In 2005, Pont Aven was introduced to me. I had just finished my BFA at Massachusetts College of Art, gone through some major life changes, divorce, moving, new jobs, etc, and was seized by the sense that in France I could do anything. The warmth with which artists are met with here is beyond comparison. Here, when one introduces themselves as an artist, a sparkle gleams in the listener’s eye.
I always knew I’d come back. In 2018, I got my first artist visa from the French government in which I promised I’d make an artist studio in Pont Aven, but then other international art projects, like working on plastic pollution in the Maldives, kept me from making it real. On my renewal of the artist visa, I made a promise that it would happen. Covid happened and the world changed.
My partner Claire and I live in Centre Ville, close enough to walk, but far enough to be private. The house has an attached two-story, stone slate roofed shed, that formerly housed boilers and fuel tanks for heating a large home.
We took it all out and I started to rebuild the floor joists (there had been a fire at some point), cleaned out a lot of strange things from the house being vacant for 15 years prior to Claire buying it, drylining the upstairs with rails, insulation and drywall, and building work tables. My plan, for the artist studio was that the ground floor would be dirty work, and the upstairs would be archive storage and clean work.
Like all projects, I was doing this while we were renovating the rest of the house, and other projects.
After a year from when I started cleaning it out, to now, its all done. Finally. When my artist gallery closed at the end of Summer 2021, I raced to finish the last bits of mud and tape, and I moved about 15 years of art work into the space.
I am really looking forward to a lot of projects. I am committed to being an international Eco-Artist, and am very seriously concerned with how we as artists make art in a post climate crisis context. What are our materials and methods, and how is what we are doing sustainable and why are we doing what we are doing anyways? I’ve written more about this here.
I may need to ponder the view more than once. Ha ha ha.
I am truly thankful for all the support that got me to this view. I could not have done it without the help of so many people, a heartfelt thanks goes out to all who helped me, to my partner Claire who is absolutely amazing, CACTUS in Quimper is truly an association worth supporting, the arts community of Pont Aven, and my friends and family of course all around the world. I lost my mother in 2020, and with each day her passing feels a bit further away, but I wish she could be here to see it all, and I am ever so thankful for the time and love we shared.
My French artist visa is renewed until 2025, and not only do I have a multi year contract with the city of Quimper to make a large scale art project, but I also have some smaller projects that will be started in the new year. I’m deeply keen to experiment with recycling fabric from my art installations into useable things, bus shelters, kayaks, etc. I’ll also be researching into the viability of new materials, mycelium packaging, orange peel OSB, and plastic made from Seaweed. I’m also looking forward to revisiting shelved projects and finishing off some sculptures that suffered from my art nomad career pre COVID.
I’ll keep you posted as to how things develop. Thanks again for all the support. Here’s some pictures of how things are for now, probably about as clean as it will get.
Thanks again for reading, and stay tuned for more updates, be safe out there.