I started the Inspiration Interview Series because I wanted to know more about the people who share their work with the world and inspire me to practice courage, be creative, and dream big. Kal Barteski is one of those people - she rocks my world and her art rocks my walls! Meet Kal!
Kal's art speaks to me in a very soulful way. There's so much love and goodness in what she does. This year I ordered several of Kal's Special Edition YOU ARE AWESOME posters as special teacher gifts. These were Charlie's teachers for the past three years and I wanted to do something to express our gratitude. I can't tell you how much they loved them! It always feels good to get something with your name on it.
I also bought these for my children (and my two nieces, but don't tell my sisters).
They make me weepy when I see them!
Here's another one of Kal's pieces. I think it's so beautiful!
Kal recently started an online movement to inspire positive change in the way art, photography, design, words, music, film and ideas are shared on the internet. It's made a significant difference in the way I think about linking and accrediting work. Read more about the Link with Love campaign here!
I'm so excited for y'all to get to know Kal! I hope you enjoy the interview as much I did!
To celebrate Kal and her incredible work, two readers will each win one of the 8X10 Personalized YOU ARE AWESOME posters! All you need to do is leave your name in the comments section. If you're reading this via email, please leave your comment on the blog!
Questions based on The Gifts of Imperfection!
On Vulnerability, Authenticity and Courage
Creativity, innovation, and truth-telling can feel very vulnerable in our culture which is why we often feel deeply inspired when we see it . We’d love to know more about how you find the courage to share your authentic self and your work with the world.
1. Fill in the blank for us: Vulnerability is ______________.
Vulnerability is transformative. I'm not sure that's even a word. But that's what I think about vulnerability. It changes you. It builds you or defeats you. It strips you. It rewards you. See? It's transformative. It's a little bit terrifying and a little bit magical.
2. What role does vulnerability play in your work?
Vulnerability is huge for me. I feel vulnerability is present in my work in two ways. First, it's a vulnerable place to display a painting. Every time I release a new piece of work - I feel vulnerable. It's not always easy to put yourself out there to be open for criticism.
Second, I have a relationship with paint and from within that relationship I feel a sense of comfort and safety sharing my emotions on canvas. I am an emotional artist and I paint what I am feeling. Pain, sorrow, joy, happiness, anger, defeat, hope - for some reason when those feelings are woven within 'art' - there is a freedom in being so vulnerable. Vulnerability connects us. It affects us. It's a little bit terrifying and a little bit magical.
3. What does authenticity mean to you and how do you practice it in your work?
Authenticity means everything to me. I see my work as a reflection of who I am. I find it incredibly hard to get behind an idea or painting or cause that I'm not personally attached to. Art is a way for me to communicate feelings. It's an honour for me to be able to make art. I believe that authenticity can be felt and it is one of the elements that makes art necessary and powerful.
4. Is perfectionism an issue for you? If so, what’s one of your strategies for managing it?
Perfection is something I try to work on by simply being utterly imperfect at everything I do. I'm kidding. A little. Perfection is just a matter of perspective. When I set out to paint - I feel like that moment is a junction of an idea, skill and timing.
I do my best and maybe it isn't EXACTLY what I was after - but, it's a clear and true representation of that moment and how the idea, the skill, and the timing come together. On a different day - perhaps the execution would be different.
I don't pay too much attention to 'perfection' because life is always evolving and it is always a cocktail of idea, skill and timing. Sometimes those three elements come together to form magic - it's just right. And sometimes they don't - and it's perfect.
I try to manage my insecurities with something I call my Bulletproof Positive Attitude. It basically means to me that I am here for my own journey. I do not compare myself to others. I do kill myself with expectations. I don't talk myself out of chances. I do not listen too closely to the criticisms OR THE accolades - because BOTH are dangerous. I silence the doubts and fears that get in the way of the task at hand - making art.
5. What inspires you?
Words. Ideas. Moments. The intricate workings of my brain are incredibly complicated and simple at the same time. Inspiration is every where. Emotions are the filter we see the world through.
6. What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity and how do you move through it?
Timing. Schedules get in my way. Creativity comes on a breeze. It's unpredictable. I feel an incredible sense of anxiety when the moment strikes and I can't do anything about it. I have three young toddlers right now and often it's just not possible for me to get to a creative urge in time. I feel a small sense of urgency and loss when that happens. I have made painting time a priority and have found a sense of peace that makes me a better mother, wife and friend.
7. Describe a snapshot of a joyful moment in your life.
Oh, I love my life. I have three little girls under four, a really great husband and a couple of french bulldogs so the most joyful moments occur when we are in the moment loving each other's company. Those moments are divine. But I also find exhilerating amounts of joy when I am deep in a painting and the ideas, skills + timing are turning to magic.
Now, for some fun!
From James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor’s Studio
1. What is your favorite word? hippopotamus
2. What is your least favorite word? schizophrenic
3. What sound or noise do you love? waves
4. What sound or noise do you hate? barking dogs
5. What is your favorite curse word? I say EFF but I mean F*CK
From JL’s Uncle Jessie Meme
1. Best show on television? I have no idea! We don't have TV!
2. Best concert? anything acoustic or with cellos
3. If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? SEQUINS!
4. Nightmare job (s)? Accountant, lawyer, doctor, nurse, accountant, hair dresser, office person... anything with paperwork, shipping, organization, accounting, strict hours...
5. A talent you wish you had? being fashionable
6. Dream vacation? Anywhere in the South Pacific
7. What’s on your nightstand? A baby pacifier, Tina Fey's Bossypants, and Marian Bantjes' I Wonder.
8. What’s something about you that would surprise us? I am madly in love with an accountant, I have a soft spot for Ice Cube and his crazy gansta rap, I am overwhelmbed in crowds and libraries.
From Smith Magazine’s Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure, what is your six-word memoir:
Paint so your heart is soft.
Huge thanks to Kal for inspiring us! Don't forget to leave a comment if you'd like to win your own YOU ARE AWESOME print.
Congrats to Kelly Fitz and Marie Dauterive!