Emerging from a hazy forest to find productivity

This month on our blog and social media, we are talking about time management and productivity. Without fail, every client we have worked with faces issues with time. When you have a lot of it, it can be hard to manage. When you don’t have enough, it’s challenging to find the energy to be productive within it. What we will be sharing this month will resonate with all of you. The thing is, there is no magic answer to being more productive and finding more time; it just takes commitment and a new approach to your energy and focus.  Use the hashtag #KAtime to share thoughts, successes and failures about your productivity. It’s all fair game and we’re all in the same boat.

Today, Andrea is sharing her story about her struggle with time and productivity, and the tough choices she made this past year in order to do what she needed to stay focused on immediate priorities.

I emerged from that hazy forest of first-time new mothering feeling more powerful and vital than before, more wild and instinctive… less insecure and therefore less encumbered by my own shit.
— a quote from artist Zoe Buckman from How We Do Both, Art and Motherhood, edited and writing by Michi Jigarjian and Qiana Mastrich

When I look at my adorable daughter, toddling Frankenstein-like in my new home in Buffalo, NY, I marvel at how much my life has changed over the past twelve months. See, last year at this time I was living in a Brooklyn high-rise apartment, pregnant, and waddling to our studio to make artwork.  Fast-forward to now, with a big move behind me and a walking (!) toddler, and I am so grateful that these two changes have me very excited and definitely happy.

When I had my daughter in Brooklyn last year, I knew I would have to temporarily let go of part of my life, in addition to permanently letting go aspects of my body, because I would not have the neck strength to wear all of these hats: being a mother, being a wife, sustaining an art practice, staying healthy, running a business and earning money, and doing photography work. It all seemed incredibly impossible, and unfortunately it was for me. I envy the women that have had more focus—or at least make it seem that way.

When we decided to move to a new city, I knew that I needed to to press pause on my art practice for one year. It felt painful, but it was the only thing I could remove from the list above that would not directly affect my family or take away from making a living. I couldn’t do it all.

A year will be up in March and I am filled with excitement and apprehension. A huge part of me has been dormant and it has, quite frankly, sucked. It’s uncomfortable. All of my projects that I pressed pause on are uneasily gurgling within me in fits and starts. It might be worse than the last throes of pregnancy.

I picked up this book recently, it's inspiring and interesting to see how everyone has different circumstances but the sense of urgency is all the same

I picked up this book recently, it's inspiring and interesting to see how everyone has different circumstances but the sense of urgency is all the same

I am ready to come back to my practice. Like so many of the amazing artists and creative entrepreneurs we have worked with, I am returning to my practice after a big life change, and it’s daunting. I, too, am struggling with when and how I will do this, because I am still wearing all of those hats I mentioned earlier. But this month I am making the place for it in my everyday again.

Like Sara’s post last month huge life changes and being in transition lead to clarity. And for both of us, we want our daughters to know we are artists as well as moms. And I want our clients to continue to receive my full attention. And I still want to have time with my family, and a sense of social well-being.

This post doesn’t have much of an inspirational ending (yet), but what I do know is that I am not alone in this. 

Reader, please tell me what you do to find the energy? Do you have a similar story? Please comment below. 





© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

RECAP of DELVE Webinar: Verbalizing Your Practice

We held our first free DELVE Webinar on November 2nd! We are happy that so many of you were able to join Andrea for the opportunity to get focused on how you talk about what you do.

For those of you who missed it, you can see the entirety of the webinar in the video below, technical difficulties and all! Since the slides didn't advance during the webinar feel free to download them here. We'll get it right for the next webinar.... and stay tuned for the next one. Sign up for our mailing list to be the first to know about it!

Join Andrea from Kind Aesthetic for a free webinar for artists and creative entrepreneurs that offers actionable steps to help you find the best way to explain what you do clearly, concisely and confidently.

© 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.

Sky Kim Five Alive

On today's Five Alive, where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives, we are happy to be featuring Sky Kim. Sky is an artist based in New York, who makes "meticulous, labor-intensive watercolor paintings/drawings are at once abstract, anatomical, spiritual and sensual." See some more information about her inspirations and accolades below, in addition to the answers about her peaceful existence making art. Thanks, Sky!

Sky Kim 

Sky Kim 

In her artist statement she writes:  "My inspiration comes from my philosophical belief in 'reincarnation.' My work is largely influenced by the loss of my twin sister at birth on an unconscious level. I've tried to figure out why I am here when she is not? What is my life purpose? I realized that through numerous lives, we complete our life cycle and become spiritually advanced. This realization influenced my work a great deal." 

Sky Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and received a Master's Degree in Painting at Pratt Institute in New York. She is a recipient of the National Museum of Contemporary Art's National Korean Art Competition Award and a Pratt Institute Art Grant. She has exhibited in galleries, museums and art fairs throughout the U.S. and Korea, including the DUMBO Arts Festival, Gwangju Biennale, MOCA DC and Governors Island Art Fair. Her work has been reviewed in The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Korea Herald, Artlog, The Korea Daily and on WMBCTV. 

Inside her studio 

Inside her studio 

Untitled  (detail)  watercolor on paper, 21 'x 180", 2013   

Untitled (detail)

watercolor on paper, 21 'x 180", 2013


What is your favorite art making tool? 

It’s watercolor. It's amazing to see what you can create with simple tools that anybody can use to create something visually phenomenal.

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

I usually listen to New Age radio shows or TED.

‪Where do you go for peace and quiet?

I go to my studio where I both work many hours and meditate. It’s very small but it’s my sanctuary. I mentally create a vortex there, which keeps me grounded to Mother Earth and tune into my higher self.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Anywhere in the galaxy, preferably a higher dimension. Realistically, I plan to travel and have exhibitions in Europe.

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to?

I am always drawn to indigo with a little hint of purple. To me, it’s a sacred color that boosts my spirituality. I become both calm and excited at the same time. 

    Untitled,  marker on paper, 24 inches x 10 yards, 2010

 Untitled, marker on paper, 24 inches x 10 yards, 2010


© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Studio Visits

Studio visits are very important. 

Sometimes making work can be an insular process, where you agonize over details that fade away once the work is in front of an audience. A studio visit is like the Sriracha of your practice: you get a lot of bang for your buck, and it is functional as well as totally awesome. The best studio visits leave us excited to dive back into our work when they are over. And most of all, studio visits are about community building and are opportunities to nurture your peers as well as to gain access to unique opportunities.


Sara Jones' studio at the Vermont Studio Center

Sara Jones' studio at the Vermont Studio Center

We've outlined a few guidelines below to inspire confidence for your next studio visit.

Some tips to get started:

1) Ask some friends or colleagues to come by for a visit. This will help to alleviate any anxiety about hosting people in your studio and talking about your work, especially if it's new work. It will almost always lead to interesting and deep conversations, since it will allow these individuals to become more intimate with what you do. And they might ask you to come by their studio, too.
2) Do your research. Think about who you would like to ask to visit your studio. Studio visits are about building your community, so reach out to someone you graduated with, that you connected with at an opening or party, or whose ideas and way of thinking excite you. The key is that this person is interested in your work, can challenge you, and add meaning to the situation. Someone in your comfort zone won't always be the best choice. Push yourself.
3) Presentation. Think about how you want your work to be viewed. Don't show images digitally when you have the real thing to show. (Otherwise your visitor might as well just sit in their office and look at your images on-line.) Make sure that your work is presented in it's best form, well-lit, the sound is working and that basically, it looks good. If it is someone who is new to your work, you may want to set things up in chronological order, or if they are familiar with you already, you can present recent developments. If an art professional has contacted you for a visit, you can assume they are already familiar with your work and therefore you can ask them what he or she would like to see.

General Rules:

1) Clean your studio. Or at least make it somewhat comfortable so another individual can spend a couple hours there. Be a good host.
2) Chairs. Have enough chairs for you and all of your guests. 
3) Make sure your work is well- lit. 
Rig up some lights or borrow some if you have to.
4) Snacks and beverages. 
Studio visits can be very tiring, so definitely have water, coffee, tea, some healthy snacks, and offer wine or beer if you think it's appropriate.
5) Put away unfinished work that you are not ready to discuss and have older/other work handy to pull out in case the conversation steers towards it.
6) Provide your guest with clear, detailed directions to your studio and exchange cell phone numbers before the visit. Always check in the day before the visit to remind your guest of the meeting.
7) Take notes or ask your guest if it's ok to record your conversation. There might be some gems in there that you don't want to forget.
8) Listen carefully to the questions that are asked, since each studio visit is a different beast: like any growing experience, some comments may not make sense until months or a years afterwards.

and most of all

8) Celebrate your sacred studio space, your work and the time that is being set aside to discuss it.


What if I don't have a studio?
Borrow one, rent one for a day, or have someone over to your home. Many artists can't afford the studio space they desire or don't feel they need one for their practice. That is normal and totally fine. The same rules apply to the visits as stated above. Check out the resources section below to see links about short-term rentals in the NYC area. (Kind Aesthetic's studio is available for half day and daily rentals in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn. Email us for details.)
What if I make installation and/or ephemeral work?
Focus on the best possible presentation of your work, which could include video clips, photographs, making a model of the installation, or having raw materials on hand to best help your visitor understand your process. Talk with friends and colleagues to make sure you are showing your work in the best way.
What if my studio visit felt like a bad blind date?
We are going to quote Jackie Battenfield here: " When visitors toss out zinger remarks during a studio visit, it's nearly impossible not to feel hurt and dejected. When it happens to you, take solace in the knowledge that every artist has four five similar stories. Take in and use the productive comments, and do your best to throw the others away. Remind yourself it's just one person's opinion." And no one ever said being an artist was easy.


Stephanie Diamond's Listings Project- an amazing resource for NYC based artists
In The Make- an inspiring resource about West Coast artists
Big Red and Shiny Studio Sessions- some Boston based artist interviews
MoMA PS1 Studio Visit- virtual presentations of artist studios
The Studio Visit- a non-profit curated web journal dedicated to supporting the importance of studio practice and process
A View from the Easel- Hyperallergic's photo series of artist workspaces

We'd love to hear from you!
Please share any stories about studio visits you've had, or any helpful resources.


© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.