DELVE Interview: Halsey Burgund

Welcome to DELVE Interviews, a look into the unique paths of artistic and creative individuals. DELVE is an educational and coaching platform to help you get the business side of your career in order. We celebrate everyone's path as positive forces in their communities and share tools and advice we all need to meet our goals. 

Musician and sound artist, Halsey Burgund. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Musician and sound artist, Halsey Burgund. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This month we have been exploring ways to share your work with your ideal audience online and in person and wanted to introduce you to Halsey Burgund, a musician and sound artist living outside Boston. Both his installations and musical performances make extensive use of spoken human voice recordings as musical elements, alongside traditional and electronic instruments. In many ways, Halsey's work is a combination of socio-anthropological 'research', musical documentary and contributory experience. Recently, his work has focused on contributory location-based audio installations for which he developed Roundware, a distributed platform for collecting, organizing and re-presenting media via smartphones and the web.

Halsey has exhibited and performed in museums and galleries internationally, including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Puke Ariki Museum (NZ), Tyne & Wear Archive and Museums, Newcastle, UK, the Museum of Science, Boston and the California Academy of Sciences. He was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship to explore their audio archives for future work and is currently a fellow in MIT’s Open Documentary Lab as well as a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab.

An installation shot of  Faint Earth Murmur  at Harvard University by Halsey Burgund. Photo courtesy of the artist.

An installation shot of Faint Earth Murmur at Harvard University by Halsey Burgund. Photo courtesy of the artist.

He currently is exhibiting his project, Faint Earth Murmur, an interactive exploration of the history of radio at Harvard University. Faint Earth Murmur aims to resurrect the long since lost in the internet-age, excitement and anticipation of physically tuning a radio dial to discover new stations and new sounds. The installation brings gallery visitors on an unpredictable aural journey of the past 100 years of radio via six themes ranging from politics to entertainment to sports.

Thanks for sharing your path with us, Halsey!



Can you describe your path as an artist – from where and when you began, until now?

I took a long time to focus my life on my artistic interests. I wrote a poem that became a song a long time ago that included the line “sneaking along a circuitous path” and I think that’s essentially what I’ve been doing in my life:

In college, I majored in Geology & Geophysics and generally was a science/math nerd. I took a bunch of music classes as well and played drum kit in bands, which was my primary creative outlet at that time in my life. When I graduated, I wanted to do something more physical than mental and I’d always loved working with my hands, so I spent a few years teaching myself woodworking and designing and building furniture. That wasn’t overly lucrative and I stopped doing it for money when I began resenting that all the careful detailed work I wanted to do to realize my aesthetic desires ended up being inversely proportional to my profits.

I began working in high-tech consulting and internet security and quit that after earning enough money to give myself a decent runway to give the art/music career a real go. I have not had a “real” job since then and it’s been over 10 years now.

What does a day or week in your professional life look like?

Sadly, I think I’m fairly typical in that I don’t spend nearly as much time as I would like actually creating new work.

I spend a large chunk of my time in my studio at my computer either doing logistical things like answering emails (or email interviews for blogs!), doing online research and various promotional activities like website work etc. I work a lot on the logistics of the various projects I have underway at any given time and I also typical spend some time managing software development of Roundware (my contributory, location-based audio platform) either for a specific project (sometimes art-related, sometimes more commercial) or for general advancement of the platform.

I offend conduct interviews of participants, listen to these interviews and slice them up into appropriate chunks for use in my work. And when I’m lucky, I get to write music to go with the voices.

Also, I have two small boys and my studio is at home, so quite often, I am invaded by their craziness, which tends to bring a halt to most of my productivity. I lead an interrupt-driven existence currently which is very challenging with all of my work, but in particular my creative work as getting into the “flow” is almost impossible. I hear when they get older, things will calm down a bit.

What do you do to promote your work and get opportunities? What are some challenges you've overcome in expanding your audience?

Thankfully I am at a point in my career where some of my work comes to me passively and I don’t have to generate all of my opportunities myself. I still apply for grants and actively pursue museum curators whom I think might be interested in my work. Sometimes I propose specific projects for specific museums/institutions and I keep a cache of project ideas that are looking for the right opportunity to become a reality.

I suppose I have overcome some of the challenges in expanding my audience, but it feels like there are tons more still to overcome. As a sound artist, a perpetual challenge is explaining what sound art is (which requires me to pretend that I know what it is) and figuring out ways of letting the public know that my work exists as it is often invisible. Sadly, I don’t have any specific silver bullets for expanding audiences, but I can say that I now allocate a much more significant portion of my overall budget for any given project to promotion/marketing than I used to. Things don’t tend to go well if that is an afterthought, especially since most of my projects require contributions from the public in order to become fully realized.

Can you tell us about an upcoming project?

I’m working on a project currently called “From the Mouths of Monkeys” which was commissioned by the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. It will be an outdoor audio installation along a path in the Greenway, which is a new-ish park in downtown Boston that occupies the space previously occupied by I-93, which is now underground thanks to the Big Dig.

I am interviewing around a dozen people (from 0 to 84 years old) who were born in the year of the monkey – according to the Chinese Zodiac – and diving into questions of belief systems; zodiac-driven, religious, scientific, etc. The voices will be arranged with music in four sections that will be playing from speakers mounted on lamp posts lining an urban, though leafy, path.

The project is slated to open in July and will be up until late Fall.

And where is one of your favorite places to go to be inspired?

My extended family has a place on an island off the coast of Maine which I have been going to for my entire life and it for me is the most relaxing, motivating and inspirational place I’ve ever been. Thankfully I can return there often. It is beautiful for all of the senses and I often just go on walks or sit at the end of the pier and look/listen/smell/feel the wind and my mind wanders in ways I don’t allow it to in other places. I do a lot of work on the house and property - chainsawing, boat work, painting etc - which gets me in a different mindset and gives me a different sense of accomplishment and satisfaction which I find helps my creative work. 

I’m not sure if it is the decades-long connection I have to the place or the natural beauty or something less direct, but there is no doubt that this place does something to me that nowhere else least not yet.

Halsey Burgund performing “Ocean Voices” at the Museum of Science, Boston

Halsey Burgund performing “Ocean Voices” at the Museum of Science, Boston

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

The keys to managing your time.

We have a stellar *free* DELVE Webinar lined up for you at the end of this month. Since we were given an extra day in February this year, why not use it to get our heads wrapped around our productivity and how we manage our time?! Sign up now to claim your spot.

We are going to explore YOUR specific issues, worries, and love/hate relationship with how you get everything done, or not. We understand first-hand that cultivating your practice, marketing it and dealing with all of the business stuff in addition to potentially being a partner, parent, friend, and generally happy human being can seem tough sometimes.

You will leave the 30-minute webinar with:

  • a new schedule! we are going to take the time to walk you through how to prioritize your time during the webinar

  • an inspired outlook on how to get the really important non-urgent stuff done because you know that will push you further

  • new resources and advice to refer to when you feel like things may be getting derailed

This will be the only free Time Management and Productivity Webinar we will be having in 2016 so don't miss out! Sign up here to claim your spot!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Planning for your future success... was a success.

We held our first Free DELVE Webinar of 2016 on Monday, January 25th. We think it went pretty well and we definitely learned so much that will help us bring better content and more opportunities to you over the year. Thanks to everyone who signed up and joined in on the conversation! Below is a recap of what we learned.

What artists and creatives are struggling with:

  • you want people to see your work more frequently
  • you want to sell your work/make money from your work
  • you need to manage your time in a better way
  • you want to make more work and worry less about promoting it
  • you want to find community that will help you reach your goals

We hear you. As we mention in the webinar, we are artists and creative entrepreneurs, too. We understand everything you are sharing with us and have worked with incredible people at all stages of their careers who are all experiencing the same struggles. The thing is, there is no magic answer that can help you except hard work, finding clarity and having the support of us on your side! We help ask you the right questions to push you further than you thought you could go.

What we learned about doing webinars:

  • Andrea says "you know" way too often
  • we hate the word "webinar" but it's truly a powerful vehicle to connect with all of you, so more are coming! (sign up for our newsletter to learn about upcoming opportunities)
  • we had a really good time creating the webinar and sharing real, useful, purposeful content for you

Here's the replay. Unfortunately, the free 30 minute call with us in ONLY available for the folks who registered for the webinar, so you'll have to sign up for the next one to get our next free offer!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

How to label your art work.

Artists, here is a comprehensive guide to labeling your art work–on your website, for example! When thinking about your archive, it's recommended to keep things clear, visible and consistent, according to New York art advisor, Amy Snyder. "I think it's very important for artists to stick to this standard formatting to make it as easy as possible for gallerists, curators, and collectors find the details they need at a quick glance. It's so annoying to have to go looking for the basic information when it's buried, for example, in a narrative paragraph. Using this format demonstrates that you're a professional who knows what she's doing!"

Read below to see the guide and also check out this amazing DELVE service we are offering in partnership with Amy: DELVE into the Art World! During this personalized session you will assess and prioritize your professional goals as a fine artist and zero-in on the steps to achieving them with the guidance of an NYC based expert.

According to Amy, the convention for giving the details for a work of art are:
Line 1: Artist Name
Line 2: Title, Date
Line 3: Media
Line 4: Dimensions in inches (Dimensions in cm) [Almost always these are the unframed dimensions; if providing the framed dimensions, that should be indicated. Also for a photograph or print it is not unusual to provide 2 dimensions – one for the image size and one for the paper size.]
Line 5 (if appropriate): Edition X of X [If the piece is a monoprint or unique photograph, you might want to put the word "Unique" on this line.]
Line 6 (optional): If the piece is signed, stamped, dated, numbered, you can note what information there is and where it is located (recto or verso). For example, "Signed and dated on verso."
Line 7: Price [It's worthwhile for a work on paper or photograph to indicate in parentheses if the price given is framed or unframed.] 

Thanks, Amy, for sharing your expert knowledge! Artists, feel free to get in touch with us if you are interested in learning more about DELVE into the Art World and how this personal consultation can help you!


© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

What will you do in 2015?

New Year's resolutions have either come and gone or are going strong. We're firm believers that every day is the right time to take action. So, what is 2015 your year for? Let us know in the comments below!

In the meantime, check it out:

  • February 3rd, join us for DELVE: Comedy + Art in Dumbo, Brooklyn. A fun night of inspiring presentations, drinks, and getting to know other awesome people. These events are truly for anyone interested in the topic at hand, and learning about amazing work happening in the creative world!
  • Artists and Creatives: join us for some DELVE workshops we have coming up: Amplify Your Practice and Refresh Your Online Presence. Learn with us in a productive, group setting!
  • Looking to make a creative project thrive in the real world? Get inspired by some of our case studies.

Questions or comments? Be in touch!


© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

DELVE Interview: Miska Draskoczy

Welcome to DELVE Interviews, a look into the unique paths of artistic and creative individuals. These conversations are a branch of our DELVE Workshops and Networking Events, where we celebrate and discover everyone's unique paths as artistic and creative forces. Join us for DELVE: Architecture + Art on Tuesday, December 9th at MEx in Brooklyn. Tickets here (before they sell out!)

Today we're excited to be speaking with Brooklyn-based photographer Miska Draskoczy. His photographic series, Gowanus Wild, is a wonderful project that we wanted to explore a bit deeper as we think about the intersection between architecture and art. 

Thanks, Miska, for sharing your insight and process with us!

Pilot House  by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Pilot House by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Miska Draskoczy, photo by Siri Kaur

Miska Draskoczy, photo by Siri Kaur

Miska Draskoczy fell in love with cameras at age 14 and has been behind them ever since. His photography has been widely exhibited in the US and abroad and is the recipient of numerous awards. His urban wilderness series, Gowanus Wild, has been exhibited as a solo show at the Vermont Center for Photography and Ground Floor Gallery in Brooklyn, NY as well as in group shows such as THE FENCE at PHOTOVILLE 2013. He was recently named a Photolucida Critical Mass finalist and his work has been featured in the press by The New Yorker's Photo Booth blog, Time Out, PDN, Gizmodo, Featureshoot, Hyperallergic, Brokelyn and many others.


What prompted starting the project Gowanus Wild?

I live on the border of Gowanus but more importantly (as a New Yorker with a car), it's where I park. Walking home at night I was always intrigued by how empty and eerie the streets are at night. At first I just wanted to capture the mood and see what the images would look like, but as I kept shooting I realized a lot of the shots had these odd bits of nature in them and I was unconsciously shooting the way I would on a wilderness trip. So I thought this idea of an 'urban wild' was an interesting paradox to explore, especially in a place as antithetical to nature as Gowanus. More importantly this approach had a personal connection for me as someone who has always been keen on outdoors adventures. My working question became something like 'what if wilderness isn't just about the external qualities of a place, but about how we perceive or choose to experience a landscape?'  I think at a certain point I realized that the work wasn't so much a documentary but more a subjective vision of how I felt in those spaces, or how I wanted to feel; a longing, a stillness. Of course now that the neighborhood is changing so much and some of the pictures no longer exist, the series is taking on a historical dimension as well which I also find interesting.

What has the project taught or revealed to you about the changing landscape of your neighborhood?

I tended to think of change in neighborhoods as happening on a large scale; big buildings go up, others get torn down, stores open or close, etc. But what began to fascinate me was discovering how the urban environment changes on the micro level. When I looked at Gowanus with the eye of a naturalist, the way a scientist may set up a camera in the jungle and look at the same patch of dirt for months on end, the environment revealed things I might not normally have noticed. Plants of all kinds find purchase in unlikely spots and blossom, mature, then wither and lie dormant. Trash and refuse ebb and flow, collect and disperse in odd ways, and all this interacts with the built environment itself which eventually crumbles, is destroyed, and then repaired or replaced. It all has a very organic feel to it, a rhythm, that made me realize I can connect to this idea of wilderness and something bigger than myself even here in the city.

Egret  by Miska Draskoczy,  courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Egret by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Debris Apron  by Miska Draskoczy,  courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Debris Apron by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

How has this project allowed you to connect in a deeper way with this community?

It's been an interesting and rewarding journey for me on this front. I started shooting this project in 2012 but had already been living in the neighborhood since 2008. Despite that length of time I didn't have any connection to the art community in Gowanus when I started, I just went about shooting things for my own little personal project. Then in 2013 as Gowanus Wild was starting to mature and go public it dawned on me that having shot all this work in Gowanus, it would probably be a good idea to reach out and connect with the local art scene here, suspecting it would be of interest. I was only dimly aware of Gowanus Open Studios at the time, but took the plunge and ran a pop-up show for it in fall 2013. It was an incredible experience as not only did I have hundreds of people come through the show, but I got connected to the Gowanus Open Studios team and began to volunteer and become involved in the art scene here. Since then, it's been such a great resource, I love having this base of a local community to be a part of. This fall I had a show for Gowanus Wild at Ground Floor Gallery in neighboring Park Slope which felt like a great way to tie it all together.

What is your favorite art making tool?

My brain, my spreadsheets, my notes. I'm a big believer that great projects have at their core unique and well conceived ideas. I spend a lot of time researching and developing ideas before and as they become projects. I'm just now moving forward with a series I've been shooting on and off for two years because it took me that long to finally find the right title. Two years to find the right two words!  It's so worth it though. Once a project starts to take off and move from the personal and private phase to the public one, I can make little course corrections but ideally I want it to be set up in a way that people can lock into it right away. Otherwise I risk doing a lot of work that may fall flat because I failed to find an effective way to communicate what I'm doing. I think of my role primarily as a communicator and I try to keep that in the forefront regardless of what medium I'm working in or whether it's personal or client work. What am I trying to convey? What will people get out of it? How can I say it more effectively? I don't think this means being literal or obvious, but having cohesion and purpose. Creativity most definitely has to come from an intuitive, unconscious place where often nothing makes sense at first, but then it gets dragged into the light and editor vs creator push and pull against each other. I'm always fascinated by this process and the challenge is often to not get stuck too much on one side of it or the other but let them dance together.

Spring Tangle  by Miska Draskoczy,  courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Spring Tangle by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?

I recently got the new Aphex Twin album (Syro) and have probably listened to it about a thousand times already. Then I found this obsessively long and detailed interview Richard D. James did where he goes into great detail about the techniques and gear behind making the album and his process in general. I did a lot of electronic music in college so it brought back fond memories of geeking out over analog synthesis, gear, and that fixation of going super deep into process. It's such a great feeling when I've really worked and re-worked over a piece of gear, a shooting location, color correction tools, a set of possibilities, such that it becomes encoded in my unconsciousness, I can create from this really rich space of fluency with material.  Also, with electronic music specifically I just love getting all nerdy and hopped up on math. There is something very pure and spiritual to it. I think I tend to gravitate towards abstraction and design in my photo work for similar reasons.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Hmm… I do a lot of rock and ice climbing, so these days I fantasize mostly about great alpine climbing destinations. Top of the list for me right now is the Bugaboo range in Canada. They're these monstrous granite spires that rise up out of an endless wilderness of glaciers like some sort of jagged alien teeth. The whole place looks so otherworldly and sci-fi, and it's just crazy to think about getting to climb all up and down these things. Alpine climbing is a little bit like a religion to me. Every time I do one of these trips something big shifts in me, these experiences are so intense and unforgettable. Taking on risk and commitment and stripping down life to its barest essentials while surrounded by natural beauty with my buddies, it's just the best. The memories add so much to my life.

Sailboat  by Miska Draskoczy,  courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Sailboat by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Sunflower  by Miska Draskoczy,  courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

Sunflower by Miska Draskoczy, courtesy of Tepper Takayama Fine Arts

ABOUT GOWANUS WILD: I aim to turn concepts of nature photography on their head by finding the beautiful in what most consider to be a man-made environmental catastrophe. The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York is one of the most polluted waterways in America and the neighborhood has seen continuous industrial use since the 19th century. My vision is to capture a marriage of opposites; the organic in the industrial, green within blacks and grays, stillness and peace in urban chaos.  

As our urban communities grapple with how to connect with the primeval in an environment that offers sterile potted plants as an outlet to nature, I see Gowanus Wild as an urban hiking manual, a continuation of generations of landscape photography, updated for our technological age. If only we adjust our perception of what is ‘nature’ and ‘wild’ around us, a fascinating wilderness can be found in the fringes of our decaying cities where nature and chaos conspire to produce a new type of wild beauty. 
                                                                                              -Miska Draskoczy

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Weekend Links-September 20th

Greetings! Its almost autumn and it seems like everything is in full swing around Brooklyn. Here is some light reading for your weekend coffee time and down time.

Are you an artist, designer or architect? How about  work at a cultural organization of some sort? If yes, check out this post we wrote about Why Competitions and Open Calls Matter.

Attending an Open Studios soon or are you an artist that is having one? Check out this handy list to get you ready.

Net neutrality is important. via hyperallergic.

Artists finding each other and curating shows in the Bronx. Inspiring. Via NY Times.

Elizabeth Ferrer. curator of the first Brooklyn Biennial (did you go to the opening last night?) tells emerging artists what they need to do. via Linked In

In DELVE news:

Upcoming DELVE Workshops for Visual and Performing Artists 9/24 and 10/1! Check them out, only $25.

Take yourself back to school! We are having a Sale on our DELVE Toolkit. First time ever- you should really look into it!

We have a kick arse PHOTO Workshop coming up on October 25th at Makeshift Society.

#delvearchitecture round up:

The Bechers' work is timeless. via Aesthetica Magazine

A Boston mural by a fellow SMFA alum, via WBUR The Artery

See NO buildings in Central Park. Via Untapped Cities

Enlivening an alley in Philly, via Next City

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Why DELVE? The impact of community.

Last week, we hosted our ninth DELVE Networking event, on the topic Food + Art. That means that, so far, we have been in nine different amazing arts-related spaces all over the city (such as Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Cue Art Foundation, TSA Bushwick, and A.I.R. Gallery, just to name a few) and have invited 24 amazing artists, curators, designers and creatives to share their work and their paths as creative forces. Then there are all of you: the people who come to listen, learn, engage and share your own stories. It's been super fun, inspiring and educational. Our community has grown so much over the last 15 months of DELVE, and we wanted to take a minute to look back, reflect, and look forward to what all is to come!


DELVE started as the series of networking events for artists and creatives in New York City described above, but it has grown to include bespoke workshops and our popular Toolkit. With DELVE, our goals are simple: to create community, to empower artists and creatives to hone the professional skills they need to put their best work into the world, and to inspire ourselves and others to take action on projects that truly matter.

DELVE workshops create an inspiring environment of exchange by instigating conversation in a productive environment, nurturing seeds of ideas into coherent thoughts, and providing ample suggestions and resources on how to best communicate your art practice with the world.  Everyone who attends our workshops is meant to share what he/she does, because through this act of sharing and community building, great opportunities can arise. We also have great hand-outs, worksheets, presentations, imagery and fun stories to share. Sometimes we invite guest speakers to come and inspire everyone even more.

With our toolkit, we specialize in helping you—the talented artist or creative entrepreneur—build sustainable skills to assure that your work is best represented to the world: online, in writing and in person. We work with you one-on-one to maximize your potential and develop and maintain long-lasting productive habits. The results? You acquire some kick-ass tools and learn how to use them effectively, so that your creative practice gets to a confident, productive place.

The best part of having the workshops and toolkit be an outgrowth of the networking events is that we are constantly growing our community and helping people get the tools they need in order to create opportunities for themselves and others. By being able to effectively communicate what you do as an artist or creative, you open doors to new collaborations, projects, and more. DELVE has grown into a wonderful community, and we love that anyone can attend our events because amazing things can grow out of a little sharing and conversation. All of the motivation and talent we witness is a huge inspiration, and if you haven't joined us for a DELVE event yet, we hope you will soon!

Click here to learn more about how the DELVE toolkit can help you, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Sarah G. Sharp Guest Post: #imaginaryspaces

As part of our focus on Moving Image + Art, leading up to our Delve event on March 17, we invited our guest speakers to write a blog post on their interest in the topic. Today, Sarah G. Sharp shares her insights into imaginary spaces achieved through media (in all its various definitions).

Current technologies and the social realities they produce are interconnected with the technologies and social realities of the past and future. The new social spheres promised by our machine-based hybridity, and described by Donna Haraway in The Cyborg Manifesto, have both come to pass and been absorbed by the ways we now consume and produce experience online.

The internet once represented the ultimate utopian escape. The technophiliac narratives that surrounded our new networked connectivity said that online we would be without bodies and therefore leave behind all of the elements of our identities that affect us in the concrete world. We would now be floating brains connected to keyboards, interacting with others in a new truly egalitarian society.

MCI television ad, 1997

In the text-centric world of the early internet, where storage capacity and bandwidth constraints produced images that were largely lo-res and “moving” images that were often very short loops or GIF’s, the relationship between our online personas and our offline realities could be highly abstracted. We could actualize imagined spaces and more easily try on other identities, experiment with expressing our innermost desires and seek community without threat to our “real” lives. But technology has advanced and we are more savvy users. We know that our online actions translate to data that talks back to us. We are asked to share, to connect, to reveal. (Hopefully, we are also learning to value our embodied experience… brains need bodies to survive and minds are not formed in a vacuum.) With the ubiquity of images and time-based media in the post-internet moment, we now manage personas that are mirrored shadows of our concrete selves, a persona still, but connected to our bodies, our faces, our offline world. In fact we often report on and seek validation for our experiences with total immediacy (were you actually at that concert if you didn’t Instagram it? Did you actually have an #amazingtime if it no one “liked” it?)

Still, there is a great deal of power in an imagined space. Utopian fantasies provide maps for future possibilities and point towards gaps in our lived experience. An imagined space has even more power once it is made visible, re-formed into a film, photo, pic, gif, .mov, a work of art. And, as Marshall McLuhan, and others, have told us, the form of media inscribes meaning. In The Medium is the Message he wrote: “The serious artist is the only person able to encounter technology with impunity, just because (s)he is an expert aware of the changes in sense perception.”

Sometimes re-organizing, cutting apart and stitching together the world around you is the way a new social reality is imagined.

Dziga Vertov, Man with a Movie Camera, 1929, (English titles with sound (1995) based on notes by Vertov.)

“Kino-Eye uses every possible means in montage, comparing and linking all points of the universe in any temporal order, breaking, when necessary, all the laws and conventions of film construction.”  -Dziga Vertov, 1929, From Kino-Eye to Radio-Eye

Sometimes leaving earth is the only way it seems possible to form a new world.

SunRa, excerpt from Space is the Place, 1974

“Space is not only high, it’s low. It’s a bottomless pit.” -Sun Ra

Imagined space can be produced through a critical re-working of the media artifacts that come into our homes and shape our identities.

Dara Birnbaum, Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman,1978

“Explosive bursts of fire open Technology/Transformation, an incendiary deconstruction of the ideology embedded in television form and pop cultural iconography.”  -Electronic Arts Intermix

Seeking out analogies and repeated forms across media can produce new metaphors and shed light on our past uses of technologies.

Stephen Beck, Video Weavings, 1976

“Inspired by the analogy between weaving (vertical warp threads traversed by horizontal weft threads) and the construction of the television image (vertical and horizontal scans of an electron gun)...” -Video Data Bank

Elaine Reichek, SETI, 2004

Elaine Reichek, SETI, 2004

“Like a picture on a computer screen, an embroidered image is a collection of minute fragments (stitches) that the eye assembles into an image... The embroidery reproduces a message sent in 1974 from the world’s largest radio telescope, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, toward the constellation Hercules, some 25,000 light years away. A string of 1,679 bits in binary-code pictogram was assembled into a pictogram showing the numbers one to ten, the chemical formula of the DNA molecule, two human figures, a description of the solar system, and other data.” -Elaine Reichek

In this rapidly paced, digital moment, the stillness of paper and print media seems to have a new aura. I’ve been working with an issue of TIME magazine from 1969 that contains a photo essay about the “Youth Commune” phenomenon. This was popular media’s way of explaining the desire to drop out and experiment with forming new societies to America at large. As I rework these images, I think about the time in which they were made and what it meant to concretely produce an imagined space, and then reproduce it via popular media. I look for what might be revealed about that moment, both in the impetus to leave “normal” society behind and in the framing mechanisms present in popular media. I think about the way I view these works in the present moment: slowly, silently, surrounded by text, yet non-hyperlinked and delineated from advertising. I imagine and make visible a new space, one that connects the future with the past.

Sarah G. Sharp The Youth Communes, 2013 embroidery thread on found Life Magazine cover. 18” x 22”

Sarah G. Sharp
The Youth Communes, 2013
embroidery thread on found Life Magazine cover.
18” x 22”

Sarah G. Sharp A New Way of Living Confronts The US, 2013 found images and embroidery thread on paper 18" x 20"

Sarah G. Sharp
A New Way of Living Confronts The US, 2013
found images and embroidery thread on paper
18" x 20"

Sarah Sharp is the recipient of a Getty Library Research Grant and a BRIC Arts Media Fellowship. Exhibitions include The Aldrich Museum, CT, The Hampden Gallery at UMass Amherst, Frederieke Taylor Gallery and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, NY. Her oral history interview with Elaine Reichek was published by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute in 2009. Sarah is the co-founder of Cohort artist’s collective. She holds an MFA and an MA from Purchase College and is on the faculty in the Art Practice MFA Program at the School of Visual Arts and in the Department of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons the New School for Design in New York. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

OFFLINE, an exhibition curated by Sarah Sharp,  is on view this Saturday from 12-6pm and there is a closing event from 1-3pm on Sunday at Radiator Gallery in Long Island City.


© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Ariel Jackson Guest Post–Homey Don't Play That

As part of our focus on Moving Image + Art, leading up to our Delve event on March 17, we invited our guest speakers to write a blog post on their interest in the topic. Today, we're sharing Ariel Jackson's words with lots of supporting videos. Enjoy!

My generation has embraced America’s idea of individualism. We grew up believing in the “American Dream” of being an individual, but at the same time we still look to connect to the world in some way whether that be politics, social media, or popular media. We tend to connect to the politics that present themselves in popular media through social political paradigms we’ve grown up in.

bell hooks : Cultural Criticism and Transformation

Stuart Hall : Representation & The Media

The need for individuality in my generation resides in the need to escape a historical narrative in order to see the world in our own way. Video-making and the use of social media provides a way for us to easily express our own narratives via capturing footage, creating footage, and posting how we experience, envision and understand in the world around us. When creating my artwork of characters and narratives, I embrace the saying that nothing you discover is new. It is a re-discovery for yourself but common knowledge to the rest of the world. So then, what could I bring to the table that’s new? My answer is to bring myself. No one knows me but they know the topic that affects me as a black woman in the 21st century, dealing with limiting and 2-dimensional paradigms that have been regurgitated since the introduction of black women to the United States.

The Confuserella Show (AKA I Need A Shrink)

Confuserella is one of my characters whose narrative I use to talk about politics and history with the aid of popular and historical media.

Melissa Harris-Perry, an American writer and professor, wrote a book called Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. In Sister Citizen Harris-Perry introduces us to her theory “The Crooked Room”. This theory states that the negative stereotypes that black women deal with can be described as a crooked room where black women find themselves when confronted with the re-introduction of historical stereotypes in the media. They react by either recognizing the room is crooked and stand upright or accommodate themselves to the crookedness of the room by distorting themselves.

Through history we have seen forms of resistance or standing upright via movements involving black women. In the early 20th century, black women resisted the Jezebel stereotype by leading a movement of temperance, modesty, and respectability. Black women domestic workers resisted the Mammy stereotype by living outside their employers’ homes, protesting unfair labor conditions, and nurturing their own families and communities. During the Civil Rights Movement, black women resisted the sapphire stereotype by helping change the country, not through angry violence, but through disciplined endurance of racist counter attacks against against their nonviolent struggle.

Back Talk: Past and Present Methods of Resisting Controlling Media Images and Stereotypes of Black Women

To what point have these movements been successful in relation to the negative stereotypes in today’s media? They have been successful in black communities when self-education is active, but on a whole, these moments of resistance have not been able to chip away at the prevalent use of stereotypes in our media today. So what’s a form of resistance that takes a direct aim at media as opposed to the politics that the media uses for it’s own means of rates advancement?

In regards to my artwork I have decided to do both the bending in lieu of standing upright within the crooked room by producing my own media. The Jezebel, Mammy and sapphire amongst other stereotypes exist in a media that does not involve black women in the positive decision making of representation. In essence I have no control over this stereotype. Someone else has created this stereotype and is therefore asking me to participate in this stereotype in exchange for money. So when I participate I am a servant to this concept of who I am.

Introducing Homey D. Clown

An example of resistance against this system exchange for financial servitude is the show “In Living Color”. The level of self-awareness in the usage of stereotypes in “In Living Color” aids the debunking of stereotypes through humor and outrageous acting. The producers of the show, the Wayan brothers and sister, took control of these stereotypes to serve their humorous intentions. When I’m doing these characters I have to ask myself “Am I coonin’?” and I think to myself “Am I coonin’ to someone else’s benefit? Or am I blowing it out the water by making it so outrageous under my own power therefore I’m taking claim over these stereotypes and saying “SEE!? This is NOT real” It’s funny but it’s not real. I’m making fun of the distortion while standing upright in this crooked room. In my work I create extensions of myself to emphasize the distortion which is the power of media. This is me and this is me and this is me and therefore all of it’s me and at the same time none of it is me.

Ariel Jackson was born in Monroe, Louisiana and raised between New Orleans, LA and Mamou, LA. In 2009 she was selected as an artist to look out for in New Orleans Magazine's "Who's Who". She earned a B.F.A. at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2013. During her time at The Cooper Union she received The Robert Breer Film Award for Excellence in Film, Video and Animation and The Benjamin Menschel Fellowship Award for Documentary. She is currently participating in the Artist In the Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Weekly Links- February 28

We are seeing Gowanus everywhere, and this NY Times article proves that there are many groups invested in its future.

DELVE Networking Moving Image + Art is coming up March 17th! Meet our speakers Ariel Jackson and Sarah G. Sharp!

Exploring net art, since it's often decontextualized. 

Learn about the New Museum's New, Inc art and technology incubator. 

The Olympics are over but what is going to happen to all of the architecture in Sochi?

Via Rhizome's 'The Download' project you can download amazing digital works for free. Get into it.

Here is some work made in Poland by Christian Jankowski. It's absurd and funny, which brings some levity to all of the news coming from Eastern Europe and Russia right now.

A still from Christian Jankowski's  Heavy Weight History.  Sourced from

A still from Christian Jankowski's Heavy Weight History. Sourced from

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

DELVE Interview–Peg Bauer, archivist at the Design Library

Welcome to DELVE Interviews, a look into the unique paths of artistic and creative individuals. These conversations are a branch of our DELVE Workshops and Networking Events, where we celebrate and discover everyone's unique paths as artistic and creative forces. It's a chance to learn from others, meet new people and see where our worlds overlap. We're finishing out our month of devoting all of our blog posts to the theme fabric(ation) (#delvefabrication).

The Design Library

The Design Library

This week we are very happy to have had the chance to speak with Peg Bauer, an archivist at the Design Library, located in the Hudson Valley. From the Design Library's website:

"The Design Library's business is the sale and licensing of antique, vintage, modern and contemporary textile designs for inspiration to the fashion, home furnishings, textile, wall covering, graphic arts, and paper product industries. The Design Library has the world's largest and best organized collections of documentary fabrics, original paintings, wallpapers, embroideries and yarn dyes, numbering over seven million designs. The collections date from the 1750s to the late 20th century and are sorted into over 900 categories for easy access."

The Design Library is accessible by appointment only to professional designers.

Peg Bauer, archivist at The Design Library

Peg Bauer, archivist at The Design Library

Let's have Peg introduce herself!

Hello, my name is Peg. Some might say that I have an unhealthy obsession with paper and textiles. I absolutely love engaging in creative projects and always seem to be scheming my next idea. My inspiration is everywhere! Time is my biggest enemy, as I wish I could create beautiful things all day long. When not working my regular job as an archivist of antique textiles, I can be found dabbling in whatever craft tickles my proverbial fancy. I especially enjoy sewing and making one-of-a-kind greeting cards, but really, any creative venture will do!

I live in an old house in Kingston, NY with my charming and photographically talented fiancé. I enjoy farmer's markets, browsing antique stores, petting goats, eating tacos and organizing everything in sight.

Can you describe your path in the creative industry- from where and when you began, until now?

It's funny to think about it now, but I simply answered a help wanted ad. I had been working in litigation research and feeling really uninspired. While I enjoyed the challenges of the job, the nationwide travel and meeting new people, my spirit was being crushed by gruesome lawsuit details and I knew I needed to do something different. At exactly the right moment, I came across a job opportunity for the head archivist at The Design Library. It was a far leap from what I was doing at the time, but was such an intriguing job. I am probably the most organized person I know, so when the opportunity to harness that energy and passion for order in an interesting environment was in front of me, I just about passed out. I never really gave much thought to surface design and certainly didn't know that a place like The Design Library even existed before I started working here. Although I consider myself a creative person, I do not have any formal art education. When I accepted the position, I was tasked with overseeing the organization and upkeep of an archive of over 7 million designs that fall into over 900 categories. Thus began my art education.

Can you describe a day, or week, in your professional life?

My days are spent in the archive and I pretty much operate in a constant state of "tidying up" as I move from one place to another and from task to task. In a way, it's no different than keeping my house organized. Because I am (almost annoyingly) neat, this is quite enjoyable for me. The main responsibilities that I have here involve preparing and categorizing new designs, maintaining order in the Library's vast collections and supervising interns. Beyond that, it depends on the day. If we've just landed a new collection, I will unpack it, assess the condition of it, determine what categories the designs fall under, and finally decide where they will be displayed in the archive. The beauty of our archive is that everything is easily accessible. If a client is looking for something very specific, for example, an 18th century block-printed flower motif or an Art Deco geometric border, we can point them right to a shelf or several areas that will have a selection of designs that we've categorized as similar. 

When preparing new collections, I assess how the designs will be best preserved and presented. We often get collections that have been locked away somewhere for a very long time and are often wrinkled, ripped or folded. My team and I will reinforce the designs, iron fabrics if necessary and make them look as good as possible while preserving it's integrity. I often say that working here is like being at a museum where you can touch everything. It is so gratifying to see so many great examples of art right in front of you. Whether it's an actual painted work, a printed or woven fabric, a paper impression or even a wallpaper - it's history in your hands. My boss once said to me that he considers us the stewards of these pieces of history that were created mostly by now anonymous artists. It is truly a privilege! 

What is your favorite project that you've worked on?

It's always exciting to get new collections. Some take a lot more planning and hands-on time than others and that can be exciting to know that you are going to be working on it for a few weeks. What I really enjoy though is the setting up and strategizing of our space. We renovated and expanded the archive a few years ago, and I helped in the planning process and execution of the transition. We had to decide where all the shelving was going to go, where to hang lights, what to hang on the walls - pretty much everything, including building the shelves and loading them back up with millions of designs. It was fairly grueling at the time, but I take immense satisfaction in looking around now and knowing that I helped make this place beautiful and functional. The Design Library has a small archive in London that recently moved and expanded it's size. I just had the amazing opportunity to travel and work in London to help with that process. While it was on a much smaller scale, it was just as fun and rewarding. If you need any shelving built, I'm your lady!


What's the most valuable lesson you've learned from managing all of your projects?

That everything will be there tomorrow. My personality and work ethic often push me to want to complete tasks in their entirety and not stop until they are done. The beauty of working with designs is that they can wait. In fact, I've often come up with better ideas and strategies on how to handle a particular collection by walking away from it for a while and doing something else. I also used to be pretty intolerant of messes. Because we have the good fortune at the Design Library of being visited by clients often while also obtaining new collections to sort out, it is sometimes hard to keep all the fires burning at once. I often have to move back and forth from project to project. My very rigid ways of approaching tasks have become more relaxed and personally, I feel like I have developed newer and more effective work habits.

And finally, where is one of your favorite places to go to be inspired?

I really have to look no further than the view from my desk to be inspired. Admittedly, because I am here every day, the designs tend to be my background and not always at the forefront. My go to for inspiration is almost always the outdoors. When I moved to the Hudson Valley from Long Island I really fell in love with nature quite hard. Going for hikes and meandering in the woods always brings me some form of wonder. I am very lucky to live in such a beautiful area. Whether it's noticing early budding flowers and greenery in the spring or bold and bright leaves changing in the autumn, I am hands-down always impressed by nature. I am particularly drawn to line drawings of flowers, leaves and other nature-based imagery like birds and botanicals. 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

NEW DELVE Fabric(ation) & Toolkit + Post-Networking to dos

Last Friday evening, many people braved the bitter cold to join us at the cozy Textile Arts Center's Manhattan workshop for DELVE Networking, Fabric(ation) + Art. It was a seriously inspiring group of artists, graphic designers, architects, fashion designers, students, Textile Arts Center fans, interior designers, entrepreneurs and more. Fiyel Levent and Annie Coggan gave inspired talks about their work and process, each diving into what the idea of fabrication means to them.

We had the chance to announce our brand new Toolkit for Artists and Creatives that is part of the DELVE suite of services, which also includes events and bespoke workshops. If you are an artist or creative looking to grow your community or build your practical professional skills to enhance your practice, check out our new site and take action on projects that are important to you.

Plus, in this post we also wanted to share some tips for what to do after these networking events to keep building your community.

Scroll down and keep on reading to learn more....

Last Friday evening was a wonderful and productive event because:

  • We had the opportunity to hear about and be inspired by the processes of two talented architects/designers/artists who redesign, beautify and transform the way we use and think about everyday objects and the spaces we inhabit.
  • The Textile Arts Center, an organization that symbolizes experimentation and learning based on fabric and textiles, is a great space to think and talk about fabrication.
  • Meeting new talented people from all around the city (and world) really opened our eyes to so many more inspiring projects that are going on.

Hearing Fiyel Levent talk about her process was really enlightening, and it was amazing to hear how her travels around the world have influenced her designs for furniture, objects and paper goods. Experimenting with different materials is very important to her work. She took us down the fascinating path of how she actually makes her intricate, beautiful objects. She left us with an important thought: from designing her furniture and objects to her paper goods, fabricating locally has become incredibly important to her as she moves away from creating every single one of her pieces on her own. 

Courtesy Fiyel Levent  These intricate shavings were a by product from her screens on the right, an unexpected surprise. 

Courtesy Fiyel Levent

These intricate shavings were a by product from her screens on the right, an unexpected surprise. 

Courtesy Fiyel Levent  The blue foam cylinders, collected from art supply stores all over NYC and then some, became the molds for this gorgeous wine rack for a private client.

Courtesy Fiyel Levent

The blue foam cylinders, collected from art supply stores all over NYC and then some, became the molds for this gorgeous wine rack for a private client.


Annie Coggan's work explores, in her words, "rooms, objects and stories: three preoccupations and their subsequent consequences." First, Annie took us on a tour of incredible rooms that she has designed, and the objects (especially chairs) that she remakes for certain persons from history. Each space, object and drawing is infused with deep historical meaning, usually based on a specific individual chosen and interpreted by Annie. As a mother, teacher, instructor, designer and artist, her fabrication methods thrive on self-imposed rules, whether all materials must be salvaged, or she works on projects in pieces through embroidery in the evenings so she can always be producing.


Thanks to everyone who attended and participated and we hope to see you again soon!

Annie Coggan/Chairs and Buildings
Fiyel Levent Atelier
Fiyel Levent Paper Goods
Textile Arts Center


If you collected any business cards or made new friends last Friday at our event, here are some suggestions to schedule into your calendar this week:

Follow up and say hello! Just send an email and check out the other person's website. Simple. Do it before you forget. Add each other to your mailing lists.
Connect on social media. This is a great way to stay in touch. It seems we all use Facebook these days to share art events and Twitter is an easy way to stay in the know. 
Comment and interact with the event organizers. We have a blog and hope you'll comment on pieces that interest you and leave your website and introduce yourselves. Join our community!
Schedule a studio visit. We are huge fans of studio visits with new friends of colleagues. So if you've hit it off with someone, there's never a better time to get some feedback on your work, or vice versa. We all live here to create and share what we do.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Networking is vital, and more important than you think.

The word "networking" has gotten an unsavory reputation recently, maybe because it conjures sweaty, awkward events with fishbowls full of poorly designed business cards. Here are some typical reasons someone might give for not wanting to go to a networking event:

1) I have no one to go with.
2) I am not in the mood.
3) I don't have time and I am not sure if the event will be worth it.

We'd like to FLIP that mindset and say:

1) Go alone. It's the best way to meet people. You are at a networking event for that exact reason, along with everybody else. 

2) When are we truly ever in the mood to leap out of our comfort zones? So, ignore the TV shows you need to catch up on, that drink with your complaining coworkers, and your primal fears, and go. We guarantee that once you get to the event you can find some genuine connections with people.

3) This is a valid concern, since our time is most certainly precious. That is why we started our DELVE Networking series. We can guarantee that each event will leave you inspired to do more--and you might even make some new friends. 



Join us on January 24th for DELVE FABRIC(ATION) with speakers
Fiyel Levent and Annie Coggan
They'll blow your socks off with all they do.
Plus we are going to be at the very cool Textile Arts Center workshop space in Manhattan.
Get your ticket here

Of the two of us, I (Andrea) am more of a natural networker. I am genuinely curious about who people are and what they do, and it could be in my DNA--my father used to be the M.C. of our annual town festival and he found it great fun. He always gave it his all because he understood that his community could be more rewarding when people were brought together and connections were made. When we started these events in March of 2013, Sara, the other half of Kind Aesthetic, was very excited but admitted to it being out of her comfort zone. That made me stop and realize that it is indeed nerve-wracking to speak in front of a crowd of strangers and meet new people. Therefore, it was imperative that our events be comfortable, productive and friendly.  

And that is where the hitch is: don't network just because you want something. We all want things: to be more successful, to make new connections, to be given the things we know we deserve. But no one is going to want to talk to us if we are pushing our weird business cards in each others faces. Desperation stinks.

We are not the only ones who are preaching the value of meeting new like-minded people. According to this article by Ilise Benun, we should network to get the following people into our pool of contacts, whether you are a freelancer, creative type, entrepreneur or artist:

"1. Clients and customers. 
2. Peers and colleagues. 
3. Mentors. 
4. Referral sources."

And this article by Jessica Hische is hilarious, true, and a good reminder that you can have fun and not be totally creepy while networking. Definitely give both of these articles a read before your next event.

This is a list of what you should bring to your next networking event:

1) A nicely designed business card.
2) A short, memorized, friendly elevator pitch about what you do.
3) A smile, some nice questions to ask people, and a good attitude. No one likes jerks who don't listen.
4) An open mind.
5) A plan to follow-up with your new contacts within a week. 

So, why do we force ourselves to network? Because people are actually really amazing, especially artists and creatives. We guarantee that you will meet at least one new person to have a studio visit with, schedule a coffee date with, or open up your mind to a new creative technique. We leave each of our events a bit euphoric because we got to be around an unparalleled amount of energy and interesting stories. We hope it's the same for you. See you on January 24th!

Read about all the past DELVE Networking events  here !

Read about all the past DELVE Networking events here!



© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.