Meet the Editors: Kinsey Lane Sullivan, Creative + Co-Founder of BYOM

At only 23, Kinsey has already established herself as an arts and culture expert in her writing for media outlets including Mic, HelloGiggles, and the hip British site Don’t Panic online. She’s also developed an enviable creative portfolio, and leads marketing for a tech start-up. Yet despite her impressive accomplishments and an unwavering, almost intimidating drive that shows no signs of stopping, she’s one of the most relatable, genuine, and empathetic people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Her bright personality shines through all of her work and all of her relationships. Meet Miss Kinsey Lane Sullivan!

The Basics

  • Age: 23
  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Field of Interest: Art + Communications
  • What Inspired You Today? Today I visited the Mint with a good friend from UNC, and happily got to see the Halston & Warhol Silver & Suede exhibit. The show was a close look at the relationship and creative dialogue between the two artists. I loved that the show was not only about their work, but also their friendship. It was really intimate, really well-composed. (It even inspired me to play a little with the idea of printmaking on fabric this evening.)
  • What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? My curiosity

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Questions + Answers

You’re an active freelancer and artist, and maintain a voracious reading habit and unparalleled self-curated Spotify playlists  (seriously, check out her Spotify). You also work full-time in marketing at a tech startup. How do you find the time to not only pursue, but succeed, in all of these pursuits?

Growing up, my mom always said that people do just about what they want to do. I think that for the most part, that’s true. I want to write, make art, listen to good music, contribute to a successful company and read compelling books – so I do that!

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Ultimately, I pursue all of these interests because I love to learn. For me, the opportunity to self-educate, to explore, to be productive and engaged is worth the sleep I sacrifice.

What advice would you give young people trying to balance the “necessary evils” of being a working adult with their own personal passions and interests?

You can do a lot more than you think, but you still can’t do everything. To achieve this balance, everything is a little bit of work and a little bit of play.

I also have to be really conscientious of where I invest my time – I’m always considering the value of what I’m doing, and actively deciding that it’s a worthwhile way to spend my time and energy. While I still may waste an hour in Target dithering over picture frames (super-specific example that happened today), and my time management tactics are unconventional, my days don’t really “slip by.” It helps that I choose to pursue a lot of complimentary interests, which lets me maximize the value of time spent on each one.

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I’d also say that you should appreciate those necessary evils like grocery shopping, ironing and driving to work – at least you know when they’re complete! When everything else is a work-in-progress, it’s sometimes nice to actually be able to check things off the list.

Do you ever find that some of these seemingly unrelated areas of interest interact and influence one another? For example, your interests in politics and art. If so, how? Do you consider this a valuable perspective to have?

Totally. Everything is tied-up and referential. My interests and experiences interact with and influence each other – as they probably do for everyone. It’s not always new concepts, but there are a lot of threads that I’m constantly updating in my head.

I think this perspective is most valuable to me in my creative work. I try to temper it in my writing, for clarity, but I let that hyper-referential tendency run in my art.

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I’m in the very early stages of a series that will deal with memory making and keeping, and that plays with the idea of women’s work and quilting. These ideas – personal history, socio-politics, femininity and the boundary between art and craft – are all interconnected in the concepts of these pieces. I’m excited to explore, and really let my brain and hands do their thing!

You were raised in the South. How has this influenced your perspective both in arts and, more generally, in life? Do you find it to be a unique one in the arts community?

While I don’t find it to be particularly rare in the arts, that Southern background is very influential. Artists like Sally Mann and writers like Eudora Welty play in the Southern Gothic sandbox, and I love what they do. My work doesn’t draw as directly from my experience in the South as others’, but I do think that I wouldn’t be able to feel as deeply or sensitively if I hadn’t grown up here.

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That’s in part because I don’t know many other regions of the US that have as much atmosphere as the South. The sensory place-memories sometimes make my heart implode. I felt that way long before I felt a particular kinship to the region (even though I’m from here), so it’s not born from some “the South is the best of America” or good ol’ boy ideology. I just think the land, the light and the people here are endlessly moving.

Who are your muses?

A couple of my peers and friends who are inspiring me at the moment are Hasabie Kidanu and Andrea Castro, both artists, and Baxter Miller, who just started an amazing publication called Bit + Grain. They’re all doing amazing work and I’m honored to know them!

+ Know any young entrepreneurs or artists that we should feature on BYOM? Tell us!
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