In 2018, when I did my first funded residency programme, the sponsoring foundation asked for three blog posts featuring the residency process. Concretely speaking, the three-chapter report focused on my experience at the residency. The first chapter targeted evaluating services; the second chapter focused on how it contributed to my professional development. The third chapter focused on how much product came out of it. I remember thinking how useful it was to write a blog about reflecting and analyzing my experience. I will return to this tradition and “paint a picture” of my progress by writing this blog post.
I also believe that publishing these blog posts will help the audience understand how much blood, sweat, and tears go into the artistic production process. Funny enough, my learning process for performative artistic practice started at the same residency where I wrote those reflection posts in the first place. After 4 years now, I am actually collecting the seeds planted to my practice while trying to see how far it may extend based on the influences of performance art. I must tell you, the process for the current residency started rather slow if I may compare how it was in Belgium.
I arrived in Oulu on the first day of March. It was actually an official holiday week in multiple parts of Finland. I took the train from Tampere and rented a car from Oulu to drive Ii, which is 30 minutes outside Oulu. My first day went by collecting materials and tools, settling to the studio, and participating in Finnish language class in the evening. On my second day, I drew up my plans to produce four paintings (along with sketches and plans brought from Tampere) and form a schedule for the upcoming three weeks. My agenda was full due to the forthcoming Lahti show at Galleria Uusikipina.
I reserved my first two days to produce content for the Lahti show. I wrote a press release; edited the project description and list of artworks that the gallery will translate and release for event marketing before the opening date. I had two meetings about upcoming projects in April 2022 at the Art Summit, Helsinki. On one of the meetings together with Miia, we rounded up the content and planning of the summit session. The next day, we presented the plan for the Art Summit organizing committee. On the same day, I was invited for a show opening to meet with a local textile artist, Helena Kaikkonen and the rest of the creatives based in Oulu.
This week, I also had my first meeting with Inka and Jetta from the residency team. At the meeting, we discussed the upcoming programme of the residency, including short visiting hours offered during the production of works. We agreed on one public event for an artist talk & an open studio will wrap up the programme. Also, we would have recording and streaming of the event to enhance the event accessibility.
On Friday, my package arrived from Tampere containing a big roll of Canson papers that I ordered to work my paintings on. The whole Friday, I dedicated my time to coating papers and getting them ready for preparing life-size paintings. During the weekend, I analyzed my old sketches to develop new images based on previous materials, visual studies to align the series of artworks to prior products.
My next blog post will continue to cover the second week of the residency. The second week blog post will focus on intimate studio moments and a discussion about the Oulu art scene, European Capital of Culture for 2026.