Monday, May 07, 2012

3rd street artist residency: epilogue

Impostition (indeterminate passage), 2012, acrylic on panel, 36" x 36"
One of several new works completed during my in-studio residency.

So much for getting another post up by last Friday, but, as I say in these situations, life happens...

Ok, so the in-studio residency has been over for a week now and the residual energy still reverberates throughout my being. That's the slightly poetic way of saying that the experience is still rocking my world.

As a recap, the genesis of this project goes back to the end of January, when I was looking for artist residencies to apply for to perhaps attend next year. After realizing that I had time constraints and financial obligations that precluded being away for much longer than a couple of weeks, it made sense to conduct my own artist residency in my studio. In addition, I had been working on various ideas and moving towards different projects for months and doing my own residency now meant that I didn't have to wait to go somewhere else months from now to bring those projects to a more resolved state. All I needed was time to work, so I took two weeks off from my job and shut myself up in the studio for the better part of two weeks. I set working times of 8-9 hours per day, and chose to be flexible about which 8-9 hours that would be. Some days I needed to sleep in a little, so I'd work later into the night and stayed overnight a few times.

I started thinking about and planning my residency right after posting about it. First, there was the issue of why was I doing this and what did I hope to get out of it. I actually wrote up a residency proposal to give the project a framework to start off from. It boiled down to needing the day-to-day engagement with the work and ideas I had. I wanted to produce a body of work that would encapsulate those ideas and provide a place to create a more solid body of work to show at my next solo exhibition at the Bridgette Mayer Gallery next year.

I made up a materials budget, purchased what I needed, and had my materials, including paints, paper, and wood panels, ready to go a few weeks in advance of the residency.  Next, I had to think about food. I needed to keep my food costs as low as possible and made up a list of things that I wanted to have, purchased what I needed and prepared simple meals at home to take with me to the studio each day. With all of that in place, I just went at it once the residency began. The first day was spent finishing up a couple of pieces that I had begun before the residency and they then led the way to much of the other work that I did over the two weeks.

During the two weeks, I was really able to let go and follow some lines of inquiry that had only been random thoughts in my head for months. The key with this project was having that day-in, day-out engagement that I ordinarily would not have. During a regular week when I work, there can be three, sometimes four days between studio time. I know that many of you reading this might have even more time away from your work and you know how rough that can be, sometimes.

For two weeks, I had time to make and complete a lot of work, and not only that, I also explored some art-making methods that I had not had the chance to do previously, so needless to say. this was a very productive and energizing project. If you can't get to a residency for whatever reason, I highly recommend considering doing your own. You might be surprised at how much good it can do you. I know that there's more that will come up about my experience that I'll bring up in future posts.


Liz Ruest said...

Great idea! I tried this for a week once, not quite as well-plotted, but along the same lines. It makes a huge difference! Congratulations on pulling it off.

Tim McFarlane said...

Thank you, Liz! It was a fantastic experience and if you can, I'd recommend trying it again, yourself. A project like this is one of the best gifts and artist can give themselves.

ara zeibarian said...

Tim, the piece you posted was great!!! you really have a handle on what you are doing.
keep up the great work---it's inspiring