The Independent Artist Podcast

Moments I Treasure/ Ella Richards

September 19, 2022 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Ella RIchards Season 2 Episode 18
The Independent Artist Podcast
Moments I Treasure/ Ella Richards
Show Notes Transcript

Working Artists! You are not alone!! Ella Richards came to New York City as a child and a political refugee. In this conversation, Ella reveals how the kindness of strangers shaped her inner world and helped her find her way growing up in the busiest city in the world. Ella discovered that slowing down helped her to enjoy her life and to focus the imagery in her work towards minimalism, and to depict moments from her diary as moments that she treasures.

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong, co-host and talk about topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as a professional independent artist.  This week's preamble topics include reactions to the St. Louis Art Fair, stories from the road, and our take on a  quote from Neil Gaiman.


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welcome to the independent artist podcast sponsored by the national association of independent artists also


sponsored by zapplication I’m will armstrong and I’m a mixed media artist I’m douglas sigworth glassblower join


our conversations with professional working artists


well folks welcome back to the podcast here it is Douglas and i are back into our tiny little


pro panel moving blanket sound booths and ready to go this is an image i haven't seen for a while you're back in


Santa fe and you're in your closet you're in your sound booth i am in the closet ladies and gentlemen you think


I’d be loud and proud at this point but it's just not the case I’ve got my uh i don't know i feel like are what are


these moving blankets made out of fiberglass it feels like I’m gonna be itching okay here i don't know


I’m waiting for the legendary whole contraption to come down on your head in the middle of this recording that might add for an interesting topic here


delightful you know what i find funny when I’m building these things how much of my stuff i rob from my booth you know


the bag of clamps so the little um rubber uh the rubber zip ties that josh


taioli had suggested that i get instead of zip ties those things i'm using it is


a house of cards but i think it'll be i think it'll work we'll see how well i have some advice


why don't you just get all new show stuff and leave this in your closet so every time you come off to a show you


don't have to rebuild it well yeah yeah that's fine that's great you know how much i love advice that's


right i think he's about to tell me to [ __ ] off but he's in a good mood this morning got plenty of coffee he's good


to go [Laughter] you know me well enough it's you can smell it on me uh here it comes ladies and gentlemen


[ __ ] off doc all right okay well it's good to see you i honestly i was in such


a flunk this weekend everyone was off having a good weekend and i'm sitting at home saying i wanted to be in a show


oh really it did that's uh i i think you need to lean into the helen gottlieb yeah i know i know well i mean this is


pretty early in the preamble to bring this up but my talk with ella richards this week gave me exactly the medicine


that i needed she encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the small moments and i


did i did that so it awesome i kind of got my head off straight yeah i got to spend some good quality time with ella


and brian and a lot of the other artists this past weekend so it'll be fun i have not had a chance to listen to your talk


but i had a couple of long talks with ella my uh we had to bring the dogs we couldn't find a dog sitter okay so we


brought the dogs to the hotel and they were kind of like the rock stars of the art show party where they were they were hanging out


and everybody seemed to be enjoying them and if they didn't they kept their mouth shut they told me well enough i guess


but man it was really great to have him and my little black and white dog gidget


absolutely fell in love with ella so mark of good character as far as i'm concerned she doesn't warm to everybody


and l is just a wonderful person okay will you do me a favor here will you please for everyone to hear


tell how difficult it is to bring dogs to shows because we are not getting a dog for that very


reason and i don't want rene over here that it was just so easy breezy bringing a dog to show


oh it was easy as hell renee get it down go rescue a dog go go out there right now yeah you owe it to the world go out


and get yourself a dog so here's what we did okay uh we the hotel the artist hotel that we stayed in yeah


that was dog friendly in fact they've got a little dog sculpture of little like laser cut out dogs whatever on


leashes walking into the hotel so that's your your first key you're either gonna have to stay there or a dog friendly


airbnb and then i used the this is no plug no not getting any money off of this one uh but the rover app and we


just hired a five-star college kid to come over and walk the dogs however many times that it needed


to happen so she came by like two or three times during the day and the show was not dog friendly so


unfortunately she didn't walk them over to see us but they were super cool it sounds like there's an app for everything right you need a dog walker


there's an app for that you got it pulling up the uh the early 2000s apple


ads throwback showing our age once again but yeah i found it to be pretty easy and um to be


honest the comfort of having your your dog there too is was not a big deal okay well i think the rad keys are going to


show up with their 11 cats at the next show what do you think that's not those aren't pets at that point that's an


infestation it's like call the exterminator oh my god 11 cats


i can smell the ammonia pee smell from here no come on don't rain on road mom's parade


it's not raining on anybody's parade cats are just the worst well how did it go how was the show this weekend what


was it like tell me stories tell me more uh i don't know it's a show dude you've been to a show i got it


what did i miss what did i miss come on don't want to hear about shows do they want to hear about shows do you really


are you are everybody tired of that no you are


let me offer a congratulations the big news out of the weekend was my good friend oliver schnorr winning best in


show that was pretty exciting you know what not only did he win best in show but it's it's pretty rare that a jeweler


wins uh the top prize so right um that they recognized the quality and the


expertise and his work really amazing also amazing to see him


using his two hands again after his major saw accident and the fact that he's up to such a high level that he can


win uh the top fries at a big show like that i mean i've always been so impressed with his work it's very


sculptural but when that accident happened he was very nervous about what


kind of mobility he was going to get back so it feels like he arrived back better than where he was before it's uh


it's inventive work but it's highly highly skilled and if you don't know what you're looking at as far as as jewelry goes like some of the jewelers


can go by and drool at his connection points and and soldering and and uh the way he he does his his work i mean i've


always admired the actual look of it but yeah um yeah it's a lot of skill you know there there are some incredibly


skilled jewelers out there that we're lucky to have around us and he's one so congrats oliver congrats my


friend good job you know you asked about the show what i find funny and interesting about st louis arts festival is you have


directors walking around like constant directors i'm like here are the directors that i saw just on the scene


you had stephen king running the emerging artist program you have the wonderful sarah jane umloff who's


running the show with her partner tracy morgan who's just also an equal rising


star on the art show director scene you've got uh cindy larick walking around as an advisor who


cindy who constantly this is her mo for the whole week and she's like not my circus


[ __ ] like you'd actually be like like hey san diego she's like i don't care it's not mine she's a worker


she's she's like this it's not my show you i don't care if it means she's she's amazing but you got cindy


lyric there in kind of an advisory uh position or just really there just experiencing the whole thing um saw


camille marchese walking oh i heard she was there too yeah yeah okay she was there to kind of experience the emerging


artists program because it is a top-notch program and she was there with the the director of uh oklahoma city


i'll sweep a shout out to here in a minute as well as part of their their advertising arms i guess i will also


send a thank you sarah was amazing when i had to call two weeks before the show to


break the news that i wasn't going to be able to come and you know she answers the phone and she says i hate hearing


from artists a week before the show this is not a good sign is it i said no it's not but she met me with such warmth


and compassion and said it's okay you just take care of you and it was just she's just so sweet she


really cares about us as artists and i i really really appreciated that reaction


yeah she's she's definitely one of the good ones i'm not surprised to hear that at all just kind of uh comforted to hear


that that is the case so i'm not surprised yeah so what else you got going on i've just been we've just you


know nose to the grindstone in the studio i can't put in as long a days with my situation my physical condition


but we are getting some quality time in this installation that i talked about last


episode is in full full worker zone first step with any project like this when we're doing an


installation is just getting color samples okay boring as hell but it is like a science project you can't as


glass blowers you can't just go and order color that you look at on a catalog you have to buy it take a risk


make it see how it turns out after you've made it and then make something different so it was a lot of trial and


error science experiment kind of stuff that is just tedious um that is tedious it's a great story for a podcast


okay thank you well it's fascinating [Laughter]


why don't you enlighten us with some of your fascinating stories i'll bring it to you i bought some more paint all


right so i was having that conversation with patricia at the art show and we were talking about just that interaction


right there i was like we were talking about just the podcast in general and she was talking about our rapport that


we have and i wouldn't say it's an oil and water thing that we have i think it's more of an ernie and burt thing


that we have really yeah and let me hear your theory on this one what i like is that we bring different things to the


table totally like i think we're very close friends but it's like we just have different views on on things but


i always figured i was like the happy go lucky wakka wakka guy and then i go back


and listen to myself on these shows and i'm like i'm bert i'm like grouchy and it ain't no character i'm playing but it


is interesting because i do think of you that way too i think of you as like laugh a minute you're very clever razor


sharp wit and it is funny that you kind of adopted this persona


honesty is what you get um man anyway my favorite part of st louis


honestly besides you know we talked about how it runs but the fact that we are all in a hotel that's right there at


the art show and everybody's kind of staying there it's a it's a really good rate that they get you for the the show


we're all staying there so and they have a really big bar and really good food at the restaurant it's a really great


restaurant it's open until 10 30. so and they don't mind us coming squeaking in at 10 25 or whatever to order some food


they expect us to they're not like pre-closing down at a quarter to 10 and then you get no


i mean they're really not i mean it but it's it really is it's like old home week um tate hamilton and his wonderful


wife sammy are there at a big table they're sitting there holding court with the harmstins and brian and ella are


there ray alfonse and patricia i mean it was just it really was met some really


cool new people as well uh shout out to our our new good friend and fanboy of


the podcast craig terry who had some really kind things to say too so i've never taken a selfie with somebody just


because of the podcast that made me feel weird so that happened oh yeah


so that happened he fanboyed out i'm teasing him a little bit


that's good cool that's that sounds like fun yeah i mean the nice thing about it too is that like it's a hotel bar too so


it is a little strict so um you're there 10 30 i think they close at midnight you know no drinks or whatever


after midnight and it's like okay well we've all had our fill we got to work tomorrow right right it does they do put


it you know you have one or two and you're like man should i have another one and then like the bar's like no we're closed get out again that's like


the options are made for me exactly yeah sunday night though it did last a


little bit longer there were much more of us uh people were you know more revelry sunday night and it's it's


lasting late right i mean we're talking probably like 40 or 50 artists were in the bar yeah at this point well there's


nothing like celebrating after you've got that hard breakdown done show's over you just kind of feel that relief it's a


good period for sure breakdown went super smoothly what i love about the st louis breakdown is that it's probably


the least micromanaged breakdown in the country i would say we know those are your favorites they really are and when


we take care of ourselves uh they give us the entry points um you use a little common sense and it went really far like


we worked our our way out don't ask david biersterm how smoothly it went because he and he and his husband broke


down so quickly that they were ready to go and then the street was just clogged with emerging artists like trying to


squeeze like seven paintings inside of mini cooper but oh boy it was


it wasn't their fault but it did get clogged at the end and i could see steam coming out of bill's ears a little bit


and uh david seemed to be he was the voice of reason like don't jump out of the car okay just wait another minute


we'll be fine they had a long drive back to the pacific northwest calm cool collected david beerstrom all right yeah


right meanwhile get him online he'll rip up a new one


so anyway like sunday night douglas it goes you know huge party there uh it


ends up the boyfriend of an artist we all know and i'm not gonna call her by name because i'm gonna trash on her boyfriend it's funny but


he's got a key he's a hotel uh something with a k like he works with hotels and he's got


access like roof access to all of these different hotels and this major pass key that he can go


around this guy's loaded by the way i mean he's just completely obliterated i mean like


chipmunk and the pickle jar like like hiccups like anybody want to go to the roof and see


the roof and rain like a very good thing for somebody who is having trouble stringing words


together oh sure yeah let's definitely go to the roof with this stranger and so


he manages to get together this big group of artists we're all going to go to the room and we're stumbling up there


and he's trying to get us to be quiet and ray just goes i've never seen


anybody just put the halt on an activity quicker he's like nope [ __ ] this this is


how you've heard ray on the show he's like nope we're not doing this nope the guy goes out on the roof by himself and


we're we're following him we're like nope andy i'm like okay i'm following rey reyes better instinct than i do


right he's been in it so i just follow him he gets every artist back on the elevator we go back downstairs he's like


we're not following this guy this guy's an idiot we're not doing this alonso is the voice of reason here of


ladies and gentlemen and he's like not going to jail today this is not happening so i just love his


direction and uh courage of his convictions of just like saving our asses from uh a night in jail because it


was just it just seemed like a super bad idea yeah right well [Laughter]


it's story time here on the podcast douglas i pulled up some writing uh do you know the author neil gaiman at all i


don't a lot of his stuff goes to film and tv american gods he wrote which is


an award-winning book that came out a while back they made a show on showtime he's got sandman on netflix right now


he's uh really an amazing author he's one of my favorites especially to listen to on the road but awesome this quote


popped up and i thought it was apropos he's talking about his audiences and he doesn't do sequels for his writing


a lot of us have to kind of make it again and again in order to get by and then some of the people we talk to don't


duplicate and they don't do any kind of production work they just make one-of-a-kind so okay um anyway i


thought this was kind of cool he says that's how audiences work they say hey i love strawberry ice cream can i have


more in response to that i can do one of two things i can give them more strawberry ice cream if i do that i'm


doomed to give them strawberry ice cream for as long as i do this thing and i'll hate myself or i can go nobody's


clamoring for chocolate ice cream nobody even knows they like chocolate ice cream however i want to do chocolate ice cream


next so why don't i do chocolate and keep my own interest up it's how the entirety of my writing career is gone


he goes on and says some authors are dolphins and some are otters you can train a dolphin give a dolphin a fish if


it does a trick it'll do that trick again otters are untrainable they'll do something and you give them a fish and


then they'll do something else because why would they want to do the thing they already did i tend to be an otter


wow well that ties into the episode i know you'll get to listen to it maybe later


today or tomorrow but what ella brings up in her talk and she talks about how


it is so important for us as artists to have that connection to what we're making we're not just recreating we're


not just creating a product that for our work to have desirability


marketability it needs to continually be fresh and it needs to have a deep connection we need to look at the work


and it needs to speak back to us we can't just look at it and go yeah you know right right right but i will say


this i mean dolphins are some of the smarter animals in the animal kingdom just because they don't do the same


thing over and over again i mean i don't know i i i feel like there is some repetition that has to happen within all of us in


order to make a living if you you'll make yourself insane making the same thing over and over


again but you'll also make yourself insane trying to come up with a new idea absolutely every time and yeah sometimes


it's just a variation on the theme that keeps it fresh like i've done a saloon piece a number


of different times but i always have to change the people in the bar i have to change the people doing whatever and


whatever the collage is just to try to uh keep it fresh for myself so the nature of what we do


we kind of go at it with a similar idea that we might have been doing over the years but each piece we make is so


different i mean they can look vastly different and it's kind of like what


you're saying making it fresh every time that's kind of baked into the cake for us is when we spin out a piece of glass


with multiple colors and they expand organically i fall in love and some of them i look


at and i don't fall in love with but every piece is new and it the failure makes me go i want another


crack at this and the successes make me want to chase that high again so i mean that's kind of what my process is like


right yeah this this whole thing is an addiction it's so it is it's i thought about that with feeling


down about not being at the shows it's like i've thought of what we do as artists we make our work and that's only


part of the component there's a lot of artists out there who don't sell their work in person like we do yeah there is


that part of us being like musicians who who tour or stand up


comics it's like we need that connection we need that feed from the audience and so


i i felt that this weekend i felt that my head was in the game to have two more


shows left and it was it was cut off before i was mentally prepared for it so


i kind of was left i was kind of left feeling jonesing for for another art show you know you're a


weirdo i am yeah i think plenty of people are with me on this one


no i understand what you're saying kind of um kind of i don't know i


i like i like being home yeah yeah yeah but that that being said i did


a show last weekend and i'm doing one uh coming up here next week not this coming weekend but the following


um in kansas city and i'm actually excited about that one so that's that's always a big big fun show it's another


10 o'clock it's a party it's another party what's up with missouri making us work till 10 o'clock at night because


they've got the beer booths and the bands playing till 10 o'clock yeah i guess you know st louis is not a big uh


drinking show they seem to have control of themselves more than okay um i mean there are there's alcohol available but


people you know they walk around and they have a beer or two i feel like plaza they're walking around like a like


there's always some kind of vessel to carry beer in you know like like some kind of like i'm like is that a


signature vessel you're saying no it's like a fish fishbowl or like a bucket they've got like a mcdonald's straw in


it's like multi-colored straw or like there's always some kind of vessel that's a little too large it looks like a home depot bucket


intravenous iv it's just i don't know it seems like they take their drinking midwest serious in kansas


city well we're vessel makers and people walk in our booth and could i drink beer out of this and i'm


like yep feel free thousand bucks you can drink anything you want out of that thing not mine anymore you got a credit card


whatever you want in there colostomy bag let's move on to our interview this week


what do you think nah more nauseating bad more nauseating okay yeah all right the opposite of nauseating banter is our


dear friend ella richards i say this about a lot of people but man is she just a dear dear human i just could not


think more highly of her and her work and her husband brian and they're just tremendous tremendous folks so she


really connects on an emotional level she like looks into your soul and she says the thing you need to hear to make


you feel seen and connected and i really have enjoyed her over the years


and i enjoyed this talk a lot and i'm happy to that everyone's gonna get a chance to listen you know what then


douglas let's just get right to the talk ella richards from new york city this episode of the independent artist


podcast is brought to you by zap the digital application service where artists and art festivals connect well


sometimes i'm in a real hurry and i just love that i have things that are saved in zap to streamline my process saving


shows as favorites is my personal way of using zap that's my favorite i know a lot of


people use the calendar they use the events but for me if i'm saving the favorites of anything i've ever looked


at or thought about doing then i can check out those deadlines on a regular basis but then there's other times when


i have a little more time on my hands and i'm looking into other shows all the information is right there in the


prospectus with links to the website i can see who the artists are that have participated in the past that's a great


idea douglas because one of the ways that i was finding shows at the very beginning was to go online and see who i


felt my work looked good with it's just great that all that information is organized and easy to look over when


planning our next show season you know douglas i had a chance to meet seth lewis over the past weekend the


director for the oklahoma city arts council art show there in okc that's a show that i've done over the years yeah


it's amazing the amount of people who come the crowds are huge at that it's a commission-based show so our success is


actually dependent on their success so we're all kind of working together as far as that goes and one cool thing


about those kind of shows is that you know the numbers you know what you're looking for sure there's 144 exhibitors


at that show and annually they bring in around two million dollars so that's a pretty good slice of the pie right there


if we're doing the math on that douglas we're averaging out about thirteen fourteen thousand dollars per artist


those those odds are pretty good first few hours of the first day of the show they have something called festy first


and it's a lot of corporate buyers they come in and they have recorded that they do over six figures in that first couple


hours on the first day of the show unzip that tent bright and early on tuesday morning to be ready because the money


starts flowing you see quite a bit the application deadline is just around the corner it's september 30th so jump on


that the show dates are april 25th through the 30th it's a six day show our other call to entry this week is from a


show that you're familiar with it's in greenville south carolina it's artist fear artist fear it's one of those


jewels of the south it can really be an anchor for your show schedule they keep the artist numbers fairly reasonable


there's about 135 to 150 artists that participate in that show every year and i think that's really good for the size


of their community takes place on one long street so it doesn't really matter if you're at the top of the bottom of


the street or the middle people walk the whole thing from farmer's market all the way to the other side towards the


baseball stadium it's a beautiful show and they take care of us really well that's awesome i've had a chance to take


a look at their website because i've thought about adding it to my schedule and i will say that the list of artists


is top-notch it is a top-notch quality show a lot of graduations happening around that time and it's kind of a


college town so a lot of people come out it's mother's day too they bring mom out on on sunday and do the stroll it's it's


it's always a good time all right so this application deadline is october 3rd that's coming up the event dates are


may 12th through may 14th it gets kicked off on friday at noon runs through sunday mother's day 5 14 that's may 14th


2023 i better get on there and apply to some shows douglas i got my application in i hope i get in


ella richards welcome to the show thanks for joining us on the podcast today thank you for having me i feel very


honored oh it's so good to see you i mean i i started following you and followed a lot


of artists over kovid you know even though it was such an awful time i like fell in love with your new york post i


mean i think of you as this new yorker this new york artist can you tell me about what it's like being


in new york what that means new york well new york is home go to bed it's home it's a place i feel like i truly


belong to i don't see myself being anywhere else i think it's a wonderful place for an artist to do because


everything is here for you the best and the worst of all lives the most glamorous and


not so glamorous so it's kind of like that you get you get both ends of the spectrum there yes and i feel like it's


like new york is like it's a theater of life you come out of your apartment building you don't know what you're


gonna see you don't know what you're gonna hear you don't you don't know who you're gonna run into you know know what


kind of experience you're gonna have that day so it's pretty much unpredictable which makes it very special especially


for an artist who likes to observe things and take them in and think about them and think about them and somehow


put them into your art because i don't see myself separated from new york because it's so much in me


that everyday walk i have a little dog who needs to go out twice a day so twice a day we'll go outside and


she's pretty scandalous okay but are you saying that these walks are


a source of inspiration for your work i like to actually i like to take a walk before i


start working because you don't know truly you don't know what's going to inspire you whether maybe it's a


beautiful sunlight maybe kind of a very great day maybe


empty street so people want to bump into you and they don't say sorry i mean just


walking around i think it clears your head you kind of see things you didn't know exist you don't know like who is


gonna see you who's gonna talk to you you don't know who's gonna reprimand you about you don't bargain with somebody


else so it's kind of like i like to kind of just get out of the apartment and just


see the life going passing by right maybe not going into


like a walk with a preconceived notion of what's going to happen to you you're just kind of open to


receive whatever kind of experiences are coming through that's my neighborhood it's not like a typical like a residential neighborhood because you


don't really run into the same people in the neighborhood because there are there is an nyu there are a lot of tourists so


there is no really there is no really prediction what are they gonna whether they're gonna see a person you know or whether


they're gonna see somebody you should say hello to or whether it's gonna be somebody who's gonna ask you how you


doing today quite often on this walk i don't actually meet or see anybody i know at all so it's also something new


every day after the work i come back home and maybe i draw something i write something down i i write things in my


diary whether i what i saw what i should really maybe like put into my art so sometimes it's almost like an adventure


you don't know what you're gonna see it okay and it's interesting because quite often you run into people


and you see them once in your life but they kind of like stay in your memories and they stay in your thoughts so you


kind of feel like oh so you're saying your experiences it may just be a moment in time but that experience


can stay with you for a long time i mean it means something right like for example a couple of days


ago like i was walking down the street and there were two women who were like looking at their maps trying to to


understand where they were located and one of them by mistake hit me on my face they were from italy and they were like


like the body gesturing with the hands and everything yeah and she got started she was very apologetic and i asked well


do i need help do you know where you're going to and they told me that i wanted to go we actually ended up taking a walk


together because they couldn't actually find the street and they told me they were from italy and they talked to me a


little bit about they actually adventures in new york and it's like it's funny because it was the first and


the last time i would ever see them but i mean the interaction was so interesting so i was thinking


i think maybe i want to make some kind of piece based on those two ladies like standing in the middle of


broadway kind of like going on and on and on and like suddenly hitting me on the face right right and then we ended


up being like friends for 20 minutes okay well i mean there's that element too being in new york city it's such an


international spot it's it's like you people from all around the world are coming in and out of the city there


well there's a thing you don't need to live in new york to travel the world and you just go from from one border to


another i mean if you go to queens there is a one neighborhood flashing i mean everyone speaks mandarin if there's a


korea town and if you go to spanish harlem and then i mean it's it's kind of like it's a city of


neighborhoods people don't think like that but yeah i mean you can go to a neighborhood you wouldn't hear any


english spoken like you go to coney island a lot of people from the soviet union the former soviet union ended up


so they speak they speak russian you go to greenpoint they all speak polish so it's interesting how


it's true i mean you can go from one border to another and travel the world well how long have you been in new york


city yeah i've been here like i came very young about like 40 years i mean all of most of your life


right you came from where did you say from soviet union the soviet union and the performance of 18nm okay so that had


to be just an odd transition did you speak any english was that just quite um quite an acclimation for you


well immigration like real immigration is a very it's a very difficult


human act of deciding what to do with with your life because


my mom and i were political refuges and uh being a refugee


there's nothing glamorous about it there's nothing adventurous about it there's nothing like exciting about it


because you leave everything what you knew behind you leave your friends you live your language you live


any kind of knowledge you have for a lot of people it's one of the hardest thing they've done because you really like you


start your life all over but you're not starting your life or over in a place where you speak the language in a place


where you have a support group and a place where you know a lot of people but you're starting in a country where you


don't know anybody and you don't speak the language and nobody really cares about you


there are a lot of days when you feel terrible and scary and frightened and


you don't know what's going to happen with you so what you do you only hope and dream


and this is what really takes you through i mean hopes and dreams are something like as a as humans we cannot stop it doesn't


matter where you live it doesn't matter what your condition as humans we need to hope we need to we need to dream


otherwise we cannot we cannot survive and and i think my hopes and my dreams


really took me through my life well i watched a talk that you gave the storytellers series uh from the des


moines register was that one and you talked about


those first connections you made here in the us with with this passer


buyer like you're describing here like your daily walks can you tell me a little bit tell our listeners about that


that story um well the story was when my mom and i arrived to new york we you


know to be honest we didn't know anything we didn't speak the language we didn't know anybody i didn't even know it was a


different metric system in this country because i remember when we arrived and we were standing at


jfk waiting for somebody to pick us up i look it was a display of time and temperature and when i look at the


temperature display it says 96 degrees which it scared my mom and me because we


didn't know actually the temperature can go that high so my mom like was kind of like she was following me it's like


where did we end up why is it so hot here


this is what my mom told me like because she told me like what what's that i mean


the christ temperature i haven't ever experienced was 40 degrees what's going on here so it really scared us because


we didn't know and and you know jks there are tons of people and people walking people screaming and we hear all


kind of languages so the beginning was kind of person rough this up uh took us to manhattan and at


that time manhattan was a little bit different from it is right now it was late uh mid 80s it was a little bit a


rougher place okay washington square park was quite quite really interesting because all kind of things happen there


but on the other hand there were still like a lot of residents in this neighborhood


who were born in this neighborhood who grew up in this neighborhood who are who spent all their lives in the neighborhood and a lot of them were like


either the first generation of immigrants or maybe actually they were immigrants themselves as children so


they're still like i mean it was kind of like it was a community of people who actually could pinpoint somebody new in


the neighborhood and you could see that like uh would you know anything we didn't speak the language i carried a


big dictionary in my hands i was young so i was strong so i had a big big dictionary so just in case if somebody


asked me a question i would open the right page and there was no scrolling through a phone or a screen back then no no no no no no


so quite often the conversation would be like putting up your fingers saying one


minute i'll look yeah you find a word that would say this is the word so the person will take the dictionary go to the other part and find


another word to say this the word so actually there was a lot of people who wanted to help you i mean there were


really like kind of people who really would tell you like what can you do and where you can do your shopping which


less expensive it was people who were immigrants in that neighborhood maybe from all different parts of the world it


wasn't regional but you could bond over that people would help each other based on the fact that you all had that same


background i think it's not we a lot of time we actually came from different parts of the world i mean the background


wasn't the connection i think when you're just very new to this country and you don't anybody i


think might be there's certain like fear in your eyes so maybe the people feel like you were intimidated or if people


feel like you're completely lost and you don't know and especially if some people went through that


i mean this kind of like you cannot explain this connection because it's a human connection which doesn't actually


have like a logical explanation you just only feel somebody's fears or somebody's pain or


somebody's kind of like you feel lost you're just like you just want to ask somehow to indicate well we're not your


enemies we're not gonna do anything to you we just want to help you i don't know how it actually works i mean i'm


not really a scientist to explain how human emotions work but sometimes you just feel it that somebody there is not


actually threatening you and not trying to do something bad to you but actually trying to tell you well maybe you should


go to this daily instead of that because it's less expensive or maybe you should go like if you want to buy new clothes


this let's say a salvation army store instead of going to a department store right at first you're like in a protection zone right i could be very


vulnerable people could steal from me people could harm me i have to be very suspicious of any


any kind of interaction it sounds like over time people can read each other and


kind of feel that similar experience that they come from and they can feel the genuineness


is that maybe what you're saying i don't think so i think so right i think so because i feel like


sometimes we simply cannot explain our feelings right because of sometimes we


totally we just with sometimes we experience fear and we don't know why we're afraid right i mean like you'll


stand next to somebody and suddenly you feel there's some kind of like i don't feel comfortable still standing to this


person but sometimes you feel like somebody looks at you and you can see kindness in this person's eyes so you can see


some kind of help is being offered and you know it without actually analyzing it without actually thinking like oh


sure talk to this person right well i can relate in the sense that when my son and this is totally


different but i i think the root is the same when my son was diagnosed with


juvenile diabetes as a first grader and our whole world was changed on how


do we care for our child how do we keep him safe how do we take care of his his needs we felt so alone because we didn't know


anybody who who dealt with that but then over the years as we met other parents who experience


that it there was this unspoken commonality even if we didn't know each other we just knew we could we could


just look at each other and say oh right when this particular stress that feels so unique to somebody in your own


experience you just get it and it's such a relief to have that right right right exactly like i was


talking to somebody who has a child with down syndrome and you told me exactly the same when there is like they see


another parent with the child with a down syndrome there is immediate connection right there


right so in the in this storyteller series you talked about meeting


a woman who was kind of a really good connection for you can you tell us about that well it feels very interesting


because whenever she saw my mom and i walking down like the alley like she was sitting


on the bench no she was actually in a wheelchair but she is next to a bench with a caregiver and she would always


kind of like like kind of point on the bench sit next to us i mean she kind of wanted to talk


to my mom to see who she was because i think now for my mom it was much more difficult to adapt to a new country


because my mom's life story is a bit sad she was quite lost she didn't know where


to start and i think like her fears were more were mostly for me because she felt she lived her life and she


she achieved certain things but she wanted me also to be successful not to get lost and not


to go the wrong path so my mom i think maybe look more frightened than i did because as a child


you adopt easier maybe like you're afraid but you know like you're kind of more adoptable and more


accepting you're more like a sponge you like you start taking things in slowly yeah


and you also have a trust that the people in charge the people taking care of you they but that they've got it all


figured out but when you're the person who has to have it all figured out that's a whole different position you've got you've got this little little ella


to take care of and make sure she's safe and and good i didn't question my mom she brought me here so i was like


she knows what's right and again there is like you know as humans we are very interesting creatures


because we can go either like completely terrible way and look down at people


like who just came to this country and tell them go back home or like we don't need you here like what are you doing


here or we can actually like stop for a second and think well it's not that difficult really to help


people it's not that difficult to give a piece of advice so it's not difficult to give a kind word i mean we're not


talking about financial help or help we're not talking about something like i'm gonna give you an apartment right


but we're talking about emotional health so i think as human yeah as human beings


we can go into different directions we can go like i don't want to see you


i don't want you to be here you came to this country it's time for you to go back where you came from which i have


heard too but or you can just say like something like well hello yeah why wouldn't you sit next to me so this


woman started teaching me like uh one english word a day so this became a regular meeting with her right like one


day i learned the word bench i didn't know so she would point and said bench then the next day went sit


i said so we said so i knew two words sit on grinch


and did she know your your language she just knew english and so she was teaching you english


no she was actually she was a jewish woman from poland who actually survived the concentration camp she had her


numbers and everything and her story was interesting but also like she was a person who experienced the


worst of humanity it's interesting because it's again an example like you can come out of from the concentration


camp as a really angry person and say like why did it happen to me i didn't deserve it i mean i was a child myself


and you can get angry or you can actually become more humane you can feel the human pain much


stronger and i think this would happen that you saw us so lost with our lives and not knowing what we wanted to do so


for her even though she was really old at that time in a wheelchair she wasn't able to walk she wasn't able really to


do anything but i think like on a human level she felt all pain and she felt all


like fear she was like an empath she was really empathetic to you and your mother and


and you said she would wait for you like she would every single day she'd be there every day so you were meeting with


her every day twice a day so i was learning like once a day yeah i was learning like four words a


day english words okay one of the first words i learned in english was school


and education because she what she was telling my mom she was talking about to her about education and she was telling


my mom with again with addiction it was quite interesting because our meetings were very long because it's not that


easy to use a regular addiction when you were trying to have a conversation both ways right yeah for sure and so it's


interesting because she didn't do anything physically to us right she didn't give us money she


didn't give us clothes she didn't give us anything but what she gave us she gave us human compassion a human


understanding and human support which quite often is really difficult to get


and i think she actually taught me really really good lessons life lessons don't judge


don't judge don't look at clothing don't look at how people look don't look how


they sound don't judge them if they cannot respond to you or they cannot say the most important thing that if you can


listen listen if you cannot listen be patient i mean the person is going to come around and somehow you're going to


make the connection and i think like she took me a lot of patience which i think it's really a lot a lot of us luck right


now patience because we want things to to happen very quickly we can all feel what's behind the look


we can feel the thoughts we can feel if we're encountering somebody who is offering us


positive energy encouragement a twinkle in the eye we also feel the


what you said that go home you know what i mean you're not welcome right those negative thoughts are felt


as well whether they're ever spoken or not right but i think you know it's interesting


because well we are just right i mean we do a lot of art shows and we meet a lot of people


people react even to art like in all kind of ways like some people don't care some people like some people interested


some people are curious some people love and even there like there's a lot of actually understanding should happen


because we don't expect everyone to like our art right we don't expect everyone to understand our art and i think it's


also as artists we also go through that because some people come to our booth and they say


i don't get it some people say i don't understand it but we don't get kind of like well then


go back where you came from right like what are you doing in my book if you if you if you don't like it i mean


so i think as an artist we also we look i think we learned a lot of compassion


in the way because people come and people i mean they're intimidated because they don't know how to react to the art some


people are curious but the two have tried to ask questions yeah we are very sensitive to reading what's happening


with the collector as they engage right you know our work is personal the reactions to the work sometimes feels


like a reaction to us right so yeah we do we do kind of feel we're on the front


lines with people's reactions and that right because you put your heart and your soul in your artwork


right i mean you there's so there's a big process of creating an art piece but then somebody comes into your booth and


they tell you so what you don't get it


why do you do that and uh and it's kind of like it becomes personal because you tried so hard


to create a piece of artwork right but you know how to be like say thank you thank you for looking all right it's the


same human next year who's the next person they can come in


your booth and you can maybe have a meaningful conversation with but right right right right but it's also


it's kind of like and so lewis it was like one person and she's like so what do you do like i don't get it


don't until i can to joke and to paint and i know i can paint and i can draw but well i don't get it so why didn't


you paint and what do you say i mean you say like well okay thank you interesting uh yeah but one of the things i i like


about different work is that element of surprise and when i first saw your work i thought


of it as contour drawings and i didn't realize until i came up


close to your work at des moines this year and i saw that it's it's cuts it's the lines are cut


out uh like a relief that you are layering onto paper


so i find that so cool that that i was surprised in that way well i call them drawings okay


because they are drawings definitely but it's so interesting that it's not done with a pen that you know i mean your ink


lines can be quite wide because you can cut the drawings right from the paper so


tell me about how you came about that process i'm trained uh to to paint and to draw right and i used to i used to


paint i used to draw and i kind of felt that i had the abilities and the skills and i was able


to paint and i was able to draw but i couldn't relate to my work i couldn't


connect it with my work because i kind of felt like i was doing because i could do it and i had the skills and the


ability but i didn't feel like it came from my heart and from my soul it was something


like i was doing because i knew how to do it and okay and it's i would look i would


look at my artwork and i would say so what i mean yeah i can do it and people tell me oh it's beautiful it's nice and


we really like what you do but i couldn't connect with my work it's funny it's like one of those feelings


when you do it because you know how to do it but i feel like because you've


technically learned different techniques and skills and stuff but it didn't feel like what you wanted to do or what you


wanted to express it's you know like it didn't speak back to me you know it's funny because i mean when you create your work i mean you


look at it and you feel like well i mean maybe i can fix here something but you enjoy looking at your work


because i mean that's your creation this is what you create i felt like i would look at it and it


would feel foreign to me and i just you know it was one of those feelings i couldn't really explain so


then i started like i was reading a biography on picasa at that time and how he would like every 10 years he would


reinvent himself he would look like and take his artwork and try to do something so something different because if if you


look at his early works he cannot even tell it was the same person who created his later works so and then i started


like thinking about can i change to definition what a painting is or what kind of media


i have to use for the painting like what is going to be oils watercolors acrylics or pencil


but can i use for example my like scissors because i always like to cut like i don't know why like


this this process of cutting i always like enjoy it even as a child and i thought well can i use my scissors as my


brush like i mean so i started like working on it with crazy like technique which is


like i mean it takes me forever to make every single piece the larger pieces can take up to like three months to make and


uh so i started thinking like i'm gonna do like more or less like a schedule study


and let's see if i can actually use my scissors as my penguins


and and this is i call them scissor drawings because my instrumental scissors but i want them to have a feel


like ink painting like a japanese style like japanese brush painting so chinese like


brush paintings or like from a distance that would look actually has pain joints and so i started like kind


of like experiment it took me a while till actually i felt comfortable with what i what i did i


made a lot of mistakes i made a lot of pieces which were terrible i would never show them to anybody else it wasn't we


all do i mean that's how you get from point a to point b you know exactly right and and i wanted to just to see it


and i gave myself told myself five years if it doesn't work out i'll go back to my paintings which i don't connect


maybe like in five years are going to be old and wiser and more like more understanding but i got into that


and i like this kind of like when people get surprised saying well it's people when you know you can do it with good


people yes i mean there are a lot of traditional paper cutting there is in china in japan in germany they're very


traditional when they just fold the paper and they'll do snip snip card i mean i cannot do this again because for


me like it has to be like either painting a drawing which i transferred to the black paper but i


i suddenly felt like something clicked in me something told me this is what you should do for now yeah there's no really


like super logical reason why i wanted to do it just my first reason was that i


simply wasn't connecting with what i was creating and i think as an artist you do


need to connect to your creations you don't need to feel like the part of you if you don't connect to


your artwork i think as an artist you cannot really progress anywhere because you end up doing the same thing


over and over and over because it just kind of becomes i don't know i


don't like it but i'm gonna do it yeah well what i think is so cool about how


you do your scissors drawings is like the line it can just have the slightest of


movement but there's such a story that's being told through the line of that piece you know


i mean you work very minimally line is such an important part of of what we see when we


look at your work but i feel it's like almost like a reflection on our lives because when i


decided to go black and white no background just like the image where i felt like i was living my life really


fast i was feeling like i wasn't catch up with my life it seems like like time were just flying and i just couldn't


tell like months apart i couldn't tell days apart and especially living in big cities like new york i mean you


bombarded with so much that and then there is no it doesn't get quiet like in my neighborhood it doesn't go like like


at night it's still like the people in the south and everything and i kind of felt like i started looking for


really big things but i was ignoring very small things like very special moments and i felt like i was like


looking for something big large but i realized that our life is not measured


by time life is measured by moments we remember for the rest of our lives but


quite often they're very tiny moments they're not the big moments maybe like somebody smiled at you somebody gave you


a hand to help you to cross the street somebody picked up your phone you dropped because you always walk with


your phone around and uh so are those the moments you're trying to capture in your work


yeah uh i realized that i needed to slow down in the sense i really needed to


see the little moments which would make me happy in 10 years


life teaches us very interesting lessons and i realize when you look for something big you get it you want bigger


but we don't ever look for something small all right it's interesting right we


always look for something big big big and then we get it and then once and they're bigger


and this this is when i really realized my life was just going out of control like too much too


fast too too big too just too much yeah and it was hard to be


satisfied with what i had instead of being grateful for what i had it was just like i want more and more and more


and just you get more and more and then sounded like you feel empty yeah isn't that an ironic thing to


to be like chasing the more and the more it's never enough right


you know like you get a new car and you say like well i don't have a car but that's it i don't love this car for next


like 10 years and two years you want another car and then uh


you get your phone and you think oh it's gonna be fine for a long time but then one year like oh my phone is old and


slow and this and that and you want another one and i just realized it's like you would never ever catch up with


yourself and you just want more and more and more and uh


and then i decided just let's just appreciate a kind word a smile i mean it's true it's a


good lesson we need to find peace and solace in those things i even find in


social media that there can be such an emptiness and a hollowness to all of the


activity all of the buzz all of the whatever i mean i'm not saying we shouldn't


connect on social media but i can find when the balance starts to get off if i start feeling like


i don't have what that one has or i'm not doing what that one does then it becomes a


a negative spiral and it needs to be like take a break and kind of get back to the present and be in your own world


right and so especially right now social media like put so much pressure you have to have more people following you and you


have to have this big account and you have to do the reels and everything it's like how about just like something


simple so people can just look and enjoy i mean i think social media right now


gives so much pressure to the people the way they have to look and talk and all kind of things


i think it was a very negative vibe so i closed my account my old account


that was kind of like got out of control with numbers of people because i kind of like on social media i


want to have a conversation with people like to see what they understand what they like what they appreciate versus


just like like like like having small account it's it's a little bit more difficult because they're like


big accounts and you know how instagram is it is it's like yeah or or if it's


not big it doesn't get spread and who gets shown it and how does the


then it's like it's really more of an issue than of advertising it's like do you want the


small network of close people to communicate with or are you advertising


to a broad base of collectors it's kind of like that's the catch 22 in that


whole situation right right what can you do


i think like it's very important like uh stay true to yourself yeah yeah just to


yeah just do what you feel is the right thing to do instead of trying to compete with everyone


so how did that affect your work your overall body work so i decided to go minimal and i decided that especially


during the pandemic i decided that every single piece i'm gonna make is gonna have a story so they're not gonna be


more like random pieces like something but every single piece if people ask me why did you create this piece i would


tell well this is the person i met and this is what what kind of in what kind of interaction we


had had i think it's also for me it's almost like the diary of my life like


when i create those pieces it's almost for myself i remember somebody who was


nice to me who just appreciated me who for who i am who is not looking for


anything big but saying you're fine i know you're not the perfect person but we still treasure you and i started like


making pieces which on about the moment i treasure which you're gonna treasure for the rest of my


life whether it's a people i don't know people i know maybe like i saw a flower


somewhere and this flower was so beautiful so i stopped for 10 minutes of staring in the middle of the street so


it's kind of like i feel like what i do right now actually helps me to slow down


yeah and to notice special things yeah so your work is is your diary right i


mean you you use that that term on social media right so that is it's those special moments that are meaningful to


you and that stick with you and that you want to create a piece about it and have it continue that memory going on through


time right like for example when we met each other in life for the first time we talked i might not remember where where


i met you maybe it was the morning when maybe it was somewhere else but i would remember


talking to you and i think it's more important not the time the time frame but the moment yes because what what's


important to me was that on that hot day on a busy busy day you came to say hello


to me but i think this is what it is as humans i mean i don't want to send pretentious but i want to teach like people like to


appreciate little moments because this is what makes our life special


and this is what i mean we can go through difficult moments when like some kind of


like everything like always suddenly happens in a country whether it's politically economically i mean a lot of people who


don't know how to express their emotions they don't know where to go to i mean they need somebody like to help them out


to have some kind of an outlet for their emotions yeah and i just hope like just like


make it like some very simple pieces of art with there's no complex kind of trying to figure out


what's going on there maybe it would help some people just kind of release either anxiety or worries or fears i


mean times are tough life is difficult life is difficult i think it's ironic


that you living in probably the busiest city the busiest location in the world


you've come to the realization that you you're able to step back


and to to cherish the simple to cherish the minimal the interactions that


in and amongst what can be complete and utter busy chaos you're able to step


back and and see the little girl standing on the side of the street with the puppy or whatever or the birds that


fly through in the air you know to me up in the sky right and and and value that and cherish that well i think maybe it


does help because i think i think when you move to new york as an adult i mean there's a whole excitement


about being in new york there are things to do and like you have to go here you have to go there you have to see i think


when you just kind of grow up here that's your home i think like actually


you start like looking for some kind of outlets of the emotion and of like this


business and you know the quiet streets you know well like streets were like there are not many people and i think


maybe if i lived in a place which was always quiet and peaceful and uh bird singing maybe actually i


wouldn't actually appreciate those little moments because they always see because that takes over more of the the


reality space than the cherished view that you that you that you look for and find


right maybe it can be because you work out of your apartment building at six o'clock in the morning and you're worried that there's nobody gonna be on


the streets and you're gonna be alone waiting for an uber to take you to an airport and you see people going already


to work and they have ties on and they have kills on and everyone is already like are you thinking like at six o'clock in the morning where did all


these people come from aren't you supposed to be in bed but people are already there already bustling so what


was that like in 2020 when everything shut down did new york just


take on a whole different feel because i mean did the streets get quiet or was it still pretty hopping no it was pretty


pretty empty i didn't know actually that new york can empty out so quickly


and so empty my apartment building which has 36 floors 20 apartments on each floor


it was like only like five percent occupied so then people just left you would never think in a city like new


york your family would feel lonely like completely isolated i think in the beginning this was the hardest feeling


because the isolation because it's not like they were like maybe where you are or maybe like


places emptied out but people still live in houses they didn't go anywhere so once in a while maybe you would see your


neighbor you'd go grocery shopping and you would still see people but it's like


it's my neighborhood completely emptied out and it would be like barely i would i still i had a dog and i would take dog


twice a day outside for all kind of needs and you would barely


meet a person you would never see anybody so it was a really it was quiet it was


the first time when even like after september 11 and after other things i never saw new york so quiet no cars i


mean you would just hear ambulances which was one of the most difficult part because you would hear like a lot of


foundations going to hospitals because new york was hit really really really hard yeah and so it was in the beginning


was was the sound of ambulances the sirens and you know that what was happening that people were taken to


hospitals and no other traffic no planes flying no helicopters flying


nothing so it was like so quiet that it was scary quiet yeah it had to feel surreal


when you're just so used to activity all the time and then boom it just that shift


suddenly you felt like this human tragedy happening because i mean humans disappeared it just disappeared in order


to go to a grocery store he had to make an appointment because he didn't want to have too many people in the store


but on the other hand the sky was blue he didn't see any planes flying there


was really clean just because there wasn't traffic to pollute right and then what happened


what happened very interesting thing that we knew who was still in the building


especially all the people like people who cannot actually couldn't go anywhere so then we got to the next level when


you really wanted to help each other out so it sounded like it was a strong community of people making sure everyone


was okay if somebody needed to go to hospital or to see a doctor or somebody groceries medication and everything so


suddenly like we created this we knew like who was like wasn't able to go outside so you would go you wouldn't


really see people you would knock on the door stand outside of the door and ask do we need anything oh you need some


food so i'm gonna buy and i'm gonna put outside of your door because people don't want uh to see each other so then


suddenly like the best of humans came out like making sure that your neighbors are fine and


it was empty like till pretty much till i think july september maybe i felt like


the city belonged to me and it was a great feeling like it was all oh you had it all to yourself


which was a great feeling like i felt oh finally i went to new york and uh you would work i would take really long


walks and i would go to hudson river and it's actually it was for me


personally as an artist it was on one hand it was a really difficult year because i didn't have any income right


on the other hand it was a great year to look into myself like why do i create


art why do people look at my art why did i buy my art what were some of the discoveries you came up with uh the


discoveries came up with with a especially during the hardest times of


our lives right when especially when something happens not like on a personal level


but even on a political level or like for example health level people need the art it doesn't matter


what form of the arts it can be poetry it can be music it can be our


writings it can be sculpture it can be gloss it can be paintings people need because they need honestly


they need an outlet for their feelings and emotions there were a lot of discoveries going on uh like my website


barely he gets any hits but uh during the pandemic people were going on my website so i felt very guilty because i


didn't upload anything and but i realized actually during the during the pandemic actually more people look at my


website then and so i think so what i discovered that


in a way we as artists were the voice of many people with the voice the eyes the ears and the


feelings of many people they need us because they don't know how to say what happens sometimes i need to


see like cheerful paintings because people want to have a little bit more hope sometimes they want to look at the


gloomy dark paintings because that's how they feel right because they feel gloom and dark so actually we as artists we


kind of in the avant-garde of humans emotions that's interesting and people will need our art it doesn't


matter what happens right right well maybe it's our job as artists not just to


not just to create any work like you were saying earlier you were technically good at making this body of work that


didn't resonate for you so it seems like if collectors want from us


that connection or to process their emotions it's almost like we're doing that emotional work and we're expressing


what we're feeling in our work and that's what is going to resonate more with people is when they can


connect on that deep level to where that creation came from so it is important to


do personalized work right because i think it's difficult like when you don't know


what to say or how to say i mean you look for something which would make you feel


the right way right so for example you do a lot of public installations right so for example when people look at your


work as public like it's free it's available to the public the player of colors the player light to play the


sunlight the dark day i mean it resonates with people with the emotions right i mean the common maybe the


gloomy moon but when i look at your artwork standing somewhere like people would it's actually it would be like a


boost of energy like a happy energy i will admit our first installation i did


feel that sense of responsibility at first um this was just like oh great we're being


commissioned to do this substantial project and on the one level you know you're excited as an artist to be able


to do that sort of thing but then as the project was going along and we realized the scope of it what it


was was it was a healing garden um in a hospital in elmhurst illinois


and it was a courtyard where all of the children were battling cancer in that


building their rooms were going to be looking out onto this courtyard and it was our job to create


something that was fanciful that was whimsical that would make their experience better


and that's when i had to step up we stepped outside of ourselves to say this is a big deal this is this is more than


just somebody going home with a piece of your work that i mean that's important too but when you're like people are battling


these really awful experiences that you can somehow be a light to that i mean


that that's a big deal well this one this is the reason why i think the art is actually whether people know that


maybe they're not even aware of it but the art is in everyday life i mean it's


a and and it's interesting what you're saying about the hospital because in cherry creek and denver there's always like uh


i wish i remember her name like there's a woman who collects like i mean uh artwork for hospitals for local


hospitals so when she came back this year and she was buying some artwork for like i guess local hospital so


i asked you like what hospital she was buying and one of the hospitals she said it was for children with cancer


and it's interesting because i mean one hand they can bring toys right but on the other hand like i mean you


bring the artwork for children which i mean i don't do really like completely like ciao kind of like


related work i mean some images are children but she wasn't buying actually images of children and we were talking


and it's like well i mean they really love the artwork there's some some of them in a really bad shape but they


still look at it and they still react to that and you put in the rooms and she will look and uh and and i think that as


artists we do create like outlets for emotions we


create out words for tears i think which is okay for humans to cry when we look at the artwork


because it's tears and crying as one of human emotions will create our outlets


for laughter sometimes we're not aware of it but we're still relate they still


relate to to the art so i mean we do create a lot of like emotional outlets


for people whether we know that or not i think back to an


episode that we had last year uh will talked with clifton henry i come back to


him a lot he had a really a lot of really great information in his talk and he talks about how


something that was an eye-opener to him when it comes to artwork and that is


that often times artwork is celebrated for what the intention behind the work was


you know more so i mean it's important how it physically turns out and what it looks


like and all that but the intention behind it so if the intention can be


felt from the underlying essence of the work that that's what is


resonates and that's what is celebrated for that work you know what i mean right


well i think that's the reason why i stopped painting because i felt i didn't know what the intention was


like i felt like i mean it was kind of like i could do it but i don't know what what my message was was the intention


was what what i wanted to say to the world how i wanted to connect to the world and when going back to clifton i


mean i remember when he came back from his trip to ghana a couple of years ago


and he took this photograph of a boy standing on the big like tire i think and


i mean i love his artwork i really really i think he's super talented he's a very nice human being and i was


walking by his booth and i suddenly saw this pierce and i couldn't move i just stood there looking at this photograph


because he looked very happy his face was he was so satisfied with himself for being able


to stand there i felt like it was a very hopeful piece the way he photographed it was really really really powerful it was


it well it was i believe the name of that piece he said in the episode is higher ground and it's so fitting you


know standing on that wheels around that thing could roll at any moment he could fall off of that


thing but yet he's perfectly balanced if you look into the future and it looks very optimistic it's it's very


it's a very strong thing and it's also looks i think it was a vision of clifton of


whatever he saw for this boy [Laughter] hey i wanted to ask you too about


something i noticed on social this year you had several opportunities at some of the


shows when we came back from covid you do the lineup of your fellow sister


artists out there and it would be like walking towards the camera


what is that what is that about what is that post about i started doing it in


2019 i think one time i was talking to somebody a two female artist


and she felt like she needed like a lot of support because she felt like as a female artist she was struggling that


we're not i don't even know remember how she put it together but female artists were very


negative which was very weird because she was pretty like good she was very talented she was very skilled but she


said she felt like female artists not going to be like ever like strong a


strong group of artists which didn't make really sense but her feelings were that she was in a marginalized group perhaps or


or like it wasn't respected as being female she couldn't verbalize them i think she was so low so i was like no there's a


strong group of female artists here they do it for living they support themselves and


the smart and talented the gifted they're skilled they're independent they're powerful


it's like no it's not true it's just it's all like a pep talk and and uh i don't believe in it so i decided just


like to get some female artists and photograph to show to the world we're here and we're


we're capable and it's funny because i used to do it another kind of stuff for a little bit


because it created like a bit of like negative among female artists like why


did you invite this one you didn't write that why did you invite me why didn't you write this but


i put it out there whoever wants to come come yeah i'm sure it was a kind of like organically arranged and however the


word spread and whoever happened to be around at the time you took the shot to do it


yeah to do it so it wasn't really like you come you don't come so i kind of like stop for a little bit


just to kind of like for people to process about that anybody is invited we did one in


cherry creek last year like when it was in the parking lot there were like 52 of us something like that was a huge number


but everyone was invited well it's sad when something that is meant to


engender solidarity and to be uplifting


gets turned or felt as a negative or gets communicated as a being left out


when the message was as a group as female artists you are bonded together


and as you know what i mean and you have each other's back and you there are a lot of you and you know what


i mean to say here we are and then to have other people take it a different way that had to be kind of hurtful when


that wasn't the intention behind it right well i mean my title for the whole thing was


artists friends sisters it was kind of like very straightforward like i mean like we artists we're


friends we're sisters in a sense where we help each other so i think like sometimes i mean it's


easy to instead of like argue with people and trying to say like actually i didn't do anything wrong because the the


call is always open yeah uh so sometimes just take it's good like just to take a little break


for them to process because right now like uh i'm saying well why don't you do that i'm going to do it again so so it's kind


of like uh so i'm gonna go back to it but i wanted i didn't want to create like


a lot of negative sure feelings in the community because you know like gossip unfortunately travels very quickly yeah


well here's here's the place to set it straight anyway right where it came from and what it's


about yeah because i mean my intentions were like just i mean being an artist is a hard thing


being an artist i mean like you are you have to prove yourself to the world you have to show it to the world you're


capable you have to say something to the world sometimes you accept it sometimes you're not accepted i mean i never


really thought about myself as a female artist i always think i'm an artist i mean i don't care because for me like male


female we're all artists but for some female artists i know the struggle and they want like they want to have


more support and more like they need to feel there is a community or female artist helping each other so the idea


would just to show that we're here we're not going anywhere so this is it i mean nothing was this was nothing like you


encouraged not included but somehow humans sometimes we


we make long turns yeah right so think of it this way the point of that is not about ego or personality


right the females who were in those shots were a symbol of the artist community


female artist community so whether you're in the photo or not in the photo it is a bigger theme it's a bigger image


to be appreciated and embraced and and another reason why i wanted to do it for


younger artists right now like for for example younger girls who want to be artists but


maybe like my mother wasn't very supportive of me to becoming an artist it doesn't matter whether actually what gender


anymore but i mean there are a lot of maybe like young kids who don't get any support or young girls who don't get a


support like i mean who don't think they can make artists and because it was a group of


underprivileged girls i was teaching in new york a lot of their parents didn't think it was a good thing for them to


become artists because they felt like uh you should get like a proper job right the stigma about how


are you going to support yourself and right and having faith in that whole economic way


of life right so like one of the first reasons why i also started doing because i


wanted to show it to the schools and i wanted to show photographing he's a female artist you can go to the


instagram pages you can go to their websites you can see what kind of work they maybe


they create maybe they can be your role models like that i told them you can i asked some of the artists like if they


can contact them like if they can talk to them and so so one reason why i


started doing this photographs just to support the community another one is just to show the younger generation


or female they are to school not supported by their family so whose


families think that it's better for them and we were usually talking about more like underprivileged kids like uh you


know like famously from one paycheck to another paycheck cannot really support their let's say the art


supplies yeah and everything right but to ensure to them that yes i mean there are females who


actually make it and it's not an easy path to go but you you


still can do it you can contact them you can look at their artwork you can talk to them so there were like two reasons


why i started doing that yeah the second one is still like uh i showed them the first one


um i i gonna go back to it i just took a break because i wanted like the


community to process yes well i think you know back to what you were saying it


is about representation it's when people don't see themselves in roles


then they don't think that they have an opportunity for those roles so i think that is


commendable that that you are putting that out into the world for that purpose


you know right i mean there's like a group of girls i've been teaching and they all come from like very


underprivileged uh communities and with very low financial abilities


art supplies are really expensive right now like so and it can be very discouraging


because i thinking like you can make it and so and i whenever i would show them


photograph or female artists and then they were like oh they all like work as artists and they support themselves


to certain degree all of us do that and and we'll look at their artwork at their


body of work and talk about it different it's also what's good for them to learn different uh different media different


uh body of works and uh so i mean it was like kind of like two


different purposes which work pretty well for sure yeah yeah yeah


yeah well ella i i start a lot of these talks and i kind of have one intention and


it's really interesting when a conversation takes on kind of a life of its own and something i really got from


from our talk here was just that that sense of optimism with artwork and how


important it is to to have that hope to present that hope for collectors to for us to put our work


out into the world like that that's a really inspiring thought that you've left me


with today thank you thank you and also like i think as artists we do need to remember that with eyes ears and mouth


of people because we see we speak we talk and we give them the


ability to speak and talk and hear yeah sometimes as artists we forget and we


just kind of like we focus on work work work and we forget that how


much people need us and that's the reason why they collect the work right i mean this is the reason why they buy because and


then and they come back and they buy another piece and they buy another piece and i think it's actually it's a really


really strong indication that how much they need us we need them


there's no way around but uh if you would think that somebody bought one piece of artwork of


yours or uh but they come back for another one yeah well it speaks to our our responsibility as artists to really make


those connections and make that personal work you know not just to make something to sell because


we all have the the need to pay our bills and support ourselves but if if that was all we wanted out of


this life we would have chosen other careers that's for sure right exactly right right


and we need to remember that's right that they're that that the deeply personal stuff is


is what people are are looking for that's what they're looking to acquire from us and so it's our job to


keep making those discoveries right and then and they keep on coming back because then they want to make a


new discovery well ella this has been a great talk i appreciate you taking some time and sharing thank you a little bit about you


and your story and your process i think of you like a philosopher i mean you you you have such a such a


deep way of thinking and a deeply personal you know you were talking about how it


should be everyone's goal to to put out kindness in the world and you certainly do that in spades anytime i've ever


interacted with you i feel such a a joyful


happy warmth and i just i appreciate so much about you and i know so many artists out there feel the same way i'm


gonna cry now we're gonna finish it i did that to lynn whipple i don't i don't need to make a make the guests cry


on her way out well she's she's pretty good i love your heart


right now i don't wanna cry on the camera but i'm gonna cry right now i'll let you get back to it um so i really


appreciate you spending some time with me um of course no i enjoyed it when you start me going i'm going i usually tell


people i feel like i'm just getting warmed up i know i usually tell people give me


like a kitchen timer just put the timer and when the timer goes over


oh well i can't wait to see your person next year and uh maybe i won't be on a knee cart and i'll be able to give you a


big hug thank you well good luck with your surgeries thanks


thank you i don't think i can help you buddy somehow if you want to chat with me i might


every now and again with this with what i'm dealing with so right you sure know how to cheer me up


well so whenever you feel like down just right now figure out how this thing works and give me a call and i'll chat


with you okay that's right my mom my mom was a pediatrician and she always said like the best medicine is a good


conversation oh she did yeah because she said people forget about like pains and like what


bothers the forget about their fears when you get into the conversation you don't think


about what's going on with your body that's a good point i can certainly i can agree with that point for right now


i can't anyway so when you're when you're pre when your pain medication doesn't work anymore oh


ella yeah the hell of medication


all right thanks ella appreciate it so much well thank you thank you so much thank you


yeah thank you i mean it's very kind i feel very honored that you asked me and uh it means a lot to me so and uh


i truly appreciate it and please say hello to your wife i will do that thank you so much thank you so much thank you


thank you douglas i think you're the only one between the two of us that that makes our guests cry what the hell buddy uh i


i'm sorry you gotta do that to ella okay sorry ella i didn't mean to make you


lose it on the podcast wonderful talk just as we all expected uh there's not anybody more honest on


the circuit i just don't think right you could have chosen a better guess and i just want to highlight


that you know that that conversation that we had about how she was trying to put out


to the world this message of solidarity female empowerment and how even


something that can have that good of an intention that it would get turned into being like well how come i wasn't


included and ego enters in it's sometimes it just makes me discouraged it's like you try and do something good


and then somebody comes in and has something negative to say about it and it's disappointing well


what i love about her at shows a lot of times you'll see her it shows whoever's around the women uh


who are around they'll do a strong female 5 right kind of of all the women


that are kind of in that neighborhood or whatever and they'll they'll just grab people and i've seen people that i know who don't like other


women that are on the other side of that image it's like well you're with the man that i used to be with and this is the


ex of so-and-so and it's all kind of they throw it out the window and they pose for the picture and they're like you know what here we are we're


strong women and we're we're sure so i don't know i i like it i've never heard the negativity before her mentioning it


but people saying well how come i didn't why didn't you invade me and the heck am i right i just exhausted grown-ups god


damn it we're grown-ups just do the thing if you want to do the thing do the thing if you don't don't if you can't


make it to the big dinner then then don't go you know those big artist dinners where it's like 25 people and


they're sitting at a table i kind of hate them it makes me crazy and my wife and i talk about that all the time it's like i love


every single person at that table but i know i'm going off on a different tangent but it's like you know what


you're going to get bad service because you just have a surprise wedding party of 25 people all of a sudden you've


surprised the kitchen they're going to try to time the food out so i like that the separate table and then go visit


individually with people and it doesn't hurt people's feelings is my point that's the only segment yeah


yeah you know what i mean well we're growing up and it is important this is


one of our goals with the podcast is representation another advocacy that we


are all working on is the next generation so for younger women to see that this is a community of women


they're a symbol of i can do this i can step into this career i've got a


sisterhood around me be embraced there's a market that's the bigger message that's being put out there with that


statement yeah right look at us we're brene brown all of a sudden all of a sudden all of a sudden


get in touch with our feminine side that's good that's good well Douglas i think i'm going to call it i got a i got


a big piece on the easel i think i can sell to one of my previous clients which means I’m behind the eight ball for getting ready for Kansas city awesome


this has been a good week thanks for the good talk and thanks for filling me in on everything that went on at st louis this week you


were missed my friend you were very missed i appreciate it all right everyone take care and uh


we'll see you down the road this podcast is brought to you by the national association of independent


artists the website is also sponsored by


zaplication that's and while you're at it check out will's website at

1:31:04 and my website at be


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