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Artist residency at Vermont Studio Center

Johnson, October 25, 2018

October of 2018 has been one of the most memorable months of my life, in an ideal setting, where I have been able to start working on a new body of work that is especially meaningful to me, while engaging with incredibly talented and creative writers and artists.

I received the Emily Mason fellowship from Vermont Studio Center, which granted me a spacious studio filled with natural light, available 24/7, a beautiful spacious room at Pearl House with other housemates and three delicious meals per day.

From the very first day, I was very pleasantly surprised with the great organization and care that the VSC staff members put in their work and how they all go out of their way to make all the residents feel a home. Spending time with everyone during meals, resident presentations, open studios, studio visits and walks out in nature has been a great joy and a true gift. The setting in a liberal town such as Johnson, in the midst of breathtaking natural surroundings, without external distractions and with all of the physical needs (shelter, food, studio space) taken care of, is the closest thing to ‘Artists Paradise’ that I have ever experienced. America may be going through dark times in terms of its politics, but I feel very fortunate to have been able to come here and experience its most luminous side through its artists and culture makers.

Personal circumstances in my life have made me move constantly for the past two years, and having moved back to Korea five months ago after spending most of my life in Latin America, I discovered the family photo archive, which I began documenting through photos. The timing has been perfect for me to come to VSC to get a jump start in this project as I do not yet have a studio space in Seoul and was needing it very much. Thanks to my time here at VSC, I have been able to visualize and try out different approaches and feel very stimulated to continue further developing this new body of work after I go back to Seoul.

Meeting and getting to know the work of visiting artists Kalup Linzy and Brian and visiting poet Anne Waldman has been very enriching as I did not know their works previously and they gave me invaluable feedback and inspiration.

I was also deeply moved and inspired by all my peers whose work I had the fortune of knowing through the weekly Resident Presentations (Respres) and Open Studios. I had never had the opportunity of knowing so many American and international artists as I did here, and this has given me a great insight into the great creative force that occurs in the US in 2018. I found that the more intimate and political the work was, the more stimulated I was. I also developed a strong friendship and connected on so many levels with Vietnamese-American writer Melissa Lê (who is working on her first book) and with whom we talked for ours on end about our identities as first-generation immigrant Asians in the US and Latin America . I had stimulating and profound conversations with so many people and I feel like I’m leaving a much richer person, because the biggest wealth is not material but human connection.

I take with me invaluable memories, the mesmerizing scent of autumn and the beauty of impermanence through unforgettable days in this wonderful setting of Vermont Studio Center.


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