Thursday, August 1, 2019

August 2019 Meet Our Artists: Isabelle Armand

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


What inspires you?
Social issues & human experience

What are your goals?
To tell stories which need telling and to create a record of anonymous people, who deserve recognition, and whose tales should be preserved for posterity.
My current project takes place in the poorest county of the Mississippi Delta. "Glendora: Sing About Me" is a multimedia project comprising a book of analog photography and in situ interviews, film and community projects. Its aim is twofold: to explore the connection between poverty and memory, and to record a town’s efforts to reclaim its lost heritage.

What are you proud of?
To give visibility, a face and a voice to people mostly vulnerable to silence and oblivion.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Art is a personal commitment and an inexorable need, it's your work every single day.

How does The Field help you?
More visibility and help to fund the projects I work on.


This selection of images is from my last book, Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project, powerHouse Books. Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer were wrongfully convicted of two separate crimes in rural Mississippi, and spent a combined 33 years in prison. They were exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project. This is their story and that of their families.


Cover photo from "Glendora: Sing About Me" 
Thumbnails from Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project
All photographs ©Isabelle Armand
www.isabellearmandphotography.com

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Monday, July 1, 2019

July 2019 Meet Our Artists: Emily Kikta and Peter Walker

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


What inspires you?
We’re inspired by music and what visuals can be created through different sonic qualities or arrangements. We’re also inspired by the potential created by controlling the perspective of the audience through the camera. Dance for camera gives us complete control over the audiences’ experience in a way that nearly impossible in a large theater. We’re excited about what this can inspire us to create.

What are you proud of?
We’re proud of being able to be the sole creators through every step of our work. On most projects we film, direct, choreograph, edit, produce and even sometimes perform in our own videos. We’re proud that even if it’s only us on board for a project, we can still make it happen.

What are your goals?
We hope to expand what ballet can be through video and how video can impact how audiences experience live performance. We also hope to get more collaborators interested in exploring this other side of ballet creation with us.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Just start making the work. Stop thinking about it and just start figuring out how to make it a reality. Ask all the questions you can of anyone who might be able to answer them.

How does The Field help you?
The Field helps us direct potential donors to a legitimate and reputable site. We find people are more willing to give when they learn we’ve taken the time to set up an established account with The Field.



 Additional Viewing: SPAC Project 2018

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Monday, June 17, 2019

June 2019 Meet Our Artists: Nicky Sunshine

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


What inspires you? I'm inspired by socially and economically challenged communities. My mission in my art and comedy is to uplift others. My current solo work seeks to raise awareness about police harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and the complexities of sex work.

What are you proud of? Despite the low pay and often unfavorable working conditions, I have been a professional stand-up comic since 2005. I have performed at Caroline's, Gotham Comedy Club, The Apollo, and The Laugh Factory. As an artist I suffered from low self-esteem and low wages. I embarked on a 10-year period of sex work. I went to jail, struggled with bouts of binge drinking, and found myself in a toxic, manipulative relationship with a married man. I was able to emerge from this chapter in my life and start writing a one-woman show, "Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam." I want to use my show to encourage others to never give up on their hopes and dreams.

As an actor with a security clearance, I helped train government managers and National Institute of Health employees for 15 years. After working through my childhood traumas and emotional blocks on the FYI Network reality show, A Question of Love, my boyfriend and I will wed in June 2019.

What are your goals? To use stand-up comedy, theater, improv, and writing workshops to educate, reduce harm, and spark conversations about issues affecting my community. Low self-esteem, negative child conditioning, abuse, exploitation, homelessness, lack of resources, and lack of familial ties are contributing factors in why someone would engage in commercial sex. It is dangerous work.

My show/true life story "Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam" addresses these issues. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and it’s never too late for a second chance. Incarcerated individuals, people in recovery, women who have suffered abuse, and the homeless need to hear this positive message: It’s never too late to pursue who you want to be. Never Give Up. My art is a reflection of my life and I won't stop creating despite my setbacks and personal demons.

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists? I wish someone had explained the importance of "attitude." Rejection is inevitable. Rejection shut me down and made me feel bad about myself. It’s a part of the artistic journey. So is criticism. It’s important to have a resilient attitude.

I wish I had understood the power of networking. Entertainment is about relationships. Focus and consistency is important. In my younger years I wasn't focused enough. Professional relationships can mean so much. I wish someone told me that. I isolated myself and should have had a buddy system with a fellow artist. We could've encouraged each other. Instead I operated in darkness choosing fast money over pursuing my art.

I wish someone told me to work on my confidence and self-esteem. I wish someone told me that substances and alcohol would ultimately do more harm than good.

How did you find The Field? I joined Wow Cafe Theater. The community there is very encouraging. We exchange a lot of information. A fellow member told me about The Field.

Note: Since joining The Field, Nicky Sunshine was invited to perform an excerpt of "Confessions of a Massage Parlor Madam" for our Fielday 2019 Work-in-Progress Showcase on June 15. Learn more about this special event.
 
©Nicky Sunshine

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!
 


Thursday, May 23, 2019

May 2019 Meet Our Artists: Autumn Kioti

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


Name: Autumn Kioti
Interdisciplinary Performance Artist + Fielday 2018 Performer

What inspires you?
My artistic practice is a quest for community. Plugging into my surroundings, to others, across disciplines, across gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and species. I seek to repurpose mundane items, or use items sustainably harvested from nature to foster a more immediate connection to the earth and tap into the universal spark that binds us all.

I scavenge bits of everything – from history and lore, science and mathematics, to David Attenborough animal documentaries – in the creation of writing, performance, works on homemade paper and Mylar, and installation. I use everything I can get my hands on in an effort to address societal and environmental issues in general, and trafficking in identity and connectivity in particular.

Playing with the notion of craft, conventionally considered "women's work," my work often incorporates weaving, knitting, embroidery, and food preparation, taking it in unexpected directions. In choosing to create moments that are site specific, re-purposing mundane scavenged objects, using urgent movement, mask, and costume; I seek to create a dialogue about our place, about what immobilizes us, tangles us up, throws us forward, and breaks us down. I like the surprises and the accidents, the failures and successes, the story, the connection.


What are you proud of?
Still being alive today to create work despite battling mental illness, and being able to hopefully offer myself and my work a conduit for others to release their pain and trauma, and maybe together we can lead each other out of isolation.


What are your goals?
My goal is to journey, to seek, to experience, to tell stories, to collect stories, to create a web of connection and release for myself and others through my work wherever I go.

Any advice for fellow artists?
You're not doing it wrong if nobody knows what you're doing.

How does The Field help you?
I was brought here by my incredible experience with the 2018 revival of Fielday. I've never been involved with a more supportive collection of artists.



Workshop photos from artist’s Santa Fe Art Institute themed residency, FOOD JUSTICE.
© Autumn Kioti

Additional Viewing:
See Autumn and our other Fielday 2018 artists in this trailer.

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!
 

Friday, April 5, 2019

April 2019 Meet Our Artists: Jane Jerardi

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!



Name: Jane Jerardi

What do you do?

Dance, Performance, Video, and Installation Artist

What inspires you?
The creative process. And seeing other artists’ work. Seeing artists begin and continue and persevere through the questions of their own work never ceases to amaze me.

What are you proud of?

That we re-started The Field in Chicago. We have 18 people in our current Fieldwork group here! Pretty exciting.

What are your goals?
To keep creating interesting art and to support fellow artists in the process.

Jane Jerardi and Dao Nguyen's Six Acts of Witness (2015) participatory event. Photo by Slaveya Minkova

Any advice for fellow artists?
I find making is a lot about getting out of the way. Convincing the parts of you that want to procrastinate and the part that thinks your ideas aren’t very good – to tell them to just slowly step back. And, you keep going despite them, while they’re there waiting in the background.

Then once you have something – that’s usually kind of terrible – you at least have something which is certainly better than nothing. And then you start to negotiate with it and then get weirdly into it and wonder about it and expand it, change it, or manipulate it and multiply it, or teach it to a friend, and get them to change it into something better. And then, you start having strong opinions about it – that it needs to be a certain way and you’re not really sure why but you’re fairly convinced of it.

And then, the project has somehow become bigger than you and you’re just following its lead. And you’re still not sure if you’re worthy – or your ideas are any good, but you do it anyway for some reason.

And despite it all – you realize that what’s beautiful about this is that you can make something without really much of anything at all. There are dances waiting to be made, photos waiting to be taken with your phone, your dollar-store notebook waiting to be written in, music waiting to inspire. Your art is as worthy as anyone else’s and we certainly need it.

(Excerpted from Jane’s recent essay about studio practice, “on beginnings,” published by The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. Go read the full piece! We love it!)

Jane Jerardi and Dao Nguyen's Six Acts of Witness (2015) interview photo by Slaveya Minkova

How does The Field help you?
The concrete nature of the (Fieldwork) process really aids so many different kinds of artists, no matter what stage their project or work might be at. It never fails to surprise me how often different artists connect to it.

Additional Viewing:
excerpts from Nocturne

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Friday, March 8, 2019

March 2019 Meet Our Artists: Michele Carlo

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!

MICHELE CARLO Writer (Fish out of Agua), Storyteller, Solo Performer, Podcast Host, Filmmaker, Fielday 2018 Artist

Name: Michele Carlo

What do you do? 
Writer, Storyteller, Solo Performer, Podcast Host, Filmmaker

What inspires you?
The hope that through my writing and experiences, someone's life may be made a little easier. And the hope that I will beat the odds and be a fully realized, self-supporting artist—even though most people would think I'm way too old to think it can still happen—so a fellow "shadow artist" who has been living on the periphery their entire life will say, "Pfft, if she could do it, I could do it." And do it better!

What are you proud of?
I'm proud that I achieved my dream of getting into the School of Visual Arts at the age of 20...the age most students choose their final major. That I chose to give my life to art at the age of 35...the age most (arguably sane) people give up. That I had my first book published at the age of 50. That in the years since then, my stories have taken me across the country and have brought much friendship and collaboration in my life.

I'm proud that I never, ever stopped doing some sort of art, even when I was working 50-60 hours a week at a day job. I'm also proud that I'm not taking my recent job layoff with fear, but with the certainty that an opportunity will come my way that I could not accept had I still been working full time.

Michele on the air photo by Ben Taylor

What are your goals?
Overall goals: To be a champion and archivist of my working class Latinx experience from the mid-20th to mid-21st Centuries (should I be as fortunate to live to the mid-21st). To make sure the world has the stories of those of us who have been devalued, dismissed and discarded. To let them know who we are and why we matter. And maybe, in my own small way, help to change the default perception of what it is to be Latinx—and an artist.

Personal goals: Having a run of a solo show at the Public Theater—or any legit off-Broadway house, really, but appearing the Public has always been a special dream of mine. To have my book, "Fish Out Of Agua," be optioned for film and/or television—and made! To be a fully realized self-supporting artist doing interesting, honorable (and well-paid) projects with interesting, honorable people!

One more: I hope that someday this girl from a top-floor tenement walkup in The Bronx will own a bit of comfortable living/studio space where I can hold performer salons, and with a backyard big enough for a small garden and a table for 12. Whoever's there at 7pm, will eat.

Michele as teddy bear photo by David Dyte
Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Don't give up! Never give up! We all have a unique voice to offer and if you don't get your art, whatever it is, out into the world, the world will not have it and that would be a great loss for all.


Additional Viewing:

Friday, February 1, 2019

February 2019 Meet Our Artists: Theresa Ruth Howard

Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!


Name: Theresa Ruth Howard

What do you do? 
I work as a Diversity Strategist and consultant assisting arts organizations better understand, design and implement DEI programs and initiatives. Pacific Northwest Ballet invited me to curate and facilitate a Townhall gathering entitled Beyond Ballet, a conversation investigating aesthetics, diversity, equity, and the efforts to redesign arts institutions. Presently I serve as a member of the Design and Facilitation Team on The Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year partnership program to support the advancement of racial equity in professional ballet companies. The Equity Project brings together a cohort of artistic and executive leaders from 21 large budget, professional ballet organizations for in-person meetings and coaching, with the purpose of increasing the presence of Blacks in ballet in all areas of the industry.

I am also the Founder & Curator of MoBBallet. MoBBallet preserves and presents the contributions of Blacks in ballet globally. MoBBallet’s inaugural project was a partnership with the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) organizing of the first annual audition for Black female ballet dancers at their 2015 conference in Denver. I helped facilitate the dialogue on diversity in ballet with the 15 major ballet organizations in participation.

In addition to MoBB’s online initiative to curate the stories of Black Ballet artists internationally, it presents panels, workshops and gatherings dedicated to building bridges of understanding and education between communities and cultures in dance and beyond. MoBBallet’s "DO YOU KNOW..." social media campaign introduces followers to Black ballet dancers and accomplishments that are not widely known in an effort broaden the awareness of the contribution of Blacks in ballet.

Follow @mobballet on Instagram

What inspires you?
We are inspired by the artists we advocate for. Bringing the legacy of Blacks in ballet out of the shadows and shining light on their virtuosity in the form is thrilling!

What are you proud of?

MoBBallet is proud that in the short time we have been in existence we have made an impact. We have forged relationships with large ballet organizations and have a seat at the table in discussions of diversity and inclusion – and we hope to encourage EQUITY.

What are your goals?
MoBBallet is working to bring forth more stories from the artist's mouths. We are working to have artist's pages for EVERY one of the 327 (so far) dancers on our Roll Call from which we aspire to build a mentoring program. There is work to be done!

Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
We encourage all brown ballet artists to keep making stories for MoBBallet to tell. We are here to support and document your successes and will advocate for you every step of the way.

How does The Field help you?

The Field has been essential to our growth, and has provided guidance and support in our foundational moments. Thank you for your support.

All content © Theresa Ruth Howard / MoBBallet

Additional Viewing:
IABD's First Annual Audition for Women of Color HD

To join The Field community and become eligible for a "Meet Our Artists" feature, sign up for a membership and join our mailing list for program updates!