The Vancouver Project is a Christian artist residency consisting of 6 artists, located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The project is part of By/For - a non-profit designed to finding creative ways to connect artists and churches to work together, and showing support to artists through patronage.
This 2 week residency (Aug 10-21) is specifically set up for us artists to come together to have intentional artistic community and learn to work, play and rest with each other. Our theme is “In the Making” and as Brian Moss stated tonight, we have been given (through the financial patronage of several churches) – the freedom to play and be messy in our art-making. Given the theme (“In the Making”), I thought I’d try to blog as much as I can during the residency and post pictures and video clips.
Day 1: Getting Set Up
After we all arrived and met up at the house (a big upgrade from the dorm the artists stayed in last year for the residency!), we talked through some logistics, went around campus for a tour and ate dinner. Lance Mansfield was with us (a co-ordinator of the By/For project) and was able to tell us the history of By/For and set out goals for our time creating and living together during these 2 weeks. A highlight of the day was setting up our studio! It was a blast watching everyone unpack their art materials and stake a corner of the room. We were all grateful for the bright, naturally sun-lit studio space and immediately, we set out to getting “settled.” We ended the night by going back to the house and sitting around a table sharing stories and laughing until late in the evening.
Somehow I acquired the nickname “Baby” (because I’m the youngest). I don’t mind it…I think it’s humorous. ;) It really is a great mix of artists: a big age range and art mediums. We all commented on how much we’re looking forward to growing and learning in the upcoming days…
This was our first big work day. We started out by grouping together at the studio at 9:30 for a devotion and prayer time. Lance led the devotion and talked about the book “The Gift” by Lewis Hyde. We each have been given a gift in the sense that the group of patroning churches have funded this residency and allowed us the time and space to create. Of course, many of us, have felt a lot of pressures that comes along with that gift, but he encouraged us to set those aside and just let God work in and through us and see what happens. We spent some time also discussing some of our worries, fears and expectations before we prayed together. I handed out one wood hexagon panel to each person. I explained that the subject matter of the body of work I’m doing is on community and will be on a series of hex panels. So I thought it would be an appropriate collaboration for everyone to have one panel to paint / do whatever they wanted with. Perhaps for the exhibition, they can be placed together as a sort of artist statement? We’ll see how our time together progresses. After all, it’s all in the making and it’s hard to know at this point what will happen.
As for me, I felt like today was a very productive day. I worked almost non-stop from 10 am – 4 pm. I managed to scarf down a sandwich Erik had prepared for me somewhere in between. I was so excited to jump in and just get started! My goal is to make 21 panels by the end of the residency, which means I need to do about 3 a day. At that rate, I will have time to come back to the panels again after I’ve set them aside for a few days. I have some concepts and ideas, but will save those for another post.
My time today was spent praying, cutting strips of paper, planning and strategizing for each day and preparing materials. I made progress on 3 panels (and will potentially come back to them later).
We met for dinner at 5 and then Erik and Brian Moss joined us for our presentation time. We were each given 10 minutes each, but of course, when you’re with a group of seasoned (and varied) artists, it’s hard to keep it short. We each probably took 20-30 minutes! But we soaked it all up like sponges, as we learned about what made each other tick, inspiration behind our work and ideas of what might be created during this residency. It was both encouraging and refreshing. We all come from such different backgrounds and areas of expertise. It will certainly be fascinating to see how the art comes together. But for now, it’s all in the making. :)