The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Mya Kerner: Mya Kerner, 27, Visual Artist, Self-Employed
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
MK: When I allow myself the time, I love to explore natural and urban landscapes. Both nature and culture hold significance in my work, and I work to balance my intake of the two. I also love to garden, make herbal preparations, read, and write.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
MK: Sometimes, yes. I take a lot of different part-time and freelance jobs to pay the bills, but all revolve around design - marketing, floral design, and landscape design. Sometimes my eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen. Sometimes my hands are tired from cutting flowers or pruning trees. Most of the time, my mind is tired from switching between different pockets of knowledge and skill sets. But, I always work through it. I find peace in my artistic practice, and from that peace I can create the work I am proud of.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
MK: When it’s sunny out I feel guilty for staying indoors. That guilt distracts me, so I enjoy working most in mid-morning and in the evening when the sun starts to go down. But, really, no matter what, if I have my mind set on making, I am very productive. I just have to push past whatever is holding me back and distracting me at that moment.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
MK: Currently, I live in Seattle, WA with my partner, Zak Helenske. We hope to establish a productive homestead and studio outside of the city where we can host other makers and artists in addition to making our own work. There, we would like to be able to support ourselves and others off the land. This idea evolves with each new influence, but the drive remains the same - to live by our values and share those values with others.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
MK: I tie myself close to everything I do; I consider all my projects to be personal, which isn’t always a good thing. My current body of work is a series of mountain paintings. This series emerged from my studies in permaculture (I completed a 14 month program in 2015-16). During those months, I gained the rhetoric to speak about my concerns about our environment; I began to see the landscape from a new perspective. In my artist statement I write: "I notice geological disruptions, moments and parts within the landscape; together, these notes present a segmented image of the whole. When I look out into the landscape, I see scratched lines breaking through the slopes, while flecks of white dapple on eroded surfaces, recalling cooler seasons. Light moves across planes, marking time with stretched and shortened shadows and form denotes the flow of water through rocky slopes. I record by drawing and writing in attempt to capture these moments of vulnerability, leaving the rest in the haze of lost memories. My concern about humanity's precarious situation drives my exploration of the intricacies of landscape and the potential for balance through material studies."
TCU: What scares you?
MK: Indifference and the loss of meaning. I’m scared of the lack of empathy and compassion demonstrated by so much of humanity. I believe the role of humans is to be stewards of the earth, and we are forgetting that role. I’m worried about the creatures in the soil and in the snow and about our children. I don’t want moments of wonder to disappear and be forgotten.
TCU: What does success mean to you?
MK: Balance and freedom. Continuous growth and exploration with underlying comfort.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
MK: "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” -Rachel Carson