JULIE RAFALSKI

Monday 12/5/16 time 9:56 AM


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Background as an artist? 

I have been a practicing artist for 10 years (after graduating from art school) and have been working with media such as video, photography, printmaking, drawing, collage. My work has been shown in various international group and solo exhibitions.

How did you end up choosing your media? 

I never really sat down to chose my media, I became more drawn to some more than others: collage because of its playful capabilities, drawing because of its direct linking of eye/brain to paper via the hand and print making because of the multiple images it creates. 

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

The best part of being an artist is having the freedom to pursue topics and ideas that interest you.

The worst part is having to sustain a level of discipline and motivation throughout the year.  

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

I have been in Finland before and I have always found it very inspiring. I did not have any particular expectations about Joutsa, but have been very pleasantly surprised by the amazing natural environment, the friendliness of the people and the delicious food.

What are the best sides / opportunities in having an art residency? What are your plans after Haihatus? 

An artist residency is great because you don't have all the everyday commitments such as working at a job, commuting or even distractions like exhibitions to go and see! One can just concentrate on working and thinking. A new environment is also very helpful, as it allows you to see your work afresh and  from a greater distance. Most importantly, the time at a residency is continuous - there are no interruptions. I remember thinking in Haihatus that I could actually remember exactly where I left off the previous day and that this sort of continuity then puts you in a very productive mind frame, where ideas flow more freely and and it's easier to experiment or try new things. 

After Haihatus, I plan to continue with the work I have started there, to create a whole body of work. More generally, I plan to apply to more residencies in the future and perhaps return to Haihatus one day! 

How does Haihatus meet your expectations? 

Haihatus was my first residency experience, so I didn't have any expectations really. I loved the whole experience. 

There was complete freedom in what type of work we would make, so it felt like there was no pressure to make a certain amount of work. This allowed me to work at a slower, more deliberate pace. It also allowed me the freedom to experiment- in the middle of the residency decided to do a site specific installation, which was a challenge. But I had the time and the freedom to experiment and try new things, and this allowed me to create the installation. 

The environment of Haihatus was very inspiring- from the gorgeous forests and lakes in the area to the different buildings and spaces on the Haihatus complex, to the spacious studios and to the warm, supportive environment in Haihatus. I was particularly inspired by a shed in the backyard, where I ended up doing my installation. 

It was also great to meet so many wonderful people- both the organisers of the residency and the artist friends. It was great to have a group of artists working together in the same space. Even if some days you didn't feel particularly inspired or you were at a loose end, the creative energy around the studios was motivating and energising. 


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