How Three Great Moms Raised Three Great Artists These artists have something to say to their moms.

Mother’s Day is just a few days away and it has us thinking about how mothers are fundamental to fostering creativity. How do certain moms raise children who grow up to become amazing artists? We wondered how our artists were uniquely encouraged and supported by their moms to become the people they are. We interviewed three Twyla artists to learn how their mommas helped shape their artistic endeavours. Here’s what they had to say.

John Chang

Tell us about your mom.

My mother’s name is Lolling Chang and she came to United States in the early 80s. She is lives in San Diego and is a musician.

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How did your mother encourage your path to becoming an artist?

As I grew up, I studied piano with my mother and eventually took up painting. I didn’t have many other choices as a child.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from your mom?

One prevalent saying that has stuck with me has been “encircle the cities by the countryside.” My mom always encouraged me to start small and take one step at a time toward my goals. This saying is actually a popular political theory from China and influenced by chairman Mao; it was important to concentrate on the countryside rather than the towns, in order to create a revolutionary elite. My mother also pushed me to exercise hard and never give up.

Do you have a favorite artistic memory with your mom?

The most memorable thing we did together was collaborate on the publication of her first poetry anthology, Between Reverie and Reality. Her words often seem soft spoken, but in this collection of poetry, you are let into a different side of her. A side that puts you in front of her ups and downs and emotional moments.

What do you want to say to your mom this Mother’s Day?

I want to say “Happy Mother’s Day!” I hope that our conversations every day last for many more years.

Christina Burch

Tell us about your mom.

My mother is Susan Marie Klein Burch and she was born during the Great Depression in 1934 in Syosset, New York. She spent her childhood as a “snowbird” going to school in Hollywood, Florida and traveling across the states to spend summers in the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. After receiving a scholarship to medical school at Florida State, she went on to work as a nurse at Cornell and Columbia Presbyterian Hospitals in New York City. Burn research and treating severely burned patients was her specialty as well as educating physicians and staff about the burn care protocols being developed there including skin grafts. She married my father when she was about 30 and had three children of which I am the middle. My parents have been married over 47 years and currently live in Nashville, TN.

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How did your mother encourage your path to becoming an artist?

I did a lot of scribbling as a young child and had my first formal drawing lesson at Cheekwood in Nashville when I was five years old. My mother had lots of art books around the house including a set of books of the great museum collections such as the Louvre, the Prado and Uffizi. When I was 8, I began oil painting lessons and my mother was kind enough to clean up my brushes with turpentine. My mother always drove me to my lessons and encouraged me creatively. She often took us traveling to museums, religious and cultural events. This helped train my eye for design and aesthetics.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from your mom?

“You are perfect just as you are.”

Do you have a favorite artistic memory with your mom?

In more recent years, it was when we went to the Venice Biennale in Italy, the Dolomites, and the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina for a glass bead workshop together.

What do you want to say to your mom this Mother’s Day?

Thank you for being my mother with all your love and support and creativity and encouragement!

Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos

Tell us about your mom.

My mother’s name is Maria Kosmatopoulos. She is a lawyer and professor at the University of Thessaloniki and lives between Greece and France.

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How did your mother encourage your path to becoming an artist?

My mother is a very cultured person but her knowledge and understanding of art is much more academic. She did not have a strong or direct influence in my career choices, but never went against them. She always supported me as a person and has faith in my ability to accomplish anything I set my mind to.

P.S. She still secretly hopes that it is not too late for me to finally realize that I should become a lawyer and work with her in her firm...

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten from your mom?

She always says that I am extremely intelligent (and, thus, should become a lawyer).

Do you have a favorite artistic memory with your mom?

There isn’t one specific favorite memory, per se, but I always love when she can join me in a city where I am having a show. During installation, she always tries to find ways to help. We are both very clumsy, so it is extremely entertaining to watch us both in action!

What do you want to say to your mom this Mother’s Day?

We speak at least 3 times a day every day so there is not that much more left to say for Mother’s Day. I wish I could find words strong enough to describe how obsessed I am with her.