Mother Artist – Kelli Mccluskey
Imagination is what changes the world
If you could distil into a single thought about your experience as a mother artist what would it be?
Like dancing naked in a riot – you feel ruthlessly exposed as a woman, but full of fear and excitement anyway
How has becoming a mother enhanced, limited, provoked and/or disrupted your creative practice?
Sleep deprivation nearly broke me, but forced me into some radical time management processes and a much needed mental and physical separation of ‘work’ and ‘home’ life.
Has mothering impacted your actual creative process and ways of making work? How?
Learning to play again, its so friggin liberating! its what one of our latest works ‘deviator’ is all about, transforming our cities into playgrounds as a means to rediscover a playful sense of subversion. I’m not sure this idea would have dawned on us if it weren’t for parenthood.
ripley rogue’s introduction to australian politics [age 6yrs]:
ripley: mummy whats a liberal?
me: [slightly lengthy explanation on my part in layman’s terms]
ripley: so if i see a liberal in the street can i please kick them in the pee pee?
Do you ever collaborate with your child, respond to each other, or work side by side to create work?
All the time! we’ve just started playing piano together, she’s much more focussed than me!
Having been through a major health challenge how has your relationship to working as a mother artist shifted?
Being diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer is a major perspective changer for anyone. for me at least i think i learned the hard way that its not possible to go full pelt at parenthood and art career without there being some severe health consequences. i learnt to slow down and to enjoy life and motherhood from the perspective of a lower gear. i think i also learnt to appreciate where i was by enjoying being in the present instead of my thoughts constantly racing ahead, making me feel like i was constantly missing out on what was right in front of me. i learnt to say ‘no’ and as an artist this is a big one because you are often both financially and psychologically insecure and almost train yourself into believing that saying no is career damaging in some way. actually, i can testify that it isn’t! its how you say it that matters and people will respect you for it.
Bravery is not just physical courage but moral courage too
Kelli Mccluskey is the co-founder and core artist of PVI Collective – a tactical media arts group who produce interdisciplinary artworks that are intent on the creative disruption of everyday life
on May 22, 2014