OtherPeoplesPixels Interviews Mikey Kelly

Be Love Now v1.0 17.084. Acrylic on linen. 60" diameter x 1-1/2" depth. 2017.

MIKEY KELLY (@mikeykellystudio) explores the spiritual undertones of abstract painting. Line is his primary mark, and his meticulous methods yield surprising, vibrating networks of color. Mikey earned his BFA at University of Oregon and his MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is included in the permanent collections at the Cranbrook Museum of Art, the Frankl Foundation for Art and the Neiman Marcus Corporate Collection, and he has been an Artist-in-Residence at Kala Art Institute (Berkeley) and at Lucid Art Foundation (Inverness, CA). He's represented by Chandra Cerrito Contemporary(Oakland), where he has had two solo shows. His work is on view until May 20, 2018 in the Lucid Art Foundation Annual Artist Show at GRO in Point Reyes, California and in Proto_Pop at Dab Art in Ventura, California. Mikey lives and works in Napa, California, where he recently completed the Painted Poem Mural

OtherPeoplesPixels: In your statement, you say, “The paintings truly need to be seen in person to fully experience them.” What am I missing as a viewer who’s only seen your work online?

Mikey Kelly: Changing tonalities and perspectives can’t be caught by the single image capture of a camera and need an advanced brain and the higher resolution of the human eye to truly experience these effects. When one gets closer to the paintings colors begin to separate and what you may have thought was a blue was actuality your eye mixing two or even three different colors to make that blue. There are also times when the canvases seem to bow or stretch visually as one moves around the pieces. These paintings test the viewer’s visual, neural and perceptual plasticity.

Embattlements 13.218.1. Mild steel, powder coat. 26"H x 21"W x 4"D. 2013

OPP: You used to work in powder-coated steel (2011-2014). I see a formal connection between your current systems-based paintings and the line variations in the steel sculpture. Are the processes at all similar despite the difference in media?

MK: All my work starts with a line. Formally they begin at the same place, but the sculpture work is much older than the drawings and paintings. The sculptures did dramatically inform the drawing and painting from their beginning, as I was familiar with playing with lines and the patterns that overlaying subsequent lines create. The process of making work changed dramatically a few years ago when I moved from the sculptural realm to the two-dimensional.

Mantra (Om Namah Shivaya) 17.016. Acrylic on linen. 24"H x 24"W x 1-1/2"D. 2017.

OPP: Can you describe your algorithmic process for making paintings? 

MK: My process starts with an analog program using encryption methods developed for secretly passing information that can convert language into numbers. This is a generative way of designing paintings that leaves the outcome unknown. I start with a base 26 variation of a Vigenere cipher that allows me to convert language into numbers. The result is a string of numbers that I then use to calculate the angle of each series of lines. I end up with an algorithm that directs the line spacing, angle, line width and color in a predetermined sequence before I ever start painting. This means that I work with no preconceived idea of what the final piece will look like. Each series of lines results in color shifting and new interference patterns each step of the way.

Buddha 16.264. Acrylic on Linen. 11"H x 11"W x 1-1/2"D. 2016

OPP: How do you get such straight lines?

MK: The painting process starts with the construction of a scale outside the boundaries of the canvas. This allows me to use a straight edge to maintain the same angle across the canvas as each line is painted. I use a pin striping tool that was developed in the early 1900s—it is essentially a syringe with a wheel at the end. This tool allows me to paint consistent straight lines of the same width without variation.

OPP: What can the paintings do that the sculptures could not? And vice versa? 

MK: While both are quite formal, the paintings feel more like true expression of myself. Sculptures on the one hand allow space, distance, volume, light and shadow into play. This creates a lot of variables that a two-dimensional painting can never encompass. But the paintings have allowed me to incorporate outside interests into the design and underlying structure of the work. This is why I have been exploring ways of combining the two so I can incorporate what I love in both into one piece.

P.O.S., Acrylic on goatskin, wood and deer lacing, 62”H x 42”W x 1-1/2D.” 2018.

OPP: Recently, you’ve shifted away from the conventional rectangle to the circle and even stretched goat skin. What’s led you to this format change? Are these anomalies or an entirely new direction?

MK: This is definitely a new direction that the work is heading in. Working the way I do, I find that using a shape other than a square or rectangle allows for more freedom and a less confined feeling to the painting. This came about from working on a few murals and installations that I completed in the past year.

I have been working towards the goal of making more dimensional paintings that incorporate many different techniques and materials. I plan on incorporating more leather, steel and neon into my work in the near future. I find the flat surface of a painting to be confining and would like to see how warping or stretching the canvas or leather over other shapes will influence the viewing of the work.

The Happiness Project, 2018. StARTup Art Fair LA, Acrylic on Cardboard, 96”H x 192”W x 192”D.

OPP: Tell us about the Happiness Project.

MK: The idea was to make an installation that felt like the positive energy that was in the paintings. The Happiness Project started while I was preparing for StARTup Art Fair LA and was trying to figure out how I could transform a hotel room into a full immersive experience. I decided the way to accomplish this would be to fill the entire room by lining every square inch of the walls with painted cardboard panels. I began by taking two word positive affirmations, running them through my analog program and then painting the resulting angles on cardboard shipping pads. Over 30 panels were cut and fit around all the furniture, light switches and outlets.

After the initial installation, I had the opportunity to install the panels again this time at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary. For this iteration I decided to further cut the panels down and to also rotate them creating more complexity to the installation as the lines now ran both vertically and horizontally and the joints became more complex and varied.

The third iteration was as a Special Project Artist at StARTup Art Fair SF.  This installation became the backdrop for their panel discussion series and broadcast on Facebook live. This most recent version included much smaller pieces while still playing with the complexity of the previous version.

16.058. Acrylic on Paper. 40"H x 26"W. 2016

OPP: What does the phrase “spirituality hacking” mean to you?

MK: I started looking at different forms of religion and certain religious movements during a time I attended a series of events at the Rubin Museum in New York City. Most religious belief systems seem to have a short cut to attaining enlightenment or a closeness with God. Saying a certain prayer, doing a certain form of meditation or the spinning of a prayer wheel are all ways to cheating the system in a sense.

So this Idea of “spirituality hacking” became an element that I started incorporating in my work. I began by using the analog program I developed, which enabled me to take a prayer or mantra and to use it as the input. This then gave me a series of numbers that I could use as direction to paint from. This also led to incorporating rotations of the canvas during the painting process to create a painting as a representation of a spinning prayer wheel.

Mantra (Om Ami Dewa Hrih) 17.040. Acrylic on linen. 12"H x 12"W x 1-1/2"D. 2017.

OPP: But it sounds like the precise complexity of your process isn’t really a short cut at all. Perhaps the focus and flow of the studio is the direct path to enlightenment. . .

MK:  Although there are elements of my work that have a very spiritual jump off point, I feel like the work truly needs to be viewed as an abstract piece of art first and foremost. Throughout art history spirituality has played a very specific role. When abstraction began in painting, that role did not diminish; it just went unspoken. I have chosen to be vocal about the influences of spirituality in my practice. But if I am not there or if the wall label doesn’t tell you, then the work simply becomes a painting to be judged on its formal qualities.

Many people think that making this work must be meditational. Making these paintings means making the same type of mark thousands and thousands of times. Muscle memory aside, if I just leave the present for a moment while painting, I will make a mistake. It can be very stressful and physical. I endure the struggle because the end result contains such an amazing vibratory power. I hope the work brings joy and physical beauty into the lives of others and maybe helps them find a direct path to enlightenment.

See more of Mikey's work at mikeykelly.com.

Featured Artist Interviews are conducted by Chicago-based artist Stacia Yeapanis. When she’s not writing for OPP, Stacia explores the relationship between repetition, desire and impermanence in cross-stitch embroideries, remix video, collage and impermanent installations. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where received her MFA in 2006 Stacia was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at BOLT in Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include shows at Siena Heights University (Michigan 2013), Heaven Gallery (Chicago 2014), the Annex Gallery at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago 2014), The Stolbun Collection (Chicago 2017) and Indianapolis Art Center. Where Do We Go From Here? just closed at Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery (Palos Hills, Illinois). In conjunction with this improvised installation, Stacia invited eight OPP artists—Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, Brent Fogt, Melinda Thorpe Gordon, Jaclyn Jacunski, Jenny Kendler, Meg Leary,  Geoffry Smalley and Erin Washington—to respond to the text "Where Do We Go From Here?" Each artist approached the question from a different angle, emphasizing that both the We and the Here are not the same for each of us. For Chicago Artist Coalition's annual benefit Work in Progress, Stacia will create a one-night installation that solicits the help of benefit attendees.

OtherPeoplesPixels Interviews Nahúm Flores

Double Vision, 2011. Mixed media on canvas.

NAHUM FLORES (@nahum_a_flores) explores human emotion in drawing, painting and ceramics. His human figures and faces, often rendered in simple black lines, are profoundly expressive of the emotions associated with despair, loss, paranoia, dislocation and alienation, but they are not devoid of hope. The barren landscapes from which the characters emerge reflect Nahúm's personal experiences growing up in Honduras, surrounded by social upheaval and war, as well as his emigration from Honduras at the age of 14. Nahúm earned his BFA in Drawing and Painting at Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto. He exhibits internationally with group shows in Canada, Honduras, United States, El Salvador, Mexico, Croatia, Guatemala and Costa Rica. His solo exhibitions include Los Herederos at Museum of National Identity (Honduras, 2016) and Inheritors at Articsók Gallery (Toronto, 2014). Nahúm has been the recipient of a Pollock–Krasner Foundation Grant (2012), a Toronto Arts Council Mid-career Project Grant (2014) and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant (2016). He is one-third of Z’Otz Collective, a collaboration with artists Ilyana Martinez and Erik Jerezano. Together they created Greeting Silence (2017) at Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George British Columbia. Nahúm lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

OtherPeoplesPixels: The figures in your work are simply drawn, but evoke complicated human emotions. How does your drawing style contribute to the emotional intensity? 

Nahúm Flores: Over a long time, I have been making ink drawings in small sketchbooks in a diary-like manner and in mixed media on canvas and wood panels where I fuse drawing and matter. In my drawings, I work quickly from one to the next, spontaneously filling sketchbooks with minute line depictions that are simple or naïve in nature, but evoke issues from a subconscious level. Little figures or characters appear on the surfaces animated by their surrounding environments. Some of them are in dialogue with one another. Some seduce me to respond viscerally to them with phrases that I write. Others mock the viewer and blur out words.

I find great freedom and comfort working in this impromptu fashion because I feel I establish a genuine communication with myself. It is like a mirror reflecting images of memory, which surfaces as a poetic language of drawing and matter. The merging characters are sometimes funny and other times somber, showing both a dark and soft side of humanity. The landscapes they inhabit are barren and reference my personal history growing up in Honduras.

Untitled drawing

OPP: The figures are often really elongated or crouched down. Can you talk about these exaggerations?

NF: The process in which I work gives birth to characters in sequences. These characters dialogue with each other and linger in undefined spaces. They are characters of shifting identities that lure my imagination with ideas, interpretations and questions. Honduras is a country with both Indigenous and Catholic beliefs, and a lot of hybrid customs make their way into my work. The myth of the Cadejo is one I remember hearing the most when I was a kid. The Cadejo is a spirit that resembles a dog. There is a good one that is white and an evil one that is black. The Cadejo would appear to people at night, and it would transform from small to a big animal according to the curiosity of the viewer. They would visit houses in search of charcoal to eat in the bonfires. They loathed piloncillo (powdered brown sugar). The evil one would get you lost and make you crazy. This duality of good and bad is a theme that continually surfaces in my work. I see it as a metaphor of life. The dichotomy in my work is rooted in my beliefs, upbringing, and life experience.

from series Shaped by the Journey, 2013. Mixed media on flattened pop-cans.

OPP: Tell us about the drawings on found garbage like sardine cans and crushed soda cans.

NF: My ongoing series Dwellings (sardine cans) and Shaped by the Journey (soda cans) consists of drawings on objects I picked up from the streets. These discarded cans contain environments and history; they are symbols of waste. The drawings comment on some of the conditions of im/migration: disorientation, alienation, displacement, dehumanization, hope and adaptation. 

As a child in Honduras, I was influenced by, the social, economic, historical and environmental issues that shaped Central America in the 70s and 80s during the Cold War. Our everyday lives were affected by fear, paranoia, violence, poverty and war propaganda. I left my country of origin on my own at the age of 14, determined to find a better life, and experienced a challenging and incredible odyssey. I spent some years in Mexico and in the USA undocumented. This experience as a migrant drives me to reflect it through my work. 

A dwelling or home is associated with permanence, stability and a sense of place, often lacking in many migrants’ lives. In these drawings set within the objects, characters or dwellers peek out of their homes wearing mask-like faces. They appear to conceal their true nature.

In the series, Shaped by the Journey I use beverage cans that have endured hardship (e.g. being squashed by cars). I animate their beat-up discarded forms with characters that reveal multiple emotions. With tender irony and humor, my goal is to communicate a sense of containment and intimacy with these objects.

Clouds in the House, mixed media on canvas, 2017

OPP: The large paintings seem more about place and artifact than about the figure or human emotion. I’m thinking about Stones of LightPuddlesWindows of Wonder (all 2011), as well as In the Distance (2013). Can you talk about these works?

NF: A lot of my work is about memory and history. Memory of places, journeys, time, music, foods, books and people. When I work in large formats, I employ layers over layer of water-based and organic materials. The juxtaposition of these layers of materials mirrors terrains that denote history and buried pasts that yields to new realities and way of interpretation. The works you mention remind me of travels in Mesoamerica and Mexico to pre-Columbian archeological sites, such as Copan, Teotihuacan, Xochicalco. I am mesmerized by ancient Mesoamerican mythologies. When I travel to this region I feel their powerful presence. 

Stones of Light, 2011. Mixed media on canvas. 24" × 30."

OPP: I love the terracotta sculptures that are conglomerations of animals and humans all mashed together. The rendering of the animals and faces is certainly reminicent of Mesoamerican art. When did you first start working in ceramics? What does this new avenue add to your work that wasn't there before?

NF: I started working in ceramics in 2007. I find the material flexible and it allows me to explore with different visual elements. It also connects me to memories of childhood. When I was a child, I played with clay with my cousins in my village. We created characters from our imagination. Those characters would form part of our game worlds. 

Terracotta

OPP: Is working in 3D changing the way you make drawings?

NF: One of the amazing things with clay is that it allows you to draw, to play with volume, to add and subtract, to play with different spaces. Working in 3D teaches me different alternatives to do drawings, using different tools, but it also connects me to pre-Hispanic people, to the animistic elements of their culture.

Greeting Silence, work in-situ by Z'otz* Collective at Two Rivers Gallery, Prince George B.C.

OPP: Tell us about Z’Otz Collective.

NF: Z’otz* Collective is group of artists formed in 2004 by Ilyana MartinezErik Jerezano and me. We all have Latin American backgrounds. I first met Ilyana in 1999 at Ontario College of Art and Design University, and I met Erik in 2001 in Toronto. We use to belong to other collectives but for the purpose of exhibiting together. We meet weekly to collaborate on multi-media works, which include drawing, painting, collage, sculpture and site-specific drawing installations. 

Z’otz* is characterized by a collaborative spirit and the playfulness of our subject matter. Our quirky and often outrageous images use humor to explore ideas of transition, displacement, containment and evolution. We use multiple media to create works that denote a variety of visual elements. We implement a system of rotation, where everyone works at the same time but on different pieces. Our drawings are reigned by an intuitive drive as we spontaneously respond to each other’s marks. This allows us to exchange ideas and to observe the transformation of the work. We are interested in chance as a starting point, to establish a link between our individual subconscious. We play a game of riddles and improvisation where the only rule is that there are no rules. We have always been enamoured by characters of fables and popular tales from our heritage, that have the possibility of becoming something else and transforming into another body. Our fascination with these beings is multilayered; we often reflect upon the wonder of these transitional states. Mutation and transformation are key subject. . . a line can be a road to a fantastic universe where a snake becomes a monkey and a box a vehicle to catch dreams. Our work connotes the dynamism of the natural world and a close spiritual link to animals associated with many Indigenous Mesoamerican cultures. 

To see more of Nahúm's work, please visit nahumflores.com.

Featured Artist Interviews are conducted by Chicago-based artist Stacia Yeapanis. When she’s not writing for OPP, Stacia explores the relationship between repetition, desire and impermanence in cross-stitch embroideries, remix video, collage and impermanent installations. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where received her MFA in 2006 Stacia was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at BOLT in Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include shows at Siena Heights University (Michigan 2013), Heaven Gallery (Chicago 2014), the Annex Gallery at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago 2014), The Stolbun Collection (Chicago 2017) and Indianapolis Art Center (Indiana 2017). Her most recent installation Where Do We Go From Here? just closed at Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery (Palos Hills, Illinois). In conjunction with this improvised installation, Stacia invited eight OPP artists—Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, Brent Fogt, Melinda Thorpe Gordon, Jaclyn Jacunski, Jenny Kendler, Meg Leary,  Geoffry Smalley and Erin Washington—to respond to the text "Where Do We Go From Here?" Each artist approached the question from a different angle, emphasizing that both the We and the Here are not the same for each of us. For Chicago Artist Coalition's annual benefit Work in Progress, Stacia will create a one-night installation that solicits the help of benefit attendees.

Family-friendly Residencies

Momm and Popp Residency at Popps Packing — Detroit /Hamtramck, Michigan

Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but we typically schedule residencies 4-6 months in advance.
Application Fee: none
Residency Fee: $1000/ month
Length: 1-2 months; occasional 2 week residencies on a case by case basis
Stipend: none
Food: none

The Momm and Popp family residency, launched in 2016, invites parent artists into our unique arts ecosystem, to explore hybrid forms of life and work, in which children can become an intrinsic part of the workspace and creative experience.With the help of neighbors, local artists and past residents, we have been reimagining the various underused spaces that surround us into an artistic hub, creating a platform for local and visiting artists to explore installations, architectural interventions, and research based projects while also stabilizing our neighborhood.  Artists who participate in our program are generally interested in the unique context of Detroit and the many layered narratives that exist here. 

Families are housed in the Guest House (GH), a single family house across the street from Popps Packing and adjacent to our expansive green spaces and different workshop spaces. The (GH) is equipped with all the basics for small children (baby gates, playpen, crib, stroller, toys and books) and Popps staff can help coordinate childcare when needed. Artists have access to the Popps workshop (includes table saw, compound miter saw, oxy/acetylene torch, drill press, bench grinder, belt/disc sander, various other power and hand tools),  our gardens, and the Popps Mobile Sauna.  We provide bikes for guests to use during their stay. (Public transportation is questionable in Detroit, so we recommend a rental car, or in the warmer months, a bicycle).

Popps Packing offers artists many different environments to work in. In addition to the communal studios, we offer the various structures and empty lots around the Popps compound as sites for exploration. The abundance of land, raw materials and structures around Popps give artists many opportunities to realize ambitious site specific projects that could not be accomplished in a traditional studio environment.  

In addition to the housing, studios and facilities offered here at Popps, we also connect residents to our large network of local artists, resources, and organizational and institutional partners through informal gatherings, open studios, exhibitions and performances.

Popps requires that resident artists put in 10 hours per month to pitch in and help around the compound: general cleaning, building and grounds maintenance, building renovation projects, publications, p.r. and administrative assistance are some of the areas we always need help with*

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The Virtual Artist Residency at Millay Colony Residency — Austerlitz, New York

Deadline:  October 1 or March 1st
Application Fee: $37
Residency Fee: none
Length: just weekends for 1 month
Stipend: $1000
Food: Our chef cooks healthy delicious dinners and also provides food for residents to cook their own day-time meals.

The Millay Colony is an artists residency program in Upstate New York. We welcome 6-7 visual artists, writers and composers each month between April and November. We offer a number of flexible residency formats. all including a private bedroom and studio as well as all meals. We welcome artists of all ages, from all cultures and communities, and in all stages of their career. We offer ample time to work in a gorgeous atmosphere, organizing everything an artist needs for maximum productivity.

The Millay Colony will award one Virtual Residency each year. This residency is specifically for working artists and/or artists with children who could benefit from the support of a residency in modified form. The ‘Virtual Resident’ can participate in one of The Millay Colony’s month-long residency on weekends or no less than four total days during that month at the colony and will receive a stipend of $1,000 to assist in securing time off/childcare/art supplies or other resources necessary to the making of new work.*

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The Wassaic Family Residency — Wassaic, New York

Deadline: June 19th
Application Fee: $25
Residency Fee: $900 per month
Length: 1-8 weeks
Stipend: We may provide up to $300 per month in additional financial assistance based on artist need. Artists receiving financial assistance will be expected to donate  2 – 8 hours of their time per week working with our staff, depending on the level of assistance received.
Food: none

We recognize that artists who have families often opt-out of peer community building for practical reasons: residencies don’t often take children, events happen late at night, childcare is expensive.  Bowie, Jeff and Eve (Wassaic co-founders) have kids; they’re all artists.  They have families that they want to be with and not away from.  And they ALSO want to connect with other artist peer groups and build community.  While we can’t solve all these problems at once (yet!), we have solved the first one:  we now offer Family Residencies from November – April from 1 to 8 weeks in length.

Each Family will be provided with a private house complete with a kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, and three bedrooms. Artists will receive an adaptable raw studio space in the historic Maxon Mills. All studios are roughly 100 square feet. Artists will have 24 hour access to their studio and accommodations. Residents are required to bring everything they need for their creative practice. Each studio is provided with a table, chair and limited lighting. We do not provide any art materials.

We do not provide childcare for you child/children. They are expected to be under your care, the care of your spouse/partner, or a hired professional at all times over the course of your stay. We can, however, provide you with recommendations for babysitters and fun activities, like the Millbrook Zoo!*

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Marble House Project — Dorset, Vermont

Deadline: Applications are closed for the 2018 Season.  Please check back in early October, for the 2019 Season.
Application Fee: $30 
Residency Fee: none 
Length: 16 days (July 16th - August 1st) 
Stipend: none 
Food: Lunch is also provided so that the parent artists have more time to work uninterrupted in their studios. The staff at MHP also helps prepare dinner meals for the families.

MHP has one family friendly residency in 2018 that occurs from July 16th until August 1st.. This residency is for 16 days instead of 23.and is designed specifically for artist parents with children.   We understand that there are many parents who cannot or will not leave their children for a length of time and we realize that there are not many residencies that will allow children.  Marble House Project provides art and ecology programming and other physical and enriching activities for the children, weekdays, from 9 till 3pm. Lunch is also provided so that the parent artists have more time to work uninterrupted in their studios. The staff at MHP also helps prepare dinner meals for the families. 

Each family is provided one or two bedrooms depending on the age of the child and the needs of the parent.  Programming for the children is for 4yrs and older. If you are applying for this residency with a child who is younger than four you or your spouse may need to be responsible for the child’s care. If accepted, the family friendly residency is free to the artist and their child or children ages 17 and under. If you bring a partner or spouse who is not an accepted artist, there is a $200 fee to help defray the additional food costs. In addition, you will need to pay $100 upon contract signing as a place holder. This $100 is fully refundable at the end of the residency. Watch a video about this residency session.*

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The Luminary — St. Louis, Missouri 

Image courtesy of Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune Bloom

Deadline: July 31, 2018 
Application Fee: $25 
Residency Fee: none 
Length: 1-6 weeks 
Stipend: $500 + childcare stipend
Food: none

As a leading artist-run and artist-centric space, The Luminary supports exceptional ideas and initiatives by providing dedicated time, considered collaborations and a supportive working environment. The program is open to all artists, curators and critics, but uniquely supports the research, development and presentation of work that utilizes innovative forms and unconventional structures such as alternative spaces and economies, publications and writing, archives, collaborations, artist-led projects and experimental institutional practices.

Thanks to the support of the Sustainable Arts Foundation, we offer a dedicated residency for artists, critics and curators with children. While we are always supportive of proposals from artist parents, these select residencies will come with additional financial support, assistance with childcare, and a personalized environment for the unique needs of families. The Luminary, directed by parent-artists, offers an honorarium, childcare stipend, and a private family apartment during a dedicated summer session for parent-artists.

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Art Farm — Marquette, Nebraska

Deadline: passed; 2019 residency applications will open on Nov 1, 2018
Application Fee: $15
Residency Fee: none
Length: 2 weeks to 5 months
Stipend: none
Food: generally no. During the growing season, produce is available from an organic garden and if the chickens cooperate, there are eggs

Art Farm supports families/partners with up to two children by offering approximately 2000 square feet of studio and living space consisting of kitchen, bath, sitting and dining, two second floor private bedrooms and a fourth floor master bedroom with panoramic views of the countryside. The studio is on the third floor.

Art Farm’s mission is to support artistic vision, which may be impractical, obscure, and independent of commercial recognition—where failing is no less welcomed than succeeding. To offer artists, writers, performers, and others: studios, time, and resources for pursuing their range of expression, for experimenting, for developing projects, but most of all, for distilling the promise and potential of their creative enterprise, while working and living in a rural environment.

Art Farm's physical presence is in its buildings and land. More elusive to describe is the ambiance—the subtle influence of the environment's impact on time and space. The sun and stars measure your time, not clock and calendar. Space is shaped by proximity to sound and silence. The sky: your eyes: your ears will fill with the sound and shapes of an incredible number of birds and bugs. And, like it or not, the weather will be your collaborator in all undertakings.

Artists are expected to donate one piece of artwork to Art Farm’s collection. Everyone gives 12 hours assistance based on their skills, knowledge or interest to Art Farm each week in helping to run, build, or in some way improve the residency experience for those who will follow.*

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Caldera Arts Center — Sisters, Oregon

Deadline: March 15th for the following winter
Application Fee: $35 for individuals; $75 for collaborations; if this fee is a barrier, please call
Residency Fee: none
Length: 3.5 weeks (January-March)
Stipend: Depending on funding, stipends may be available for residents. We do not require a separate application for stipends and will let finalists for residencies know if funding is available.
Food: One shared dinner each week. Residents provide all other meals for themselves.

Every winter from January through March, creative individuals, collaborations, and performing ensembles are awarded the gift of time and space at our beautiful Arts Center in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Sisters, Oregon. Residencies are open to US-based and international artists in any discipline, as well as creative thinkers in culinary arts, design, and the sciences. Artists at any stage of their careers who are not current students are eligible. 

Residencies are also available for parent artists who would like to bring their children and another caretaker. Children and caretaker can come and go as needed. Artists-in-residence stay at Caldera for the entire duration of the residency. Families are assigned a private a-frame cabin with 3 or 4 beds and (if requested) a separate studio.Caldera has two pack and plays, two high chairs, baby gates and outlet covers for families to use in their cabin and/or studio. Winter in the mountains provides lots of opportunity for outdoor fun for children (sledding, snowshoeing, building forts, etc.). Caldera does not provide or arrange childcare, but there are providers that serve our area.

Residents are provided a private cabin with sleeping loft, living room/work area, kitchenette, bathroom with shower, and a porch overlooking Link Creek or with a view of Blue Lake. Wireless internet is available in all cabins. There is little to no cell phone service. Cabin kitchens have a coffee pot, two-burner stove, microwave, small refrigerator, dishes, and pots and pans. Residents also have access to a full commercial kitchen in the Hearth Building. Cabins are heated by electric heat and most include wood stoves (with wood provided).

Visual artists work in one of Caldera’s two studios. Campbell Studio is a semi-private space that holds two studios for visual artists of all kinds. One side of Campbell Studio has two kilns, drying shelves, a work table, sink and counter; the other side has large walls, a work table, a large and small sink and counters. Studio B has large walls, a sink, counter, work table, a darkroom with related equipment, and an etching press. Both studios include natural light and large loft spaces above the main floor.

Caldera has identified the following as priorities for our Artists in Residence Program, and selection is made with these in mind: (1) Supporting artists of color: Caldera’s AiR cohorts will be made up of at minimum 50% artists of color. (2) Supporting community-engaged work and teaching artists: Caldera prioritizes supporting artists who wish to engage with our youth and broader community through teaching or other activities. (3) Supporting parent artists: Caldera is one of the few residencies that allows parent artists to attend with their children and an additional caretaker. (4) Supporting geographic diversity: Caldera values geographic diversity in our AiR cohorts – i.e. rural and urban, artists from both inside and outside Oregon, and international artists.*

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Previously highlighted residencies that are family-friendly:

The McColl Center — Charlotte, North Carolina

Partners and children of artists-in-residence may stay in the provided condominium during the residency term. However, partners will not be allowed to use McColl Center workspaces, facilities, equipment, or materials. Artist couples must apply individually; if both are accepted, each will be offered a studio. Pets are not allowed in the condominiums or studios. Exceptions may be made for registered service pets.

OtherPeoplesPixels Interviews Amy Babinec

Golden Rule Mine (Glass), 2016. Acrylic on panel. 12 x 16 in.

AMY BABINEC's (@amybabinecdrawings, paintings and plaster casts are driven by the recovery of memory. Informed by her educational background in Archeology, she emphasizes the fragment and the excavated object as poetic stand-ins for all that is lost. Amy earned her BFA in Painting and Drawing at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA in Visual Art from University of Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include Remnants (2015) at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois and Underlayer (2012) at Morton College Gallery in Cicero, Illinois. Amy's upcoming solo show Golden Rule opens at Riverside Arts Center’s FlexSpace (Riverside, Illinois) on June 2, 2018 and runs through July 7, 2018. The opening reception is on Sunday, June 3 from 3-6 pm. Amy lives and works in Evanston, Illinois.

OtherPeoplesPixels: Generally speaking, how do fragments relate to the whole in your work?

Amy Babinec: My work uses fragmentation as a metaphor for memory and the failure of memory. So many of my memories are fragmentary, particularly of my childhood. Images such as a wallpaper pattern, a book cover, and the smooth texture of a rock, conjure up a host of memories of my family, and a reminder of their loss over the years. Objects isolated from their environments can become artifacts, evidence and mementos. Subtracting context leaves the object open to fantasy and speculation. These fragments embody the nostalgia and longing I have for family relationships for those who have passed on. The objects become substitutes for keepsakes and stories from my own family. 

Reenactment 14, 2009. Oil on canvas. 24 x 18 inches.

OPP: In your 2017 artist statement, you say,"By combining elements of archaeology, personal history, and fiction, I set up an opposition between abstraction and figuration, past and present.” And I see this very much in the series Reenactment (2009-2010). Can you talk about this body of work in relation to this statement?

AB: I created the Reenactment paintings in graduate school at the University of Chicago. As an instructor of a beginning painting class, I found stacks of paintings that college students had discarded after the class ended. Many of the paintings were abstract, thus presenting an opportunity to use them as a free-association prompt. I selected and cropped the abandoned student paintings that had compositions, spatial relationships, or colors that reminded me of a place, person, or situation from my early life in Belleville, Illinois, the town in southern Illinois where I grew up. For example, a vivid orange geometric abstractioncould be turned into the orange brick cul-de-sac behind my elementary school. I intervened in the paintings with the minimum I needed to do in order to visualize that memory. The resulting paintings remain abstractions, but with my memories (the figuration) embedded within it.

Wildwood Mine, 2015. Plaster, 4 15/16 x 4 5/16 x 3/4 inches.

OPP: When did you first start making work based on artifacts found in abandoned coal mines?

AB: I started my research into this topic in 2009 when my parents discovered cracks in their basement foundation in their house in southern Illinois. The cracks were caused by subsidence, or the collapse of coal mines under the surface. Unfortunately, the area under their house, and most of the town, was undercut by underground coal mines which had been operated by individual owners or small companies from the late 1800s to the 1950s. Buildings and roads on the surface could prove unstable because of hidden processes under the earth and could cave in at any time. I was struck by the metaphorical possibilities of that phenomenon, that events in the past could affect the present, sometimes suddenly and drastically.

I used Illinois State Geological Survey maps, Google Earth maps and historical records, and triangulated the location of mines, then drove out to find them. These sites were largely on private land. Many had been completely erased from the surface, but some had pits, coal and slag piles, railroad tracks, and other evidence of the coal industry. I discovered that many of the abandoned mines had been used as a trash dump for domestic items such as plates and cups from the 1880s to the 1960s. As part of my studio practice, I visit the abandoned mine sites throughout the year, conduct surveys and digs and bring artifacts and documentation back to my studio in Evanston, Illinois.

Hill Mine Grid 3, 2013. Acrylic. 30 x 30 inches.

OPP: You work in a variety of drawing and painting media, as well as cast plaster. How do you make choices about which fragments should be painted in watercolor or oil versus cast in plaster? Does the object dictate this?

AB: I am a materials and techniques nerd. I enjoy the process of experimentation (most of the time!) to find the technique that fits the idea. In the Subsidence project, I have used a variety of materials to interpret the data I have found. I document the mine sites through drawings, video, and photography, and collect personally resonant objects to bring back to my studio. My focus on particular facets of this process leads to the media that will reflect my investigation.

Abandoned, Golden Rule Mine, Lenzburg, Illinois, 2017. Watercolor, colored pencil, and charcoal on paper. 11 1/4 x 15 inches. 

OPP: In both Golden Rule and Remnants, the found objects are isolated from their original context in backgrounds of (almost) black or white. Is this an erasure of the sites that inspire your work? Why or why not?

AB: My background includes a masters degree in Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland and twenty years’ experience as a museum professional. I use archaeology as a touchstone throughout much of my work. The white background evokes the practice of archaeological illustration of objects uncovered at a dig, and the photographic documentation of objects in a museum. I also use the square format as a reference to an archeologist’s grid. I often show objects in a meditative, quiet manner echoing the precision of archaeological drawings. I repeat certain objects, such as a spoon, to provide a sense of scale, following the archaeological practice of including a ruler or penny in photographs of finds.

Unlike an archaeologist, I am selective about what I collect at a site and represent in my work. Recently I have been most drawn to domestic artifacts dating from my grandparents’ generation in the early to mid-twentieth century. For example, a small triangle of colorful glazed ceramic, which had been broken off from a figurine of a house, takes on further resonance for me. I feel the pathos of this object, once highly valued by someone, but now abandoned by its owner to be buried in the dirt and be subjected to the elements. 

To see more of Amy's work, please visit amybabinec.com.

Featured Artist Interviews are conducted by Chicago-based artist Stacia Yeapanis. When she’s not writing for OPP, Stacia explores the relationship between repetition, desire and impermanence in cross-stitch embroideries, remix video, collage and impermanent installations. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where received her MFA in 2006 Stacia was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at BOLT in Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include shows at Siena Heights University (Michigan 2013), Heaven Gallery (Chicago 2014), the Annex Gallery at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago 2014), The Stolbun Collection (Chicago 2017) and Indianapolis Art Center (Indiana 2017). Her most recent installation Where Do We Go From Here? just closed at Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery (Palos Hills, Illinois). In conjunction with this improvised installation, Stacia invited eight OPP artists—Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, Brent Fogt, Melinda Thorpe Gordon, Jaclyn Jacunski, Jenny Kendler, Meg Leary,  Geoffry Smalley and Erin Washington—to respond to the text "Where Do We Go From Here?" Each artist approached the question from a different angle, emphasizing that both the We and the Here are not the same for each of us. For Chicago Artist Coalition's annual benefit Work in Progress, Stacia will create a one-night installation that solicits the help of benefit attendees.

Residencies with a Cause: Social Justice

The art residencies in this week's post each support artists whose work addresses social justice. In some cases, the entire organization is devoted to social justice. In others, residencies that accept all kinds of artists make an intentional space for artists working at the intersection of art and social justice. We also highlight two fellowships.

WITHERS RESIDENCIES AT CROSSTOWN ARTS — Memphis, Tennessee

Deadline: July 15, 2018
Application Fee: $10 (applicants may apply for an economic hardship waiver)
Length: 20 days - 3 months
Stipend: $1000 stipend for each artist.
Food: Meals are provided six days a week at the Crosstown Arts cafe which is open to the public. Breakfast and lunch are taken at the resident's choosing; dinners are communal. All meals are plant-based and feature seasonal and organic ingredients.

The multidisciplinary artist residency program at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, Tennessee, offers residencies for visiting and Memphis-based visual and performing artists working in any creative discipline as well as musicians, filmmakers, and writers in all genres. Withers Residents, in particular, are individual artists of color working in any discipline who ambitiously addresses the intersection of race and social inequality in their work.

All residencies include a private studio workspace with meals provided six days a week. Live/work residencies also include a private bedroom/bathroom next to a common living area and a shared kitchen for all residents. A family housing option is available, as well as accessible housing for residents with disabilities. All residencies are offered at no cost to participants, who are responsible to cover their own studio materials and travel expenses to and from Memphis.

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SANTA FE ART INSTITUTE THEMATIC RESIDENCY— Santa Fe, New Mexico

Deadline: The 2018 deadline has passed. SFAI typically announces the annual theme and open call for applications in early October with the deadline to submit in early February. These dates are subject to change. 
Application Fee: $35 
Residency Fee: a refundable $150 security deposit is required 
Length: 1-3 months 
Food: We provide basic foodstuffs (such as, olive oil, bread, cereal, peanut butter jelly/jam, coffee and tea), however residents are responsible for all other groceries and preparing their own meals.

The Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) is a hub for creative engagement and social change. At SFAI, we are artists, innovative thinkers, and engaged citizens. We cultivate creative leadership and invest in community, culture, and place to re-imagine a more equitable world.

We fulfill our mission through our artist residency and fellowship programs, workshops and trainings, community projects, and events. Much of our programming relates to an annual theme, which is focuses on relevant social issues such as Equal JusticeWater Rights, and Immigration / Emigration. The 2018-2019 theme is Truth and Reconciliation.

SFAI sponsors more than 80 residencies and fellowships per year for creative practitioners from all over the world, and offers visionary, social justice theme-focused programming that addresses pertinent questions facing diverse regional and global communities.

As part of our sponsored international thematic residency program, SFAI offers, at no cost to residents, a furnished private room and bath; communal kitchen, dining room, lounge and laundry facilities; semi-private studio, common work spaces, gallery/event space and art library; wireless internet, breakfast foods and bicycles. SFAI does not have specialized facilities, but provides basic tools and a membership to MAKE Santa Fe.

The month of July is reserved expressly for our Family Residency, which provides living and working space for parent-artists, their spouses/partners, and children.  All parent-artists interested in attending the Family Residency must apply for and be accepted into the thematic residency program.*

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THE LAUNDROMAT PROJECT: CREATE CHANGE RESIDENCY— New York, New York

Havanna Fisher Newby, Harlem Motion, 2016. © Marisol Diaz, 2016

Deadline: passed; check back at the end of 2018 
Application Fee: none 
Residency Fee: none 
Length: 6 months 
Stipend: $7500 in honoraria and up to $2500 in production funding

The Laundromat Project offers residencies for artists interested in developing and mounting a socially-engaged, socially-relevant, and participatory public art project in their local laundromat and/or other community public spaces. This opportunity is intended to move artists from a conventional public art model of simply placing static art objects in public spaces to one that emphasizes the ways art and artists can serve as catalysts for social action, problem-solving, and relationship building in their own communities.

The Laundromat Project supports up to five Create Change residencies for 6 months a year. The residency is for artists and makers of all disciplines, including cultural producers, community organizers of color living in or deeply invested in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Hunts Point / Longwood, our three anchor neighborhoods. This residency is designed to deepen the community engagement practice by participating in our intensive workshop series while developing and mounting a socially-engaged and participatory public art project in their local laundromat and/or other community public spaces. This is an ideal opportunity for artists in the early to mid stages of their careers that have experience doing socially-engaged art.

Also Available: The Create Change Fellowship Program is for up to 15 artists and makers of all disciplines including, cultural producers, and community organizers residing in New York City or near, who may not necessarily have experience doing socially-engaged creative projects. The Fellowship offers an intensive learning environment on how to do community-based work better and to deepen their creative practice. The fellowship takes place at our learning spaces in our three anchor neighborhoods: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Hunts Point / Longwood.

The Fellowship runs from April to October. Participation in the program requires a significant time commitment of roughly 200 hours. Thanks to the generosity of the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Andrew Mellon Foundation the Create Change Fellowship is free of charge. However, upon acceptance into the program, participants will be required to put down a refundable deposit of $100 that will be returned upon successful completion of the program. The Fellowship does not include a stipend*

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EMMANUEL COLLEGE ARTIST RESIDENCY — Boston, Massachusetts

Deadline: February 1 
Application Fee: none 
Residency Fee: none 
Length: 8 weeks (June - August) 
Stipend: $1000 dollars and reimbursement for travel and visa up to an additional $1000 
Food: none

The Emmanuel College Art Department offers an eight-week artists residency to four artists each summer. The residency supports a diverse group of artists, providing time and space for established and emerging artists to develop their work. However, the Art Department specifically aims to award a residency to one individual from each of the four categories: ceramics, photography, printmaking and social justice. Fostering creative and artistic excellence, the residency also plays an important role in advancing the visual arts on the Emmanuel campus, providing an important educational program on contemporary art accessible to students, staff, and faculty.

Lodging is provided in the college dorms, with access to a small kitchen. Residents have access to communal college studio facilities with ample space sharing - ceramics, wood shop, print shop, darkroom, design lab and drawing studio. Emmanuel will host a closing exhibition for all resident artists to participate in and show the larger community the end result of your work.

Artist Responsibilities: •Artist must agree to give a presentation during the 2018/19 academic year - two artists may be invited back based on teaching needs •Artists must devote 3 hours to Emmanuel’s summer art history course, Contemporary Art and Artistic Practice, discussing their own process. •Artists will donate one piece to Emmanuel College at the end of the residency*

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BLUE MOUNTAIN CENTER — Blue Mountain Lake, New York

Deadline: Our next application period will open November 1, 2018 for the 2019 season.
Application Fee: $25
Residency Fee: none
Length: 4 weeks
Stipend: In 2017 generous BMC alumni and the Adirondack Foundation established a Resident Support Fund to provide financial assistance to 2018 applicants who require additional resources to participate in BMC's Residency program and meet criteria specified by donors. Upon acceptance to a Residency, qualified applicants will be invited to request funding if needed. One applicant will be awarded the Boren Chertkov Residency for Labor and Justice.
Food: Yes

Blue Mountain Center, founded in 1982, provides support for writers, artists, and activists. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the center also serves as a resource for culturally-based progressive movement building. We expand and deepen conversations among cultural workers and support projects that emerge from these dialogues.

During the summer and early fall, BMC offers three month-long residency sessions. These sessions are open to creative and non-fiction writers, activists, and artists of all disciplines—including composers, filmmakers, and visual artists. Applications are reviewed by accomplished authors and artists. They are particularly interested in fine work that evinces social and ecological concern and is aimed at a general audience.

Blue Mountain Center also hosts several weekend conversations during the spring and fall months each year. They bring together individuals to talk about pressing social problems such as civil liberties, environmental health and safety, peace, and economic justice.

Guest rooms are simple and comfortable. Residents are lodged in individual bedroom/studies in the Main House or the Grey Cottage.

Please note that cell phones are prohibited at Blue Mountain Center. We've found that cell phones and the constant connectivity they entail conflict with our mission and detract from the experience of being here. We have a phone booth with unlimited long distance calling available for resident use. There is no Wi-Fi.*

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Fellowships, unlike residencies, generally do not provide space. Fellowships usually include unrestricted, larger chunks of money awarded based on merit. Fellowships usually have some kind of limitation in regards to subject matter, geography, medium or identity. This follows along with the idea that a fellowship is in pursuit of some joint goal. Halcyon Art Labs is an exception, as it is a unique model, a hybrid residency/fellowship. (More on Fellowships in a later post!)

HALCYON ARTS LAB — Washington, D.C. 

Deadline: April 4
Application Fee: none
Stipend: A competitive financial scholarship to support living and material costs
Length: September 10, 2018 - June 28, 2019
Housing: Nine months of off-site residential accommodation (eligible for non-D.C. residents only)

At the intersection of art and social change, this nine-month residential fellowship is designed to provide support and resources to emerging artists working on projects which address issues of social justice, civic engagement, and community building. Arts Lab fellows strive to hone their practices and grow as leaders in their respective fields. Adapting the well-honed methodology of the Halcyon model, Halcyon Arts Lab fosters creativity through a supportive environment of space, access, and community. The program accepts six national and international fellows as well as two Washington, DC-based artists in each cohort. 

Halcyon is committed to the vibrant community of artists living in Washington, DC. We see tangible value in supporting artists whose projects may require ongoing community relationships that last beyond the nine-month residency. For that reason, Halcyon has chosen to allocate two of the eight fellowships to DC-resident artists.<

Halcyon Arts Lab Fellows have access to the following: Dedicated studio space; a program of classes, artist talks, studio visits, civic engagement opportunities, and critiques; mentorship and critique from an experienced arts professional in the fellow’s field; opportunity to mentor DC high school students to provide guidance and inspiration in developing the next generation of socially-engaged artists; collaboration and networking with fellow artists, social entrepreneurs and our program partner organizations in Washington, D.C.*

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A BLADE OF GRASS FELLOWSHIP

Deadline: September
Stipend: Artists receive $20,000 in minimally restricted support.

We look at the process and relationships of socially engaged art projects.

We see the aesthetic qualities of socially engaged art in how alliances are formed and maintained, the way disparate stakeholder groups are coordinated, how power dynamics are navigated, and how bridges are built between many different types of people within a socially engaged art project.

We create content that illuminates and deepens understanding of these relationships. A primary goal of ABOG is to make the “invisible” parts of socially engaged art visible. We do this through documentary films and field research that are artist-led, and are grounded in the perspective of project participants, as well as publications, web content, and public programming.

We also use this focus on process and relationships to advocate for a more expanded sense of what art is, how artists can work in communities, and how art might be integrated into everyday life. Our field research, documentary films, and other content serve as the basis for curriculum, toolkits, and consulting that enable more artists to work in partnership with non-artist stakeholders.*

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NEXT UP: Family-friendly Residencies

*Please note: italicized text is taken directly from the informational websites of the residencies.


OtherPeoplesPixels Interviews Hector Arce-Espasas

Dancers (Metallic), 2015. Fruits, Flowers and Porcelain. Dimensions Variable.

HECTOR ARCE-ESPASAS explores the relationship between desire and exploitation by employing the loaded symbols of tropical paradise in paintings, ceramics, and screenprints. Hector earned his BFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA at Hunter College in New York. He has had solo exhibitions at Taymour Grahne (2016) in New York, Evelyn Yard (2015) in London, and Luce Gallery (2014) in Turin, Italy. In 2016, he was named one of 10 Exceptional Milennials to Watch by artnet.com. Hector lives and works in New York. 

OtherPeoplesPixels: Can you talk about the myth of the Tropical Paradise and how you use it/subvert it in your work?

Hector Arce-Espasas: Throughout the history of mankind, different cultures, in their pursuit of the ideal, have invested symbolic meaning into objects and elements of their environment. In the process of exteriorizing inner quests, these objects have become sensuous representations, i.e. symbols that express intangible truths or states. A symbol corresponds to a precise time in history and it transcends history to become universal in its function as an image. Universality of the symbolic image enables the transformation and adaptation of the symbol by different cultures, but this process also carries numerous misconceptions, misappropriations and colonial fantasies.

The idea of the Tropical Paradise is the present day transmutation of the ancient historical myth of the Garden of Paradise. The concept of Paradise as a garden is found in most eastern cultures: a secure, everlasting place in which Man can transcend his frail human condition. In biblical terms the notion of Paradise became associated with the Garden of Eden. Its earthly representation became a walled garden with dominant water features and planted with date palm trees. In western societies, this idyllic garden idea was often associated with the Latin term Locus Amoenus, a pleasant place which in time became a poetic convention for a description of an idyllic setting where a romantic encounter could occur or which belies an impending threat. 

The transformation of the eastern idea of the Garden of Paradise into the western version of Eden as Paradise combined with the notion of the Locus Amoenus became the seeds for the creation of the new Tropical Paradise: an exotic, idyllic place with palm trees by the sea. Unlike its theological version, this Paradise is within easy reach, ready to be appropriated, consumed exploited and spoiled. In present times, commercial media and the advertisement industry have successfully reconfigured some of the Paradise images, within different contexts, transforming their traditional meanings, adapting them and making them trans-cultural, with far more reaching and readily consumable results.

Untitled (red) Clay Paintings, 2014. Stoneware and Acrylic on Linen. 60" x 72"

OPP: Palm trees and pineapples are recurring images in your work. Are these symbols stand ins for Tropical Paradise?

HAE: All the compositional elements from this garden are transfigured and transubstantiated to recreate the new Paradise. The river becomes the sea. The coconut palm tree, brought from the Pacific Islands by the Europeans to the coasts of West Africa and the islands of the Caribbean, replaces the date palm tree as the official iconic image for this new exotic landscape. The insertion of the pineapple as the attainable, sensuous new fruit of this Tropical Paradise emerges. My images visually demonstrate how easy the association and transition from the date palm tree to the pineapple might have occurred; thus becoming the fruit associated with the coconut palm tree. 

No, these are not paintings they are Pineapple Decor, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas. 60" x 79"

OPP: Can you talk about the abstract screen print works? I have a sense that this is representational imagery, but blown up so large that its referent disappears?

HAE: Some of the work deals with the deconstruction and recombination of images of the pineapple, in order to demystify its meaning as a fruit representative of the Tropics. The images lure and repel while playing with the idea of the pineapple as the easily attainable commercial fruit of the Tropical Paradise. This idea is extended metaphorically in regard to having viewers question their expectations of a Tropical Paradise in itself: at what cost, to their own reality or to that of the place to stand for their fantasies.

Still of Paradise (Purple Shade of Light), 2017. Acrylic on Canvas. 24" x 29"

OPP: You’ve recently shifted into more painterly representations, whereas in the past, the palm tress have been more graphic and reproduced through printmaking processes, which connects them to mass produced media. What led to this shift?

HAE: After a few years of working with printmaking, I wanted to take a shift from the mechanical to the hand-made process without loosing the elements that I was working from. The paintings that I did in the past are created by photographing palm tree leaves then zooming in to create an abstraction. Then the images were made into transparency that get exposed into a screen. The end result is painting with acrylic and the use of large format screen-printing. I use a similar process with the derriere paintings. First a model derriere wearing jeans gets directly painted, later she makes a mono print using her derriere in the canvas leaving the in prints by her moves (similar to Yves Klein). Later these are photographed and altered using the same method as the palm tree paintings.

Dancers (White), 2016. Fruits, Flowers and Porcelain. Dimensions Variable.

OPP: It’s really jarring to see the body—well, the hips and ass, in particular—as a vessel for serving fruit. How does this work speak to exploitation of the Caribbean world?

HAE: My intention is to leave interpretation open to the viewer. Sometimes I like to ignite dislike, discomfort, disagreements with the elements I choose. A good example is the derriere sculptures. Its an image we constantly see exploited, usually direct in the Latin culture. As once the pineapple or this idea of the tropical paradise was a coveted and luring concept, in today’s culture it is the derriere. My last installation of the sculptures, named Ode to Paradise was made into a pyramid like stage/shape with a lot of tropical foliage on the top with the idea of empowering the figure, which I feel is what our culture has greatly done.

To see more of Hector's work, please visit hectorarceespasas.com.

Featured Artist Interviews are conducted by Chicago-based artist Stacia Yeapanis. When she’s not writing for OPP, Stacia explores the relationship between repetition, desire and impermanence in cross-stitch embroideries, remix video, collage and impermanent installations. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where received her MFA in 2006 Stacia was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at BOLT in Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include shows at Siena Heights University (Michigan 2013), Heaven Gallery (Chicago 2014), the Annex Gallery at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago 2014), The Stolbun Collection (Chicago 2017) and Indianapolis Art Center (Indiana 2017). Her solo installation Where Do We Go From Here? is on view at Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery (Palos Hills, Illinois) through April 20, 2018. In conjunction with this improvised installation, Stacia invited eight OPP artists—Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite, Brent Fogt, Melinda Thorpe Gordon, Jaclyn Jacunski, Jenny Kendler, Meg Leary,  Geoffry Smalley and Erin Washington—to respond to the text Where Do We Go From Here? Each artist approached the question from a different angle, emphasizing that both the We and the Here are not the same for each of us. 

Residencies with a Cause: The Environment

Here at OPP, we know that you'd rather spend your time in the studio, not researching ways to get more time in the studio. Today we're highlighting residencies in the U.S. that are oriented towards environmental concerns and a more intimate relationship with nature. Keep in mind, this list is by no means exhaustive. It's really just the tip of the iceberg. In two weeks, we'll highlight residencies with an orientation towards social justice. 

Recycled Artist in Residence — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Deadline: 2018 call has closed. 2019 applications will open in Fall 2018
Fee: none
Funding: none
Application fee: July 1st- 30th:  $15; August 1st- 31st: $20; September 1st- 30th: $25
Length: standard residency is 1-3 months; the Biggie Shortie is 2-4 weekends

Situated inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company in northeast Philadelphia, RAIR offers artists studio space and access to more than 350 tons of materials per day. Since 2010, RAIR has provided a unique platform for artists to work at the intersection of art, industry and sustainability, while producing content that challenges perceptions of waste culture.

THE STANDARD RESIDENCY: a longer, more traditional studio based program. Standard residents are given access to waste materials and a studio space. THE BIGGIE SHORTIE: a shorter, more project based residency. Big project in a short amount of time. The flexible nature of Biggie Shorties allow for projects to be customized to fit each residency. This residency includes partial access to shop and studio as well as full access to outdoor installation/workspace, but does not a private studio.*

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Recology — San Francisco, California

Deadline: Applications are accepted June 1 – September 1
Application Fee: $20
Residency Fee: none; artists also receive a stipend
Length: 4 months
Stipend: $1200 a month

The Artist in Residence (AIR) Program at Recology San Francisco is a unique art and education program that provides Bay Area artists with access to discarded materials, a stipend, and a large studio space at the Recology San Francisco Transfer Station. By supporting artists who work with recycled materials, Recology hopes to encourage people to conserve natural resources and promote new ways of thinking about art and the environment.

At this time, we accept applications from local, career-level, professional artists. Students currently enrolled at any university, college, or other educational institution will not be considered. We also do not accept applications from artists who reside a driving distance of more than one hour from San Francisco.

During their residencies, artists have scavenging privileges and 24-hour access to the company’s well-equipped art studio. Artists speak to elementary school classes and adult tour groups about the experience of working with recycled materials. At the conclusion of their residency, Recology hosts a two-day public exhibition and reception for the artists featuring the artwork made during their residency. When the residency ends, artists contribute artwork to the program’s permanent collection and these pieces continue to be shown in off-site exhibitions that promote recycling and reuse.

Recology AIR Programs now operate in three other cities (the above stats are only for San Francisco): Portland, Seattle, and Astoria. GLEAN in Portland is a collaboration between Recology, crackedpots, an environmental arts organization, and Metro, the regional government that manages the Portland metropolitan area’s garbage and recycling system. In Astoria, the Coastal Oregon Artist Residency (COAR), is a collaboration between Recology and Astoria Visual Arts.*

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Signal Fire — based in Portland, Oregon

Deadline: January 2019
Application Fee: none
Residency Fee: Sliding scale ($150-300); two full fellowships available
Length: 1 week

Signal Fire was started in 2008 by activist Amy Harwood and artist Ryan Pierce. Both wanted to find a way to bring their communities closer to foster more collaboration. As avid backpackers, they imagined small groups traveling together into threatened wildlands, discussing ways to shift the dominant views of land in the American West. They gathered together a group of friends for dinner to ask for input, and Signal Fire was born.

Signal Fire builds the cultural value of the natural world by connecting artists to our remaining wild places. We believe in artists as agents of change. Our projects foster resilience, creative energy, and interdisciplinary collaboration. We advocate for land justice and the protection of threatened land and water. 

Signal Fire provides opportunities for artists and creative agitators to engage with our remaining wildlands. Our projects foster self-resilience, creative energy, and interdisciplinary collaboration. We utilize public lands to advocate for equitable access, and protection of, wild and open places.

Three ways to participate:
Residencies: are self-directed, with Signal Fire staff nearby to provide safety, support, and optional day hikes. Residencies are our least physically demanding programs. Participants are selected through competitive, juried application, based on quality of work and written statements. Our finalists tend to be established or emerging professional artists.
Retreats: are group experiences, backpacking, canoeing, and camping together in wild places. Signal Fire guides provide instruction on backcountry safety, low impact camping techniques, and short activities to invite perception of the landscape and invite creative breakthroughs. These trips can be ephysically and socially demanding and rewarding. We curate a reader to provide entry points for discussion, but all non-essential activities are optional. Participants are selected through competitive, juried application, based on quality of work and written statements. Our finalists tend to be established or emerging professional artists.
Wide Open Studios: is our one-of-a-kind arts and ecology field institute. These trips are curriculum-rich, with projects, readings and discussions happening throughout the trip. They offer immersion education intended to catalyze creative discovery and personal transformation, and can be both physically and socially demanding. Wide Open Studios participants are selected by Instructors based on assembling a diverse and unique cohort. We generally get a mix of current students (both graduate and undergraduate, art students and otherwise), non-students, and working artists.*

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A Studio in the Woods: Adaptation Residencies— New Orleans, Louisiana

Deadline: April 16, 2018
Application Fee: $15
Residency Fee: none
Length: 6 weeks
Stipend: $2000 as a stipend and $2000 towards materials
Food: yes

New Orleans and the region are frequently invoked as one of the areas most vulnerable to the effects of environmental change. Our highly manipulated landscape can be seen as a microcosm of the global environment, manifesting both the challenges and possibilities inherent in the ways humans interact with urban and natural ecosystems. With nearly half of the world’s population living within 40 miles of a coastline with rising seas, the concerns of Southern Louisiana resonate globally. Adaptations Residencies invite artists to examine how climate driven adaptations - large and small, historic and contemporary, cultural and scientific - are shaping our future. Adaptations Residencies will provide artists with time, space, scholarship and staff support to foster critical thinking and creation of new works. The call is open to artists of all disciplines who have demonstrated an established dialogue with environmental and culturally related issues and a commitment to seeking and plumbing new depths. We ask artists to describe in detail how the region will affect their work, to propose a public component to their residency and to suggest ways in which they will engage with the local community.

ASITW provides full room and board including food, utilities for living and studio space to selected residents. Residents are expected to cover personal living expenses, additional materials and supplies, and any other expenses relating to the cost of producing work incurred while in the program. Travel and shipping expenses to and from ASITW for the residency are also the responsibility of the artist.*

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Sitka Center: Artist and Ecologist Residency — Otis, Oregon

Deadline: April 17, 2018 for Fall 2018-Spring 2019
Application Fee: $15
Residency Fee: none
Length: WE OFFER A VARIETY OF RESIDENCY LENGTHS BUT ENCOURAGE APPLICANTS WHO CAN PARTICIPATE FOR A FULL 3.5 MONTHS
Stipend: none
Food: none

Tucked in the forest near Cascade Head, Sitka is an ideal location to withdraw from the distraction of daily life, finding the solitude needed to push through creative boundaries and chase artistic pursuits. We revere this practice. Our intention is to offer residencies of three and one half months with living spaces and studios that enhance this experience. The Sitka Center hosts approximately 14-20 residents each year. Some residents are emerging voices while others are mature professionals who are internationally recognized in their disciplines. Residents come from across the U.S. and (to date) seventeen nations.

The Sitka Center also offers four specialized residencies: the Howard L. McKee Ecology Residencythe Recorder Residencythe Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency (for non-printmakers) and the Artist at Sea Residency.*

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Wormfarm Institute—Reedsburg, Wisconsin

Wormfarm Institute Resident Artists 2017

Deadline: rolling, but our primary review period is January through February and selected applicants will be notified in mid-March
Application Fee: none
Residency Fee: none
Length: 1-5 months
Stipend: none
Food: Fresh farm produce from our 4 acre garden that artists help to grow is provided. We also provide many staples such as rice, pasta, flour, grains, dry beans, oils, spices and occasional bonus items from friends and neighbors. Residents can expect to purchase their own supplemental foodstuffs.

We look for artists and writers with an interest in sustainable systems and our place in the natural world. The Wormfarm Residency season runs from May through Oct and we can host up to three artists at a time, with residencies running from one to five months. The most successful Residencies usually last a minimum of two months, but we will consider shorter stays.

Each artist is provided with accommodations, use of our evolving facility and time and space to create. In exchange, we ask each to participate in farm operations for 15 hours per week and to share the results of their creative efforts with the local community.

The 40-acre farm is located in the unglaciated region of south central Wisconsin about an hour drive north of Madison. The surrounding land consists of rolling hills and thousands of acres of beautiful woods and farmland. 

Each artist is provided with a private, screened-in studio space in the barn. The barn also has large open common areas as well as a stage. There is a ceramics area that includes electric kilns and kick wheel. A variety of outbuildings may serve as work space depending on artist’s needs. There are also woods, pasture and gardens for those interested in environmental projects. We share the land with a variety of animals: cows, chickens, a dog, and barn cats.

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Rocky Neck Art Colony Environmental Installation Art — Gloucester, Massachussettes

Deadline: February 10th
Application Fee: $35
Residency Fee: none
Length: 1 month
Stipend: none
Food: none

Newly established in 2017, this program is an effort to bring art out of the studio and make it both visible and accessible to the public. We encourage the creation of site-specific installations that engage the public and draw attention to questions and challenges posed by environmental policies, politics, and/or social change. Through our partnerships with local non-profits and community programs, artists are asked to respond creatively to the concerns of the greater Gloucester/Cape Ann Community.

Information on this year’s Environmental Installation Artist’s topic and our partner, Ocean Alliance www.whale.org. The Committee places exceptional value on the year-round work performed by the Alliance. Their continuing efforts to protect existing whale populations while educating the public about the fragility of our oceans resonates with the entire world.

One gifted artist will be awarded a month-long residency term which includes a waterfront live-work studio space and access to a rich cultural community. Residents chosen are requested to host an opening and closing talk to engage with our community.*

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Willowtail Residency— Mancos, Colorado

Deadline: February 20, June 05, August 20 
Application Fee: $25 
Residency Fee: Artists can apply for full or partial fellowships to cover cost of program. 
Length: 1-3 weeks 
Stipend: none 
Food: Breakfast items are provided (homemade bread, cherry/raspberry jam, organic juice, butter, cream, milk, eggs, fruit, fresh ground coffee, tea, homemade granola, fruit, olive oil and spices). Residents are responsible for other food/meals.

Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center provides a backdrop where The Arts and Nature can integrate. Within the vast beauty supporting the intimacy of this unique setting, the Nature Preserve and the Education Center has been structured to sustain into perpetuity the availability of a special experience to work without distractions.

Residents: You bring your projects, curiosity, knowledge, talents and pioneering thought.  We provide the place and the space to explore. We offer you time to stretch your talents, in an extremely special adventure. Each resident is required to deliver a community offering within one calendar year of their residency. Whether this takes the form of a lecture, presentation, demonstration, teaching, slideshow of work, exhibition in the local community, is up to the resident.

Participants will have a choice of one of three available living spaces, all with wifi, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and outdoor decks overlooking the lake.We can accommodate painting, drawing, photography, mixed media, sculpture, performance art, film making, composers, songwriters and practicing musicians. The Working Studio space is 600 sq. ft, and can hold up to three people per day for self directed work. It is a separate building nestled in the gardens next to the Lakehouse and looks out to the lake, gardens and small pool with fountain.*

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NEXT UP: Residencies with a Cause: Social Justice
*Please note: italicized text is taken directly from the informational websites of the residencies.


OtherPeoplesPixels Interviews Zoe Hawk

Dreaming As The Summers Die, 2017. Oil on aluminum.

ZOE HAWK's allegorical paintings and drawings are populated by adolescent girls in knee-socks and and Peter Pan collared dresses. Matronly women in veiled funeral garb sometimes stand guard, representing an oppressive and depressing future. These paintings point to a dominant narrative of idealized American girlhood and the nuances of  navigating inherited gender expectations. In these paintings, growing up female is an unfolding process of resisting and participating, subverting and submitting. Zoe earned her BFA in Studio Art from Missouri State University and her MFA in Painting from the University of Iowa. Her work has been included in exhibitions both in the United States and abroad, and reproduced in publications such as New American PaintingsThe Oxford American, and ArtMaze Mag (London). She has attended artist residencies in Belgium, Norway, and the United States. Her latest residency experience was at the Doha Fire Station in Qatar, which culminated in group exhibitions both in Doha and Berlin. Her work was recently included in the current issue of Create! Magazine. Zoe lives and works in Doha, Qatar.

OtherPeoplesPixels: Do you think of your paintings as allegories? If so, for what?

Zoe Hawk: I do see them as allegorical. Ultimately my work is about the experience of girlhood, the transition to womanhood, and ways we learn our roles in society. The paintings are like stage sets, or dollhouses—little social microcosms where various stories can play out. All of the poses, facial expressions, colors and scenes are carefully chosen to represent different aspects of the girlhood experience. Many of the decisions are made to function as metaphors, and I often include references to classic stories, films, games, folk songs, etc. I want the narratives to seem sweet and familiar, like a story in a children’s book, but at the same time cause a bit of unease in the viewer, as if something is not quite right. 

In Her Willows, 2017. Oil on aluminum. 17.5" x 23"

OPP: Can you talk about the difference between girls and women in your work?

ZH: Most of the girls in my paintings are at the transitional age of adolescence, when the realization hits that womanhood won’t be all excitement and romance, but that there will be violence, fear and unrealistic expectations to bear. This is where my depiction of the veiled women in black funeral dresses comes from. They are mourning the death of their childhood freedom and innocence. But from the point of view of the young girls, the women are something mysterious and unknown, both alluring and foreboding. Often the women are confining the girls, trying to rein in their wild energy, or looming over them with a watchful eye. Other times they are leading them by the hand towards the inevitable.

Aqua Culture, 2016. 11 x 16.5"

OPP: Very few of your paintings feature girls alone. This Way Over Obstacle (2016), Aqua Culture (2016) and Dream Home (2014) really stand out. In each case, the solitary girl is totally focused on something that has nothing to do with the group. How are these girls different from the rest? 

ZH: The girls in groups are learning how to navigate their social environments. They sometimes work in tandem, like a flock of birds, while other times there is frustration, rebellion and contention between them. The solitary girls are more about introspection and curiosity—showing that girls have scientific minds, deep inner lives, and a sense of self that maybe conflicts with social expectations. Aqua Culture is about an intense moment of awe, wonder and a dark realization about the future. The girl in Dream Home is engaged in an act of curiosity, peeling back the artifice of her environment, exposing darkness, while symbols of domestic perfection are looming over her. I think the isolation of the figures feels much more stark and dramatic when seen in contrast to the group images. It becomes less about interactions and more about the potency of one singular action, and about the impact of the surrounding environment. 

Cry, Sally, Cry, 2014. Oil on aluminum. 15 x 17"

OPP: Tell us about the clothing in your paintings. Lots of white knee socks, white collars, skirts and dresses. I don’t think a single pair of pants. They seem like school girls, but not contemporary teenagers.

ZH: The clothing the girls wear represents different modes of feminine identity: the uniforms are a metaphor for socialization, institutional power and conformity, while the floral patterned dresses and white bridal/baptismal dresses represent femininity, purity and innocence. I like to reference clothing from the 1930s through the 1960s—like the white collars and pastel dresses—because to me it is the epitome of American idealized girlhood, and represents the gender ideals that are still woven into the fabric of contemporary culture. I think imagery from the past functions well as a stand-in for the current social climate, because it allows distance from our daily lived experience. And as much as the paintings are a critique of these gendered constructions, I acknowledge my own pleasure that I take in these things—the childhood joy I felt as a girl in a puffy, pink dress—and the internal conflict I feel as a result. 

Waterway, 2015. Oil on aluminum. 16.75 x 18.5"

OPP: I think about these paintings as about the conflict between wanting to belong and wanting to assert individuality. Sometimes the girls fall in line and sometimes they rebel. To what degree do these characters have choice in the matter?

ZH: I think adolescence is so interesting because of this conflict between the desire to fit in and a need to rebel. I want that tension to add to the overall sense of uneasiness in the paintings. I often like to paint the girls’ faces and actions in a way that expresses their curiosity, sadness, fear and frustration, in spite of the rigid idealism of their clothing. The question of choice is interesting, because I think we are all a product of environment, upbringing and circumstances. But I love the idea that some of these girls can break free. 

Rite of Passage, 2014. Oil on aluminum. 16.5 x 19"

OPP: I agree about each of us being a product of our environments, upbringing and circumstances. So how does that fact relate to the dominant cultural narrative of “idealized American girlhood,” which seems to be predominantly white, middle class and suburban? How do we deal today with this inherited—and limiting—storyline about how girls should be?

ZH: Yes, I definitely see that idealized narrative as a misrepresentation of the broader girlhood experience, and something that has been an oppressive force for many. It certainly differs from my own experience growing up, but it is a narrative that I consumed along with most other girls because it was the only one offered by the mainstream. For me, the discovery of alternative female voices in books, music, comics and art was essential. I think diverse options are more accessible to girls now, thanks to the Internet and social media, but we still have far to go. Representation is important, so I think we need to amplify the creative voices of women—especially women of color, trans women, immigrant women, and others who have traditionally been denied a place at the table—in order to culturally redefine what it means to be a girl. 

To see more of Zoe's work, please visit zoehawk.com.

Featured Artist Interviews are conducted by Chicago-based artist Stacia Yeapanis. When she’s not writing for OPP, Stacia explores the relationship between repetition, desire and impermanence in cross-stitch embroideries, remix video, collage and impermanent installations. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where received her MFA in 2006 Stacia was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at BOLT in Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include shows at Siena Heights University (Michigan 2013), Heaven Gallery (Chicago 2014), the Annex Gallery at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago 2014), The Stolbun Collection (Chicago 2017) and Indianapolis Art Center (Indiana 2017). In March 2018, her solo installation Where Do We Go From Here? will open at Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery (Palos Hills, Illinois). In conjunction, the atrium will exhibit two-dimensional artwork by artists who were invited by Stacia to make new work also titled  Where Do We Go From Here?

OtherPeoplesPixels Interviews Andy Mauery

patriarchal orifice #2: Boloria frigga (Frigga Fritillary), 2016. Thread stitched on human hair, insect pin, styling products. 18”h x 16”w x 1”d

ANDY MAUERY constructs delicate crownscurtains and clouds from human, acrylic and horse hair. Shed regularly and replenished anew by the body, hair highlights the impermanence of life. In her recent work, human hair is just barely held together by thread drawings of extinct and endangered species. These fragile objects point to our interconnectedness and remind us that we, too, are not immune to extinction. Andy earned her BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her MFA from West Virginia University. She has been at artist-in-residence at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Vermont Studio Center and Tesuque Glassworks. In 2017, she won an Artist’s Resource Trust Fund Individual Award from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, which funded the work in her upcoming solo exhibition devolve. The show opens in the summer of 2018 at the Lord Hall Galleries at The University of Maine. Currently she is an Associate Professor of Art and the Foundations Coordinator at The University of Maine. Andy lives in Veazie, Maine with her husband, son and two nocturnal kittens.

OtherPeoplesPixels: You’ve worked with hair for many years. When did you first use it in your practice?

Andy Mauery: I think the first fully realized works that used hair came near the end of grad school, although it had been part of my sketching practice longer. I’ve always had braids lurking around—in hair, different fibers and drawings. One series of pieces was based on fishing lures, but spoke more to luring human attention, looking at some cisgender society roles and mating rituals with a bit of skepticism/cynicism, and some humor. So I made people-sized lures of steel and fibers and turned the hair/fur—pretty common on fly fishing lures—into human hairdos. 

With the more recent rapunzelsI went back and indulged myself in making bigger versions of works that I have been repeatedly remaking for years in smaller, varied formats.  

little red rapunzel, 2013. Acrylic fiber, scissors

OPP: How do you think about the hair materially?

AM: As a material, hair is simultaneously an extremely personal part of each of us and a widely shared mammalian feature. There’s my hair, which I groom in a manner that culturally address a sense of self in many ways. And then there are more than 5,000 species of mammals that, yeah, all have the same stuff, yet it’s considered so completely, utterly foreign and “animal.”  Many artists have tapped into the politics of hair. It’s complex and very real. I have frizzy auburn hair, and it has garnered a surprising amount of attention, both positive and negative, from the time I was very young. My paternal grandmother had a beauty shop, too, and I loved it when she let me style this one ratty, mod auburn wig. 

patriarchal orifice #1: Vertigo morsei, 2016. Thread stitched on human hair, insect pin, styling products. 16”h x 19”w x 1”d

OPP: The most recent hair work is crowning glories. Can you talk about the juxtaposition of human hair with the stitched outlines of extinct butterflies, snails and mussels?

AM: The crowning glories, an ongoing project, took shape when I was trying to clarify the relationship I have with these species works and simplify my approach. I wanted the works to resonate personally with each viewer, without presupposing an existing empathy with the critters being pictured. I started with really direct representations of or symbols for the central subjects or ideas: power, you/your human body, the species we humans are harming. I worked with this straightforward equation; the human is [combined with] the other species. I was drawing from photos and graphics of various endangered species, including some plants, and started creating tracery layouts and patterns. 

I experimented with different techniques to hold the works together, including hand and machine stitching, knotting, wrapping, some felting. The first of the series that survived my experiments was an actual crown made of human hair, whose form is created entirely of simple silhouette drawings of protected and endangered (and some extinct) species stitched in thread, on/through/around the hair. 

The hair is this actual DNA record of a person, a wearable memento mori and a self-portrait, all those things and more made into this delicately drawn version of an object representing power. I’ve actually under-engineered the pieces a bit, too, to make sure that they aren’t permanent: they are meant to come apart eventually. I liked the crown works when they were flattened out as patterns, prior to being shaped, so I’ve moved some of the later versions of the series into wreath-like wall pieces, where the repeated butterflies and snails can be more clearly seen. So they are also these contemporary versions of the Victorian mourning jewelry, lamenting the mussels, plants, moths that we are wiping from the earth.  

A Species of Special Concern: Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens), 2017. Human hair, mirror vinyl, petri dish, water, watercolor pencil, soluble starch. Frog is life size.

OPP: What role does fragility play in your practice? 

AM: Plural roles, definitely, as it is entwined in so many aspects of my practice. Addressing the physicality first, at times I am so intent on working right up to the edge, as if I have to find out first just how far a material can be pushed before it fails. I have so many examples of objects that didn’t survive their own making, when I pushed just a bit too hard. Or sneezed on them. It turns out that a frog made of starch does, indeed, dissolve in those circumstances. 

The crowning glories are the husky, strong works in my oeuvre, comparatively. I was talking with an artist friend about having a hair work badly damaged in a shipping accident, and when she suggested some tougher materials, I said, “oh yes, on it already. I’m doing a collaboration in glass.” Then I heard the sentence outside of my head, through her laughter: when glass is your “tougher” material. 

I’m drawn to materials and structures that are vulnerable, and delicate, and ephemeral. Of course it’s lovely when they are paradoxically strong and fragile, too. Horsehair is a great example. That seeming contradiction is what I keep poking at with each sculpture, drawing, installation. I want materials that degrade and age, that have a life span, that need to be cared for to survive, that are analogous to the subject matter or theme of the work. Fragility and mortality are really driving the train, so to speak. 

Years ago I worked with these same ideas through the lens of boundaries, how we imagine, create, enforce boundaries out of ignorance/unknowing/fear, instead of trying out new ways of experiencing where we as individuals start/stop within our world. Now I continue working on those same concepts but with a shift in perception, still acknowledging my impulses toward the phenomenological and ontological, but now stepping more firmly into what a friend identified as, “good, old-fashioned ethics.” I sometimes wonder if my approach has led me to materially working my way through my own clumsy understanding of Philosophy 101 coursework, manifested through studio practice. If so, I embrace it, with general apologies to philosophers everywhere.

crowning glory 2 (hopping mouse), 2013. human hair, thread. 7"h x 7.5"w x 8" d

OPP: Human mortality and animal extinction are themes in your work. Does one concern you more than the other?

AM: Is it too irreverent to say my level of worry between the two is comparing apples and oranges? Human mortality became more of a concern when I became a parent and as I lose a continually and irreversibly larger number of friends and family to human mortality. We get such a short time on earth, even the most long-lived of us; it’s healthy to use that time well. At this point, I don’t worry about it every day, but it certainly shapes my actions. The human condition, you know…we work our way outward from our biological and self-concerns to eventually—in theory—worrying about how our societies work and how they impact the environment. 

OPP: Are you concerned with human extinction?

AM: I do have real, daily concern with animal and human extinction, and those two are inextricably linked. After an incalculable number of animal species die, we humans die. I believe that they have a right to live whether their deaths impact our future survival or not. But for those who don’t think that bats, for example, deserve that consideration, perhaps you could get behind supporting them as a part of the biodiversity that sustains all life? 

Science has made a very strong case that humans are primarily responsible for the current extinction crisis, this “sixth wave” being unlike the naturally occurring mass extinctions in the sheer numbers of species lost to avoidable conditions like the introduction of invasive/exotic species, habit loss due to a wide variety of land practices that result in pollution and destruction. And of course there is global warming. Our ability to address those big questions involved in the human condition—are we made to be selfish, can we be altruistic, should we live in hierarchical societies, how do we treat the environment—affect our chances of making it as a species. We can’t really survive as humans without non-human species. There is no realistic scenario that supports that; we are part of a vastly complex system of living things.

extinction as parlor game, 2017. Wallpaper, endangered Maine butterfly stitched in thread on human hair, insect pin, styling products. paper is 11' high.

OPP: How do viewers respond to your work?

AM: Some people are really drawn to them and find them beautiful and strange. Others get very angry with these works in gallery shows. They say things like, You’re allegedly so upset about this, but you’re showing bats made of hair in a gallery. This is terribly—choose one—entitled, mercenary, elitist, timid, limited, inefficient, preaching to the choir, naïve … Social and political activism takes place in many venues. It must. It has a lot of different forms; it must. These works are not my only actions towards halting species extinction, habitat degradation, but they are a portion of it. 

OPP: Do you have a favorite piece by another artist?

AM: So many favorites. . . there’s an ever-changing list of faves for different reasons, I will give you  some currents. An artist and scientist who works with the threat of extinction, Brando Ballengée’s Collapse is so beautiful and threatening and sad. It’s thousands of preserved species in gallon jars stacked in a pyramid, in response to the damage to the Gulf of Mexico following the Deep Horizon spill. Leonor Antunes' I stand like a mirror before you (2015) for her her brilliant riff on Modernist forms and her deep forays into structure, I love grids, nets, knotted strings and often use them as well. Her work is often so clean and restrained, and politically on point about women artists’ roles to be both practical in effect and socially/politically radical. Speaking of socially active artists, I am really looking forward to showing this summer with elin o’Hara slavick, she does stunning work including a series of cyanotypes done in Hiroshima with objects that were left after the A-bombing in 1945. They are like exquisite, blue x-rays of loss.

Artificial Simplicity 2, 2009. acrylic fiber, steel, plastic. fiber 12' length

OPP: What's your favorite piece of your own work? Consider the difference between most successful in terms of audience response versus your personal experience making the piece.

AM: The crowning glories are ok with me right now. I’m pretty invested in them, and audiences are responding in varied but strong ways, which is pleasing. But I feel some of my curtains have been the most successful in terms of audience response, such as the two installations in the Atmospheric Conditions exhibit. They are large, visually transparent screens that sway with air currents, can be touched, they reference the body in somewhat odd but still accessible ways. My personal experience making them has, well, pros and cons. For example the materials are very tactile and pleasing to handle, which is great because they take some time to construct so there is plenty of handling opportunity. They are also quite frustrating to make because in most of the studios I’ve worked in, and certainly in my current studio, the ceiling is not high enough to build one vertically, or hang it after initial construction to work on; so the logistics are somewhat involved, and I don’t get to see if it’s really worked until it’s installed into the taller gallery space. I’m currently making a crowning glories version of a curtain, may as well go all in and try to merge the two.  

To see more of Andy's work, please visit andymauery.com.

Featured Artist Interviews are conducted by Chicago-based artist Stacia Yeapanis. When she’s not writing for OPP, Stacia explores the relationship between repetition, desire and impermanence in cross-stitch embroideries, remix video, collage and impermanent installations. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where received her MFA in 2006 Stacia was a 2011-2012 Artist-in-Residence at BOLT in Chicago. Her solo exhibitions include shows at Siena Heights University (Michigan 2013), Heaven Gallery (Chicago 2014), the Annex Gallery at Lillstreet Art Center (Chicago 2014), The Stolbun Collection (Chicago 2017) and Indianapolis Art Center (Indiana 2017). In March 2018, her solo installation Where Do We Go From Here? will open at Robert F. DeCaprio Art Gallery (Palos Hills, Illinois). In conjunction, the atrium will exhibit two-dimensional artwork by artists who were invited by Stacia to make new work also titled  Where Do We Go From Here?

Fully-funded Residencies with Stipends!!!!!

Here at OPP, we know that you'd rather spend your time in the studio, not researching ways to get more time in the studio. So we're kicking off a series of posts to get you started. Over the next six months, we'll highlight a variety of residencies, organizing them by type, including studio-only, fully-funded, solitary retreats and media-specific residencies. Keep in mind, this list is by no means exhaustive. It's really just the tip of the iceberg.


Sadly, some of the current deadlines for these fully-funded residencies have passed. But they are in such high demand, that it's a good idea not to rush the application. Do your research now and start planning to apply next year.

Headlands Center for the Arts — Marin County, California

Deadline: application generally opens around April and is due in June
Application fee: 
$35
Stipend: 
optional monthly stipend of $500
Length: 
4-10 weeks

The Artist in Residence program awards fully sponsored residencies to approximately 45 local, national, and international artists each year. Residencies include studio space, chef-prepared meals, comfortable housing, and travel and living stipends. AIRs become part of a dynamic community of artists participating in Headlands’ other programs, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artist community on campus. Artists selected for this program are at all stages in their careers and work in all media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, new media, installation, fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, dance, music, interdisciplinary, social practice, and architecture.* 

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Arts/Industry Program at John Michael Kohler Art Center — Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Deadline: May 31, 2018
Application fee: none
Stipend: 
round-trip transportation, and a modest weekly stipend
Length: 
2-6 months

Each year up to 16 artists are selected for residencies in the Pottery and/or Foundry areas of the factory through a competitive jury process. No experience with clay or cast metal is required, just an interest in pursuing a new body of work and being open to new ideas. Arts/Industry offers artists the time and space to focus on the creation of new work, and a unique location for their studios. Artists-in-residence work at the Kohler Co. factory in the Pottery and/or Foundry. Artists need not have experience with clay or metal, just an interest in materials and the potential for the industrial environment and processes to influence their creative practice.* 

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Ox-bow — Saugatuck, Michigan

Deadline: Next deadline is May 1, 2018 for the Fall Artist and Writer Residencies; deadline for Summer Residencies is in February
Application fee: 
none
Stipend: 
$200/ per week
Length: 
2-13 weeks, depending on type

Ox-Bow’s residency program offers artists and writers, at various stages in their career, the time, space, and community to encourage growth and experimentation in their practice. The Arts Faculty and MFA residences are held during the summer while our core classes and community programs are in session. The small group of residents is a part of Ox-Bow’s artist community of students, faculty, and Visiting Artists. The Fall Artist and Writers' Residencies are held for five weeks in September and October. This larger group of artists enjoy a more intimate community. If you are a current Undergraduate or MFA student, we also offer a 13-week summer fellowship.*

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The Rabbit Island Residency — an island in the middle of Lake Superior, Michigan

Deadline: Midnight EST, January 28th, 2018
Application fee: 
$25
Stipend: 
variable, recent awards have averaged around $1800
Length: 
2-4 weeks

The Rabbit Island Residency is a platform to investigate, expand, and challenge creative practices in a remote environment. By living and working on Rabbit Island residents engage directly with the landscape and respond to notions of conservation, ecology, sustainability, and resilience. 

Approximately three to four supported residencies are awarded per summer period (mid-June until late-September). Selected applicants will receive an unrestricted honorarium which they may use to facilitate research, cover travel expenses, and materials. Residents may also be awarded an exhibition at the DeVos Art Museum in Marquette, Michigan, two and a half hours from the island. A publication featuring work and research of the awarded residents is produced annually in partnership with the museum.* 

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Djerassi — Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Deadline: March 15, 2018 for residencies in 2019
Application fee: 
$45; $65 up to one week after deadline
Stipend: 
Ford Family Foundation Residency, available to visual and media artists who reside full-time in Oregon, will reimburse fellows for the cost of air travel and shipping of materials.
Length: 
4-5 weeks

Residencies are awarded competitively, at no cost, to national and international artists in the disciplines of choreography, literature, music composition, visual arts, media arts, and science. There are 6 residency sessions each year: 5 are 4 weeks long and 1 that includes Open House/Open Studios is 5 weeks long. One session is devoted to Scientific Delirium Madness and the intersection of art and science. No shortened or partial residencies are offered. 

Djerassi Program is designed as a retreat experience to pursue personal creative work and share collegial interaction within a small community of artists. In this spirit residents are expected to commit themselves for the entire residency session they are awarded.

Our Program chef prepares communal dinners Monday through Friday, and provisions both kitchens. Residents prepare their own breakfasts, lunches, and weekend dinners using ingredients supplied by the Program.

Djerassi Program offers residencies during the regular season, which run from mid-March through mid-November. Winter Residencies for alumni of the Djerassi Program designed to be far more independent and substantially different from the regular residency.* 

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts — Omaha, Nebraska

Deadline: May 1, 2018 for sessions beginning in January 2019
Application fee: 
$40
Stipend: 
$1000 monthly stipend + $500 travel stipend
Length: 
2-3 months

For more than three decades, the Bemis Center’s core mission has been to provide artists from around the world dedicated time, space, and resources to conduct research and to create new work. Frequently cited as one of the top international residency programs, the Bemis Center offers artists private live/work studios, financial support, technical/administrative assistance, and opportunities for intellectual discourse about contemporary art through free public programs, such as panel discussions, lectures, and knowledge-sharing workshops. To date, nearly 900 artists have participated in the residency program. No meals are provided, but each live/work studio has a kitchen. Private housing (individual apartment/cabin/house) is located in downtown Omaha’s historic Old Market, the Bemis Center's 110,000 square foot facility accommodates a broad range of artistic activity. Artists-in-residence have 24-hour access to extensive installation and production spaces and the Okada Sculpture & Ceramics Facility, a 9,000 square foot industrial space used for large-scale sculpture fabrication.* 

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Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program — Roswell, New Mexico

Deadline: 10 p.m. MDT, June 1, 2018
Application Fee: $25
Stipend: $800 per month is offered along with $100 for a spouse/partner and $200 per child living with the grantee.
Length: 1 year

The studios are large, open spaces that measure approximately 30 'x 25 'x 10'. These areas are well-lighted and convertible to the artist's requirements. Artists are housed in a complex of six houses and 10 studios located on fifty acres of land. Each artist is provided with a house that can amply accommodate either a single person or a family. Rent, utilities (except telephone), repairs and maintenance costs are borne by the Program. Houses are furnished with major furniture items, appliances and utensils within reason. The printmaking facility is a small, fully operational studio - basically lithographic/etching in nature. No dogs. Cats allowed, but should be kept inside due to coyotes.*

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Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency — Adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park, California

Deadline: applications open in October 2019 and close January 10, 2019 for summer 2019
Application Fee: $35
Length: 7 weeks
Stipend: Up to $1000.
Food: no meals provided

JTHAR is a nonprofit artist residency, which invites 4-6 artists from around the world to create work amidst the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park and connect to the vibrant local artistic community. The residency provides scholarship funds, individual housing for each artist, studio space, a gallery exhibition and runs April - June. There is also a shared art studio. The area is a spectacularly beautiful and quiet environment in which to create. The residency is open to artists worldwide working in all media, including painters, photographers, writers, musicians, etc.

Artists unable to attend the Residency Program may apply for a 6 week individual stay at JTHAR between late June and mid March. Make sure to choose your dates listed below if you are applying for the 6 week solo program. The six week solo artist fellowship does not have scholarship awards.*

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Soap Factory Midwest Artist Residency — Minneapolis, Minnesota

Deadline: February 28th, 2018 @ 3PM!
Application Fee: 
none
Residency Fee: 
none
Length: 
3 months; Round 1, June 4th - August 25th, 2017; Round 2, September 7th - November 30th, 2017 
Stipend: 
$500 for materials; $1,500 for travel reimbursement
Food: 
none

The Soap Factory aims to provide an opportunity to research, produce, and exhibit during a three month residency in our building. This three month residency program asks emerging to mid-career artists, or collectives from the Midwest to develop and share their practice with our audiences.

The Midwest A-I-Rs are provided a material stipend, private studio, and access to our woodshop and workshop spaces. Free accommodation during your visits to Minneapolis (only available for artists residing outside of the Twin Cities). Studio visits by visiting curators and artists will be offered once a month.  All participants are asked to present work developed during their residency; culminating in an exhibition, performance, public event, or publication. Work presented will be exhibited in our new residency gallery spaces.

Artists from all disciplines are welcome to apply. This residency aims at strengthening the practice of, cultural exchange between, and career development of Midwest artists; Artists currently working in the MN Metro area, Greater MN, and Midwest region are encouraged to apply.*

Soap Factory Solo Exhibition Residency — Minneapolis, Minnesota

Deadline: February 28th, 2018 @ 3PM!
Application Fee: none
Residency Fee: none
Length: June 4th – November 30th, 2018; solo show runs November 17th, 2017 – January 6th, 2018
Stipend: $3,600 honorarium paid at end of residency; $1,500 for travel reimbursement
Food: none

The Soap Factory (TSF) aims to provide a rare opportunity to contemporary artists looking to exhibit their work in the three main floor galleries of the Soap Factory. This six month residency program asks one mid-career or established artist, or collective, to develop an exhibition in the Soap Factory’s 12,000 sq. ft. main floor exhibition space.

The Solo Exhibition will be supported financially and administratively; accompanied by documentation and an exhibition catalog. A-I-R’s are asked to participate in an artist talk or open dialogue, and in our podcast.

Please note, artists working in all disciplines are encouraged to apply to this opportunity though the Soap Factory is especially interested in artists practicing experimental and/or interdisciplinary work.*

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McColl Center for Art + Innovation — Charlotte, North Carolina

Deadline: June 6, 2018 for Winer/Spring 2019
Application Fee: $35
Residency Fee: none
Length: 3-4 months
Stipend: $6000 living allowance; $2000 for materials; reimbursement for one round-trip economy-class flight
Food: none

McColl Center for Art + Innovation is a nationally acclaimed artist residency and contemporary art space in Charlotte, North Carolina. Its mission is to empower artists, advance communities, and contribute positive impacts to its broad public audience by introducing a range of current artistic practices. Located in the former Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Uptown Charlotte, McColl Center houses nine individual artist studios, more than 5,000 square feet of exhibition space, and multiple common-use spaces, including a studio for large-scale sculpture fabrication. We invite artists to take risks in their processes and explore their ideas within the context of Charlotte. We welcome the visiting public to connect with contemporary art and artists through exhibitions and public programs. Artists live in a furnished one-bedroom condominium with Wi-Fi and have a private workspace (230–819 square feet) with Wi-Fi. Other perks: a group exhibition on the second or third floor of McColl Center with photo and video documentation.

In addition to the core Artist-in-Residence Program (open call or invitation), McColl Center offers an annual Environmental Artist-in-Residence Program (invitation only), a Carolinas HealthCare System Artist-in-Residence Program (spring season; open call), a residency for a UNC Charlotte art professor (fall season; invitation only), a Summer Affiliate Program for artists living within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte (open call), and a new exhibition residency that transforms McColl’s first-floor gallery into an open studio for artists to explore processes and projects (invitation or open call).

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Plyspace Residency — Muncie, Indiana

Deadline: March 15 for Summer 2018 
Application Fee: $25 
Stipend: $500 travel stipend for regular residents; $1500 for Resident Fellows to be used for travel and living expenses and up to $1000 in funding toward their proposed collaborative project 
Length: 4-12 weeks 
Housing: accommodations on the second floor of PlySpace, a post-victorian house built in 1916, in the Emily Kimbrough Historic District of downtown Muncie, Indiana. The living quarters will include a private bedroom, private or shared bath, a shared living space, shared laundry facilities, and a shared full kitchen.

PlySpace is an artist-in-residence program dedicated to offering visual artists, writers, performers, designers, and other creative individuals time and space to investigate and pursue their own practices. Additionally, it serves as a platform for experimentation and provocation by catalyzing conversation and collaboration with various Muncie communities. PlySpace facilitates various opportunities for residents to engage with the public through partnership and programming that is tailored to their area of interest.

Each resident will propose a personal project as well as a project to be completed in partnership with a community collaborator. PlySpace will work with both parties to encourage a successful and fulfilling collaboration. For more information on community partners and collaborations, take a look at the Community Collaborators page.

Selected residents will be offered one of two types of residency. The type of residency offered will be determined by the Admissions Panel and Final Selection Committee during the admissions process. All residencies include living space in PlySpace and studio space across the street at Madjax, a center for innovation and design. 

PlySpace Residents will be offered living quarters, studio amenities, and will be paired with a community collaborator based on their personal and collaborative project proposals and interests. Residents are expected to complete a public talk about their work and complete a project in partnership with their Community Collaborator. Resident Artists will have full access to the PlySpace studio spaces at Madjax as well as limited access to the School of Art (SOA) facilities at Ball State University. They will receive a $500 travel stipend for their residency period, between 4 and 12 weeks.

PlySpace Resident Fellows will be offered living quarters, studio amenities, and will be paired with the Ball State University School of Art as their community collaborator. Resident Fellows are expected to conduct multiple public programs connected to their practice through their partnership with the SOA. Resident Fellows will have access to the SOA facilities necessary to complete their projects as well as the PlySpace studio spaces. Resident Fellows will receive a $1500 stipend provided by PlySpace to be used for travel and living expenses and up to $1000 in funding toward their proposed collaborative project and supplies. Resident Fellows must plan a 9 to 12 week residency stay.

Three individual or collective applicants will be accepted for each residency term (one PlySpace Resident Fellow and two PlySpace Residents).

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NEXT UP: Residencies with a Cause: The Environment

*Please note: italicized text is taken directly from the informational websites of the residencies.