We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Keeley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amanda, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
As I have gotten older, I have learned how important the life/work balance is. I never respected it and I never understood it. I went full force into everything and often just spun my wheels and exerted unnecessary energy. I guess that is the hazard of working in the NYC art world for 16 years! I am now in a place that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I choose my battles, I try to set boundaries, and I put my health and my family first. We are living together in a very tumultuous state~ between the toxic political environment and the pandemic, these are challenging times for everyone. As women, I do believe we need to set the tone and stand together in solidarity. I can’t be complacent to racism, sexism, and disrespectful behavior. I won’t tolerate bullying and dishonesty. We need to vote, we need to stand up, we need to say no. Stop apologizing so much. Let’s reset and (re)build the world we want to live in (and the generations after us.) I digress~ the most important thing I can impart is to take time for yourself. I am committed to a daily meditation practice which really grounds me. Every morning, I wake up early to walk my dog then start the coffee maker. While the coffee is brewing, I have lemon water and return to my mediation space and light a candle. This is the start of my day. Ideally 20~30 minutes. No emails, no distractions, just me in my head. It was hard at first and now it is the most blissful way to begin my day. I share this with you. Time for coffee! x Amanda

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a multidisciplinary artist. This means I work across many mediums~ works on paper, sculpture, books, performative events, and installation. The component that ties my work together is that I am always examining language, semiotics, communication, and linguistics. From designing EXILE (a pop~up traveling artist’s bookstore) to hosting a dinner party in Tuscany where the guests consume an edible book, the work always relates back to our shared experience of word and text. I recently designed my own typeface and am immersed in exploring every facet of that. I am also completing a beautiful neon text piece for the Hialeah Gardens Library. It will be placed in the entry lobby on the ceiling. When the viewer looks up, they will see that it reads “Las palabras me bañan como el mar” (The words wash over me like the ocean.) I am very excited to experience this piece when it is complete!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Given the pandemic, I would suggest lots of outdoor walks. I live in Coconut Grove and we have lots of great trails along the ocean and parks to explore. I love riding my bike to Key Biscayne and thru the grove to see all of the cute houses and properties. I look forward to a time when more local restaurants and retail places can be open safely. I try to support them as much as possible!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank Mitch Kaplan, the founder of Books & Books. He was one of the first people in Miami to encourage and support me and he continues to do so!

Website: www.amandakeeley.art and www.exilebooks.com
Instagram: @amandaseason and @exilebooks

Image Credits
Photos by Phil Lique

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