Artist Residency Beijing 2008
I found the Beijing residency a valuable and stimulating experience. Though the studio itself was quite isolated, it being in the suburbs east of the city. I had a sense of being out in the real China. The local scene was very authentic. This isolation had a down side though in that it was difficult to reach the city and the more mainstream art centres. This could in future not be such a problem as the art district becomes more developed. There was a problem with the pollution we experienced in Beijing, though it was expected, it would be difficult to stay for extended periods and stay in reasonable health.
The residency was well run and Kim Vernon was very helpful and attentive to our needs, and it was understood that minor problems with the studio, for example leaking roof etc., would be rectified given time. The studio was comforable and easy to work in.
Although the original idea of a cultural exchange did not happen, i feel there was a good cross pollination of artistic culture between us and the Chinese people and the artists that we met.
We were invited to stage an exhibition of our work in progress by the manager of the art district, who has a great interest in promoting the place. He would like to use the presence of foreign artists to give the site a
certain kudos and get the ball rolling , so to speak. I think it is a valuable enterprise that SOPA is getting involved at the ground floor with this art district as when they become well known they can quickly become artistic powerhouses.
I have come away from this experience with a greater sensibility to the chinese culture and believe the experience was well worth the effort. The benchmarks for what is possible in art has been raised for me.
Faces Beijing 2008
Print transfer on wood, oil paint, resin 25cm x 25cm