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MEDIA ft. Kelsey Ann Kasom

# MEDIA is a monthly routine aiming to shift more focus to our mission: creating an alternative to traditional media where creatives are in full control of their narratives. We explore opinions, experiences and wishes that other media outlets will keep unheard.



Kelsey Ann Kasom in Conversation with GAHSP. Tunnels Photographed by Owen Patrick

Tunnels. Photographed by Owen Patrick. Modeled by Shanley Jorge. 2023.



THE CREATIVE


Profession:

Fashion Designer | Sculptural Textile Artist


Location:

London, United Kingdom


Introduction:

Born in Detroit and raised in the countryside of Columbus, Michigan, this is where I began anchoring on creativity as a form of expressionism. My work explores the intimate relationship shared with the metaphorical power of my material language. As an artist and designer, I believe in redefining how space is valued sculpturally both on and off the body.



Kelsey Ann Kasom in Conversation with GAHSP. Photographed by Mike Chan.

Kelsey Ann Kasom. Photographed by Mike Chaney. 2024.



Context:

In 2021, I was featured in Grazia Magazine as part of Grazia X CSM: A New Age for Women in Fashion. I was introduced as part of the next generation of fearless designers who put the female experience at the heart of their work. Between 2021 and 2022 my work was published in WWD, S/ Magazine, System Magazine, NOT JUST A LABEL, 1 Granary: Reimagining Materiality, and The Dyslexian. I was identified as 1 of 5 designers and creators whose dyslexia gives them the ability to build, design, create, and define the embodiment of the dyslexic aesthetic. After graduating from the Royal College of Art my work was on display in Battersea South RCA 2022 Exhibition and featured in the British Fashion Council Graduate Preview. During neurodiversity month my work was exhibited in San Francisco for the Dyslexic Dictionary hosted by Dyslexic Design Thinking at the Arion Press Gallery. Surrounding this event my work was published in 48hills, San Francisco Examiner, and Texintel. I was selected to exhibit during Frieze London 2022 at Zari Gallery and concluded 2022 by being shortlisted as part of the Arts Thread Global Design Graduate Show in collaboration with Gucci.



Kelsey Ann Kasom in Conversation with GAHSP. Photographed by Mike Chan.

Kelsey Ann Kasom. Photographed by Mike Chan. 2024.


At the start of 2023, my work was selected to be exhibited at Vanner Gallery in Salisbury, England. Then featured in Vogue Japan, Nasty Magazine, and Rave Zine Issue 3. I was named one of the Top 50 Influential Neurodivergent Women of 2023 by Women Beyond The Box. My work Fractal Thinking was exhibited at the Queens Botanic Gardens for the Creative Climate Awards hosted by the Human Impacts Institute where I was awarded for creativity excellence in raising awareness and inspiring climate action. I was then selected as part of the Fashion Film Program for FASHIONCLASH screening at Lumière Cinema in Maastricht, Netherlands while being commissioned as the Fashion Designer for Allen Ruiz x NAT AVEDA 2023 Congress Show for the North American Team. I concluded 2023, by being selected as part of the Cross Current Gallery: Color, Shape, Space Exhibition. Aimed to celebrate the myriad ways artists can express themselves. As a testament to individuality and commitment by pushing the boundaries of artistic exploration.



Dancing With My Hands. Shot, Edited by Jesse May Fisher. Assisted by Ollie Cartlidge. Modeled by Nyasha Rumbidzai Hokoma. HMU by Blessing Kambanga. 2022.

Kelsey Ann Kasom in Conversation with GAHSP. Identity. Photographed by Silvana Trevale. Modeled by Isotta He Aiqiong.

Identity. Photographed by Silvana Trevale. Modeled by Isotta He Aiqiong. 2020.



THE ROUTINE


Is the current media landscape harmful?


Media is incredibly broad. I think the ole “who, what, and where” plays a massive impact on the overall landscape of media. With that being said, I believe that it’s really up to the person to genuinely seek out the truth behind their interests. I believe we are immersed in a “believe what you hear culture” - that doing a bit of cross-referencing and personal research for fact-checking can be a stretch for many people. So I feel the media can be harmful, not just about the truth being widely available/known, but also in terms of people's mental health being affected by the media. 


As an artist working with media, I try not to fear it. It's hard for me to mentally get past putting my work out into the universe. It's so personal, everything about it - especially the process. Being honest about why something needed to exist for me as an artist and what it means to me requires me to be brave. For a long time, I hid from sharing years of intense work; scared to share parts of my life, fear of being misunderstood, or judged. Once I realized that my work was how I communicated and as a female, I too, deserve to be heard… I started to overcome and cope better with my fear of not only sharing my work on social media but also allowing people into my practice and life.  But there are other fears with the media, a big one is that my ideas would be realized before I could create them myself. There are so many designers who apply for jobs with portfolios or receive a lot of media attention for their work to then see their idea walking down a runway or on media because they didn't have the resources or network to put it into the universe first, with as big of an audience. That’s painfully scary to me. Alternatively at times with AI, I sometimes feel this way even more… my work has a very futuristic essence to it already, it could at times not seem tangible so with the rise of AI I worry sometimes. You know, something that took me an unquantifiable amount of time to research, design, source, and create in the physical world to then document that digitally for media purposes could take ChatGPT to generate soullessly in potentially a few iterations within minutes… from a network of images that I also contribute to when documenting my work. But at the end of the day, what can we do? For me, what's important is to be authentic and to try not to fear the media.



Kelsey Ann Kasom in Conversation with GAHSP. Movement Wire. Photographed by Owen Patrick. Modeled by Shanley Jorge.

Movement Wire. Photographed by Owen Patrick. Modeled by Shanley Jorge. 2023.


Questioning the power of media:


I have never been a fan of social media - even back in the day before it became a tool to share my work. The whole concept of just sharing personal media confused me, it always seemed like a time-consuming game of show-and-tell. 


Now, I am years behind in sharing my previous work. There's so much I have created that no one has seen - I honestly have not sat with myself to figure out why exactly, but maybe psychologically this is me having control over it, over something that at times hurts to create. A pain that the viewer may never understand. I think when the work cuts deeper into the heart it's not always so simple to share… 


After I graduated with my master's, someone told me that if I chose not to have a social media presence, that was me choosing to be invisible. This statement bothered me so much - now I understand the importance and relevance of social media in the world we live in and what can come from exposure, but it will never be at the forefront of my core. My work will always exist in front of me as a pilot to my voice whether that is seen and or understood by anyone. That doesn't take away from what that work has meant to me, what I have learned through it, or why for me it needed to exist for me to heal. 


With the use of only 2 of the 5 senses, social media doesn't define someone's capacity or the true nature of visibility.



Kelsey Ann Kasom in Conversation with GAHSP. Tension. Photographed by Emily Frank. Modeled by Jordyn Dimaso. 2020.

Tension. Photographed by Emily Frank. Modeled by Jordyn Dimaso. 2020.



What is one aspect that the media should do differently?


Source listing as a requirement would be better for all aspects of any media. I also feel strongly that the media needs to undergo major improvements in supporting the mental health of not only minors but also adults. There are many layers to how mental health is negatively affected by media and there needs to be action taken to support all people.



This routine contributes to a new media format where Creatives are in full control of their narratives. By exploring alternatives to narrative journalism, GAHSP starts unconventional conversations, emphasizing values and problems that shape our lives collectively.


Routine Led by Julia Horvath

Image Courtesy of Kelsey Ann Kasom

Unedited. Only Formatted.





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