A podcast by Ken Volante. Why is there something rather than nothing? This podcast is a philosophical and psychological exploration into the act of creation (poets, musicians, writers, painters, thinkers, all of us)
Episode 95 - Taylor Dean
Taylor Dean tsi dsdaʔ. pastəd čəd. spuyaləpabš čəd. ʔaciłtalbixʷ čəd.
My name is Taylor Dean. I am white, I am a Puyallup, I am Native American. I am in a unique position to critique the colonization of America from both a colonized and colonizer perspective. My art work explores this duality via performance, installation, sculpture, and printmaking.
Episode 94 - Melissa Oliveri
Melissa Oliveri is a multi-disciplinary artist who came to Minneapolis, MN from Montreal, Canada in 2006, bringing with her an eclectic mix of both French- and English- Canadian cultures.
A born creator, Melissa has been writing stories, drawing, and playing music since childhood. Her most recent endeavour is a podcast called The Skylark Bell, which she writes, records, narrates, hosts, and produces. A large part of the podcast is the original music that accompanies most episodes, all which is composed, performed, and recorded by Melissa under her stage name Cannelle, the French word for cinnamon, which was partly inspired by the colour of her hair.
Melissa’s diverse musical influences range from Alternative music like Pixies and PJ Harvey, to French artists like France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg, and Jean Leloup, and women songwriters like Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, Tori Amos, and Amanda Palmer.
Having experienced an important loss as a child and lived through the grief that ensued, her art often tug on the heartstrings, but she can also write about everyday life situations from a humorous angle. Whether playing a silly song about her favourite snacks, dreaming about living among palm trees, or softly singing an ode to a departed loved one, her songs and stories will make you feel exactly what she wants you to feel.
Episode 93 - ‘Disrupting the Canon’ w/ Natalia Arbelaez, Heidi McKenzie, Habiba El-Sayed and Magdolene Dykstra
“Disrupting the Canon” investigates how four women of colour use their practices to disrupt a predominantly Eurocentric, male art narrative. The goal behind this exhibition and presentation is bigger than diversifying the canon, which can still leave artists of colour and women on the margins. Rather, this discussion is part of the huge project of deconstructing the racist and sexist tendencies of our societal and institutional structures with the aim of building a new foundation of multiplicity. Natalia Arbelaez, Magdolene Dykstra, Habiba El-Sayed, and Heidi McKenzie work to fashion a more egalitarian canon through artistic practices that delve into diverse histories.
Episode 92 - Dakota Noot
Dakota Noot is a Los Angeles-based artist and curator. He uses drawings, paintings, and installations to create animal-human hybrids that explore rural yet fantastical, queer identities. Originally from Bismarck, North Dakota, he continues to show in both North Dakota and Los Angeles, including solo and two-person shows at Highways Performance Space, MuzeuMM, and PØST. Noot has exhibited in group shows at Charlie James Gallery, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Torrance Art Museum (FORUM. 2019; MAS-ATTACK, 2016), and “Queer Biennial: What if Utopia?” at LAST Projects. His series of cutout drawing-installations have been shown at LA Freewaves, Cerritos College Art Gallery, and Otis College.
Noot graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota (2015) and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University (2017). He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Oxnard College and Orange Coast College. Along with Christopher Velasco, he co-founded the nomadic curatorial project Scream Queen. He was the key artist for the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.
Episode 91- Amy Guidry
Amy Guidry (b. 1976, Jacksonville, N.C.) is an American artist residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. She grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. Guidry comes from a family of artists including the late painter Eleanor Norcross. She studied at Loyola University of New Orleans where she received her Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts in 1998. She was the recipient of the Loyola University Art Scholarship, which is awarded to only one student per graduating class.
Guidry’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums nationwide including the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Aljira a Center for Contemporary Art, Brandeis University, the PhilaMOCA, the Paul & Lulu Hilliard Art Museum, and the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Her work is present in public and private collections throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia; including the Alexandria Museum of Art, The City of Slidell, and the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Guidry’s paintings have been featured in publications such as American Artist, Adbusters, and American Art Collector as well as online features such as Hi-Fructose and the Huffington Post. Her work has also been featured on MTV’s The Real World, Season 20: Hollywood. She is represented in New Orleans by LeMieux Galleries.
Episode 90 - Charlie French
SRTN welcomes Charlie French!
“Yes, I have Down syndrome, but first I want you to see me: Charlie French. And then I want you to see my art. I am an abstract artist. I am an intuitive artist. I embrace a blank canvas with a sense of wonder and adventure. I work hard, I keep learning but mostly I let go, be FREE and have FUN.
Special thanks to guest co-host Karen French.
Question 5: what or who made you who you are?
My imagination. It is always with me. It is me. And I’m a funny guy.
Question 7: why is there something rather than nothing?
I don’t like nothing. I like lots of somethings. And my imagination gives me lots. I happily paint on a big white canvas of nothing. My imagination creates lots of somethings! So I will keep painting!
Question 1: were you an artist when you were born?
Question 2: let’s chat about your artwork, your painting
OK! My website: www.justcharliefrench.org is a portfolio of my art. This is where you can see a lot of my art. My series.
At first these paintings were BIG. But now I paint these on fine art paper. Some days I like to be FREE when I paint, and some days I love to follow a routine.
These paintings follow a process now: tape the paper, use titan buff and white high flow for a base coat, choose high flow colors and add with a scraper and water spray. Keep adding colors until I am happy. Let dry, and then add the black lines using my template and a bigger scraper. And that’s it. Morning in Paris. I have 10 new ones coming out this summer, and I am learning how to make prints for an on-line shop. It is not as easy as painting.
My Instagram followers really like my Morning in Paris series. During Covid my little brother Will was staying with us. We watched a movie from when we were little kids: Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. We lived in Europe and have visited Paris many times. I love Paris. And so I started painting Notre Dame with my brother. It was a lot of fun.
And one more series I love is my Squares series. There is something about squares that makes me feel good. I love shapes. But my favorite is the square. I love using big brushes to make big square designs. And also using pencils.
More recently, I painted The Muffin Man paintings. These are about muffins. I love muffins. Even gluten free muffins! I was laughing so hard when I painted these that I had to sit down one time.
I really hope my paintings help people see my happiness.
I have a lot more series. I paint what is in my mind. What makes me feel good. I just let go and be free. So, for example, when it was snowy and cold, I painted a new series called Snowy Day. How could I paint snow? Well, I used one of my favorite tools: high flow white acrylic paint. I pour it from the top of the canvas and swipe down with a big sponge. Beautiful snow.
I went to Mexico after my vaccines. And I have been working on this series, but using white textured bubbles instead of dark fathoms. I loved watching and touching the white bubbles in the ocean. It’s beautiful.
My favorite series is In the fathoms below. These paintings are about the beginning of The Little Mermaid Disney movie. The sky, the sea, the birds and the ship in the dark fathoms below! This always makes me laugh. It makes me happy. I play the music when I paint this series. I love it!
So first is my Imagination. These are paintings from my mind. They are inspired by music, water, food, movies, shapes. They are inspired by things that make me happy.
Question 4: what is the role of art?
Art’s job is to let me be free. And to make life good. To make life better. Happy. Funny. Thinking. And let people see me.
Question 3: what is art?
Art is sharing my imagination. I think my best art is painting squares.
Question 6: why do you create?
I create because I want to. And I create because it is my
Wow. This is my first time listening to your show. Your interview with Paige was flowing and the energy really started my morning on a high note. Great questions and beautiful insights through the entire pod. Great work.
Skilled interviewer, relatable stories
Ken is a highly skilled interviewer. He has the unique ability to present open ended questions while encouraging his guests to reflect on deeply relatable experiences. Zora’s coming of age stories and successes later in life were both endearing and inspiring to hear. Ken’s tying these stories back to his experience managing labor unions and modern life is extremely interesting and feels very original. Great work!
High quality program produced by philosopher, artist and created by Ken Volante. Finally a program promoting important artists and exploring their lives led by an avid fan who digs deep.