“Don’t stop” — For me, it has been my tenacity and my persistence that has led me this far. Had I stopped, given up, taken a break it would have never happened. that means living hand to mouth, that means struggle, and paycheck to paycheck and a lot of dark nights of the soul. it isn’t easy walking the path as an artist. but for me, there was no other choice. It’s the only way I know how to move.
As a part of our series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became An Artist”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cari Ann Shim Sham.
Cari Ann Shim Sham is a wild artist working at the intersections of dance & technology. She makes still & moving images, movement, sound, experiential interactive spaces & street art stickers. She is actively engaged in the disruption of negatively addictive crowdsourced platforms and creates spaces that cultivate new ideas for sustainable art practices with a commitment to free submission and innovative programming. She is an edible mushroom hunter, a firm believer in science, a constant practitioner of unconditional friendliness, a dedicated proponent of anti-racism, and a ritual worshiper of nature. Her work continues to be exhibited worldwide at notable venues and she joyfully serves as an associate arts professor of dance & technology at NYU Tisch school of the arts and a loyal alum of the department of world arts and cultures | dance at the University of Los Angeles. For more info on Cari Ann, please visit: www.cariannshimsham.com
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up surrounded by music, singing, dancing and love. and animals, lots of animals.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
In the 90’s I had a dance company, and we were collaborating a lot with other artists, including digital designers and filmmakers and I remember the moment when I thought, “oh, I can do that.” So, I asked for the footage and started editing.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I was walking down the street the other day in NYC and I saw a construction worker guy with a safe. He was trying to open it by banging it on a rail, then he threw it on the sidewalk. It was really fantastic. Now all I can think about is making a short comedic film called “how to open a safe in New York City”.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art (mowna).
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
It is my responsibility to have presence, curiosity and wonder, if I show up with that, then everyone is interesting in their own way. My students are really fascinating to me, they are my teachers.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Can you share a story about that?
My students inspire me every day. when i see what they are working on, it kicks my ass into gear, and I start thinking, “damn! I need to get to work.”
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
By donating my time to create and run the Museum of Wild and Newfangled art and in turn help all of the artists that we exhibit by showing their work and paying them.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. “It gets easier.” It doesn’t by the way. I just wish someone had told me that in the beginning. not sure if it would have changed much, but I might’ve felt better about the risk I was taking.
2. “It’s ok to fail, and you will fail” — Yeah this is a hard one to learn, but we all fail, and need to go through failure in order to learn and grow and deepen our understanding and self-awareness.
3. “Approach every creative project no matter how small or large as if it will launch your career”
You never know when you will make that radical piece that everyone goes wild for. It happened for me during my first semester of grad school. One of my shorts went viral and it launched me.
4. ‘Take care of your body” — It is your vehicle that you get to enjoy this divine life in. Best to oil it up and rotate those tires.
5. “Don’t stop” — For me, it has been my tenacity and my persistence that has led me this far. Had I stopped, given up, taken a break it would have never happened. that means living hand to mouth, that means struggle, and paycheck to paycheck and a lot of dark nights of the soul. it isn’t easy walking the path as an artist. but for me, there was no other choice. It’s the only way I know how to move.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Well, that would be my current utopia project which seeks to upend the art world through the creation of a sustainable business model for the arts through the creation of the Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art. would love for other people to do the same thing, start art businesses that allow artists to make livable wages and not have to struggle and pay out of pocket for everything all the time.
We have been blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this.
Oh really?! Ok, then…breakfast with David Lynch, please.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I don’t have social media.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thanks, take good care and do no harm.