So about that zine I was going to make during my artist residency... yeah, that never happened. But I did get a lot of work done during those two weeks. And I did make amazing connections with artists working all around the world, including across Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Denmark, France and Australia. (Here's a link to the residency exhibition page if you want to check them out.)
This being my first ever residency, I didn't really know what to expect and to be honest, I was a little nervous to be stuck on an island with a whole bunch of people I didn't know. But it turned out to be one of the most fulfilling and inspirational experiences of my life. And that had everything to do with the group we ended up with. By the end of the two weeks, it was hard to say goodbye to these wonderful and talented people. I hope very much that it's not the last I've seen of them.
As to the work I did over the course of the residency, it turned into something not quite expected and certainly not quite polished, but definitely something I am looking forward to exploring further. Because I knew that I would have to fly everything home, I brought limited supplies with me: brushes, inks, and pens, but not much else, and I had decided to work on paper instead of my usual wood panel for the sake of compactness.
What ended up happening was much more of an exploration of materials, playing with the way the ink interacted with water and applying acrylic paint with a palette knife to re-create some of the floral shapes I have worked with in the past. This kind of experimentation makes sense to me, particularly when the imagery I'm working with is meant to discuss the body within the context of ornamentation and decor.
The large studio space I was given also gave me the opportunity to work a lot larger than I typically do. Another benefit to working in a residency -- discussing your work with other residents-- led to yet another significant discovery: the pink ink I was using fluoresces under black light! So let's see what comes of that.
My favourite part of my time on Toronto Island was the time and space the residency afforded me. Back home, it's so easy to get distracted by the day-to-day tasks -- do the laundry, wash your dishes, return that text message, think about what you're going to be doing next weekend, make sure you get enough sleep for work tomorrow -- but all of that was just insignificant noise for those two weeks. All that really mattered was getting into the studio at some point during the day. And it didn't really matter when that was or even if you got a whole lot physically accomplished that day, as long as you were thinking about the work (and that was impossible to avoid) then you were making progress.
All in all, it was a supremely lovely time -- one that is going to give any other residency I attend in the future a run for it's money in order to live up to experience.