Often when I tell people that I’m an artist-in-residence, people reply with “Oh, what’s that?”.
Generally, artist residencies are opportunities for artists to escape their regular life, have the time and space to work on a project, and find fresh inspiration. It’s also often an opportunity to connect with fellow creatives.
Artist residencies can be any length, usually between 1 week and 1 year. My residency is for 5 months, which is quite a long time!
Artist Residencies can be found all around the world, and each one is different.
So, what is my residency like?
I’m an artist-in-residence at Ne’-Na Contemporary Art Space in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There are two sites to work from here; one at Monfai Cultural Center in Chiang Mai City, and another at Jiang Lha in the countryside, half an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai.
My family and I love the Jiang Lha site and so mostly stay there. Bamboo bungalows surround a central grassed area and natural swimming hole. There’s a veggie garden, a cow, dogs, kittens, fish and butterflies galore. There’s also a communal main building which has a beautiful view over the valley, with golden pagodas glistening through the treetops, and the misty blue mountains beyond.
My average day starts early, with Sunny and Boo jumping around being noisy little monkeys.
Sunny goes to the local Thai school here, so by 7.30 am Mote and Sunny are waving as they zoom off on the motorbike. When Mote gets back, he looks after Boo.
I then go to the bungalow next to ours, where my studio is set up.
I’ve been working on a children’s picture book and a young adult novel, and will share more about this soon!
I’m usually in my studio from 9 am until 3 pm, when Sunny gets home from school. Then I may squeeze in a few more hours before dinner. Sunny loves to join me in my studio and work on his own creative projects.
When I’m not working in the studio, I go on adventures to waterfalls, markets, art galleries, bookstores and local sites. Exploring new places fuels my imagination, which is important!
I have met other lovely artists here, especially a good friend who inspired Sunny and I to take up embroidery. Sunny is now embroidering his wild and funny drawings.
If you are a creative person, I highly recommend looking into artist residency opportunities. Whether you are a visual artist, poet, dancer, sculptor, writer, filmmaker, or anything else, having the space to focus on your work is invaluable.
My artist residency was made possible through my New Colombo Plan Scholarship from the Australian Government.
There are many other ways to gain funding though. For creatives in Australia, I recommend looking at Asialink and Australia Council for the Arts for opportunities. Many artist residencies are also free, so it is worth researching online for your desired locations too!
Applications can be very competitive, so it is best to choose the ones you truly feel would be best for you. Put time and effort into making your application relevant to that specific residency, and follow the application guidelines carefully.
If you would like to know more about my artist residency, feel free to contact me.
If you had the time and space to focus on a project, what would you do?