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May: Artist in Residence with Leveld Art Centre, Norway & New Work

So for the month of May I was Artist in Residence at Leveld in Norway, a small village in the Ål municipality, Hallingdal home to 300 inhabitants about 700 m above sea level. Another remote mountainous location: perfect once again for me. I feel like I’ve done just about every remote artist in residence programme that there ever has been!

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I spent the 4 weeks mainly based at the Leveld Art Centre, it’s very much a residency for creatives to go to and be immersed in the village and location without any distractions. There’s not even a shop in the village so it really is about going there to get headspace, think about your ideas and work to develop on a project that needs time and space.

I’ve realised through close inspection and really challenging how I think about my work and how I intend for it to develop that there is very much a clear style within my practise and how I respond to the landscape in which I immerse myself in. A major part of me making the art work is being surrounded in an environment that not only invigorates me in terms of remote and harsh elements, it also provides me with the right visual inspiration for me to go forward with new work. The harsh strong black lines I use convey the significant unique texture, shape and linear quality of the landscape whilst the energetic mixed medium marks are responding to the temporary elements that surround the land. It is about connecting people to this energy that exists in nature. I hope my photos of my work below show this kind of idea and give the work clarity.

And so I won’t go into detail about every piece of art work I made, instead here is some photographs that show the location of the place and some of the new works I produced within my time there! At the moment I’ve just left my post as artist in residence in Leveld and currently in Bergen where I will then depart for Shetland then back to the Scottish Mainland so that’s what to expect from my next posts!

Thanks again as always for reading and if you would like to purchase my work head on over to my online shop for small original works at online shop or you can browse my full portfolio at website.

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Weeks 9, 10 & 11

An overdue update!

A lot has happened in the past 3 weeks since leaving my last residency at Nes in Skagastrond and it’s went in very very quick! I’ve been working as artist in residence with Listhus Art Space with 24 other artists from around the world for just over 2 weeks now!

The location of my current residency is a town right on the North tip of Iceland called Ólafsfjörður, the town is home to around 800 people and has the largest mountains that I have ever seen which surround the whole town. It is right on a fjord which opens up to the arctic sea and I regularly take a walk to the beach where you can look out to the ocean and know that there is no other land until the north pole. It is here where I realise how impressive and truly wild this place really is. To add to this, I have also never seen so much snow in my life, it snows constantly here leaving even more breathtaking views, and even some of the houses around here have started to disappear under the mounds of it!

My time here in Ólafsfjörður started off with some of the worst weather Iceland has ever witnessed. High storms, avalanches and hurricanes, in fact I was told the hurricane that hit us at the start of December was the worst one to hit Iceland in 25 years. I arrived here on the 3rd of December at night and spent the first two days stuck indoors because of the harsh weather, there was an epic white out and I had no idea how magnificent the surroundings of this place were until 3 days into my residency! Wild, raw, powerful, elemental, all of these things which truly heighten an experience and what make Iceland so amazingly beautiful yet terrifying sometimes!

It was a few days in right among these infamous Icelandic storms where I had possibly the best surprise of my life. A large number of my family showed up on my doorstep, in one of the northernmost towns of Iceland, all the way from Scotland. They had been planning the surprise visit soon after I left Scotland back in October and it was a complete pleasure to spend the first week of my time here in Ólafsfjörður with them especially since the residency had only begun and I was still getting to know the place myself! We spent the few days in the amazingly located Brimnes Cabins which are in the town, taking shelter from the storms and even playing cards by candlelight when all of the electricity in the town went out for a few hours on the eve of the hurricane! I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my time anywhere else with anyone else!

Later that week we witnessed some of the most impressive northern lights that I have been lucky enough to see since arriving in Iceland, it was even more special being able to watch them with my family who had never seen them before! I’ve included a few of my photographs from that evening further down in this blog! One of the most incredible experiences to happen to me on that particular evening was bumping into the guys at Arctic Surf who were staying in a cabin close to us. Arctic Surf are a group of professional photographers and surfers who instead of surfing in the expected warm climates of our world, choose to document their surfing experiences and travel in the cold, northern and remote parts of our earth. Getting to meet my favourite photographer Chris Burkard whose photographs you should really check out was a particular highlight! They invited me to join them that evening to document the northern lights so we drove down in their jeep to the remote black sand beach in our town where we spent a good while under the aurora in the impressive fjord inlet! I would urge you all to check out what Chris and the team at Arctic Surf are doing as the photographs and ideas they are producing are truly unique!

The rest of my time here has involved welcoming my amazing friends from Scotland who travelled up to Iceland for my birthday, spending a few days in Akureyri which is the city of the North and getting to know the other 24 artists who I am working with on this Listhus Residency for the Skammdegi Festival. Here is a list of the participating artists in this unique and remote residency! http://www.listhus.com/listhus-skammdegi-air-award.html

The past two weeks here have also allowed me to get to know the place, adjust to my new surroundings, spend as much time as possible outside when the weather and light allow it, and document the beauty and overwhelming environment of the mountains right on the edge of the arctic sea.  There have been a few days here where the temperature has plummeted to minus 20 degrees and on average we are losing about 7/8 minutes of light per day. The sunrise this morning was at 11:51am and then set at 2:33pm, there is no sunlight as the mountains which surround this town are high above the suns peak. Yet the drama and impressive elements of this place make up for all of it and whenever there is on average of 3 hours of blue light per day I try and get outside to walk in it to take in the surroundings of the arctic winter.

The rest of my time here leading up to my third week has involved meeting with the local Junior College to discuss future workshops in January to coincide with the Listhus Skammdegi Festival, spending a lot of time in the local outdoor swimming pool which is geothermal heated by the surrounding mountains and thinking about my projects here and starting to produce new work in my studio in Listhus!

I’ll be updating more often now with my current practise in my residency and with photos here and there of this epic place! It is now Winter Solstice in our northern hemisphere so the days will start to get lighter from this day on. I’m sure this residency and location will bring with it some fierce and temperamental wild weather but the views and location of this magical place here in the north sure do make up for it!

I’m heading back to my homeland of Scotland tomorrow for a week to spend some time with my family and friends over the holiday and then will be back up in Iceland from the 29th of December so lots of updates then, until then here are some of my photos of the surrounding landscape here at Listhus!

 

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Iceland: Finished work

I’m in the midst of my final week here as Artist in Residence at Nes and in the process of finishing up my drawings and paintings made here. It’s been an experimental couple of months and I have realized in my work how much I am directly inspired from the landscape and environment around me including the colours, line and textures.

Here’s a preview of some of the finished work I have made here, all work is mixed medium and includes drawings and paintings. I’ve definitely found that I have made the most of my time here as artist in residence and the brilliant studio facilities and location that come with it! I hope you like the work and if you have any questions about particular pieces please do get in touch at my email ellisoconnor@hotmail.co.uk

Also, if you would like to view my full portfolio of all work made here so far in Iceland please head on over to my website, speak soon!

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Online auction for Iceland!!

I’m currently holding a silent online auction to raise some funding towards my 5 month long trip to Iceland. I also have these pieces which are in need of a home so I thought it would be a great idea to give them to new owners before I leave!

The auction only has a few hours left on it but it’s a good way to showcase my work that I have available! Starting bids are very reasonable and there’s just a few items left that don’t have a bid yet!

Here’s the link to the auction:Auction

Please feel free to share, happy bidding people and here’s the images of the work that I have on!

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