147: Mothering and Art Making During Our Climate Crisis with Heather Bird Harris

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
147: Mothering and Art Making During Our Climate Crisis with Heather Bird Harris

Can our interconnectedness inspire us towards unity in a time of climate and cultural crisis? Heather Bird Harris is an artist dedicating her life and work towards this effort. Inspired by nature and interested in the human effect on it, Heather has been creating work that responds to and captures the land. From polluted water collected on the banks of the Mississippi River to foraged marigolds, to clay dug up from her own from yard, Heather uses site specific materials to explore behavior, change, reaction and flow.

In this episode we share a powerful and intense conversation about our collective history and how it is connected to our current environmental crisis. From the impact of colonialism on the city of New Orleans and its land to the damage we see in our own backyards, evidence is everywhere of the great things we are losing due to corporate greed and continued climate change. But somehow amidst these heavy topics, I walked away from my conversation with Heather feeling inspired and uplifted. Heather believes that beauty is what will draw us in and invite us towards healing, not fear. Her work is her testament to this belief and it is evident upon first glance.

Heather spent most of her adult life in the great city of New Orleans. It is where she had her babies and started her family, where her career in education and social activism was born. She spent many years as a teacher, principle, and anti-racism educator before her experience of motherhood brought her back to her first love… art.

Listen to this incredibly powerful episode to hear more about Heather’s work and her journey as an educator, artist, and activist. You will be inspired by Heather’s call for intention and care and reminded of your place in this interconnected web of community we are building as you listen.

Final Five:
Biggest Art Crush: Anne Hamilton, Helen Frankelthaler, Georgia O’Keeffe, Rick Lowe, Renee Royale 

Dream Trip: Japan 

Inspiring Film or Book: Braiding Sweetgrass 

Favorite Meal: Sushi

Shoutout: Josh her husband

To see more of Heather’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @heatherbirdharris

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Land Memory Project, Science Gallery Atlanta & Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia | 2023
Water Memory, Clay found in New Orleans and from Bonfouca/St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, tree bark ink, mushroom ink, synthetic ink and water, 48h x 48w inches

Shoreline II, Clay found from Bonfouca/St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, synthetic color and water, 60h x 40w inches

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146: Integrating Simplicity and Ease into Your Practice with Leeah Joo

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
146: Integrating Simplicity and Ease into Your Practice with Leeah Joo

In today’s episode, I talk with Leeah Joo, a Korean-American oil painter based in Connecticut. Born in Seoul to a sculptor father and an illustrator mother, Leeah moved to Indiana when she was 10. Our discussion ranges from how Leaah navigated the move to the U.S. as a child to how she has told the story of her heritage through her paintings. She studied painting and art history at Indiana University Bloomington and received an MFA in painting from Yale. She currently lives in Connecticut teaching at Southern CT State University and Paier College.

I was fascinated to hear Leeah talk about adjusting to attending elementary school in the U.S. prior to learning English. She describes how her younger self used her drawing skills to bond and communicate with her peers without needing to use words. I can see how her skills with visual communication served her well as a child and as a professional artist!

Leeah also shares that she was encouraged by her instructors in art school to pursue her own identity in her work. She explains that she really embraced this idea when she became a mother and wanted to share Korean folklore with her children. Leeah shares how her mother-in-law’s love of curtains opened her eyes to how fabric can express identity, and she has consistently used realistic renderings of fabric across her various series.Since Leah’s trompe l’oeil paintings consistently include fabric, we spend a moment bonding over the struggle to organize a studio overflowing with textiles. 

Leeah’s work has evolved over time, from more overt storytelling toward more distilled representation of ideas. She tells me how Covid lockdown and the resulting closure of her previous gallery actually freed her to explore new themes in her work. As a grounded and established artist, Leeah is focusing on wellbeing and working towards being the best she can be technically as a painter. We discussed the freedom she has to embrace the ebb and flow of her practice, moving from identity-focused narrative to her more recent more formally focused work with confidence. 

Final Five: 

Biggest Art Crush: Yamoo – shows at gagosian

Dream Trip: Crete and the Hermitage collection in Russia

Film or book: Anne Hollander Fabric of Vision

Favorite meal: Instant Ramen with her own fixings

Shoutout: Roger Shimomora 

To see more of Leeah’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @leeahjoo

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Pojagi Baroque (2017) 48×48” oil on canvas.
 Nine Dragons Asleep (2012) 40×42” oil on panel
Arcadia Contemporary, NYC 2022
Parrhasius No. 34, Helios (2023) 24×18” oil on panel
Everything She Ever Wanted (2007) 40” diameter, oil on canvas
kids/exhibition, Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago, IL 2014
Me and kids/exhibition, Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago, IL 2007 (daughter almost 10mos)
Me and kids/exhibition, Andrew Bae Gallery, Chicago, IL 2017
Accidentally on Purpose (2002) 30×30” oil on panel
Installation, Parkland College, Champaign, IL 2019
Parrhasius No. 19, Venetian (2021) 12×16” oil on panel

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145: Chronic Illness, Caregiving and Intentional Leaps Forward with Jean Gray Mohs

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
145: Chronic Illness, Caregiving and Intentional Leaps Forward with Jean Gray Mohs

In today’s episode I speak with a friend who has been along the ride with me since the beginning of my artist community building journey. Born and raised in North Carolina, Jean Gray Mohs is an incredible artist and member of her community with an inspiring story. Jean Gray has a BFA in Painting and Masters of Arts in Teaching both from Georgia Southern University. She has exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Greenhill Gallery, and Meredith College.

We discuss how Jean Gray’s work transformed from traditional painting to wall-mounted wooden forms after facing years of chronic illness and ultimately a double lung transplant. She has always been an artist, from amazing creative output as a young child to boarding school in an arts-focused high school. We talk about how she shifted her work toward watercolor to fit nicely in with early motherhood to twins and how after she received her transplant she felt a tremendous freedom after having faced her own mortality and coming out the other side.

I love Jean Gray’s work and how even though it’s 2D it feels so sculptural! The pieces are collaged wooden shapes forming striking compositions. She shares how much her newfound wellbeing post-transplant led to feeling she could do anything and she was not confined by traditional painting norms, even the traditional rectilinear shape of a canvas. I think operating in this type of freedom is what brings her to her own definition of success: being content.

I really admire Jean Gray’s ongoing commitment to both community building and a serious commitment to the work of building her own practice in a focused and disciplined way. She’s always been there as I’ve built the Artist/Mother Community and more recently the Thrive Together Network. In her own work running collectives and curating shows, I know she really gets the importance of the push and pull between operating in community and then doing the work to build your own practice. I’m excited she will be joining the Thrive Together Network’s upcoming Virtual Art Residency with me this fall, where we do just that! The residency is designed to meet you where you are to help you carve out time to focus on your practice through TTN’s guided structure and weekly check-ins!

Want to join Jean Gray and I on the artist residency this season? We start August 21st!
Learn more here and access our special Artist/Mother discount for a Thrive Together Network Membership!
WATCH THIS for full residency information!

Final Five: 
Biggest Art Crush: Andrea Zittel and CJ Hendry
Dream Trip: New York – finally flying after 6 years for a group show and Japan is the dream
Film or book: No Mud, No Lotus by Thích Nhất Hạnh 
Favorite meal: Any Indian food
Shoutout: Grandmother Blackford, parents, all communities throughout the years

To see more of Jean Gray’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @jg.fourdots

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

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144: Getting Back to Your Art After a Break

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
144: Getting Back to Your Art After a Break

Transitioning back to the studio after a summer focusing on the family can be a challenge. On this episode I wanted to walk you through 5 steps for getting back to your art after a break! I hope this conversation is a dose of encouragement and affirmation for the season you are in.

Step 1: Set The Date
Step 2: Reflect On The Break
Step 3: Clean Up
Step 4: Make A Mark
Step 5: Plan Small

And my biggest tip is for getting back into the swing of things is to get some accountability and join our Art Residency! We have a 6 week Art Residency program that is launching August 21st… this is your official invitation to join us. 

Join us to learn all about the program!
Thursday August 10th, 2023 at 1:00pm ET
Meeting ID: 861 0965 8143
Passcode: artist2023

Here is the zoom link for the Art & Tea mentioned in the episode – please join us for this special session!
Tuesday August 15th, 2023 at 1:00pm ET
Meeting ID: 861 6727 3010
Passcode: artist2023

And we mentioned you can join TTN at our discounted rate for Artist Caregivers!! This link gives you $10 off the monthly membership or $35 off the already discounted yearly membership (your best deal)
Artist Caregiver Network Group <— check it out here

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143: Maintaining a Sense of Self as an Artist and a Caregiver with Tara Carpenter Estrada, Kate Windley and Hannah Foster

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
143: Maintaining a Sense of Self as an Artist and a Caregiver with Tara Carpenter Estrada, Kate Windley and Hannah Foster

How do we maintain our sense of self and our boundaries with the intense demands of caregiving alongside our passions for our art practices? We explore these ideas in a meaningful discussion with the curator of the Together/Alone exhibition at Stay Home Gallery and two of the artists from the show. I hope you will take a moment to slow down and absorb the wisdom shared by curator Tara Carpenter Estrada and artists Hannah Foster and Kate Windley – both of whom care for people with disabilities alongside their studio work.

Tara shares her vision for the exhibition, and how her call for submissions asked how people express the tension within caregiving of never being alone yet feeling the conflicting sense of loneliness within caregiving. Kate Windley approaches these ideas in work rooted in the personal experience caring for her son with disabilities. The work on view in the show is a coat made from urine bags, material that is a necessary part of her son’s care. She explains how she finds power in taking something people can feel is negative, but through turning it into something wearable it expresses an acceptance. Hannah Foster cares for people with disabilities in her day job and discusses how this leads to an acceptance of “slow art” made on its own timescale and how her work more subtly tackles ideas of trauma as a result of caregiving.

In my own life, I’m newly pondering my identity as I finish up the first year of having all three of my children in school, and seeing how I value slowness in my daily life with my newfound time. I pose the question to the group about how to navigate identity alongside such demanding caregiving responsibilities. Kate shares how her ability to make work is tied to other’s ability to care for her son, and how crucial it is for her own health that she is wise about the people she surrounds herself with. Hannah shares how being able to have a sense of control over her own response to the needs of others is crucial in caring for herself, and ultimately supportive her ability to care for others. Tara reminds us all that acceptance of the ebbs and flows of what we are able to accomplish in the studio because of the demands of life  is always so important.

I’m so grateful for all the artists that Tara brought into the gallery space for the Together/Alone exhibition and for our past collaboration on the An Artist and A Mother book published through Demeter Press. These questions of isolation and the impact of caregiving on caregivers are so important, and Hannah and Kate’s wisdom is so valuable. I hope you have a lot to ponder after listening to this episode, and as a result you tune into your own needs and how important it is that we don’t lose sight of caring for ourselves.

Final Five Kate: 

Biggest Art Crush: Janine Antoni 

Dream Trip: Mountains of North Carolina

Film or book: William Blake Versus the World 

Favorite meal: Sandwiches (to allow more studio time)

Shoutout: Her son’s teacher, Jamie Marshall

To see more of Kate’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @kate_windley

Final Five Hannah: 

Biggest Art Crush: Marina Abromovic and Wayne White

Dream Trip: Alaska

Film or book: The Thing

Favorite meal: Roast with potatoes

Shoutout: Partner, Nate

To see more of Hannah’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @hr_foster

Final Five Tara: 

Biggest Art Crush: Kathryn Newsom

Dream Trip: Italy and the Alps

Film or book: Cate B…(?)

Favorite meal: Anything with Paneer in it

Shoutout: Husband, Nick Estrada

To see more of Tara’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @taracarpenterestrada

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Kate’s images:

Urine Bag Jacket, Silkscreen on cotton, original surface design (silkscreen of medical equipment in the lining), 15 x 20 inches, 2022

Dirt Suit, Self-Portrait in Dirt Power Suit,  Linen and Georgia Red Clay  (2022) 

What I Could Do For You, Graphite on Watercolor Paper, 2017, 30” x 40” 

Tara’s images:

Evie and Emily at Stay Home, digital painting

Devotion, 9×4’ installation, painted paper collage on brown paper sacks

It’s a Party, Gouache and colored pencil on board, 10″x11”

Hannah’s images:

Baby Driver, mixed media, 2018

Installation shot of solo exhibition, Zoller Gallery at Penn State University, 2019

For Mil, fabric, collage, found objects, 2022

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142: One Eye on the Studio, One Eye on the Kids with Crystalle Lacouture

Artist/Mother Podcast
Artist/Mother Podcast
142: One Eye on the Studio, One Eye on the Kids with Crystalle Lacouture

In this episode, I talk with painter and conceptual artist, Crystalle Lacouture. Crystalle’s work is so timely and important right now as we face increased gun violence in the US as well as an increased cultural awareness around the importance of holding space for grief and mourning. With a father working in hospitality in high end hotels and restaurants, and a mother who established herself as a well-known herbalist, Cyrstalle developed a sense of formal material awareness, well-being, and sumptuousness early on.

Crystalle holds a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Skidmore College and spent time in Brooklyn with her husband before moving to Massachusetts to raise their three children. Early on, she worked as a studio assistant for Nancy Spero and Leon Golub, and their activism remained an influential force in her life. We discuss how her inclinations toward the visual were present when she received the very unexpected news that her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in the height of the Covid-19 lockdown. Crystalle’s response was to send Mama Drawings, gouache interventions on top of paper targets from a gun range, as a form of protection for her mother since she was not able to be physical with her at the end of her life. 

We discuss how these formal interventions of geometric and mandala-like forms on top of the violent masculine form of the target are infinite in their possibilities and so powerful symbolically. Crystalle has evolved the work to offer the act of repetitive form-making as a ritual of love and protection for all facing increased risk of gun violence, and we discuss her hopes to share large installations of the work with her audience.

We bond over and appreciate the value of the walk from home to detached backyard studio as artists raising children. As we wrap up, we discuss how Crystalle’s various conceptual works address the practice of singing lullabies as an act of care and the process of ritualized grieving as personal ritual and art practice. As Crystalle shares, “Repetition is love”, and I connected so strongly with the idea that repeating something makes it devotional and that making a repetitive system can show something or someone that you love it. I hope you connect with the ways that Crystalle uses form, beauty, and devotional practices to show care as well as instigate very hard conversations about violence, loss, and grief. 

Final Five: 

Biggest Art Crush: Mary Sully

Dream Trip: Japan

Film or book: The Sea, the Sea

Favorite meal: A long table of fresh food in the south of France

Shoutout: Husband and “The Tribe of the World”

To see more of Crystalle’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @cyrstalleacouture

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Power Place, 2022, oil on canvas, 48 x 40”

Installation, “Time Keeper” framed woodblock prints in “The New Drawing Room”, Mass Art SoWa, 2022

Ode, 2023, oil on canvas, 40 x 35”

Installation of MAMA drawings in Studio – dimensions variable, 2022

MAMA Drawing #73, 2022, gouache and colored pencil on Score Keeper shooting target, 11 x 17”

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