Featured Artist - October - Kelsea Brown

I connected with Kelsea brown on Instagram and was blown away not only by her artwork, but by her mission in life. She is filled with magic and purpose and healing and creation. She has inspired me deeply and here she shares a bit about herself to inspire you too!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I grew up in the woods of NH, lived in Boston for a while as an undergrad, and received my degree in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Philosophy. When I was 23 I went to a music festival in upstate NY and met Coleman, who happened to be in the band I was most looking forward to seeing, and also turned out to be the love of my life :) Even though we only saw each other for 8 hours that weekend and lived 1,000 miles away from each other, it felt like the universe just swooped me up and sent me down a river, and before I knew it I was living in Charleston, SC, where magic has been unfolding for me ever since. Since moving here, I have been incredibly fortunate to be involved with research I had been interested in for several years, which is looking at MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy as treatment for PTSD. I have also found thriving art, dance, and spiritual communities here which truly feed my soul, and I am endlessly grateful for the connections, growth, and opportunities they have provided me. I love dance, yoga (aerial yoga is my favorite!), painting, camping, and cooking. This past year I took a big leap and decided to try not having a 9-5 job so that I could put more time and energy into my art, and also so that I could go back to school. I am currently pursuing my Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and have been painting more than ever before.

What inspires your work and creative process // What moves you the most? // What does painting do for you?

Most of my work is deeply inspired by my experiences with yoga, movement, and meditation. I find these practices to be the most powerful in terms of facilitating self-exploration, expression, and connection to the divine source, and it is through my artwork that I attempt to embody and share this feeling with others. For me, painting has become a process of not just outwardly expressing, but also working through and better understanding my own inner experience. I use painting as a way to dive deeper into whatever theme is most relevant in my life at that given time. In this way, painting becomes a process of active meditation in which I can explore and honor my own experience as an expression of the divine.

Do you ever feel vulnerable putting your work out there? How do you overcome it?

Absolutely! There is something deeply intimate about sharing artwork with others. Each piece is an expression of me - something that I've have put time, effort, and heart into - and I think that initially, there is always the fear that others may not recognize or appreciate that. What used to be equally challenging for me though, was when I would create something I was really excited about and people would respond to it with feelings of inferiority... "You're such a great artist, I could never do that." etc. These reactions always hit me so deeply, making me reluctant to share my art with others. I wanted my art to inspire, not make people feel less about themselves. What I have ultimately come to realize is that it precisely the act of being vulnerable - of staying true to and celebrating the light which I see in myself by sharing it with others - that facilitates personal growth within myself and inspires others to seek that as well.

To really embrace the act of being vulnerable, a practice that I have fallen in love with over the past two years is live painting - creating a painting over the course of a concert or other event in front of a crowd of people. This has facilitated SUCH profound growth for me. I still get nervous every time I do it, but the feeling is so exhilarating and I am always blow away by the tremendous support that I get from people who watch my art unfold over the course of the night. Creating artwork in an atmosphere of music and collective experience truly ignites the creative process, and the collaborative energy makes me produce more art than I initially think I'm capable of.

Do have any advice or words of wisdom for other creatives?

Seek that which nourishes your soul and DO THAT. Find what brings you joy and DO THAT. I believe that genuinely committing to self-love, self-care, and self-exploration is invaluable. When you take time to really ask yourself "What can I do in this moment to love myself more fully?" you give yourself an opportunity to move deeper into alignment with your authentic self and thus connect more deeply with your creative source. I believe that dedicating even a just small amount of time each day to doing something that feeds your soul strengthens your desire to create art for you. When we reach a place of wanting to put forth art directly from our heart, no matter what form of art that is, I believe other people truly recognize and are moved by that authenticity.

What do you want your art to do for those experiencing it?

I strive to express myself in a way that is authentic, but I also want it to be accessible. I want my work to express the magic and the connection to divine that I feel within myself, and I hope that my work acts as a reflection to others, helping them recognize and awaken the light that is within them.  

Anything else you want to share?

The concept of vulnerability has been a major theme in my life recently, and I find it so synchronous that this interview with you encouraged me to examine it further. The brand I put forth for myself as a creative (@Raw.Lux.Creative) is intended to symbolize the importance of embracing raw vulnerability for the sake of spreading light in this world. It is only by honoring, celebrating and sharing our true, raw selves that we can create space for others to feel that it is safe to allow their light to shine as well. I so appreciate the opportunity to share my work and my path on this incredible platform. Thank you, Ani!

ArtAni Ferlise