CAR Artist Story: Kate Hampel / Chicago Artists’ Resource

On Balancing Studio Time and Part-Time Teaching

Chicago-based, Virginia-located artist Kate Hampel uses sculptural objects to investigate unvoiced traumas implicit in our social constructs. Through her material-based practice, she seeks to unravel the underlying narratives that enthrall the public through the 24/7 media sensationalism cycle, but ultimately vanish from deeper collective thought, swept under the rug like just another dust bunny in passing. How are we all implicit in these cultural narratives of rape, murder, trauma and incest? Why do we selectively silence them in our day-to-day lives? In her artist story, Hampel discusses how the experience of part-time teaching works within the context of her larger studio practice. 

It’s a privilege for me to be able to write this. Someone asked me a few months ago what I wanted to do with my life and I could, perhaps for the first time, say that I was already doing it. I’m teaching two classes a semester and working in my studio—on the surface an entirely sweet deal, and it is, but the reality of teaching is a little different than I imagined it to be.

Part-time teaching has a lot going for it compared to the other odd jobs I’ve held over the last few years (a collage of office work, retail, and freelancing). I have plenty of time off and access to equipment, facilities, libraries and online journals that I had to give up when I graduated. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, or if I’ll even have a teaching job, but these insecurities are more than balanced by how central teaching seems to be to my art practice. The critiques, conversations, and skill-sharing come from my work but also go right back into it. There is, though, a particular drawback to the symbiosis of teaching and art-making that I didn’t really foresee.

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