Peter Arvidson visited Kamiyama in August of 2004 and stayed for two weeks as a participant in the partial support program, where artists paid for their own travel expenses and materials costs, but Green Valley offered studio space and accommodation free of charge. The partial support program ran from 2003 to 2005. Peter stayed in one of the previous teacher’s apartments and his studio was in the Shimobun Atelier. We asked him a few questions about his memories of his experience and this is what he said.
— What kind of activities did you do while you were here?
I created a lot of art work and painted everyday. I explored and hiked in Kamiyama, took photographs, visited shrines, and enjoyed lunch at my favorite cafe. In addition there were many opportunities to socialize and make friends with the residents of Kamiyama through dinners and other activities. I was fortunate that my hosts invited me to go to the Awa Odori festival in Tokushima. This was a great experience. However, my main activity in Kamiyama was working on my art work and I was supplied with a roomy work space to focus on my painting.
— Do you have any message for artists who are thinking of coming to Kamiyama?
I would recommend the Kamiyama Artist Residency Program to any artist who is seeking a unique experience and the opportunity to work in a very special place. Kamiyama is a village located in Shikoku and is quite different from urban areas such as Osaka and Tokyo. The residency program is ideal for the artist who wants to focus on their work and be inspired by the natural beauty of Japan. The hosts are very respectful of the artists and allow you to work as you please. It is necessary to have a driver’s license so you can make use of the supplied vehicle to shop for food and get around the town. It would be a good idea to try to learn a little Japanese beforehand and also to be familiar with Japanese culture.
— Please tell us any memories or impressions you have about your stay in Kamiyama.
Visiting and working in Kamiyama was a great experience for me. It was a chance to live and work in a part of Japan that I may not have had the chance to visit otherwise. I was able to focus on my art work and have an intensive period of uninterrupted concentration. In addition, it was a great chance to absorb the culture and lifestyle of a small, Japanese town in Shikoku. The residency organizers, hosts, and people of the town were very friendly and supportive. It’s been almost four years since my visit to Kamiyama and I still think often think of this time in my life. I am hoping to return again as I was meant to feel that Kamiyama is also my “home” now.
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