An act of defiance can mean many things – like squeezing time in at the end of the day to create when you are the most tired or getting up early to keep certain rituals sacred. Even saying “no” to certain activities to make sure your creative practice is not disrupted takes a great amount of strength and perseverance. The artists interviewed in this panel discussion are finding time in the margins to make beautiful and meaningful work. Beth Welch, Stefanie Zito, and Tai Lipan all have pieces juried into our 2nd annual “Painting At Night” juried exhibition at ArtLink, and we had an amazing time together talking about goals, dreams, and, of course, motherhood.
We also took some time to discuss their specific pieces juried into the “Painting At Night” exhibition. Stefanie’s large suspended soft sculpture hangs down and puddles on the floor – a long list with holes punched out – speaking to finding time in the margins to create. As she talks about the color of her piece – almost a yellow legal pad color – she discusses how using turmeric played into her content since it is a dye that fades quickly – much like her time. Beth explains how the materials deeply influence her content – the charcoal used for the mother, fading and not taken as seriously in contrast with the pen and ink used for the children, painstaking work with permanent marks. When Tai opens up about her work, she discusses how the pandemic shaped this wooden painting in particular – the warm light emanating from inside the flushed, warm colors… a family in tight constraints, but feeling and growing together.
It was interesting to hear the different phases of motherhood that each of these artists are currently experiencing. Stefanie has 2 very young kids and mostly constructs her soft sculptures during nap times, while Tai has 3 older children and while she might have more freedom, still admits that being a professor on top of being an artist and a mother definitely eats into time that she wishes she could be investing in a thriving art community. Beth, because she works full time as the Exhibitions Coordinator at the Louisiana Art and Science Museum, only has time after her 3 year old goes to bed to do a deep dive into her meticulous drawings. Each one works so differently, and brings meaning and value to not only their art practice, but motherhood as well.
“Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself”, Beth points out. If we, as a society, took the time to really value the labor that mothers take on, then maybe we would have more time with them… more time to laugh, to pass on wisdom, to share in life’s joys and sorrows. Tai also points out the importance of being authentic. We should not be afraid to show who we really are with all our beauty marks, scars, and experiences – simple or complex as they may be. Art is something we HAVE to do, as Stefanie exclaims – the life blood that allows us to not only pour into others we care about, but also fuel the passions that keeps our engines running – if we give it the time it deserves.
Beth Final Five:
Biggest Art Crush: Annette Newkirk
Dream Trip: All of Europe
Film or book: Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Favorite meal: Gumbo
Shout-out: Husband and the Artist/Mother community
Tai Final Five:
Biggest Art Crush: Cranach the Elder
Dream Trip: Spain
Film or book: The Overstory by Richard Powers and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Favorite meal: Indian food
Shout-out: Husband and kids
Stefanie Final Five:
Biggest Art Crush: Eva Hesse
Dream Trip: Iceland
Film or book: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimerer and Movement Matters by Katy Bowman
Favorite meal: Wood-fired pizza
Shout-out: Husband, Danila Rumold, immediate family, and artist/mother community
To see more of Stefanie’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @stefaniezito
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
Tai Lipan’s images: