Tag Archives: art residency

portrait of a (dis)functional family

 archive(photo by richard legaspi)

…portrait of a (dis)functional family…some of us anyway. So we live together, eat together, work together, everything together in this weird art bubble that is the art residency, all day everyday. Everything is accelerated as there is a life span of 4 months for this (dis)functional family and for sure you will experience every kind of emotion known to mankind…sometimes in the same day…It’s my 10th year collaborating with Cittadellarte, and 10 years since i first came here to participate as an artist in the UNIDEE residency and now five years that i have worked as artist on staff, living with different groups of artists seeing/ living the same situations and every year also very different ones…too bad i cant write everything down here, i do have some good stories…

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anonymous public art and a change of scene…

Arrival in Italy…i walk through Malpensa airport and find a large scale installation in a public space, no idea who did it, there was no title and i can’t find anything online…

…but i digress, am on my way to Biella again, to work as collaborating artist on the UNIDEE 2011 residence (am also authoring the official blog for them). 14 new people to live and work with for the next 4 months, let’s see how it goes…

…i like this part, the empty space and the anticipation of bare desks waiting for their occupants and i love to watch the gradual occupation of the space as the projects start to develop and the space starts to become a temporary home…

my desk!!

14 desks…

Am repeating the images i posted the other day in my UNIDEE blog, because this is indeed a very interesting time, we are in the last 10 days of a 4 month residency and the studio space is about to dramatically change.

Everything will be cleared out and next week we will start to install works. You can become very accustomed life in to a residency, every experience (both good and bad) becomes heightened, and you can pack into 4 months what you might normally experience in one year. So it is a big deal to have to clear out your studio space. Right now i think the desks in our space look very beautiful, full of work and ideas hence this post:

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how much to pay an artist…

…typical of me that i need to be in Italy in order to find out that one of the few artist unions in the world exists back home in the form of the Scottish Artists Union (SAU). I found out this and other useful stuff from one of our visiting guests for UNIDEE, über art practitioner Emilia Telese. Emilia is an artist but also an expert in fund raising and professional art practice. She is as disciplined and organised as i am not and i am a little jealous of her skills, though very much aware that her style of practice does always not suit my particular path. However much of what she had to say was extremely useful, and i will definitely follow up some of her advice and links.

From SAU website: how to calculate rates of pay for artists…a formula – extremely useful though in my experience you also have to be prepared to compromise a little on the pay front…if you want to get the job…

lost in pettinengo…

…in deepest darkest rural Biella i find myself in sublime and ridiculous situations. Pettinengo is a village about 15 minutes drive from Biella. We are there en mass, all the artists in residence, to spend a few days at the home of an association for peace. The founders are maybe a little unfocused and verbally (extremely) meandering… shall we say (spiritual children of the ’70’s and all…), but they are extremely well meaning and generous, they are looking to us for ideas and proposals, the usual…and in the meantime they show us around the village.

Pettinengo has an amazing relationship with horticulture, every single house has a garden that truly is an extension of the home, there is almost no boundary between the two and they fill their plots and pots with flowers and veg in no particular order…it is beautiful and they are very proud and generous with their bounty…The men round these parts are all jam makers by the way (my favourite…chocolate and fig…), they see it as a natural extension of the gardening, thought they don’t eat it, they give it away as presents…

third paradise butterfly in third paradise garden…

cows inside in the shade hiding from evil horse flies that are huge and suck your blood (i was like a pincushion by the end). The tails are tied up to keep them clean and stop them spreading too much muck around.

…and this woman, is quite literally a cheese genius, in her small dairy farm (caseficio), she produces maccagno (rich, full fat, creamy and strong in flavour) and a kind of lower fat toma (less creamy with a nuttier flavour) cheeses that are so good…well you can imagine pushing past old ladies just to get to them…

the cheese cellar, as stinky (in a good way!) as the cheese is delicious…and the cheese is REALLY delicious…no marketing strategies, the cheeses  sell locally by word of mouth and she sells every single one of them…

…and then it gets a bit weird, a local association whose translated name means “little fairy”?????  show us around their premises where they try to keep local hand crafts alive…again very nice but this time also a little strange, they teach embroidery to the girls and woodwork to the boys…???and i find myself again thinking of the 70’s and horror films  and robotic wife substitute women…but maybe that is an unfair analogy, i think it was just the apron…

an of course there was a madonna nera present…

…and speaking of horror stories, there is another dark side to all this nature…Pettinengo had the most aggressive species of mosquito i have ever encountered in my life morning, day and night they dive bomb into my (apparently very attractive  to mosquitoes flesh…) am somewhat allergic and its not pretty….