Residency – Mike Inglis

Mike Inglis residency

Mike Inglis was one of our artists in residence for the month of February. After first working with him during our Open Museum project, it was great to spend time engaging with him and his practice. This is what he had to say about his experience:

“So first, the art blurb. My practice explores links between public art and outsider art, often making publicly sited work that explores transitional spaces that “outsider art” often inhabits as well as bleeding these practices into work for more traditional gallery spaces. I’m particularly interested in found materials and ad hoc-ist approaches to construction. The focus of my research often engages with marginalised communities or outsider artists.

Now the reality of my experience: like most artists I arrived in the space a little bit stressed as the new person and a little bit worried. I’m always worried when I start a project – mostly I am worried about making something good and my biggest critic is myself.

Mike Inglis residency Mike Inglis residency

After I cleared out my space in the ReConnect Studio and organised my materials I began to relax. At this point it was great to chat with Simon McAuley and Richard Anderson, two talented Project Ability artists that I knew from previous visits, and that really helped ground me. Over the next weeks I reconnected with many familiar faces and made a lot of new pals. This was by far the best part of the experience, seeing the other artists working without pressure for the simple pleasure that making art can allow you. I can’t begin to name the huge number of friendly artists I spoke with over the residency, far too many to mention, but I really miss them all now and they really made my time so very special in the studio.

Mike Inglis residency Mike Inglis residency - pinhole portrait by Richard

At some point during all these conversations my residency became more focused and far more meditative, not planning it too much just reacting to the materials. The residency has really allowed me to look at process and reinforced the mantra “make to understand”. To become a little bit looser with concepts during process when you have a very short amount of time. This was aided by watching the set of fantastic collaborations between Project Ability artists and GSA final year students on an engagement project also taking place during my time. I was able to get to know most of them and  their artist collaborators and this further enriched my experience. I enjoyed a very spontaneous and dynamic collaboration with the talented Almudena Rocca who helped bring the dreampod to life with a beautiful wall drawing.

Mike Inglis residency Mike Inglis residency - Almudena drawing

The studio grew into a very democratic non-hierarchical group of artists from such diverse backgrounds and this really transformed the culture for me. It was a perfect utopia while it lasted, a mix of trained and untrained artists, some experienced and some just beginning. People at all stages in their lives working together, supporting each other without barriers, judgement or hierarchy. I loved the experience, it was life affirming. And the piece of work I created was both a sculptural installation and a gift for these new friends.

So many people to thank, to name some and miss others would be a sin. I enjoyed speaking with everyone and was incredibly sad to leave.”

Thank you Mike! 


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