For this blog entry, I would like to share the experience I had as an artist-in-residence, the reasons behind participating in an artist residency, and the process.
What is an artist-in-residence?
It is a place where an artist can stay and work temporarily usually having a work plan based on the art that the artist already does at his/her studio. This opportunity offers conditions that are conducive to creativity and provides their guest with resources, such as working facilities, connections, audience, etc..
Conditions and selections
Usually the art centers that offer an artist in residence program have a preselection program. They will ask you for your type of work and why you want to participate in their program, i.e., why this specific center or this country? Usually there is a cost for the residency. It may include a room, meals, and studio space. You have to find out what exactly what is included in the residency, so you can plan ahead just in case.
Most artist-in-residence opportunities offer an application procedure which is open to artists from all nations, with or without deadlines. Usually the artists are asked to send in documentation, a curriculum vitae, and a project proposal. Each institute has its own policy and usually participation is planned a long time ahead from six months to years ahead.
My residency was at the Sanskriti Foundation, at Delhi, India. I used my time at the Sanskriti Foundation to focus on extracting the real flavor of Indian culture; for us (foreigners) many of the elements that are a part of daily life in India are quite different from our own culture. In my paintings I tried to represent things like the simple “paan leaves” that people in India have and enjoy in most of the cities; or the “chai” that is so steeped in tradition. My other subjects were the beautiful festivals that India has all year long and give life and color to it.
During the four weeks’ residency period I did a Series of 10 oil paintings. My schedule was split on taking photographs of the subjects to be painted and then working in the Studio for a longer period of time. For example I had a one-day photography tour around the city, followed by three or four days of Studio time depending on the creation of the artwork.
It was a very good experience for me not only for my art, where it gave me the opportunity to explore more in painting and having the time to being more creative with no distractions, but I also met wonderful people that now I consider part of my family.