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3 weeks - MAY 2021

Elena Samarsky, a Ukranian-born Israeli, is an emerging artist currently residing in New Jersey who has also lived in Austria, Germany, Israel, and the UK. Her first residency was at Finland Hovinkartano International Arts and Cultural Centre, Finland in 2018 so we are grateful that she found Sarasvati creative Space at Camp Wonder Wander in rural Tennessee for her second residency.

The primary benefits of this residency that Elena explained during her time was the dislocation from her urban life to the rural environment where she had more space to work in her style and be inspired by all of the colors and sounds.

The residency provides the opportunity to get away from a normal routine to where there are no distractions. A routine is often settled into early on by each participant, yet on some occasions, Elena would be seen altering her routine by painting late in the studio after conversations with other residents that delved into the world and life of art. Most importantly for Elena, the act of making is an intellectual and emotional experience.

“Creating art pieces is an emotionally charged process during which I experience transformation from being actively involved in the creation process—getting inspired by a particular object, choosing the color, and working with brushes on canvas—to being a detached observer of the finished piece. Although at times this is a harmonious and playful process, sometimes it results in a strong feeling of abandonment and emptiness.”

On our day trip to Nashville, she found some new brushes which added to her dynamic generative process. As most residents to date have experienced some sort of personal or creative shift, Elena too had a noticeable style shift on the last few days as she builds layers upon layers on the canvas. The line work flowed out of her.

In some of her Instagram posts, you can see the progression of some of the work:

Elena filled her days between painting with solo and group walks, evening social activities with other residents such as playing cards or board games, and exploring the region to attend local farmer's markets or find an interesting restaurant. As a life-long learner who has recently earned a PhD in Sociology, her interest and activity in art is expanding more than a decade of making. Some of the work created at the residency will be included in an upcoming exhibition in the NY/NJ region. Follow her on Instagram to learn more about that and her future work.

Emerging and re-emerging artists are encouraged to apply for a Sarasvati creative Space residency if nature is your muse, collaborator, or co-conspirator. What would you create?

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