“water, light, and infinite galaxies”

Oh my goodness, this episode. So, this weekend was supposed to be the last episode of the season featuring my interview with artist and writer Mimi Pond, but given the events of the past week I recorded one extra episode. Mimi will be up next weekend, but today I’m talking to LA based artist Calida Rawles. Honestly when I first saw her work, I thought ‘Wow, these photographs are stunning’. Turns out, they’re paintings. Beautiful, powerful, almost poetic, hyperreal, figurative acrylic paintings. I found her a few weeks ago in Amy Sherald’s Instagram feed, because crazy small world… they went to art school together! Anyway, we’re going to get into all of that, and a whole lot more. Listen right up there under “Radiating My Sovereignty”, or subscribe right here.

Okay, but wait! Before we go too far, go back up and look at that first painting. Do you see the two stars at the tip of her finger? Yes, the first hidden gem of many! Alright, now we can keep going. Here are the images I posted when I wrote about Calida earlier this week:

I mean, seriously. I just can’t believe how beautiful these are. Abstraction and realism living in perfect harmony.

Next, this is “In the Light (For Stephon Clark)” 2018, 48″ x 72″:

This is such a powerful piece, and even more so after hearing Calida tell the story behind it. I included the closest closeup I could find… do you see the galaxies? Beautiful, heartbreaking, and so powerful. I am so glad Calida shared all of the hidden bits of beauty to look for in her paintings. I was already emotionally invested, but those secrets took things to a whole new level.

Next, here are paintings that began her love affair with water. Vulnerable? Um, yes:

“Chrysalis”, “Converge”, “Blow It Out”, and “Holding It In – Pressure”. Wow. Brave, and so beautiful.

Next, more water. Here are the paintings Calida did for her longtime friend, and author, Ta-Nahisi Coates‘ first fiction novel, “The Water Dancer”:

Oh and look at that… there’s Oprah reading it. Yes, Ta-Nehisi’s book was Oprah’s 2019 pick for her book club… and there are Calida’s paintings on the front and back of it. Ah-mazing.

And finally, I had to include photos of her working, especially now that I can picture her up on that scaffolding listening to audio books for twelve hours at a time:

Gasp! Stunning… the paintings and Calida herself.

Saying ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem like enough. This conversation meant so much to me, especially right now. I pray that June 2020 will go down in history as an epic moment of change. I told Calida at the end of the episode that I almost cried a couple of times, and to be totally honest, I did cry after we said goodbye. I felt so inspired by her work/process, enlightened by her insights, and embarrassed by how much more I still have to learn. But I will. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Bio image above from W Magazine / Photograph by Max Farago; Styled by Rebecca Ramsey
  2. Calida on Instagram
  3. Various Small Fires, LA {Gallery}
  4. Amy Sherald, Artist / Amy on AFYE, Episode No.127
  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Writer / The Water Dancer {Book}


comments (13)

  1. Rachel /// 06.06.2020 /// 2:33pm

    Such an excellent episode. So many things I want to say. Aaaargh! But I guess I must leave it at “Such a good episode”.

  2. Alison Keenan /// 06.06.2020 /// 5:13pm

    Amazing conversation..thank you so much.

  3. Marc Cardwell /// 06.07.2020 /// 11:45am

    this was one of my favorite talks. her art is just stunning.

  4. Cheryl Hansen /// 06.07.2020 /// 2:10pm

    So interesting! Beautiful art and mind. I too am embarrassed to have work to do from my sheltered life. A sister, a brother and many friends back in Minneapolis. Ugh. I was always told I was too sensitive but I have had so many tears this week. I hope your surgery is successful. Godspeed on your recovery. Praying for grace for our world.

  5. Andrea Ferkul /// 06.11.2020 /// 8:43am

    Whenever I procrastinate or struggle getting to the easel (like every day), I lure myself in with one of your podcasts. All the art talk and vulnerability shared between yourself and the artist is so cathartic and inspiring, it feels as though I’m listening in on a personal phone call. (appreciate the homour too!) So thank you for this and for introducing such incredible artists. Calidas’ outstanding work exudes her heart and soul, in the subjects and compositions – and in how she makes it her own in combining the realistic with abstract interpretation. Unbelievable!

  6. Pallavi Vadhia /// 06.12.2020 /// 10:34am

    Thank you for presenting this wonderful insight in to Calida Rawles’ exquisite work and the person.

  7. RAE LAM /// 06.12.2020 /// 3:47pm

    Her work is so inspiring. As an artist she truly gave me inspiration.

  8. Carmen Bohn /// 06.14.2020 /// 8:24am

    I love to turn on your podcast in the evening when I finally get a chance to sit down to my spinning wheel or loom to create my own fibre art. Your conversation with Calida Rawles was beautiful, as is her art and message. Thank you for sharing.

  9. the jealous curator /// 06.18.2020 /// 2:03pm

    thank you for listening

  10. Barbara Eichin /// 08.16.2020 /// 11:32am

    Beautiful art and interview and timely podcast. I appreciated and related to your final thoughts regarding having lots of work to do educating ourselves as white women. Thanks for spreading the message of love for all.

  11. the jealous curator /// 08.17.2020 /// 6:48am

    thanks barbara… yes, so much to do.

  12. Ten Black Female Artists and Activists to Follow ASAP – Love and Logic and Lunacy /// 08.29.2020 /// 2:22pm

    […] I first heard of her from the “Art for Your Ear” podcast, and I highly recommend listening to the episode she was on!  Here is the link: thejealouscurator.com/blog/2020/06/05/water-light-and-infinite-galaxies […]

  13. Listen, Make, Sing - Ply Studio /// 10.30.2020 /// 4:14pm

    […] Jealous Curator podcast: I listened to another great episode of one of my favourite podcasts last night. Front and centre was the creation of art, but […]

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