Artists Chatting with Tea: LIVE Instagram Artist Interviews
With (and by) Lauren G. Koch
(Associate Artist FBAC)
The COVID-19 quarantine has left us reeling as our lives have been turned completely upside down. We have been trying desperately to maintain our identity as artists all while holding onto our sanity and preserving connections with our communities of friends and colleagues. Our classes have been cancelled or moved online, partners and children are home all day (personally I’m enjoying that part, but of course I have cats rather than children), art openings have been cancelled, exhibitions postponed indefinitely, our studios are now all over the kitchen table and house (which let’s be honest… isn’t very odd for me anyway), and even routine trips to the grocery store have taken on a completely new context. Within this rapidly changing environment of quarantine life, being an artist is a good thing because we rarely run out of things to occupy our time and we are a resourceful bunch, making our own butter and protective masks. Unsurprisingly, new and interesting social-media based, artist outreach programs have sprung up around us, just like the blooming Spring flowers.
How Artists Chatting with Tea started….
A colleague of mine, Dane Winkler, started organizing and prompting Instagram LIVE artist talks, just over two weeks ago. I was among the first wave of presenters. While I’ve been doing artist talks for years this was a completely new, anxiety inducing, way of doing something that already makes me extremely nervous. But I forged ahead because I love sharing my processes and adventures (once you get me started talking it’s hard for me to stop when it’s a topic I know well). After watching each of my friends present their work in various interesting styles, I was filled with questions about their work, inspirations, processes, and their presentation style. All I had to do was message them to get my answers but that seemed so selfish. I knew that a broader audience of creators and their supporters would also be interested in these conversations.
Also, I quickly noted that many of my friends had a mug of tea or other beverage close at hand, while doing their artists talk. In fact, several of my relationships have revolved around our mutual love of hot tea. Immediately, I messaged Dane and several of my other friends to see how much interest there was in chatting about art over tea, but with a kick. Since we couldn’t meet at our favorite coffee shop or café, we would be chatting in comfy spot at home with our favorite mug, but instead of just FaceTiming each other we would be LIVE broadcasting it to our friends, colleagues, supporters, and maybe even future collectors. There was so much support and interest that seemingly overnight Artists Chatting with Tea was born. Never in a million years, would I have imagined hosting a podcast much less a LIVE, unedited broadcast of a quirky, yet genuine conversation with fellow creatives about art, travel, and whatever else that pops up. Something about taking the formality out of the process and being armed with my favorite mug of hot tea seemed to make everything more fun and inviting.
A quick evolution…
Originally, this was going to be something that happened twice, maybe three times, hosted on my personal Instagram handle @lace.anvil_lgkart. However, after talking with a few more of my colleagues and finding out how much interest there was in something of this nature, it became something much larger. At that point, I made a sketch of one my teacups, ran it through Photoshop to create a quick and simple logo, and made a new Instagram handle @artistschattingwithtea. As soon as I posted the first post, I was having misgivings. I figured as soon as I hosted a few artist chats, interest would dwindle, and the page would have the same fate as my previous b