NAME: CAESAREA HENDRIX
BUSINESS NAME: XOX HANDMADE GIFTS
CREATIVE/ARTISTIC CATEGORIES: MULTIDISCIPLINARY ART
SUPPORT THE WORK: ETSY SHOP
FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
For the fourth installment of the Twin Cities Design Scene podcast, I had the opportunity to speak with Caesarea Hendrix, who is a talented multidisciplinary artist working in a wide array of mediums ranging from drawing to printmaking, to painting and SO much more!
Her line of XOX Handmade Gifts includes products such as stationary, journals, handkerchiefs, and hand-painted clothing that sends messages of radical self-love.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH CAESAREA HENDRIX:
What is your favorite art venue?
There’s soooooo many good ones. The Walker. I hung out there as a kid and I still love it now.
What are your favorite art/creation resources?
Can Instagram be it? It’s so easy to find and meet new art and artists that way haha
What local restaurants/take out spots help keep you fed during your creative sessions?
I love to cook, but Pizza Luce if I wanna spoil myself. How do they make perfect pizza every time???
Is there a specific local non-profit organization you’d like listeners to learn about?
I skate for Minnesota Roller Derby, and we love being active in the community. Covid has effected this coming season for us so it will be interesting to see how we get to be apart of the community more during this dystopian season.
Please give a shout out to three other local artists/creators you respect and admire:
3. Quin | Instagram: @sloppysnakemakes
(Has my heart for always) they have fun and charming illustrations
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION WITH CAESAREA HENDRIX:
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (00:15):
Hello, and welcome. My name is Jennie Eukel, and this is The Twin Cities Design Scene Podcast, featuring conversations with Minnesota artists and creators about their work, career, and inspiration. Today on our show is Caesarea Hendrix of XOX Handmade Gifts. Caesarea is a multi-talented, multidisciplinary artist who works with a range of mediums such as painting, charcoal, drawing, printmaking, and so much more. Her work focuses on bringing positive and inspiring messages to taboo subjects that are less talked about, such as radical self-love, self-care, mental health, and social issues. Welcome to the show, Caesarea.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (01:00):
Thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about both your personal artwork and also the work that you do for XOX Handmade Gifts.
Caesarea Hendrix (01:16):
My personal artwork is kind of all over the place, just whatever I’m feeling in the moment, but oftentimes it’s emotionally driven by social issues like feminism.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (01:27):
It’s a tongue twister.
Caesarea Hendrix (01:33):
The hardest word. I’ve never said it in my life. Feminism and racial justice, just because I am a person of color. It just kind of all falls under that, so I can kind of therapeutically help myself through those situations as they’re happening in real time. Then with my shop, XOX, I put a bit of that in there while doing artwork that inspires self-love and positivity, because I think it’s very important to really remind yourself of that and really remind the people around you of that, because the world is pretty crazy, so it’s nice to see something beautiful in the midst of it.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (02:24):
And I saw on your description on your Instagram page, you’re talking about radical self-love. So I was wondering if you could speak a little bit more to the radical self-love and what that means.
Caesarea Hendrix (02:36):
So my biggest mission statement is radical self-love and radical kindness, because those are two things that I really see a lot of people over the nations not really taking advantage of, because being kind, there’s the general chivalry of, “Oh, I held the door for someone,” and, “Oh, I had a few bucks in my pocket, then I saw a homeless person”, but radical kindness comes from a place of going the extra mile without even thinking about it, or doing things without feeling like you need an audience to prove that, “Oh, I’m kind, so now I’m being rewarded.” That’s just not being kind. So radical kindness is really based off of, “Just do it because your heart tells you to do it”, instead of doing it because somebody is going to see you do it, or somebody is going to applaud you for it, or to think you’re so much better because you did it. It comes from a place of love.
Caesarea Hendrix (03:36):
Then radical self-love is unapologetically loving yourself. So if you have to say no to whatever event because of X, Y, and Z and you know it’s good for your mental health and good for your physical health, then do that. It doesn’t make you a bad person to not show up. It doesn’t make you a bad person to cancel plans because you need to watch that movie that just makes you feel better, or you need to take an extra long bath, or sometimes you just need to call somebody, or journal. Just doing the things that make you feel better and make you feel closer to yourself without having to apologize about it, because, especially in America, we’re in a very work, work, work, always progress, always build, always do better, always get to the top, but we don’t talk about, “Hey, let’s take a moment to date ourselves. Let’s put that time aside.” I’m really into self-dating even.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (04:34):
I love that. I really do. I think it’s something people don’t consider or think about as far as getting to know yourself, really exploring that and allowing yourself to kind of go down that journey. And it’s tough. There’s a lot of different pressures, especially with society, and it’s been interesting especially during pandemic times. I feel like it’s in some ways given people a chance to explore that side if they don’t feel like they want to do something or if it’s outside of their comfort zone to have the permission to say, “No, I want to do something for myself instead.” But that’s fantastic. So as far as taking those elements and incorporating that into your work, what sort of subjects, like you mentioned a few earlier, but as far as like with some of the scenery that you end up working with? I should mention you work with a variety of different mediums. So maybe first of all, talk about some of the different mediums that you work with, and then how some of those different subjects that you touched upon go into some of your art pieces.
Caesarea Hendrix (05:48):
So I do work with quite a bit of different mediums. I really, really love to paint, and I love draw, if I had to pick the ones that have my heart the most, and printmaking as well, because of the irony of it. With painting, especially like for example in my shop, I have hand-painted journals and they’re, air quote, “Mass produced,” but they’re all handmade by me. So they’re never exactly the same as the original. Even though it’s the same idea of the painting, each one is just a little bit different, because I may not have placed the same colors in the exact same spots, or a star is in a different place than the other journals. So it kind of really plays with the concept of having something that’s beautiful without it being perfect, because a lot of the time we look at beauty as this form of perfection. But all of these journals are very different, but they’re all the same, but they’re all very different at the same time.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (06:58):
And you do, in your XOX shop, there’re journals I saw, there’re bandanas, there’re different pieces of clothing. There’s a variety of different things that you use, some of those are printmaking on.
Caesarea Hendrix (07:10):
Yeah, and I do that just for the sake of my own sanity, because I could never just do the same thing over and over and over again. So I just do what feels right in the moment, and I had to think of something that I care about, because I could never do something I wasn’t passionate about. And I love stationary, and that may stem from … I spent my childhood in Seoul, Korea, so stationary was like the cool thing, is kids like, “Oh, what kind of stationary do you have, and what [crosstalk 00:07:39].
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (07:39):
Caesarea Hendrix (07:40):
Yes. Like it was always the cool thing after school. I would like walk down the block of [foreign name 00:07:47] dong and go to the stationary store and get cute pins and stuff with my 10000 won. So kind of stemming from my childhood of just … I love stationary and it kind of brings this connection, because snail mail is lost art, which I wish would come back as this very cool thing. So it’s been interesting watching people buy the stationary that I get and the journals that I make, and watching people say how excited they are to send this postcard or this card to their friend. They’re writing snail mail, they’re connecting and just sending love in the mail, and it’s just amazing to watch people do this beautiful thing.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (08:27):
Have you noticed if there’s been an uptick in terms of people seeking out some of the store’s stationary since we’ve been in pandemic times? Because I know there’s a little bit more of that element of like, “How do we communicate if we’re not physically getting together?”
Caesarea Hendrix (08:43):
It’s kind of interesting, because I really thought I was one of like maybe 10 people on the planet that still wrote snail mail, but it’s kind of alarming and very heartwarming to see how many people are buying cards and postcards because they want to write their friends and their aunts and uncles and moms and grandmas, and they leave them a comment, or they say when they buy it, they leave a note, “Oh, I’m getting this because I want to start writing and having pen pals.” I’ve ended up getting pen pals from league mates and other friends that are like, “I saw that you sell stationary, so I ordered some and I want you to be a pen pal.” It’s kind of interesting to see it all happen. So it’s nice to see people connecting in another more intimate way than just having to stay focused phone calls and social media. You can sit down and really put your heart into something and give somebody a little piece of your time. So I really do see that.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (09:44):
I should add in, as far as you mentioned League Mates, just the reference of that, you are on the Minnesota Roller Derby team. So if anyone’s wondering what that was, which we can talk a little bit about that too in terms of interests and whatnot. We’ll get to that in a bit after we talk about your artwork. But let’s talk first about, how did you first get into creating art? Has that always been something that’s been with you, or have you had to actively work at it?
Caesarea Hendrix (10:16):
I honestly have been doing it for as long as I remember. My mom would tell the story of, “I just remember you would draw these pictures when you were two years old and get so frustrated it didn’t look the way you wanted it look.” I don’t remember these things, but she has kept boxes of just drawings that I’ve just made since my youth, and it’s just kind of interesting to see my drawings and my artwork progress over the years. So I really have been doing it pretty much forever.
Caesarea Hendrix (10:51):
I ended going to a school in Golden Valley, Perpich Center for Arts Education. My parents got divorced and then it was like, “Oh, we’re moving to a whole new state”, and we moved to Minnesota and my step-mom was like, “Well, you’re very artsy and there’s a lot of art schools you can apply to.” I was like, “Ah, I guess so.” I just kind of did the thing and they were like, “We love you. Come to our school.” I was like, “Oh, I guess this is really happening.” So it kind of just turned into the yellow brick road of art, and it turned into college and now I’m here.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (11:27):
That’s excellent. Did you continue art throughout college too?
Caesarea Hendrix (11:31):
Yes. I went to college for fine art with a study of creative writing. So I have written quite a few books, I’ve published a few. So I’ve been dabbling in a lot of different things just to keep my hands out of trouble.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (11:46):
That’s really, really cool. And I’ve had chance to explore and see some of the different … I haven’t read any of the books yet, but I saw that you published books, which that in itself is such a fun great accomplishment too. How does it feel to just be like having a book of yours out there?
Caesarea Hendrix (12:07):
It’s actually kind of funny, because even though it’s very weird, because as an artist I hate saying that I’m an artist, because it feels very weird to say, because it’s like, “Oh, you have to earn that.” So growing up I really wanted to be a writer and I always thought I had to do all the fancy things to be able to be a writer and I didn’t realize that all I had to do was just keep writing and just write and just do the writing. Which is like the most obvious thing, but in my head I was like, “Oh, I have to go to college and I have to have this degree and have proof that I’m a writer, but [crosstalk 00:12:46]
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (12:46):
It’s the practice of doing it.
Caesarea Hendrix (12:47):
Yeah, I have always been writing just as much as I’ve been making art. I always love telling stories and creating experiences. So it never really dawned on me until years later, and I published a book. Even in college, it’s kind of embarrassing to say it, but my best class grade was in my writing class. Which is kind of ironic, because my degree is in Fine Art, but writing was my best skill in college. So now it’s kind of weird because I’ve sold scripts and I’ve sold books, and it’s like, “Oh, weird, I’m a professional writer”, but it’s like, “Can I say that? Am I allowed to say that?” And it’s like, “Oh, I’m a professional artist. Is that okay too?” Like who’s going to … like the artist police, “No, you’re not professional. You need [crosstalk 00:13:39]
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (13:38):
I know. That’s the thing, it’s owning it, it’s saying like, “This is a part of who I am”, owning it. But I understand what you mean in terms of like when do you feel like you’re qualified enough to be like, “This is who I am”? When do you get to be that point? It’s got to be about just exclaiming it and having to be part of that. But that’s really awesome. I didn’t realize that you went to art school all throughout. You went to Perpich.
Caesarea Hendrix (14:13):
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (14:14):
Before Perpich did you go to a non-art school?
Caesarea Hendrix (14:19):
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (14:19):
How is it different?
Caesarea Hendrix (14:21):
So Perpich is a two-year school. So for two years I went to a public school, like a normal school, which I did not fit in there. I got bullied a lot. I had an in-school restraining order with my bullies. It was really bad. It just makes me into the person I am today, which is probably why I have a horrible sense of humor in really bad situations.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (14:50):
Yeah, you carry that with you.
Caesarea Hendrix (14:50):
You can mope about it or joke about it, and for me I’m just, “I’ll just make a joke and we’ll laugh it off.” Public school, there’s a lot of grand things about it, but no matter what, just the way my fate and destiny was, I just was never meant for public school and it wouldn’t have been that very classic Netflix teen movie, dates a football player and goes to prom kind of story that I always imagined high school would be. So it was like a big blessing in disguise to have my step-mom offer all these different schools that were art-based for me to go to, because public school was fun, I just didn’t really do anything because I was mostly hiding in the bathroom, or getting bullied. So it wasn’t the same experience as other people who went to public school. So along down the road I always think back on college, because my art high school set me up for art college.
Caesarea Hendrix (16:01):
That was the whole point of it. They were like, “We’re getting you ready for art college. So we’re going to treat you like you’re adults.” And it’s a boarding school, so I lived on campus. I could have my phone out in class and the professors didn’t care. It was very different than public school. So it was kind of very black and white, and it just was a wild change of scenery. And the classes were like 88 minutes long, so you were sitting in class longer, studio time was longer, as opposed to just the teacher shuffling you along and saying, “Yeah, whatever”, and not really giving you as much attention to your study in the program. So going into college and graduating, thinking back I always wonder what would it have been like to go to like a university where there’re sororities and frat parties and all those things, because in art school it’s just like mostly, “Oh, we’re drinking wine and making up …” It’s like, “Let’s have a paint party.” It’s very movie-esque and very aesthetically pleasing.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (17:08):
That’s what I was wondering, because I figured that there’d be such a difference in some ways, and I’m sure some of our listeners have the experience of going to art school versus some going to public school and then going to an art school. So that’s really cool to hear the differences in just how that helped you in some ways get out of that sort of rut in the public schools that you were dealing with.
Caesarea Hendrix (17:30):
I think my favorite advice that one of my professors in high school gave me was, “Don’t ask, just do it and figure it out later”, because I kept asking if it was okay for me to do this with my project, or, “Can I do this in the studio?” And he just was so annoyed because I was like, “I just don’t want to get in trouble. I want to do a good job.” He was like, “Don’t ask. Figure it out later. Just do the art and then we’ll talk.” So it was kind of nice, because it allowed me to recklessly just create without having to ask permission to make what I wanted to make.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (18:04):
Do you still carry that over into the work that you do today?
Caesarea Hendrix (18:09):
Yes. It’s kind of fun, because I did grow up in Christian home and I do believe … Christian’s such a hard word, because there’s so many things that come along with it. So I guess by technical definition, yes, I am. I just believe in Jesus and God and I know everybody’s belief is different and that’s not my choice to decide for anyone. So wherever you come from I accept you. But there is that kind of taboo, because there is some art that I make where, like my mother who’s very conservative is like, “I don’t understand this”, and I have to explain it to her. So it’s kind of fun, because I love toying with that and just being like, “Well, I can always come up with a bible verse to back me up in my art”, and it’s always a surprise.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (18:53):
But that’s the nice part about it too, as far as being able to use that sort of art to create the conversations. So whether it’s your mom or somebody else being like, “What? Tell me.” It’s a chance to open up a conversation.
Caesarea Hendrix (19:06):
Yes. I love it, and it probably still stems from me getting bullied. I love to talk about stuff that makes people uncomfortable. So it really plays out in my art, and it’s just like, “Let me bring up mental health”, and, “Let’s talk about suicide. Let’s talk about depression. Let’s talk about anxiety.” These are all things that are very like, “Oh, no, no. Hush, hush. Let’s not talk about it.” But that’s where radical self-love comes into play, because I do struggle with depression. I do struggle with anxiety. I, earlier this year, was in the hospital for suicide ideations, and it was my second time around. So this year has been a whole tornado of activities and emotions and just progress, and I had to take a moment and think about it before I opened the shop. I was like, “What is your biggest thing that you always do?”
Caesarea Hendrix (20:03):
It’s like, “Loving yourself is your biggest thing”, and loving yourself doesn’t necessarily always mean getting it right and perfect, because you can love yourself and still be upset with yourself at the same time. So it was kind of like, “Am I allowed to talk about this, because I just went through this this year?”, and it’s, “Can I do both at the same time?” I’m like, “Honestly, the truth is, yes, I have hard days, but also that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to get to know myself and trying to fix myself and trying to do better.” And it’s a process. It’s not you get it perfect and then you’re dazzling and then you just show the world how to do it. I’m going to have times where it’s hard for me and there are days that it’s hard, but then I get to take time and date myself, or spend time and work on me and get better.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (20:52):
But also being able to talk about some of that stuff too as far as the topics that are quote/unquote “Taboo.” How do you make those less taboo? And it is essentially by sharing self-experiences and being able to talk things through. I think empathy is also a big element too. It’s like if you can empathize with the other person, at least kind of see where that’s coming from, especially mental illness. I think so many of us deal with some element of … I don’t know if mental illness is the right term, but mental things I guess, mental health. So many of us carry that in different ways and work through that, and I think being able to talk about that gives a lot of ability to understand that. There are many of us that are dealing with this and trying to be a little kinder to one another and understanding.
Caesarea Hendrix (21:52):
Yes. I kind of play with it the same way that I play with being a person of color, is I can’t change that my skin is brown, but I know that it will upset people that I am brown and there’s I can do about that. So it’s really just like, “Okay. Well, mental health and mental wellness is a thing. Depression and anxiety in all of the spectrums around these things are real, these happen every day and a lot of people have them. It’s not unusual. It’s very common. So it exists, period.” You can’t change that. That’s what it is and no matter what you do you can’t hide it and you can’t ignore it, it’s still there.
Caesarea Hendrix (22:40):
It is upsetting for some people, but the more that you talk about it the more it will become a normal table topic where we can talk about it comfortably and we can talk about it at dinner, or like Suzie comes home from school and she can tell her parents at the dinner table like, “Yeah, this happened today and it didn’t make me feel so good.” And it’s not like, “Oh, Suzie, don’t talk about that”, it becomes a thing where it’s an open discussion. I Think it should be that way, because then it can open room for people to get better, for people to be more understanding and accepting of people who are struggling through these things.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (23:19):
And that’s the thing as far as you mentioned with the art and some of the art that you do, it becomes almost in some ways a way to open up those conversations with people and approach it and bring that to the forefront. So I’m wondering based on what we’ve been talking about, walk me through the process of how you create one of those pieces in terms of like from the emotion that you might be feeling towards how do you express that on whatever medium that you’re working with.
Caesarea Hendrix (23:55):
So I guess I can use an example. I recently created a linocut for a T-shirt design that had two bandaids in the form of an X, and it says, “Healing in progress.” I created that during a week that I was having really bad anxiety and I just was not doing well, and I was trying to pour my entire self into something that was progressive instead of damaging to myself to kind of cope with my emotions. So art of course was my option, a healthy option. So with linocut I had my linoleum and I carved out the design after sketching it, and something that I love about print making is that you can mass-produce these things and it looks almost perfect, but it’s kind of interesting because you had to hand-make it. It’s not made by a computer or a program. So you had to do it by hand.
Caesarea Hendrix (25:03):
So there’s that intimacy of me cutting out each piece of the linoleum, or with a mono print there’s only one of its kind, even though with print making the point is mass-production. But you can only get one. So I love that, it’s unique in its own way while being like, “Oh, it’s print making so it’s mass-produced, but there’s only one and you can’t get it again.” So it kind of plays with itself. So with this linocut Healing in Progress it was kind of a self reminder that it’s okay for me to have moments where I’m stalling in my progression, because sometimes that’s how it is. For example, with a garden. You can water it and water it and water it, but sometimes some seeds sprout earlier than other seeds. But either way, as long as you tend to it and care for it, it’s still going to grow.
Caesarea Hendrix (25:52):
So it’s really just kind of being attentive to yourself and being okay with the process of growth happens in different ways and it happens in different timing. So it’s a self reminder to allow myself to be okay with, “Hey, you’re not okay, and that’s okay.” I kind of play with that in the process of having these intimate moments with each piece and putting myself into it intimately. Like carving it, and with the paint sometimes I’ll hand-mix the paint, I won’t even use my paint knife and I’ll just use my finger. I usually end up having paint all over my body, so I really let it become a part of me and I wear it. That’s kind of the fun process where it’s like, “Oh, now I’m dirty and making this beautiful thing, and it took work and it took a part of me to make it.”
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (26:46):
Well, that kind of lends into another question that I had about your favorite part of the creation process. You can explain to me, but is it sort of that getting dirty phase?
Caesarea Hendrix (26:57):
Absolutely. I couldn’t imagine making art and doing it in a clean way. Like, “Are you making art at that point? How did you do it and not get anything on you?” Sometimes it’s in my hair and it’s under my fingernails, and for days I’m like, “Oh, I still have paint on me and I’ve showered a million times already.” So it’s kind of interesting to see it still stick to you. It becomes, it’s almost like a marriage where you’re two separate things, but you still know how to be together in unity. It’s this very interesting dynamic and dance that I kind of do with all of my supplies.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (27:38):
Yeah, and as far as with your different artwork that you do, I also realize that you also have so many different interests too and I thought that was so awesome. You can explain some of this too, but outside of doing your artwork what are some of the things and activities that you like doing outside of your day-to-day creation process?
Caesarea Hendrix (28:06):
Are you thinking like skating and my YouTube channel?
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (28:08):
Skating, singing. You are a renaissance woman.
Caesarea Hendrix (28:13):
Yes, I do a lot of music. Yes, I film stuff. I’m kind of doing a bit of everything. I was very shy growing up and I’m still shy now. I just know how to pretend to be social.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (28:27):
Well, you do an excellent job.
Caesarea Hendrix (28:31):
Thank you. I’ve worked really hard. Years of practice. So growing up being deathly terrified of making friends, I always used the excuse of, “Oh, I’m going to learn a new skill. I’m going to work on this project instead.” So I spent a lot of time, if I wasn’t drawing, or painting, or coloring, I was singing, or I was playing my guitar or my piano and writing a song and messing around with GarageBand, or making a video. It just kept me occupied so I didn’t have to be social, which in turn is either a good or a very bad thing, but it worked out for the better for me, because I never get bored.
Caesarea Hendrix (29:19):
So with YouTube, that’s kind of how I ended up getting discovered for all these small indie little script jobs, which none of them have been huge, but people who can’t write need ghostwriters. So I’ve ghostwritten scripts for other YouTubers and little things like that, which is only just an extra thing, like an extra step onto like perfect dream career job. It’s been interesting because everything that I do has opened a door for something else, or something else, and it keeps me busy in all the realms of creativeness.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (29:57):
Well, by exploring those different areas too it gives the opportunity to see what you like and don’t like.
Caesarea Hendrix (30:04):
Yeah. So I don’t think I’ve done something creative that I didn’t like. I think all of them have just been like the time of my life for me. So just anything where I can make something, or take it apart and make it myself, make something new, because I know you looked me up and found different things that I do. I don’t know if you saw some of the apparel that I’ve made, but I just [crosstalk 00:30:33]
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (30:34):
You could correct me if I’m wrong, but you have a few piece on your Etsy page, correct?
Caesarea Hendrix (30:39):
So those are hand-painted, but not hand-sewn. So on my Instagram I have a lot of clothes that I have hand-sewn from scratch. Which I have been sewing for, I think it’ll be 18 or 19 years, which is most of my life.
View this post on Instagram
I’ve been designing + sewing apparel for 18 years now. So, I took a poll on my story to if I should share some of the garments I’ve sown since quarantine started. Here’s a look at part two. . Note: Though I didn’t see the denim shorts, I did bleach and paint them. The hat / head scarf, white mini skirt, and glasses are not of my hand. Everything else is! . #sew #sewer #apparelDesign #rollerderby #youtube #skatergirl #skatelife #linkinbio #subscribe #roller #derby #healthylifestyle #health #healthandfitness #healthandwellness #fitnessmotivation #fitness #fitnessgirl #wellness #fitspo #selflove #bodylove #bodypositive #bodypositivity #positivevibes #positivity #caesarea
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (31:03):
You’re a veteran at this point, veteran sewer.
Caesarea Hendrix (31:04):
I’m 27, but it feels like forever. Yeah, I’ve been sewing for a long time, and for me I kind of forget that’s a form of creativity, because my in my head I’m like, “Oh, clothes are a necessity. It’s like washing the dishes. You just do the thing you need to do to survive and it’s whatever.” But sometimes people are like, “Oh man, I wish I could sew”, and then it reminds me that’s not a normal skill. So even with like sewing clothes for myself, I’ll wear what I want to wear, not what’s cool and trendy. If I like it then I like it, period. So it kind of gives me the ability to create something from nothing, because you get a square fabric and then what is it going to be? It gets really exciting to just be able to create something out of this very different separate thing. That excites me.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (32:01):
Well, I look forward to looking some of that up. I don’t think I saw that when I was looking up the different … You do a lot of things, so it’s really fun-
Caesarea Hendrix (32:11):
I do. [crosstalk 00:32:12]
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (32:11):
It’s really fun to see the different styles. We should mention, because we referenced it a little bit earlier, you are on the derby, the Roller Skate League of Minnesota. So talk a little bit about how you got involved in that too.
Caesarea Hendrix (32:32):
So I have been skating, skating maybe since I was seven. I started when I was in Korea. Then I grew up ice skating, and then did a little bit of figure skating. Then got older and I wanted something for myself when I graduated college, and I was like, “I’m going to do roller derby. I’m so cool” and I had no idea what I was signing up for, but I was definitely in love the moment I hit the track. I skated with a league in Iowa for a minute with Ames Roller Derby Association, and I was absolutely in love and it just turned into more. I was skater and I was a jammer, and then I ended up getting voted in as Vice President. So then I was doing all of the little things and I was like, “I want to draft people and get more people in the league.” Then I started the Fresh Meat Program. So I really just put my everything into it, it became my life, because I was doing all these activities with the league.
Caesarea Hendrix (33:41):
Then there came a point where I was no longer progressing as a skater, and I love to always grow in any kind of way possible. So if my life becomes still, or stagnant, or idle, I’m like, “Okay. Well, what can I do next to better XYZ? How can I continue growing? How can I continue progressing?” So for a summer I went and visited a bunch of different leagues around the country. So I visited Austin Texas and I visited a league in Illinois. I just kind of hopped around for a minute and got new skills there and then started coaching on my old league. Then I was like, “Well, I’m not gaining anything anymore, and I don’t want to be in Iowa anymore. It’s great for nature, but not really great for artistic progression.” So I was like, “I got to leave. Get me out of here. I never really cared much for this state, but cool. Bye.” So I left and I ended up here in Minnesota again, and I was like, “Oh, I guess there’s a league here.”
Caesarea Hendrix (34:48):
And Moose, one of my league mates, was like, “Hey, you should come visit and skate with us for a minute if you’re going to be in the city.” I was like, “Oh cool. I guess I could try that out.” I dipped my toes in their water and I was like, “Oh, it’s not so bad.” Then I did the whole thing and I was like, “Please pick me.” And I went for drafting, didn’t get it the first year. Second year came around and they drafted me and I was like, “I’m having the time of my life”, and I just was so happy because I wanted to be on a league that took things seriously and that could grow me as a skater and teach me things I didn’t know, and I just wanted it so much that I was willing to like eat the world and rip everything apart to get there. So now I’m with a really cool group of people that are just constantly growing me as a skater all the time, and as a person.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (35:45):
I know one other person within roller derby too and I just hear it’s a super supportive group of people.
Caesarea Hendrix (35:51):
It truly is. It’s been kind of interesting to see how it’s supported me as a person. Then also watching it, especially in today’s times, watching it fix and grow itself so it can support people more, especially with like the Black Lives Matter movement uprising again and still being active right now. A big discussion is like, “How can we do better?”, because it is a very white-dominate sport. So oftentimes at bouts when I’m skating I’ll have people of color come up to me and say, “Wow, I didn’t know somebody like us actually did this sport”, or, “Oh, I didn’t know they had one of us on the track. How does it feel?”
Caesarea Hendrix (36:38):
So it’s kind of odd because I get questions that I know my league mates don’t have to deal with, but also it’s nice to be setting an example, because it’s like seeing that Barbie that looks like you and you’re like, “Wow, there’s a Barbie that looks like me.” It makes it cooler. So it’s really nice to set an example and nice to be part of a group that’s willing to do better and willing to change, because it would suck if they were like, “Uh, no. We’re doing fine”, and they’re not doing fine.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (37:06):
Well, even in previous years, like they just went through a whole rebrand, because it was the Minnesota Roller Girls and now it’s Minnesota Roller Derby, just to address some of the elements of that.
Caesarea Hendrix (37:21):
Absolutely. We want it to be more inclusive. We just kind of lagged on the equality of race. We really were focused on inclusive gender-wise, and that’s great and awesome. We just kind of missed a [inaudible 00:37:37] and now we’re catching up. So we’re doing better. I’m like, “Hey, I’m still here.” So it’s kind of nice to see that continue to progress, but it’s nice because derby really does welcome everybody, because oftentimes a lot of the times you hear like, “Oh, derby’s for the gays and the misfits”, and a lot of the times they’re like heterosexual nurses with burly husbands and it’s the like the most unexpected group of people. But then of course you get the queer community and then you get the blend of people of color, and people who are from lower income and higher income and people who are not athletic who become athletic, and people who were in the military. So it’s just a lot of different people coming together for something we all mutually love, which is a beautiful thing.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (38:28):
Yeah, and that’s something I’ve kind of noticed as far as like an appreciated … With them specifically it’s just the willingness to realize like, “Oh, this certain thing maybe isn’t super great, let’s take a look at this and do some tweaking, do some changing and evolving and making it better.”
Caesarea Hendrix (38:48):
I have siblings who are 20 years younger than me and they love to see me skate, and my little sister wants to be a derby girl and she’s like, “I’m going to be just like you.” And my little brother, I was like, “Well, you can skate too”, and he was like, “No I can’t. Boys don’t do roller derby.” I was like, “What are you [inaudible 00:39:08] fighting so hard. I was like, “No, you can do roller derby.” He’s like, “I can?” I was like, “They have boys leagues. They have leagues where everyone can skate. It’s called Co-ed.” He was like, “Oh, okay. Maybe I will.” So even little kids are like, “Oh, I want to do this, but I don’t know if it’s for me.” So having that openness and that inclusiveness really does make an impact, because then people are like, “Oh, actually maybe this is for me”, and it’s not, “Oh, I won’t even look that way, because I’m not included.”
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (39:45):
Just setting that sort of example is so crucial. So I just want to kind of wrap it up here and just say thank you so much for talking about everything, all your different artwork, all your different art mediums.
Caesarea Hendrix (39:58):
So many things.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (40:00):
I’ll be putting up links to your Etsy store on our Twin Cities Design Scene website, and I just want to say it’s been an absolute delight talking with you.
Caesarea Hendrix (40:11):
So much fun. Thank you so much for having me. This was a blast.
Jennie Eukel (TCDS) (40:15):
Thanks for listening to today’s podcast. The podcast music is Your Future is My Future by Gigamesh. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review of the podcast. We’re currently on many major streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher and Google Podcasts. For the latest updates you can follow along on Instagram and Facebook @twincitiesdesignscene and Twitter @tcdesignscene.