geology

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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The Great Glen

If everyone doesn’t know this already I’m a tad obsessed with the mountains of Scotland especially in the North West region. I had some free time amongst projects and commissions in the month of April to go on a quick trip up to one of my favourite spots in Scotland; the mighty Glen Coe. It’s a place I know like the back of my hand and it’s a place I will never stop going to and exploring. Each time I visit I see something new in the landscape, the light dramatically changes each hour or so and the mountains still give me that familiar feeling of overwhelming awe.

I’ll just let the place and the photographs I captured whilst there speak for themselves. If you have ever never been to Glen Coe I urge you to visit. You can drive there, park up in the area and go on a massive hike, escape the crowds and get right into the mountains, there are so many trails that take you right into the wild valleys where you don’t see anyone for a long time, that’s the best way to do it in my opinion!

If you want to view my full photographic portfolio and other work please head on over to my website at: Ellis O’Connor.

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Lyth Arts Centre – Artist in Residence

Sorry for the lack of updates recently but March was a busy and quite a difficult month!

The transition from going back to some sort of normality after Iceland was hard and then I had various projects, commissioned campaigns and local art residencies which was all great but didn’t leave me much time for a breather! Anyway, I’ve had some time to reflect in April and have a bit more of a slower pace of life, back in my studio thinking about my work and past projects that flew by.

I’m going to be posting a few blogs about my projects from the month of March. The last blog I posted from Cove Park started literally 3 days after flying back from my 5 month long stint in Iceland and then I headed straight up to the dramatic wilds of North Scotland, in the second week of March to Caithness to begin my week long residency with Lyth Arts Centre. I had been selected for the artist residency a whole year ago so I was excited to finally be able to go up and join the Arts Centre in an area of Scotland that is not very well known to me!

Lyth Arts Centre is an incredible place, remote and slap bang in the middle of exposed fields that stretch as far as the eyes can see. It was a long journey, 7 hours and 3 trains in fact to get to the very top of Scotland where I spent the proceeding days living and working in the spectacular estate house having time to roam around, reflect and go on trips to places like Dunnet Head, Broch Bay, Castlehill, Duncansy Stacks, Wick, John O Groats and Reiss Beach. All places that astounded me with the high level of conserved geology, history, culture and spectacular views over to the Isles of Orkney. Within my art practise I tend to go to the West Coast of Scotland and the Islands for my inspiration, however being a geology fanatic and at home in quiet and remote landscapes, the far North of Scotland was exactly what I needed!

I had an immersive week there, producing fresh work and gaining lots of inspiration from the surrounding area and the many walks I ventured on! I could write in detail about every single place but I think I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Would highly recommend a visit up to the Lyth Arts Centre and Caithness to anyone, the North is where it’s at! I’ll be heading back up that way in May when me and one of my close friends will be embarking on an epic road trip including the North Coast 500 route, driving around in her motorhome travelling around the whole coast of Scotland slowly to really see it all!

Honestly though, even though Scotland is a small Country and I’v lived here for the majority of my life, there is still so much to see and do! I’ve covered the majority of the mainland and Islands but there are so many wild places and unexpected dramatic views to see, go and find it, I urge you all!

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Week 8

My last week as artist in residence at Nes is coming to an end and it’s brought with it even more snow here in the far North of Iceland.

The week started off with a trip to the amazingly located Grettislaug hot pool which is right in the north and in among a beautiful vista looking out to the mysterious Island of Drangey. We spent a few hours in the hot pool soaking in the geothermal water and taking in the sights of the snowy fjord around us. It was a clear day and on the way back we witnessed the most spectacular Icelandic sunset lighting up the epic mountains around us a bright pink colour. The infamous blue hour passed and the huge moon rose over the mountains creating an atmospheric ride back! The rest of the week has passed by quite quickly with snow blizzards and high winds forcing a lot of us to stay indoors, it has been fine for me as I’ve been able to finish off all of my art work that I have produced throughout my time as artist in residence but the need to get outside here and make the most of the surroundings is calling.

There was a team of people from the Akureyri Art Museum who came to visit, we had a wonderful thanksgiving dinner, I managed to go on a few walks while the snow laid around me and spent a great deal of time with the other wonderful artists here. The sun rise is getting later and later every day here in the North, for example today the sun didn’t rise until 10:55am and that’s even if you get to see the sun. As it has been so snowy this week, there has been a distinct lack of the sunshine in the sky, I’m not complaining though the sky here is so heavy and when it’s truly dark you can witness storms out to sea. One main thing I have realized since moving to Iceland is the weight of the sky and the landscape around me here. Everything is more intense, heightened and atmospheric because we are living so close to nature and the ocean, it is present here always and we are very much shaped by the land instead of us trying to change it. Almost everything is weather dependent and I know I’ll experience this more and more throughout my dark winter here.

We had a heavy amount of snow to finish the week off and had my last opið hús at Nes on Saturday. This is a monthly event where we open up our studio to the public and invite everyone to come in to have a look at what we have been up to in the month, it’s quite an informal event but it’s a really good way of connecting with the locals and putting our work made here in residence out to the wider public. 

One of my last days ended with a walk to the south beach in the town while the snow fell around me gently. Just a short walk from our studio there is a beautiful ice lagoon where the ice slabs are carried off into the ocean sometime washing up on the black sand beach which surrounds it. The winter sun shone and then another snow blizzard came in just as quick as it left.

It’s been a tough weekend saying bye to a lot of the other artists who are leaving this month, I have been here in Skagastrond for over 8 weeks now and I can honestly say it has flown in. It has definitely been an immersive and intense experience surrounded by such talented people and an incredible environment with which to work in and also to get constant inspiration from. I’m moving on now to Akureyri and then to Ólafsfjörður to start my 3 month long period at Listhus Artspace. I was awarded the Skammdegi Air Award which translates to dark winter among 20 other artists from around the world! I’m looking forward to getting started with this residency and to be based further North but also feel strange about leaving Skagastrond after such an intense time here. The town is so small so you really get to know it through and through!

Anyway here is some photos from my last week here at Nes and for my next blog I’ll be giving an update on my new temporary home in Ólafsfjörður and my first week at Listhus!

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