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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