United We Are a Force, and Individually We are W.O.N.
Image Courtesy of Kelsey Witt
Women of Note celebrates the unique talents of women of Hampton Roads and seeks to raise awareness of issues women face in the 21st century. We are well aware of the many hats women wear throughout the day as well as throughout their lives and we would like to give women the opportunity to share their experiences juggling these with our community. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire others, learn from their perspectives, and foster a dialogue that creates solutions. Today we spot light Kelsey
Affiliation(s) (past and present):
Currently: Virginia Living Museum (writer) Multiple other individual clients (writer) Full time Artist selling paintings NEON Arts District, ViBe Arts District. (artist) For fun: Mapping the United States for art travel. Past: Apple, Chrysler Museum of Art, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, 17th Street Surf Shop,
How long have you been (working in/participating in) your field? How did you get into it?
7 years. I have been writing and creating art since I was a young girl. It's been really cool that I have been able to make a career out of doing what I love. Everyday is a totally different day when I work. I love how flexible it forces me to be. Creativity is a muscle, and I get to work out everyday!
How long have you been working/ living in in Hampton Roads?
19 years. Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News
What advice would you give young women going into your field?
It takes time to build a solid portfolio and to be patient. It took me 5 years to finally get to a place I could apply to the types of jobs I wanted to do. Also, never work a job you hate. Take notes on the skills you have gained and move on. You deserve to be happy!
Does your gender influence your relationship to your work? In what way?
I find my being a female plays a strong role in both sides of my creative career. (writing and art) In my art, I am able to have a softer touch while still being strong and bold with my mark making. In terms of my writing, I think there is a certain attraction to writing for organizations and other writers who are helping and caring in some form, almost a mothering way.
Have you faced challenges in your field because of your gender or have you found your gender to be an asset? What kinds of challenges or advantages, and how have they affected your life?
In relation to my writing career, gender has never been an issue, but in my art career gender has played a huge role. I have had to create huge murals, and in the mural world, females don't play a very big role percentage wise. I would say one in ten huge murals are painted by women, and of that ten percent half are on teams. Smashing stereotypes is my favorite hobby however, so its been fun. I also have had to overcome the stereotypes behind being a female painter. I can make edgy and bold abstract work. It doesn't have to be light and feminine.
Has parenthood impacted your career or shaped your perspective as an artist? In what ways?
I am not a parent, but I am sure that down the road it will definitely influence my work and what type of projects I decide to take on.
Any closing thoughts?
You are as strong as you believe yourself to be. Don't let anyone tell you that a career isn't worth chasing just because it doesn't fit into societal norms. Women are stronger together. Find your tribe and encourage and support each other!
Know a Woman of Note that should be featured? Please email us at Spotlighthrnews@gmail.com