Creatives are known to march, dance or wiggle to a different beat. It’s that unique perspective that adds value to otherwise staid and ordinary projects, even if it isn’t always appropriate to hang in the living room. Kim Alpert’s message at FITC was that we should all ask for space to be ourselves. Not our asshole selves, but our genuine selves, no matter what form that may take.
Kim shared her story in four acts, representing the roles she balanced in her life: artist, business owner, employee, and human.
As an artist, Kim talked about how important her role is as a conversation starter. No matter what medium, if she wanted to talk about something (or generate a much-needed discussion between other people), her art has always been an outlet. It doesn’t matter if people find the conversation uncomfortable. The fact that her art isn’t prime dining-room frame material doesn’t bother her. From body hair to cookie jars, art has its own value, and it’s alright to stretch those boundaries. We can’t let other people stop us.
In business she recommended it’s best to have a plan with options. There isn’t always one way to get to a destination. The map with many roads is more useful than the one that looks like a straight line. That message felt at home at FITC, where so many new disciplines and possibilities are interacting every day.
As an example, Kim talked about what it was like joining one of her best clients as an employee. It may not have been what she had originally planned, but it worked out. What was most important to her was that her employer let Kim be Kim. If that meant she could eat bananas wearing a hazmat suit, all the better. She insisted that we should all be looking and asking for the space to be ourselves at work. In Kim’s words, if audience members are smart enough to buy a ticket to attend FITC, then they are smart enough to get a new job.
When it came to talking about being human, Kim had a different message. It was that health scares have a way of reminding you how fragile you are as a human being. First Kim talked about the impact injuries she sustained after being hit by a car. She was also open about her later diagnosis with Crohn’s Disease, which led to a nasty fight with C-Difficile. Health reminded her that everything can be taken away. Remembering how fragile we are should add meaning to what we do every day.
Kim’s talk was simultaneously a talk about vulnerability, being honest, and overcoming struggle. She finished her story with a quote by Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.” No matter what beat we walk to, we should make space to be ourselves long after leaving FITC.
Article by Ivan Merrow
Ivan Mitchell Merrow (@CanadianLawGuy) is a soon-to-be lawyer in Toronto, joining Devry Smith Frank LLP for articles this coming August 2015. He aims to help artists, creatives and entrepreneurs navigate legal tangles and make their dreams a reality. Connect with Ivan on IvanMerrow.com, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.