Art Practice As Residency

In many ways I’ve been treating my daily life over the past few months as if I was on an extended residency in an unfamiliar locale. This has helped me break some habits and overcome various fears that have been holding me back. I don’t really want to get too pop-psychological, but I’ve had conversations with a number of people about some of the strategies I’ve been using to cope with the business side of life as an artist. The overall impression I get is that there is interest in what I’ve been doing, and that it seems to have wider applicability than my own life.

My goal for the past few months has been very careerist. I want to get as much as possible out of the fact that at present I have devoted my energy and focus—not to mention money—to becoming financially self-sustaining in my art practice. I noticed that I had some habits that needed breaking in order to get the most out of my time. As a thought experiment, and a way of tricking myself into some desired behaviours, I decided to try as much as possible to treat my daily life as if I was on an arts residency. Therefore, a more accurate—and unwieldy—title for this post is “Treating the Daily Grind of the Artist’s Life as a Residency.”

For those unfamiliar with artist residencies, they take many forms. The general idea is that an artist goes to some distant local for the sake of creating or researching work. Often there is a group of other creative individuals with which to talk shop. Sometimes there is interaction with the public. The idea, though, is for an artist to get a change of perspective and eliminate some of the distractions of daily life in order to simply work.

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Upcoming Appearances: February-March 2007

It seems that an artist can’t return from three years overseas without being pulled—willingly—into a vortex of activity. Here are the upcoming appearances me and/or my work will be making in the next few weeks: Feb 28 Fine Craft Auction in Saskatoon, March 3 Artist Talk in Saskatoon, a Naturopath’s Office in Calgary (from now until further notice), and a black ops “art dealership” in Saskatoon.

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Artist Talk in Saskatoon on March 3

On March 3, 2007 I will be giving a short, informal talk about my digital art practice. The talk is part of an ongoing series of artist talks at Paved Arts in Saskatoon, which are intended to address practices based on—or relying heavily on—digital technology and/or electronic media. I plan to talk about my art-making process and how I came to use the computer as an expressive tool. I will talk about the specific software I use—the vector-based imaging program Adobe Illustrator—and how it relates to a more general practice that includes painting, assemblage, and sculpture.

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