Kevin Axtell is a Colorado native that currently residing in California, where he lived in both Sacramento and the Bay Area before moving on to the mountains where he lives now. Kevin first picked up juggling in high school from a friend that he was in a drama class. He went to attend his first juggling festival -The Lodi Juggling Festival- in 1999 and was hooked from that point onward. It was at this festival where Kevin was introduced to the flow and fire arts. Kevin has been juggling for almost 20 years now, and a flow artist for nearly 14. As a juggler he has a solid foundation in his practice. As a flow artist, it’s been really impactful in shifting his perspective in such amazing ways where he’s been able to meld manipulation and juggling simultaneously.
In fully delving into what it means to become a flow artist, Kevin had started to notice the contrast and similarities between the two cultures of flow and juggling. Kevin found the Flow Arts culture to embody aspects of being more fun loving, artistic in expression and communal. Whereas juggling comes off as focusing more on technique, sterile in the sense that events are held in well-lit indoor conditions.
Once Kevin started attending flow art events with increased frequency he started to fall in love with the people, the fun, the exuberance, the creative energies and how all of this freedom inspired Kevin into unlocking a whole other level of object manipulation.
This freedom of expression transcended just doing something with an object and turned it into participating into an energetic experience shared with other people. This isn’t to say that for Kevin there are not areas where Juggling outshines flow arts. For one there are greater examples of professionalism, putting on a show and a higher caliber of how to not just get a trick, but really nail it down to the point where you own it.
Kevin has come to realize in his experience with worlds that they have so much to offer one another; Professionalism and community, discipline and heart, creativity and repetitiveness. As Kevin watches these two worlds thrive and grow, he is fascinated with how they come together and he helps to facilitate their collaboration wherever he can.
Kevin is excited for the direction Flow Arts has taken with its growth, the expansion of more festivals and thousands of new practitioners not to mention the personal well being accessible through flow arts. It is a vehicle to physical fitness and motivation to be physically active and creative and serves for a cathartic release. Not to mention possibility of making a career as a performer and the community you become a part of. As a proponent of expanding the Flow Arts to the rest of the world, Kevin truly believes that it will make us all better happier humans to pick up a prop occasionally.