julia vandepolder + residency
Where did you go?
Vermont Studio Center (VSC) is the largest international artists’ and writers’ Residency Program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world.
The Studio Center provides 4-12 week studio residencies on an historic 30-building campus along the Gihon River in Johnson, Vermont, a village in the heart of the northern Green Mountains.
What was your motivation to apply for a residency?
The location! Being able to spend a month in Vermont – the greenest state in the U.S. in the fall season specifically – I knew that would be the best time to get away. I needed a change from my studio space at the Alton Mill in Caledon and wanted to get feedback from the other artists that I would meet at the residency. After a period of almost 2.5 years outside of a University setting, I knew it was time to get some fresh experiences in a new location. To be in the mountains painting, what could be better than that?! It was my first residency and I wanted to see what the experience would bring.
I also applied to this residency because of the visiting artists every week. They would give a lecture and we had the opportunity to have studio visits one-on-one with each artist. Incredible! One artist who specifically changed the way I was thinking about my work and really made an impact on me as an artist was my conversation with Leonid Lerman, a sculptor and painter.
When did you go?
I arrived at the Vermont Studio Centre on August 28th during Hurricane Irene! That was quite the experience! The rain was crazy and the Gihon River rose so high the Red Mill was almost flooded. I left on September 23rd. It was a sad day for everyone as we all grew so close and built friendships throughout the month that we were there.
The VSC was a great opportunity to be around a variety of artists and like-minded people for a four week period. I had amazing conversations with all the residency artists working in different mediums: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, printmaking, new and mixed-media as well as writing.
The experience of having access to so many artists on a daily basis was very beneficial; I could ask questions and get feedback on things like grad programs, other painters’ experiences in their careers, and their exhibitions.
What did you produce? Or was it more about the experience?
I didn’t know what to expect with the amount of work I would produce. I took a lot of panels and canvas to the studio but didn’t end of using a lot of the materials. Much of the work I did produce was in the first two weeks there… and then I decided to enjoy the surrounding area and the company of fellow artists. I started two large panels, working with layering paint and building up the surface. I did a few smaller studies which are now on exhibition at the Telephone Booth Gallery including the “Ceiling drop (tiles)” study on Mylar, and “Table-top” (which is now in a corporate collection). I began the “Green Room – sketch for a painting.” It is one of the largest pieces I’ve made on panel thus far (see photo gallery above). I wanted to do something different without working with paint so I used charcoal, graphite, oil pastels and conté crayon. Focusing on using more drawing materials was a breakthrough that happened in my work during the residency!
All the residency artists had the opportunity to give a small presentation of their work to everyone. Two evenings were set aside a week for this. It gave a small glimpse into everyone’s work. The Open Studio sessions at mid-month and the end of the residency were great times to see what everyone had been working on as well.
How did you apply?
I had heard about the residency from fellow artists and applied through their website with a portfolio of works. http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org I applied and received a grant, which helped pay for the residency.
The experience I hold dear to my heart – and forever changed me as an artist! Magical things happen in Vermont. ~Julia Vandepolder