A Colorful Roommate

The Academy sends four students to enjoy a two-month residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in the historic Spinnerei in Leipzig. Holly Ann Sailors, Aleah Chapin, Nicolas Holiber and Alexander Barton blog with us while they're on residency in Germany.

By Aleah Chapin (MFA 2012)

"Isn't it difficult to live in the same room with someone else for two months? There's no privacy!" This is the first thing most visitors say when they see the two small beds pushed against the back wall in the live/work space that I share with Holly. First of all, at least two NYC apartments could fit into this room and second, Holly and I get along quite well. As it turns out, the difficult roommate is also the very reason we are here: art. In every relationship there comes a point where you take the next step and move in together. This is where we are now; we are living with our canvases. There are some amazing things about it though. We can paint all night and then just walk a few steps and crash into bed. No need for the 45 minute commute home at midnight on a rattling and often very delayed L train. But it also has its difficulties. When you are around something 24 hours a day you start to become blind to it, no matter how much you love it or hate it. You start to question and over analyze every brush stroke and compositional decision, swinging back and forth on the very idea of what actually makes a good painting. This is when we pry the brushes from our hands and go explore Leipzig. But that big canvas covered in paint is a steady companion and is always there for us when we come home.
After about five weeks of intensive painting, squeezing every last drop of creative energy from my body, I think I'm finding something. I'm starting to see the connections in my work and I'm becoming clearer on the kind of art I want to make. I still have numerous doubts and questions, but being so close to the things I make for an extended period of time is clarifying where I want to go with my art. I may not be making anything worthwhile, but I'm realizing the most important part of this residency isn't creating perfect paintings, but the experience of delving so deeply into my work and coming out with a better understanding and trust in myself as an artist.


  1. great post! and lovely paintings in progress!

  2. I love the paintings! They have a lot of feeling.