We had the good fortune of connecting with Janelle Kinsey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janelle, how does your business help the community?
My art has started to reach far outside of my own experiences, and instead is tapping into the collective need for feminist healing through art. By including real people, their bodies, and stories, into my art making process, I am helping to facilitate a much needed safe and scared space for those of us who are marginalized and made to feel shame surrounding our bodies and sexualities. The vulva has become a huge symbol of this shame and stigmatization, and so by casting people’s vulvas I am allowing them to reclaim this part of themselves, and in turn enabling them to reclaim all of themselves.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a queer, feminist artist, who has started to create meaningful and provocative work about women and gender non-conforming peoples bodies, in order to honor them, and allow for much needed celebration and growth. I do this mostly through combining the medium and art-form of body casting (the art of creating sculptural work of some ones body by capturing or ‘casting’ it) and my life long love, ceramics. I primarily have been casting vulva’s and turning them into functional pottery, but recently have started to explore other body parts as well, including breast or nipple casts, and penis casts. My art is all about reclaiming our bodies and sexualities’ as our own- body casting became a way to fully honor ourselves, just as they are. My personal inspirations to become a body positive artist began with my own healing after leaving a sexually abusive relationship. In my painting series, Self Growth (2019-2020), I explored self-portraiture as a means to reclaim my body and space. From there I found that this work, connected with so many experiences far outside of my own, and I wanted to start inviting others to heal through the power and beauty I found in art. I almost feel like I sort of fell into becoming an artist as a full time career. At the time I was studying at ASU to get my BS in Industrial Design, and never thought that my work would be something I could make a living off of. I just knew I needed to be making this body of work. The more I grew as a artist and business, the more censorship and challenges I dealt with, which just pushed me to make more. I saw how uncomfortable so many where with seeing real bodies represented in this way, and I just knew I was onto something really raw and important.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite spots in the Valley would include Tempe’s Farmer Market which has a great vegan deli, and Papago Park on Thursdays around 7pm, where a free yoga and flow jam is held every week by some incredible people in the community.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this Shoutout to my amazing mentor and ceramics professor, Sam Chung. Sam has helped push me, and my art making in countless ways, and I am so grateful for his ability to see me, and my art where it was at, and then ask, how can we take this further. He helped me develop my mold making process during the middle of the pandemic, via zoom calls, and masked meet ups in studio, and I really believe I wouldn’t be working as a full time artist with that nudge in the right direction. Thank you so much Sam!
Most of these photographs are mine. The ‘Vulva Pottery’ images are by Tiffany Haynes, https://www.instagram.com/asme.studios/