I applied to Elsewhere because I was intrigued by how secluded it was, placed in a valley in the middle of nowhere. I had been trying to break myself of all of the bad habits I picked up during undergrad, but I hadn’t been able to. I thought the isolation would do me some good.
When I arrived at the quirky establishment I would call my home for the whole month of June, I immediately felt that I had made a right decision in applying there. I soon found out how Paonia worked-everything seemed to move a little bit slower. No one here was in a hurry. At the house, the only sounds were the quiet noise of the other residents working or talking to the occasional visitor and the ditch water running. Tomatoes would sometimes interrupt by howling, if he happened to catch a mouse in the garden.
I think the slow nature of Paonia helped me rethink my studio practice and what I wanted out of my life in general. Before, I would always pressure myself to make work. While at Elsewhere, I drew when I wanted to, and when I didn’t, I didn’t. I spent time with the other residents, talking about work and life, saw a lot of live music... It felt good not to pressure myself into making work all the time. Something about Paonia makes you slow down and take your time.
My work changed in a way I couldn’t imagine. When I loosened up, so did my work. I lost the harsh outline that all of my drawings had before, allowing edges to blur into one another. I am still working on pushing my work to be a little bit more ambiguous and creepy, but I think I took a step in the right direction while here.
I am back to a place where things move quickly again, but I know now that it is important to slow down, and to have all types of experiences. I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken me to come to that conclusion without my stay at Elsewhere; Paonia is a place that really encourages enjoyment of art and life, and I am so grateful for my time there.