to call myself an artist

Bally Sembi reflects on her Hatching Residency

This is the first time I have ever taken on an artist residency and I didn’t know what to expect. I was excited and nervous all the same.

There was a lot I wanted to explore but I narrowed down my focus on women in Greek Mythology and how they are represented. I spent a portion of my time reading and researching, which allowed me to then start sketching out ideas, especially in terms of creating faces for the women, carefully choosing the features to form images of how I want them to look. Most of what I did during the residency wasn’t planned, it was just how everything developed over the days.

A work in process from the residency

The residency gave me space, time and freedom to explore a topic I’ve been curious about for a long time. It also forced me to be patient with myself and to focus better as well as fighting my need for perfection and being happy with what I was able to create. The need for perfection caused me to become stuck at one point and that led me to discuss with the talking birds staff, who gave me different suggestions and ideas, which helped me ease up and become more playful in my work.

It allowed me to build a foundation to continue exploring this idea further outside of the residency.

I think that as an emerging artist, before I always felt like a bit of an imposter calling myself an artist and the residency gave me a sort of confirmation that I can call myself an artist. It also gave me the confidence and encouragement to continue with my art and be more free with it and just kind of go for it; something has definitely changed.

The residency was a new and unique experience for me and turned out to be very positive, within a welcoming environment and I am grateful to have had this opportunity.


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