Friday, December 8, 2023


“To make a deliberate falsification for personal gain is the last, worst depth to which either scholar or artist can descend in work or life.” -Dorothy L. Sayers

Truth and trust. They are the bedrock on which civil society rests. In order for us to go about our lives from day to day in the secure knowledge that our interests are protected, we must believe and believe in those who are appointed to lead. Breach of that trust erodes not only our faith in the chosen leaders of the time but in the larger system as a whole. We rely on our collective leadership to know when to step back, hold accountable, level consequences. If they do not, if those in whom we have placed our trust do not uphold the duties of office no matter how difficult, we must consider whether they can continue to lead.

Shelley Hirsch, a well known vocal artist, spoke to us from Manhattan, New York. She has just finished working on a performance for a live stream festival in Canada called the Electric Eclectics. Rather than perform standing in front of a microphone while someone filmed her, Hirsch decided to make the performance an homage to her apartment of 40 years which she will soon be vacating. Over the course of a few months, a cameraman filmed Hirsch in various parts of her house cooking, singing, in the tub, in bed covered with pieces of shredded newspaper, and more. Her collaborator also played violin while Hirsch sang and spoke. Now that this project has ended, she is working on something she often goes back to which is writing a stream of consciousness while listening to music. Hirsch says the music is essential to her writing process, influencing the work in ways that are completely unique. To hear more about this and other work, including a fantastic residency she completed as well as a forthcoming book, listen to the complete interview.

Tim McFarlane spoke to us shortly before Christmas from is studio in South Philadelphia. Throughout the pandemic, McFarlane has been working consistently as a full-time artist for the first time. Before the lockdown began, he was involved in a few projects that had not yet begun, and once things shifted another project came along. After being called back to work at his day job and realizing this would prevent him from working on these projects, he took a big step and resigned. Now he uses his time working on new bodies of paintings on panel and canvas. Along with working full-time on his art, McFarlane has sold more work this year which helped propel him toward the decision to leave his job to devote all of his time to his practice. He began working with a gallery in L.A. and received a mural commission in Philadelphia. To hear more about these projects and how McFarlane is making life as a full-time artist a reality, listen to the complete interview.

Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Degradation of trust is poison to a functioning and just society.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Shelley Hirsch is reading Being Here is Everything: The Life of Paula M. Becker by Penny Hueston, translated by Marie Darrieussecq. Tim McFarlane is reading Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch.


Tuo-Tuo in Finland announces its Seasonal Open Call for 2021-22. This series of four residencies is open to various creators depending on the time of year. From poets to bakers, herbalists to visual and performing artists/musicians, there is a season for everybody. Each residency period reflects the environment and the particular influence of the season. For more information, visit the website. Please note there is a fee for residency participation. Couples are welcome to apply together. Deadline for applications is January 15.


Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis Center for Aesthetics. He has written six books for artists; Making it in the Art World, New Markets for Artists, The Art World Demystified, Fund Your Dreams Like a Creative Genius, Sell Online Like a Creative Genius, and Succeed with Social Media Like a Creative Genius.

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