My first solo show, Multiplicity, has been open for a week already! This summer has been a whirlwind. Seeing all my pieces come together in a show after working hard all summer was truly gratifying. I was pleased to see the pieces come together as a cohesive series and was thrilled by how outstanding everything looked after installing early last week.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the reception last Thursday in support of my work! I was overwhelmed by the initial positive response.
Going into this residency program, I set several goals for myself. First and foremost, I wanted to build a cohesive body of work. I spent a lot of time defining my focus for the show and now have a solid series of paintings I am proud of. I also hoped to grow as an artist. Not only did the technical side of my artistic ability increase immensely, I feel more focused and I developed a lot of ideas for the direction I want to go as an artist. Lastly, and probably most significantly, I wanted to use the experience to figure out if this is what I really want to do. I wanted to know if I was really cut out to paint, develop, and create all day, everyday.
Good news! I loved every second of this summer. Okay, so maybe not EVERY second (there were some stressful and frustrating moments), but I truly loved the experience and am even more inspired and excited for a future filled with creating artwork. I feel like I have taken a huge first step and hope to progress forward in a career in art.
During an interview on KEOS, I was asked if I had any advice for people thinking about applying to a residency program. I have been thinking about this question a lot lately.
From my personal experience, I have to say doing a residency is an incredible opportunity and anyone thinking about applying should do so. It gave me so many opportunities, particularly in helping me figure out what direction I am moving in. I will be graduating in December and needed this push forward in helping me know what I want to do. If you are already dead-set on pursuing art seriously, a residency can serve a different, but equally significant purpose. As an artist in residence, you have the opportunity to ask questions about your own work and your purpose; it is an opportunity to grow and find your identity as an artist.
To young artists about to start a residency:
Sit down and write out a list of goals and expectations of yourself. Spend time thinking about what you need to deliver and what you want to gain from the experience. Writing out this list will help keep you focused and organized in your purpose as the artist in residence. Start with large, general goals. My goals were to create a body of work, improve my techniques, and evaluate my ability to pursue further opportunities. After these general goals, think about each and come up with more specific points. For example, I wanted to create a body of work; thinking about this further helped me define the subject of my show, Multiplicity. Wanting to improve my technique forced me to work on sketching practices and painting exercises. Finding out if I want a career in art meant I would need to ask questions and meet people to learn about the business side of art. And the list goes on. I may not have hit every single point on my list, but I certainly feel a greater sense of accomplishment as it comes to a close, than if I had not set specific goals for the summer.
If possible, have no other commitments during your residency time. The more time you have to devote and focus on the residency, the more you will get out of the experience.
Be proactive and involved with the community. The Arts Council did a great job of marketing and reaching out to the community for me. I made a point to always say yes to suggestions about marketing and extra opportunities. Take control of your experience and be a person that people like working with!