An international artist and printmaker, Maria Doering shared her artistic experience with the Durban University of Technology Fine Arts students.
Doering, a German multidisciplinary artist, has been living and working in Canada since 2007. Her work has been exhibited in Canadian cities including Ottawa, Calgary, Kelowna, Montreal and countries such as UK, Denmark, Italy and Japan to name but a few. She is currently residing in South Africa.
During a presentation at DUT’s City Campus, Doering said her experience consisted mainly of artist residencies which taught her to plan strategically. She emphasised to students that when they are applying for a residency, they (students) must consider many factors before sending their application and proposal.
“Read the fine prints in the advertisement carefully. Sometimes residencies may ask you to find your own accommodation and pay your own food. Others may not even pay you for the residency and ask that you pay them. You must consider all factors carefully,” she explained.
In her definition of artist residencies, she used Wikipedia as her source. According to her, residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academics, curators and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. Artist residencies provide artists with time to reflect, research, present and/or produce. This gives room to an individual to explore their practice within another community, meeting new people, using new material and experiencing life in a new location. Furthermore, she (Doering) added that art residencies emphasised the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.
“When you arrive at an art residency, to the people that work there, you are a breath of fresh air. Use that opportunity to build a lifetime of networks. The new equipment you have never worked with that you will find there can be a challenge, but once you have learned how to use them, they can boost your creativity and you can create amazing work,” Doering said.
She advised the students to always have a thick-skin because some responses to applications may not be so kind and that they must also allow their work to be reviewed by other artists without taking negative feedback to heart.