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Kaoru Shibuta experience in Artists Residencies

Kaoru Shibuta is an exciting Japanese painter whose works have been exhibited internationally. He has been the recipient of several major Art prizes for his artistic creations, which are based on the poetic symphony and transformation of visual notes. In the last 3 years, Kaoru Shibota has participated in 12 Artists Residencies all over the World.

We sat down with him to talk about his experience in artists residencies and how these have strengthened his career and artistic process.

You participated in several artists residencies in the last few years, could you tell us how did you get to undertake your first residency

I applied for many open call residences as most young artists do. I entered my first residency having encountered many rejections. I sent photos of some of my best artworks, researched potential residencies online and outlined a working project to submit. I really wanted this experience and did not give up!

What did your first residency bring to you ? 

I stayed for a month  in my first residency in Northern Japan.  I found the joy of researching an unknown world and incorporating it into my work.  I shared lot of joy with the local audience at the final exhibition.  I discovered that a residency program can be a great social contribution.

You had a particular experience with Espronceda in Spain, what can you tell us about it ? 

I felt that Japanese collectors and gallerists had quite a limited artistic horizon. Painters were conservative in professional manner before 2018. I wanted to broaden my horizons and experience the international arts scene. My first opportunity in an overseas residency program was the Center for Art & Culture Espronceda in Barcelona. I was so fortunate to be awarded the open call for an international artist.

This residency provides a huge exhibition space, even for the younger artists.  I lived and worked with other resident  artists for 6 weeks, so I was inspired by their exhibitions that changed every week, and finally I was able to present my work to my peers. 

Interview of Kaoru Shibuta for Esprondeca Residency

What is a typical day during a residency ? 

I really enjoyed experiencing new cultures. I tend to work on my artworks in the mornings, so spent my afternoons and evenings visiting the sights and sounds of the city. I especially enjoyed the art markets, which were so new to me.  I also took inspiration from the food and culture of this dynamic city. My life experiences are directly connected to the art work.

You live and work in Japan and participated in artists residencies in India, Spain, France, Poland and Russia, what did  these international experiences bring to you ?

During a residency, an artist finds time to immense oneself in research, to create artworks, and most importantly to interact with the local artists and other artists from all over the world.  It is immeasurable how much benefit it brings. 

Kyoto where I am based is clean, tidy and I am blessed to enjoy an easy life there. The daily habits and customs I take for granted are reinforced when I travel overseas.  It’s like finding beauty in a drop of water. Everywhere I go, I feel great respect for the religious beliefs new religions.  Especially Indian traditions, the class divide between the rich and poor, and the ingrained spirituality surprised me.

What was your “best” residency and why ? 

I have great difficulty in choosing just one. They are always a great experience, to have a one-month residency program where everyone treats you like a family.  But if I have to choose an exhibition venue, NCCA North West in St.Petersburg. I like traditional townships, near the sea, with simple exhibition venues.

You have been invited to participate next year in Basu Foundation for the Arts in India, can you tell us more about it?

I participated in  ARTE LAGUNA PRIZE 2020 and won the Basu Foundation Residency Prize ! (Kolkata India). I heard from the owner of Espronceda that it was a great residency. I will produce and exhibit my artwork in a one-month period, and I will have the opportunity to meet leading collectors in India. 

I was fortunate enough to have participated in a residency in the suburbs of Kolkata in 2018 and collaborated with many Indian classical musicians. I felt a strong response to the sounds of Indian musical instruments that have been passed down for generations such as Stradivarius.

The BASU Foundation is located in the centre of the city, next to Central Park and the Museum.  I am sure the Bengali dishes with mustard and fish will influence my work.  I’m really looking forward to this new experience!

What advice would you give to an artist who is willing to attend a residency ? 

Each artist needs to focus on what she or he wants to gain from the residency. Many painters want the opportunity to produce quietly. There are artists residencies that are like vacations in the mountains, beaches or countryside. However often young artists don’t work hard enough in a residency program as they are sightseeing and drinking too much.  I don’t think ones should miss the opportunity to produce something innovative from their time in a residency program.

If they work with a positive attitude, residencies can foster strong partnerships with fellow artists and bring wonderful opportunities to collaborate on further exhibition projects.