Simone Asia, current artist in Fresh Milk’s 2015 ‘My Time’ Local Residency programme, shares her first blog post about her time on the platform. Simone speaks about re-acclimatizing to a familiar space, exploring the environment more thoroughly and how unexpected obstacles can push you to act on ideas that have been lying under the surface. Read more below:
My first week here at Fresh Milk was bittersweet. The space itself is a familiar one, but I had not explored it as thoroughly as I have in the last few days.
I was sharing the space with international resident artist, Jordan Clarke, whom I found to be delightful. She was very quiet – in contrast to me – but that helped to balance of the energy within the space. Jordan was on the final week of her residency, and I found that she and her work was an inspiration for me. She did very beautiful self portraiture drawings and paintings. I would offer my feedback on her drawings whenever I could. She also sketched a lot – something I wish I did more. Additionally, there was great material in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room to source inspiration from.
I did not have a solid plan for my work on the farm, but I knew I wanted to do some experimental drawings. I usually do portraiture as well, but I wanted to put my energy toward creating strictly abstract drawings. I surveyed the land, observing patterns, textures, colour and layering. The various types of plants, animals and sounds made me feel more connected to my nature-loving side. I was particularly drawn to the layering on vines upon tree trunks and fallen leaves and twigs piled on the grass, as well as the patterns and vibrant colours that certain plants possessed. From these observations I was compelled to work with colour.
Working with colour is not totally foreign to me, but it is something I am insecure about. I am accustomed to creating monochromatic abstract drawings so I knew that using colour would be out of my comfort zone. Spilling the first two colours of ink and trying to manipulate them made my anxiety and self-doubt kick in. I even tried drawing on top of red paper with black ink, but it still felt weird. I remembered what I had learnt from my last two residencies and open studio at Projects and Space, Alice Yard and Punch Creative Arena, respectively – I need to trust the process, let the concept come afterwards and play.
My first day went well until close to the end of that evening, when all of my devices were submerged in water. It was a tragic start to my week, causing only stress and anxiety. Despite all the drama, the rest of the week went along smoothly – exchanging stories with Jordan and members from the Fresh Milk Books team and visitors – Aieron, Jordan’s husband, and Australian resident artists Willoh, James and baby Equa, who I found to be a very musical child.
I have claimed a cow on the farm as my own; she does not know it yet. Her ear tag is number 503. I call her ‘Bambee’. She got that name because Jordan and I were discussing how beautiful and deer-like she was so I named her to suit.
I got to reflect while being there. I found it ironic how much I loved nature, yet I was very dependent on electronic devices to record my findings. I totally neglected the process of sketching. For months I had been telling myself I would like to sketch more. I got my wish. Sadly, I still used Jordan’s camera and did minimal sketching, but I found myself storing images in my memory. I think for me it takes a while to get into the groove of sketching.
On Friday I spent a couple hours with Jordan and her husband. It was Jordan’s last day in residence at Fresh Milk and Annalee was very busy that day. I found myself alone in the afternoon. The rain poured as if to complement my mood. I will miss Jordan’s presence in the space. While sitting alone looking in the mirror, reflecting on the week as the rain poured in St. George, something came to me. I think I am going to do a portrait even though I wanted to avoid doing one. An idea is brewing.