Arts & Culture, Interview

Talking with Kamen Ross

Interview with Kamen Ross - Questions asked by Silvia Beier


S:  Where are you from? And do you think it matters?


K: I’m from Colorado. When you go out and explore more of the world, it’s really important to keep home close in your mind at all times. If you go somewhere beautiful, or terrible, or exciting, or boring, or confusing, it’s fun and enlightening to compare it to home. For me, Colorado has always represented a fluid, colorful stillness; the sky is on fire, the mountains are ominous, the plains are big and wide, and the mind is restless.

The most colorful and lively things I see or make remind me of home. But I don’t think the place matters as much as the people that are there. I might still feel exactly the same if I were actually from Ghana or London. You can’t be sure.


S: What brought you to Boston?

K: I came to Boston because I was seduced by its musicalyl historic reputation, and an acceptance letter from Berklee College of Music bought my ticket here. I had made up my mind long ago that music was my favorite way to connect to the greater, hidden meanings of life, and Boston afforded me the chance to thoroughly explore industry, academia, and community using music.

S: You are – among many other things – a musician, a visual artist, and a poet.  I’m wondering how these different modes of expression interrelate for you, or not.

K: I always hope that nobody’s out there committing to one method of expression. We should use every resource we can think of to keep the ideas that pass through us moving along. Sometimes a poem will do, sometimes a painting, or the choice of necktie. When I’ve decided an idea is unusually important or necessary for me to share, I write it in the form of music. If the goal is to deliver the most information in the least amount of time, I think music does it best without being over whelming.

And the best part about a piece of music is that different interpretations of its meaning are strongly encouraged.

S:  What are you working on right now?

K: The most important thing I’m working on right now is how to be attentive and close to the people in my life that I care about. As much as I can, I want to be the best son, brother, partner, teammate, and friend to the people that matter to me, and I’m doing my very best to make sure the people I love know that they are loved.

Other than that, I’m really pleased to announce that the two bands I’m co-piloting with my very talented friends (ROGOZO and BILLY BALDWIN) are each working right now to release a record next year. I’m so excited!


S: I’ve had the pleasure of having you as a teacher, and I’d love to hear your thoughts about what matters most to you in your teaching, and what you are aiming for. For example, what  makes a workshop session or lesson a good one?


K: What matters most as a teacher is spreading your love of the craft to other people. It is way more important to enjoy what you’re doing than to be especially skillful at it, because I’ve found that if you love doing something, the skill will come with time. The best lessons or workshops you can hope for as a teacher are ones where students leave with a greater hunger for the things you wish to see more of in the world. And most of the time they will have things to teach in return. It can be really scary for people to pick up a new instrument or put paint on a canvas, and I think it’s because the world is full of judgement and they’ve been exposed to it. But the world is also full of support, and this is something you can encourage people to explore whether you’re a teacher or not.

S: I know yellow is a favorite color of yours, and one thing that particular stands out for me in your art is the particular energy of all your colors.  What does color mean to you?

K: Color is a very representative beast. You go through life associating beings and experiences with seemingly arbitrary details. It doesn’t really matter that her shoes are red: if they were blue they would still be shoes. And it doesn’t matter that blood is red either. It would still flow through the heart if it looked like water to us. But one time you got a nose bleed and a year later you saw someone with red shoes and slowly but surely a certain personality starts to form.  All red things move like this, all green things speak like this. And you go through life without even thinking about how all the things that something so ubiquitous as a color can mean, because surely your red and mine must be different despite our attempts to standardize them on streetlights and exit signs.

S: Shout out to another artist out there you like a lot right now?

K: I love SO MANY other artists right now so I’ve arbitrarily picked 4 beings in 4 categories to shout out to:

Poets: Alex Farberg, Madeline Lessing, and my friend’s cats Shadow and Onyx

Visual Artists: Brooke Colosi, Benjamin Styer, Gordo Callanan, Nico Wood, Julie Payne

Musical Artists: Edge Petal Burn, Department of Everything, Sponkers, the ocean

Fabric Artists: Maggie Rosenberg, Liz Kumaki, the planet


S:  Thank You, Kamen!


Thank you! <3 XOXO


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