We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsea Granger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsea, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued an artistic career because even when I tried other things it haunted me. I have been making art since I was a kid, and although I did go to college for art I didn’t believe it would be how I would make a good portion of my income. It has been scary and exhilarating to pursue art, to commit to my vision wholeheartedly, knowing art isn’t always valued. I will say, ‘pursuing an artistic career’ looks different for me than it might for others, I have always embraced taking on outside work that is not connected to my art practice but helps pay the bills. For me, this choice has helped me stay true and authentic to what I want to make. Art for me feels spiritual, after multiple major deaths in my life I have only become more committed to staying true to how I want to spend my time and energy while I am alive. So pursuing my artistic career feels like it is honoring life.
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’m an artist and illustrator, I recently finished a giant project– a plant oracle deck called Dirt Gems, a collaboration with dear friend and herbalist Anne Louise Burdett. I also make medicine posters and zines with my dear friend Brittany Nickerson of Thyme Herbal. My paintings are of the everyday, inspired by the overlap of earth/spirit dimensions, personal and collective rituals. I am interested in painting as medicine, painting as a portal, painting as a spell. I am most proud of the work I have done around death & grief, after a dear friend died and then my mom died suddenly I became very open to talking about death and grief publicly, it was incredibly vulnerable but I knew it was important. I hope that the work I do can push against death-phobia and can act as a doorway to conversations about death and grief. The biggest challenge in my life was the sudden death of my mom Suzann, I had never felt that kind of shock, heartbreak, disorientation, guilt, or grief. I want people reading this who have experienced a tragic death, who are suffering and feel like the pain might not get better- IT WILL SHIFT, it might take longer than you think- but it will change. When you come to the other side the grief will still be with you, but it also has the possibility of becoming the best parts of everything you do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I don’t live in Miami but I LOVE IT THERE! One of my dearest friends just moved to Miami and I am looking forward to spending lots of time there once we move through the limitations of this pandemic.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my gosh where to begin! Incredibly supportive and amazing sweetheart: Eben Kling: @ebenkling Artist and dear friend Molly Greene: @mollyagreene I recently worked with an amazing manuscript writer/writing coach for a book I am making about death & grief: Molly Thornton: @molly_parton Friend, constant inspiration, collaborative partner Sophie Wood, @church.of.flowers & @isstillflooating Collaborative partner and dear friend Brittany Nickerson of Thyme Herbal: @thymeherbal Illustration client turned friend and amazing writer/healer: Heidi Smith @moonandbloom Right now the book that sits with me at my studio desk, Black Futures, edited by Kimberly Drew & Jenna Wortham. I’m only just beginning to take in it’s brilliance.