Art! Art! Read all about it!
Ryan Summerlin January 25, 2013
Afternoon sunlight slants through the window of the Tin Shop, Breckenridge’s guest artist facility on Washington Avenue, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Main Street. The light falls across a table littered with stacks and scraps of paper – maps, booklets, brochures, newspaper, receipts – all in various states of folded, crumpled, shredded disarray. Beyond the artistic chaos, paper roses climb up bits of wood, drawing the eye to an array of tightly wound tubes and rolls of paper that takes over the wall and nearby window in undulating waves.
Standing beside the cluttered table is a slight, blond woman with glasses and an easy smile. This is Anna Berry, the Tin Shop’s guest resident for the month of January. Though originally from Scotland, she now resides in Milton Keynes, England, and has spent the last few weeks living and working on an installation inside her artist’s studio in the Tin Shop.
Her background, she said, is in photography and much of her artistic work involves photographs and portraits. A few of her pieces are on display in the studio, but the main event here is her paper installation, which she is creating from the pages of the Summit Daily News.
“It was a natural evolution,” she said of her transition from photography to working with paper. She’s fascinated by the result of changing the structure of her medium while the substance remains the same. It’s still newsprint, but “it’s entire nature is changed.”
Berry cuts the pages down to the size she wants, then wraps it tightly around a simple wooden kebab stick, rolling it up into a slender rod, then slipping the stick out and securing the end of the paper with a bit of glue and a bobby pin. The exact method took some trial and error in the beginning, she said, but now she’s got the process down. She’s also extremely critical of each roll, inspecting it carefully for any wrinkles or bumps before deciding whether to discard it or add it to the collection growing across the wall.
Her idea for the installation is to make it visually organic, she said. “It’s supposed to crawl and develop and evolve.”
She said it personally reminds her of barnacles on sea rocks, although she likes to listen to the opinions of the visitors who enter and view the installation-in-progress.
One of the purposes of the guest artist program is to provide opportunities for the public to interact with the artist. All guest artists host workshops and have open studio hours during which people can walk in and watch the artist at work and converse with him or her directly.
“The interface with the public is important,” said Stephen Henderson, chair of the Breckenridge Public Arts Commission. “Artists should have a giving, inviting atmosphere.”
Each month features a different guest artist at the Tin Shop. Artists interested in the program must submit an application the year before and be accepted by the Breckenridge Public Arts Commission. The artist provides a showcase of their work and have to write about themselves – how they think of themselves as an artist, what they plan to do during their resident month and how they will interact with the public.
Berry first learned of the program when she visited a friend in Breckenridge who took her on a tour of the arts district. She saw the program as an opportunity to try something new with her art and really push her comfort boundaries.
“I really set my heart on it then, and threw everything into my application,” she said. When she got it, she was ecstatic.
Since coming at the beginning of January, Berry said she has spent most of her time in the studio working on her installation. This is easy enough, as she’s living in a cozy apartment right above the studio.
“It’s brilliant literally being able to roll out of bed and be close to your work,” she said.
Though she’s sad to see her residency come to an end on Jan. 31, she said she’s planning to stay on a few more weeks to enjoy the town, the skiing and take some time for photography. Even with all the hours put in on her work, she’s loved being in Breckenridge.
“This place just feels full of heart and soul. It’s lovely,” she said.