Kami Baergen • On Brooklyn


How has that been nurtured or hindered being in Brooklyn? 
It's certainly two sided: you've got all the culture in the world smashed into this small (yet gigantic) place that you get to learn from, meet new people, broaden your horizons, and push your limits - creatively and personally. The other side is that it's really hard, because of space and money. You don't get the luxuries other places offer. 

What would it take for you to "make it" as an artist in Brooklyn today? Money? A PR person? Connections with bigger people in higher places? 
It all comes down to money, and a business mind (or being educated on how to be a business person as an artist). Everybody works so much to pay for life that it gets in the way of creating and often leaves you creating a lot less and subsequently means you're not making money from your art. 

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What was moving to Brooklyn like for your creativity when you first moved here? What is it like now?
When I first moved here my goal was to co-run 7Dunham - it was perfect. I got to scour the nooks of the city for artists that I thought were doing cool things and then help bring them together and help promote them - my goals were for the space, and as those goals changed to my own art work I moved away from working with 7Dunham and worked on my own things, which has proven difficult because I don't have my own studio here. I still see artwork all over and am still scouring for cool people doing cool things, but it's always been more internet based than walking out my door, and I can do that anywhere. 

What artists in Brooklyn do you respect, who are doing well in Brooklyn these days?

Casey Brooks
Eric Helvie (Harlem, sry bk) 
Chris Riddle
Monica Ramos
Chelsea Pettyjohn


What’s your biggest gripe with Brooklyn? The thing you hate most? What do you love about Brooklyn and what will you miss most?

Community: some of the loveliest of people are here, yet if they're not within a few blocks radius, you'll see them every 2-6 months. I hate that dogs have to shit on the side walk and the people who are just so much cooler than you, I ain't got time for that. Also dating sucks here. 
I love that I can be myself. There is no "normal" here. 
I will miss the ocean (it's so close, and everyone forgets!), my friends, the smell of breakfast sandwiches on early weekend mornings before the hustle and bustle kicks up the dust. 

What can we expect from you in a year’s time in Nashville? What does the future Kami look like and what is she doing?
I'll be primarily focusing on making and selling art - next summer, there'll be a plethora of pieces available for purchase and hopefully loads that have already found their homes. 
I'll also be chipping away at a proposal and plan for an Artist/Creative Retreat & Residency House that future me will be running, while creating and producing art. 

Lots of learning, lots of making, and a stronger online presence that is more art based than it is now.

When do you think the whole getting married, having kids, family life, is going to happen for you? Is that something you want for your life? If so, when and what will it look like? Will you stay at home? Work?
I absolutely want to be married and be a mother, I don't know when or if it will happen (as I said, a great fear is that I'll miss this in life). First and foremost is to find a good partner, which is theoretically easy, and in actuality the hardest fucking thing - especially since the world is literally our oyster and in the palm of our hands (and pockets) at all times, and our generation (and probably the following generations) are plagued with the "but what if there's someone better?!" but back in the day people would go "you rule and you're in my life, let's do this." Whenever I do have kids I will work from home, as I hope to do for most of my life, and hopefully I'll raise some cool kids who can make humanity a better place.  


Photography: Michael Cooper, @cooperphotog

Interview: Sarah Kim