MIGUEL SOPENA

Friday 9/23/16 time 12:37 PM


miguel.jpg

Background as an artist

I have always liked art very much but I didn't start making art myself until recently (about five years ago). It was one of those things I always wanted to do but I think I was too scared or I thought it was too difficult or that I wasn't talented enough. It started like a hobby, by teaching myself photography and taking short and evening courses (mostly on drawing) while I was at university studying a completely unrelated subject. I soon realised I wanted more and I ended up doing what in the UK is known as a Foundation course, which is an introductory course young people take before studying art at university (I did the version for grown-ups). I then decided I needed more training but I didn't want to put myself through another degree so I did a 2-year painting diploma instead in a small London school. I finished in 2015 and I've been practising and trying to establish myself ever since.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

Painting was not (and is not) the only media I'm attracted to but I've always loved looking at paintings and when I decided to train I realised I had to specialise and focus on one technique. Painting is slightly scary in that it is a very flexible media, in the hands of a good artist it can be beautiful but it can also be very mediocre and, personally speaking, I know that I am capable of producing very bad paintings (as well as good ones sometimes).

What do you find as the best and worst sides of being an artist?

The best side is being successful with your creativity, when you achieve positive results at the end of the creative process and your confidence gets a boost. The worst side is the uncertainty I think, both in terms of how difficult the creative process can be and also the uncertainty in the real world as it's so difficult to promote one's work let alone make an income from art.

Is this your first time in Finland? What kind of expectations did you have about Finland/ Joutsa?

Yes it is my first time in Finland. I was attracted by the landscape around Joutsa, the forest and the lakes, which looked like they would be beautiful (and they are!). I was also attracted to the idea of focusing on my work for a whole month leaving all the other distractions behind. Because of the surroundings I decided to focus on landscape painting for the duration of the residency which I had never tried before (I usually work on the human figure).

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency?

It is great to be able to focus on work without distractions and it is really stimulating to be in new surroundings, especially in a beautiful location like Joutsa. It really helps you look at your work (and lots of other things) with fresh eyes.

What are your plans after Haihatus?

To continue painting using the lessons learnt this month. I'm sure I will apply to other residencies in the future (or to come back to Haihatus!) as the experience has been really positive.

How does Haihatus meet your expectations?

The experience of coming to Haihatus has been incredibly positive. I love nature and the outdoors and the change from London to Joutsa has been amazing. I think I'm gonna have a hard time adjusting when I get back home. I will really miss the forest! From the point of view of painting the experience has been really positive as well, my studio was great and I found myself thinking about my work in a different way. I only wish I had more time as a month looks like a long time but it goes by really quickly. I think the residency provides everything that people need and everyone has been really welcoming. A big thanks to everyone at Haihatus.


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