Welcome to Baroque Lifestyle’s Digital Artist Experience!
Join Screenwriter/Director and Senior Baroque Contributor Allison Torem as she brings a wide variety of art mediums to your home from across the globe and introduces a collection of artists that are making their mark on the world. From behind-the-scenes, artists talk about their work and about how quarantine has impacted them and their art. Peruse each digital exhibit at your leisure and enjoy this creative experience from the comfort of your home.
“Art is how the world exhales.”
― Abigail Baker, Editor in Chief, Baroque Lifestyle
Outsider Art With Visual Artist Cameron Crumley
Chicago, IL, USA
Cameron “Crum” Crumley is a visual artist, filmmaker, writer, and musician from Roswell, Georgia living in Chicago, Illinois. In our conversation, he shares his views on self-teaching, his inadvertent relationship to the term “outsider artist,” how design inspires a lot of his work, and, relatedly, his approach to visual art as an experimental craft rather than a heady, narrative-driven statement. As an artist in Quarantine, he shares that visual art is the outlet he’s found a no-pressure and entirely self-reliant space in- a space he’s occupied quite regularly in 2020.
Finding Balance Amid Chaos With Actor Echaka Agba
Chicago, IL, USA
Echaka Agba is an actress from Bloomington, Indiana living and working in Chicago, Illinois. She shares that her dream role is quite similar to what she might’ve become had she not unexpectedly caught the acting bug in college; the differences between stage and TV/film acting; her focus in acting and in life on authenticity and being present; and her greatest acting inspiration based on a performance in “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” As an artist in Quarantine, Echaka engages with me in a frank meditation on the essence of performance, the undervaluing of art in our society, some things she’s found new forms of empowerment in while work has slowed to a screech, and some of the realities of pursuing an acting career- and keeping one’s head screwed on tight- regardless of a pandemic.
Supporting Information: “Where Could We Go” is an anthology docuseries where two people in a loving partnership seek the places they can put down roots as they build a home in each other. Check out a clip from the first episode here: https://wherecouldwegoseries.com/.
Get Creative With Household Items With Visual Artist Abena Motaboli
Chicago, IL, USA
Abena Motaboli is a visual artist and writer from Lesotho, South Africa living in Chicago, Illinois. As an artist in Quarantine, she discusses the visual art technique she invented that is now her mainstay as an artist: teabag painting! She shares with us how moved she is to create art sustainably, especially inspired by ecological art and using art materials that are commonplace and accessible. She also shares with us a glimpse of her studio, reflections on accessibility in art, and how she’s been attracted to the expressive and communicative nature of writing during a time in which everyone is more eager for connection than ever.
Find the Humor in Darkness With Filmmaker Annabella Schnabel
Annabella Schnabel is a film director and screenwriter living and working in Budapest, Hungary, where she is from. As an artist in Quarantine, she’s found an unexpected connection between hairs left in her hairbrush, existential questions about universality and uniqueness, and the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic- but she’s also just full-steam ahead developing her next film and TV projects, largely based on her experience with her grandmother whom she lost in 2020 to dementia. Annabella shares with us some of her great film inspirations, her deep interest in the ways memory plays tricks on us over time, and the great power of comedy in telling the hardest of stories to share. Annabella graduated this summer with her Film Directing Masters from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest.
Check out some of Annabella’s work!
REFERRAL – Winner of the Audience Award given at the Award Qualifying Nashville Film Festival in 2020 in the Next Generation section. “Referral” is still completing its festival rounds and gathering international prizes.
IT’S A MATCH! – Winner of several international awards including multiple screenings.
Playing With Superhero Conventions With Novelist Michel-Ange Desruisseaux
Chicago, IL, USA
Michel-Ange “Mickey” Desruisseaux is a writer from Chicago, Illinois living in New York City where he attends law school at NYU. In conversation during Quarantine, Mickey explains how writing is at once the most idiosyncratic and authentic medium he’s expressed himself in and also the easiest one to distance from real-life identity markers. He also presents his long-established personal ethos that helps him filter which ideas of his make it into his packed schedule. Regarding his current project, a superhero novel set in real-life Chicago with a Black protagonist, he shares with us how he leans on comic conventions from the superhero genre and how he interrogates and subverts others.
Talk Theater, Film & Stepping Into Your Vision With Filmmaker Clare Cooney
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Clare Cooney is a film director, actress, screenwriter, editor, and producer from Southfield, Michigan living and working in Los Angeles, California. As an artist in Quarantine, she shares how her transition from actor to director and from stage to film has informed the type of writer/director she is. She also shares how motivating she finds the dearth of female directors in Hollywood as she forges a path for herself mined with complex female characters. After talking with her, I’d venture to guess she’d rather act in, write, or direct a female character who is weak in every classical sense – self-doubting, lacking in moral integrity, uneducated- but that is well-written, than a poorly written female character who is classically “strong.” I leave it to you to hear her for yourself.
Spark Joy No Matter What With Comedy Performer Michael Brackney
Chicago, IL, USA
Michael “Brack” Brackney is an improviser from Phoenix, Arizona living in Chicago, Illinois. In our conversation, Michael describes how he went from working in construction to performing on a constant basis on comedy stages in Chicago all because he was looking for something fun to do outside of his normal life. He shares with us his practiced resilience as an improviser that allows him to continuously try, risk, and process failure and reward in the ongoing and sometimes all-consuming lifestyle of a comedy artist working in Chicago. And as an artist in Quarantine, he shares with us how he’s adapting to Quarantine by leaning into more long-lasting forms of entertainment while not forgetting the value of ephemeral and in-person performance.
Learn more about Brack and his work and follow Brack on Instagram at @m_brackney.
Check out some sketch comedy videos on YouTube from Brack!
- Brack Draws Baguette
- The Greatest Band That Never Was – Mockumentary Short Film
- Bike Soup – Sketch Comedy
- Plant Brothers
Explore Writing Process and Finding Your Audience With Novelist Thammika Songkaeo
Thammika Songkaeo is a writer from Thailand, living and writing in Singapore. Her greatest motivation for writing is also one of her largest career obstacles: motherhood. She reflects on the utility of dance- in all its freedom and imagination- in her creative writing process, and the inimitable and rare gift of silence as a human being. An artist in Quarantine, she tells us about this from across the globe, and about that she has to say: “I feel so much more like myself when I’m in a global space, and not just pegged to Singapore (though I love this place). I grew up in Thailand, India, Los Angeles, then went to school in Williamstown, Austin, and Philadelphia, and I studied abroad in Uganda and Rwanda. And I’ve also traveled a wee bit. So you can just imagine how being in a space where we were talking from different continents, felt like going home for me.”
Appreciate the Underappreciated With Painter Angelique Bolin
Kansas City, MO, USA
Angelique Bolin is a visual artist from Chicago, Illinois living and working in Kansas City, Missouri. She verbalizes what a visual download of inspiration feels like to her, as well as elaborating on the stifling pressure of academic environments to conceive of your work as belonging to a cultural lens. As a flight attendant traveling the world before Covid, Angelique has spent a good deal of her grounded time this year painting, and allowing a reduced stream of information to expand her purview from boxes, trash, and pigeons (these underappreciated city-dwellers she fell in love with back in Chicago, where they fly rampant and by choice) to her first portrait in quite some time.
Behind The Scenes with Artists in Quarantine
Senior Baroque Contributor Allison Torem is curious about artists’ experience in the world – including when the world shuts down. She is moved and energized by the opportunity to experience members of her community face to face (or screen to screen) and help to curate a digital place for their brilliance, nuance, and dynamism to become as obvious to others as it is to her. Join her as she asks 9 artists about art, life, and a little bit of quarantine 9 months in. She hopes that you’ll find comfort and whatever else you need in their answers.