I was fortunate to be an Artist-in-Residence at the Ragdale Foundation this past January. I was luckier still to be in residency with a really great group of other artists. One sat down next to me at dinner the first night and asked me, without a hint of irony, "Kevin, would you tell me about your artistic process?" I didn't know I had one, but I felt pretty dang honored to be included.
Each of these folk is very good at what they do. Consider my mentioning them her an endorsement as I'd happily recommend reading/listening to/watching their work anytime.
Here they are...
- Jennifer Rose is a poet based in Boston. She's published 2 collections and won a bunch of awards. By day she works as an urban planner. Mid-residency, we took a long walk and talked about reading, about Boston and other residency programs (she's a vet, I'm a rookie.)
- Scott Onak is a novelist from Chicago and the first person I met at Ragdale. We hit it off immediately. Scott is an instructor at Story Studio Chicago.
- Young Joon Kwak is Korean performance artist and sculptor based in Chicago. Young Joon worked best at night and would stay up late in his studio making the rest of us look like sloths. In singles and pairs, he invited each of us to the studio to see his work in progress and watch videos of past performances which was quite remarkable. He's also in a band called Xena Xurner.
- Stephanie Kallos is a novelist based in Seattle, but everyone called her "Stevie." She had been to Ragdale before and shared a few secret keys and passageways with us newcomers. Her room was right next to the kitchen so I'd often run into her while refilling my coffee cup and we'd talk about literary life in Seattle and how much the life of an author has changed even in a few short years.
- Chris Sullivan is a filmmaker and animator who teaches at the School of the Art Institue of Chicago. We got to watch about 10 minutes of his movie Tender Spirits, which was really neat, like Tim Burton without the peoccupation with childhood. Chris also had the best feedback on my reading from my book, which sent me back to rewriting the introduction. In a good way.
- Melika Bass is a Chicago-based filmmaker and one of those people who is so ridiculously smart that when talking you mostly try to ask good questions of her in an attempt to keep pace. She was working on a couple of audio projects during residencies and spend a lot of time prowling the grounds of Ragdale with a microphone and headphones.
- Judith Paine McBrien makes films and writes books about architecture. She and I took a long walk around the Ragdale prairie where I learned a bunch about archietecture and did my best to answer her questions about how artists use social media. She screened her documentary "Make No Little Plans" about the architect Daniel Burnham which was outstanding.
Find and support these artist's work. You'll be glad you did.