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

Hi Kia, how do you think about risk?
My entire existence is a risk. I am a young, black, queer, woman living in the Caribbean. My youth means I’m underestimated, my skin means I’m racially profiled outside of my country, my sexuality means I’m sexually profiled inside of it and I’m a woman, which seems to come with problems no matter where you are in the world. These risks were not my choice yet I proudly take them every day. One might think that would make me risk-averse in other aspects of my life, yet I’ve found that conscious risk-taking is another part of who I am. My career as it now stands would not exist without the risks I’ve taken. My entire creative process depends on risk. I get bored when I know how to do something. For me, the thrill of creation comes from conquering the unknown. Every time I have a new idea or start a new project, it’s always something new that challenges and frustrates me. I find that when I master a medium or a technique there are fewer opportunities for creative problem solving and more than that, fewer opportunities for failure.
I’m a big proponent of the value of failing regularly. The minute I believe that I can’t fail anymore or that I have it all figured out is the moment I stop growing, creating and evolving. Even if I have mastered something, I try to push its limitations further. Failure is a direct route to discovery and discovery is at the crux of most great creations. It’s a big part of my process. In the end, people look at my work and assume it’s effortless but it all starts with fear and a series of risks and failures until I find a way to make it something special.
In terms of my life, I’d say that I’m a slightly above-average risk-taker. I leave most of the crazy everyday risks for my work but in a wider sense, being an artist is a risk itself. It can be a very uncertain life, which is one of its main appeals. Most artists that I know, including myself, have multiple hustles or jobs and very rarely, a steady paycheck. That’s not to say we aren’t succeeding, it’s just a very non-traditional way to live. You have to be flexible, resilient, resourceful and you have to be able to manage your finances in the face of unsteady pay. It’s definitely a lifestyle that was underestimated…until the pandemic hit. It was a shock for everyone, but as someone accustomed to living a financially risky life, I adapted much easier than a lot of my friends who work nine to fives.
My current life/career goal is to travel and make art. It’s a huge risk taking my already unpredictable artistic life in Barbados and making it more so, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I had finally decided to take the risk when the pandemic hit and I had to fly home. However, this is just a setback. I know my home and I love it but I’m ready for a new challenge, a new risk.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The saying “life is a journey, not a destination” has always rung true for me. My art has always somehow revolved around the theme of journeying. Whether it’s a journey through time, the journey of nature, heritage or some seemingly random adventure, each piece always points towards a greater odyssey. It was never a consciously intended theme. With the benefit of retrospect, I have realized that it is one of the fundamental elements that constitute whatever I create. Right now, I’m on a precipice. I’m about to take a new risk and jump into a new challenge/adventure/journey. It’s a privilege to be able to explore and shape my life to my liking. I got here today because of the infallible combination of hard work + great support + dumb luck. It isn’t always easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is all the time but those moments have caused me to learn a great many things. I’ve learned that when people see you passionate about something, they want to help you; I’ve learned that not every opportunity is a blessing and that it is okay to say no; I’ve learned that not everyone’s journey will look like my own and comparison is pointless; but most importantly, I’ve learned how to listen to and trust myself and my needs, even when it’s hard. “Life is a journey, not a destination”. This quote speaks to valuing and even enjoying the ride of life. Ultimately, that’s the feeling I want my work to impart. A whimsical, tumultuous, confusing, exhilarating, meaningful ride.

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?
This might be the hardest question to answer. The entire country is currently on lockdown because of the pandemic and I can’t remember the last time I was able to do anything social and fun. However, I can tell you what I miss: I miss randomly hitting the beach in the middle of the day with my friends or skinny dipping late at night. I miss clubbing in the gap, second street and harbour lights. I miss the summer-long parties and fetes during Crop Over. I miss Oistins fish on Fridays, gap burgers when I’m drunk and Pink Star liver cutters when I’m hungover. I miss going to art shows and night drives with great music and even greater company. I miss going shopping for something cute to wear with my friends. I miss run-ins with friends and impromptu plans, games nights and unplanned sleepovers. I miss dating, like really dating. I miss having a nice meal in a restaurant or sitting under a tree by the sea with a book.
These are the ways I’m going to show myself the best time ever when the pandemic ends.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a lot of people who have helped me get to the point I’m at today and I will forever be eternally grateful. From the start, my parents have been the most supportive and encouraging people in my life. They are my rocks and I am so fortunate to have them. Barbados is a small place and the art community exists in an even smaller sphere. So many members of that community have helped me and so many others like me to flourish. Annalee Davis and Katherine Kennedy at Fresh Milk have provided not only opportunity and encouragement to help me achieve my dreams, but also a bond that I truly cherish. Ewan Atkinson and Allison Thompson, who started as tutors in my degree, have continued their support in the years since I graduated through Punch Creative Arena and Oneka Small from Artists Alliance Barbados has provided space for my work to be seen in my country. Finally, my peers deserve to be championed. We push each other, we depend on each other and we support each other. When they succeed, I succeed.
All of these people, including my parents, who have mentored many aspiring designers, have helped countless emerging creatives lead a life where they can succeed doing what they love. I honor them and I appreciate them.

Website: https://kiaredman.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kia.redman/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kia.d.redman

Other: https://vimeo.com/kiaredman

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