It seemed to take quite a while for us to get here. Time appeared to drag on between May 17th, the last day of school, to May 26th, our departure date. When May 26th finally arrived, I wasn't sure how to feel. Many of my fellow travelers were also unsure. On one hand, we were happy and excited to go to China--amazed and honored to be selected for this once in a lifetime opportunity. But for some reason, however small, however stupid, there was some doubt. You feel you don't want to go, or maybe you shouldn't. This feeling arose in us for many reasons. Let me explain-- It could be because we were scared of change, knowing once we get back to New York there's only one year left of grad school, and realizing how quickly that too, will go. Maybe we were not willing to leave loved ones behind, or maybe it was a fear of failing or disappointing people with what we chose to paint. Somehow after achieving a residency we still felt maybe we weren't good enough.
Since we arrived in China, time has flown by. I can't believe we've already been here for a week. Since meeting Wang Yi for the first time, we're already comfortable in his studio, looking, hanging out and talking about art. A lot of things are different here but somehow seem strangely familiar especially the part that includes Jack Daniels.
Within a day I was going out to explore Shanghai. Our neighborhood is very international and we've met people from all over the world. Since I don't eat pork or beef, Wang Yi showed me how to read and say the mandarin character for chicken and fish, so I am now able find cool places to eat without needing a translator. For breakfast, I found a great crepe-like sandwich and eat it every day.
Having Dan Thompson here, although only for a short time, was great. He was super enthusiastic and excited to see what we were doing in the studio. We have been in the studio day and night, sleeping for only a couple hours, working around the clock to get ready for the opening on June 28. I decided to do two large paintings after Wang Yi showed us the space--the gallery is huge. I have no clue how we will fill it.
We have been to some galleries and art fairs but most of all have been making lots of work. It's been so much fun I can't wait to see what is in store for next week.
On May 26, four Academy students departed New York for a six-week residency in Shanghai. Tamalin Baumgarten, Dana Kotler, Arcmanoro Niles, and Ryan Schroeder (all members of the MFA class of 2015) will share their experiences here throughout the summer.