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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Inner-View: Kesha Bruce

Inner-View With Artist

Exploring her inspiring art, creqtive lifestyle and living in France:

An inspirational quote or affirmation that inspires you in your work:

I don’t have a quote, but I have a word: Surrender. This year instead of making a New Year’s resolution I chose one word that would be my theme or purpose. I chose: Surrender. As a natural-born over achiever I try to micro-manage nearly everything that crosses my path. I’m constantly reminding myself that I there is so much that I cannot control. Sometimes if we just surrender, the reward is that we gain both better understanding and bigger opportunities than we ever could have thought possible.

Please share your artistic background and what inspired you to become an artist:

Like most people I’ve loved art-making since I was a child, the main difference is that I just decided, at about age 16 or 17, that I wanted to make art-making my career. I had no idea exactly how to do it at the time, but I was lucky enough to have some great mentors along the way.

What inspires you most in your work?

Well much of my work is really about story-telling. Most of the imagery that I use comes from my fascination with folktales and superstition. I use collage and layering, so that each new work becomes a collection of memories, re-told stories, and in a way, newly created personal mythologies.

Please share your current creative projects and what you are working on for the future:

Well My most recent photographic project is called (Re)calling and (Re)telling, which is a series of Mixed-Media digital photographs. In 2005, my Grandfather, gave me an old collection of large format negatives he had taken while he was a young soldier in the Korean War.

I was immediately fascinated by these people and places and frantically went about gathering as much information as possible about the people in the photographs. I eventually decided to incorporate these images into my work.

Even though the names, dates, and exact details of each image couldn’t be found, I developed an intimate visual relationship with the women in these photographs and I had already begun to create stories about these women in my mind well before I had ever decided to tell their stories in my work. So essentially the narratives I’ve constructing in (Re)calling and (Re)telling are part fiction, part history, part homage.

What do you like and dislike about living in France?

That’s such a tough question because what I like and what I dislike changes almost every day. But I can say confidently that I love the food. I love the language eventhough I find it very challenging. I also have a real appreciation for the slower pace of life and the way that the French really take time to enjoy the things that matter. Finding and admiring beauty is just part of the culture.

Things I don’t like: The dreadful winter weather, the strikes, the usual cultural differences. But anyplace is what you make of it. Now that I’ve been here for 6 years, I don’t think I’d ever go back to living in the US. Home is where you make it. I choose to be home here.

Are there any particular spots that you like to visit in France regularly for a creative buzz? Which art galleries or creative spaces would you recommend to visit while in Paris?

The Pompidou is a fantastic museum and I visit it whenever I’m in Paris. Other than that, I try to hit a few art galleries in the Marais, but to be honest I really just enjoy just sitting in a cafĂ© and watching people pass by. I create better when I’m calm, well rested, and relaxed, so that’s how I spend my time in Paris.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to move to France?

France isn’t the easiest place to move to. Examine why you really want to move here. Make sure you are separating fact from fantasy. Many people have their illusions smashed once they hit the reality of lower salaries, rental apartment shortages, and the difficulty of getting a work Visa. If all that doesn’t scare you away, then good! Learn the language, jump on a plane and start your adventure. Just know what you’re getting into so that when you do arrive you’ll really be prepared and have a chance to enjoy your adventure.

What words of wisdom would you have for anyone who is thinking about starting a business and making a living with their creative talent?

Sometimes creative people have a hard time running the business end of things. Creativity is one thing, but marketing it and turning it into a career can be a real challenge. If you want to have a career instead of a very expensive hobby, you need to learn some real business sense up front.

Set concrete measurable goals, work towards them in baby-steps, and celebrate your smallest accomplishments. Work hard. Really hard. But learn to take time off too. Find successful people in your field that inspire you. See what they’re doing and how they run their creative business, then, if it fits what you want, follow their lead.

Please share your natural hair routine and journey - why did you go natural and what do you love about it?

My natural hair journey began partly by accident. One too many chemical treatments and my hair had just become like straw. I had been thinking about going natural for years, so I seized the opportunity and never looked back. I’ve hadmy “New Hair” for almost 2 years now. I love that it defies gravity and that it’s beautiful everyday. I almost never have bad hair days. I guess this goes back to the first question really. I surrendered. I stopped fighting my hair and trying to make it be something it wasn’t. Now I have the hair I’ve always wanted.

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