Connecting the Creative Dots with Kiran Friesen

One Flow: Warrior Kiran Friesen

Toronto Actor, Writer & Performer

Artisans Exposed Projects presents: One Flow: A series of short interviews with uniquely passionate performers and artisans. By: Jojo D

CONNECTING THE CREATIVE DOTS with KIRAN FRIESEN "When I'm deeply connected to my body and openly sharing that with another person, whether it be through acting, through dancing or through conversation, I get that sort of thing." KF



Kiran Friesen

What: Depends when you ask me. :P My career is acting, but I also am a trained singer, a third generation painter, a writer, and a dancer.

When: Flow can be a very in and out thing for me. I'll be in whatever art form I'm practicing at that moment, and it's like I take a dive, and grow wings at the same time. Usually, I call it obsession, but flow is a nicer way of saying it.

Where: I live in Toronto, so here. It has always been my dream to travel. I wanted to make endless movies in exotic places, but so far, I'd say Hamilton has been the most exotic. As a dancer, I’ve competed in different places throughout Canada.

Why: That is a very fascinating question, really. Because part of me wants to say "who cares?", but I am also a person who loves to ask "why" (one might say, almost obsessively ;) ). So.... Going back into my childhood, I could say that being different was a huge factor. I was different to the point that I felt unable to communicate with my fellow kids. They honestly seemed like a different species than me. The way they talked to each other seemed like a code I would never crack, and sometimes, it felt downright mean. I was an HSP, which meant I felt everything to the point that I was overwhelmed a great deal of the time. So...why? Yes... this is becoming a long answer. That's what happens when I have the freedom to write ... and I'm procrastinating.

Singing was the first thing I remember being rewarded for. And there was something so incredibly powerful about having something, literally vibrations coming from inside your body, being seen as beautiful. Felt as beautiful. Nothing feels like opera. It feels like soul beauty when ... it's in flow. It really does.

Art. My mother and Grandmother were both painters. But, besides being exposed to it always, I am a very visual person. I would get images stuck in my head. Metaphors for my inner life. I HAD to externalize them. So, I painted. To understand myself, mostly, but also to share. Acting. what do you do when you have so much inside of you to share with people, but don't have the words? Put a script in your hands. Suddenly, the world opens up. You can talk to humans, be deeply seen, learn more about yourself and others by living in different skins/worlds/situations, and help others sitting in the dark feel less alone. What could be better than that? Dance. I always wanted to be a dancer. I found pole dance, which is a mixture of acrobatics and sensuality. As challenging and free as you can (or dare to) get.

One more.... Writing. My Mom always thought I'd be a writer. I do live in a fantasy world a lot of the time. I was/am an only child so... disappearing into a story is a kind of natural development of that. Writing is one hundred percent yours, but, like acting...the more honest you are, the more you are connected to others.

I guess, the short answer is: to be challenged, seen, and connected to other people.

How: How? Oh my. No idea. :P Stubbornness.


By Defintion: existing, acting, or considered as a single unit, entity, or individual, being a particular, unique, or only individual, item, or unit.

What tribe do you belong to?

My ethnical background is shady... hahaha. Ok. I’m half Swedish. That was my mother's side. Pure Viking Blood. yes... I have two kinds of pickled herring in my fridge right now. I’m quarter Mennonite. My Grandfather grew up in a Mennonite community outside of Winnipeg and ended up writing a history of our experience settling in Canada. Things like "of 12 children, 5 survived". My Mennonite family originated in Holland near Germany, then spent a hundred years-ish in The Ukraine. And... the last quarter is a bit fuzzy. I think it's split between British (but maybe Scottish ultimately), and Native American. I think Ojibwe, considering where my great grandmother came from.

What was your childhood like?

Well, I think I've alluded to this answer quite a bit already. I was a shy, sensitive only child who lived in her imagination and desperately wanted friends. I didn't fit in. And the thing that I am most grateful for about this, is that I would sit in the middle of class and hear the social world of the other kids around me. I would hear who's making fun of who, or breaking up with who, and such, and I gained huge compassion that way. I am a champion of the underdog in my spirit, but I try to find compassion for everyone. Because we all have a wee bit of underdog in us, no matter how hidden under Instagram makeup. Was that judgey? :P

At what age did you begin your creative journey?

I don't remember not being creative, honestly. If you want to call flirtation a form of creativity (which I do), then I started at six weeks, apparently. Making eyes and rolling my shoulder for Mom's employer.

Did you grow up in a family of talented people?

Yes. In a way. Mom was a painter (and interior designer). Grandma was a painter (and doll maker). My aunt (Mom's side) was a hair stylist and stained-glass maker. My cousin has recently started painting and he's truly wonderful at it. My other cousin is a musician. The rest...are pretty athletic. Water-skiing. My Dad's side was mostly doctors and engineers, but out of my generation we have a designer who opened a design store (and her whole look and way of living is purely artistic. Pink hair... pink fun fur furniture... pink and blue and green and orange walls...), and my other cousin went through film-making school and is doing very well for herself her first year out. I see big things for her. So... I guess we're a generation of artistic rebellers.

Which came first: writing, acting or dancing? Which came most naturally, and which proved to be most difficult?

OOOOOOOOH. Questions! Singing came first. Well...actually, drawing. I didn't think acting was even an option until high school. I was deeply in love with movies, but I think I believed them so deeply that it didn't occur to me that I could step into the world(s) too. Mom said from a young age, I would dance around and walk on the tops of my toes. I don't know what age, but I do remember desperately wanting to be a Solid Gold Dancer. I tried to write my first novel at age 9. Didn't succeed until 29. Most difficult…Acting. No question. It could be partly because I've invested so much in it, but really... I sincerely think it's the most difficult one. That's why I chose it.

Of all the training & schooling you've had, which experience/s stood out as most valuable to you and your creative journey.

Just doing it :P..Honestly though. I'd say travel, and paying attention in general, are the greatest tools. Being present and curious about the world whether it be anthropology (another pet interest of mine) and the history of art and humanity, or structure of the world (I have a friend who has a degree in high math which he ascribes to his genius in poetry),...I guess I’m saying be deeply interested in life...and you will learn art from every direction. Although I do have some conflicting regrets education wise. One side of me wishes I just went to NY, threw myself into some classes, and went for it. Part of me wished I stuck to my ‘plan’ of going to Yale. I kind of let that go early without realizing that is what I was doing with the choices I was making. Beyond that... find a teacher who is truthful and challenging and who sees you clearly in a compassionate and deep way.

Tell us about your first real opportunity to shine publicly? And what was the experience like?

Hm.... Well, other than the first time I sang for people as a solo in grade four... I’m not sure that counts. I was mobbed (it felt like) with praise. People seemed shocked, which was both electrifying and... kind of insulting. :P In Grade eleven, I was Mrs. Anna in the school production of The King and I. It was my first lead role and I put everything into it. Obsessive. The feeling of being bathed in light, going through a huge journey, in front of people giving back their energy.... it was heaven. Outside of my terrible self criticism, of course. But it was an interesting transition in my life because, at 16, I became a kind of famous in my small city (Ft. incredibly isolated place for someone with big dreams). I was given a full interview by the local paper, in which I was misquoted - so that's how you know you are famous, suddenly I went from being my Mom's daughter to her being my Mom, little girls would hide behind their mothers when they saw me because they had seen the show and it impacted them so much (this happened for years), and my school life became a kind of celebrity culture for a while. I had status, simply by being an actor. So... kind of weird. I thought of it as training wheels for my inevitable...hey...wait a minute! The short answer: I feel more myself when I’m in flow in whatever art form I’m involved in at the moment. I feel open, and naked, and free, and often, yes... bathed in light. Nothing feels more beautiful.



A mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. To move or progress freely as if in a stream.

You are a professional Actor and have an extensive resume in stage, commercial and television. What is it about acting that you love?

Hm.... other than all of my previous rambling answers? I chose acting partly because it was the most open, easy things I'd experienced, and because it is also the most difficult. To be honest, and to face yourself, and the truth of the moment. But... like I said....terrifying, becau