Quarantine Chronicles #2 – Kelsey Livingston, Artist

This is the second part in a series of images and interviews about how life has changed (or not) during the COVID-19 quarantine. The purpose is to show how we’re all in this together and we’re not all that dissimilar.

Kelsey Livingston is an independent artist and an administrator at the Baton Rouge Gallery.

Q. How has the quarantine and stay-at-home order affected your work life?

A. I hold a master’s degree in drawing and printmaking and I’m also an arts administrator so in lots of ways things are sort of the same since I’m spending my nine-to-five on a computer, and they’re sort of different because I’m at home I’m in my socks. I’m wearing and nice top because I’m on camera but I just took a shower an hour ago.

When we are talking about just the studio, I’m finding that people are engaging with my social media profiles. People are ordering small stuff more than they usually do. Normally for me to sell work like that, it’s going to be through an exhibition or from a booth event or festival. So, I don’t sell a ton of work but with everyone at home inhaling digital content, I’m getting more feedback, comments, hearts, in general because everyone is glued to their phone. And I’ve had to find ways to ship orders that don’t put my or my customer’s health at risk and don’t add to the chaos of the post office. 

From the arts administration point of view, we at the Baton Rouge Gallery have had to cancel our April and May exhibitions. When we do come back – maybe in June, may be July – we have to decide how do we do this justice? Have our artists been able to get into their studios to do new work? For many, the answer is no. When we do come back, we have a lot to consider. Do we hold a reception? Most people know us for our First Wednesday Receptions. We can’t ethically have 400 people in the gallery for a reception right now, absolutely not. We’ve shifted to an online series where we talk to artists in their homes and show other artists’ work on our Flat Curve Gallery. Really we looked at our mission statement and said, “How do we fulfill that from home?”

Q. What is your silver lining in all the chaos?

A. I find that as long as I get up and do my makeup and put on clothes then I’m more productive. I’m finding myself able to juggle more stuff during the day because there’s no transition time from work to home to studio. When I would be at the gallery I’d use downtime to walk around and dust or paint. Being home, I can work on things in the studio or Zoom call with another artist friend or feed my sourdough starter. I’m exercising. I haven’t done that in years. The lines are blurred between the artist and the administrator. It’s all mixed together like a gumbo. 

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Only in Louisiana can we define our blurred lines as a gumbo and it feel just right. 😉 Thank you, Kelsey, for spending some time with me and talk about art. And Dexter. 😀

You can find Kelsey’s art online at Artist Kelsey Livingston, and you can visit the Baton Rouge Gallery online here: Baton Rouge Gallery – Center for Contemporary Art.


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