Who are you: An inquisitive explorer of backwater terrains.
Best thing about living in Yakima/Tricities: Affordable studio/housing, climate (when not fire season), and modest traffic.
Role models: People who make an impact on society without drawing a lot of attention to themselves.
Words to live by: ”Get a clue and go nuts.” (studio adage)
The Big Question: What was your experience as an artist working in the states versus working abroad, in terms of the culture and community surrounding art?
Having worked in several different regions of the US and abroad, I’ve noticed how the surrounding culture and landscape affects ones’ perception and practice as an artist. In the US, there are local/regional artist networks and supports but often less understanding of what contribution to the fabric of the community they’re located in. I attribute this in part to how our educational system has progressively winnowed “the arts” in many forms without valuing what the arts truly contribute to society on economic, cultural, and personal growth fronts.
Over a decade ago, I had the good fortune to be invited as a contributing artist for a three week event called the Migration Project in Kirkenes, Norway. Part of the goal was to transform a former locomotive building into an alternative arts space with installations by artists from Finland, England, Sweden, Russia, Norway, and the US. More importantly it was also tied to series of community-wide workshops and presentations on how the arts can be a catalyst for regional economic diversification for smaller communities. It was supported by a collection of state embassies, the mayor of the city, and a collective of visionary artists who proposed the project. It was a truly inspirational experience.
And what’s the best thing about working in Yakima/TriCities? For artists that find inspiration in solitude and reflection, there is a lower noise to signal ratio to distract one’s work. For artists who work with found objects or re-purpose materials, there are endless yard/garage sales and swap meets to mine. For my own work, I have plenty of blue highways to find rock materials while enjoying the journey to obtain them!
Greg will be teaching the workshop Pursuing Opportunities for Artists at the Yakima Maker Space on September 16. Make sure to sign up today so you don’t miss the opportunity to learn from this fantastic educator.
Aaron Jin is the Artist Trust communications intern. He was an Intiman Emerging Artist in 2016 and loves to think about his Facebook statuses. He will join artEquity’s national cohort after attending their facilitator training this fall. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter.