Another challenging aspect to the residency was the idea of creating "on demand". I have found that there is a natural ebb and flow to my studio practice. At times, I work in a manic-like state creating multiple pieces at once. Other instances, I go into the studio and just sit and look. The drive it takes to produce art is not constant for me, and there are other facets of my art practice outside of studio time (such as writing, applying for exhibitions, studio visits, etc). Given the restricted time frame of the residency, I felt the need to manufacture motivation and to work as much as possible. I felt like there was no time to waste with only thirty days in Spain. Forcing production is very different from the way I typically work, and I found this to be the most difficult part of the month.
I completed the residency feeling underwhelmed with my progress. While I began several new pieces during this time, none were complete. I had no finished works to show as a by-product of my efforts, and this was discouraging. It has taken time for me to flesh out the ways in which my art practice developed during the residency. Here are the most important things I learned from the experience:
- Progress is not measured by how many finished pieces you produce. As someone who generally works at a fast pace, using new materials and techniques that require more time have caused me to move at a slower speed. This doesn't mean that I am working less, but it does mean that it will take longer to create a finished piece and that my progress in the studio will look different.
- A residency is not separate from your entire art practice, but part of it. I had been viewing the residency as being a place where art careers come to reach maturation. In reality, no matter where my studio may reside, all of the work I create falls into the larger context of my art practice.