We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Baker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey, why did you pursue a creative career?
It’s really the only thing I’ve ever been passionate about. As a young person, I had real difficulty imagining myself doing anything else, but struggled for a long time with committing to the risk involved in pursuing a career in the arts. It’s certainly not a decision that comes along with security or an easy path to success. In the end… I just wouldn’t be happy with myself if I didn’t give it a shot. I was hell bent on making it as a working artist, and *only* doing that for a long while. I still support myself by taking commissions and selling work, but now that I’ve gotten experience teaching art, and am helping to build Contracommon, a nonprofit arts organization focused on supporting emerging artists, I can imagine several paths for the future
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
While I was in graduate school, I transitioned from a painting-focused practice to a method of working that incorporates painting, video, sculpture and installation. I use intermedia practices to invent surreal landscapes and evoke liminal spaces. I present the familiar as strange using distortions in placement and scale, allowing the viewer access to realms or states of being that might be otherwise inaccessible. Viewers are invited to experience the in-between spaces. My most recent body of work presents multiple thresholds that offer imaginary access to Void-like spaces, and bodily experiences of these spaces that are felt rather than lived. Like standing at the edge of a cliff and imagining, despite oneself, how the ordeal of actually falling might feel. Edge moments like these invite one to live out, mentally, the mortal possibilities presented by the situation. Together, these works induce liminality, and enact a push and pull of seduction and repulsion that recalls the sensation of edge moments and draws the viewer’s awareness to their experience of place and time. My work intentionally defies categorization, and engages viewers through multiple experiences of time and even through participation outside of the gallery. In addition, I feel this work is particularly timely, as consideration of alternative future scenarios, fear of the unknown and widespread dissociation ensue. Our mortality becomes an increasingly inevitable topic of discussion in these uncertain times. The presence of the Void is felt. It is all transitory. Everything remains open.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Last time my mom came into town we tried to hit all our favorite spots with her! Breakfast at Bird Bird Biscuit was a must. We also grabbed coffee and some pastries from Quack’s Bakery on Duval and 43rd. Paradise on Ice is a great place to stop by, even during a pandemic, because you can take your daquiris to go. The Haymaker was a nice outdoor spot to hang for affordable drinks and great pub food. Women and Their Work always has interesting solo exhibitions from Texas women artists. We obviously also dropped in to the Contracommon gallery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes! The amazing folks I work with at Contracommon, in particular our executive director Taylor Bailey.
Website: kelseybakerart.com contracommon.org/kelsey