I sought a residency in Italy because I love Italy and Italians, wanted to practice the language, and have been having great difficulty getting into my studio.
I’m in Puglia, Italy, living in a castle (yes!) in a village. Puglia is in the heel of boot-shaped Italy. This residency is run by an Italian architect who has taught in U.S. universities for decades. Besides studio space, room and board, and some special activities, a staffed printmaking studio is available.
The cost for one month was 2200 E (cost for Vermont Studio Center, for example, is $4000). I’d tell you more details about this program, but, sadly, this is the last year the director will be doing it. A comparable program is run in this region by BAU Institute, NYC, or search on resartis.org for others.
Except for the mosquitoes and the 45-minute distance to the art store, this was paradise. We were 13 artists and writers of varied levels of experience from all over the world (Russia, Pakistan, India, China, Italy. Switzerland, and U.S.) All spoke English, and a few also communicated in Italian.
“Studios” were a desk created with plywood board and sawhorses in one big gorgeous glass room, or in your bedrooms/suites or outdoors.
I decided encaustic would be too complicated (though Jasper Johns did fine with one hot plate and a pan) and wanted to take supplies and carry the art home in a large suitcase. I hoped to complete the following, for which I brought most supplies (more expensive in Europe): 1) ink layers for a series on paper 2) use either cold wax or Cuni water-based encaustic, which I had never used, for 10 works on paper and 9 on thin panels; 3) ink a base layer for a 30 foot scroll (pictured above on table).
Participants set their own schedules, and I worked in the studio almost every day for five or more hours. Because I discovered, however, that I did not like either the water-based encaustic or the cold wax, I had to change directions midstream. I ended up doing “experimental” paper works with Sumi inks. Inviting participants weekly to view my projects gave me immediate and rich feedback.
Breakfast and dinner were provided, and people ate leftovers or bought sandwiches or salads for lunch. Our excellent cook made many kinds of soup and combined small amounts of meat, chicken or fish with abundant seasonal–and some unusual– vegetables for entrees. Fruits and/or pastries are the popular desserts, and unfortunately for my waistline, and breakfast always included a freshly baked pastry.
Who could ask for anything more? Not me.