The Warp Artist Village 2015 had a big effect on my career and also my understanding what it means to be an artist.
When I got selected to participate at the Artist Village in Bruges in 2015, it was one of the very first times that I got invited abroad. Honestly I thought it might be a scam. It sounded too good to be true. Up to six 50 min long individual conversations with art professionals for a whole week? How is that even possible mentally and physically? But the thing is, the format works amazing and was a lot of fun. In a situation like that you learn a lot about lots of things and you kind of have to improve the way you talk about your art and find a way to have a good and interesting conversations. I think that all the participants were really excited, elevated and so energised at the end of the day that the artists continued presenting and discussing their works each other until late at night.
The Artist village is a very generous place. There is so much appreciation, attention, food, laughter and support. There was a feeling of abundance and joy. And most importantly there is a social aspect to it, that I think is quite unique. Stef added a missing piece to my understanding of the art world that I really needed to hear. I think he fixed in the first 5 min of his welcome talk something that was had gone a bit wrong at the art place were I had studied, because the competitive side of the whole artist thing was never addressed by the teachers there and can create an unnecessary weird group climate if not handled properly. Stef told us about his experience as an athlete and brought the idea of sportsmanship and teamspirit to the table and it made so much sense I think everybody got it right away, the tension melted in seconds and a wonderful direction was set.
There are quite some exhibitions (Coup de Ville 2016, Frans Masereel Center, Allard Pierson Amsterdam, etc) and projects that followed in the future years with direct connection with people I met and conversations I had to the Artist Village in Bruge and continuing friendships.
The Warp Artist Village should be mandatory, it's one of the best things that can happen to an artist.