“labor and learning”

From a little kid growing up in the Bahamas, to a young woman setting the art world on fire! Bahamian born, Toronto based artist Gio Swaby is my guest today, and I could not be more thrilled. I met Gio a few years ago at an art show in Vancouver, and I’ve been following her ever since… lately she’s been hard to keep up with! Spoiler Alert: She just had her first solo show in New York and it SOLD OUT. I asked Gio all of my questions, and her answers covered everything from going to church in a bathing suit and jeans, to preparing for her first solo museum show… yep, quite the gamut! Look/listen right up there under Gio at her recent show in New York, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First, this is some of Gio’s work I saw the night we met, way back in 2018 at the “Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series” show:

See? THAT is why I had to track her down at the party! So. Good.

The next series I saw – thanks to Instagram – included a few of these pieces. These are the ones she often hangs in large grids and or salon style:

Love! The pieces above are from two series. The solid silhouettes are from “New Growth”, and the ‘drawings’ are part of “My Hands Are Clean”.

Next, just a few of my faves from Gio’s recent solo show, “Both Sides of the Sun”, at Claire Oliver Gallery in New York:

I said it before and I’ll say it again… What the wha!? I love them all so much.

And, what Gio and I both love more than we can say:

… Black women and girls “seeing themselves” in Gio’s work. No wonder she cried when those photos started showing up online. And yes, that’s Claire with Gio in the final photo. A force of nature x TWO! Thank you so much to Gio for taking time out of her insane schedule to talk to me for so long; thanks to Wireframe for supporting this episode; and thanks to YOU for listening! There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Gio on Instagram
  2. Claire Oliver Gallery, Harlem NY
  3. New York Times article
  4. Museum of Fine Art St. Pete {Florida}
  5. College of The Bahamas
  6. Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver
  7. Ontario College of Art & Design
  8. Bisa Butler, Artist
  9. Bisa Butler on ART FOR YOUR EAR
  10. John Oliver ‘Last Week Tonight’ : Black Hair
  11. Wireframe {Podcast}


“choose your own adventure”

Seattle based artist Emily Counts makes the most magical ceramic sculptures. Some of them hang on the wall, interlocked into beautiful narratives, while others tell their stories standing free… and ALL of them are gorgeous / make me wish i knew how to use a kiln! I have questions about Emily’s childhood {because for some reason I always want to know that part!}, we talked about how she found her way to ceramics, her current process, stained glass, mushrooms, grief, grandmothers, haircuts and more. Don’t worry. It’ll make sense. Look/listen under that lovely photo of Emily in her studio {shot by Amber Fouts for Luxe Magazine}, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

Let’s kick things off with the first piece of Emily’s I ever saw / instantly became obsessed with. It’s titled, “Forage and Pour”:

Looooooove. And yes, I popped another one of her wall pieces in there because, um, how could I not. It’s titled “Catenary Vessel”, and I love it too!

Next, Emily’s CERAMIC MURAL {!?}:

Isn’t that crazy amazing!? You might recognize it because I wrote about it, IN DETAIL, last summer. This was at Facebook’s Redmond, WA location, and part of their Artist-in-Residence program.

Oooh, next… some “portraits”, complete with stained glass eyes etc:

Aren’t they lovely? And they have Emily’s bangs!

Up next, interlocking vessels:

Ah, the mushrooms and flowers she talked about. Magical. Also, I really want to see Emily and her husband try to drink ginger tea out of these at the same time.

Finally, a peek at Emily’s current show, titled Souvenir. at Nationale in Portland:

See? This is why I’m such a HUGE fan of Emily. Oh my word, it’s all so gorgeous. I put in that final image so you could get a better look at the glass. What a renaissance woman! She make do it allllllll. Oh, and great news if you’re in Portland, this show has been extended until July 8th. Thank you so much to Emily for sharing all of her stories with us {and for encouraging me to get a kiln!!!}; thanks to Wireframe for supporting this episode; and great big thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more ART FOR  YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Emily on Instagram
  2. Bio photo of Emily by Amber Fouts for Luxe Magazine
  3. “Souvenir” at Nationale {until July 8}
  4. studio e gallery {Seattle}
  5. SOIL show!Brooklynn Johnson / Rachel Thomander / Ko Kirk Yamahira
  6. Susannah Montague, Sculptor
  7. Wireframe {Podcast}


“people i’ve loved”

… nope, and it often doesn’t! California based artist, illustrator, business owner, mother Carissa Potter Carlson is on the podcast today! Now, you might know her as “People I’ve Loved”… she does have over HALF A MILLION followers on Instagram, so you could very well be one of them.

Now, if you listen to this podcast regularly, you know I have a format… but today I was highjacked! That’s right, Carissa tried her hardest to interview me!? Yep, it gets tricky when you turn the mic on someone who’s used to asking all of the questions. Anyway, this may not be the ‘normal’ AFYE, but it sure is a lovely, open, kinda raw talk between two artists who are “bad at keeping secrets”. Listen right up there under that very frank mermaid, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, the graphic she posted {yet another truth bomb} when I was on her show:

Yep, WE ARE ARTISTS! Ah, that was fun… even though I made her cry and then I almost cried. But other than that, all good!

Next, a few of her art installations. Paintings and text and objects, oh my:

So funny. So smart. So bluntly insightful. Also, I could not love those birds more.

Ooh, and I have to show you Carissa’s work inside this VERY yellow ball pit at the Color Factory in San Francisco:

I want to go to there. I think ‘Celine Dijon’ is my favorite… or maybe imagining that I’m swimming in a big bowl of lemons. Love, love, love.

Okay, let’s take a peek at a few of my favorite things from the ‘People I’ve Loved” shop… from greeting cards to enamel pins:

HA! Now I want a reason to apologize to someone, just so I can send them that BUTT card!

And finally, because I’m 100% sure Carissa will have no problem sharing, a few photos of her sweet little family. Singing Josh, and baby Margaret:

Go, Margaret, go! Ahhh, I loved this episode so much. It took a left turn before we even started, but shaking things up is always fun. Thanks so much to Carissa for always being so kind, thoughtful and TOTALLY open; thank you to Wireframe Design Podcast for supporting the episode and, of course, huge thanks to YOU for listening! There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Carissa on Instagram
  2. People I’ve Loved {shop}
  3. Bad at Keeping Secrets {her newsletter}
  4. Carissa’s BOOKS … that we didn’t even discuss!?
  5. Present Perfect Literary Agency {aka the ‘Kate’ we kept talking about}
  6. dooce.com {Heather Armstrong! I remembered right, and it does still exist.}
  7. Cystic Fibrosis
  8. Mare of Easttown {TV show on HBO/Crave}
  9. The NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH ART Society {my newsletter}
  10. Wireframe Podcast {today’s sponsor!}


“many shapes of clay”

I am soooo excited to have Kenesha Sneed, aka @tactilematter, on the podcast today! Now, it’s hard to pin point what Kenesha does… because she does so much! Painting, illustrations, murals, ceramics, brand collaborations, and most recently she’s become the author and illustrator of a beautiful children’s book titled “Many Shapes of Clay, A Story of Healing”. It’s such a lovely and uplifting book which, sadly, came out of losing her father suddenly in 2018. I’m sure many of you know, I also lost my dad unexpectedly in 2018, so a book about healing sounds really wonderful to me. Kenesha and I are starting from her childhood in “the dirt”, and working our way right up to today. You can listen right up there under Kenesha looking fabulous, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, a peek at some of the ceramics that, well, changed her life!

Gorgeous! Ummm, how much do I love that she was going to the ceramics studio before work, during her lunch break, and then again after work!? Clearly, she’d found her thing.

Another thing she happens to be realllllly good at… painting, both small and LARGE-SCALE!

Love! The top most mural is the first one she ever did {with help from her partner, and her brother-in-law, artist Nathaniel Tetro}. The swimmer at the bottom was the five-panel piece she was talking about. Her colors and shapes are so, so, so fantastic.

Oka, and today’s main attraction… Kenesha’s very first, absolutely beautiful children’s book, “Many Shapes of Clay – A Story of Healing”:

Such an important message, delivered in such a lovely and caring way. I need it… I think we all need it.

And finally, a huge hug and a big thank you to the two men who would have loved this episode:

Actually, I bet they were listening. Thank you so much to Kenesha for not only coming on the podcast today, but for writing such a beautiful story. I hope it helps children {of all ages} deal with grief, and more importantly, help them with the healing process. Thanks to you for listening, there will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Kenesha on Instagram
  2. “Many Shapes of Clay”, AVAILABLE NOW!
  3. Prestel Publishing
  4. Present Perfect {Literary Agency, San Francisco}
  5. Nathaniel Tetro, Artist / Brother-in-law!
  6. Otis College of Art & Design, LA


“don’t lose the joy”

Leopard print pants and a Garfield t-shirt? How can you not want to be friends with Anthony Sonnenberg  … that’s what I imagine he’s saying in this photo. I’m so excited to have Anthony on the podcast today because I’ve been following him on Instagram for years, but we’ve never spoken until today. I was feeling a little shy, but with photos like the one above all over his feed, I was pretty sure he’d be a friggin’ delight… and I was right! Listen right up there under Anthony enjoying the great outdoors, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

I wasn’t sure where to start because Anthony does so many amazing things, but let’s go with his ceramic sculpture:

So gorgeous! The final sculpture above is from quite a few years ago, but I’m almost 100% sure it was the piece that made me click FOLLOW on Instagram. Looooove.

Oh boy, and speaking of love… ANTHONY’S JEWELRY:

Whoa. So big, so ornate, so everything. I can’t wait to see where he goes with this work… it’s going to be ridiculously good.

Now, I chose to start this post with a photo of Anthony enjoying the fresh mountain air, but I could have easily gone with one of these:

Yep, you want to be friends with him… I know, me too. See? I told you he makes and does zillions of things, and all of them are fabulous!

And finally, this. Here’s the painting of Anthony by UK based artist Sarah Ball, and the photographic inspiration:

Isn’t that lovely? Sigh. So good. Thank you so much to Anthony for recording his first ever podcast interview with me… and for not pursuing his career as a “sandwich artist”!  As always, huge thanks to you for listening to yet another episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR… there’ll be a brand new episode next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Anthony on Instagram
  2. “I’m not here. This isn’t happening.” at GAVLAK Palm Beach / June 9 – July 25, 2021
  3. Conduit Gallery, Dallas Texas
  4. Archie Bray Foundation


“girls like farkles”

This collage is part of a series I did featuring female artists who inspire me. The woman in this piece was the first artist I ever met… on the day I was born! From the time I was little, my mom, aka watercolor artist Judi Cumming, was cold hard proof that being an artist was possible. Throughout my childhood, she painted and showed her work a lot – then she stopped, and I was never really sure why. Well, we get into all of that and more. Our family always jokes that my mom is operating on a different cosmic plane than most of us, and after you hear her insightful thoughts today, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree.

Now, not only is my mom on the podcast, but in order to keep the “Mother’s Day” theme going, the boy who made me a mom is showing up for the Not-So-Speedy Speed Round! Yep, I convinced 14 year old Charlie to come on for a few minutes. Listen right up there under my mama wrestling with a blossom, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, a peek at some of the work she was showing in the early ’70s when I was just a teeny tiny baby:

Thank goodness for Delphine pushing my mom to keep creating. Ah yes, there’s nothing like a deadline to motivate an artist!

Next, here’s one of the pieces from the “In Tandem” series she did with her calligrapher friend Susan {I own this one}:

Yep, there it is in my living room!

So, we talked a little bit about my mom finding her way to walking when she experienced that bout of overwhelming anxiety. While she started out ‘learning to walk a 10k’, she eventually turned this therapy into two epic journey’s in France and Spain! Here she is walking the El Camino trail {I think this photo is in France?}, and a few of her watercolor paintings that were inspired by bits and pieces along the trail:

Sigh. Lovely.

So, as you can see, she knows what she’s doing with watercolors. When she came to visit us last summer, we headed down to my studio to make a couple of pieces together. She did the painting, and I added my tiny cut out people… now they get to wander around in these washy, dreamlike worlds:

I wish I got to walk around in there! Ah, that was so much fun… we even broke out some straws and blew the ink around like we did when I was little.

Okay, time to crack open the family albums! Me as a newborn, Charlie as a newborn {with baby Murph, too}, and Charlie’s first Mother’s Day with his Mommy & Nana:

Awwww! They’re all so cute. Thanks so much to my mom, Judi, and my NBA-bound son, Charlie for doing this special family episode with me. And, as always, thank YOU so much for listening. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Coloop Podcast Network
  2. El Camino Trail
  3. The Ogopogo 


“using glue like a hammer ‘n nail”

Tiny sculptures made from found scraps? YEP! Philadelphia based artist & animator Lydia Ricci transforms the weirdest bits and pieces into beautiful little objects – from couches and hairdryers to cars and roller skates. We get into how she found her way to this kind of work, and she may or may not have admitted to a crime. Kinda. You can listen right up there under that tiny station wagon and the bike that’s hitching a ride on the roof, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, a few of my favorite little sculptures from Lydia’s massive {yet miniature} portfolio:

Aren’t they fantastic!? Some of her pieces are available through Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia {Lydia just had a show there… how did we not talk about that?!}

Okay moving on from that little slip-up, here’s just the tiniest sampling of her stop-motion animation work:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by from scraps (@lydia__ricci)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by from scraps (@lydia__ricci)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by from scraps (@lydia__ricci)

Yes, that’s the mac & cheese reference that came up in the Not-So-Speedy speed round… and united us FOREVER! There are so many fantastic animations on Lydia’s Instagram feed, and I almost put allllll of them here, but I figured I’d just point you over there instead. Warning: You will be there for HOURS.

Oh, “PANTYHOSE”. Brace yourself for a crazy true story:

What!? Yep. Just one more reason to love her. ps. Fabulous music by Wonderly.

Up next, “Don’t You Forget About Me”. This is the short film that made me a little teary-eyed. I’m not sure why… maybe it’s the old photos? Everything in there was pulling at my 1970s heartstrings. Oooh, and the other great thing about this video is that you get a peek into her jam-packed studio!

So sweet, and her words are just perfect. Also, how great is that messy studio!? So. Much. Stuff. See:

And with that I will say, thank you so much to Lydia for doing this with me… and mark my words, we will make the dream retreat happen! “True Crime, Mac n’ Cheese, Art 2022”! Okay, I’m gonna have to workshop a better name, but you get the idea. Be there or be square.

Other links:

  1. Lydia on Instagram
  2. Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh
  3. Sheridan College, Ontario
  4. Ann Carrington, Artist : Episode No.193
  5. Paradigm Gallery, Philadelphia
  6. The Innocence Files on Netflix


“more cheez taste”

Who better to have as my guest for the second installment of “PAINT CHIPS” than a junk food loving art consultant! Yes, my good friend Pennylane Shen is back on the podcast, this time with MORE CHEEZ TASTE! We’re eating Cheezies and talking about food themed art that takes our breath away. You can listen right up there under all of that cheesiness, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up, the entire reason we both showed up to this episode with a bag of Cheez Doodles, “The Cocktail Party” {1992}, by American artist Sandy Skoglund:

Yes, a party covered entirely in REAL cheese doodles! FYI this is showing right now, until September 2021, at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX. I’m guessing it no longer smells like fake cheese? Sandy coated all of these doodles in epoxy in 1992… but you never know!

Here are some of the other Sandy Skoglund installations/photographs we talked about… the very timely “Germs Are Everywhere” {1984}, the super creepy “Walking on Eggshells” {1997}, the very famous “Revenge of the Goldfish” {1981}, and the green cats from “Radioactive Cats” {1980}:

Notice how I just sort of snuck the snakes and eggs in the middle of all that so I wouldn’t have to look directly at them for too long?

Alright, we’ve had our salty snack… time for something SWEET:

Okay, it’s not actually sugary icing… it’s oil paint. SO MUCH OIL PAINT. This is the piece I brought to the party today. “Under Heaven” by Xu Zhen. The Instagram video is the one I took while standing in front of this jaw-dropper at Art Miami in 2016. Isn’t it insane!?

And finally, a few throw back photos to when Pennylane and I actually got to eat junk food / talk about art IN PERSON:

Ahhh, good times. I can’t wait until we can do this again. Hopefully Nick the Nalley Chip guy will be there with his truck! Thanks so much to Pennylane for doing this with me… twice {I’m so glad we didn’t eat the cucumber chips the second time around. So. Gross.}  And, of course, thanks to all of YOU for listening… there will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Pennylane on Instagram at @dazed.and.confucius
  2. Sandy Skoglund, Artist
  3. “The Cocktail Party” now on at McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX
  4. Xu Zhen, Artist
  5. Art Miami
  6. Episode no.200 hosted by Petah Coyne
  8. Co-Loop Podcast Network


“fifteen seconds”

Episode no. 200 of ART FOR YOUR EARwhat?! Yep, it’s true. I wanted to do something different for this momentous occasion, but what? I asked all of you on Instagram, and whole bunch of people said, ‘have someone interview YOU’. That felt weird… until I thought of the perfect someone! The wonderful, insightful, and brilliant sculptor Petah Coyne is asking the questions today! And her first question: “Were you an artsy kid?” Ha! Clearly, Petah knows the drill. Spoiler alert: My answer was YES. That oil pastel bird up there was the first masterpiece my parents ever framed… can you blame them?! Look/listen (1hr 36min) to our conversation right up there under me as a 7 year old Brownie, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First up… STUMPKINS!

Look at that little bum in the mirror! Sadly, I don’t have photos of the many, many, many Stumpkins I made, but I’m sure you get the idea. Also, can you believe I found an artist!?

Next, a few photos from one of my three visits to Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, France:

That’s me, in my mid 20’s, standing in the kitchen window. Greg took this photo on a trip to France while we were still dating … I thought he was going to propose. He didn’t. ANYWAY.

Ahhh, Blanche. I had to share a couple of photos of my Grammy, so you could see who’s watching over me:

Doesn’t she look like a bit of a trouble-maker? ♥

And lastly, a little peek at what’s happening in my studio at the moment:

Yep, cigarettes & gum made from clay, and fake flowers coated in thick white paint… and of course, Petah, checking in from her insanely beautiful studio in New York to see what I’m up to. Huge hugs and thank yous to Petah for being the interviewER today {I was nervous, but that was fun}. I can’t wait to unveil all of this new work to you in the next few months… I think it’s finally coming together after recently being torn apart and put back together. Thanks so much to all of YOU for listening, not only to this episode, but the 199 that came before it! Your enthusiasm is what motivates me to keep recording week after week. Speaking of yet another week of ART FOR YOUR EAR, I’ll be back next Saturday with a new episode of “PAINT CHIPS” on AFYE with Pennylane Shen… get yourself a bag of cheese puffs for that one! ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Petah Coyne on Instagram
  2. Collecting rotten fish!… {in case you’re wondering what she meant by that!}
  3. My art on Instagram
  4. Emily Carr University of Art & Design, Vancouver BC
  5. University of Victoria, Victoria BC
  6. Elspeth Pratt, Artist & Educator
  7. Podcast episode no. 82 with my mom, Judi Cumming
  8. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  10. Co-loop Podcast Network


“the best work comes from experimenting”

Um, that’s embroidery. Yep. I am beyond thrilled to have Trinidadian – now Florida based – artist Nneka Jones on the podcast today. She finished her BFA less than a year ago, and her work has already graced the cover of TIME Magazine. Seriously. You can listen right up there under “Yellow Light”, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify.

First, let’s take a closer look at that stunning piece above, along with more of her work that focus on abuse and the sex trafficking of women and girls:

Aren’t those insane?! Can you believe she just started working with embroidery in 2018?! Speaking of which, here are Nneka’s very first few stitches:

I mean, seriously. She is a genius! Her first attempt?! With a pack of floss from Walmart?!

Well, that experiment worked out really well. Would you like to see the other experiment? Bring on the CONDOMS!

The story behind her use of condoms is pretty awesome… hilarious and weird, but Nneka nailed it!

Soooo, when I graduated from art school, I don’t remember TIME Magazine asking me to create a piece for their cover. Maybe I was out when they called? Look at this stunner:

As I said during the episode, I WAS SO PROUD OF HER! What an accomplishment… and there are so many more fabulous moments ahead of this young woman. Speaking which, here’s something for her to be proud of too… the time-lapsed video of  Nneka painting George Floyd:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Nneka Jones (@artyouhungry)

So powerful. Using her paintbrush and her breath to “make sure the voices of those who are no longer with us are heard.”

Next, these are the zipper pieces we mentioned. The pink zipper is finished (+ a WIP shot), the pink / gold zipper is the painting Nneka said was painting highlights onto for HOURS:

See? That’s why I had to ask if it was a real zipper! So, so good.

And finally, the extra little bit that I recorded after we’d said “goodbye”. Dear Universe, if you’re listening, Nneka and I would like to make this collaboration happen:

Right!? Amanda Gorman reciting poetry while Nneka stitches & paints. I’m picturing a live event, beautifully filmed and set to music. How amazing would that be?! Okay, it’s out there now… let’s make it happen! Thank you so much to Nneka for coming on the podcast. I cannot wait to see where her career leads. And, as always, thanks so much to YOU for listening. Next week will be the 200th episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR, see you then! ~ Danielle

Other links:

  1. Nneka on Instagram, aka @artyouhungry
  2. University of Tampa’s Art + Design Department
  3. Time Magazine
  4. Save the Children
  5. Amanda Gorman, Poet