Genesis, from desire to reality

April 22nd 2016, I stepped on the ferry to the unknown which would be my next life for some time.
Actually it wasn’t completely the unknown. I was going to be an artist-in-residence in the South of Vancouver Island in Canada, at an artist studio and place’s named Heidi Bergtrom who I had never met.

How did I get myself into this?

Earlier that year, I was at home, in Paris, France, preparing for my big 2 years trip to Canada.  I wanted this new chapter of my life to be about making art and meeting artists in Canada. How was I going to make that happen? I had desires, a blank page and the second biggest country in the world to work from. All kinds of ideas went through my head.
I looked online for art residencies all over Canada but couldn’t find any that my profile seemed to fit. I decided I would get in touch with art communities. Pretty soon, as one clic led to another, I found myself checking out artist Heidi Bergtrom’s website, her painting works, her photos, her videos… On the home page I read:
“These are a few interests and projects in my bucket list:
* One year in Venice during a biennale
* 90 days in the Desert – a project to collaborate with other artists in Dinosaur Park, AB.
And then at last,
* Host artists-in-residence from across the country and the world at my studio.
Cheers, Heidi Bergtrom, BFA

Did I read correctly? “Host artists-in-residence”.
Interestingly, I resonated with some of her works themes. “…memory and how skewed things can get in one’s mind” was one of them. In fact I had worked on them as well. Reading all of her work presentations I could sense this woman’s personality, very serious about her art making, experimental with a wide variety of medias and subjects, both intellectual and hands-on working matter . I also very much agreed with her approach of what it means to be an artist, what the art’s purpose is to her: “The moment the viewer identifies with the work, he/she identifies with the artist. The artist and viewer are in dialogue […] This is the bridge, which allows a human contact unattainable in any other form and transcending time and language.” Ok, I thought, I had to contact this woman!

How was she going to react? A stranger writing from France out of the blue! I wanted to know more about what she meant by artist-in-residence at her studio? What kind of artist? What kind of art?
I hit the send button about 2 weeks before setting foot on the Canadian soil.
Her reaction was indeed unexpected.

Photo credit: Sofia de la Scala

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