We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaleigh Maeby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaleigh, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
“Just keep pushing, power through, work hard 24/7 or give up.” When I was younger, I had a lot of misconceptions about what it truly meant to be an artist. Despite illness, physical weakness, and limited time, I had convinced myself that “Real Artists” push themselves. That no Real Artist takes breaks, faces struggles in creativity, or has any bump in their work flow. All this brought was an expectation that I could ultimately never reach- a dangerous fantasy of constant creation. As this continued I searched, constantly, for validation through social media. I pushed myself to create multiple pieces of art daily, just so I could get some kind of attention, some kind of confirmation that I’m doing something worthwhile. I found myself facing self-doubt, consistent art block, and nothing but disappointment no matter what I made. If there’s anything I want others to take from my presence in the online art community, it’s that there is nothing wrong with slowing down. Whether it’s necessary for your mental or physical health, or you just feel like taking a break, you are allowed to step back. As long as you have an adoration and passion for the work you create, you cannot fail.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There are a lot of moving pieces that make up who I am as an artist. I love to experiment as much as I’m able to physically with different mediums, styles, and forms of art. Getting to this point professionally has seemed extremely easy- I feel like I’ve always known who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do in life. The truth of the journey, though, has been a lot of perseverance, self-analyzation, and the struggle to find my “one true style”. Though I can’t squeeze myself into one style, one specific colour palette, I know exactly what I want to do with my presence. I want my work to inspire, for others to look to me and know that they can always approach me with questions, for advice, or just to discuss the arts. I want my work to inform, to use my platform to share the daily struggles of chronic illnesses and what it means to continue creating art despite chronic pain. If I can help one person feel validated as a disabled artist, or help one person understand the fight others face, then I’ll know what I’m doing is worthwhile. The best lesson, the best piece of advice I can give to anyone- creatively or not- is to find your passion. Understand what you stand for, what your values are, what you want not to take from the world but give to everyone whose path you cross. What do you truly, deeply care for?
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I’ve lived across the world, seen so many exciting cities, but my favourite places to explore have always been small towns. I love to be able to share intimate, unknown spots with my friends and share unique experiences. My town has so many hidden food joints, local shops, and beautiful views that I haven’t even found them all! The best way to spend a week, would be picking one big activity to do per day- the beach, the local museum, a farmer’s market- and fill in the rest of the week with slow, lazy exploring. Maybe grab a quick drink at the Sun Shoppe Cafe, stroll through the historic downtown stores, or hunt for gems in the art district. I may be quite the homebody, but even I can’t resist the charm of a street full of murals!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family, friends, and fiancé have always been there to support my endeavours. I would be half of who I am today if I didn’t have them cheering me on through the ups and downs. I also owe so much to the community of artists I follow on instagram- including Eric Friedensohn, Jared Steingold, Nik Olas, the incredible musicians of Soulpax, and so many others! If I could list every single person who helped me through my journey, I would in a heartbeat.