I’ll be honest. KAI HAZELWOOD happens to be one of my favorite people. Full stop. I’ve known her for a decade, and we’ve collaborated extensively. She has participated in Rhizomatic Studio’s Performance Lab and Collective Creation Lab, and she’s even a poster child for our writing workshops. All that to say that this spotlight is FAR overdue! Kai is a dancer, dance maker, producer, and (increasingly) an organizer and activist. Kai doesn’t mince words when it comes to what she thinks we need more of in the arts. She says: “I'm less interested in how the field is changing and more interested in remaking it entirely by disempowering its traditional structure and building an independent, stable, and lucrative collaborative that can operate outside of the traditional axis of institutional funding and support. I'm working towards this by testing out new structures of funding and leadership, and working hard to make room for queer and BIPOC artists along the way…”
I met Young-Tseng (“YT” to his friends) at a Rhizomatic Arts Hangout in Pomona in 2018, at the same time that I had just invited him to participate in Rhizomatic Studio’s Performance Lab. I was quickly won over by his quiet but riveting solo performances, and his willingness to support his peers in any way he could. For this month’s Artist Spotlight, I wanted to know more about how he sees a culture of sustainable arts practice developing today. YT says, “it’s empowering when I see and know artists who are doing more for themselves and other artists, and doing it with the values and practices they embody in their art making.”
Rhizomatic Arts spotlights artists who push us to think differently about how artists live and work. MARCUS CECILIO KUILAND-NAZARIO describes himself as “a Cultural Mercenary” and an “Art Doula.” He says: “I am less interested in ‘the field’ and more and more interested in ‘the field workers’. How can I help my fellow artists? How can I become a better artist?”
The Center for Cultural Innovation recently published an interview where I talk about my work as part of the Creative Industries Incentive Network (CIIN). I talk about my perspective as an artist coming to Los Angeles from San Francisco, and how the community-centered energy I found here in the experimental performance scene led me to build a career around exchange and collaboration.
Rhizomatic Arts spotlights artists whose creative practices push us to think differently about how we live and work. KATELYN DORROH self-describes as "a collective making art in Los Angeles. Their practice at this time consists of exercising accountability for the privilege they have, the resources they have access to, and to act expansively to the structures of power in which they exist. Dorroh has worked as a preparator, studio assistant, fabricator, line producer, and custom framer.”
This month I'm spotlighting another "sister-project," by which I mean, a creative, artist-centered, share-based entrepreneurial project by an artist who seems to see the world much like I do! KARINA VAHITOVA is a poet, movement artist, and co-founder of VOID ACADEMY. She says, "Artists cannot depend on institutions and so we are helping them to find ways to have thriving careers outside, or at the very least alongside, the kinds of support institutions can sometimes provide to them."
We're spotlighting artists in our Sustainability Network whose creative practices push us to think differently about how we live and work. For TOBAN NICHOLS, a sustainable career as an independent artist means "relishing the work I do, not hating it, or myself. Not feeling limited by someone, or some company."
Looking into the near future, performance artist / musician / singer-writer / web series host / actor / comedian / acting coach / aspiring stuntwoman KYM PRIESS wants to see "art in general becoming more interactive and blurring the lines between forms [...] without losing respect for the individual mediums."
For "Avant-Electro-Soul-Singer-Performance Artist" KARINE FLEURIMA, "silence is just as important as good music. Art is a form of meditation and meditation is an act of resistance."
DEF.SOUND is a Hip Hop musician and producer who wisely declares: "Sustainability doesn't mean there isn't a struggle involved in the creation of something, it means longevity and the ability to continue at an honest frequency. It means I don't have to question how I put out my music once it's made. It's infrastructure that allows me to be of service for as long as I choose to create."
MOLLY SCHULMAN is an artist, a new mom, and co-founder of Maiden LA, a DIY take on an art festival or biennial. As Molly puts it: "It can be intimidating and bewildering to navigate the art world and Maiden LA provides a rare forum where an unrepresented artist working out of their garage is on the same plane as an institution like the Getty."
NICOLE RADEMACHER (nicolerademacher.com) makes a living as an artist and digital communications professional. She currently serves as Digital Communications Manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). Before working for the City she was Director of Communications & Outreach at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica.
NEHARA KALEV is a choreographer and performer, and the owner of the glowbox, a movement and aerial arts studio and event space in downtown Santa Monica.