Pro Prac Symposium – Artist as Parent

Artist as Parent

Pro Prac Symposium

Instagram handle @lichenkelp
Instagram handle @countercoulter
Instagram handle @lucrecciaquintanilla

Float 3909


Nick Breedon 00:00
Hi everyone and welcome to Pro Prac symposium.
Pro Prac Symposium is a professional practice webinar where artists share their knowledge on topics which were identified as issues in seasons one and two of our podcast. Pro Prac Symposium has been generously supported by the City of Melbourne and we would also like to thank Site Works and Center for Dramaturgy and Curation for hosting us in the office today.
We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging, and the elders of the lands that this podcast and symposium reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 00:40
This is our second session for today and it is called Artist as Parent and this session has been highly requested as parenting in the arts is often not represented or spoken about very publicly, especially double art families, or single art parents. It’s something under represented, and I think a lot of people who don’t have children or are yet to start families are interested in how other artists have gone about this. So this is really a forum for us to chat about these issues.

Nick Breedon 01:15
All right. We are joined today by artists Ross Coulter , Lichen Kelp and Lucreccia Quintanilla , from whom we will be hearing about being an artist and a parent and all the different aspects of professional practice that that entails.
Ross lives with partner Meredith and daughter Roma who is five and in prep. Meredith is a practicing artist and currently works full time and Ross is an artist and this semester is working casually as a sessional staff. Welcome Ross.
Lichen is an artist who often performs with long term partner and artists musician Dylan Martorell. They have two kids Ines 16 and Xavi 11, who tour together with a traveling residency program Forum of Sensory Motion. Welcome, Lichen.
And Lucreccia is an artist, writer DJ and PhD candidate at Monash University and shares care of her son Ruben, who is 14 with this Dad. Welcome, Lucreccia.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 02:11

Kiera Brew Kurec 02:13
Thank you all for joining us. I want to kick off this session by riffing on a question that we normally have in our podcast where we ask people to give us a day, a typical day as an in your practice, but also kind of extending this question for you each to give us a moment to run through what a typical day in your household looks like. Understanding that at the moment, everything is really different with COVID. And we’ll get to that. But pre COVID, if each of you could go through how your days are structured, that would be great.

Lichen Kelp 02:54
So pre COVID, my day always started with dropping off Xavi at school, he goes to school, a couple of suburbs away. So usually we drive occasionally do a long trek on the bike, and then I was saying to Ross before because we were talking about cafes, that I usually then try to break up my day of having to get everybody sort of ready and motivated to get out of the house. And before I start work, just breaking up those kind of two things in terms I feel like they have a little bit of pressure attached to them by going to a cafe, having a coffee and just having some time to myself and you know, catching up on Instagram, unlikely but maybe reading an actual magazine. Possibly meeting someone briefly. And then I did have a studio Testing Grounds until recently. So I was often going into Testing Grounds, and went straight there, which was great. And usually doing like four or five hours work and then heading back to the house to home stuff and then family stuff again. So and then back to work as the kids were kind of doing their own thing after dinner at the computer for several hours and doing writing and things like that.

Kiera Brew Kurec 04:15
Cool. Ross, we might move over to you if that’s okay.

Ross Coulter 04:21
It’s interesting, I guess Roma is a bit younger. She’s starting, was started prep this year or is starting prep this year. I don’t really know which one it is at the moment. But prior to that she was at childcare. So typical day like during the week was; I would drop or Meredith depends, It’s it Yeah, I feel like it’s sort of difficult because it is such a I feel like life is such a jumble, where your kind of teaching but I am teaching casually at Monash and I was teaching Deakin. And Meredith is teaching full time at Monash until the middle of this year. So Oh, hang on, I think I got a message that I might sound a little bit weird because my mic is doesn’t have the right setting. I mean, I might sound weird anyway, but

Kiera Brew Kurec 05:20
Yeah you are breaking up a tiny bit.

Ross Coulter 05:24
Go to Lucreccia, and then come back to me if it’s okay?

Kiera Brew Kurec 05:27
Yeah great.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 05:29
Um, all my days are pretty different. I do a few different things in different places. But usually, up until COVID, pretty much I’ve had my son about 75% of the time. So that is a routine thing. So we get up, get breakfast ready, he’s 14. So he makes his own breakfast and he goes to school. Sometimes I drive him, it’s a bit ridiculous, his school is really close but that’s how it goes. And if I drive him, I will go for a walk around the park near his school. Or if I’m still here, I’ll get dressed, and go for a big walk. And thats because depending on what I’m doing, that sort of sets me up for the day. And then I go about doing whatever I need to do, which is a lot of things. Sometimes I teach some other days, on a Thursday, I do all of the things that like, I call it like my security day where I make all, do all the sort of hustles that keep my art practice together. But on a Monday I do admin so I stay here for that. And then on a Wednesday I may teach. On a Tuesday I’ll go to the studio. And then Friday comes and then I have Friday, I have all Fridays off. And I sit here and yeah, and not off work, off. Ruben goes to his dad. And so I just collapse or I go out when I have DJ gigs. So I’ll go and work and do some DJing, which is fun work. And I love it. Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 07:45
Yeah Cool. I really like what did you call Thursday again?

Lucreccia Quintanilla 07:52
I call it my miscellaneous hustle day in my calendar actually.

Kiera Brew Kurec 07:56
That’s great, I like that.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 07:58
All the things that you can imagine that a person could cram into a day that is not art related. That would make a person enough money to not feel… Yeah, it’s a really big day.

Lichen Kelp 08:15
And kind of nice to limit that to one day. Because otherwise there can be stretches of time where it takes over in your mind that hustle. When you’re trying to rustle up funds for something.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 08:29

Kiera Brew Kurec 08:31
We might shoot over to Ross. How is your microphone going?

Ross Coulter 08:37
I don’t know how does it sound? Okay, cool. Like, it’s interesting to hear Lichen and Lucreccia talk about that kind of separation time as well like from the drop off of your humans, you kind of need to kind of get like, I don’t know, sort of gather some sort of thoughts or kind of creating the space from that from what you’ve been doing, which kind of resonates for me. So I guess at the start of this year, because Meredith was working full time and I just had two classes which is now reduced down to one I was dropping off Roma and doing most of the pickups I think the majority of the pickups. So we gosh, shambolically get the human organized, making lunch, making lunches. It’s really you know, this, the small things you do. You do like yeah, like the great thing about childcare and Lichen and Lucreccia if you’re children went to childcare or that situation with the childcare, they provide the children with the lunches. And when you go to school, though, you have to like you’re like, oh, there’s just like all this extra little thing to do. And with childcare, it’s longer because you can drop your children off at, our childcare at Monash it was between seven, but we get to the like seven to 7.30 to like 8.30. And then you can pick the child at like 4.30 or five o’clock. So it’s sort of like a, almost a regular working like working day. Like, it’s not like an artist day where you start when you’re starting and when you end. And then like, what I’m noticing now is like with the school day, the drop off is, you know, we leave home, we live close by, a 10 minute term scooter, and it takes us 15 minutes to get there (Laughter). We, we drop off the human, so it’s at nine, and then you’re picking her up at 3.30. So your day is what really sort of notice is the day is like a lot, a lot shorter now. You know, like it compared to like a person was, you know, working nine to five, let alone what you know, an art day, and those are fantasy days, what your day as an artist would be. It’s somewhat different now.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 11:04
Yeah, I find that four hours is the maximum studio time I can have now. I still try and get home by 4 when I have Rubes because it’s a nice time. It’s like having a cup of tea and then I’ll come and do some stuff that I can do from home. But yeah, it’s a shorter day, hey, it’s not like you can, I don’t know the Bohemian dream is dead now. Not that I ever lived it, it’s a myth, its a myth people! (Laughter).

Kiera Brew Kurec 11:36
I’m wondering if any of you have any systems or strategies in place that when you’re working on a project, and it’s getting to kind of crunch time where like you might be installing or you have to spend like the project is requiring a large amount of time. Is there anything that you do any systems you have in place to look after your children or are your children there with you and they’ve learned to roll with seeing you guys in stressful situations and like or even help out? Does that kind of shift and change when you are working up to a project?

Lichen Kelp 12:16
Um, before seeing myself as an artist, Dylan was the only artist in the family. And then Ines was little, she would often attend his like installs and end up doing like a really small little exhibition over and corner while he was setting up, which was so sweet (Laughter). I think it was maybe before he started having bigger gallery shows, I don’t know if they would have allowed a small child running around for O.H&S reasons, but um, yeah, very sweet. That happens less now. I think she’s kind of interested in what we do. But she’s definitely very independent got her own life happening. But one really nice thing that eventuated from COVID is that we have an empty studio space in the warehouse down the road where we used to live and still have as artist studios. And she’s moved into that empty space to have some time outside the house and is doing painting there and yeah, a friend of hers has some inheritance money for my grandma was like, Can I please pay you guys like $100 and share the space with Ines. So that’s been kind of heartwarming to see that despite a shambolic artist as parents existence, she’s obviously not scared enough to be turned away from the arts. (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 13:44
Opted in. That’s great. So COVID obviously has had a really drastic impact on everybody. But has there been any really significant changes that you’d like to talk about in terms of how you’re making and how you’re hanging out with family as well.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 14:15
A 14 year old boy wants his own time. He doesn’t want to be with his Mum in freaking isolation without his friends like he’s a very social person. His friends are his life. And that incidental bumping into people at school or after school doing things has been really difficult for him because he’s like, a people person. And there’s no people that he’d like to spend time with in here. Which is, you know, hard not to take personally (Laughter) but understanding that I am getting some time alone and I want to run away and I can’t. I find that that’s been really difficult, but he’s getting through his work, and I am doing my work when he’s not here. And I go for more walks when he’s here so we give each other space. But I’m making more work that is, I can do on the computer. So I’m writing a bit, or I’m making some things.

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:40
Have it either, Ross or Lichen, actually Lichen we were kind of discussing this at the beginning, before we started, about how you’ve just like finished a huge residency, and got home just as the situation was intensifying, and borders were closing, and you were away from your family for quite a long time. And now you have this kind of condensed time together, would you be able to speak a little bit about it?

Lichen Kelp 16:10
Well, it was a fairly special experience. For me, I guess, getting to spend six months (weeks) doing my own thing in an exotic location and meeting lots of people. And I had done it once before, I think to Thailand, I did a conference residency thing called Digital Naturalism Conference, which was two weeks in 2018. And that was really great, six weeks without the family turned out to feel like a lot, as I was coming up to it. And then while I was in the midst of it, it was like a fairly remote residency out in the middle of the desert. And it was beautiful. And the other artists were great. And there was so many good things about it, but it was challenging as well. And the other residency thing that I did last year was a series of shorter residences out on a houseboat in Gippsland with Float, which you guys should check out, it’s amazing. And that was also really challenging for me, because I’m always either with the family, or with my artist friends, or, you know, sort of working collaboratively. I don’t allow myself much solo studio time, often. The setting out to be like on a houseboat in the middle of a lake. I was having like mini anxiety attacks about it before I went and I feel like both Morocco and the East Gippsland Lake experience kind of stood me up well, for COVID in that I got used to just being quiet and calm and being okay with that. In terms of making since I’ve got back. Is my internet cutting out?

Nick Breedon 18:04
a little bit for a second, but it’s okay, now,

Lichen Kelp 18:06
I have slowed right down. I’ve had sort of, you know, the whole gamut of emotions that everybody’s had about COVID and about being in a house with the same people day in day out. And just have been really uninspired and un energized to be finding time or finding it difficult to find time amongst all the family busyness weirdly, to really actually want to be doing anything and enjoying when I hear people on social media talk about this should be a time to be adding to the sort of capitalist machine of productivity. Yes it aligns quite nicely with my Yeah I think it’s not laziness, It’s you know…

Nick Breedon 18:55
Yeah I think it’s only human that, you know, I think it’s sort of a lot of people been pitching like, oh, there’s so much time to like, make art right now. But I don’t think that people should really, you know, feel pressured to have to produce right now. Like, it’s literally an unprecedented, you know, worldwide event.

Kiera Brew Kurec 19:22
Additionally, if you have small humans you have to care for and re-negotiate their education and to be adding on top of that the pressure of needing to produce a whole new body of work that deals with COVID.

Lichen Kelp 19:38
I’ve been doing a bit of mushroom foraging while I’ve been, before sort of restrictions tightened we’re going out to the forest pick pine mushrooms and stuff. And often these talks kind of turn to magic mushrooms and a friend of mine oh well you know, I’m not interested in like taking any psychedelics or anything right now because these times are kind of psychedelic enough. And I was sort of applying that to my practice thinking about it afterwards, because I often think about the work that I produce the imagery as, I guess, fairly psychedelic, and about providing performative experiences that kind of provide a drug experience with out the drugs. And at this point, nobody needs to feel sort of slightly unsettled or weirded out by not feeling inspired to create.

Kiera Brew Kurec 20:34
Ross how are things in your household at the moment?

Ross Coulter 20:38
They’re interesting. So with a little prep, a new preppy, so I guess she’s getting used to school, we’re getting used to school, and now we’re getting used to homeschooling. And that requires a lot of attention. So we’ve got a timetable how do we handle things.

Ross holds up a timetable

Ross Coulter 21:09
oh, yeah, she had lunch. That’s the sort of cool things like, the cool things are like, they have a snack, they have a snack and brain food at primary school. So it’s nice to have it, that you’re like having enforced break. And then whoever’s work if I’m, you know, if I’m in the office working, we’ve had a space where we use as an office at home. And so whoever’s taking the homeschool class, they’ll provide the brain food or the snack or the lunch for the other person, the other kind of working partner, which is kind of cool. And then there’s a lot of device time, I guess, like a lot of learning is done on the screens or are mediated via screens. And so I guess we have a bit of, you know, we try to put our devices down and we have a little snack, which is cool. But that, yeah, so that, that requires a lot of, a lot of attention. I guess the primary school teacher, Mr. Pike said, we’re loading you up so just get through whatever you can get through and I guess. Yeah, I guess there’s like, just changing the Yeah, I think as, as parents, you have all manner of expectations of what you should be doing or could be doing or would be doing or I don’t know, I do. And, yeah, I feel like there’s an extra pressure of like getting our child through this time. And I guess the thing that kind of keeps being reiterated to us is the, just the health and well being of your little human, you know, you get through all the activities, or that doesn’t really matter so much as long as you you’re not kind of killing anyone. I think that’s the important.

Nick Breedon 23:01
Yeah. So Ross is it right? Roma had just started prep this January?

Ross Coulter 23:11

Nick Breedon 23:11
Yeah. Right. So um, how much time did she actually get her physical classes before?

Ross Coulter 23:20
close to one term.

Nick Breedon 23:22
Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Ross Coulter 23:24
Yeah, one term. So, you know, at the start, she was, you know, it’s like, it doesn’t really mean that, you know, it’s like, oh, we’re doing a homeschool. Okay, we’re doing homeschool now. Okay. We didn’t, We didn’t mention there is a school holiday, because it’s like, what are we kind of do on the school holiday? let’s just, let’s just do some activities. And let’s start at home school now. So don’t mention it, to her.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 23:49
I love that. I’ve added a new subject to Ruben’s schooling. So I’ve been thinking as well. I’ve added, Well, he obviously, he’s 14, he knows I’m being sneaky I mean, he’s aware. But I’ve added Spanish, High School Spanish, so when all this happened I ordered all these books and oh, yeah, so he has homework and he’s doing it and it’s great. Like, you just I don’t know, I feel like maybe this is where like, Art and life, and how good we can be at being what’s the word like pragmatic, you know, we start to like, have bring in those things. Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 24:34
Yeah, So going back, maybe a little bit pre COVID situation we’re in now. I’m just wondering if there’s any, like major logistical challenges. I think you’ve all kind of spoken about time. But yeah, logistical challenges that you’ve had to face working in the arts with children, whether it be like you’re arts job or making work or working another job to support your arts practice?

Nick Breedon 25:07
Maybe Lichen if you could maybe enlighten us a little bit like how, you know, going on your residency, How you’re sort of discussions around how you were going to, you know, take that time away from family, you know, was that a major logistical challenge to kind of change your sort of family routine to kind of fit that, that in? or How did you sort of approach that?

Lichen Kelp 25:38
I think, maybe one of the benefits of being part of a two artist families that were both quite used to just flexibility. And also, there’s a level of disorganization, that sometimes can be beneficial, where as much planning as we can do anyway, often things fall by the wayside and have to be re, re thought about. So Dylan is really supportive of me doing these projects. And I guess, you know, my kids are older now. And there is a lot of sort of travel and adventuring and kind of things that I want to do that don’t work in so well with the family anymore, and we’ve talked about this over the years, but when they were little, or littler, that they could kind of accompany us on our trips overseas more and do the residencies with us, and it wouldn’t impact their schooling too much. But we knew with year, 11 and 12, that she wouldn’t be able to just come along. So Dylan’s been good about me taking time out to do these projects. And yeah, I think because I was so family focused up until like, a year or two ago. That I guess it’s just the right time for me and for the family to feel okay.

Kiera Brew Kurec 27:16
Ross or Lucreccia have, you had to kind of overcome any logistical challenges in terms of like exhibiting or performing and needing to maybe adjust to a environment that isn’t always super accommodating for children or for parents who have a different time structure than people that don’t have children?

Lucreccia Quintanilla 27:41
I think I feel like I’m very lucky in that I have been supported by people when they know I have a child, I feel really encouraged in, yeah people are quite flexible. I worked in this show, a Counihan gallery last year and it was all about parenting. And it struck me just yeah, people are really it’s taken quite seriously. You know, in some ways, because it’s a, it can be quite an informal community. And I, if I, my son is old enough that if he can’t come to something I can arrange, you know, he can, he can stay home alone for a couple of hours. He is not interested in art. He’s very post art, but he’s very good at it. So he, he kind of refuses to join in I think he’s like, he knows he’s better. And he doesn’t want my ridiculousness anymore (Laughter). So it’s actually quite good. And I have lots of really great friends I have I feel really, I feel really lucky. And you know, for all the, it makes up for not having any money, you know, that I have this. This thing that I had never I never actually pictured was the thing that to have such a big supportive group of people of different ages. It’s really good, but yeah, there’s no money. So hence the extra hustle.

Kiera Brew Kurec 29:46
Yeah, but adding to that, it takes work to build those communities as well. And that’s, that often goes unseen, that you, you are kind of maintaining those relationships takes a lot of effort and time as well.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 30:07
There is really, sorry to interrupt, this this beautiful quote, where Toni Morrison who, the writer who wrote all her books at nighttime, she said that she wrote her books at night after her kids went to sleep. And, you know, it’s about finding that those times I think I am trying to say, you just try and squeeze stuff in, like find those extra minutes and hours. It means we’re overworked I think.

Kiera Brew Kurec 30:43

Lichen Kelp 30:45
It’s about asserting, you know, your okayness with being a parent, on, you know, on a par with being an artist as well to not sort of drop the loyalty or the obligations to the family in exchange for an opportunity. Like, I remember hearing Dylan on the phone talking to someone, like at the NGV or something, and they were trying to set up a meeting, he was like, Okay, well, sure, I can do a phone meeting but it’ll have to be between school drop off and school pickup. And I was just like, so glad to hear this, as I’ve chosen the right person to have a family with who is willing to put his career on hold. Potentially wasn’t able to have that meeting and that means the show didn’t go ahead or whatever. I was confident and yeah. And I think maybe for women who are the, have a call to make, you sort of have to work against being a parent somehow, as a female artist with a family that maybe there is like, more children be sort of in a space of denialism about having kids, when you’re fronted with chances that you have to somehow arrange for them to be looked after by somebody else. And that, that’s all going to get managed. So that you can get on with you really pushing yourself forward a bit. But, you know, it doesn’t have to be that way, either. I guess, if you just feel confident enough to ask for people to be flexible, they often are.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 32:28
Yeah, that’s it, I find that you have to be assertive, and I think people are. I’ve never had anyone say, actually, that doesn’t work, or that we have a deadline here. Maybe it’s my approach to it as well, you know, this is what I’m doing. This is this, like, Dylan like, this is how I’m doing it, and I’ll come back. Sometimes, you know, I’m, you know, I’ve I’ve never had, sometimes people are like, oh, okay, but usually that negotiation goes quite smoothly. But yeah, I mean, it’s, I don’t know, somebody was talking about neoliberalism and the art sector, but then I, it made me realize that like, most professions, are like this, you know, it maybe they have a less negotiating time. Maybe it’s less informal, you know, most if you go to an office or if you work as a cleaner, or if you work in out in other precarious workplaces, that are less that are you know, that are out there. You still have to negotiate that and you know, when I’ve cleaned I also have really great employers who will say, yeah, bring your son you can bring your son, or I’ve taken Ruben, he has Dj’d with me at Laser Pig and he’s, he’s DJ’d With me, events where you know, somebody couldn’t make it or was unwell. And I’ve had to, you know, kid friendly events. And he took over the Djing there too. And, you know, like it’s flexible enough.

Nick Breedon 34:31
I love that a 14 year olds had a set it Laser Pig.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 34:38
Oh no he was 11! (Laughter)

Lichen Kelp 34:46
I think the kids get so much out of the sort of ad hoc nature of artist parenting, the, you know, the different people that they meet as part of the extended community, the different skills that they pick up from being around these people and the interest that they sort of absorb is in a having seen my kids go through it and be older now, I can really see that it’s had a positive impact as, as much as it, you know, maybe not been as stable as they would like at different times.

Kiera Brew Kurec 35:22
I would say, as someone who doesn’t have a child, that it’s a positive environment for others to have children around as well. When you’re working with people that have children, and there is children around during install, or in meetings. Someone who I have collaborated with for a long time has also, like, we were working on a project during her giving birth over the course of the first year of that child’s life. And that experience was so incredible, because it gave us another perspective, to be aware of when creating work and thinking about how we approach things. And yeah, it was, for someone who doesn’t have children for me, it was really important to have that experience as well. So I think that’s a positive all around.

Ross Coulter 36:19
Thinking of from when Lichen was talking about Dylan on the phone, I think there are like opportunities for fathers to bring their children into the conversation a bit more to. Because, yeah, I don’t know, because maybe sometimes there’s a reluctance for father to talk about parenting or what their responsibilities are, or, you know, could be or should be yeah I don’t know. But yeah, I think kind of, for fathers to bring in to the conversation, you know, if it is talking to the NGV, or like, these are the hours that you know, that I’m available, because I know, I, you know, I have to look after my children, or whatever it is that you’re, you know, doing kind of like, yeah, I feel like, Oh, I was watching this documentary and Julian Schnabel last night, and it was all about, you know, the classic, you know, great male artists making his work. And, and the children are sort of in the background, sort of, you know, wasn’t really anything that I didn’t really relate to that, that experience. I don’t, I don’t know, you can sort of you can, it’s, you know, and I can sort of do that. Yeah, the priorities. You know, we’re in the sort of the great myths around them, you know, the art, you know, the art, the male artists, you know, I think that’s hearing Lichen your example of Dylan talking on the phone and bringing his children, you know, like, bringing his children into the conversation, I think, is there’s a, there’s good opportunities, you know, for fathers to do that, which I think, yeah, it’s pretty important.

Kiera Brew Kurec 38:14
Yeah I think that’s really great to highlight. And I think, with Pro Prac we’ve often tried to have a conversation that kind of really reflects the realities of being an artist. And that sometimes we need to show that, you know, there’s limitations on time or sometimes things can be complicated and a little bit more messy, because otherwise, people will want to make you work within timelines or things and like expect artists to kind of be very magical, and just like kind of turn up with these finished products on either ridiculous timelines or like, budgets, and that it needs to be quite explicit, from the artist and what they need, and what their boundaries are both like financially and with time, otherwise, the expectations will continue to be on artists to just be like pulling shit out of thin air and having all the time, I’ve been overworked and over, like, over committed.

Ross Coulter 39:16
I think that’s like, what Lucreccia is sort of saying is, you know, just picking up what you’re saying Lucreccia almost that kind of pushing back against those expectations as well or, or just informing people about the situations of, of the limitations of time or whatever, whatever it might be. And there isn’t a there is the possibility of an openness to the understanding, as I guess Nick was saying as well and Kiera, there is a there’s opportunities for the other person who, who might be a parent or may not be a parent to offer support or and then to gain things from that experience as well that exchange and interaction with the little human or bigger human whatever the human sizes or shape.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 40:06
I really feel like, I really feel like there’s a culture that is sort of more of an institutionally, like, where it’s not a gallery is not a place where you take your child or a gallery, you know, when you’re setting up, like, Lichen we were saying before, or their adult spaces, and the or family, strange for family, but I feel like maybe because of openings, you know, openings are not for children, it seems, sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not. But I feel like, you’re not going to actually find that out unless you take your child, you know, and you’re, you know, like, maybe sometimes you don’t feel like taking your kid, but sometimes you do actually want your child to see something. I mean, I don’t, I don’t see these spaces, as networking spaces. Unlike, you know, when my child was little, he would go and talk, he would make friends and entertain himself. But it was pretty obvious a space lesson for him. And it was really commendable, that he would strike up friendships. And I’m really proud of him for that. But you know, this, there’s some very cool spaces that are not, that have a specific language that you participate in as an artist, because it is a professional environment. And they may not be great for kids, you know, people are drunk and whatnot.

Lichen Kelp 42:01
I think that some of the projects that Dylan and I work on together have been formed by the fact that we’re parents and working against some of these sort of restrictions and difficulties that I saw being presented when I was like, you know, mostly parenting and doing, I had a small business as well, that was sort of part time. And Dylan’s career was, you know, the art component in the family, I was getting really frustrated, as his sort of career looked like it was becoming potentially international, that you know, the kids and I could potentially be left at home quite regularly while he went off to different places and did installations and had a great time. And I was so not into that. Like, out of the two of us, it was me who wanted to be, you know, going to these places and having these adventures. And yeah, I was just like, restless in it, still am, to be having adventures, I guess. And so that’s what kind of formed the traveling residency idea. And also just working against this limitation, which was that most residences that were encountering that he was looking to apply to, didn’t allow for children. And I felt that they were really set up for other single males or males that were getting, you know, as sort of what’s the word, hiatus now what’s the word starts with an S like, medical,

Ross Coulter 43:36

Lichen Kelp 43:36
That they would just get this very sort of focused time. And that’s not how we worked the family, and it was all kind of tumbling in to each other. So we set up our own version of the residency, which started in India, and then I was changing the format to travel it to different places so that we could be experiencing different places and meeting new people. And the kids were coming along, and that was mostly working really well, you know, occasionally there’d be someone along who struggled with having kid energy around. But, you know, it was really important for me to break up that sort of condensed nuclear family situation that we had that, I guess, you know, I stumbled into in many ways, I didn’t really necessarily expect to have a long term heteronormative relationship after growing up with a single mom, in share houses with honorary gay, gay dads and stuff like that. So I struggled sometimes with being in this you know, really condensed living arrangement, and so having travelling residences was a way to kind of explode that out and bring new people into our sort of family circle. The same with the yurt gigs that we do in the warehouse, have become a really sort of strong base for community and super important for our son Xavi that Ines is not really interested, she’s only just started showing an interest in the yurt, which is a big weird tent we have in our warehouse which gigs happen inside of. But those gig performance afternoons often end up getting taken over by kids sort of running up and down the street playing on scooters and operating the smoke machine and blowing bubbles and you know, being in charge of the special effects and it’s, it’s really nice, like that sort of this fraying of those kind of boundaries that I really need occasionally to you know, have this otherwise sometimes normcore experience.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 45:53
Yeah, I agree. I mean, I, I feel very liberated by, by being able to, I, I sort of I do these I compartmentalize things quite a bit, I have a very, I have the way things work, or the reason why things work is because I compartmentalize my time. And I like the idea, you know, once a year a couple of times a year I will do events where, where a larger community and lots of kids can go but I also like grown up time, a lot, like a lot! I Like I work really really hard. Like I work so hard. It’s like I really like to be able to go out dancing with my friends and I like to be able to like yeah, just have that time that creative time away from like you were saying, away from the home like I had never gone away on my own before for shows, before to New Zealand or here and there on my own for like a week. But I went away for a full five weeks last year to Europe. So Good! It was so good. It was like Eat Pray Love, but not (Laughter). Because I don’t eat pray love. But, but I guess that’s just me being funny. But actually, you know, residencies are really fucking hard work with children. Yeah, hard work. And if it’s just you doing a residency with a child, you have to think about money a lot more. So, much more. And you’d need to think about, like, Ross’s timetable, you have to timetable everything when you’re in your mind. But you know, for a child of an age, you still have to communicate what you’re doing all the time with any child, they want to know what they’re up for. But yeah, you have to timetable all the time, so that you can get your work done. So I’m all for time for everything.

Kiera Brew Kurec 48:34
I just want to kind of give out a couple of last questions before we go over to q&a. Lichen you’ve really touched on this. And then in an episode we had with Torika in season two, she spoke about when on a residency, I can’t remember exactly where it was, but the host for the residency had laid out like a bed and I think a fan for her young child and how much that that meant that just a sign of kind of welcoming and accepting that she was mother. And I’m just wondering, like in terms of international residences, but also within our smaller like arts community, do you think that there’s any areas that could be improved to accommodate both parents and children in our arts community?

Lichen Kelp 49:35
Yes, I think, you know, acknowledging them as humans with as much rights as the adult creative and that they have as much to offer that, you know, they’re informing our creativity as much as we’re informing their learning and kind of bringing those people into spaces more openly and being okay with the, you know, the sometimes noise or the tantrums and the messiness that, that that can bring. And, you know, that’s hard for all of us when we’re tired and, you know, trying to be important networkers or you know, whatever space we hold within those gallery spaces. But I think just relaxing those kind of attitudes towards children will benefit us all really nicely.

Ross Coulter 50:33
Yeah I agree. And, you know, it’s a tricky space, as Lucreccia was saying. At the same time they’re professional spaces as well, you know, so it’s it, is that kind of mix business? And, yeah, maybe there’s opportunities to look at, I don’t know, other family businesses or other family or industries that have families kind of, you know, as a part of that, you know, I guess that’s, you know, it’s funny that, yeah, art in some ways can be so conservative that sometimes. Yeah.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 51:06
Yeah, completely. You know, my favorite I have, I have a really excellent community of people are like a different art world, two different like a cultural space. That’s more, you know, where, like, it’s more intergenerational. And then there’s the professional, sort of institutional space, and they function so differently. And there’s on this in this space here, we know stuff. And we, we like, you know, we like each other’s Auntie’s, and we listen to each other. And we look after each other’s kids. And we do all in it’s still a professional because it’s a cultural environment, which is so different from these other worlds, which we have to work in, its really important. It’s a professional world. So yeah, it’s just about Yeah, I feel like yeah, it’s always that push and pull of, you know, it’s good to be able to go to those places alone to these ones here. Yeah.

Nick Breedon 52:28
We might just do one last question. Lichen you touch on it but I actually think you’ve all kind of touched on it a little bit throughout the session, but um, what are your What are your kids relationships to art? Do they like are they Lucreccia you said your son is very good at art. But um, yeah, if you could just tell us a little bit about what their relationship to art making and your careers has been?

Lucreccia Quintanilla 52:59
I think for Rubes he needs he needs his own space to find out all those things on his own and I’m really happy to give that to him. And I like him to have a private life away from my exteraness and I think he likes it that way. He’s extra too, don’t you worry about that (Laughter). He needs that time to himself and we joke that he is posts art and I like really believe he is, but that’s only because he’s coming up with something really good like he’s a writer and does his own thing so differently and you know, like his artwork is all over like, my place is a mess and you can probably not see that there but he makes beautiful work (Lucreccia tilts screen to show some of Rubens work). He makes like gorgeous watercolors and but you know he’s really interested to know what now what might how on earth I do what how, how I pay the rent. He’s like what the hell you don’t even sell work (Laughter). That’s that’s my answer.

Kiera Brew Kurec 54:21
Ross, Roma has had lots of exhibitions herself.

Ross Coulter 54:27
Yeah, sadly Kiera no solo shows yet I’m very disappointed. Just all of these group shows, she needs to step out there baby more like Ruben, like come on (Laughter). And I guess maybe it’s this and yeah, I’m curious, you know, to hear that from Lucreccia. And then I’m curious to hear from Lichen to you know, when the children get a little bit older how they do or don’t engage, but yeah at the moment, she’s into it and she loves drawing, but we also encouraged that too and don’t you know, we don’t put too much pressure on it. And yeah, it’s tricky that thing with openings, I can see like this, I’ve sort of seen other kids kind of go a particular, there’s a point that they seem to stop going to openings, even like sort of afternoon openings, because it’s like, the kids just not interested or they’ll sit on the, you know, as Roma has done at times as well they will sit on a screen or a device. So there is that opportunity for like, oh, like, I just want to have the conversation like, an adult conversation for five minutes without, you know, because I think, especially in those maybe in those early years of being a parent, you can’t. Yeah, for me, I sort of felt like it was kind of craving those conversations that you might have at a gallery or, you know, just anything, you know. I remember talking to a friend who’s a dancer, and I said how’s the kids going, it’s he is like, Don’t ask me about the kids. Let’s talk about anything else but the kids you know, because he was very involved parent and but you do need to kind of carve out that those other times as well. But yes, I think thankfully, Roma, I don’t know, thankfully or not. At the moment, she’s enjoying making work. And, you know, she, we had a show last year, I was like, I felt really, because like this one day event, you know, one day show at Musee de Strip. And I just felt like it was just intense kind of getting the work together. You know, like putting on this tent like tent, plastic see through tent in Carlton, like in a nature strip and like, just like a arranging of felt like more of a performance because it’s sort of gone as well. There wasn’t that time to kind of like, look at the work and sort of reflect upon it and I was thinking I don’t know about this, and she was like, when’s the next one Daddy? I was like, what am I thinking Jesus? Because that’s right. That’s the attitude. When’s the next one? (Laughter) Yeah, I think like thinking about it as a yeah like as a performer, you know, interesting, like, you know, so talking about these performative Yeah, they these, yeah, the exhibition is a performance that kind of is unfolding. Yeah is kind of helpful to sort of, for me to think about that, you know, as opposed to oh the works on the wall or something. If it has more performative element, if the kids are sort of going in and you know, like going haywire, or, or just being kids, then that’s the performance is working well you know, yeah. So then I guess so changing the expectation, I guess is, you know, coming to terms of my expectation as both an artist and as a parent. And then how, like, how is the work then received? What is the, you know, how’s it under, you know, understood? How’s it disseminated? Yeah, how’s it, you know, remembered? And, yeah, it can have more, can have more layers, possibly, in thinking about the exhibition as a performance rather than like, is this, I don’t know. exhibition has different connotations, I guess. Yeah.

Lichen Kelp 58:14
Yeah, as I said, Ines is already painting in a studio at 16. So we’re, you know, we never sort of had pressures or expectations on how to become an artists, I guess. One conservative moment with us was like, doing that thing that parents do, which is like, Oh, don’t be an artist because the finances. (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 58:37
Take care of us. (Laughter)

Lichen Kelp 58:41
I think we’ve had that exact conversation. But also really happy that she’s just more that she just found a space to be comfortable in and doing her thing and whatever that is. Xavi is really into drawing comics. And I feel like he has kind of taken on a bit of sort of my curatorial, organizational kind of tendencies to make things happen. And so in COVID, his got a Dungeons and Dragons crew that are happening online. And he set up a drawing club online, so super happy with the elements that are just part of wider parts of their personalities, they’re doing other stuff as well baking and bike riding and all that kind of stuff in these otherwise fairly limited times and what we can entertain ourselves with.

Kiera Brew Kurec 59:38
Well, we might wrap it up there and throw it over to some questions which we have a few. I also just want to point out to anyone who is listening, who hasn’t seen in the chat. Meredith and Torika and I think maybe some others have popped in some great links and resources. If anyone is interested, there’s a lot there. So please check those out.

Nick Breedon 1:00:08
And feel free to ask any q&a, just as we begin. Yeah.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:00:13
So the first one we have is from Shannon. And she was wondering what role extended family or chosen family / friends have played in these artists lives while they have been bringing up their little people?

Lichen Kelp 1:00:28
Well, I’m in a sort of strange situation where I came back to art fairly recently, after both my mother and my grandmother died in the same year and I got skyrocketed to matriarch all of a sudden, which was, you know, weird. And I guess art was something that I had been missing in my life for a while and craving and had all these artistic impulses that weren’t being met. And so I didn’t have a wider family all of a sudden to help look after the kids while I was taking on this new life. But the wider friendship community and Dylan being super involved, you know, 50% of the time or more, allowed me to make a life change. And, you know, for full disclosure, I guess, as well, because often those conversations I think, should be tied in with how do we get by when it you know, when we are artists and having to provide for kids. One thing that allowed me to go back to making art and making art that wasn’t, you know, based around sales was that I got an inheritance from my Mum. So that freed me up more to, you know, make different choices than I would have otherwise, and do things that invest time into running shows, at the yurt trying to put back into the kind of community and yeah.

Ross Coulter 1:02:10
I guess if, for me, like, my, like, the granny and Nole, my, my in laws, yeah, helped that, you know, incredibly looking after Roma. And as my parents live a little bit further away, and they’ve, like, they’ve already got all the grandkids, so they’re sort of not done, but now that they’ve sort of, I guess, the oldest grandchild is 13 / 14. And so, you know, Roma is like number seven there. But yeah, like, you know, Jenny and Nole, are like closer, and, you know, more interested, maybe they are more interested. And that’s been a source of great support. And it’s interesting, you don’t really know where the support, you just has to start. You kind of can’t think about you can’t think of it. It’s like, I don’t know, the support, our neighbors, we got a great network of like local neighborhood friends that have just sort of, you know, kind of grown up, sprung up. Because you have a like a little human, you walk down the street, and then you see someone then you’re playing at the park together. Yeah, then like, you know, then it’s like other kids, then it’s like, oh, if other friends having a child, what how come you’re having a and child now? I don’t know that it all seems to seem to manifest. But yeah, well, you know, we’re very lucky that we’ve got support. That Jenny and Nole have supported us you know, looking after Roma over the years and are interested, not that my parents aren’t interested, they just sort of further away. Like they’re not they don’t really (Laughter).

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:03:59
I remember a work mate of mine once saying, whose child was in early primary school. And she was saying to me, like, it’s so interesting who my kind of close network of people are that she calls on often, people that she would never have envisaged her having relationships with in terms of them not being like from, you know, similar interests or backgrounds or anything, but it’s purely because their children are friends at school, and that they have been developed these friendships and shared resources together just because they’re within the same community, which I think is really interesting. And I think she was just kind of having one of those moments where you’re like, Oh, this is actually who my community is now and it I wouldn’t have expected it to look like this.

Lichen Kelp 1:04:48
Yeah similarly to Ross, we live in a street of really supportive and really wonderful neighbors. And so when we lived in the warehouse, they were all, you know, around and present and we would, you know, have like street parties with film nights and stuff projections outside on our roller door and then we came, when it was time to move out of the warehouse, we were lucky enough to find an apartment in the same street. Because we were really keen to just stay in this support network. Xavi had, you know, friends in the street, and it was just this ability to kind of pour outside your front door, and immediately into, you know, social connections, which was another way of just managing, being in a condensed family that you can sort of have this extension of that, which was really nice. And that’s been really amazing that we’ve been here while the pandemics been on because we’re still able to, you know, occasionally have drinks over the fence. And, you know, one day our neighbors across the road just decided they were gonna roast marshmallows on a fire that they set up on the footpath. But you need that stuff, you know? Yeah, you just need other people every now and then obviously.

Nick Breedon 1:06:18
Yeah. All right, we have a question here from Jesse, who said, they’re interested in what the panel perceives as structural inequalities in art the industry that individuals can’t negotiate around. And if those limits shape how they practice, I suppose we did touch on that a little bit at the end there. But is there is there something that, that you’ve all come up against that actually, you can’t sort of negotiate and becomes a real, you know, something, you have to kind of work around?

Lichen Kelp 1:06:54
I’m trying to think,

Lucreccia Quintanilla 1:06:56
I feel like, I’m finding spaces outside of, Oh, you know, I feel like I’ve come to terms with what I cannot, the expectations that are realistic that I can have towards the, the sort of greater sort of institutional sort of art world. And because of that, I, I have found other worlds in general, not just as a parent, I have found other worlds through which articulate, I can feel really happy and comfortable articulating things and in creating things and, and building, you know, things but yeah, I’m not sure. Yeah, there. It’s a theme. Structural inequality is that it’s such a complex, I’ve always been apprehensive, as I keep saying, about talking about parenting in the arts, because don’t do it, you know, don’t become an artist unless you really have to, unless it’s like this is imperative within you that you can’t help it. This compulsion, or whatever you want to call it within yourself, but don’t do it. Because especially if you are a person who really should be following the instructions of your migrant parents and should become an actual lawyer, a nurse, a doctor, an actual, your parents didn’t come here for you to do this, like, go and do better yourself. You know, there are complete inequalities and you get these conversations in which you have to feel like you’re like shouting out, but I have found that like, I, I have two separate lives, and sometimes they cross and I’m okay, with having two separate lives. Many separate so many God, maybe eight separate lives. I’m hot in all of them. (Laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:09:20
Lichen or Ross, did you want to add to that at all?

Ross Coulter 1:09:28
I guess just sort of thinking back to parenting for a moment when Yeah, as Lucreccia was saying, you know you have to be really committed to it. And, you know, if you’re a, you know, think about your practice. I guess I was also thinking about parenting too, you know, like, don’t, don’t if you’re an artist, don’t do it. But do it. I saw a friend recently a little while, a month or two months ago, and said, Ah, you know, you should have kids, you know, they will mess your life up. It does. But I think it’s, it’s the best thing. It’s the most, you know, challenging thing, I don’t know if it is the best thing, It’s definitely a thing (Laughter). I want to Yeah, I want to sort of, if anyone’s like on the fence at the moment, just have it, don’t worry about have it, Just get started. Don’t worry, like, Look, it’ll all work, your community you’ll find your community you will work out your art practice, I feel like you can sort of overthink it too much. You know, you never know how good and how bad it’s gonna get until you do one of the, I guess you can, Yeah, maybe the thought that because people have been doing it for a while having families / children, that, you know, we’re still here. And it’s a good enough reason to do it. Yeah, chaos,

Lucreccia Quintanilla 1:10:52
Yeah its chaotic its difficult, Things are hard, they are difficult if you if you are not married to a rich person more difficult. If you don’t find yourself, if you come from a culture which frowns upon you, you know, having been in this stereotype of you’re smoking weed and wearing tie dye all the time, even more difficult. If you cut you know, like just either don’t do it, or actually just go in there and do it in like, but mostly don’t do it (Laughter).

Lichen Kelp 1:11:41
Friends come to me semi regularly who are younger, looking for advice, and whether they have kids and I just go oh, my God really? There is not a harder position to be place in like this kind of not asking outright, but I can sense that that’s where the conversations going. And so I think my, my take on it now is that there’s good and there’s bad in every situation and you have to the working at it is to make most it mostly good, whether you’re single and childless or whether you’re, you know, in a family or whatever setup you have, there’s so many good things about all the versions, and I really advocate for women to not have children as well because I think the majority of the pressure on women in society is to have children and they take it upon themselves. And so there’s like a deep (inaudible) … streak in me which I feel really wrong about so you have to. But um, yeah there you go, that’s my take on it.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:12:48
I think that’s a really great place to leave it. Thank you all for sharing your stories and your time and your knowledge in this area. It’s we’re so grateful to have you all on here. And also, thank you so much to our audience and those who asked questions and those who have left resources in the chat. That’s really helpful. So yeah, just a moment to say to say thanks.

Nick Breedon 1:13:17
thank you, everybody.

Ross Coulter 1:13:19
Thank you.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:13:20
Thank you again to City of Melbourne for allowing us to do this and Site Works and the Center for Dramaturgy and Curation for letting us use their office today. Yeah, thanks again, Lichen and Ross and Lucreccia.

Lichen Kelp 1:13:36
Bye, thanks for having me.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:13:38
Thanks, everyone.

Lucreccia Quintanilla 1:13:42

Nick Breedon 1:13:42
We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging and the elders of the lands that this podcast reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening today and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Kiera Brew Kurec 1:14:00
Follow us at @propracpodcast on Instagram or email us at If you haven’t already, please subscribe and whatever you listen to podcast on,

Nick Breedon 1:14:10
please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

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