This week's interview in inspiring in many ways. Kelly Rossetti has not been painting for very long, but she has fully committed to her art in this short amount of time. Kelly's story will resonate with people who have started painting later in life or are transitioning careers in order to have more time with their family.There are so many people who have been creating art for so long, but never call themselves artists. It makes me think of Lisa Congdon's wonderful thoughts on this to first--call yourself an artist! They should take Kelly's lead on this.
I'll admit, I was first curious about Kelly from reading her Instagram bio "Visual artist, passion for abstract, ballerina in former life, french bulldog lover, NYC Studio". I mean, don't you just want to know more about this person? I emailed her straight away and am so glad I did. Kelly, thank you for sharing part of your life. Even if things slow down for a little bit of time with your 2nd child, I know the creativity will come flooding back and you'll have more ideas than ever. And it's a perfect excuse to buy yourself a little set of watercolors, which are so quick and easy to use with a new baby - in my humble opinion!
Tell us about yourself. How old are your children? Where can we find you?
I'm Kelly Rossetti, an artist living just outside of NYC. I'm fairly new to the art world, and have only just recently decided to pursue art full-time. I spent a little over 13 years in the fashion industry and left my corporate gig so that I could spend more time with my family, and pursue a passion that started as something small and turned into something life changing. While it has been tough at times to transition from the corporate life; it was the best decision of my life and I feel truly blessed that I have been able to tap into this creative side of me that I never really knew existed. I have a seven year old son that has an imagination that continues to impress me everyday and I have another child on the way, due in December!
Website and Social Media Links:
- Website / Blog: www.kellyrossetti.com
- Instagram: @KellyLRossetti
- Twitter: @KellyLRossetti
- Pinterest: @KellyRossetti
Can you tell us more about your decision to leave fashion to pursue art full time, and were you really a ballerina?!
I was a Senior Sales Executive for a fashion company and gave that up to pursue art. It really was one of the hardest decisions I've had to face, but it came at a time when I truly wanted to be more present in my son's life and pursue something more creative. The constant traveling and the pressures and stress of that position had left me feeling like there had to be more in this life. My background in fashion though is one of the reasons I think that I've been fairly successful in art thus far... it has really fine-tuned my eye and has directed my color choices along the way. I wish that I used to be a professional ballerina... that was more of a hypothetical in another life scenario! I danced all my life and then as I grew up slowly lost it. I started dancing again a few years ago and actually was just another eye opener for me. I realized, every time I'm tapping into a creative part of me.. whether it be dancing or painting or photography... I'm happiest. Putting yourself out there for the world to judge is incredibly difficult and something I'm still trying to get used to. But I like to live by Andy Warhol's quote "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art."
Has your approach to painting, your processes, medium, or your inspiration changed since having children?
This one is easy! I wasn't painting before I had my son...so I haven't had to face those struggles. I quit my job right when my son started kindergarten, so the opportunities to paint are quite simple...I get into the studio somewhere between 9-10 and work until 2. Now that I am expecting my second child, I decided to focus on acrylics instead of oils due to the toxicity of the paints. That was the first realization that things were changing! Now that I am getting close to having another baby in my life, the fears have started entering my mind. How am I going to be a mother to a newborn and still find time to paint? How exactly will this work? What if the inspiration doesn't strike because I'm completely sleep deprived? What if I lose myself in the process and painting suddenly becomes something that is too hard to accomplish now? These are the fears that strike me every day. I combat these fears by reminding myself of what art means to me, of the person I am when I am creating...I remind myself that art is a part of my soul. Going without it is not possible, which means you have to find the time, or carve out the time as Marissa puts it so wonderfully. It's about not letting procrastination get the best of you. Putting in the work, not letting fear of accomplishing nothing slow you down. I am hopeful that once this new baby comes, I can live up to the expectations that I have set for myself. I'll keep you posted!!
Is it easy or difficult for you to find/make time to create? Did you have to give anything up? Do you have advice on what works for you?
For me personally, it only gets difficult when I let my brain get in the way of creating. I think many artists suffer from a similar situation where you can let fear or procrastination get the best of you. There are times when I simply cannot get my head in the proper space to create, or the inspiration is not finding it's way. Last year, while studying at an Atelier in NYC, my teacher/mentor told me to read the book Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. Not only did I read that book, but I read his other two books as well... The War of Art and Turning Pro. For any artists out there like me, who sometimes need a little extra nudge, these are great reads. As full-time moms and artists we need to be extra disciplined with our time, extra careful about where we focus our energies. Sometimes that means saying no to things that we used to love, giving up some luxuries we used to enjoy..whatever the case may be. That's the sacrifice...but I wouldn't want it any other way.
How does being an artist make you a better mother to your children? What do you hope they take away from seeing you as an artist doing something that fulfills you?
I truly hope that I can serve as a source of inspiration for my children... to show them that there isn't one clear cut path in this life. You can follow your passions, you can do something that you love, that working hard is essential and the rewards for that work will pay off in more ways than they can imagine. I am able to give my son so much more of me doing something that I love and being more present in his life.
Where do you paint or create? What are your favorite things about your workspace and what would you improve? Do you ever create art with your kids?
I converted an entire room in our house to my studio...this allows me to work from home and be available to paint on the ready! My favorite things about the space....the natural light that comes in from both exposures, the high ceilings and the feeling I get when I walk into the space. It really is my happy place. Sadly, we will be moving soon... so the next studio is TBD. I do create art with my son...however he isn't very fond of painting! He would rather draw dinosaurs and scary monsters over painting with me.
Do you have any tips to streamline / delegate / outsource household and childcare activities so that you can focus more time on your art? Has your lifestyle changed in any major ways?
My tip is just this. Find the time. Make opportunities for yourself. If the only time you have is at night, hand over the kids and get into your happy place and create. Even if it's for 15 minutes. In those 15 minutes, you can find yourself and get motivated to find the next 15 minutes. Hopefully you have supportive people in your life who can allow you focus time on your art. I like to live by this quote: "Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them." Not sure who wrote that one, but it's good!
Do you have any big goals or dreams for your art that you’d like to share? What would be your dream project?
Big goals and dreams...oh, I have so many I couldn't possibly discuss them all! A few though, I'd like to get some joint studio space with other artists. I think surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is so important and also helps to spur creativity. Working from home is amazing and has its benefits, but studio space where I have to pack-up and go and make a complete mess is something I am aiming for down the road. I've also been lucky enough to do a lot of in-home consultations for commission pieces, but I'd love to connect with some interior designers to work on custom projects. I love, love, love working on large scale projects....the bigger the better, so my dream is to work on something really large. I wouldn't mind some gallery representation either... why not! :)