We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaitlynn Redell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaitlynn, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My work/life balance has changed drastically since having kids. Over time, I’ve learned to be much kinder to myself and allowed myself to be ok with things in the studio moving slower.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My practice is invested in dismantling socially constructed, categorizations of the body. More specifically I’m interested in inbetweeness and how “unidentifiable” bodies—that do not identify with standard categories—negotiate identity. These concerns have evolved even further since the birth of my first child and a deeply personal navigation of neuro-diversity and physical limitation. Becoming a parent to a nuero-diverse child has made me a better person. It’s tied me closer to community. I’ve become an even louder advocate than I was before. The system for special needs students both in terms of public school and federal funding is completely stacked against kids and their families and the only way to navigate it with a support system of those who are going through the same thing. There is so much work to be done on a personal and political level; it’s become a huge part of my life. It’s changed my art practice both in terms of the work I make and the way I make it. It’s changed the way I think about everything. But it’s still hard for me to think about directly/specifically addressing disability visibility in my work, because it is not my story, it’s my daughter’s. The most important thing to me, is that I speak only from own positioning and she has full agency for herself. My most recent, completed body of work “not her(e)” explores how life as a caregiver is about being used as well as being invisible. Though out this series, I become a part of the furniture while performing everyday acts of care for my child, As part of this project, I also ran a series of community workshops. As an AIR at Popps Packing in Detroit, I worked with a local group of caregivers as we explored the physical, emotional and psychological support tied to caregiving. We created wearable objects that functioned both as useful tools in our everyday caregiving routines, while also considering our own personal identities. I ran similar workshops in Los Angeles at the WCCW and The Armory in conjunction with Hey Baby Feminist Parenting Group. My newest body of work is still raw and unnamed. It was early on during the first few months of the pandemic, in the few minutes I could squeeze in while not caring for the needs of my daughter, whose hyper structured life of therapies has been thrown to the wind. Our emotions and frustrations bleed into one another and the work reflects it. It feels honest and messy and made in a way I’ve never experienced before. Currently, I’m in the thick of it. I just gave birth to my second kid. I’m going to be honest; these are some of the most challenging times of my life. Trying to maintain a studio practice, my business and care for 2 kids under 5 during a worldwide pandemic is insane. My work has always been about the personal and even though it’s been nearly impossible to make work these last few months, I know this time is just a moment of intense “research.” And I’ve come to accept that and be ok with it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wow. This is a hard one because it’s almost like I’ve forgotten what it was like in the “before times.” If we are talking pre-pandemic we would definitely eat all the food in DTLA (Badmaash and Rappahannock OysterBar are two of my favorites), visit museums, go to the beach. So much has changed though, and so many places will either be gone or totally different; it’s hard for me to think about existing out in the world when we don’t even know what that is going to look like when we come out of Covid Times.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Since becoming a parent, I have found such wonderful and supportive organizations that specifically support parent artists: The Sustainable Arts Foundation, Hey Baby (WCCW) and Popps Packing just to name a few.
credit to the artist