Immersion

by Karen Olson

Creative process – with it, we make sense of our life experience, emotions, relationships. It is particularly helpful when traveling abroad. Culturally, after a long stay, we absorb another way of life and make it our own.

Amy Parrish, an accomplished artist and photographer, comes to Maine from an 8-month long stay in India. She is one of our instructors currently living as the artist in residence at 26 Split Rock Cove. I couldn’t wait to visit her studio and see what she’s working on. I could see right away that symbolism is a strong takeaway from her travels. I was fascinated and immediately resonated with the colors and textures on the walls and tables left there as inspiration, works in progress.

 

Amy Parrish- The Art Loft

 

Amy Parrish- The Art Loft

 

Amy Parrish- The Art Loft

 

AmyParrish_2_Stinging Showing

 

 

Her mentors, Brenton Hamilton and Joyce Tenneson encouraged Amy to create works of art apart from photography and stated that working in other media informs an artist’s work as a whole.

She tells her story …

“I recently returned to the US after spending nearly a year in Kolkata/Calcutta, India where I worked on a program which taught photography to young women affected by the commercialized sex trade. In between managing and teaching I traveled around the city and West Bengal, collecting images and experiences for my own projects.

While overseas my marriage ended and I found myself uprooted from the life I had known. It was a serendipitous return to the Midcoast region; staying at Sandy Weisman’s inspiring artist retreat over these next several months. This place nurtures creativity with quiet, privacy and a full studio connected to the living space.

I plan to hunker down over the coming months and complete a project based on all of the adventures and words and photographs I accumulated during my time in India. I’m not entirely sure what the final product will look

While overseas my marriage ended and I found myself uprooted from the life I had known. It was a serendipitous return to the Midcoast region; staying at Sandy Weisman’s inspiring artist retreat over these next several months. This place nurtures creativity with quiet, privacy and a full studio connected to the living space. 

I plan to hunker down over the coming months and complete a project based on all of the adventures and words and photographs I accumulated during my time in India. I’m not entirely sure what the final product will look like. At first, I thought a photo book (Stray Birds), then a memoir (One Star in Kolkata), then a more delicate pairing of words and images (Incarnations and Incantations). But no singular thing seems capable of conveying all I have to express. 

I took a drawing class at the ArtLoft, am editing an epic erasure poem inspired by Rabindranath Tagore, and I’m also working with textiles, powders & sculptural elements.

 Expression is making an appearance in many forms and I’ll keep letting it out until the end result becomes clear. 

But some days I wake up and don’t feel creative at all. I keep myself busy with the mundane until the muse strikes- updating websites, revisiting old projects, submitting to exhibitions, and generally trying to figure out what to do after this residency phase completes.

I’m thankful for being surrounded by friends and mentors who look at my work-in-progress, offering suggestions, critique, and encouragement. One piece of advice given when I was feeling less-than-inspired, was to go into my studio every day and do something, anything. The next day, not at all in the mood to be creative, I organized my space as best as I could (temporary living means lots of boxes and miscellaneous piles). 

Wouldn’t you know, rearranging the space transformed its energy into something which fueled me whenever I stepped through the door? I hung my own work up on the walls, tacked up experiments and quandaries to mull on, and dedicated a table to showcasing a dense collection of “inspiration objects.” It’s a great place to start for anyone who feels the need to shake things up, and just in time for the New Year.”

 

Amy Parrish - The Art Loft

 

Amy Parrish - The Art Loft

 

Amy Parrish - The Art Loft

 

Amy Parrish - The Art Loft

 

Amy Parrish - The Art Loft

 

As I was packing up my camera, we talked a little about the importance of connection, having people you can count on to advise you. It is an essential part of an artist’s life, we often spend so much time alone. Amy has enjoyed meeting many individuals at The Art Loft, both at the class she attended and at the workshop she taught. She will be teaching another workshop on January 8th.

Photoshop Transfers – Coasters Workshop – Amy Parrish