So, You Wanna Be An Artist? : Kane Chattey
I’ve never quite felt comfortable labeling myself as an artist. I don’t paint very well and I took Exploring Music in middle school because the idea of analyzing music felt like a more comfortable space to exist in than actually creating the music myself. Art has never been something I could wrap my head around. I later came to understand that while my medium of choice didn’t include chord progressions and oil pastels, I could use verbs and adjectives to create sentences and then those sentences would go on to become essays and criticisms and suddenly you have art.
As I embarked on the journey of creating and building Brainwash from the ground up I needed another artist who could uplift me and keep me inspired. Incidentally, it was right around this time that I had discovered Kane Chattey’s So You Want To Be An Artist and it quickly became that for me. Here you have this person whom I’ve never met before saying to me through headphones that my voice was valid and suddenly I felt like what I was doing mattered. Over Facetime and crappy wifi, I had the pleasure of speaking to Chattey over in London about #SYWBAA and going from working a 9 to 5 to living life on his own terms.
Beginning his professional career as the music director at SBTV Kane was responsible for all of the visuals produced by the media company. He admitted that this job was one that he had held in high regard but one day it simply no longer suited him. “I went insane, to be honest. I’ve never had a 9 to 5. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was losing my mind.” Kane quickly knew to “locate the source of his unhappiness” and remove it from his life. On December 28, 2015, he would release a tweet to the world that would later become the catalyst for SYWBAA.
And nearly 5 days after having the idea SYWBAA was born and on January 1st, Kane dropped his very first podcast. I can remember how I felt riding the bus to go to a job I didn’t particularly care for listening to this guy say to me that “comfort zones were the most dangerous spaces to be in because they were a lie.” He was speaking directly to me. I listened to that episode nearly 20 times and wrote some of my best work that day.
Kane is able to effortlessly create, with no concern, of whether or not people gravitate towards his work. As I asked him what advice he would give to other artists he re-assured me that the only thing one needed to do was to “just do it.” He continued, “Everyone you idolized only got there because they did it." How quickly we underestimate the power of simply doing something. Letting go of all ego and simply using your voice to say something of value and of substance.
As the conversation went on I became more and more comfortable. Here I am, little old Ayanna from the suburbs of Long Island speaking to this creative that, incidentally, I had gravitated towards because of his dedication to the art. To creation. To truth. And that for me was something worth celebrating. Every moment I get, and Kane can vouch for me when I say this, I am sharing a podcast episode with anyone and everyone who is willing to listen.
At first glance, it would appear as though Kane had it all together. There were no issues or missteps but he expressed to me his frustrations with the podcast, currently 9 episodes deep. Kane doesn’t have a solid recording studio where he can record whenever he wants. There are some artists that he would like to have on the show but because of the nature of the music industry labels want to know how they will benefit and after leaving his job there is this need to make money off of his ideas. Finding a way to monetize the podcast while keeping the audience he has built can be a rather difficult task—a task that every artist who wants to survive off of their art deals with on a daily basis. One that I am certain he will solve because, look, this man is simply capable of doing whatever it is he sets his mind to.
As I begin to learn more and more about Kane, a person who dedicates his life to creation, it becomes rather clear that he hadn’t grasped to what extent his presence is needed. Is appreciated. As a self-proclaimed nomad, he’s never committed to anything for longer than a year with the exception of one long term relationship. The mentality was “ let me pick something up, let me get a glimpse of where I can take it and let me put it back down again. Once I know I can take something somewhere, I don’t need to anymore. It almost feels like a waste of time.” Except for the fact that it's not. I need to listen to this podcast every Sunday. I need to feel like I am a part of a community created by artists for artists. The sort of safe space that I’ve inserted myself into has allowed me the freedom to dedicate my time to this here platform that I’ve created for other artists like myself with an idea and a dream.
As I wrapped up the call I quickly remembered what he had said to me in the middle of our conversation. “I approach it like a child.” To look at the world through the lens of a child is to see the world in all its glory. To look at the world through the lens of a child is to truly see. I thank Kane for imparting that upon me and I will forever take that with me.
Where do you go to for inspiration? What creatives help push you to continue to create when all signs are pointing to no?
Share with us in the comments below or tweet us at @wowiwrite using the hashtag #brainwash
If you haven’t heard the #SYWBAA podcast I suggest you do that immediately. Go follow @kanechattey everywhere and tell him “Baby Yams sent me.”