December 2018

Emma Gilfix

PELA: Where are you from?

EG: I am originally from Nordstrom, Massachusetts, and six years ago I moved to Vermont where I went to college. Now I am currently living Burlington Vermont

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

EG: So far it has been a lot of landscapes that I have been working on. I would like to do some figure studies as well. Everyday I learn about what I want to be working on, it has been that sort of a process. I’m not entirely sure what is going to happen this month. The past few days I walked up to P hill and took a couple photos of the scenery. I have just been comparing the views. I work with painting mainly acrylic but right now I am using watercolor.

PELA: What inspires your art?

EG: I graduated from college with a degree in political science and primarily in anthropology. I am very inspired by environmental issues, activism, culture. I have been learning all about the fracking debate during my time in Paonia.

PELA: Is this your first artist residency?

EG: yes .

PELA: Why did you choose to come to Elsewhere?

EG: I heard about the Inspired: Art At Work project that Elsewhere did through a supervisor from college. They told me about a website that is a vault for different artist residencies. I got really interested in the project and started communicating with them and I was encouraged to apply for the regular artist residency.

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

EG: My own excitement about talking about my work gets people interested. A lot of it is relative to finding ways to talk about it. I also use social media.

Hilary Helfant

PELA: Where are you from?

HH: Long Island, New York

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

HH: My original idea here at Elsewhere was to build bigger ceramic sculptures, which is kind of a problem because a kiln is only so big. So, i'm going to try to make pieces that I can put together into a larger sculpture. I am also trying to work with the inspiration of the area, like the nature, you see. This is only my third day so I don't have a very specific project yet, I just sort of start working and I'm never really sure where it's going to end up.

PELA: What inspires your art?

HH: Well, definitely nature inspires my art, my artwork is nature based but is not from nature. Some of my artwork looks like it could come out of the sea, but it doesn't. My main idea with my sculptures is for people to stop and appreciate them just the way they would look at and appreciate nature. When I give them titles I have my political ideas that go with them, about things like global warming, or ocean acidification and things like that.

PELA: Do you always work with ceramics?

HH: No not at all, I started out as a painter, I was a painter for twenty five years. It has been really great for me going into ceramics. I was a painter and then I had my son and I was a teacher, I taught elementary school for about seven years. I was the art teacher, and I think through teaching it is like a way of connecting with people, so with me I was connecting with my students. I was working so much, but then it closed down because it was a catholic school. I started taking a ceramic course and my mother is a ceramicist too. She was a teacher too, then she retired from teaching and did ceramics for 30 years. And then when she retired from ceramics she gave me her whole studio, so it was almost obligatory for me. I got the kiln, I got all the materials and it was really terrific. I've only been doing ceramic for five years. It was what I loved when I was nine or ten. I think what you love when you were little is what you are meant to be when you're older. I really enjoy making ceramics more than I did paintings.

PELA: Is this your first time staying at an artist residency?

HH: No, I've stayed at different artist residencies. This one is very different from the other residencies. I like it a lot, I really enjoy this community, it is very interesting.

PELA: why did you choose Elsewhere?

HH: I like the philosophy of Elsewhere, where they don't just have painters, you could be a teacher, you could be an activist. It just seemed like a really magical place, when I saw the pictures of the inside and the little house outside, it just seemed like a really nice place to come to. This is my first residency in a while because when I had my son I didn't really feel like I could just leave and go away for a month so this is my first residency after a long lapse.

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

HH: I guess through the galleries, they show the work. I've also showed my art at museums and things like that. I don't really do any self promoting, I don't even have a website although I should. In New York I did exhibiting and you have to keep up with your work every two years and have the same style. Now that I have so much art it is just inviting itself to get into the world.  


PELA: What’s your name?

LFC: Lucianna Faraone Coccia

PELA: Where are you from?

LFC: Originally I am from Rhode Island but currently, I am living in Los Angeles and have been for the last 4 years.

PELA: Where did you live in Rhode Island?

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LFC: Exeter, just the woods pretty much.

PELA: Are you going to move back to Los Angeles when you leave Paonia?

LFC: Yes, I am currently living there. I’m just taking a month off to come here and then I’ll go back home to Los Angeles.

PELA: What are you working on during your time here?

LFC: My time here is kind of like a time for new growth. In L.A. I am focusing a lot on city life and also the trash that exists in the city from everyone. Out here I am feeling a little more connected to nature. I’ve also been working with ceramics which is a medium that I haven’t really worked with since high school so I am really getting into working with them which is new for me and I have been inspired by the nature so I’m just going to make just some new stuff in my time here.

PELA: So you have been working on art since you were in high school?

LFC: I took some art classes in high school and then when I went to college I studied film and writing and then I got into painting when I first moved to L.A. Then I really got into the human consumption and the trash, so I started making these mixed media more sculptural pieces and recently I have been experimenting with different techniques and different materials to use in my sculptures. I'm really digging the ceramics because I feel like that's a very cool medium.

PELA: What inspires your art?

LFC: Humans mostly. I think humans don't really think of themselves as a species as much as they should and so I just like to bring awareness and social commentary to consumption first of all, consumerism. Just like what it really means to be human and that experience so I find myself really that comes out a lot in my art in different ways

PELA: Is this your first residency?

LFC: Yeah it is it's my first one

PELA: Why did you pick Elsewhere?

LFC: I was just looking online and honestly it was a last minute opportunity. A spot opened up and for me I was just like everything kind of worked out perfectly. I was going through some stuff in my life and I kind of was like i’m just gonna apply for some residency’s and see what happens and everything kind of worked perfectly so now i'm here.

PELA: So you were looking for residencies online and you just found it?

LFC: Yeah I just stumbled across elsewhere and it was also the only one that was coming up so quickly where it was like oh i could do this next month whereas a lot of them you have to plan for the future so it kind of timed out perfectly.

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

LFC: I just try to share it as much as I can. I have had some group shows back in L.A. which is cool and then I try to post it on social media so people can see what I am up to. With a lot of my art I feel like I spend more time thinking about it then making it so it's kind of conceptual. I just hope to get the feelings across to people so I hope that by igniting those feelings in people they might become interested and start following my art.

PELA: How are you liking Paonia?

LFC: I love it. Its so awesome and magical to be here I've also been in the city awhile now and I was thinking of the next place I want to live. I think I want to go somewhere a little more rural. I really love animals and would like a more simple life so its been really refreshing to be here just with nature, genuine people, and animals. It's a really sweet little town, i’ve met some cool locals and I am really enjoying it.

PELA: Would you consider moving here?

LFC: It’s a little too cold for me here. I think I need to be somewhere where there is not really winter because it’s not really my thing. Winter is nice for a short amount of time but not for more than a few months. I grew up in New England and also went to college there. The winters, ya know, they kill. I would like to go somewhere a little warmer and more rural place after L.A.

KELLY Ciesla

PELA: where are you from?

KC: I am from new jersey, specifically the south, closer to Philly actually. 

PELA: what are you working on?

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KC: While I'm here I'm planning on kind of intuitively painting and seeing what happens. I stopped painting for a while when I got a full time job and I left that to come here and see what I can do. I think I'm going to predominately work with oils since I'm most comfortable with those. But I'm not really limiting myself I'm just seeing where it'll go. 

PELA: what inspires your art?

KC: There's kind of a backstory behind it, In college I wanted to be a musician and since then my plan kind of back-fired. Ultimately, I knew it wasn't meant to be, but its still kind of hard thinking you're going to be one thing then not achieving that. After that art became very therapeutic for me and in going through that experience I became a very spiritual person. Art can be very meditative, I really just get lost in it and I kind of forget the world is existing. So that's what really draws me and there's really no rhyme or reason to it; sometimes I'll just see a color or i'll see something that is inspiring to me but manly its just the process that is inspiring to me. 

PELA: is this your first artist residency?

KC: Yes, and I love it so far. And this environment is totally me, Its very quirky and fun. 

PELA: why did you choose elsewhere?

KC: Well speaking of my spirituality I'm very into signs, and what is meant to be. And actually started looking last year, but every time I started looking for residencies there was always something leading me back to elsewhere, like there was a residency that I was looking at and the person stayed here or something else, so I was like "I have to go here!"

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

KC: I never really had to make people interested, they would just see it and they would be interested. So, I'm an abstract painter and I think what makes people interested with my art is that everything always comes to a conclusion. People like conclusions and they like the feeling that things are finished. I think people connect to it because I use a lot of colors of shapes. I think the principal behind my art, what inspires me, is also what connects with them.

PELA: what does inspire you?

KC: It's pretty much the meditative practice, but a lot of it is colors and environments and the energies of people that surround me. Here my work is getting very metallic and earthy, which is cool to see. 

PELA: what do you think of Paonia so far?

KC: so far its super cute! Its very different from where I grew up. Its very quite and peaceful here, and the energy is really good. Everyone is so nice. It's like a secret hide away, and very self sufficient too, which I really appreciate.