Caldera Residency - Written Statement

For this post I've copied my written statement for the Caldera residency application. I'm so happy to be making work that was informed by my experience there, as it is some of my strongest work yet. The following is the plan I created for my week at Caldera:

Over the first year in the Visual Studies program I’ve pushed my art practice away from the narrative habits of having a background in illustration. The challenges I face now are how to maintain the authenticity of my traditional style without trying too hard to tell stories. Breaking from traditional illustration has let me consider more of the involvement of the viewer in narrative choices. My most recent work allows the viewer to step into the place of a character or witness in my work, and that conceptual approach is an unfamiliar and intimidating new direction for me. This is where I see my greatest artistic growth happening. After creating a strong series of urban cityscape drawings in charcoal this spring, I’ve felt a need to return to natural imagery, and to explore the medium of oil paint. I pull the most inspiration and imagery from the natural environment. Many of my paintings and drawings have been inspired by trees, and my spiritual experience of the wilderness. The Caldera Residency would give me a one-of-a-kind opportunity to approach my current research with a complete immersion in the natural environment, and bring new perspectives and ideas to my practice.

While at Caldera, I’d like to create a series that uses the landscape around the camp to facilitate a more authentic experience with my practice. The reference imagery I’ve used for my recent work have been photos from my own hikes in the pacific northwest, but the fleeting moments of experience as I make my way down the trail do not provide me with a greater sense of the space, the location, and my place in it. This kind of work attempts to reveal the sublime in a place, to distill an image down to the most basic emotive, natural representation and leave the exploration to the viewer. On my hikes, I get to experience this exploration, but the artwork is created out of only photos and memories. I feel that having a week in the wilderness, with the primary intention set on making art and expanding my considerations in my practice, the resulting work will be more immediate, interactive, and fresh. This experience would introduce a new process of making that I feel would greatly benefit my future as a working artist.