“The comedic soul of a piece is all in the editing” Video maker and father TJ Kudalis talks about the comic timing in editing video and film. TJ talks about his study of Scottish and Irish poetry and how close he came to being a professor of Scotch/Irish poetry. He talks about how languages are a form of expression and thus a specific way of interpreting the world. TJ talks about how many other versions of languages also exist, such as dance, photography and film. “Good cinematography replicates the act of seeing” TJ talks about being an audio/visual nerd. TJ talks about accidentally becoming a web journalist before there were a proliferation of blogs and citizen journalism sites. He talks about creating content specifically for the web rather than just repurposing old print media. TJ also talks about ending up covering a riot, winning awards, and working for a national news organization. “I used to think I was a great multi-tasker but it turns out I’m bad at paying attention” TJ talks about narrating his pre-language daughter’s actions as a way of playing with and enjoying her. He also talks about listening to audio books and podcasts that have adult themes with his infant. “Another thing I didn’t realize is how much time you spend with your kid just hanging out”
“Being a dad is kinda awesome. It’s way better than when I worked at Best Buy” DJ, producer, record collector, and musician Brendan Kelly, aka BK-One, talks about growing up learning music, obsessing about records, stumbling into DJing and becoming a stay at home dad. "Every big thing I've ever done I've been underqualified for" Talks about spending a decade as a touring DJ and then deciding that fatherhood meant the end of being a touring musician. Brendan talks about the difficulty in creating structure when his only job was music. And Brendan talks about deciding if and how he could keep making music as a stay at home dad. “I have trouble being productive unless there’s too much to do” Brendan talks about the business model of an independent musician and the strengths and weaknesses it carries. He talks about the role of the DJ in a rap performance and what it means to be focused on making someone else look good. Brendan also talks about his early obsession with music and records and how that unintentionally moved him into the work of being a DJ. “I just want to model for them how I got to the things I care about” Brendan talks about how his identity would change based on whether he was a touring musician or a guy at home or a dad. He talks about his focus as a parent on showing his kids how to care about things rather that what things to care about. Brendan also talks about learning from the other artists he worked with who were already parents about how that might impact his career.
“What I put out into the world has a through-line of personal transformation” Space Guru, holistic wellness practitioner, musician, producer, designer, radio host, and stepmother Susan Shehata talks about the challenges of describing the work she does because she does so many different creative things. She also talks about her desire to rebrand the idea of stepmotherhood. “Children are the biggest mirror that we can have” Susan talks about approaching spaces as an art form. She shares how for her helping people design and shape the spaces where they live or work becomes an art practice for her. She also talks about the creativity of finding and repurposing old or discarded objects. “It takes some of the joy out of the things you're passionate about because now they’re also the way you’re going to earn your income” Susan talks about having her business partner also be her life partner. She also talks about the challenges of working on big projects with people who are collaborators but also friends because of the sometimes hard to define relationship. Susan talks about being a stepmother and some of the challenges surrounding sharing parenting relationships not only with her partner but also with her stepdaughter’s other family. She talks about how having so many self-employed projects results in setting her own schedule but also never being off the clock.
“I love my kids but at the same time there’s always that intrinsic need to do ‘something’” Jayson Clark talks about retiring from the professional rap world to focus on family while also exploring other creative projects. “I wish when I was 20 I had gone a little harder at my music” Jayson talks about growing up in Austin, Texas, and how that influenced his perspectives as a creative person but also how different Austin is from the rest of the State. Jayson talks about his first time rapping for an audience and needing to be extremely drunk to get through it. “First song I ever kissed a girl to was rap music, that’s what I’m sticking to” Jayson talks about starting out writing poetry and transition into writing and performing raps. Jayson talks about moving from Austin to Minnesota and the challenges of building new relationships with artists. He talks about connecting with other rappers and producers in Minnesota through Facebook, including the guys who would eventually form the Background Noise Crew. Jayson talks about further pursuing his education while building his rap career in search of some stability. He talks about how becoming a father made him want to create a family life different than how he grew up. Jayson talks about how the work of being a 7th grade classroom teacher is similar to being a performing rapper.
“My perception of everything has changed since becoming a parent” Cory talks about starting out as an actor and transitioning into playwriting. He talks about being a part of Workhaus collective and the motivations behind pulling together as a group of playwrights to help get each others work made. And he talks about what he’s learned about marketing a show by having to produce the work of so many other playwrights. “I just keep writing the plays that come out of me and that I want to write” Cory talks about how he discovers ideas by writing and about how he can’t understand what he’s writing about until he’s gotten into the writing. He talks about realizing after completing a play that it was directly informed by recent occurrences in personal relationships. He talks about being embarrassed as a young writer by what his plays were revealing about himself and how that has flipped as he’s gotten deeper in to his career. “I don’t really have so much time to indulge this because Silas just peed on everything” Cory talks about his shifting view of divorce as he’s become a dad and as friends have started getting divorced. Cory talks about the difficulty in articulating how differently he sees the world as a parent without seemingly like an annoying parent talking about how “amazing” everything is now that he has children. “The thing about my dad is he hated being an accountant” Cory talks about his ideas of adulthood and career as a teenager. He talks about discovering theater at the end of High School and then discovering playwriting while in college. Cory talks about getting more in touch with his voice as a writer the further away he gets from graduate school. He also talks about how looking back on his writing from before he was a dad he can see a different point of view.
“It seems weird to me now that we would think about community as something that didn’t have children in it” Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson of Works Progress talk about balancing their personal partnership, their artistic partnership, and their work partnership as they've transitioned in to parenthood. They talk about how they were influenced by both having attended arts High Schools. They talk about knowing they were interested in the arts as young people but not really understanding what it would mean to become an “artist.” Shanai talks about how important playing music was to her father. Colin talks about working as an architect for several years and realizing it wasn’t exactly what he wanted to be doing. “I don’t ever want to create experiences that are only for an elite group of people” They talk about creating Works Progress as an umbrella for the numerous projects they were doing with various collaborators. Shanai talks about loosely defining what Works Progress is about so that it can include a wide range of events, mediums, and practices without excluding any ideas they find exciting. “I don’t want him to feel like if we are poor it limits him” Shanai talks about how growing up in a low-income household shaped her relationship with cultural events and experiences. And how it made her feel less married to the idea of needing a lot of things as an adult. She talks about wanting to make sure her son gets exposed to as many experiences as possible even if they may not be able to buy him a lot of stuff. Colin and Shanai talk about one of their larger goals in all the work they do to make fine art ideas and highly respected artists accessible to people who don’t have arts training or a professional arts background. They also share how becoming parents has made them more aware of the fact that for their collaborators and audiences participation in their events may depend on whether or not they can bring their kids or find childcare. Plus, check out this recent Works Progress video about artist Mankwe Ndosi called "Everyday Ways"
“If you ever get crazy opportunities just make the best of them” Quinton talks about how working in the arts and for arts organizations by day is bolstered by doing creative work. Quinton talks about how his work as a theater critic rarely felt like a job because it was mostly a looking for work that would be personal transformational. He talks about finding creative ways to showcase the work of other artists in his job as Communications Director at the Guthrie theatre. “A really intense day job really cuts into your creative outlet” Quinton talks about working as a ghostwriter. He talks about the powerful effect it had on him to be paid to write and to have external deadlines but also to not have his name on the work he was doing as a young writer. He talks about the rich education that came from knowing he needed to complete book projects in nine-month spans. And about how it allowed him to learn all about the world of publishing through someone else’s work. Quinton talks about taking work as a ghostwriter in his twenties not only for the opportunity to write but also because of the need to make a living. He also talks about ghostwriting as a good job to have as a young writer who hadn’t yet found his own voice. “If you don’t think about the paths that your life could have possibly gone than you can’t think about the paths that your life has gone” Quinton talks about writing a book on fatherhood, “Do I Look Like A Daddy to You,” during the first year of his daughter’s life. He talks about how the book demonstrates that writing is how he processes things and about how writing the book briefly made him a parenting expert. And he talks about considering writing a follow-up book as a divorced dad with teen children.
“When you’re listening from a place of love rather than judgment, it really changes what you hear.” In this episode Poet, spoken word artistic, and activist Suzi Q Smith talks about poetry, competition, education, race, class, gender, and modern motherhood. “I need those things to exist in the world so that my daughter can exist in that world” Suzi talks about going from writing poetry, to performing poetry, to competing as a slam poet. Talks about traveling to compete in slam poetry competitions, teach workshops, and participate in events. She talks about balancing time traveling and time at home. “Once I’ve said what I needed to in a poem, I’m kind of sick of that conversation” Suzi talks about balancing her desire to respect everyone and her desire to win the culture war. She talks about how becoming a mother heightened her desire to create positive change in the world through her work. She also talks about moving from an introspective focus in her work to a broader look at the world around her.
“I’ve have this side of me that needs to put myself in front of an audience, for God knows what reason” Improviser and educator Damian Johnson attempts to feed and tend to his daughter while carrying on a conversation about his work and life. He talks about his love of writing and poetry as a young person. Damian shares stories of regretting not being a more productive writer while in elementary school. Plus, Damian shares how his interest in a girl may have fueled his interest in writing poetry. “I use my fancy performing skills to make science fun” Damian talks about moving away from writing and discovering a love for improvisational theater. He talks about using his improv skills to teach as well as teaching others how to be improvisers. And, Damian talks about how after he became an improviser that also become the main art form he consumed as well. “We want our daughter Ruby to see us doing things that we love” Damian talks about his desire to create things for the sake of creation as well as the part of him that wants to be in front of an audience and how improvising can feed both of those creative parts of him. And he talks about how improvising lets him be a writer and a performer without having to choose one over the other. HUGE theater kids improv classes start on April 11th. For more info or to register go to Huge Theater Dot Com
“You have to earn your necessary-ness” Vice President of Exhibition and Design at the Miami Science Museum Sean Duran talks about how in the world of making exhibits for museum nothing is ever completely finished. He talks about balancing that element of incompleteness with the public’s expectation of a finished product whenever someone puts something out for an audience. Plus, Sean talks about preparing to move from an old building that the museum has outgrown into a much larger complex that will allow them to do things they’ve never done before. “Don’t try to squeeze people into a box they felt uncomfortable in in the first place" Sean talks about the collaborative nature of creating ideas for museum exhibits, building museum audience experiences, and delivering programs for audiences. And he talks about the strength and power that comes from have communication and collaboration between people with vastly different areas of expertise and focus. Plus, Sean talks about how exciting the communities in Miami are because there is a constant change over of a significant portion of the population every year. And how that can make it difficult to build a relationship with audiences. “When she joined the family team she made it more evident for me how things have to work” Sean talks about being the father of an 8 year old and how much ownership she feels over the work he does. He talks about how having a daughter has helped him to change how he views museum exhibits and museum audiences and enhanced his connections with them. And Sean talks about how the personal relationships in his life impact how he thinks about the needs of the audiences his work is serving.
“Who am I, Who are my parents and grandparents, and who is this kid going to be?” Visual Artist Adler Guerrier talks a lot about the use of text in his work as an offering as a point of entry to his audiences. He talks about how being multi-lingual informs his work and perspective. And about the problem of the English language in America losing its regionality. Adler talks about how the unique cultural make-up of Miami makes a broad mix of cultural and ethnic ideas less exotic in the city. “I don’t think art should be on the consumer level, it has to transcend that” Adler talks about the struggle between the desire to not make art as pure product and the need for artists to make a living and survive. “I want to communicate something. And I’m not totally sure what that is.” Adler talks about becoming a dad at the same time as when he was starting to get his work into more galleries. And about how the importance of time, place, and focus in relation to his work was tremendously heightened by fatherhood. He also talks about how hi relationship with the past was made more pronounced by fatherhood.
“Having kids created a clear hierarchy" Author of Goblin Secrets, William Alexander, talks about the distance between a book author and his audience. He shares the strengths and weaknesses that come from that distance. He also talks about his realization as a young person of the idea that people wrote the books he was reading. “Dad would make things up, mom preferred to have the book in front of her” Will talks about how much farther towards scary things can be pushed in books for young people rather than in movies or television shows because young people can decide how far to let the ideas go in their imaginations. He talks about how much or how little he thinks about his specific audience while writing. And he talks about how heavily influenced his writing is by his theater background. “It would have been completely impractical for me to make practical choices” Will talks about trying to balance the work of being an author, teaching at a college, and being a dad. He talks about how those different parts of his life inform and are informed by one another. And about how he gets different things he needs from each area of his life. “If you have a favorite book that you read every year, it’s not the same book each time” Also, check out the Make a Mask section on Will's website
“There is no finer magnifying glass to illuminate the intimacy of true partnership than how you raise a human being together” Theater Director Jeremy Cohen talks about the work of being the Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights Center and how much that role differs from being the Executive Director at an organization but also from being a regular Artistic Director. Jeremy talks about the work of building community and supporting work at organizations beyond his own. Plus, Jeremy talks about the difference between a new play and putting a new take on an old play. “As an artist, those larger life parts of your life get delayed eight to ten years” Jeremy talks about being the first same-sex couple to adopt from the main open adoption agency in Chicago. He shares how a process he was told would take many years ended up taking mere weeks and what it was like to become a father over-night. And Jeremy talks about the advantages of being a single-gender family like not having the anxiety surrounding breast-feeding. “The challenge was never about being gay parents it was always about being artist parents” Jeremy talks about being an artist with a child in a community of artists who mostly were not parents. He talks about creating a new normal in his work life and how that informed the way he worked with other people. And he talks about the challenges of doing work that demanded out of state travel and big time demands while trying to be a present and involved parent.
“Cannibalism and parenting” Film director and producer Paul Von Stoetzel talks about the film directors who he loves and who have influenced him. He shares stories of traveling to film festivals and how he became an obsessive film nerd when meeting the cast and crew who made the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. And he talks about how much of a stigma comes with making a documentary about Snuff films. “I don’t want to put the guy who made the Snuff documentary on my couch” Paul talks about how he talks to his six year old about making a documentary about people who have killed people and how his willingness to be open about his interest in the dark parts of humanity have informed her understanding of life and death. And how her sense of humor is heavily influenced some topics that are traditionally considered “adult.” “I don’t consider myself an artist, I really don’t” Paul also talks about how he talks a lot with his daughter about what she’s comfortable with in deciding what movies to let her watch or what shows to take her to see. He talks about balancing protecting her from obvious dangers in the world while wanting to let her have her own independence and establish her own boundaries. “I just turned 37 and I ain’t comfortable with my own mortality. But she is so fine with it.”
"I really want to teach her delayed gratification" Writer and MTN director Michael Fallon shares how he came to Minnesota because of the strong book arts community. Was an artist in residence at the MN center for book arts. He talks about how he started doing arts journalism for City Pages. And that he was an exhibiting artist with his own book arts projects but decided to put his art on the back burner and focus on arts journalism. So he started writing a column for MN Artists Dot Com exploring cultural subjects and ideas. Michael talks about investing 20 years in his creative life and then getting to a place he didn’t expect to be and stifling that creative voice. He talks about the guilt associated with not maintaining that work but also about how he applies his creative mind to the administrative and management work that’s currently taking up most of his time. “Right now, I don’t think of myself as an artist except I am being creative in my day job” Michael talks about how as a parent everything becomes a matter of compromise. He talks about having to wisely distribute his time and energy as well as his emotional energy every day so that he doesn’t short change fatherhood or work. “The adjustment you have to make from being a creative, productive person to a seldom creative, productive person when you have a child for the first time is a big deal” Michael talks about ending up working pursuing a Masters Degree in book arts because of his interest in words as well as design. He talks about wanting physical books but also moving to reading books electronically because it gives access to harder to find books.