Artist Residence – Laurence de Valmy

French painter Laurence de Valmy sat down with Singulart to tell us about her experience at the ESKFF Artist Residence within the Mana Contemporary during her time in the United States.

ESKFF in a few words

The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation hosts an artist residency located in Jersey City, New York, which was founded in 2009 by Eileen Kaminsky, Philanthropic Collector. The residency welcomes local and international emerging and established artists to build a dialogue between artists, art institutions, critics, and collectors.

Discover 10 of the most beautiful artist residencies.

Why did you want to join an artist residency?

The art market was my second career and I entered it after moving to a new city. I didn’t know anyone and needed to build my network. When I first arrived in New Jersey, I contacted artists whose work I admired. It was an artist – who later became a friend – who recommended that I look into participating in this residency. I was afraid that I wasn’t up to par, I thought that the residency was reserved for well-known artists, only accessibly by invite. I discovered that there were numerous types of residencies and that each had its own selection criteria. For ESKFF, they really focus on the project and motivation when selecting artists.

Read our article ‘What is a residence?’

How does ESKFF work?

ESKFF welcomes eight artists for a three month period. They offer a stipend to buy materials, canvas, and paints in my case. They give us access to a studio (but not for living) and several workshops with professional critics, coaches, and curators. At the end of the Residency, they organize a collective exhibition. During my time there, we had a partnership with the Mana Contemporary and thousands of visitors took a special boat between NYC and Jersey City to see us. Artists offered two works: one for the foundation collection, and the other for the Residency financier who would sell the piece at the end of the exposition or put up for auction.

The residency is based in the artistic institution Mana Contemporary, a former tobacco factory that has been converted into a huge artistic space (museums, schools of design and dance . . .). It was exciting to meet artists of all nationalities and various disciplines.

What was your project during the Artist Residency?

When I was in the process of submitting my application for the Residency, I was just beginning a new artistic project: post paintings. I only had made three of them at the time and was not sure if I was going in the right direction. As I was writing my application, I was pushed to put words to my creations and define my concept. I also had to commit to a number of works to be created and set myself goals to achieve.

What did you get out of the residency?

It is the connections with people, artists, or professionals of the art market, that I particularly remember from my stay.

The exhibition opportunities as well. During a workshop with a critic, I was lucky enough that he spotted my work and recommended it to a New York gallery, which later offered me my first exhibition. Through that, I was also put in touch with a second New York gallery, which showed my work in Miami during Contemporary Art Week shortly afterward.

The residency also allowed me to be more productive than I would have been alone in the studio, which was essential for presenting works to galleries. It also allowed me to get a professional look at my work, which was a kind of validation by art market experts.

To learn more about Laurence de Valmy, read her interview with Made in Be.