Friday, September 22, 2023


“The storm is what they threw at me, the hurricane is what I became.” -Matshona Dhliwayo

Wisdom tells us that life is – when the veneer is stripped away – suffering. The slowness of days, the pressure of crisis, awareness of the inevitable. And yet. And yet. Even in the darkest time, we adapt. We bend ourselves into the shape of the moment, reaching for the light like plants on the forest floor. Suffering? Perhaps. But in between there is great joy – exuberance, life.

Leah Patgorski spoke to us from her home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she moved her studio into her home at the outset of the pandemic. For her, having her materials easily available at home has been a comfort. When we spoke, she was working on a larger panel of dyed sheer fabric. In recent years she has worked with dyed canvas and fabrics, playing with the language of tone. For the dying process, Patgorski uses large pots or occasionally her bathtub. She gravitates toward natural dyes made from plants whenever possible. Once she has gone through the process, she decides which finished products to use in her work. Patgorski creates installation pieces as well as commissioned work. To hear more about her work, the dyes she uses and the process, listen to the complete interview.

Yowshien Kuo lives and works in St. Louis where he spoke to us from his studio. He’s presently working on paintings for a small exhibition in the fall at the contemporary art museum in St. Louis. The theme of the exhibition mingles well with the theme of his paintings – the idea of playing with American folklore. He uses folklore as a starting point to discuss the topics he is interested in. One topic in particular is discrimination against Asian-Americans. This lends itself to a larger conversation about discrimination based on gender and race. Kuo examines the myth of Asian-Americans as “model minorities” among other important topics. To hear how his work fits into a much larger dialogue currently happening in the U.S. including how he is reinterpreting history, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Accept the cloud cover but be assured the sun always lies just beneath.

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. Leah Patgorski is reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Yowshien Kuo is reading Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Whitman.


Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center seeks artists who work in various media from whom to commission and purchase artwork for display at their Enola, Pennsylvania facility in June, 2021. For more information, visit the website. Deadline for completed submission applications is August 24.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.


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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