Kelsey met me and my friend, Martha, at the de Young Museum in San Francisco on a rainy day this past April. Sitting in the Turrell skyspace in the museum’s garden, we chatted about our shared obsession with land art, living in a city, working in the art world, friends, family, and of course food. In spending a few hours that day with Kelsey, it was immediately clear to me that she is genuine in a way that you don’t often find in others. Though we had never met while Kelsey was in New York for a summer working at both MoMA PS1 and Pace Gallery, I felt more like old friends than new acquaintances who had recently gotten in touch and decided to go see art together on my vacation and her day off. Kelsey has since moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and has been telling me about her transition, what she had expected and what has transpired that was unexpected in this new stage in her life as she settles in and finds a home, at least for a little while.
You have moved a lot in recent years. How has that affected your life?
I just relocated myself to Los Angeles about six months ago. I lived in Brooklyn for a summer when I was 22, and traveled frequently between NYC and Arizona over a two year period because of a long-distance relationship that thankfully now isn’t long-distance. I also lived in San Francisco and Oakland last year.
While I crave trying new things and traveling to places that are foreign to me, I need a sense of comfort in my home-life in order to feel whole and stable. Moving every four months or so has robbed me of that sense of comfort, but at the same time, moving has always made me feel like I am progressing and becoming a stronger individual. When I decided to move out of San Francisco, I made a promise to myself to pick a city and stick with it for a while, and I chose Los Angeles, and Los Angeles has been tough on me so far. I’ve only been here half of the year, but the transition was rougher than the ones I have had in the past. I think it’s mostly due to my discomfort about the apartment I am living in, my lack of creative studio space, the difficult with finding employment, and the loss of a loved one. I am slowly finding my way here though and I think my year of being 24 so far has been the most difficult year yet because of these challenges. I honestly do believe that things are improving and I’m very much excited for whatever this sprawling city has in store for me.
How has your life now been shaped by the decision to move to LA and stay for a bit?
I chose Los Angeles because of its massive arts culture and the idea that I could explore the city for years and years and probably not even scratch it’s surface. I am constantly in the mode of discovery and don’t feel satisfied if I live in a small place, which is the main reason why I left both Phoenix and San Francisco. I also had hopes of finding an art-related job here in Los Angeles, but I am learning that it is an extremely competitive and slow process here in LA. I have two Bachelor’s degrees - one in Art History and one in Museum Studies - so I would normally tell people that I’m an “Art Historian in the making” but it seems like I have put an unintentional pause on that. I expected by 24 to already be advancing past an entry-level art position, but I am learning new forms of patience and trying not to be hard on myself about my lack of immediate success in finding a job in the arts. I think my luck in New York City lead me to an unrealistic image of how my art career would pan out, but I am not giving up.
I just started volunteering at the Museum of Contemporary Art LA a few weeks ago and I finally feel like I’m making some sort of professional progress here in the art industry. I’m helping educators give tour guides to children K-12 in the Contemporary Art Start program and so far it has allowed me to be around an impressive permanent collection, an extremely kind education staff, and the surprisingly knowledgable opinions from children about art. So far I love being a part of the tours with the younger children because they aren’t afraid to speak their minds yet and they have the most clever conclusions about the art that I would never come to on my own.
I’m impressed with your perseverance and your perspective in acknowledging that your success might not be immediate or happen in the way you originally envisioned it would. How have you been navigating those experiences?
I have always put an unnecessary amount of pressure on myself to succeed, especially in regards to my career, but I am learning that our generation altogether is struggling. I’m trying to put my rejections into perspective and realize that I’m not the only person my age who is having these frustration experiences. I think talking to my peers has helped me be more realistic about and I try to be there for anyone I know who is struggling with success in the same way that I am. I started a rejection letter collection from museums and galleries and now it has become sort of a silly thing for me – as if I’m saving these little bits of sorrow for later when I am hopefully more successful and can look back and realize that I’ve worked really hard to get where I am. I know that I am still in a stage of building myself and my identity, and rejection is a step I have to take to find the perfect path.
So, I found a retail job here in Los Angeles with the most supportive owners in the universe. I am convinced that their sweetness and understanding has come into my life at the perfect time and I am thankful to be working with them. I make ceramics in my free time and have been busy with some very exciting wholesale orders, which is allowing me to channel all of this restless creative energy somewhere! It’s also teaching me so much about running a small business.
How did you get into ceramics?
I enrolled in a Japanese Art History course in 2012 and I can remember, vividly, the moment when my professor showed us a slide of this beautiful ceramic tea bowl. I went home that afternoon and researched it further and the internet brought me down this never-ending path of ceramic history. I decided to take a community art class focusing on ceramics a few months later because I just had this feeling that I absolutely had to get my hands on some clay. I made a few pieces in class, but felt dissatisfied by the lack of wheel-throwing I got to do, so I quickly purchased my own wheel.
By that time, I had moved to Oakland and I spent my days off each week furiously throwing and driving to a nearby studio to fire. A store in Brooklyn by the name of Spina (now Homecoming) contacted me out of the blue about a wholesale order and I’ve been operating as a very small business ever since. I initially wanted my website to be the only means of selling my work because it felt more controlled and intimate, but now I am only completing wholesale orders for shops and it has gotten pretty busy. Finding time to work on projects with short deadlines while working multiple jobs and long hours is tough, but not having a space to work and having to relearn the materials and studios each time I have moved have proved to be the most challenging aspects. Ideally, I want a main source of my time and income to be ceramics-based, but I don’t have the resources in Los Angeles just yet. Much like my transition to LA has been slowly progressing, so has my ceramic practice.
What is your relationship to art?
I can’t seem to pinpoint an exact moment that defines the beginning of my art obsession, I think it’s just an innate part of myself as a person. I was always most enamored by art classes in school and my mom tells stories of my art teachers mentioning to her that I had a creative gift. I used to wake up two hours early before elementary school just so I could watch craft shows and get ideas for projects which were mostly clay related. I always enjoyed going to museums as a child and that definitely heightened as I got older. Now I find them to be my own sort of sanctuary, a place where I can hang out with the artists who I strangely feel connected to after reading and studying their lives and work.
During my first semester of college I took an introductory art history course as one of my electives and instantly fell in love with it. Knowing the story behind objects and paintings made me hungry for more information and I soon found myself transferring universities to a better suited art history program. During that first semester of art history classes, I learned about Smithson's Spiral Jetty and it never occurred to me, as an 18-year-old, that artists could envision such massive forms and manipulate the earth like that. And also get away with calling it art! It has been a life goal of mine to walk on Spiral Jetty and I have been planning a land art road trip that I hope to finally make happen this spring.
How do you learn about or experience art?
Art, for me, gives me this feeling of vastness and possibility no matter how insignificant the artist or how small the work. In school the professors always taught us that each piece of art has a “right answer” in regards to what the artist intended it to represent, but I think that whole way of teaching is limiting. I don’t believe that any piece of art work has one particular meaning, even if the artist did intend for it to be that way. I always believe that an artwork can be interpreted in hundreds of different ways and it is up to the spectator to put his or herself into the art and figure out what it means for them personally. Once the art leaves the artist’s studio, the initial meaning and purpose of the object immediately dissolves and evolves. I think that’s why it feels spiritual to me. When I’m standing in front of a piece of art in a museum or gallery, my mind wanders in so many directions that I feel like I lose myself. I get into this zone of thinking about the art’s material properties, I question the process the artist may have taken to create it, I start to think about what the artist’s emotions might have been like while they were in the process of creation, and I start to relate it to experiences from my reality. Sometimes this takes me a few seconds, and other times I could stand staring for an hour. I’m a sensitive person and art seems to engulf me.
Do you have any heroes?
I always think that my grandparents on my mom’s side of the family are my heroes. The two of them were born in South America and immigrated separately to New York in their early 20’s. It was fate that they met and formed a wonderful family. I think that what they did – leaving everything they knew behind and learning a new language and culture – was so incredibly fearless and I’ve tried to carry their brave attitudes with me. My Nana unexpectedly passed away this month and I think that has heavily shifted and shaped my year as a 24-year-old. Nobody can compare to that woman, in my eyes! My mom is someone who I love endlessly and she has taught me so much about the importance of being a nice, caring human being.
Family has always been incredibly important to me, but I let education and work get in the way of them in the past. Now that we have collectively lost someone so dear to us, it has placed my focus on them above all else in my life. No matter how unsure I am about my place in this world as a 24 year old, I have my family, I have my boyfriend and friends, and I have art to lift my spirits. I think I will dedicate my walk on Spiral Jetty to my beautiful Nana, she would have loved to see it!
That sounds like a really beautiful way to honor her.
I’ve been extremely lucky to not have had to experience pain in this way for the first 23 years of my life. My Nana was a woman who had been a very important part of my life since my birth. She has always acted as a second mother to me and I take after her in startling ways. Her death has been heart-shattering to me and I have thought about it every day since. I am a very light-hearted and giggly person, and it has made it difficult for me to experience joy in the same way, but I am repairing myself slowly. With all of these moving and career struggles that have occurred since I turned 24, I thought that my life situation couldn’t get any more stressful, but losing her has diminished all of my other concerns. It will alter the way that I live forever and I will never forget to love everyone I know unconditionally.
The Kelsey Rose’s beautiful and dramatic new bridal collection features delicate floral lace, organza, spotted tulle, grosgrain ribbon, satin, sequins, chiffon, delicate embroidery and feminine silhouettes. An illusion neckline over a sweetheart bodice, sequins hand embroidered into the lace appliqué, figure enhancing V-neck bodice with exquisite lace, opulent embroidered embellishments and dramatic silhouettes, this parade of bridal gowns is a real feast for the eyes.
Hi! For the Eight x Rose AU week, can I prompt you with “I drive to school and you walk and I drive past you everyday and it’s below freezing and you’re still walking please just get in the damn car I’ll drive you”? Thank you!
oh, the weather outside is frightful
eight/rose high school AU
John was extremely grateful that the heater in his beat-up
blue car was working this week. It was the first really cold week of winter.
The clouds hung low and heavy in the sky, whispering of the possibility of
He made a turn and was puttering down the street when he
caught sight of a now-familiar purple coat. He’d seen it every day since he’d
transferred to this school a few months ago and knew that the person it was
wrapped around was one Rose Tyler of the distracting tongue-touched smile.
(It was amazing really, the way a single expression could
pull his mind away from whatever they were supposed to be reading in lit class.
Nothing else had ever truly managed to distract him from reading when he chose
to have his nose in a book.)
(Then again, it was more than a single expression. It was
all of her expressions – the smiles, the little crinkle that formed between her
brows when she was puzzling something out, the way she chewed on the side of
her thumb sometimes, the sound of her laugh, and the way her hair fell into her
(So he might be a tiny bit smitten with Rose Tyler despite
the fact that they had never really spoken about much more than the reading
John frowned as he drew closer to Rose and saw the way her
arms were wrapped around her middle as she walked. It was much too cold to be
walking over a kilometer more to school in a coat that was better suited to
early fall than the dead of winter.
He didn’t even think twice as he slowed to a stop next to
her and leaned over the console to crank the passenger window down.
“Can I give you a ride?” John called, shivering slightly as
the frigid air seeped into his car.
Rose squinted at him before shaking her head, mouth set in a
mulish line. “No, ta, it’s not much further.”
hello! Hope you are feeling better! For the bullet-point trope/fic, what about Rose x Ten or Tentoo, going to a performance of some sort? :)
The Doctor swallowed hard and dragged his eyes away from the very…ahem…unclothed natives that were moving across the stage so he could try to gauge Rose’s reaction. “Yes, yes they are,” he stammered out, rubbing the back of his neck.
Rose ripped her eyes away from the undulating bodies and looked up at the Doctor. She knew the light pink spreading across his cheeks was being mirrored on her own face. “Did you know…”
“Do you want to stay?” She squeezed his hand that was still entwined with hers.
“Do you?” He was proud of himself for mostly not squeaking.
Rose tilted her head to the side then gave him her signature tongue touched smile, gratified when his gaze immediately dropped. “Think I do, yeah.”
He could feel his blush deepening but he wasn’t going to let Rose out-brazen him.
“Let’s go find our seat then,” he said, untangling their fingers so he could press his hand into the small of her back and usher her further into the theater.