It's almost a month since I returned from Nes Artist Residency - a remote residency in Northwest Iceland that is as poignant as it is surreal. As I find myself reluctantly giving in to the routine of normal life, I really do miss the momentum that seemed to be unstoppable in Iceland.
What with Nes being my first artist residency, not to mention my first proper solo trip abroad, I had literally no idea what to expect. It's difficult to pinpoint what's so magical about Nes, and the town that hosts its resident artists (Skagaströnd). It's something about the seclusion, the slow pace of life, the unavoidable connection to nature (the weather dictates most town activities), allows your brain to decompress and finally relax, making room for creative ideas to fill in the gaps that were previously crammed with the mundane business of life back home.
It's a sort of culture shock, I guess, but one that makes you bond with the people around you and encourages you to soak up every little experience because it's just so different to what you experience in your normal life.
I lived in Skagaströnd for near enough two months (accounting for the weird shortness of February), from Jan 2 - Feb 28th 2018. During which I completed two bodies of work (along with countless random bits which I couldn't quite classify), did my first ever painting on canvas, took part in an Open House twice, gave two artist talks, sold work to some great people, and made the impromptu decision to model in a life drawing class - the experience of which is now manifesting itself in my decision to create a body of work on femininity & body image.
Nes was a real stepping stone for me to become a confident artist rather than someone fumbling for some sort of external validation and not really sure what to do next. The people, the landscape and the experience as whole... simply, magical.