20th – 25th June 2011
Balloons in Holes and Gaps a Serious Business
25 Stratford Grove
I approached the residency with an open mind. I didn’t know what to expect. I looked at the website to see what other artist were up to. The work was so different from each other I couldn’t get an idea. Which I think was for the best. So I tried to keep a clear mind and wait and see what would happen when I got to the house.
The house is so beautiful I was over whelmed at first by the relaxed atmosphere. It felt like a real adventure. When the taxi drove up the ally way, and Carole was waiting for me at the end, I was instantly excited by what could and would be created in the week. I found it interesting how the entrance is at the back of the house. The garage /studio / shop with its open glass front took my eye. And the open kitchen with large dining table / banquet table / board meeting room.
The house struck me as a productive, creative place; the perfect environment to retreat to make new work. I felt relaxed and welcomed. The house felt ordered and free at the same time. I think it was important to have a neutral space that was mine, that I could create its own characteristics over time. The garage became that place for me, with its traditional white walls. The white cube space acts as the science lab where I can dissect and look closely at ideas. The rest of the house felt like an arts space yet had a domestic feel and clearly belonged to some one else.I didn’t know what to expect. It was hard for me to come completely with out armour so I brought a few tools with me. Pencils sketch book and modelling balloons. I had used modelling balloons recently in my clown jobs but never in an art context. So I guess I was expecting to try out new things and discover new ideas.
The short amount of time to familiarise your self with a completely new place is a challenge. A sensory overload to enter a space as an artist knowing your there to make work. The pressure one has to make something satisfying, worthwhile, is forever present. I work instinctively. I have a physical response to space, a playful approach and look for the game in most situations so I really enjoyed the challenge. I think the looming idea that it will be discussed at the end of the week was a pressure; that what ever is created will be looked at. The short time span meant that ideas had to be formalised quickly and couldn’t really be changed half way through the week. I think this is a good discipline and highlights how you make work.The work evolved wonderfully and I feel the event went well. The work included all the areas of my practice, such as performance drawing and sculpture. I think the work was completed by the visitors that came to the house. The work really came into its own. I was happy that playfulness came up in the discussion as it is such a large part of the work and people felt included. The joy in discovery is an important to me and I’m glad that idea came across.
I enjoyed being in Newcastle. Discovering a new city. The time away to concentrate purely on making work. It was great to have that intense time. I found the discussion at the end very useful to get instant feed back and gain confidence in speaking about my work. Although at times the constant reminder that people would be coming to discuss the work was frustrating, because I wasn’t clear where the work was or where it was going. I think it was a unique experience to openly discuss ideas through out the week over dinner. This became part of the experience for me and helped reveal my process of making work. I think it would be a good idea to advise people to get a travel card at the beginning of the week.
I took away discipline and time management. It was great to see what could be achieve in just a week of complete focus. I will continue to use the drawing techniques I discovered in the week. I will continue to experiment with entertainment language in an arts context. The confidence to look for and be part of other residencies in the future.
More photographs of Ella’s event: http://www.artopolus.net/ella-golt/