Listen, I am just unapologetically proud of these first three interviews of Artifice Season 8. I recorded these interviews right as I was coming off my crutches last winter, and I can HEAR the eagerness in my voice, in my questions.
Today, October 5, I’m totally still in recovery from this knee injury, but I have finally gotten back to my pre-injury level of general prance-iness, which is a HUGE emotional relief. And I’m beginning to see some ways that this experience has left me (in such a positive way) with wayyyy fewer fucks than I had before.
I can hear hints of some sort of burgeoning, unapologetic, unequivocal default in the questions I’m asking these guests, in the way I’m doing my best to really show up for each of them.
And I feel deeply, genuinely honored by and grateful for the way these three individuals received me in these interviews. They all showed up so beautifully as their unequivocal selves. It was just the magic I needed as I was coming out of that dark winter period of zero weight-bearing, and crutches showing up in my dreams.
It’s been such a gift to me to relisten to these interviews two seasons later. An adventure!
And so…I have a Deep Dive for you!
All three of my September guests shared some perspective-altering wisdom about the nature of art and humanity. Rather than weaving a whole narrative connecting their thoughts, I want to just share with you some of my favorite quotes from each interview, and let you do that heartful connecting-of-dots in whatever way makes sense to you.
I would love love love to hear how this collection of quotes hits you…
From Folklorist/Ethnomusicologist/Ethnographer Dr. Langston Collin Wilkins:
“I think there’s so much we can learn about people, from an individual to a cultural level, by studying and documenting their artistic and cultural practices. In some ways, you can learn more [through art] than through direct sociological observation. If you go through the art…people feel very free when they’re making art, and when they’re doing different kinds of cultural practices. You’re not as self-conscious as you often are in other kinds of space. You have this open palette for you to create, and share, and think. Art reveals so much. And that’s why I think it needs to be documented, and explored, and studied. Because of what it can reveal about the human condition.”
“Protecting an artwork is a protection of an individual, and a community. When you lose the art, you’re not just losing art, you’re losing people, you’re losing experience.”
“People can be, and are, contradictory, in nature. And I feel like we’re living in an ideological/philosophical era where – if you project yourself as one thing, you gotta be ALL of that. But that’s just not the nature of life. People are so complex, and so contradictory, and that’s just natural. We have to look at people as individuals and recognize that these contradictions are just fundamental parts of the self. We can explore that, we can grapple with it, but we need to acknowledge and start from that space. And that’s a way to build toward a better future, if we recognize that people are flawed.”
“My primary purpose here is to say ‘here’s what society says about you, all these terrible things. But actually, look at yourself, you’re beautiful. And it’s your art that I can use to show you how beautiful you are.’”
From Moscow-based Mold Artist Daria Fedorova:
“Being an artist is a way of living, thinking, breathing, eating, communicating to different people. It’s not the thing you make, it’s the way you feel and believe.”
“I am become as mold itself, because I can grow everywhere, in any conditions, no matter what. Because I understand and feel this power inside me, this type of fire, my id, I need to undergo all of these traumas to meet with this id, finally. You need to undergo your soul’s lessons. When you’re following your natural desires, you can undergo the lessons which your soul wants to undergo for your next [chapter]. It’s the only option to live happily – to follow what you want to do…to accept nature, and understand all these cycles and timings. To accept the time, this thing that I can’t change, because it is.”
“The answer is love. So, when you see the world and the people around you through the lens of love, it immediately becomes the most sacred and intimate thing. And, of course I have bad days and low energies, because I’m not a saint…this is very important. Once you understand it, you start to be in balance. Remember the phrase ‘I am the love.’ You need to say it deep inside, and immediately the beauty will come back.”
From Comedian and Writer Ben Brown [The Fresh King Benjamin]:
“There’s something very human about the way that we create. We’re storytellers, we’re myth makers – there’s something really powerful about our imagination. The thing that makes use different from other animals is that we can imagine things that aren’t true, and then we can make those things true. And I think that really is the creative process, is having this idea of something that could be, and then seeing a way that you could make it actually real.”
“I believe 100% in the power of life, and in the power of life to move through humans in a way that’s magical and beautiful. And the full expression of life – sometimes you’re down, sometimes you’re sad, sometimes you’re all of the things, but I really believe that there is something moving through us, and that we can align ourselves with that, and be who we really are, and that there’s something that wants us to be here.”
“There are all parts of creativity – noticing, being curious, asking questions, challenging yourself – that’s all part of what we do when we tune into our body. And that’s all part of what we do when we’re creative. We’re asking questions. We’re exploring”
“Whatever you’re scared of expressing, express. Whatever is the thing that you think you’ll be made fun of, whatever is the thing that you think you’ll be made “wrong” for, whatever is the part of you that feels so tender and so special that you couldn’t ever show it – show us that. And do it boldly, and do it bravely. And be willing to do it imperfectly. Be willing to do a thousand shitty first drafts…you cannot think your way to good art, you can only act your way to good art.”
“[Ask yourself], what if I am exactly what I need to be?”
Ok! Back to yer ol’ pal Emily now…
Do you see why I couldn’t just tie one little ribbon through these beautiful conversations? I’m honestly a bit…shook…by how similar these three conversations are, with artists from such fundamentally different backgrounds, different mediums, etc.
It feels indicative of some undeniable truths about the value of art for communities, the value of creativity for each individual, the multi-faceted nature of each of us human animals (every single one of these artists shared some version of this thought), the importance of global human family…
I feel I could write five different essays on the subjects arising in these conversations. These topics are – kind of everything, honestly.
What are your takeaways?
Stay tuned for many more gorgeous conversations in the coming months! Season 8 is a major winner all around.
Happy Pumpkin Season!