Our Members, Fiscally Sponsored Artists, and other program participants represent a wide range of career stages and disciplines. We love them - and, as fellow artists, we're always inspired by them. With this monthly feature, we hope you'll feel the same way!
Name: Michele Carlo
What do you do? Writer, Storyteller, Solo Performer, Podcast Host, Filmmaker
What inspires you?
The hope that through my writing and experiences, someone's life may be made a little easier. And the hope that I will beat the odds and be a fully realized, self-supporting artist—even though most people would think I'm way too old to think it can still happen—so a fellow "shadow artist" who has been living on the periphery their entire life will say, "Pfft, if she could do it, I could do it." And do it better!
What are you proud of?
I'm proud that I achieved my dream of getting into the School of Visual Arts at the age of 20...the age most students choose their final major. That I chose to give my life to art at the age of 35...the age most (arguably sane) people give up. That I had my first book published at the age of 50. That in the years since then, my stories have taken me across the country and have brought much friendship and collaboration in my life.
I'm proud that I never, ever stopped doing some sort of art, even when I was working 50-60 hours a week at a day job. I'm also proud that I'm not taking my recent job layoff with fear, but with the certainty that an opportunity will come my way that I could not accept had I still been working full time.
What are your goals?
Overall goals: To be a champion and archivist of my working class Latinx experience from the mid-20th to mid-21st Centuries (should I be as fortunate to live to the mid-21st). To make sure the world has the stories of those of us who have been devalued, dismissed and discarded. To let them know who we are and why we matter. And maybe, in my own small way, help to change the default perception of what it is to be Latinx—and an artist.
Personal goals: Having a run of a solo show at the Public Theater—or any legit off-Broadway house, really, but appearing the Public has always been a special dream of mine. To have my book, "Fish Out Of Agua," be optioned for film and/or television—and made! To be a fully realized self-supporting artist doing interesting, honorable (and well-paid) projects with interesting, honorable people!
One more: I hope that someday this girl from a top-floor tenement walkup in The Bronx will own a bit of comfortable living/studio space where I can hold performer salons, and with a backyard big enough for a small garden and a table for 12. Whoever's there at 7pm, will eat.
Do you have any advice for your fellow artists?
Don't give up! Never give up! We all have a unique voice to offer and if you don't get your art, whatever it is, out into the world, the world will not have it and that would be a great loss for all.
How did The Field help you?
It's so easy to have "tunnel-vision" and keep to your chosen arts genre and colleagues, but through my participation in Fielday 2018 "Social Engagement," I had the pleasure to meet and perform with five other artists I may not otherwise have had the pleasure to know, and whose multi-genre visions in dance, spoken word, puppetry, multimedia and VR gaming opened me to possibilities within my own story/theater work I hadn't considered.
My post-show consultation with (then Program Manager) Wilfredo Hernandez took this "re-visioning" to yet another level as we together mapped out a timeline for me to attain my goal of being a self-supporting performing/literary artist. Ten months later: I'm not quite there yet—but I am quite a bit further along than I ever thought I'd be. I look forward to continuing my relationship with The Field and wish I could participate in Fielday again this year. So much gratitude for your guidance and support!
Photo credits, L-R: Paul Morris, David Dyte, Ben Taylor