My Crazy, Awesome Adventure – An Artist’s Story
So I decided to take up an artist’s residency because I felt like I needed the opportunity to develop and experiment with my work, in an intense and concentrated way.
My best work has always shown itself when I get out of my comfort zone, go out to weird places, experience weird things, and meet amazing (weird) people. I think I’m in the right place!
For my residency I am at the New Zealand Pacific Studios, in Rural New Zealand, in a little place near Masterton. Which is about an hour and a half out of Wellington. It’s beautiful, it’s quiet and at the same time super crazy!
Why did I choose to head to New Zealand? Well, not only did this residency look amazing, but also it was far enough away that I felt like I could really submerge myself in the experience.
Plus they still speak English (win) and it wasn’t too expensive.
It’s also far enough out of the big city I can run down the street naked and not see another sole and it’s close enough that I can make a trip into Welly for a bit of a ‘civilisation’ fix.
I do have small goals for this experience, (otherwise I’d probably just be wandering around staring at the sky all day) all going into the mega goal of developing myself as an individual and as an artist. Stepping-stones if you will, to guide me as I go along.
I’ve also wanted to really pin down what I need to draw on to produce my best work (emotions etc.) and how to deal with being with myself for extended periods of time (man, I can be SUPER annoying).
I’m hoping to walk away from this experience having met some wonderful people (honestly, if I don’t meet another person I can tick this box a hundred times), learnt a little more about myself, gotten better at playing my Ukulele and (hopefully) come home with some kick ass artworks!
I think the artists residency is a really great opportunity for any artist wanting to really develop, and are open to developing both their work and themselves, especially in this kind of residency.
There are so many kinds of residencies that artists can do, it’s actually really tricky trying to work out what works best for you’re situation!
For example you can choose to do a solitary residency (which I think would get a bit lonely), a sponsored residency (which means they fund the whole thing, but you have to do homework and fulfil obligations) and a course-based residency (studying while residing I suppose). There are also residencies purely for visual artists.
The one I’m doing however is a mixed media residency with artists staying together in the same place (sorry, I know it’s a long explanation, but I can’t think of an appropriate name for it right now.. maybe Multimixyartist residency?). This from my experience so far is nice, as you develop a sense of comradery, as you’re all working toward a similar goal (or you can at least tell each other you’re problems and they have some understanding of you’re pain).
So far on my adventure:
I’ve met some amazing people (obviously)! Both artists and people down the street I just started talking to. I’ve found all the New Zealanders to be lovely and wonderful (fyi). Let’s be honest, I haven’t found a single mean or grumpy person here, or even vaguely angry (even the lady working in the $2 shop in Masterton was lovely in telling me not to buy their umbrellas because they were terrible. I mean, come on, how nice is that!).
I’ve had some fantastic artsy discussions with my housemates, as well as having a hilarious time trying to explain how all our weird animals in Australia work (yes including the drop bear).
I’ve had some great walks/runs. The scenery here is just mind-blowing! I literally can see snow caped mountains and endless rainbows two minutes from the house (also it’s amazing to walk through the paddocks and rivers and things and not worry about evil, deadly snakes jumping out unexpectedly!) It’s so nice!
I’ve also managed to get some work done (oh-meh-gosh). I’m just starting to get into my groove and I’ve started to think I’m getting some good stuff out (yay)!
So I’m here for another three weeks before heading home (boo)…
By then I’m hoping my work will have progressed a huge amount. I’ll have met a bazillion more incredible people (Yay! Haha I love people) and maybe even have climbed a mountain!
Oh also Hobbiton and the WETA Workshop are high on my list!
Bring it on New Zealand you good thang!