We interviewed the fearless Kathryn Macnaughton on her latest adventure, an artist residency in Lisbon where she has spent the last couple months exploring Portugal and pushing her creative practice through experimentation.
1) What is the name of the residency you are at and how long are you planning on being in the program for?
PADA Studios. I was there in July and August and I’ll be back there again for another month in October.
2) Describe your work in 7 words or less.
Expressive, Colourful, Bold, Graphic
3) What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m addicted to peeling dried paint. When I want to relax and meditate in the studio, I’ll peel all the paint off my containers.
4) How did you hear about the residency?
Online/social media. I was looking for residencies with large studios. Pada is in a beautiful warehouse in an industrial park on the other side of the river from Lisbon. I also have friends that live in Lisbon so it was a no brainer.
5) What pushed you to take on an artist residency abroad and what do you hope to achieve while in this program?
I needed a change. I wanted my work to evolve and I knew that finding inspiration from another environment and meeting like-minded artists would help with that.
I work alone in Toronto and I’m quite isolated in my studio. I wanted to see how I would work in a larger space with other artists. It was great! I think I’ve grown so much as an artist.
6) I would love to hear about the process of creating these new works during your time at Pada studios. Has this new environment inspired new elements, textures or colors in your work?
When I arrived at the residency, I always had the intention of trying to make my own shaped canvases. It was great. I learned how to build my own stretchers with shapes protruding out of them. The idea evolved and I was very inspired by the window frames on residential and industrial buildings in Portugal. They have interesting designed grills that go over the windows, especially the ones that surrounded the industrial park in Barreiro (the town where the residency is).
I began to have ideas about making window frames for my paintings. Right now, they are solid colours that compliment the washes and the flat colours on the canvas. I’m playing around with the relationship between the frames and the background canvas. I’m finding it important to find the right balance between the two. I’d also like to gesturally paint the frames and have them compliment the flat colour of the canvas.
7) Are you working in a shared space with other artists, and if so, how has this experience affected your artistic practice? How are you finding it in comparison to working out of your own studio?
Yes. We work in a large warehouse together, but there are partial dividers between the studios.
It has been an incredible experience. I love working with other artists and I think it has helped me grow. There are pros and cons. When I’m alone there are no distractions, but sometimes I need them. Having other artists around has given me space to think about my work from other perspectives.