Kelsie Grazier is a contemporary visual artist based in Ladner, British Columbia. Her intuitive oil paintings explore the concept of movement after suddenly became deaf at the age of twenty four. She studied painting at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and also has her Masters in Deaf Education.
What makes you stand out in the maker community?
I often struggle with wanting to share my story versus staying private, but I feel compelled to continue to paint and use my work as a way to visually process and share my story. I have realized, it is important that we share our stories and art can be a powerful way to do that. I hope to allow the viewer the space to pause, learn or consider their connection to this aural world. I hope to challenge the ideas and assumptions of what deafness is and can be through my paintings.
Tell us about your work and the projects you are currently working on.
My current body of work, White Noise, began years after my sudden deafness in 2013, I always knew I wanted to paint about it, but I wasn’t ready until this year. Over these years, I have experienced a different relationship with sound. I now have a phantom sound called tinnitus; a persistent, loud and unrelenting radio static all the time. The White Noise series is a way to process through painting and bring beauty to something that doesn’t feel beautiful to me. The paintings are calm, with muted colours and minimal lines to pare back the excess and focus on what can be said through simplifying movements.
Who is your favorite contemporary artist or maker?
My favourite artist is Agnes Martin. She said, “Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.”
I am currently most inspired by designer Belinda Love Lee. Her work is soft and beautiful and her personality is carefree.
What inspired you to become a maker?
I grew up hard of hearing but was never limited by it. I did a wide range of things, but I always felt that art was my passion, even completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. However, I decided that being a teacher was a more realistic (ie. financially secure) dream, so, I completed a Masters in Deaf Education. Four years ago, I unexpectedly became totally deaf and the impact it had on my life was devastating. In 2016, I gained the ability to hear again with a Cochlear Implant. The experience forced me to consider what I wanted my quality of life to be; that meant re-evaluate my work/life balance and intentionally leaving space for creative freedom. Despite the cochlear implant, I still have tinnitus which occurred as a result of the sudden loss. It is a loud and intrusive noise but it has guided my life to try and find my true definition of slow, quiet and intentional living. I am drawn to minimalism and essentialism; and try to focus my life and artwork to reflect that. In the Fall of 2016, I launched my website with a shop full of new work with the intention of carving out an art career for myself.