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!