Monday, December 4, 2023


“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

-Alice Walker

You are powerful. Whether you woke up feeling like you could take on the world or as though it was bearing down on you, within you lies untapped strength. Too often we give away our power, decline to embrace it, shrink from the implication that we ourselves may hold the key to conquering our own obstacles. For some, perhaps, this is an unconscious abdication taught from our earliest age, the subtle insinuation that we should move quietly through the world, allowing others to speak up but never doing so ourselves. Claiming our power can be a daunting step, a shaking off of a lifetime of being told we can’t, we aren’t.

Fran Shalom spoke to us from Jersey City, just across the Hudson from the Lower West Side of Manhattan, where she has lived for seven years. She describes the area as a growing community where she holds a studio inside a converted industrial space. Lower rents than can be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn draw people to Jersey City. Of course, the last year of pandemic and political strife has been strange on a personal level as well as within the community. For Shalom herself, the year has brought the non-COVID illness of both of her parents as well as the sudden, unexpected death of her brother. Despite this, she has had the refuge of her studio. To hear more from Shalom about her abstract, whimsical work, her experience of this extraordinary time and more, listen to the complete interview.

Charlotte Becket spoke to us in February from Brooklyn where she is in the process of relocating as well as working remotely as the pandemic drags on. Although she says New York persists in some sense, all activity takes place in an abbreviated format. Before the pandemic, Becket completed a residency at the Center for Book Arts where she worked as an artist using the materials of bookmakers. In the past, she has made many pieces using paper so this residency offered the opportunity to learn more about the materials. Throughout the pandemic, she has been working on abstract forms using paper to build up what looks like wood with parts that appear to be bursting out. These works speak to the ideas of movement and mechanization but are static works. To hear more about this and other aspects of Charlotte Becket’s work, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Believe and stand up.

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. A Shoe Story: Van Gogh, the Philosophers and the West by Lesley Chamberlain. Charlotte Becket has been listening to a series of interviews called Soft White Underbelly.


The fifth SMACH Biennale invites artists to consider the term fragile. What do frailty and fragility mean in our world? This opportunity not only intends to deepen people’s interest in art, it also aims to heighten awareness of the Dolomites region in Italy where selected work will be displayed at 10 sites. Each of the 10 selected artists will also receive a cash prize. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for submissions is March 28.

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.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here