With summer break fast approaching, students are getting ready to take summer courses, summer jobs, vacations or breaks. Yet four emerging artists at The College of The Bahamas are preparing to embark on what may become pivotal moments in their lives - a summer-long residency at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts.
Veronica Dorsett, Yutavia George, and Steven Schmid are the latest recipients of the Popop Junior Residency Prizes sponsored by Popopstudios ICVA and The D'Aguilar Art Foundation. Meanwhile, Christina Darville has been selected for the 2012 Antonius Roberts Award.
Now in its third year, the awards not only recognize the great potential displayed by the four emerging artists in their work but also gives the students a space at Popopstudios ICVA for the summer months to strengthen their artistic practice.
In years past, having a space at Popopstudios helped Junior Residency winners make leaps and bounds creatively and emotionally, for besides the physical and emotional space outside of academia to really experiment with their work, the winners also have access to the community of artists with their own studios on the Popop grounds for feedback and mentorship.
Not only that, but the winners will have the opportunity to take learning trips abroad - in years past, Junior Residency winners have immersed themselves in creative culture in New York City and completed an art projects at Schooner Bay, Abaco. The trips proved to be defining moments for Junior Residents, giving them inspiration and fresh perspectives to take back to their artistic practices at home.
Though the residency officially runs from June to August, now that the Spring Semester is over at The College of The Bahamas the Junior Residents are getting ahead start by setting up in their spaces early. They're excited to see what the future holds for them. Based on the work these four emerging artists have produced just over the past year, the summer - and the future of Bahamian art - looks very promising
An art major at The College of The Bahamas, Veronica Dorsett explores mixed media in her work and engages in lengthy and involved processes to get to her final piece, usually utilizing scale and interactive qualities to confront her viewers.
"Over this past semester I've had to learn how to let go - I cannot control my work. It will be what it want to be," she said. "I'm very into installation work and forcing the viewer to feel because most of my work involves pulling the viewer physically into the work through interaction."
"I hope at Popop I can explore more of these large 3D works and also explore painting in a different context," she continued. "I resist painting a little bit, so I'd like to come up with a concept or process that works for me so I can work through it."
Having already been inspired by taking the learning trip to New York City with the 2011 Junior Residency Prize winners, Dorsett looks forward to the ways it will again inspire and challenge her work - especially without the constraints of academia.
"In school we get caught up in grades instead of being allowed to fail," she said. "Being removed from the barrier of school and forced assignments and time constraints and being put into our own actual space - because we don't have our own space just for our art - and giving us time for trial and error I think is extremely important."
With one semester left of her studies at COB, Dorsett hopes to continue her studies abroad in 2013 by pursuing Sculpture.
For Steven Schmid, wrapping up his art studies at The College of The Bahamas with a summer residency will be the perfect opportunity to push his work to the next level.
Already putting a little bit of everything into each of his pieces - dualities of 2D and 3D, painting and drawing, reality and fantasy, the beautiful and the grotesque - Schmid looks forward to advancing his work further this summer.
"Lately I've been getting into installation work because I like the feeling of the viewer coming out to confront pieces," he said. "I prefer painting and drawing mixed media, and I'm going to push that much further during the residency."
"I'm also into videography and I'd like to think about ways to utilize the two together," he continued. "I wanted to do that this semester in school, but time got away from me, so this residency will give me a chance to do that."
He also looks forward to the experience the residency will give him in the Popop environment, such as prepping and maintaining the gallery space and assisting local and international residential artists, and most of all, the learning trips.
"The trip for me is pivotal because it's a different experience to see something up close and to see it in pictures," he said. "You get to see all of the little things and it adds another level to the experience, so going away and seeing in person some of these pieces I admire, I can't wait."
Having only some summer classes to complete his arts studies, Schmid looks forward to studying abroad in the Fall - already he's been accepted into art programs at the University of Creative Arts, London, and the University of Dundee, Scotland.
While studying Art Education at The College of The Bahamas, Yutavia George has also been garnering praise for her own artistic practice. For her, concept is everything - having experience in a wide range of media gives her the chance to fully explore what lies at the core of her intention.
"I'm experimenting with different media and bringing out the concept," she said. "That's my favorite thing about everything I do - the concept. If the media justifies the concept more, I'll use it."
"I hope in Popop I can use everything at my disposal to make my work," she continued. "I'm ready to start and I'm confident in everyone who was chosen. This group is so strong - you have people who are ready to work with anything. Everyone has their strength and we feed off each other. I'm ready for that experience."
Indeed she's excited to be sharing the experience with her fellow peers, all of whom share similar fondness for mixed media and utilizing material in innovative ways. For George, starting as early as now means she'll get a head start on developing an important narrative in her work, one which she knows will expand with the learning trips.
"Starting early is good practice, and it's good to get a feel for what I'd like to accomplish," she said. "I feel that before going on the trip I'd like to complete some work because I know once I go on the trip I will get a ton of new ideas and new perception after being very exposed and inspired."
Though she has about a year and half left in her studies at COB, she looks forward to teaching while maintaining her artistic practice and then perhaps delving into a fine arts program abroad.
Though Christina Darville is an Art Education major at the College of The Bahamas, her own artistic practice has earned her the 2012 Antonius Roberts Award. Her work is a deeply emotional experience translated through graphic design elements and innovative presentation.
"I found that passion when I took Commercial Arts," she said. "That's when I feel I started to develop where I wanted to go with my work and inspired me to put graphic design elements into my work with my drawing style I've recently developed."
"With the residency I just want to exhaust what I can do, no matter what it is," she continues. "I just want to do everything I can do."
Like her fellow Residency Prize Winners, she feels honored for the recognition and belief in her work and looks forward to opening herself up to the great learning experience that lies ahead of her at the Popopstudios ICVA community.
"I think learning is the key word - when you go to New York or Schooner Bay, you're going to learn, you're going to see things, going to experience things," she said.
"When you go to Popop, you're going to learn too. I feel like I'm going to learn from Steven and Veronica and Yutavia in a whole new way, and the people we meet there and in the places we go will influence our work and the things we do."
After her final year and a half of studies at The College of The Bahamas, Darville is excited to develop her love for teaching while also exploring a long-distance degree to develop her newfound love for graphic design.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian