#156 Kecia Deveney: Art Making in the Time of Isolation

Today I’m talking with artist Kecia Deveney. We spoke on April 2nd, when most states had shut down businesses and public areas. Kecia and her family self-quarantined before most people because they are caregivers for her son who would be extra vulnerable to the virus. She’s had to cancel her in person art classes and scale down her other art projects because the caregiving is full-time. She is still able to make art daily, and we talk about how she does that and how she manages this stressful time. Kecia lives in New Jersey, and she’s a prolific artist who makes art dolls, collage, and painting. If you’d like to go back and listen to my original interview with Kecia, we spoke in December, 2018 in Episode 61.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher. 

Kecia Deveney

You can find Kecia’s artwork on her website keciadeveney.com

Her main social media account is Facebook, and she cross-posts to Instagram and Twitter.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Kecia has always had to keep a specific schedule for her home and family with the caregiving tasks that she does. As we have reduced our trips outdoors with our self-isolation, it’s even more important to keep things on a schedule. It’s easy to lose track of days, so if you’re still working your business, or homeschooling your kids, or providing care for family members, you should try to keep a daily routine.
  2. Kecia has always been a multi-tasker. She’s found that if she keeps her hands busy, that will keep her mind away from negative thoughts. She always has an art project close by that she can pick up when she has a moment. It may be some stitching or working on a collage or doing some painting.
  3. Kecia recently crashed her website, so she had to create a new one. She looked at other artists’ websites and their blogs to see what she liked. She contacted one of the artists to find out who did her website. That’s a great way to find an expert for something you need done.
  4. She advised Kecia to use her regular camera to take photos for her website rather than her phone. I know some phones can take fabulous photos, but you need to learn how to do that. So whether you have a really great camera for taking photos or you use your phone, you need to learn some photo basics, which include lighting and composition. Kecia worked with an expert; you can also find online classes as well as free videos that can help you take more professional photos.
  5. When Kecia does commission work, she usually asks for a deposit. She does tell us about one time that she didn’t and that was because the requestor wasn’t sure what they wanted so she just started playing around with ideas. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut on what you want to do, and be flexible about your usual rules.
  6. During this time where so many things are changed in our lives, accept that you can’t do everything that you’d like, and find an alternative to do instead. Kecia can’t film online classes right now, but she can do short live videos, so she will do those when she can.
  7. One of the things she does for Facebook Live videos, is she doesn’t interrupt what she’s doing to respond to people’s comments. She lets them know that she’ll answer all the questions at the end when she can give them her full attention.
  8. She’ll also sometimes do videos where she isn’t even talking. She’s just letting the video speak for itself.
  9. We also talked about how these times are stressful, and it’s ok to be stressed and have anxiety. Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to be silent and not engaged until the stress passes.
  10. In this time where so many people are teaching their kids at home or caring for others, see if you can keep a little art making in your lap or on the table that you can work on when you get a moment.
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