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Alumnus Stephanie Wilde

Shares her story of Monte Azul



Magical


"Magical" is a trite and overused adjective, but in this case, it is not frivolous hyperbole. Upon return, I could not stop thinking about my experience at Monte Azul.


Monte Azul Center for the Arts is more than I imagined, the two marvelous humans that have created this environment for artists, Carlos Rojas Jara and Randall Langendorfer, were thoughtful not only in facilitating a singular experience but also in their deep understanding of place, culture, the extreme beauty of our planet and the real threat it is under by human activity.


After experiencing other prestigious residencies such as Djerassi, for example, nothing could have prepared me for the deep impact Monte Azul would have on my work and my perspectives on the value of allowing oneself as an artist to be guided toward inspiration.

 

I was reluctant at first when Carlos, whose kind humility belies the breadth of his professional abilities and wisdom, insisted the three artists arriving together stay away from the studio for at least three days. Carlos directed us to explore, observe, ponder, and actually experience the magic surrounding us.


Upon reflection, my initial disappointment at not having the new facilities ready seems rather silly. Rather, I was learning new ways of thinking about my visual intentions and a different approach using the materials I have been using for years but with new and immensely divergent techniques. I had everything I needed at hand, and so much more!


My print projects in the past have been more of a solitary process, developing plates in the studio and then working with a master printer to complete an edition. At Monte Azul, I was not expecting to be consumed by a completely different and fresh insight into my own work.


I am grateful to have had this collaborative and educational experience with Salomon Chaves, the guest Master Printmaker, Tara Thacker, and Eric Serritella —three artists who were all accomplished, generous, and supportive— along with Carlos' curatorial insights. It was a dynamic that I would never have imagined myself a part of before this.


I look forward to continuing to develop the pieces I started at Monte Azul residency. I now relive that inspiration found there as I finish the pieces in my own studio.


With good, fortune I hope to return time and again to Monte Azul!


 



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