Our friend, English artist, David Shillinglaw recently returned from "The Jaunt" a travel/ print project by Netherland's based thejaunt.net that produces prints by artists after flying them to new destinations and letting them create an image inspired by their travels. Below are Shillinglaw's words and photographs of his experiences in the Dutch countryside.
“The Jaunt” is an amazing project. The idea is simple; send an artist from one place to another and ask them to make work that responds to that experience. Of course I jumped at the chance. I was given two options and initially chose Serbia, a completely random decision. The curator or as he prefers, travel planner, accepted my decision, but then explained that the 2nd door led to his family home in the Danish countryside. Five minutes from an empty beach, where he and his family would host me, barbecue fine meats and wash my brushes. It was a no brainer. It has been an incredibly full-on year so far and the prospect of spending time in the countryside and being cooked for seemed like the perfect remedy to my recent experiences in London and Amsterdam, which were far from peaceful.
I am writing this now on the last night of the trip. Time seems to have slowed down, even stopped at points. A complete contrast to the neon, never-ending buzz of cities I am accustomed to. Last night I recall sitting alone, slightly drunk on Danish beer, resting on the steps of the traditional Danish wooden house. I could hear so little and so much. The noise of traffic and beeps of electronics had been replaced by tree top breezes and the soft crashing of the ocean half a mile away. My busy city brain is not used to this and it moved me. The whole trip has moved me. The hospitality and love has been humbling, spending time with the couples 9month old baby and even celebrating the hosts 30th birthday.
I can’t remember being so relaxed, especially while at work, a new experience for me indeed. A calmer force has guided the work I made. Watercolours and painted pebbles have replaced the recent explosions of spray paint and bright white spaces of contemporary art galleries. Mother nature has been making eyes at me, offering hints and traces of a much softer approach to rendering an experience. There have been many insights into nature and in a way I did not expect, both in my work and in myself. Even this evening presented the gift of a mother deer and her two fawns grazing on the path we took back from the beach. Maybe there is something in the Danish water, or the beer? But I have re-familiarised myself with the natural world. Only using my phone to play music, not that the area has any reception or Internet even if I wanted it. A true reminder of the basic things, an economy of tools and materials and a look into nature, to feel and see the richness in the plants, animals, weather and landscapes around. I hope this attitude continues, after all London has a lot of nature, but perhaps I needed to detach myself from the bright and shiny distractions to help me focus on it again.
For more on David Shillinglaw, be sure to check his site: http://www.davidshillinglaw.co.uk