Holding Down the Tent

If you are an artist of any kind, and a mother, watch this.

If you are an artist and want to be a mother or father, watch this.

If you know an artist who is a mother, watch this.

There are several moments in this video when I experienced deep recognition.  How many times have I thought (with growing panic) that I was “losing the thread”?

Powerful stuff about life, parenthood, and creativity.  I really wish that the teachers and female role models in my life had talked about some of these issues when I was young, and making decisions (about parenthood, employment, and graduate school) that would reverberate through my life in ways that I had no way of anticipating.  It takes honesty and guts to talk, from a reality-based (instead of ideology-based) perspective, about how parenting impacts female artists.  When we talk in the art community about gender disparities, it is imperative that we also wrestle with the disparity in how parenthood affects men and women differently. When we have it all out in the open, and encourage our young artists (men and women) to consider- realistically- the impact of various life choices on their creative lives, we will start to develop real strategies to help our creative selves survive and flourish, whatever our choices.

You can read more about the film here.

13 thoughts on “Holding Down the Tent

  1. Malorie Lacitis

    Very interesting. Very pertinent. You expressed exact emotions, thoughts I have beenthrough on my own, never really realizing that many other women (artists) felt thesame way. I know I will think back on this video a lot. And view it again. It isreassuring to see it and realize you are not the only one going crazy and trying tofigure a way out through the maze. I handled it by putting art aside, going crazy,and then coming back to my art later in life. I couldn’t make art while my childrenwere young because it was a huge drain that took all the creativity away. I believe that being a good mom is the most important thing in life. But one interesting result: when my children were older and I had some peace, thecreative urge came roaring back…and in a more powerful and unique and wonderfulway. So now I am 64 and more charged creatively than I ever have been. Maybe it waslike letting wine age? Thank you for this video! It affirmed and clarified many years of wondering whatwas happening. Malorie P.S. You will see that I am a realtor. And I love my real estate job, but my heart is in art.I am a painter, currently working on large encaustic paintings. My real estate helpsour family budget, helps with two children in college, helps me enjoy meeting interestingpeople and helping them in an important way, and let’s me take breaks from the solitary parts of my career. For me it is a wonderful match.

    Malorie Lacitis


    Coldwell Banker Danforth

    Direct Phone: 206 719-5511

    E-Mail: malorielacitis@gmail.com

    Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 17:47:47 +0000 To: mklacitis@hotmail.com

  2. Ingrid

    Hi Lisa,
    I just clicked over here from the comment section of Keri Smith’s site. What a great discovery-I love your work and look forward to pouring over your blog!

    1. LisaK Post author

      Hi Ingrid–my blog has been inactive for over a year, but I’m in the process of re-designing it and re-booting. So, thanks for the support! Lisa

      On 11/15/12 1:02 PM, “Lisa Kairos: Open Studio”

  3. Mary Schinhofen

    Hi, Lisa:
    I just watched the film “Holding Down the Tent.” I am 77 years old, mother of five, grandmother of ten, who has just begun to paint seven years ago. Thank you for sharing this video. We need to know who we are before we make major decisions. I never learned what I needed to know and most of what the world taught me were lies. The only time I have ever been happy was when I was making SOME kind of art. I really love my children, but love and happiness aren’t always the same thing.

    1. LisaK Post author

      That last line–a difficult thing to admit, but so often true. Thank you for sharing this, and I am so so happy for you that you are making art.

      On 11/15/12 8:57 PM, “Lisa Kairos: Open Studio”

  4. Larraine Seiden

    Case in point…just the other day I was checking out a one-month residency opportunity which came with a small house. Spouses welcome. Good. Children not allowed. Bad. I’d be willing to arrange childcare on my own dime. It felt discriminatory to me. Like so much of the art world. I’m glad more women are talking about the challenges of being an artist and mother such as in the film Who Does She Think She Is? and this new film. But what do we do?

    1. LisaK Post author

      Yes, Larraine, I’ve looked at several residencies online that specify no children. One of them pets were ok, but not children. I’m not sure what the solution is to this.. perhaps if more residencies offered short, intense residencies that offer a stipend for temporary childcare, more women artists would be able to participate. Residencies are so valuable for anyone who has trouble stringing together more than an hour of work time because of other committments–parents, full-time workers, people caretaking sick family members, etc. The irony is thick, and I think it’s on my shoe…

  5. Mary Trunk

    Lisa, I am so grateful to you for posting the trailer to my film “Lost In Living.” And for all the comments above. This is a film I have spent eight years making and while I feel much less alone in my struggle as a mother/artist, the reconciliation of the two identities is ongoing. The film should be completed in the next month or so and I will be sure to let you know. Again, thank you so much for sharing my work. I ABSOLUTELY love your work. All the best, Mary

    1. Chas Spain

      Mary – thanks for making such a wonderfully honest film and to Lisa for posting here.
      I left art behind, firstly to have a ‘proper’ profession, then to have a home and garden, then to have a family, then to build a house – but it seems that after all this time art hasn’t really left me. Of course the path of being a respected artist in the ‘art world’ (whatever that is) will never be – the time needed to have the base technique and knowledge, just as surely as a dancer needs this founding study, will never happen. I’m taken though by your comment about women with children being excluded opportunities to take up an arts residency – worth exploring what can be done there to raise awareness.

      1. Mary Trunk

        Thanks, Chas, for your very kind words. It’s good to know that art hasn’t really left you. I am curious as well about arts residencies not being open to women with children. Definitely worth raising awareness about. Thanks again! -Mary

  6. Darwin

    I don’t even understand how I finished up here, however I assumed this publish was once great. I do not recognise who you might be but certainly you are going to a well-known blogger when you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    1. Mary

      Hello Everyone, I don’t yet have the film available for streaming but will soon. DVD’s are available at http://www.maandpafilms.com/lostinliving. Coming up on International Women’s Day the film will be streamable for free that day. News about that is also coming soon. If you like the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/lostinliving and/or sign up for the newsletter (website and facebook page), you’ll get all the current news. Thanks so much. Below is the link to the ten minute trailer. All the best, Mary


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s