Visiting Artist/ Residency Update.
Cam and I have been in Lexington, KY for two weeks now. We have been invited by our friend Ebony to have a visiting artist/ residency. Ebony is a fantastic artist with a wicked sense of style. She grew up in Jamaica but has been in the U.S. since graduate school. We are the pilot for a new type of visiting artist at her school. Her intention was to lock us in the gallery for three weeks, to work, and meet with students, so that we might inspire them and shake up their ideas about art.
some of her work
This trip thus far has been an up and down adventure.
We arrived the first week to talk to an art professions class only to learn on our way back to St. Louis, that our studio had flooded. Thanks to all the people at the studio and Nina's employees from SKIFF, my paintings were rescued, although I think I have lost a few drawings. Ebony was meanwhile dealing with her own sense of loss; she was hearing about friends missing and homes destroyed in Haiti. This gave me perspective on losing a few of my artworks. That night we took her to a few openings at RAC, Good Citizen, and on Cherokee St to distract her..
Returning to KY early Saturday, we began to unpack our things and ideas about the residency. I was really nervous to meet with the faculty Sunday night for dinner. When asked about our ideas for the project I fumbled over my words. (Uggh I hate when I'm not clear or I sound evasive.)
That first week we met with the classes. We gave powerpoints on our different ideas- drawing as a 3d medium, animated painting, and repurposed costumes. We also led them through writing and sketching ideas. I immediately clicked with Ebony's painting classes and we dove into animation lessons. I planned a thrift/ supply shopping trip with the Fiber's teacher Arturo Sanduval for the following weekend. Meanwhile I nervously prepared for a lecture for Friday. When I showed up for my lecture, it turned out I didn't have to go until the following week. I was relieved that meant I could re-edit my talk.
The Saturday shopping trip was fun. I got to meet three students Caitlin, Robbie, and Chung, in addition to hanging out with Arturo. Talking with these students reminded me of all the different life experiences students bring with them as they enter college. It also led to some serious conversations about life purpose, synchronicity, and art making, all in funny places like WalMart and Michaels.
Cam and I prepared for the following week on Sunday. Monday started with a gallop. Met with the Fibers Class. Tuesday was a full out run, 7am-8pm we worked with the drawing students and then stayed to fill in pieces. We had been anxious about getting something up on the wall and once we started we wanted to keep going. The rest of the week we met with painting and fibers students; each day inching closer with the room. Friday I gave my lecture and that was followed by a pizza social for all the collaborators. I was glad to hear a lot of positive feedback from the students. My presentation re-crafting had been effective. That night we watched Beautiful Losers with Ebony.
Saturday morning snow. We had hoped to have a handful of students helping us out, it had turned out to be a small group that regularly showed. I am reminded of my own university experience where there were a handful of us tride and true art students that continually came out for stuff.
The room is enormous and we've put in 18+ hours this weekend. It looks strong but I'm still waiting for the tipping point were some of the student drawings reach completion. Thus far this experience has been really gratifying career wise although the intensity of it has thrown Cam and I off our normal eating/exercising/sleeping routines. Hard labor. My back and shoulders keeps aching and Cam fell of a ladder today. Nonetheless I've been able to test out some ideas of collaboration and have integrated my animation, costumes, painting, and drawing rather seamlessly.
I am looking forward to our opening this week.