MELODY JANE

Tuesday 12/20/16 time 4:25 PM


BACKGROUND AS AN ARTIST

I spent just over a decade honing my writing skills, while working in technical fields, before making the decision to give the same level of dedication to visual arts as I had to writing. Visual art is something that I always had an affinity for and now, coming back to it with more experience, I find that I have an unprecedented level of motivation and enthusiasm, combined with the determination needed to keep practising no
matter what.

HOW DID YOU END UP CHOOSING YOUR MEDIA?

I haven't settled on any one medium, and I hope never to do so. I try to choose the appropriate media to each project or series, and I try to always learn something new.

WHAT DO YOU FIND AS THE BEST AND WORST SIDES OF BEING AN ARTIST?

For me the worst aspect is the constant need to defend yourself from absorbing a culture of competition - the juried exhibitions, exclusive galleries, officiated commissions, grant applications, school entrance requirements and all other instances where the practical necessity to limit participation leads to some very exclusionary, and potentially disheartening, situations. It will always be a challenge to critique oneself and be aware of how one can grow, without comparing oneself negatively to others, and when an outside party seems to reject the work that you do it is far too easy to lose joy in it - one of the best sides of being an artist is the freedom in creation and self-expression, and appreciating that expression of freedom in the other artists that you meet, who are your peers and allies and potential collaborators, and they should not be
turned into competitors.

IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME IN FINLAND? WHAT KIND OF EXPECTATIONS DID YOU HAVE ABOUT FINLAND/ JOUTSA?

I had already lived in Finland for several years before training as a visual artist, but I had never really ventured into the countryside or to any smaller towns. I was nervous that my art skills would not be mature enough, and that I would not be exotic enough, besides other
residents of the house, but it was immediately clear that my nervousness was unfounded.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SIDES / OPPORTUNITIES IN HAVING AN ART RESIDENCY?

The space to think clearly and work, the boost to productivity, the new environments and experiences, opportunities for experimentation - but most of all the wonderful people you meet!

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER HAIHATUS?
I went to Haihatus in Summer of 2015, with the hope to kick off work on a series for my first solo exhibition; I produced enough work during and shortly after this to secure an exhibition for the following summer. I then visited again recently, because coming to Haihatus with a focused work plan had meant that I could not explore all the new opportunities
that presented themselves while I was there. This time I have learned to weave Finnish rugs on the looms at the local craft centre and used materials from the house to create sculptural work.

I plan to collaborate more with other artists and take part in more  group exhibitions and installations in the coming years.


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