5 Habits & 5 Rituals of Young, Female Artists

Hiding In Plain Sight: 5 habits & 5 rituals of young, female artists

As gleaned from a conversation with Laurie Kang, Lili Huston-Herterich, and Nadia Belerique. Kang, Huston-Herterich, and Belerique then provided accompanying original imagery. Their collaborative show, The Mouth Holds The Tongue, opens June 19, 2015 at The Power Plant, Toronto.

by Jess Carroll


A habit is a natural, consistently occurring, unconscious activity. It can be pesky, negative, and hard to kick. You can’t help but do it; in terms of psychoanalysis, a habit represents most readily “who we are”–or at least our most habitual thought patterns.

A ritual is an intentionally consistent activity, often associated with thinking about our future self and wanting to be better. It is often spiritual in nature, and/or requires training. It is more intuitive and emotional than a habit.

As the four of us sat in my living room drinking wine one evening, attempting to find a theme we felt could tie the artists together outside of explicit art speak, we realized how difficult it was to pin down behaviours of ritual or habit. We were cognizant that within ourselves, we had consistently misunderstood the definitions of both and that at times had believed an activity was a ritual, when in fact, it was a habit. Or vice versa.

Why do we exhibit these types of consistent behaviours? What makes them useful? Below are our most poignant relatable characterizations on the topic.

       1. For happiness and relaxation.

Habit: Lying down. Often accompanied by binge watching a television show or genre of films. Helps one avoid movement.

Ritual: Exercise. Gym, yoga, ballet, crossfit, walking long distances, biking. Helps one avoid lethargy.

     2. To check in on or with friends.

Habit: Checking social media while sitting on the toilet. Killing two birds with one stone. Helps one avoid small talk while still remaining sincere through vulnerability of having pants down.

Ritual: Cooking. Promotes general wellness and makes a good impression on others.


     3. To test our resilience.

Habit: Forgoing underwear for a period. Requires a good attitude. Promotes pussy freedom and avoiding laundry.

Ritual: Attending psychoanalysis. Requires a bad attitude. Promotes freedom from mommy and daddy issues.

     4. To explore our addictions.

Habit: Smoking.

Ritual: Smoking. “Sometimes I get mad at myself for forgetting to smoke.”

     5. To actually get work done.

Habit: Entering into your studio practice. Procrastination, masturbation, texting, cleaning, clipping fingernails. You are always thinking about your work, but sometimes need an intentionally cognitive space, a lucid space, to draw out your work. Helps one edit out the bad ideas.

Ritual: Entering into your studio space. Getting out your tools, meeting hard deadlines. Helps one finally get shit done–often at the last second.

Sometimes, they weren’t as different as we thought.