May 2018


Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy (PELA): Where are you from?

Ren Klein (RK): Originally I’m from Los Angeles California, but I’ve lived in various places. I’ve lived in the north east, and the South, but for the last 17 years or so I have lived in Annapolis, MD.

PELA: What are you working on during your time at Elsewhere?

RK: I am working on my big project which is a collection of literary historical novels set in the antebellum period during the time of the civil war. My project is the last of three books I have written.

PELA: What inspires your art?

RK: I am inspired by actual history itself. I love history and real life events. So I am inspired more by that than other art. I also love painting.

PELA: Is this your first artist residency?

RK: Yes, yes it is.

PELA: Why did you chose to come to Elsewhere?

RK: I applied to quite a few to be honest. This is the first one I heard back from, and I will be here for three months.

PELA: How do you get people interested in your art?

RK: I have also had A hard time doing that. I am working on finishing up a website right now about the books and my main character so hopefully that will draw some attention to my work.

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Jessica Normington

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 PELA: Where are you from?

Jessica Normington (JN): I'm from Houma, Louisiana which is about 45 minutes south of New Orleans.

PELA: What will you be working on during your time at elsewhere? What are your goals?

JN: I'm working on an ongoing project...I do a lot of abstract landscapes, where I draw with charcoal, paint with acrylic, and I do print making techniques like woodcut and rubbings, and I cut them up and collage them together and they reflect the swamp landscape. I'm here because the landscape is very different and I want to combine the mountains into the swamp stuff and see what happens.

PELA: What inspires your work? books, movies, music etc...

JN: Definitely being out in nature, that really inspires my work.

PELA: Is this your first residency?

JN: This is my third residency, I did one in Gainesville, one in New Orleans. The New Orleans glass work and printmaking.

PELA: Why did you choose to come to elsewhere?

JN: I chose elsewhere because it is very very different from what I'm used to. I've lived in Louisiana which is all swamp landscape, I've lived in Florida, more swamp. So I came here because It's very unknown to me.

PELA: How do you get people interested in your work?

JN: I do a lot of large scale stuff, and I think a lot of people appreciate seeing large artwork, but then I also make small things which people buy more often.


PELA: Where are you from?

 Chelsey Becker (CB): I live in Arkansa but I am from Oklahoma originally.

PELA: What are you working on during your time at Elsewhere?

CB: I am working on cardboard and plywood, portraits, paintings and mixed media. Also showing the history of my parents and family through my art.

PELA: What inspires you and your work, book, movie, etc?

CB: I really like southern gothic literature.

PELA: Is this your first residency? 

CB: It is, I am about to go to grad school so I wanted to do a residency  before I go to school, I am kind of just getting back into the swing of making art.

PELA: Why did you choose to come to Elsewhere

CB: I liked the location, last year I was in New York doing a class it wasn't a residency though, it was really busy in New York so I kind of wanted to be somewhere where I could relax.

PELA: How do you get people interested in your work?

CB: I think I tell a story through my paintings so people connect with the people in my paintings.

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April 2018

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Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy (PELA): Where are you from?

Ola Sun (OS):  I was born in Washington DC and grew up mostly in Maryland and New Jersey. I have now been in Colorado for about five years.

PELA: What are you working on during your time at Elsewhere Studios?

OS: I working on a book called Meta that is a calmative work of a lot of critical theory and spiritual inquiry. It also has a lot to do with my lifestyle and my spiritual practices.

PELA: Do you have anyy books/songs/movies that inspire you and your art?

OS: I have a few people that over the process of my art I like to check my ideas with. There is also a book called "inner engineering- a yogi's guide to joy".

PELA: Is this your first artist residency?

OS: Yes

PELA: Why did you decide to come to Elsewhere?

OS: I love Elsewhere, I have wanted to be a resident here since I moved here and I just didn't and now it's finally happening and I'm really excited about it.

PELA: How do you get people interested in your art?

OS: I mostly just share with friends, and at poetry readings, and on my website.

March 2018

Margaret Hester

Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy (PELA): Where are you from?:


MH: Lexington, North Carolina. That's where I grew up and I still live there now.

PELA: What are you working on while at Elsewhere?

MH: I am not exactly sure yet. I applied to make more photo sculptures, which is what I normally work on, but lately I have been interested in the geometrics of quilting. So maybe combining that with photography in some way - is what i am thinking about doing right now.

PELA: How do you work best?

MH: For me, it's a lot of contemplating and planning - more time doing that than executing. I spend a lot of time just by myself, seeking inspiration and deciding what I think is going to work best.

PELA: Do you have any books, movies, or songs that inspire you and your art?

MH: Ya definitely! Robert Irwin's books are very inspiring. They deal a lot with perspective and getting people to see what they don't normally see and it is just really interesting to me.

PELA: Is this your first residency:

MH: No, this is my third residency.

PELA: Why did you decide to come to Elsewhere?

MH: I really feel more inspired in a community where everybody is supportive of the arts, and where I live is not very supportive of that. So it is really nice to be in a space where I can create and be inspired and take that back to where I live and show them that the arts can make such a big impact.

PELA:How do you get people interested in your art?

MH: The thing for me and my work is I like for people to really choose what they want to see in my work. So you will pick the perspective that you like best. That's what I like about it and I think that that's what resonates with people the most.



PELA: Where are you from?

XW: I was born in Wuhan China, then when I was eighteen I moved to Beijing and I stayed there for seven years. Next I moved to Baltimore for graduate school and then after that i moved to Brooklyn. Currently i live in Brooklyn New York.

PELA: What are you working on during your time at Elsewhere?

XW: I’m going to be working paintings and drawings with acrylic.

PELA: Do you have any books/song/movies that inspire you and your art?

XW: Yes, very much. My favorite director whose name is Jean-Luc Goddard inspires a lot of my work. The narrative of his movies talk about very complex things that I try to incorporate into my art.”

PELA: Is this your first artist residency?

XW: Yes.

PELA: Why did you choose to come to Elsewhere?

XW: I wanted to come to somewhere that was surrounded by nature. All my life i have lived in the city so I wanted to see what it was like in the nature and get a different vibe.

PELA: How do you get people interested in your art?

XW: Show them and I just generally talk about the art and what is behind it. I cannot guarantee that everyone will like my art but if someone likes it, then they like it.

February 2018

Erika Lundahl

Erika Lundahl in front of the Gingerbread House

Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy (PELA): Where are you from?

EL: “I grew up in Corvallis Oregon which is a college town in the Willamette Valley. And now living in Seattle Washington."

PELA: What are you working on during your time at Elsewhere studios?

EL: “I am working on a multi-media writing and music project based on my experience biking from Seattle to the tar sands of Northern Alberta. I traveled along the tar sands pipeline collecting stories from farmers, biologists, parents, people from the local first nations, oil and gas workers and politicians with a group of friends and storytellers.”

PELA: How do you work best?

EL: “I tend to start writing around ten o-clock AM. I start out with a free write based off of a prompt from a book or interview that inspires me. After the free writes, I zone in on something that I want to continue working on more of --usually ideas from the free write that I want to further develop. Later in the afternoon I usually switch over to something a little more hands on like writing music or playing the guitar.

PELA: Do you have any books/movies/songs that inspire you and your art?

EL: “I have been reading a ton of Joan Didion lately who is a journalist that writes about sense of place, politics, all through a journalistic lens that is also very poetic. I also am inspired by poets like Adrienne Rich who passed away a few years ago. My earliest big music influence was Ani Difranco, and other lady musicians from the 90’s and 2000’s.

PELA: Is this your first time in an artist residency?

EL: “Yes it is.”

PELA: Why did you decide to come to Elsewhere?

EL: “A friend of mine did the Elsewhere residency last year. He told me really positive things about it so I decided to apply, and I got in and now here I am.”

January 2018

Elaine Shoaf


This is Elaine's first artist residency! She grew up in Florida, but spent time getting to know winter weather in Chicago. She currently lives in Gainesville Florida, but misses the changing seasons. She came to Elsewhere to experience a remote western town with beautiful mountainous landscapes. She enjoys the calm quiet town of Paonia and the people who live here. Everyone she has encountered has been super nice. She values the locals' conscientious attitudes towards social and political issues. 

Elaine comes from a creative family and was encouraged to dance and perform on stage as a child. As she grew older she developed a preference for visual arts and moved away from the stage. She would rather her artwork be in the spot light. She loves stories about mythology, history, and politics. French New Wave Films and old silent films are also an influence on her work. 

She is looking forward to creating smaller assemblage pieces during her time here at Elsewhere. She has been collecting objects since she arrived in town and will be using them to create low relief sculptural collage. If she has time, she will also create some larger pieces with colored pencil and ink. 


Janika Herlevi from:Vaasa Finland

When Janika first came to Elsewhere studios she had no idea what she wanted to work on but decided to do an illustration project with her friend.

Art was always something Janika had close in her heart. It always came to her effortlessly. A large part of why She decided to become an artist was because of her great art teachers who encouraged her to go to art school, and always reminded her how talented she is. She has never gotten tired of making art. Her influences include: her colleagues, other people in her life, music, and literature. She is a printmaker and works best in a studio with all of the tools she needs.

Janika has been at various other residencies, such as one in Florence. She also attended a few during art school. She enjoys getting others interested in her artwork through galleries, museums, and art shows.


Yifan Renxu

Yifan was born in China and now lives in Rhode Island and does ceramics, he is working on ceramics while he is at Elsewhere Studios. He decided to become an artist because he likes to make art and expresses himself through clay. He works best in a studio and anywhere where he can put all his emotion into his clay work. He is inspired by his experiences in life and artists including: Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois, and Francis Bacon.

Elsewhere Studios is his second residency, he enjoys residencies because he gets to communicate with other artists and see how they create their art. Yifan's work is very unique and creative because he suspends his clay work on rope, metal, and other interesting materials. He creates many forms out of clay and makes beautiful sculptures that all represent something. He enjoys Paonia it reminds him of his home town in China he likes that it is convenient and everything is close by.


Stephanie Kranstover


Stephanie is an artist who is 2 months into her 6 month stay at Elsewhere. Stephanie was born in El Progreso, Honduras, and then moved to Virginia. During her time at Elsewhere Studios she wants to keep her art work cohesive, and make an installation. Stephanie is very into growth and fungi, and she works to combine both of them into one clay figure.

Stephanie says that she never decided to become an artist, she was born this way. “Since I was little my happy place has been drawing, it’s like therapy for me.” It’s best for Stephanie when she’s around someone, it helps her when there is energy beside her while working. “I always have music in the background, it kind of just puts me in the mood and helps me do my art.”

Stephanie is inspired by her life. “If I’m having a bad relationship or going through a hard time, you will see it through my art. I don’t speak out about those things.” Her other influence is her old job, she was a pastry chef and she felt that all the work she did on the pastries she could put into clay as well.

Elsewhere is not Stephanie’s first residency, she did one in Fredericks Town, Ohio at a residency called, Open Wabi. That was much shorter than the one she is doing now, it was only 2 weeks.                                                            

Stephanie will never stop doing art. “I think I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life, it really helps me in all situations, and of course it’s fun."  Stephanie shows people her work and asks for feedback, but she never forces anyone to like her work and she doesn’t shove it down their throats, but she has never been rejected.

Stephanie thinks Paonia is a wonderful place. “I come from a Suburb, very city like and not many people are super friendly and you can forget about nature and seasons very easily there. But in Paonia you can take it all in, and everyone is very nice and open minded.”