“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
We are still climbing through the depths of a global pandemic. For some, the last year and a half has been a time of welcome respite and reflection, despite the chaos surrounding our individual sanctuaries, but for plenty of people, the profound isolation has not been a welcome guest. The realization of what it means to be cut off from the world entirely took many by surprise, forcing them to look inward in a way they had not anticipated. It is not every person who is suited to a life outside of the world at large – one could argue it is hardly anyone who is.
Paige Ackerson-Kiely is a poet as well as the director of the MFA in writing program at Sarah Lawrence. She spoke to us at the end of June from her home in Harlem. After a very difficult year of isolation through the COVID-19 pandemic, she is just getting her feet under her once again. Lockdown taught her without question how tied her writing is to experiencing the world outside her home. She wrote a little during the pandemic, even attempting to write a novel, but going back to re-read her work, she feels that this was merely an exercise rather than a publishable work. She had been working on poems prior to the pandemic but once it hit, felt too earnest to continue these pieces. Now she is working on a series of erotics that have to do with the American Automobile industry. To hear more about her work, including live readings, listen to the complete interview.
David Makala spoke to us from Lusaka, Zambia. In his studio at the moment, he is at work on multiple projects. He is an artist who moves between different mediums, sculpture in various materials, prints and painting. Some of his paintings become artist books. Makala also works with stop-motion animation. When he creates artist books, he personally binds his original prints into the book, doing all the work himself. A prolific artist, he produces quite a volume of work by asking questions in his studio constantly. When he has accumulated enough to comprise a book, he begins the process of compiling them. To hear more about his work and influences, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Humans, as they say, are social creatures.
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. Books by Paige Ackerson-Kiely can be found here. David Makala has been reading about the history and origin of Zambian names.
Did you know that our National Parks system offers residencies for artists who wish to spend time immersed in the natural beauty of our nation? Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is currently accepting applications for artists who are interested in a residency spent among lava flows, rainforests and beaches. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for applications is August 31.
Brainard Carey is an author, artist and educator. He is the director of Praxis 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. His book, Making it in the Art World, is available now with bonus content here.