My one month residency at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, was an amazing experience. It began with a slideshow presentation of my work to the Youkobo community, who gave me great feedback in the continual development of my work.
The residence was spacious and comfortable, and it was the best studio I’ve ever had – full of natural light for painting, with a very clever partition system that allowed customization of the space. This meant that for the open studio, I was able to create two spaces, one with windows open for paintings, and the other with windows closed for a projected photographic slideshow. The track lighting also helped to make the space very adaptable.
Both Youkobo directors, Tatsuhiko and Hiroko, were passionate about the role of art and artist residencies in society. The five staff members and interns were also very generous in helping with all aspects of my residency, such as installation, assisting with grant applications, and recommending places in Tokyo to help with my research. I felt it was a place with great respect for artists, and they were very flexible in helping me to shape my own personal residency experience.
There were many studio visits from a wide range of arts professionals, as well as frequent talks held at the gallery. These were a great way of meeting artists, curators, and other interested parties from not only Japan, but all parts of the world. My research in Japan was about the ties between ethnicity and nationality, and the connection to land I had observed. The variety of people I met at Youkobo gave me many interesting first hand accounts that I couldn’t have experienced from an independent studio setting.
From the studio visits to the exhibition opening, all aspects of the residency were well organized, making it very easy for me to get on with my research and making work. My Youkobo residency was both enjoyable and productive, and I hope to be back again!