Artist: Martine Lemieux; Montreal, Quebec, Canada
QUESTION: What happens if you’re not confident?
Martine Lemieux: When you’re not confident in yourself, then I guess it shows and also you’re not showing the best of yourself. So it’s not going to be attracting other people. So it’s harder to sell your art because you’re lacking. You don’t believe in yourself enough, so people are not as interested in buying art from you.
QUESTION: What are some artists like?
Martine Lemieux: Most of my friends gave up their art, people who I graduated with. So it’s like when I talk to them about my project, I can feel some of that jealousy because they gave it up. It’s annoying if I tell them about my art projects, it’s not the best.
QUESTION: What happened at your art residency?
Martine Lemieux: I was looking for an art residency for the summer. Then I was looking through the art in residence on a site called ResArtist and I found a couple of residents had I applied on https://www.arquetopia.org residency. And so I submitted my portfolio and files and then I got selected. They called me for a video interview just like that and I got accepted. And so I’m an oil painter and this was a residence for one month. They asked me my requirements, what did I need for this art residency? So they knew I was an oil painter, so, you know, I need some ventilation.
QUESTION: What did you find when you arrived?
Martine Lemieux: When I got there, it wasn’t that at all. First I learned that my studio wasn’t in the same place as the other people. Then I realized they gave me a green house basically on the top of the building, on the third floor in Mexico, in Puebla, which is very hot in the summer. And it’s like impossible to work there. It was impossible to work. During the day was way too hot. So it took them a week to do something about it.
Ann Rea: So you had a four week artist in residence program and it took them an entire week to even do anything with it?
Martine Lemieux: Right.
QUESTION: What did they do about it?
Martine Lemieux: They’ve covered the ceiling with paint and put some paper on the side covering the glass, but still it was so hot. I couldn’t bare working there during the day.
QUESTION: How much did you pay?
Martine Lemieux: I’ve paid a big amount of money in US dollars.
Ann Rea: So how much did you pay for this?
Martine Lemieux: For me as a Canadian it was $2,500.
Ann Rea: $2,500 and then you had to pay airfare?
Martine Lemieux: Plus my airfare, which was maybe $1,400 or something, round trip.
Ann Rea: So about four thousand dollars?
Martine Lemieux: Oh yeah.
QUESTION: Did you have proper ventilation?
Martine Lemieux: We had a fan but it didn’t work. It didn’t work anyway. I mean, come on, it’s like like plus 45 degrees and there’s no way.
QUESTION: Did you get your money back?
Martine Lemieux: Basically they made me pay for a space that was unusable.
Ann Rea: Did they offer to give you your money back?
Martine Lemieux: Never.
QUESTION: Did you receive any guidance?
Martine Lemieux: Like one month we had a meeting face to face for an hour. At the end of the day, it was a lot about how women were not part of art history and it was still a lot of money to meet someone for once a week, you know, and not having a studio.
QUESTION: How did it make you feel?
Martine Lemieux: It didn’t really made me feel like I didn’t want to create here. So it wasn’t fantastic. I have to say, I was very disappointed.
QUESTION: What should other artists know?
Martine Lemieux: There’s so many art residency these days. It’s hard to know like which ones are trying to get clients or if it is for someone who’s looking for a holiday or a serious place.
QUESTION: What did you learn?
Martine Lemieux: I think I was too much in a hurry. So that was a mistake on my part, and I’ve learned from this mistake.
QUESTION: What was the name of the program?
Ann Rea: https://www.arquetopia.org . If you’re listening, I’d like you to give my student her money back. She had a pretty horrible experience and shame on you. You should have had a facility ready for her. She told you she was an oil painter. It’s absurd that you would put her in a frickin’ greenhouse and the summer with and without proper ventilation for an oil painting. It is an incredibly unhealthy and toxic environment. You give her her money back. Really do the right thing. You got a chance to make it right. Unfortunately this is not the first time I’ve heard about artist in residency, programs that provide little to no value. I would say this was a waste of your time. How much art did you get done? How much art did you make while you were there for a month?
Martine Lemieux: Not much and everything I’ve done was pretty much scrapped.
QUESTION: What was the experience like?
Martine Lemieux: Yeah, it was a real downer honestly. And I have to say they have two, three other locations. They have one in Oaxaco, one in Pueblo and also in Peru. I heard some stories also from the residents in OAXACA and it wasn’t really positive as well.
Ann Rea: How did you learn about Ann Rea?
Martine Lemieux: Saw you before with Jonathan Fields’ interview.
Martine Lemieux: I knew who you were and I was admiring you for what did at that point anyway, so I knew who I was dealing with. So I was confident that this was the right place.
QUESTION: What is your advice for other artists?
Martine Lemieux: Don’t take a decision in a hurry and second, build up your confidence, Because if you’re looking for being flattered by a company, then this is where you are going to get hurt. Because people can sense that and this is where you get into a trap. So if you know your value, you take your time, then you take good decision and then you go to the right place. If I haven’t been flattered because they accepted me into their program, if I knew my value, then maybe I would have thought about it for a longer time and made a different decision.
QUESTION: What would you tell artists about Ann’s program?
Martine Lemieux: Well, you can do your research about Ann Rea. The program is really well done. It’s really well structured and there are steps. It’s a step by step program. If you trust the process, then it will work for you because it’s also part of a transformational program. Also, you’re learning technical tools, but also you’re working on yourself. So if you trust the program then it will work for you.
QUESTION: What would you tell artists about Ann Rea?
Martine Lemieux: Ann Rea is there a really well established artist and also has good connections. She knows, she knows Jonathan Fields. She knows all kinds of good people.
QUESTION: Artists can learn from other artists.
Ann Rea: I’m very proud of you. I think that you’re doing really well. I congratulate you for being honest about what happened to you because I think it’s empowering for you to be able to share your story and help other artists help you understand what you did learn from the crappy experience. I liked that you have the Code to Joy right there. That’s fun.
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