“Making/creating is a link to a deep remembering of who we are,” writes Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees. Over more than five decades, TwoTrees has explored the connections between nature and self through a number of media. Her work has been exhibited and is in collections in the U.S., Europe, and New Zealand, and she is a past recipient of the Lila Wallace International Artist Award.
TwoTrees shared her thoughts about being a Vermont artist.
How has living as an artist in Vermont affected your creative process?
Moving to Vermont from the New Mexico high desert affected my process in multiple ways. My relationship to landscape and nature had always been primary and intimate and here in Vermont the starkness of the seasons re-tuned me in a different way. I turned more inward during the winter and had creative bursts rather than the subtle long and slow unfolding of my process in the seasons of the desert. I also moved between mediums more frequently—from artist books to installations to sculpture and writing—trying to stay resonant with landscape and seasonal energy. As a conceptual artist this change has given me a chance to engage with different audiences and learn from that interaction.
What is something about your art that has changed over time?
I have been creating and exhibiting work for over fifty years and have been fascinated by large scale conceptual work–mostly installation/performance. As I have moved around the world and aged I have begun experimenting with smaller scale, both in presentation and in ideas. I find that change in landscape and in physical ability have given me new avenues and mediums to explore. I am also returning to more collaborative work, which offers greater range of expression when there is deep resonance between the artists. I am continually searching for new ways to make connections to people and to consciousness. In my work I am seeking ways to pose questions that invite/provoke the viewer to remember/dream a more hospitable world for all living beings.
What is your vision for the next several years?
At the moment I am working to shift my focus to video in order to engage multiple generations of viewers and a larger audience. It means using my studio work to create some of the material for video. I am currently working on a collaboration with musicians to create a visual narrative interpretation of my paintings as a video. I see video as a way for me to engage in collaborations with other artists and one that will stretch my creative vision and our ability to engage the viewer in ways I do not yet know.
The “I am a Vermont Artist” series explores how artists’ creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age. Covering all artistic disciplines, and a range of backgrounds—from New Americans to the state’s first residents—we hope to amplify voices that deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Vermont artist. This story by the Vermont Arts Council originally appeared at https://www.vermontartscouncil.org/blog/i-am-a-vermont-artist-kaylynn-sullivan-twotrees/