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I needed something that would push me creatively and show ways to take my career to the next level.

Country of origin: Canada

In which Residency Program(s) did you participate?
Illustration and Visual Storytelling: Art and Industry, 2009

What led you to participate in the Summer Residency Program?:
I had been doing casual freelance illustration for a few years but I wasn't satisfied with my portfolio. I needed something that would push me creatively and show ways to take my career to the next level.

What was the best part of your experience at SVA?
It really is hard to choose a best moment because it was all so amazing. Technique-wise I got a tonne out of our drawing excursions with Gregory Crane. Learning to work quickly and gesturally with ink and water added an element of surprise and fluidity that I think my work was missing up to that point. Other than that, just hanging out in NYC, soaking up the energy, meeting other artists, going to openings... Getting to meet and share my work with Paul Buckley from Penguin Books. That was all pretty rad.

How did the Residency Program contribute to your development as a professional artist, designer, etc? 
As a self-taught illustrator this was my first real experience working in a classroom environment and getting critical feedback on my work from others. We pushed ourselves really hard, and I came home with a renewed confidence in my work and a clearer idea of what directions to take. I was energized to do what I needed to do to get things rolling.    

What's going on in your studio now?
I recently began a year-long artist residency at the Royal BC Museum. I get to go behind the scenes and explore the museum's hidden collections, which I document with sketches and mini animations. It's the best! Other than that there are lots of freelance illustration and design gigs, and I just launched a new print collection for the holidays featuring succulents! 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences in the program or after?
I really didn't know what to expect from the residency, but I took a chance and I was so glad to discover instructors who were also passionate working artists and illustrators. It's nice to relive the memories of the residency four years later after so much has changed. It kind of makes me want to go back and do another one.

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