A week ago I started my Artist Residency at the West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen, Ireland’s southernmost town. I applied for the programme after I heard that the long standing West Cork Arts Centre had expanded and was planning to host artists working on local projects engaging with the public.
Just to give you a little background information; I grew up close to Skibbereen until the age of 8 when my parents moved back to their native Germany. From then on we lived in Frankfurt which was quite a contrast to life in West Cork. After our move to Germany my parents became very involved with their lives there and kept little ties with Ireland.
A lot of my work in the past few years explored places and how people connect with them. With my growing interest in Illustration and visual narratives I also became increasingly interested in the stories and memories that underpin my own life. I started thinking about returning to Skibbereen in order to find out how the town had developed during my absence and how memories and new experiences could be used as a basis to develop new stories. That a residency was now available in Skibbereen seemed like a ideal time to start this project.
Most of the last week was spent reacquainting myself with the town by drawing from observation and speaking to locals. I’m trying to stay open to themes and motifs and draw whatever catches my eye without ruling anything out at this stage. Here are some examples of drawings I have done so far, including landscape, people, interiors, windows displays and of course pubs!
As a second part of my research I have started a ‘Trail of Stories’ during which local people get to decide who I should visit and speak to. The first person I visited and interviewed referred me to the next and so on. This way I have little control over which people contribute to my understanding of the town, which I find very exciting. The recorded conversations will feed directly into my project, which will be a collection of short graphic stories based on one town and including elements of observation, memory, fact and fiction.