back and watch as others accomplish their goals and dreams because I supported them. I know how important that support is, so when I see how hard they’re working, and how much it means to them, it makes me want to work harder myself. It makes me proud and I don’t take for granted that they’ve allowed me to be part of their journey.” Right? I know now you just want to hear from Kat herself, so I’ll just shut up and let her answer…
What is your career?
My career is a mixture of all of my favourite things.
Monday to Friday I work at SoCast SRM doing Client Support. SoCast is the leading digital marketing platform for radio and we work with many large clients including Corus Entertainment.
All the rest of my free time goes to The Harlton Empire, Lithium Magazine and Rebel Rebel Music Magazine (UK) all of which I use as platforms to promote music, film and art. I write reviews of albums and shows, cover live events and exhibitions, host events, do interviews with numerous kinds of artists and in general try to encourage and promote a positive, healthy, and vibrant community spirit within the arts scene.
What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? What is your advice to others embarking on similar career?
Like all careers, when starting out my biggest challenges were knowledge and experience. Both of which came with time and trial and error. I strive to do my best always, and if there’s something I don’t know, I’ll take it upon myself to figure it out. I was taught from a young age to never be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help, it’s the only way to learn.
The greatest rewards of my career have been by far the relationships I’ve made. Most of what I’ve done and continue to do wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of numerous people. People who took a chance on me, and believed in me when I said I wanted to do all these things I’d never done before and knew nothing about.
My greatest sense of accomplishment always comes from being able to stand back and watch as others accomplish their goals and dreams because I supported them. I know how important that support is, so when I see how hard they’re working, and how much it means to them, it makes me want to work harder myself. It makes me proud and I don’t take for granted that they’ve allowed me to be part of their journey.
5 years ago, did you expect to be where you are today? Why, why not?
Well, 5 years ago is about when I created The Harlton Empire, and my only goals were to help as many independent artists as possible however I could and to give back to the community when I was able. For the most part this continues to be my goal, I’m not after a specific title or occupation, I like to just consider myself a goodwill ambassador of sorts.
That said, I’ve been given a lot of opportunities that I never expected to have, from interviewing celebrities to booking sold out shows and to going on tours. I wouldn’t have anticipated any of that 5 years ago.
Where will you be in 5 years?
To be honest I have no idea, and that thought makes me happy. So far, I plan on continuing what I’ve been doing, I really enjoy exploring new options and connecting with new people and you never know where that can lead you. I’ve done a lot in the past 5 years, so If I manage to do even half of that again in the next 5 I’ll be having one hell of a life. Haha.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self?
Keep on, keep’n on. Don’t change a thing. It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it. P.S: Your future 30 year old self is one happy woman.
What would you say to your 80-year-old self?
Jesus Christ! You’re still alive?!… haha kidding.
I guess this would depend a lot on what I do between now and being 80, but for the most part, I work hard to live without regrets, so it’d probably be somewhere along the lines of “You did good kid”.
How lucky are you and why?
I get conflicted every time I’m asked this question. In one sense I consider myself to be a very lucky woman. I’m blessed with a life that many others will never experience, and I don’t take any of it for granted, which I think has come from a combination of hard work and taking opportunities when they’ve been presented. On the other hand, I don’t believe in coincidence. There have been a few occasions in my life when I’m certain the universe has given me a hand. I believe some things are meant to happen, and that certain people are meant to come into our lives, whether it’s pre-destined or designed by ourselves.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Hmmm, I guess it depends on who you ask. In general I consider myself a pretty open book. I actively work on being vulnerable and pushing my personal boundaries as I’ve found that reaps the biggest rewards.
Some people might be surprised to know I grew up in rural Southern Ontario, in between two small towns, surrounded by fields of crops and cattle for about the first 18 years of my life. My first job was working as a hired hand on my neighbours dairy farm. Probably not the first thing you’d expect when meeting me. Ha.
What makes you laugh? What is fun for you?
What makes me laugh? My boyfriend, Brandon. He’s always sending me funny memes from shows we watch, or jokes he makes up, or links to ridiculous stuff he found on the internet. He’s not afraid to be goofy or silly which is awesome.
As for what I can consider fun? Meeting new people, going to shows, collaborating, coming up with new ideas, experiencing new things, travelling. I’m an explorer at heart, and I’m always searching for something unique-something that fosters connection. That said, I’m also quite content to just chill in a park all day, or explore the city. I’m easy to please.
What is your favourite quote?
‘Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam’ it’s a Latin phrase, which roughly translates to ‘I will either find a way or make one’. I consider this my personal mantra, so much so that I have it tattooed on my body. It’s how I govern my life, if I can’t find a way to do something, or I can’t do what I want through existing channels, then I’ll make my own way.
What inspires you?
It’s constantly changing. Though I frequently find myself drawn to the work of Patti Smith. There’s something about how raw and real she is in everything she does that inspires me to continue to search and create. I’ve read her autobiography ‘Just Kids’ numerous times and it’s something I find myself returning to over and over again.
For more and more, please enter the empire and connect with Kat in any forum below!
If you haven’t already, I hope you are lucky enough to meet her in person one day too! 🙂
As always, have a groovy day, everybuddy!
Meet KAT LEONARD of Wonder Women LA!
( Hey, that’s me! 🙂 )
Kat Leonard in third person is a dare duel between Madonna and k.d. lang, madcap and profound. Kat is a feisty performance pop dynamo whose music oscillates unpredictably between heartfelt and hilarious, leaving you with the drunken joy of a sugar rush. Kat & The Mp3’s debut CD, A Depper Kind Of Love, was released June 9, 2011 (Johnny Depp’s birthday!) in conjunction with the one-hour live multimedia live show inspired by loving and losing Johnny Depp. Kat is Artistic Director of Let’s Make Good Productions and WonderFest, the festival of workshops and concerts spreading empowerment through art. At the first ever Wonder Women LA on Sept 7, 2014, Kat performs a few ditties and co-hosts along with the lovely April Snow.
An interview with myself:
What is empowerment to you? Realizing that empowerment is actually a commodity available to us at all times and we just need to take a good hold. “Poor is the man whose pleasure depends on the permission of another.” -Madonna
What does being an artist mean to you? Being an artist means it’s difficult to settle for the average. It is being constantly exposed to and fed by an open, abundant and sometimes chaotic channel with an insight that allows one to see and feel things before they are pointed out by someone else, with a force that is electric and compoundable. It is a physical need to analyze and express. It is a gift that keeps giving that you cannot keep in its box. It feels like a physical responsibility to share it, like a helpful beast roaring out of ones soul to explode, to share, to sooth and engage others in a similar power.
What is your career? What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? Advice to others embarking on similar career? I have made a career out of doing my art on the side and holding down a job to pay the bills. The greatest challenges of this are the time away from my art and the nagging question to myself, “What if I did my art full time all these years? Would I have made it bigger than my pants by now?” The rewards of this are that I don’t feel desperate to make my art to pay the bills and I can say no to projects that don’t serve the art. It also allows me to live daily in a moderate world meeting characters and experiencing life to later analyze and electrify in a song or standup bit. Advice to others: Just like investing money, when you invest in your career, decide for yourself how much risk you can bear and how much security you require to feel fulfilled on an average daily basis. Feeling stifled is just as painful as feeling vulnerable and we need to balance these in a way we can live with. Taking risks and getting out of our comfort zones is absolutely crucial but needs to be balanced with a sense of calm so that our energy can be focussed on higher endeavours than mere survival.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self? Eat whatever you like but stop when you’re no longer hungry.
What would you say to your 80-year-old self? Pass the chips! We don’t have much time!
What would people be surprised to know about you? I have a degree in Science, Biology. I am sometimes prone to panic attacks in crowds and noise.
What is your favourite quote? “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I have always been drawn to the balance between light and dark and also to the pensive and tired. This is a picture of me that I feel exudes both.
I’ve been noticing of late that my bottom lip is quite asymmetrical.
This is one of my favourite videos of me– it will be a long time before I do another one like this because I almost barfed after shooting it. For real!
DANCEFLASH: My version of Flashdance 🙂
You can discover more of my musings, music and dancing all over this blog, actually! Go ahead, click about! 🙂
Come to Wonder Women LA on September 7th at Arcadia Blues Club!
We promise you a good time! You can pick up CDs there too!
You can find out more about the show and the rest of the Wonder Women LA lineup here!
Chelsea Bayouth is an artist and poet residing in Los Angeles. After graduating CalArts in 2008 she broke into the physical effects industry where she worked creating specialty costumes and puppets for various feature films and stage plays such as, Spiderman, Man of Steel and Wicked. She currently is the host of the Los Angeles ‘Foxhole’ event where she showcases local songwriting and poetic talent against a seasonally themed installation. She is also the co-founder of Reign of Diamonds Press which publishes poetry and art books and is employed at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios where she creates puppets for the Cartoon Network show Robot Chicken. As of February 2014 she released her debut book of poetry, Beaus & Eros which is available for purchase on Amazon or her website http://www.ChelseaBayouth.com.
What does empowerment mean to you? Empowerment to me means the freedom to act without fear or hesitation. No matter who you are or what your circumstances, when we are free in our mind and body, we are empowered,
What does being an artist mean to you? Being an artist means allowing myself to act as a vessel for creative thought. My ‘art’ takes many forms. I sculpt, paint, write, cook, sew…anything I become curious about I learn. And when I am in the art making mindset I feel very much like I am channeling something from somewhere far away. Sometimes the morning after I make a mask or a painting I look at it and am struck. Did I make that? Its like being in a trance. Its meditative. I relate a lot to the idea of Daemons.
What is your career? My career….is a horse of a different color. Currently I make my living as a Character Fabricator on the Cartoon Network show Robot Chicken. But I also sell my art and am a writer! I guess you could sum it all up and say that I am an artist. That seems to be the point of it all at the end of the day.
What are the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of your career? The greatest challenges, if we are talking about my day job, are probably the hours. While I love my job, it is difficult sometimes to balance the demanding hours of a fast-paced entertainment job and the ideas of my own that I want to give attention to. The greatest reward is that I get to do what I absolutely love! While most things I create with the studio are not of my own, it is a far cry from administrative assisting. Which I was miserable at.
Advice to others embarking on similar career? Am I giving advice to the Artist or Character Fabricator? For Artists it would be, be true to yourself. Don’t forget to take alone time. Write in a journal. Know who you are. Open the channel in your mind and let it flow. For Fabricators, or anyone trying to thrive in entertainment it would be, be someone people want to hire. Your skills are only half the equation. Always be the student no matter how much you know. There is nothing to be learned when you’re at the top of the mountain where nothing grows.
What would you say to your 8-year-old self? That’s a hard one. I still feel 8. I would say don’t be afraid I guess. That and “Start saving money now!” Oh wait. I know what I would say. I would say If you want something you have to work to get there. Most Millennials were raised in the time of fairytales and Jewel. Up until recently I was just waiting around for my dreams to come true. Then a little lightning bolt landed on me and I got working. Now the doors are opening to me. The sooner you learn to work towards your goals the sooner they will manifest!
What would you say to your 80-year-old self? Good job and I love you.
What would people be surprised to know about you? Hmmm. How intimate do I want to get here? People always seem surprised when I tell them I was a car model. When I was 19 I got paid to wear a rubber dress and sit on car hoods and walk around in heels at race tracks. It was another life. And it paid for art supplies.
What is your favourite quote? Now THAT is a hard one. There are so many I could pick. I am entirely in love with words. I have been thinking about this ever since this interview was sent to me. But I keep coming back to Conor Oberst’s quote from the song Bowl of Oranges,”If the world could remain within a frame like a painting on the wall, then I think we’d see the beauty and we would stand staring in awe, at our still lives posed, like a bowl of oranges, like a story told, by the fault lines in the soil.” I just love it. To me it is the exact reason people love art and music and movies. For some reason we can always see the beauty in other peoples lives. But ours are just as beautiful, no matter where you are in your story.
<– I love this picture. I was a sarcastic, precocious kid and It sums up the essence of who I am pretty well. I never want to take myself too seriously. And in most situations I usually want to be wearing a hunting hat with a boar oar and some airy shorts.
And a link to a piece of art I absolutely love. –>
Olivier de Sagazan 2008
Chelsea’s Smoke Women, published, Literary Orphans:
How many times did I wish for a suede cheeked Nana?
A grandmother with a house in a landlocked state
where I would summer unruly and come of age gracefully,
shaped by her wisety and love of the land?
Who’s ears would hear the secrets that my parents ears would not.
Who would tell me about brassieres
and men and peeling apples.
Who would understand my rages.
I didn’t have an apple Nana.
They were both women born of an era of smoke.
Smoke that stuck to the grain in the wood.
And in the sky of the burning valleys.
Smoke settled and green at the foot of the hills in the time before hybrids.
Smoke that came only on birthdays
and lingered briefly when the candles were out.
I always heard about the broken things.
Broken front teeth of a cheating grandfather.
The broken farm of a death too soon.
Broken china in the sea of a kitchen.
Broken hips and tubes.
They were skinny and hard.
White old women of an aging white Hollywood.
Painters and writers. Always donning sunglasses,
always ice in their rum. Always lipstick. Always jewelry.
Liz Taylor and Vivienne Leigh.
Never knowing what to say to me or why.
I wanted needlepoint. And cookies.
A soft belly and a heaving bosom.
I yearned to be bossed in way I would listen.
Wanted stories of the war and how they fell in love.
To know about the time of non-essentials.
And where their parents came from.
My curiosity made me uncharacteristically shy.
Who cares about the ficus in the living room the shape of a girl?
Which is why I needlessly adjusted my training bra
by her hospital bedside one broken hip ago.
And she noticed before she died that I would be a woman soon, like her.
Which made me rage inside with pride.
I was a timeline on fire of her past and my future,
all from a comment, raised eyebrows and a tip of her head.
But before I could get there, before I could show them, they died.
Their habits eclipsing their life.
I was left dumb, a grandmotherless girl with no history,
who knew nothing of casseroles or welping boxes.
I carried on.
Feeling bitter towards Werthers commercials.
Frequently I wonder if like in the Simpsons,
their heads are lined up on puffs of clouds and looking down.
To see me cleaning paintbrushes. To see me typing this.
To see me wear lipstick and gold and turn down cigarettes.
And to watch me secretly break porcelain when I’m angry.
If there is a booze soaked cork dance floor in death, they are there.
But also, they are here. Not in the stories I heard from them
or the summer picked peaches of wisdom, but in me.
This artist. This woman.
Ambivalence. This furious body.
Growing exhaustion of expectation.
A timeline smoking
I know this was just a tease, so for more Chealsea Bayouth, go here!!!! www.chelseabayouth.com
And see her live at Wonder Women LA on September 7th at Arcadia Blues Club!
You can find out more about the show and the rest of the Wonder Women LA lineup here!