“And so it goes…” -Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
We do not control our destinies. As much as we can influence the direction that we take in life, ultimately what happens to us lies outside of our ability to direct and manipulate the events of our daily lives. Through the ages, wise thinkers have alluded to the way our dreams and plans often do not go the way in which we envisioned that they would. There is deep beauty in this chaos, in this river of the unknown that disrupts things and moves them along in directions we ourselves never meant to travel.
Lynn Herring spoke to us from Kingston, New York in mid-June. On the eve of the pandemic, just before everything was to shut down, Herring had packed up her entire studio to travel to a one-person show in Brattleboro, VT. Shortly after, with her food supply ordered and ready to hunker down, Herring broke her arm. With her studio packed up and her arm in a sling, she had to find another way to create. A few days before she broke her arm, she began a graphic art journal of sorts, making herself a character as she recorded the absurdity of what she – and the world – was going through. This endeavor lasted until the end of 2020 and got Herring through the worst part of the pandemic while also entertaining other people. She reports that at first Kingston was eerily quiet, but suddenly word got out and people began to move there in droves as they fled the city. Today, the community is quite vibrant. When we spoke, Herring had just packed up her studio once more because the exhibition, titled XOX Share the Love, was back on in Brattleboro. To hear more about her work – primarily sculpture – and more, listen to the complete interview.
Alias Trate spoke to us in late July from London. At that time he reported that things had opened up during the previous two weeks accompanied by fabulous weather. The last 18 months proved a prolific period for Trate, a time when he had the chance to reflect on things and paint. Because of lockdown, many of the superfluous elements in life were removed giving him the opportunity to immerse himself in his craft. Now, as the world begins to move back toward a social opening up, he finds himself in a very good place after all those months of prodigious artistic production. He completed an exhibition at the beginning of the summer and was preparing for a few things in autumn as well as inviting people back into his studio. Alias Trate is a pseudonym that allows him a certain amount of anonymity while also speaking to the essence of why he creates. The name also links to the signature he uses on his work, a modern take on a Roman coin. To hear more about this as well as Trate’s unique approach to his work, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
Rather than get pulled under by the raging current of chaos, perhaps it is better we learn to surf.
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. When we spoke to Lynn Herring, she had recently read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Alias Trate often immerses himself in the books of Italo Calvino.
Künstlerhaus Lauenburg is accepting applications for a four-month residency fellowship in 2022. This is a funded residency with a monthly stipend. Materials funding can be raised as well, thought there is no guarantee. For full details and to apply for your chance to spend four months on the banks of the Elbe River, visit the website. Application deadline is September 15.
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.