88: Making the Invisible, Visible and Experiencing Authentic Connection with Candida Gonzalez and Jessica Kitzman

Artist/Mother Podcast
88: Making the Invisible, Visible and Experiencing Authentic Connection with Candida Gonzalez and Jessica Kitzman
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It was incredible to share in conversation with two artist/mothers from Minneapolis for this episode! Jessica Kitzman is an artist and teacher of K-12 public school art and Candida Gonzalez is an arts consultant, curator and independent artist. Our conversation is rooted in talking through the idea of visibility- what makes someone feel authentically seen. Despite the fear that comes with being seen for who we really are, we decide that ultimately visibility leads to incredible connection that we all need and long for.

Jessica shares the metaphor of her art as her hiding place, a process to dig into when life has been hard and when she needs to withdraw.  Primarily working in textiles and collage, her own studio practice centers around the deconstruction of domestic relics and other found materials as a mode of understanding inherited systems of power and identity. She walks us through her journey as she has begun to come out of her shell, having recently gone through a divorce and breaking from a relationship that kept her hidden from her true self. Making art that allows her to process her vulnerability and sharing it with the world has shown her the healing power of art in new ways.

Jessica and Candida share so vulnerably about their experiences as queer single mothers. Candida speaks to the frustration they have experienced being a BIPOC living in Minnesota and how they often feel invisible living in the Midwest where their cultural background is not as known or appreciated. Jessica shares how her Midwestern upbringing caused her to prioritize people-pleasing above expressing herself. They both touch on the need for single Moms especially to have tangible support, particularly childcare and hugs! We talk about some ways the art world could better support single parents. Go hug a single Mom, or any Mom… we all need to know we are deeply loved and seen by our peers and community as often as we can. I am so proud to share this conversation I had with these incredible people and I know you will be so inspired by the ways they are using art to bring healing, purpose, and connection into their own lives.

Final 5 Answers:
1) Jean-Michel Basquiat – Candida
Nick Cave & Swoon – Jessica

2) Puerto Rico – Candida
Traveling to see family around the US – Jessica

3) Octavia Butler – Candida
Women Who Run with the Wolves – Jessica

4) Octopus Salad – Candida
Homemade ramen – Jessica

5) Her daughter – Candida
Her village – Jessica

See more of Candida’s Jewlery on her instagram @lasranasjewlery and her curatorial and arts practice @candida612. Shop her incredible earrings on her Etsy!

See more of Jessica’s work on her website and follow her on instagram @jessicakitzman_xylem

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

Images of Jessica’s work and life:

“I Can’t Feel My Roots”, Found textiles on Christmas tree skirt, 3’10”X23”, 2020
“Homebody”, Found textiles on placemat, 30X15, 2021
“But You’re Such a Pretty Girl”, Found textiles/wig hair on placemat, 18X13, 2021
“Nightmare”, Collage, 8X10, 2021
“Whether You Like it or Not” in progress, Fall 2020
Jessica’s daughter Ida painting while standing in front of her Great Grandpa’s painting
“Mom, take my picture with your art!” Spring 2020
Ronan’s hands on “I’m Right Here”, 2020

Images of Candida’s work and life:

Las Ranas Virgo, mixed media, acrylic, brass and semi-precious stones
Las Ranas Libra, mixed media, acrylic, brass and semi-precious stone
Las Ranas Scorpio, mixed media, acrylic, brass and semi-precious stone
Las Ranas Venus, mixed media, acrylic, brass and semi-precious stone
Springdale– 2019, teaching a Making it Public workshop in Springdale, Arkansas
Candida Chroma Zone– 2019, photo with Chroma Zone team. Chroma was the first MN mural festival, I was on the planning team and did artist management for the festival.
2019, photo with my daughter Coco
2019, photo with my stepdaughter Destiny at the MayDay Festival. I was the Accessibility Coordinator for the festival that year, the first year that they had one.

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