Written by current student Lola Victor.
For the past six months I have had the immense honor of being the sole artist-in-residency at the San Diego office of BNIM Architects.
For those who may be local, BNIM San Diego was engaged with the design of a new building at Palomar Community College and of their office adjacent to the city’s newest downtown professional sports stadium. They have myriad other projects locally and statewide, and are currently working on a large collaboration with The University of Berkeley in Berkeley, California. Their national headquarters is located in Kansas City, where there is also an artist-in-residency program (for those who may be interested…).
The residency came about through a common connection. Although the connection seemed disparate, I have been engaged with architectural builds, mindfulness integrations, and art/architecture collaborative projects with RNT Architects, Pacific Rim Parks Organization, and Ilan-Lael Foundation over the past handful of years. So I’ve been fortunate to have some cross-cultural and interdisciplinary contacts. I wish I could say that taking this direction to continue working with architects was foreseen and very much intentional, but I would be lying if I did. The continued opportunities to work with builders and architects seemed to unfold to me as if by magick, and embarrassingly I noticed the pattern only recently. However, it does seem much more fun that way.
I cannot be anything but grateful for being one of the lucky ones, the artist whose work is pure love.
I was fortunate to have a conversation with this contact. At the time I was seeking a studio space, and I was able to express my desire to seek out an alternative and collaborative working environment and space. She suggested I touch base with a few architecture firms. One of the firms she suggested was BNIM Architects because she had previously worked with them.
From this connection, I was able to reach out to two lead architects, announce my interest, and schedule a meeting. Little did I know they were engaged with the creation of an artist-in-residence program at their San Diego office to mirror their pre-existing program in Kansas City.
I brought in a live portfolio to the meeting, and within an hour they welcomed me aboard for a six-month artist residency.
Sometimes life feels like magick. Sometimes magick is like my experience of working with BNIM in San Diego for the past six months.
During this residency I was able to conjure work for two large exhibitions. I was able to host countless studio visits, further my creative connections, and selling my art blossomed. Through those conversations and the incredible willingness and creative energy of the resident architects, I was able to conceptualize and materialize intriguing art objects and investigate the technology of 3D printing and laser cutting.
The importance of community and the richness of collaboration is unquestionable.
Without the time, space, and idea-bouncing gifted to me through my residency at BNIM San Diego, I would not be making the work I am at the current moment. Nor would I have effectively planned and produced two major exhibitions with such ease and grace. Because of my residency, I have begun to engage with a methodology of making that is so deeply intuitive and unique to me. I feel that this ability to work in collaboration and community has given me the support to delve back into myself. I feel like I am coming more and more into myself — as my home — with each work. Even more intriguing is the understanding that I am in an active and all-consuming love affair with the work I am producing on all levels of time and space. I cannot be anything but grateful for being one of the lucky ones, the artist whose work is pure love.
What wisdom I’ve gained from this experience, of which I warn you is still limited to my singular bodied navigation of the earth, is yet all I have to offer: the importance of community and the richness of collaboration is unquestionable. If you get the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary way, or in an intriguing space, or in strange collaborations…maybe do it. Sometimes what seems unaligned is life’s way of giving us what we need even when we can’t see it. Life likes to surprise us and work in constant cosmic circles because magick is all around us.