Video: a snapshot of summer 2014 at Palazzo Rinaldi

July 2014: local media La Siritide visits Palazzo Rinaldi Artists’ Residency in occasion of one of its end of Residency exhibitions/ open studio day. Featuring works by Artists-in-Residence Tracy Boyd (USA) and Cecilia Westerberg (Denmark).

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Interview with writer Susan Lanigan (Palazzo Rinaldi AIR 2011)

Susan Lanigan writer

 

Susan, first of all many congratulations on your novel White Feathers, which has been acquired by O’Brien Press Brandon Imprint for publication in autumn 2014.  We are excited for you and can’t wait to read it! Can you tell us first of all what gave you the idea for the novel, and made you wish to write a story set during WWI?

Thank you! I had been toying with the idea of the white feathers of cowardice a while, trying to write a short story where past collided with present and failing. Then I had this idea: what about telling the story straight, from the point of view of a girl from the period. being pushed towards giving a white feather, and the horribly personalised symbol of institutional violence that carried, and it went from there. I think I’m very interested in female power versus male power and how the former can be very intimate and targeted, whereas the latter is more generally malign. And how in World War One the two got mixed up together.

Terranova
Above: Susan during her Residency stay

What’s your favourite part of the whole writing process?

I think there are moments where everything coheres in a dramatic point and when you’re writing that, even if it’s for the fourth time, you still have that little lurch of waiting for the other character to open the door and start to speak. Or when the characters take the initiative and lose patience with you! Though you have to put manners on them sometimes.

What would you say have been the biggest challenges in putting the novel together?

Scope. You can start with a very wide-angle view and realise after a while that you just have too much. And when you try and bring down matters to a resolution, you can so many balls in the air that you succumb to a juggling failure, not doing the important elements in the story justice.

This was the novel you were working on during your Residency at Palazzo Rinaldi in 2011. Can you tell us a little bit about that particular stage in the development of the novel, and in what ways you feel a Residency stay benefited this?

I was working on the second draft, which was still very experimental, but helped clarify a lot about the background of my protagonist, Eva. I remember being very, very hot, the heat nearly wore me out. But it was so remote, and beautiful. The scenery that is; Eva’s background is not quite as lovely, unfortunately for her!

Quite a few of our Artists-in-Residence are writers, often looking for their first break.  What advice do you have for someone who may be working on their first manuscript right now and dreaming of signing that publishing deal?

Find a story you care enough about and characters you get obsessed with. That makes it easier to keep going. Until obsession kicks in, discipline is the way to go. But I finished White Feathers because I couldn’t not finish it. I had to see this story through. 

Finally, when can we expect the novel to be out…and are you already working on your next one?

Publication day is 25 August! I do have a nearly-finished first draft of another one about a dangerous relationship in a dangerous place on the eve of World War II, but I’m still in the grip of the characters of this one…so we’ll see what happens.

Susan Lanigan is a writer based in Dublin, Ireland. She is represented by Svetlana Pironko at the Author Rights Agency.

The countdown has started!

Noepoli PZ  Noepoli artists Palazzo Rinaldi   Palazzo Rinaldi Artists residency

 

Can you believe it’s officially summer already?  This can only mean one thing…the countdown to the 2014 Residencies has started!  Preparations are in full swing…

We are excited to meet and welcome such a wide variety of artists and disciplines this season, as well as hosting Cora Murphy’s art workshops– it’s going to be a busy and fun summer.  Just to give you a taste of things to come, this year we are expecting composers, documentary makers, sculptors, photographers, writers, visual and new media artists- and even an architect! Artists come as always from around the world, including our very first AIR from Argentina!

All the news will be posted up here, so keep an eye on this blog and our Facebook page and you’ll be able to read all about the goings on at Palazzo Rinaldi this summer.

 

Celebrating Spring

Straight from the terrace at Palazzo Rinaldi, we thought we’d share this wonderful arcobaleno (rainbow) who decided to visit us over the weekend…wishing all our former and future AIRs a wonderful & inspiring Spring 2014!

rainbow Palazzo Rinaldi Italy

terrace Palazzo Rinaldi

rainbow Palazzo Rinaldi

 

“Marzo pazzerello: esce il sole, piglia l’ombrello!” – Italian proverb

Crazy March…sun is out, pick up the umbrella!

Partners-in-Residence: a Valentine’s interview

  Liz D'Agostino & Abel Elias  romantic travel

It’s Valentine’s day!  With Palazzo Rinaldi a pretty romantic destination in its own right, we thought it may be interesting to talk creative & personal experiences with one of our former Artists-in-Residence,  Elizabeth D’Agostino (AIR 2010) a visual artist based in Toronto, Canada, who attended alongside her partner.

  • Elizabeth, your surname is clearly of Italian origin.  Can you tell us a little bit about where your family is from originally?  

My family is from the Lazio region and come from a small town at the foot of the mountains where the Abbey of Montecassino is located. My parents grew up down the street from each other! Although my father immigrated to Canada first in 1956 and my mother shortly after I still have several aunts, uncles and cousins who still live in this area.

terrace Palazzo Rinaldi

    Liz at work on the terrace at Palazzo Rinaldi

  • In what ways you feel your ‘Italian-ness’ influences your creative work?

I have always been fortunate to have come from a family who supported my creativity.  My mother was a dress maker and I always used to spend hours watching her carefully craft things together and make patterns from her visual memory. My father loved to build things so he was pretty resourceful. I think this is where my visual training and ability to problem solve began: both of these characteristics are so important as a visual artist.  My parents were also big gardeners and they grew all kinds of vegetables and flowers.  They brought so much knowledge from Italy, and managed to grow various varieties of vegetables and flowers.  Artistically I am interested in the human interaction and adaptation of an organism to environmental and physical change.  The research of entomology and botany and elements such as birds, insects, and broken fragments of organic elements remind me of familial sites and surroundings both past and present. It embodies a sense of individual desire to recapture and restore memories and fragments of historical passages, which influence my daily life.

Liz_studio2_mini

      Works in progress by Liz from her stay

  • What made you want to attend an artists’ residency in Italy, and why Palazzo Rinaldi in particular?

I was beginning to work in video and digital photography and I had been planning a trip to Italy for several years because I really wanted the opportunity to document where my family was from. I felt like things were starting to change, and the rural quality of the area starting to disappear: those traditions that I found myself longing for were no longer present. I felt like I was ready to start working on a project titled ‘Longing/Belonging’.  I wanted to tie this project into a Residency, so I started searching and came across Palazzo Rinaldi. The more I looked into it the more I realized that this would be a great balance for planning this trip to my family’s home and also working on editing the video. 

  • Do you feel the village of Noepoli, residency and local area influenced your work, and in what way? 

I loved the landscape and really enjoyed documenting various parts of the Pollino National Park. I’m so used to experiencing large national parks in North America so knowing that Noepoli was set within the Park really intrigued me.  I was excited to go exploring for new things to draw and document. The area where my family is from is quite rural also, but as we travelled south we noticed that all of the villages were perched on top each mountain surrounded by walls and windy roads.

Noepoli

                    The village of Noepoli

  • You attended in Residency alongside your husband, Abel (and have since gone on to have a gorgeous baby boy!)  How was your experience of being in residency together?

Abel and I enjoy the experience of travelling to new places, experiencing the culture and meeting new people  so we were excited to spend this time together in the Basilicata region.  Although Abel is not an artist he is very involved in my practice and helps me out on so many levels.  I wanted him come along because I was excited to work on this particular project together but also to share this experience at Palazzo Rinaldi: I knew that for him it would be of interest because of the rich history of the area. Rarely do we get to collaborate on my projects so it was great to have the time to go over the hours of video footage and discuss it both aesthetically and technically.

We rented a car and drove from Naples to Noepoli.  Once we drove out of the city limits of Naples and through the mountains it was really a lovely drive with no traffic and beautiful vistas in every direction. We were quite fond of the rest stops along the highway where we could grab a quick slice of delicious pizza and espresso or two before heading on the road again.

Liz in Noepoli  40185_10150265675525601_4388125_n

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                                                         Liz and Abel exploring Basilicata together

  • Tell us the most memorable memory of your stay?

My favourite part of my stay at Palazzo Rinaldi was definitely the view from the balcony from the bedroom, waking up every morning to that magnificent view overlooking the rolling hills and mountains beyond the village of Noepoli. The nights were pretty spectacular too, after the sun sets and it gets dark: the lights from the various villages perched on each mountain in the distance…Believe or not I actually witnessed two falling stars during my stay: one from the balcony and the other one while walking home up the hill from the restaurant!

IMG_5077

      The view from the Palazzo Rinaldi terrace 

After breakfast each day I would spend morning until about 1pm drawing while on the balcony. It would remain cool and shady until about noon, so working in the natural light was ideal. Sitting on the balcony in the morning under the umbrella was my solitude: no noise, just the warm wind and sun as I worked in my sketchbook collecting my ideas for the work I was producing.

Italy 2010 023

               Liz at work at Palazzo Rinaldi

I found the mornings very busy in the village. Everyone running their errands, people happily chatting, cars and mopeds zipping by and the produce trucks would make their stop to the circle by the parking lot:  ‘the peppers have arrived!’ I loved seeing the various shades of peppers which were harvested from the region, all lined up and gathered in the baskets.

In the afternoon I would head down to one of the cellar studios and continue working (and cool off) on another set of drawings.  The studio was on the lower level of the building and I would often prop open the window which faced street level.  After 1 pm the village was quiet and everyone disappeared.  Everyday at about 4 pm the village would be begin to awaken again and I would start to hear the people talking, doors opening and the fresh smell of homemade tomato sauce…yes, seriously! It was like the smell of my mother’s kitchen as she prepared the large pot of tomato sauce which simmered on the stove for hours until dinner time.

Alex_bedroom_rsz  studio work

                                      Bedroom at Palazzo Rinaldi and Liz at work in one of the studios

  • What would you advise artists interested in undertaking a residency alongside a partner or family, who may be anxious to get a lot of work done too?  Any tips on organising your time or working space?

I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t find the time to get any work done during this Residency. It definitely is a balance between focusing on the work and travelling together enjoying the various villages, meeting the locals and other residents is so much part of the process of attending a residency. Experiencing the region and the landscape informs the work and is part of the process so it’s important that one finds time to do this.  One of the other residents was from Iceland so she joined Abel and I on a couple of excursions and we had a lovely time learning exchanging and learning about Iceland and Canada. We would try and take two days off during the week to see things, and focus on working the other days.  Near the end, when we felt that we had really accomplished a lot, we took a well deserved and relaxing trip to the beaches and town of Maratea.

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                 Liz and Abel exploring the cave dwellings in Matera and the seaside at Maratea

  • Has motherhood changed your own working patterns much?  

Being a mother has changed my working patterns quite a bit.  When my son was first born I took about 3 months off, then returned to my studio practice.  After a year I returned to work, where I now manage an art school.  Working full time, trying to have an art practice and being a mother certainly keeps my life full. I do try to get into the studio once a week or in the evenings after my son goes to bed.

My son is almost 3 years old and we love going to the Natural History Museums, we especially like the biodiversity exhibitions and dinosaurs.  I love loping at and documenting the insects and animals and he loves all of the interactive displays.  He’s also quite fond of the dinosaurs and fossils.

  • What project are you working on at the moment? 

I’m working on a new series of prints and print-based objects based on invented categories belonging to the natural world gathered from the research and history of scientific illustrations and historical animal drawings.

  •  Any plans to visit Italy again soon?

We were planning on taking a trip this summer, but we since had a change of plans as I have been selected as an Artist-in-Residence at Anchor Graphics, Columbia College in Chicago.  I will be spending 3 weeks in May working on a new print-based project and interacting with the students at the college. Looks like Italy will have to wait for the fall or next summer for visiting- and I would like to try and bring the family too!

Elizabeth D’Agostino received her BFA from the University of Windsor and her MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL. She has exhibited in Canada and internationally including Iziko: Museum of Cape Town, South Africa, Manhattan Graphics Center, New York, and The Print Center, Philidelphia.  Elizabeth lives and works in Toronto and is a member of Open Studio in Toronto where she does most of her printing. Currently, Elizabeth teaches printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and Design and is the Curriculum Coordinator at the Toronto School of Art.  Upcoming exhibition:

Some assembly required back some assembly required

http://www.elizabethdagostino.com

10 Things To Do During Your Artists’ Residency

During your stay at Palazzo Rinaldi you will have as much or as little to do as you wish: working on your artistic projects, exploring the local area, meeting and socializing with your fellow artists-in-residence…or just plain old relaxing and catching up on uninterrupted sleep!  However you decide to spend your time, here are 10 things we recommend you try and fit in during your stay, that will make your Residency even more memorable and special.

Pasolini

Matera sunset

1. Lights, Camera, Action || Visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Matera.  With daily bus connections to and from Noepoli, there is no excuse not to visit one of Italy’s most unique locations.  One of the peninsula’s first human settlements, its vast historical centre is carved almost entirely out of white rock, giving it an otherworldy appearance.  Matera today is a regular location for film makers– Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew were filmed here, among many others. Guided tours are widely available.

Farneta forest Pollino   Pollino hiking

2. Take a hike! || With Palazzo Rinaldi’s enviable location in the heart of Italy’s largest national park, you should definitely make the most of the wide-open spaces and stunning scenery on our doorstep. Many walking and hiking trails are available for you to discover and explore, offering unspoilt vistas and uninterrupted silence and the opportunity to work off those extra, delicious pizza pounds!  If you are a runner bring your shoes, as you will also find many pathways to and from the Residency to challenge you and keep you in shape during your stay.

Telescope terrace Palazzo Rinaldi  Palazzo Rinaldi sunset

3. Watch the stars… || Meeting for a glass of wine on the panoramic terrace at sunset is a regular habit for our Artists-in-residence. A socializing ritual accompanied by the ever-changing display of colors, which you can enjoy from your very own west-facing seat in the clouds.  Later, as the air cools down and the sky darkens to reveal its treasures without the glare of electric lights, star gazing will be an exceptional experience. Pina is a keen amateur astronomer and she will gladly talk you through the constellations on view during your stay, and even has a telescope for you to peek through.  In August it is extremely common to view falling stars, so have a couple of wishes at the ready!

antique books

4. Judge a book by its cover || Explore our library collection: Palazzo Rinaldi is home to a collection of antique Italian books and magazines viewable upon request.  Dating back from as far as the mid-nineteenth century and including specific publications on fashion and cinema as well as war and politics, they will no doubt inspire and intrigue you.

Painting Palazzo Rinaldi Italy       painting Palazzo Rinaldi

5. Work outdoors || Grab one of our portable easels and step outside of the studio, and let your creativity loose in the maze of cobbled streets. Noepoli, perched on top of a hill and winding itself around it in a spiral shape, is a village of extraordinary beauty as well as a protected location.  With Palazzo Rinaldi located right at the very top, don’t miss the opportunity to explore on foot its many tiny side streets and cobbled lanes, intersecting with each other before opening up to reveal secret piazze and surprising vistas on the valley below.  Bring your work with you and enjoy the weather, and the freedom of being able to work outdoors.

banda Noepoli  Noepoli procession

6. Bless me, Father… || Go to Sunday mass.  Whether you are religious or not, mass in the south of Italy is a fascinating and spiritually enriching experience.  You will witness the whole of the small village coming together and also enjoy the folklore, the people watching, the litany and the singing.  If your Residency happens to coincide with one of the summer’s many festas, such as Saint Anthony or the Madonna of Constantinople, you will also experience outdoor processions, marching bands, food stands, dancing – and even fireworks!

Simone Cumpa'  Vaydehi Noepoli

7. Meet the locals.  || Noepoli is home to a small and friendly community who – despite the language barrier – will go out of its way to make you feel at home.  The village is small and everyone knows each other, making it a safe destination particularly if travelling on your own. Even if your Italian begins and ends with ‘buongiorno’ and ‘buonasera’, a friendly attitude and a smile is really all you need to make long term friends!

spiaggia

Policoro beach

8. Go to the beach || Yes- despite the fact that we are in a hilltop location, the bustling beachside resort of Policoro is not far away.  So if you fancy a ‘holiday day’ to break from your creative work, pack your swimsuit and towel!

Palazzo Rinaldi art Amaro Lucano  Palazzo RInaldi

9. Sample the local food & wine. ||  The south of Italy is well known as the gourmet epicentre of the country, and Basilicata is no exception.  In Noepoli you will be able to taste some exceptional dishes and ingredients – among them the DOP Red Peppers of Senise, unique in the country – and the famous black grape Aglianico wines.  Upon request we can even arrange a visit to the local winery, inclusive of tasting session of course!

Chiesa   Jacuvill

10. See the sights || There are many sights to explore locally, but one you definitely shouldn’t miss is the church of the Madonna del Pantano on the outskirts of the village, impressively carved into the mountain side and featuring the hermit’s grotto- setting to a fascinating local legend.  If your passion is history and archaeology, a little further afield you will find the Greek temples at Metaponto, original site of Pythagoras’ philosophy school, or the Archaeological museum at Matera.

These are just some basic suggestions to get you started- the rest is all for you to discover!  At Palazzo Rinaldi you will find all the maps, bus timetables and information you need to plan your visits and we will be happy to answer any question you might have.  Enjoy!

Interview: I lived and worked in Artists’ Residencies around the world for 2 years

Part of the pleasure of running Palazzo Rinaldi artists’ residency is the opportunity to encounter some extraordinary people along the way, completely committed to their practice and art as a way of life.  One of these has to be Colorado-based visual artist Amy Clay, who back in 2009 made Palazzo Rinaldi her Italian stop on a planned 2-year creative and personal journey living and working in Artists’ Residencies around the world.  Along the way she collected thoughts, impressions and images and eventually published them in a book, now available online. 

We are catching up with Amy to ask her a few questions about her extraordinary experience and how this impacted her creative process.

 

     Amy at Palazzo Rinaldi in 2009

 

  •  Hi Amy!  Can you tell our blog readers a little bit about what inspired you to undertake your voyage in Residencies around the world in the first place?
I have always been a gypsy – insatiably curious about the world in all its diverse and interesting variety. Nothing is more thrilling to me than launching off into the unknown on some kind of adventure.  As an artist, I had been drooling over the extensive network of artist residencies for years, making a mental list of places that inspired me the most. So, when after many years of being grounded with my domestic commitments, I was free to wander again, I knew I wanted to combine my twin loves of travel and art. Artist residencies were the ticket.
  • With so much choice out there, how did you choose what Residencies to attend?

It was a combination of countries I was interested in visiting, and the residencies themselves. Each residency is unique, and they offer such different things, so I spent hours researching the accommodations/studios/costs etc before applying to them. My two favorite resources are: www.resartist.org, and www.transartists.org. Be warned, it is a rabbit hole!

  • We were of course delighted to be included in your wish list.  What are your memories of your stay at Palazzo Rinaldi?

What I loved about Palazzo Rinaldi, which was very different from the other places I’ve stayed, was being invited into such a warm and welcoming family home. I was the only artist at the time, so I was blessed with some quality time with the Caprara family as well as the quiet of the home and studio.

The village of Noepoli is truly an experience of life, Italy, unchanged by time. Because it is not a tourist destination, you really feel deeply the culture you are living in, as opposed to a Disney-fied version of it. And then there’s the location of the residency itself – at the top of an ancient hilltop hamlet with 360 degree views of the surrounding Basilicata region. Stunning!
I also was given a chance to have a small exhibition and slide show for the locals, who despite the language barrier, filled the room and seemed to enjoy my take on their wonderful village.

AMY_GNOCCHI2                AMY_SHOW               PREP1
                      
           Above from L Amy at Palazzo Rinaldi: learning to make gnocchi, and getting ready for the end-of-Residency exhibition
  • From a creative point of view, how did you feel your practice developed during your 2-year time away? 

I loved being on the road so much, that it actually became more of a 4 year journey!  I was very curious how much our culture, language, environment impacts the creative process, and by stepping outside of that familiar world, into the unknown, what changes would happen to me and my work. In a nutshell, what I discovered was the solid core of my authentic voice. That there is always an unchanging “signature”, the essential you. And then there is the exterior world which is open to change and interpretation and play. I thoroughly enjoyed that visual feast of the senses as I traveled the world, and just observed how it interacted with new materials and new forms to make the resulting work. Of course, the interaction with my fellow artist travelers had a profound impact too.   

  • You visited India, Mexico, New Zealand and Iceland among other exotic locations.  What were the challenges involved in traveling so far away from home for such a long period of time? 

People often would say how “brave” I was to take off as I did, from the comforts of my home. But I don’t feel particularly brave, it’s very much my nature to want to explore. I’m less attached to my “things” than to the excitement of a new adventure. Although it’s wonderful to have a base, from which to launch,  financially, I couldn’t have both. So I chose freedom!

  • What would you say was the best thing about undertaking this long term project?

It’s so hard to qualify that, but I suppose it’s the confidence in myself – knowing that wherever I land I will find beauty, amazing people and creative purpose. And that this world is a magnificent place, not scary or broken. The infinite manifestations of form on this planet are truly astounding, and I don’t want to miss any of it. So as we speak, I’m asking myself – what’s next!

  • And finally…what advice would you give to fellow artists planning to attend a residency abroad for the first time?

Do your research, choose as best you can (try to find some reviews if possible), and then the minute you are on your way, relax and surrender to whatever shows up. Most likely it will be a rich and rewarding and sometimes crazy ride!

Amy Guion Clay is a visual artist and traveler who exhibits her work internationally. She continues to enjoy the life of the artist in residence around the world.  Her book The Far Shores of Being is now available online.