Jen Perena here with my final post! What a great, inspiring and positive (and sometimes exhausting) experience I have had!
Being a resident artist was never really a personal life goal, since I work full time in a non-art field, don’t have an art degree, and don’t really ‘fit the mold’ of an artist-in-residence (who is usually present all the time at the arts center, meeting and greeting students, teaching, etc)….BUT having a solo show of my own was definitely on my ‘list’, and I am thrilled to have been able to make it a reality under the AIR program. Especially since I did it at the Photo Dept/Community Darkroom of the Flower City Arts Center, where I learned the kallitype technique, have been teaching and volunteering for years, and where I derive a lot of my inspiration to make art.
During my residency, I made roughly 150 kallitype prints from around 40 8×10 size plastic negatives; I estimate that I spent approx 100 hours in the Silver Den and Dan’s Darkroom, coating paper, making contact print exposures, and developing/toning/fixing/washing my prints; another 30-ish hours in the digital lab manipulating iPhone images in Photoshop to make the negatives, plus scanning my finished prints and then editing them for my Photo Book; maybe 30 hours spent watercoloring the prints in the Vegetation Series, plus around 20 hours matting and framing the 25 pieces in the exhibit; not to mention the countless hours writing these blog articles, sending emails, and keeping up with social media, in preparation for and while promoting my exhibit and artist talk and demo. At times it felt like having a second full time job!
I could not have done it without the support of the staff of the Photo Dept, nor without the opportunity to be a resident. The 24/7 access to the facilities, the technical support from the staff and instructors, and the constant positive feedback and encouragement were all immensely helpful.
And now it’s finito. My exhibit officially ended on Saturday, Feb 16. Taking the work off the walls, taking apart the frames for the prints that didn’t sell (so I could return the borrowed frames and glass to their owners), and wrapping up the framed prints that sold, was a bittersweet experience; I have really enjoyed spending so much time in the gallery over the past several weekends, meeting and talking to visitors to the show, and I’m sad to know that part is over now. However, I am beyond thrilled at how many of you lucky people get to take my ‘babies’ home (and also almost equally thrilled that some didn’t sell so I have a few for myself!)
I have a few more days left to my residency, and I’ll continue making work to use up my chemistry and paper – mostly just for fun, some experimenting with new papers, etc. If anything interesting happens I may share it….
Til then, I wanted to share some links where you can continue to keep up with me and my work, as well as see videos of the the exhibit and my artist talk on YouTube:
–> Follow me on Instagram at #kallitypegirl
–> Watch the Artist Talk on Youtube (56 minutes)
Thank you all for following along, and I look forward to seeing you around the Center, at exhibit openings (I’ll be in the Members Show and at the opening on March 1st!) and maybe even in the Darkroom!