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Lauren Kalman. Artist in Residence, Work in progress

Interview  /  MakingArtists
Published: 18.02.2015
Lauren Kalman. Artist in Residence, Work in progress.
Author:
Sanna Svedestedt
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Gothenburg
Edited on:
2015
Lauren Kalman. Photograph: But if the Crime is Beautiful…. Composition with Ornament and Object, 2014. Inkjet print. 20x16”. Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti Contemporary. Lauren Kalman
Photograph: But if the Crime is Beautiful…. Composition with Ornament and Object, 2014
Inkjet print
20x16”
Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti Contemporary
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Visual artist Lauren Kalman shares her view on the Artist in Residence as a path to new discoveries.
Can you walk us through an “ordinary” day at work?
I have a studio practice and also a full-time job as an assistant professor at Wayne State University, so my time during the academic year is split between my university responsibilities and my studio. During the school year I try to save at least two days a week for studio production and administration (grant writing, exhibition proposals, residency applications). During the summer break I dedicate almost all of my time to studio production and often this is at residencies. Generally I prefer long blocks of time to work and have a hard time switching from language-based work (writing/reading) to visual production, so I generally schedule one type of task per day. I spend very little time sketching and develop most of my projects through writing combined with material investigations. My production methods are pretty diverse, and I hop between metalsmithing, mold making, sewing, and a variety of other materials.
 
You have two upcoming residencies in 2015 - in Wyoming and one in Nebraska. What is you plan for these residencies?
 Currently I am at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha. Here I am working on several new projects. One tentatively titled the Museum of Broken Desires, which may be an installation including objects and performance-based images and video. I am also developing material samples and prototypes for a couple of new bodies of work. I have been experimenting with ceramic slip casting, leather work, and quilting in the past few weeks.  I plan to further develop these experiments in my residency at the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming.

Since you completed your MFA in Art and Technology at The Ohio State University in 2006 you have done close to ten different artist in residences - most of them in the US but also in South Africa, Australia and Spain. Can you talk about how this has made an impact on your artistic development?
There are two primary benefits to my practice I have found through residencies: uninterrupted time and a community of dedicated artists. Being outside of my normal environment allows for a focus that is difficult for me to achieve in my home studio. This has allowed for the production of greater quantities of work. Working alongside other artists also drives me, the work ethic is contagious and it motivated me to work harder. I also have gained important feedback, assistance, and advocates in the artists I have met through residencies. Some of the relationships have lead to collaborations beyond the residency period. For example I co-curated Dichotomies of Place and Object: Contemporary South African Studio Jewelry from the Stellenbosch Area with Carine Terreblanche, faculty in the Jewelry program at Stellenbosch University, where I was an artist in residence in 2008. This ended up being a multi year collaboration resulting in the exhibition traveling to the National Ornamental Metals Museum, the Ohio Craft Museum, and Velvet da Vinci Gallery in the United States, and the Sasol Art Museum in South Africa.
 
Is it important for you to interact with the local community during a residency? In what way?
Aside from my residencies at universities, most have been centred on dedicated studio time. While in residence at the University of Stellenbosh and the Australian National University I frequently interacted with students and faculty, lectured, and attended many art and design events in the community. The amount of community interaction really depends on the location and format of the residency combined with your personal practice.
 
What is your advice to artists that are considering applying for an artist in residence?
 I’m not keen on giving advice, because practices are so diverse. What has worked for me, as with any kind of application, is being persistent. There are a lot of talented and hardworking artists in the world. I don't see being rejected from a residency as a reflection of poor quality in my work, but as a sign that I was competing with some really great artists who also deserve a spot. I would say that continuing to apply while I continued to develop my work helped. I feel that as the work gets stronger the likelihood of getting acceptance letters is higher. Plus juries often rotate so new eyes are looking at the work. I also think it has been important for me to work on my writing, so I can clearly articulate what my work is about (artist statement) and what my plans are (proposals).

I would also consider what residencies are a good fit for you. Do you need facilities? Do you have to bring a lot of supplies? What are the costs involved? Do you prefer a solitary or communal setting?

Any “hands on” advice on how to make an artist in residency successful?
Again, it is difficult to give overarching advice. Some artists come with a distinct project plan, others use the time to experiment, some bring work in progress, others have used residency time to write and apply to grants. For me, knowing my work habits and planning to make those most effective has been beneficial. For example, I like to drive to residencies if I can so I can bring tools and equipment I frequently utilize, this helps me to jump into working.

Thank you for sharing!
 

Lauren Kalman is a visual artist whose practice is invested in installation, video, photography and performance. Through her work she investigates perspectives of beauty, body image, value, and consumer culture. Raised in the Midwest, Kalman completed her MFA in Art from the Ohio State University and earned a BFA with a focus in metals from the Massachusetts College of Art. She has taught at institutions including Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. She currently lives in Detroit and is a Professor at Wayne State University. She exhibits and lectures internationally. Her work had been featured in exhibitions at venues including the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and the deCordova Museum. Her video work has also been screened in several international film festivals. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of the Musuem of Fine Arts Boston and the Smithsonian Musuem of American Art among others.
Lauren Kalman. Photograph: But if the Crime is Beautiful…. Composition with Ornament and Object, 2014. Inkjet print. 20x16”. Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti Contemporary. Lauren Kalman
Photograph: But if the Crime is Beautiful…. Composition with Ornament and Object, 2014
Inkjet print
20x16”
Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti Contemporary
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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