NEA artists Irina Korotkow and Mervyn Beamish recently returned from the International Artists Residency in Krakow, Poland.
Q: WHAT WAS THE RESIDENCY?
A: It was by invitation only to 12 international artists to live, exhibit and work together at the Hotel Leopolis (leopolis.com.pl) in Krakow. The idea was to share experiences, techniques and exhibit our works. It included Polish, Korean, Americans, Australians and Indian artists.
Q: HOW WERE YOU SELECTED TO BE INVITED
A: Primarily through social media. My (Mervyn) work caught the eye of New York based international art currator, Basha Maryanska, who invited me to exhibit in one of her exhibitions. Irina and I went to US for the exhibition where Basha also became interested in her work. This was about 5 years ago and we have struck up a close friendship with Basha and a number of other artists. We get invites to show and residencies two or three times a year, but can't accept all of them.
Q: WHY NOT
A: Ha! Time and money, I'm a pensioner so time is not so much a problem, but Irena is a nurse so it is for her.
Q: WHAT ARE THE COSTS
A: This can vary dramatically. There is the return airfare to the location, for both of us and accommodation cost. Basha has a knack of doing great accommodation deals for the group. Some residencies are sponsored by organisations such as the European Union. There is also profit from sales at the exhibition. We have made sales at every residence we've been to, which helps with the costs.
Q: WHAT WAS THE AVERAGE DAY'S PROGRAM
A: Fairly loose and primarily up to the individual. Breakfast included a group planning meeting. Generally the morning was taken up with visiting the old market town of Krakow. Krakow was one of the few cities in Poland not bombed in WWII and, indeed, never destroyed in war, so the old buildings an churches are old, really old. There are numerous churches, museums, art galleries, castles and a salt mine under the city that dates back pre-Roman.
This mine is no longer active, but so large it contains a night club, health spars and I think a hotel and concert venue .... I'll check that out next time (the group has been invited back). Local beer is wonderful and plenty, Polish vodka will knock your socks off (60% proof).
After lunch, which was generally taken under canvas in the central square, we'd come back to work at the hotel using their conference hall as a communal studio.
Each artist is expected to give a minimum 30 minute talk and 'slide show' presentation on their work, influences and history. Evening meal was a group event which generally was followed by more work or whatever.
We were also visited by local artists and invited into their studios, etc.
Q: IS THERE GOING TO BE AN AUSTRALIAN EVENT?
A: We have talked about the possibility of holding an event at North East Artisans, but interest was mediocre on both sides. There is a possibility of one in Melbourne. We will see. The general response from the group was good, but the belief that our beasties are all out to kill people, though a joke to us, to many overseas a true fear. We assured them that snakes are not particularly interested in biting people, spiders are of little concern other than in outdoor dunnies (few knew what a dunnie was in any case) and also suggested that they take any tales of terror kangaroos by Australians with a grain of salt.
Q: FUTURE PLANS FOR THE GROUP.
A: Next year the group will meet in USA and Italy with an exhibition in Paris. Doubt if we can afford to go to either. There was a suggestion of one in Thailand, and vague mention of China. They did try for Spain, but the Spanish hotels are a little over artists!
Q: HOW CAN ARTISTS GET INVOLVED IN GROUPS LIKE THIS
A: Social media, keep an eye on events, publish your work and friend other artists. Don't be afraid to put the word out that you are interested. With us it just popped out of the blue.
An Occasional Blog by Mervyn Beamish, October 2018
You can read Mervyn's blog on a previous residency here http://www.northeastartisans.org/news/the-occasional-blogger-merv-writing-on-his-artists-residency-in-poland
Inspiration for older people thinking of entering the:'Wisdom and Experience' exhibition at NEA during the Victorian Seniors Festival from October 19 - 30th! 70* yr old NEA Artisan Merv Beamish's (2017) just completed portrait of Irina Korotkow in his studio at NEA.
The 'Wisdom and Experience' exhibition is supported by Age Friendly Benalla. Age Friendly Benalla is a project between Cooinda, Hume Primary Care Partnership and Benalla Rural City Council supporting people over 55 years of age in Benalla and surrounding districts.
The Conditions of Entry and Entry form are now available for download:
Merv and Irina are busily preparing for another international artists residency in Poland.
In one of the very first 'occasional' blogs on NEA's website Merv reported their participation in this international artists residency in 2016. It's worth a read. 'Occasional Blogger' Merv Beamish on his artist's residency in Poland'
Hopefully Merv will write another 'Occasional Blog' about the 2018 Residency,
Merv's Pop-Up Arts Show at Chocolate Lane continues to the end of December.
The Chocolate Lane exhibition coincides with an exhibition including Merv and Irina's work at the New York gallery of their friend and 'curator extraordinaire', Basha Maryanska.
Irina described being 'beyond excited' that her work was in the window of Jadite Galleries in Times Square, 'A big thrill'.
Apparently this is the first time Merv and Irina haven't been in New York when their work is being exhibited. However they seem to be enjoying their 'Pop Up' involvement with Chocolate Lane, Benalla.
Real butterfly wing on acrylic and watercolor on paper. Created on residency in Poland. It was spring, flowers blooming, insects wobbling past on the way to ponds. Our resident musician played lute madrigals on the mandolin. We painted on trestle tables under the trees in the grounds of Hogwarts castle. Pretty and magical that this butterfly wing came my way.
Irina Krotokow, November 2016
The term "Artists' Residency" is a cacophony of meanings and interpretations. Like the word 'environment' it can be used in many ways. I've just attended a residency with fellow NEA artist Irina Korotkow which included a month or so free accommodation, an exhibition area and a studio space in return for running a couple of workshops, manning a gallery (same location as studio space). Sometimes the term 'residency' is used as an alternative for workshop, often with travel, a cruise and particular artist teacher.
This artists' residency was a gathering of international artists to work together, exchange ideas and techniques, and visit some of the worlds greatest artworks. The residency was by invitation and limited to a small number of artists, sculptors and a musician from Europe, USA, Africa and we represented Australia.
The residency, partially funded by the EU and other sponsors, was curated by artist and curator Basha Maryanska and held at the Goluchow castle estate in Poland (side note, one of the castles featured in the Harry Potter films, which has given me great status with the grandkids). We stayed in the castle grounds, hotel Mulzeany, not 5 minutes walk. There was a large purpose built studio space and ample grounds to wander and work in. One hit was The Hunting Lodge which serve the most wonderful and intoxicating ice cream, and of course Polish beer.
What did it cost us? I know some of you want to know. All art materials (Canvases, basic paints, brushes etc.) were supplied also three nice meals a day. The hotel room was humungus and furnished in the period style of the castle with the portrait of the original owner (a shady character) pompously, and some what disapprovingly peering down at the bed, but stuff him artists are artists! The accommodation as a whole package was heavily discounted, primarily covered by sponsorship and came to around $700 for the fortnight, that included transport during the residency. Air tickets were our own responsibility, however, I managed to get a good deal through STA which turned out quite a lot less than expected
At the end of the residency there was an exhibition in the castle which then lead onto a travelling exhibition to move around Poland. While one could arrange the return of works after this exhibition. I left mine in Poland to be sold or otherwise disposed of. I did sell a larger canvas while staying at the Hotel, so now am represented in a private collection in Poland.
All in all, a wonderful and educational trip. I've been invited again next year, not sure where at this stage, the possibilities include USA, France, Italy or Qatar.
Both Irina and I have been asked to organise a similar residency in Benalla in 2018 or 2019 and several international artists are eager to come and paint with Australian artists, also a top Belgian sculptor Luc de Man and New York ceramicist Elizabeth Frischauf. We're a bit of a mystery to them.
**Thanks, Merv for responding to our invitation to write an 'Occasional Blog' about your experiences in Poland.
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members who may, from time to time, have a strong urge to write for this column (or can be cajoled into doing so)!
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