Philipp Pieroth’s Residency – Week 2 Blog Post

German-born, Johannesburg-based visual artist Philipp Pieroth shares his second blog post about his Fresh Milk residency. This week, Philipp has tried not pressure himself in terms of having fully reconciled work at the end of his residency; rather, he is trying to trust his process and know that clarity will come over time. He also had the opportunity to present his work to students at Barbados Community College, and has started a mural workshop with them on a wall at the school. Read more below:

In my last blog, I wrote about my process. I still haven’t finished any work – I won’t be finishing the works before I Ieave, which was my original plan. Nobody pushed me to do so, but I that’s the pressure I put on myself. I’ve learned that I don’t work that way; there is a certain organic nature of the process I just can’t deny or can’t force. It needs time, no matter how much work I put in. At times I feel like I am not working enough, even though I am working every day up to 12, 14 hours, even often on weekends. A painting needs to be worked on, sometimes it needs to sit for a while and barely be looked at for weeks, before doing any work on it again. Though I was aware of these facts, the residency has acted as a good reminder.

My paintings look very different from each other. Like they have been made in different periods of my life almost. That was confusing and also unsatisfying, but I have accepted it now. I always try to take a failure as a chance to change my angle on things and turn it into a lesson. So it might turn out not to be a bad thing. I actually prefer – let’s say at a solo show – to see diversity in a body of work. If I see 20 works and the shapes and the colours only change a little bit, I feel bored.

Chelsea and I had the chance to speak to a class at the Barbados Community College. I showed my work and started a workshop with some of the students working on a mural at the school. The work that I saw from them was impressive, and I feel the talk was well received. For the mural, the group came up with an interesting concept, which we need to execute now, after the sketching is done.

Philipp Pieroth’s Residency – Week 1 Blog Post

German-born, Johannesburg-based visual artist Philipp Pieroth shares his first blog post about his Fresh Milk residency. Philipp’s first week has seen him delve into research about Bajan culture & identity, and he is now balancing his original concept with his natural work process, which is organic, intuitive and fueled by stimuli in his environment and his emotional connection to his pieces. Read more below:

It’s been a week now since I arrived in Barbados and started my Fresh Milk residency. I received a warm welcome by the team, and am excited to finally be here.

Since I am a very intuitive worker, it has been challenging for me to work with a predetermined concept – the proposal I wrote for the residency investigating Bajan Identity – which frames me and my work in a certain way. I realized that I was trying to stick to this idea too closely. Hence, while I am still researching this topic, I’m trying to be free at the same time, allowing myself to step out of it.

My creative process is an organic one that allows itself to bend, crack and change from its original attempt or idea. I never know what might happen during the work. Though I have a concept or an image in mind, I enjoy and need it to be dynamic, and welcome unexpected changes and accidents. That makes my paintings alive and engaging. Usually, my concept is rather abstract and emotional, only being defined by words after the work is done. So at this point I am trying to balance these things in order to  get into my workflow.

Fresh Milk welcomes Chelsea Odufu and Philipp Pieroth to the platform

Fresh Milk is excited to welcome US-based filmmaker Chelsea Odufu and German-born visual artist Philipp Pieroth to the platform from October 2 – 27, 2017.

Chelsea will use her residency with Fresh Milk to begin doing ethnography research about Caribbean culture, specifically centered around Afro Caribbean traditions such as Carnival, Crop Over Festival & Juve, and the role Carnival plays in the daily lives of Caribbean people socially, economically, and spiritually. This research will inform a feature film script she is creating focused on Carnival’s connection to Caribbean Spirituality as many have lost touch with this connection, culminating in a short documentary that explores this generation’s disconnect or strong connection to the traditions of our ancestors.

Philipp intends to create a body of work that will explore the idea of identity in Barbados using site specific research, combining ethnographical field work with cultural history and community engagement. On the one hand, his work will focus on investigating communal history, such Barbados’ colonial past, cultural heritage, traditions and historical figures, as well as local people as key figures in today’s community, all contributing to a unique system of meaning. He wishes to raise the question of what makes identity; how is identity linked to heritage or geographical location, and how can we capture the ambiguity of reality, question the definition of identity and raise discussions about what the future of identity is.

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About Chelsea Odufu:

Often considered a renaissance woman, Chelsea Odufu is a filmmaker and art activist whose mission is to use art as a tool to regenerate positive and empowering images of Blackness on screen. A Newark, New Jersey native with Guyanese and Nigerian roots, Chelsea’s work focuses on narratives that explore the complex Black identity while portraying issues such as colorism, the stigmas of Black spirituality, gender and sexuality.  Chelsea previously worked at MTV, Nickelodeon, Universal Music Group and with many popular artists such as Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, Vashtie, but found her true love is narrative filmmaking.

Upon graduating from New York University’s esteemed Tisch School of The Arts as a Martin Luther King scholar, due to her proven academic excellence, leadership abilities, and passion for social justice, Chelsea hit the ground running with the creation of her film Ori Inu: In Search of Self with her brother Emann. This film has screened in over 7 countries including Paris, Berlin, Guyana, St.Lucia, London, US, Canada Finland to name a few, and over 15 film festivals. Articles about the film have been featured on NBC News, Huffington Post, Afropunk, Saint Heron, OkayAfrica and many more. The creation of Ori Inu film merged with her passion for social justice and community development launched her speaking career in 2015. Since then, Chelsea has spoken at universities such as Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, Columbia, Vassar, NYU, Wesleyan giving speeches, leading artistic interactive discussions and workshops centered around identity, Black representation in film and TV, Afrofuturism and her latest film Ori Inu: In Search of Self.

Shortly after graduation Chelsea was offered a job by honorary Oscar award winning filmmaker Spike Lee to work on a number of his projects including Chi-Raq and recently on his new Netflix series She’s Gotta Have it. She also recently directed and produced content for Cadillac General Motors Diversity. Chelsea’s work as an art activist encourages people to be proud of their cultural roots and to stand firm in their truth.

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About Philipp Pieroth:

Philipp Pieroth is a German-born artist who works in drawing, painting and murals. His practice explores the non-stop connectivity between humans experienced in daily life, and how this challenges our individual position and impacts our ability to form genuine connections with others. These social formations, personal interrelation, intimate affairs and environmental determinations are a subject of constant overthinking for Philipp, and he aims to shift our collective consciousness and perception as a constellation of social beings, rethinking our presence, or Dasein in this world and how we relate to one another.

Philipp lives and works between Berlin, Germany and Johannesburg, South Africa. His solo exhibitions have included: 2016 – Dasein, AGOG Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Represantation by Gavin Project, Johannesburg, South Africa; Care, Guguletu, Capetown, South Africa; Concept of Hope, Khayelitsha, Capetown, South Africa and number of mural projects throughout Accra, Ghana; 2015 – Saudade, Inhaca, Mosambik and Same Wall, Different Space Woodstock (Mural), Side Street Studios, Capetown, South Africa; 2013 – A number of murals throughout Taghazout, Morocco; 2012 – Der STöR in der Pappelreihe, Pappelreihe, Berlin, among many others.