Idyllic retreats to Wi-Fi-equipped wilderness sanctuaries and half-year paid stays at large institutions are what most artists hope and crave when applying for a residency. But the nature of these programs often leads artists into stasis, placing them in fixed locations on the premise that they will be wholly inspired by a retreat from their usual surroundings to make a body of work. Dripped On The Road, an artist residency that hosted its inaugural session late last year, is the antithesis to these more stagnant artistic retreats, incorporating almost nonstop travel throughout its 6 week duration.
Like a sort of arts road trip, the participants of Dripped On The Road drove from New York to Miami in an RV from early November to mid-December for the first edition of the residency, stopping in various Eastern US cities along the way. At each major city stop, artists Lisa Bolden, Denton Burrows, Grace Lang, Jonathan Neville, Nicole Salgar, and Ramiro Davaro-Comas (who is also the founder of the residency) created public art murals and installations, serving as both artistic contributions to the cities that housed them and as a clever way to lead the artists to interact with and engage with their ever-morphing surroundings.
Upon reaching the promised land of Miami during Art Week, Dripped On The Road culminated in a final burst of public art commissions throughout Wynwood and Southern Miami, as well as a final exhibition at FU Gallery, where the artists showcased the work they made throughout the residency as well as "road relics" from places in which they stopped, from shooting range bullets to banners from a trip to Medieval Times. Following the exhibition, the artists stayed an additional week where they "painted everyday by the Miami River drinking café con leches," as per the residency log.
More than just a one-off experiment (the next iteration of the residency is slated for this coming April), Dripped On The Road is the result of founder Davaro-Comas' own itinerant experience: "I was born in Buenos Aires and have been traveling for a big part of my life, while participating and directing artist residency programs in the past few years," he says.
While working with these residencies, Davaro-Comas noticed an experiential gap: "Most residencies are in a fixed location, where the artist leaves their home for a month at a time to attend this 'oasis' and be left alone to their own creative mind. We hope to challenge that notion, and constantly put artists on the move, while paying for their materials, offering a stipend, and treating them like professionals."
Davaro-Comas believes that his itinerant residency allows for an experiential shift that is not only useful for the artists, but provides what he think is a valuable lesson for people in general. "On the human side, traveling not only allows the artists to constantly have new surroundings inspire them, but it also puts artists out of their comfort zone," he explains.
"This is very important, not only for creatives, but for all people alike. When someone is put into new situations, with new people, in new surroundings, one grows quite a lot. I've traveled a lot in my life, and have seen and experienced firsthand how this kind of exposure helps one grow. We are giving these artists a real chance to see and paint America from the ground up, and to interact with many communities with which they wouldn't have otherwise," he adds. "Think about it; most Americans haven't even seen the entire country!"
The next edition of Dripped On The Road will happen in April 2017, traveling from NYC to Atlanta and back up to Bethlehem, PA. For more information regarding applying to future iterations of the residency, shoot an email to the team here.