Meaning to Share Podcast: Ep 005 - Greg Antrim Kelly
7:55PM Jul 14, 2021
In advance of sobriety, everything that I did was to make other people happy, was to please them in order to like me, in order to have affirmation, in order to be good, in order, you know, so any criticism anything of that nature was like, you know, the wall would just go up.
This is Meaning to Share, the podcast where we explore the amazing gifts of seemingly average individuals, proving that everyone has a meaningful skill, talent or strength that is unique only to them, and which they are destined to share with others during this lifetime. I'm your host, Meredith McCreight. I spent decades painfully trying to fold myself into the boxes that other people, the media and society created for me, until I realized there's only one authentic version of me. And that is more than enough. In fact, it's divine. I want to show my guests, and you the listeners, that each of us is meant for greatness. It's already in you, you just have to choose to see it and embody it. Now my guest doesn't know ahead of time which gift of theirs is we'll be discussing, so please enjoy this unscripted, honest, delicious conversation with one of my favorite people. This is Meaning to Share.
Today I'm talking with Greg Antrim Kelly. He's an artist and curator based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He's co founder of the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative and the Charlottesville Mural Project and currently serves as manager and curator of Studio IX. He maintains an active studio practice as a visual artist, writer and photographer and is currently working on a new book project while serving as documentarian and active member of the Prolyfyck Run Creww. He has made Charlottesville his home since the fall of 1999. Greg and I met at Studio IX in downtown Charlottesville in early 2020, when I had just moved back to Virginia from Boston. I rented a desk at Studio IX and Greg is a fixture there, a welcoming presence every time you walk in the front door, or walk up to JBird coffee in the front to get a beverage. We've gotten to know each other over shared lunches and cafe chats but Greg really came to be someone who inspires me through the run group that we talk about a lot during this episode. He's a wonderful leader, a supportive team player and has a very generous spirit. He's inspired me not only to get up at 5am to join the group, even in the dead of winter, but mostly he inspires me with his humility, which I know is something he's working on and it's difficult for him. But as someone who also struggles with humility, I see the work he's doing and it shows me that I can do it too. Today we're talking about growing up with fierce women, navigating sobriety and recovery, how that ties into navigating social injustice and racial inequality that plagues our city, and of course, our entire country and how he's using his gift of openness to build relationships that help him grow and have more impact. Please join me in welcoming my friend Greg Kelly.
Well, hi, Greg, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm so happy you're here.
You're welcome. It's good to see you,
You, too. Well, Greg, tell us about you. Where are you from? What's your cultural background and upbringing?
I'm originally from the Midwest, grew up in a small college town in Illinois. I was born not far from there, then moved to St. Louis, a big thriving metropolis. And what is my cultural background? I guess it would be that— it's sort of a combination of a Midwest, small town, big city life until I moved away from home. But that meant a combination of a couple things that were probably pretty informative and formative for me, which is community, which wasn't even a word that seemed to even exist in the 70s. It just was, and, and it was a big part of the culture of my everyday life. And, you know, we were all latchkey kids. And we ran around in the streets until sundown, and everybody's kitchen was everybody's kitchen and blah, blah, blah. We had a great time and then moving to a big city. Some big things came on the radar in that regard for me that it wasn't only in hindsight that I really understood it. But it was the first time I was aware of race. That was probably the biggest thing. And of course, the sort of expanse and energy of a city being very different. And community was very different. I would say class was very apparent. So culturally, it was sort of that evolution of like coming into the world and having a very tight knit sense of connection to a lot of the people and the families and the place that I lived and then moving out of that into something that felt much larger and begged a lot of questions that stayed with me up to this day. What else is in there? Obviously the arts, a lot of music, a lot of food. There was a lot of cooking music was a huge part of my life. So that was a huge part of the culture, I think and what I heard from my parents and from my older brother who was, you know, obviously always a big influence the older sibling. Yeah. So there was a lot of it. film, cinema. Yeah. Is that an answer that feels like an answer is that?
Yeah, that's great. How many siblings do you have?
I have one older brother, who is a full brother, who's two years older, and then I have a half sister and a half brother.
Are you really close with your family?
I am, I would say my brother is my best friend at this point. And that was not always the case. So it was like forged in fire for a long time in our lives, and then I use the analogy I always think of like, we're both potters, or both studied ceramics throughout our lives quite a bit. And like, when you score something like a surface to put a handle on, like, you marr it up, and you kind of give it something to grip to. And that kind of feels like how the love and connection between us is, is that our early years were very, like combative, and challenging. It just made us sound much tighter. As we got older into our adulthood, my half sister and half brother, I'm very close with I don't speak with them all that often. But especially my half sister, I'm not sure what that's about. She's, she's they, and he and she, at this time, but yeah, we have a really strong bond. My whole family in general, I think there's been a lot of work around that. But there's also just always been a very strong sense of love and connection there, even when we went through difficult stretches, or sort of worked out issues, or whatever it may be. So we're very tight.
That's really beautiful what you said about your brother, your relationship with your brother, that's so poetic. How old were you guys, when you kind of reconnected and became really close?
Oh, I think it's started when we were basically at war until he left for college. And when he came back from college, I thought he was the coolest guy on the planet. And all that had kind of done, you know, it's like everything had calmed down. And took us a long time, I think to work through a lot of that in our later years. But that's when it started, I think, you know, the first 18 years of his life 16 of mine, it was, it was a lot of trouble. And we just slowly but surely came together. And then you know, just as you get older, it's like, and you have separate lives and all those things that are there and you start to appreciate and absence and distance makes the heart grow fonder. So being in different places, we just realized how close we were all along. And it's just gotten richer and richer and richer as we've gotten older. He has a family. Yeah, that's been very special.
My sister and I are about three years apart. And she's older than me. And we were kind of the same way. We pretty much hated each other until she was away at college and then came back and I wouldn't say we're super close now. We really like each other. But we're neither of us are like big phone talker people. So when we see each other, it's great. But yeah, we don't really have that deeper connections. So that's really awesome to hear that you guys were able to build that.
Yeah. And we're both artists. And we remained so which I think is really rare that you know, people find themselves in their 40s and 50s still artists. So there's a solidarity in that. And there's obviously like a common language in that in a way that we move in the world and design our lives and the things that we're interested in. And he's always had like a real lust for life as far as travel and music and food and cooking and all of these things. So it's just been so easy to like, get in his slipstream, and pick up so much of that from him. And then as you get older, right, it's like, I don't know what that phenomenon is. But time gets closer together. So at this point, it doesn't even feel like we're different ages necessarily, because we're only two years apart. And because of that, I think our friendship piece of that relationship has a degree of like, equanimity to it or something at this point. And we have very different lives. I mean, he has a wife and two children. And I've been kind of a solo person for quite some time. And so there's differences in that way. But I think there's more commonality in general and how we see the world politically, culturally, all those things spiritually. So, yeah, it's a real, it's a real gift.
Well, I like to start by asking all of my guests one question, and you can just respond with the first thing that comes to your mind. And that is what is something that you've been meaning to share?
It's funny because I think my answer to that is what I've been attempting not to share, which is not to say, there's anything I wish to hide, or that I have secrets, but it's really about humility, that's been very front and center for me, in particular this year, becoming involved in a community that is extremely diverse and black lead, you know that as a white straight man, a very outspoken one, a very expressive one, the thing I've been working at doing is not sharing as much, you know, is really cultivating the ability to listen more deeply and to create space for and support other voices. So this word of what is that word decentering yourself? So that's, that's something that I guess I would share with you is that I'm trying to share less. And in that regard, you know, it doesn't impact my desire or capacity for service or support. It's just a thing of practicing something that would would benefit me a great deal. So. Yeah.
I like that. Well, it kind of ties in to what I do want to talk about today. Do you have any guesses as to what that is?
I don't. I don't I mean, I do and I don't. But I just think about the nature of our friendship and how you know me, it may have something to do with service. You know, like, I don't know, generosity, yeah. enthusiasm.
I think all of those things certainly play into it. Well, one of your amazing gifts, which is obvious to anyone who knows you is that you just love people, you love getting to know them. You really love hearing what's on their heart and what lights them up. And you have so many important relationships that you somehow find time and energy to make each one feel special and unique. And I think that's all possible because of the thing that I want to talk about today, which is your ability to be so incredibly open, and to listen with your heart and your mind. And you're able to be very present during a conversation and self aware and really listen, which it sounds like it's something that you've been working on. And I see that. And I just heard a quote, the other day in the gallery, someone quoted Alan Alda, real listening as a willingness to let the other person change you. And I do think that's how open you are, upi listen with a willingness to be wrong, to learn something and be educated, and to be a better version of yourself. So how do you feel about talking about that today?
I feel great. Talking about that.
Yeah, first of all, I just, I mean, I appreciate that, I appreciate that that's something that is apparent, you know, and that you see is a part of me. And I mean, the very first thing that comes to mind, has a great deal to do with my being an artist and what that means to me. And I think since maybe the mid 2000s, like in talking to people about it, because because I've made work all of my life. And I've also curated and been a gallerist and supported other people's work. And both of those things are about connection. And I always tell people that my primary medium is relationships. And it doesn't matter if I'm helping somebody put a show together, or I'm working on a book or I'm taking photographs on the street or whatever I'm doing. The aim is to get closer to people and to look at myself and it's such a huge part of my daily life is really an examined life as is important to me. And, and a joyous one, you know, there's a lot of hard work. And then there's like, a lot of hard play that is a part of that. And I need both those things, in my connection with people is that openness is is an invitation. But it's also an important thing to me, as you said about my willingness to continually grow and change through those relationships and that growth. Yeah, and it's just endlessly energizing and exciting to me. I mean, like humanity's endless, I'm never gonna meet everybody. I always learn something from other people. I always learn something about myself. And I don't really see anything more important than that. I mean, I think at one point I, I had shared with a group of people, you know, my whole purpose, like the whole meaning of my life is to be more loving and everything else is nonsense. So it's like, if I'm not moving actively towards that, then I have to kind of reflect and redirect and look at what's going on. But yeah, that's, that's what it really feels like it's about and relationships are the single most effective way that I know of to do that work. You know, and to exercise and put it into practice.
Well, I know you grew up with a lot of strong women around you, you've said that before. Do you think that that played a role in your openness today? Or is it something or someone else that kind of strengthened that muscle?
Great question. Certainly, it had a big influence, I mean, on a lot of different levels, but you know, I think my, my grandmother, my mother, my girlfriends like, both romantic platonic, like growing up, I just been around a lot of really generous, really creative, really loving female energy. And at the same time, I think they're Yeah, a lot of that comes from my mom, I mean, I, she's such a people person, she really genuinely loves people and is incredibly generous person and very supportive. And I know the this would come into this conversation at some point, eventually. But I think the other piece of that that has been very profound is my recovery and sobriety. And, you know, in the last five to seven years of my life, coming in around to the tail end of my 30s, and in my 40s, it's like, that ability and desire to connect with people and has only increased because of that and yeah, but I think there's also kind of a, there's like, a desire to agitate in me, that's really strong, like to push up against things. And I need that for identity. And I wouldn't say that that was something that my mom does, but my grandmother maybe had a little more of that fire and her it's hard. It's hard to describe maybe where it came from. And it could just be my Irish heritage, but it's, yeah, something that I'm so grateful for, even when it gets me into trouble. You know, it's like, there was something in that upbringing and being around strong women and being drawn to feminism and to strong female figures, and then going into black history and being drawn to black lit and Giovanni and Alice Walker, and all of these really strong female, there's something in that energy that's like, fierce and it's also loving, at the same time, that's been in me. And I think it's something I seek and that I connect with, and other people and other people's work really informs how I move in the world. And yeah, so a lot of that comes out of that energy. So it comes out of those women that were directly in my life. And then the women that I sought and those voices that I sought and continue to seek. And it's very different than male energy. It's like, it's, yeah, it doesn't feel violent, it doesn't feel destructive, it doesn't feel isolated, it doesn't feel lost. You know, I think men like the male energy, that's fierce can just be this sort of like other thing, but with the female fierceness and that kind of energy. It's like, it's got this really intense love underneath it is very protective. It's very nurturing. It's very, you know, it's got this like, pack, you're part of the pack, and you're protecting your babies and all these things. But I digress. I'm wandering into the field. But yeah, that's had a huge influence on me.
I enjoyed that digression that was really beautiful. And thank you for sharing a little piece of your story with us about your recovery. I think that is also a really lovely thing about your journey. And you know, something that makes you who you are today. And I'm glad that you brought it up, because I love that about you. And I'm wondering, too, if there is a conversation you can remember having maybe before you got sober or maybe as you were kind of, you know, entering into that part of your life. Is there a conversation you can remember where you had a really hard time being or staying open to what another person had to say or their reaction to what you had to say?
Oh, God, yeah, so many. So many, I mean, I don't even mean that, like, I don't think it would have been blazingly obvious in the moment somebody was watching it occur but I think within myself the thing that sobriety is brought into my life and made a lot clearer to me is how dishonest my you know, or veiled my life was before I got sober and I was thinking about on the walk over to the studio over here about the difference between service and people pleasing. You know what true generosity is what service is, what love is, I think in advance of sobriety, everything that I did was to make other people happy was to please them in order to like me in order to have affirmation in order to be good in order, you know, so any criticism, anything of that nature was like, you know, the wall would just go up. That could happen in friendships that could happen and my relationship with my brother, it happened in my marriage, you know, I was like, I didn't have the ability to, I still had all that sort of underlying genuine love for people, it was just that I didn't know myself, and, more importantly, accept myself. So it wasn't, I wasn't to a point yet in which I could be transparent, I could be wide open, I could be truly accountable at the service of that, and so, yeah, there's, I think there were a lot of ways that I could deflect or put a wall up or shut down the connection, or ice somebody out or chase them and get them and then push them away, you know, just all these dynamics that were really like, just fundamentally fear, you know, and a lot of that has changed, certainly changed in sobriety. And I love that word recovery is such a beautiful word, because it's like, it's like, those are all capacities I've always had within me, they're things that have always been there, and I'm reclaiming them, you know, or recovering, recovering them, like, I put them somewhere. And I wasn't actively using them for whatever reasons survival or habit or, you know, different patterns or things that were set up. So I just think that's so beautiful. The meaning of that word is like, I feel much fuller and myself, which means that I can show up for others more fully. And I can receive them more fully. And, yeah, so there was, there was a lot of deflecting, I mean, if you want a specific example, I just remember, I don't know why this stands out to me, I used to run an arts organization, I was in the parking lot, one day, this woman walked up to me, I had forgotten her name. And it's just one of those things where you, you just lie like outright to somebody's face. And because you're so embarrassed. And I remember that, that feeling I had from that moment, and how it feels now, you know, being a part of a community now in which there are a lot of people on a daily basis who I see, I've got to learn their names, and I just flat out can tell them, I don't know your name. It's like I've known you for three months, I don't know your name. And just the difference in feeling in that is pretty amazing to me. There's no fear in that. And it goes straight back to that fierce love. And it's like, there is no mistake and attempting to connect with somebody, there is no thing to be embarrassed of and saying I want to connect with you to that. Yeah. If that makes any sense.
That makes so much sense. And I like that you said too that there's a lot of stuff that ties back to kind of loving and appreciating yourself. And that sort of lifted the veil so that that veil of fear kind of went away when you were able to look at yourself and see that you're worthy and deserving of having these nice things in your life and these wonderful people. And yeah, I feel like that's something that has been very top of mind for me this past year, and a lot of the work that I've been doing on myself too. So that really resonates. Is there a time where being really vulnerable and open actually caused you pain and made you want to shut back off?
Hell yeah. Dude, just my entire childhood? Yeah, I mean, I think that that's the first place my mind goes, right? It's like, How many times did I just need to be held or need to be heard or scraped my knee or whatever, and was met with defense or anger or neglect, or somebody downsizing what you're feeling so many, so many times, I think there was this opportunity or, or actual vulnerability that I was expressing. And I was told that that wasn't a safe thing to do. And on the other side of that, I think of like, okay, I had that experience. So I learned how to close things up and give enough to a certain extent. But then as I started to open up again, and really make myself vulnerable, I think the difference, the biggest difference in those two eras of vulnerability is that at that early age, I didn't have tools, I didn't have the awareness i didn't know how to generate love internally, I knew how to receive it externally. And vulnerability now is this ability to in the simplest way know within myself, I'm already fully accepted and loved that that is coming from within. And so that the vulnerability of say, making amends to a group of 80 people about something I said, walking out in the center of a circle and doing that any response that could come any judgment that could come any way that other people felt about that is okay, because the thing that I'm being vulnerable towards and the reason that's so important to me is... how do I articulate this? I mean the best way I can say And that's the way I said it in that instance i was i was just describing is just that I have to feel clean. And so if that's me walking up to a woman and saying, I like you, and do you want to have dinner? And they say no, or, I'm sorry, I said that thing out of privilege, and I know that it triggered and hurt you. And they say, Thank you, whatever those things are, all of that is to be clean, so that it doesn't shut me down anymore. I mean, I, I guess that's the way I can say it. It did. And now it doesn't. It's like vulnerability just continues to open me up more and more and more and more, and the more I'm able to do it, the better it gets. But I still want to puke every time I do it.
I don't blame you. I would too. You mentioned when you were younger, you didn't have the same tools that you did in the next era of sort of relearning to be vulnerable and open. What are some of those tools that you used to kind of teach yourself to open up or listen better, be more present?
Yeah, I think a lot I mean, a lot of it just feels like it was qualities within people that I came to know later, you know, because what I felt like I did was I stepped outside of my family of origin and had a chosen family and I had chosen friends and I had mentors. And those tools were ways that I saw people interact and ways that I saw people be loving, build trust, like trust is a huge piece of the security safety. We talk about that a lot, you know, and in this run group that I'm actively in now it's like having a safe space is a huge part of that. I mean, just to be in that. But those tools are maybe the better word for it, is they're like keys that unlock those places? Because all those abilities are already within us. So it's just like, do you have a way to unlock it? And for it to be safe to use it? So I think, yeah, it was forming other relationships, seeing it in practice between other people and towards me. I mean, having having elders, older people, parents of friends, my own family, you know, I don't mean to say that my family, like shut all that down. And that's all that happens is just to say that the certain things that did do that it was modeled in different ways to counter it and unlock it for me, through other people. And that that might have been, as I think about it now, why there's such a strong love of people, you know, in such a strong connection to an importance placed upon humanity, I really do feel like my, my family gave me so much. And then my tribe, the broader community of people to get even higher, you know, it like opened me up even more. So I think a lot of it's that was those tools, were just seeing that, and having it modeled and having certain things given to me and shown to me.
That's really beautiful. You have such a nice way of describing things. There's so many like quotable moments in this conversation already. I love that visual, the keys opening up places inside us that are already there. I want to connect two dots in this conversation, and maybe they're not connected. But I want to revisit so you had mentioned earlier that something you've been meaning to share is to not share as much. And then you talked about, you know, this desire to get clean in certain situations, and that you feel like you're going to puke every time you do it. Is there a connection there? Do you feel like does it feel almost self serving? Is that where you're triggering that wanting to share less? Or like, Can you say more about why why you want to share less? Or if that is related?
Hmm, I think I mean, vulnerability is just, it's just nauseating. I mean, it's just hard. It's like, I don't if you're truly doing it, I mean, I guess that whole Brene Brown thing is like, you're probably not being vulnerable, if it's not scary. If you're not if it doesn't take some degree of courage. There's a difference. I think the nuance of, to me about listening, I do feel like I connect with people well, I listen to people I learn from people. I am defiant, stubborn and bullheaded in certain departments within myself, you know that there is always a softening that can be practiced more there. But I think that what's been profound for me is this, you know, I'm just gonna kind of give a little bit of a backstory to this, but like when we moved to St. Louis, and race became a thing in my mind, like, before that it didn't exist. And then my two closest friends as a child were black. And then when we moved to St. Louis, it was like, the seas parted. And so most of my life, most of my adolescent and adult life has been as an artist and professionally and what I do for work, all these things, my cultural engagement, my time has really been about understanding that question. Like, why Why Why did this happen? So like race and social justice, and whatever that divide is, so that decentering that I feel aware of now being is not abstract. You know, it's not like I was in, I've been engaged in the black community in Charlottesville since I moved here. The depth of that has been varied at times, but it's been consistent. And then joining this group now, the Prolyfyck Run Creww, is the most intimate, consistent, day in day out incredibly intimate position I've been in as a white man in a community that is diverse, and was essentially a community that is built for people of color for black men, for black women, for men and women, and they of color or other you know, non white. So that's, that's a very important thing, a very important piece of it, it's an important thing for me to keep front of mind. And it's complicated within myself, because I won't get too far into that. It's just kind of saying that what it's, it's allowed is for me to see where Yeah, just where I could listen more, you know, that part of showing up and part of being a part of this work, whether it's anti racist, or equity, or justice, or whatever we want to call it is action. I mean, it's so much like sobriety, it's crazy. It's like, the way that you get sober is through action. It's not through thought, it's not through what you say, it's not intellectual, it's what you do. And I do things, but I also say a lot, you know, and that's helpful to me, I need to articulate that I need to express it, you know, whether it's like, the things that I share on social media, or in chat rooms, or whatever, with our community, in the run group, or whatever. But there's a place for like, asking that question, is this important? You know, what is the priority here? Like, what is the most important thing? And what is most beneficial at this time, both within that community and within our culture and within our country? What is the role of a white man's voice? Can I hear more? can I learn more? Can I work with other white men on addressing these problems? Can I support voices of color and other in a more deliberate, like, action oriented way? So that, you know, it's just it's just a thing, it's like a classic thing, I think, for people that you think because you listen to the music, and you read the literature, and you know, the authors and you know, the history and you've been involved in this work for three decades that somehow you're you should have a voice, or be a part or that you are the same or that there's some kind of like, deeper connection. But the thing that this is pointed out to me. So in such high contrast is, is how radically different my experience in my life has been because I am a white man. And it will, I will never know what my black friends Latinx women friends, you know, queer friends, I will never know what they've experienced. So that's where that desire comes from. I know that's a very long answer. But...
It's a great answer. Thank you for that.
That really resonates too, because obviously, I am also a white person. And I am also in the run crew that you are in and I had a conversation with someone on the last episode about why I'm pretty quiet in that group. And I feel the same. I feel like there's so many voices in there that I want to listen to, that I want to learn from. And sometimes when I do speak up, I regret it. So I can definitely relate on some level to that I know that you've done a lot, a lot more work on yourself and in the community and building those relationships and trying to build those bridges between the gaps than I have. But I can I can relate to the the dissonance. Yeah, so speaking of Prolyfyck, you are the curator at the gallery at Studio IX. And you're currently working on a series for members of our run crew who are also artists, and there are many, which is amazing. And each show supports a nonprofit of the artist's choosing in our community, How have your relationships and your connectedness and your openness kind of come into play with that project and your concept for that?
Hmm, I guess it's just an extension of it. It's what I've always done. I don't think about it all that much. But once I got involved with Prolyfyck it seemed like such a natural fit. And you know, one of the things I'll say that bounces back to what we were just talking about, of listening is that this core group of people in Prolyfyck are so incredibly welcoming and inclusive and empowering, and they're just amazing. They're just amazing people in that regard. You know, so they I was telling my friend Emily, I was like the statues came down this weekend in Charlottesville and we had an opening on Friday they came down Saturday morning early. We had a run that morning for that opening. Littlez, my alarm didn't go off. I woke up two minutes before the run was supposed to start. Littlez, who's one of the founding members, you know, he said, G, I got your back, no big deal. We're great. We're gonna start the run do this thing. But I was. So like, in hindsight, when Emily asked about what stood out to me this weekend, this is not answering your question. But it's, it's just that, you know, he's he showed up in that way without blinking. I don't know if he had any interest in being there when the statues came down. But his very first thought was to support this thing that I put together to lead people on that run to do that thing. Sorry, I know, it's a total tangent, but it was just very powerful to me. I'll try and get back on the rail again.
You're good. No, I feel the same way about that group, too. So when I said I regret speaking up, sometimes it's never because someone told me I shouldn't have it's just because my my thought about it later is I would rather not take up space in a place where there are other voices that I think right now, or they have more important things to say like what you said, What is important right now. So..
Yeah. It's an amazing group.
So, to go back to your question, I mean, I think that one of the things that is amazing about that group, as well, you know, that that stands out to me is, it's not only diverse, in like the color of people's skin and their class and their backgrounds. There's all these skills and talent and energy and inspiration in all these different ways and areas in that community. And I really love when people are at like a nascent moment, like they've never had a show before. These first two shows that we've had are artists who've never shown their work before. I love that this dovetails with them being able to support an organization that's impacting the community, that's a beautiful thing. So it's this way of like, it has an obvious surface thing that's like, Oh, is it good for the community, and it's the arts, and it brings people together, and they host a run, and that's great. But there's also this underlying thing of like, you're celebrating individuals, and saying yes to them, in such a forward facing way, which I think is so powerful, you know, I mean, a lot of what was off putting to me and always has been about the gallery system, the art world, the business of art, is this exclusivity is this, you have to apply for shows you get rejected all the time. They said you're not whatever, you know, this, this all these things, that hoops that people have to jump through. And the beauty of having a gallery, which I've been fortunate to have at Studio IX and at the Bridge it's extremely low barrier and inclusive and receptive to people's ideas. Right, you're in this environment of Yes. And I think that's such a part of Prolyfyck in general, I think that's something those founders bring to it. I think, like you said, you know, they would always welcome anyone to say anything in that circle. And it's our choice to do otherwise. So that, yeah, that's a big, important piece to me with it, but, and it just brings people together in a different way. You know, it's the run is a certain thing. But I think coming together around around art in particular is a special way for people to connect and in a very different way. I don't know if I answered your question at all. But there you go, Mer.
I don't even care if you did or didn't. That was great. And I yeah, Littlez and I were actually talking a couple of weeks ago about how incredible it is that we have so many creative people in the run group, and that it can't be a coincidence, right? Like it just it is a safe place with like minded people who I don't know, I just think when you're creative, you are so expressive. And you I don't know, the way we kind of described it in our conversation was like, it's almost like you have a softer heart, you care and you want to have an impact. But it has been really lovely to see all of these first time exhibitors come in there and kind of be like, I can't believe I'm even doing this. Like my work isn't even that good. And it's amazing. It's amazing, creative stuff that's so unique. And I yeah, I love that you're doing that. Because I think we have such a special group of people. And it's like an endless pool of people to be celebrated who have never been celebrated in that way. So I love that.
Yeah. Yeah. It's just another platform to for us to have that conversation. I mean, those questions that like there's a white woman and showing in February next year, and there was this question, like, Oh, we have to have a black artist. It's black history month, and then this black artist is like, That's fucking stupid. They're like, we don't, you know, it just brought up this thing about Black History Month and they're like, Yeah, anyway, it was cool. So if yet again, it's just another platform for us to engage those questions, as we're all doing this work together in that community.
Love that. Well, I also want to talk about your book that you're working on, which I usually tell me a little bit about it. But it sounds so beautiful and just unique. I, it sounded like you're doing a very small run of it. And just the way that you were putting it together, the presentation of it sounded so cool. So can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yeah, I started it in 2015, so I've been working on it for a few years. But it's a book about addiction. And it started from personal experience in early recovery, my individual and family and it has broadened over time. And the format of it, I think will be a deck of cards, as opposed to a bound book with a linear sort of narrative to it. It has images, it has writing, but the way in which I will, I would like for people to experience it is that you have all these stepping off points and a short piece of writing or a particular image or two of them together, or three of them together. And you can mix that up and have these, you know, different experiences of reading the book. And yeah, I mean, I think that's it, I think, a lot of what my personal experience in recovery is has illuminated or allowed or given me this lens to look at American society. It feels like there's a direct echo, you know, of a culture behaving like an addict, in the process of active use and bottoming out in recovery as an as an individual who's gone through that process and is actively engaged in part of that, that became really fascinating to me. So that's a big part of the book is drawing these parallels in an individual experience and a cultural experience. Yeah, so hopefully, I can pull that off.
Sounds amazing. Are you also illustrating the pictures that will be in there?
Yeah. So I've done a lot of illustration work and collage work. And then some of my photography from Prolyfyck is going to work its way in there in the recovery piece of it, and then travels to Ireland. So went three years ago, and I'm supposed to return in September, that will also be within it as well, the landscape of Ireland and some other aspects.
Didn't you say you were only going to print like a certain number of copies of the book?
Yeah, I made a book in 2011. So I made 100 copies of the this one, I told myself, I wanted to make 500. If I can get a publisher for it, I certainly will. It's challenging. It's more of an art object. It's not like a standard bound book that somebody might pick up a little more readily if it was of quality, but so it's more expensive. So if I can find somebody to do that great, but I will hopefully raise enough money to produce like an edition of 500 copies would be the goal.
That's awesome. Do you have a date that you're hoping to have it finished by?
Well, I just turned 48. And I told myself, I have til I'm 50. So my last book took 10 years. This one would take 10 if I did that, and then I could just do a book every decade of my life.
I love that.
So I'm giving myself two years and then I'm going to go to Spain and walk the Camino. Once the book is done.
Love that. And eat all the bread?
Eat all the bread, drink all the olive oil. Jump in all the water.
Yeah. All that good stuff.
Well, obviously, you are pretty aware of the gift that we talked about today. And you're using it all the time. Is there anything you're taking away from our conversation today that you hadn't really thought about before?
I think that was really nice, so helpful to talk about the female influence in my life. Yeah, I just had a female friend, who was one of those people that afforded me an insight and an opportunity to grow. And that's quite often the case. I think women have just been such a powerful player in my life and in my work, and I just have so much respect for them. And you know, love for them. And yeah, I'm just a big believer, I think the feminine is going to save our ass if we can get it together soon enough. So I it was really nice to reflect on that and kind of track that a little bit. Not only in my family, but I think about the voices that I've read and seen in film and that I admire and follow and that was wonderful. I appreciate that question.
Well, Greg, where can people find you if they want to follow your journey or connect with you on the worldwide web?
Oh, I thought you're gonna say in general I was gonna say just come to the front desk at Studio IX.
Or Monday Wednesday, Friday 6am at the Jeff school in the parking lot.
This episode is sponsored by Prolyfyck Run Creww.
Yeahhhh! You can find me at gregantrimkelly.com. And if you don't know how to spell that, Meredith will help you.
That's right. It'll be in the show notes. Well, Greg, I so appreciate you sitting in a hot gallery room recording this with me today. For the listeners. It's like 96 degrees outside and Greg is in a room with no air conditioning so appreciate you love your presence in my life. I am so grateful that you are the one who invited me to come to Prolyfyck well along with Jon and Cheryl I have to give them a little credit too but you were the pusher. The pusher there... you kept asking me.
What's on your T shirt, Meredith.
It's my Prolyfyck t shirt.
Oh, oh. So great to talk to you. And I appreciate the the invitation.
Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you again, and I will see you so soon.
I loved this conversation with Greg. If you want to check out Greg's artwork, his photography or learn more about him, you can visit his website at gregantrimkelly.com. That's G R E G A N T R I M K E L L Y dot com. If you want to follow me, Meredith McCreight, you can find me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook with the handle @createwithoutbounds. You can visit the podcast page at meaningtoshare.com and check out more stuff from my brain at createwithoutbounds.com. You can find all of Greg's info, my info, all the social links and more in the full show notes, where I've also posted the link to the Prolyfyck Run Creww website along with some samples of Greg's work and a few other photos. If you loved this episode, please consider going over to Apple podcasts and leaving a five star review. This really helps us connect with more listeners who might find our show meaningful. Thanks for tuning into this episode. share something meaningful this week, friends. See you next time.