When I started this residency, I set about turning an empty room into a studio.  The first choice that I made was that this would be the perfect opportunity to step outside my process and follow a parallel but different path. I wiped my mind clean of expectations, aside from the idea that I would have a document or two to show for my time here. Being of the sort who like to keep their hands moving however, I drew. I drew to warm up, I drew to clear my head and I drew to think. Drawing is one of the best things we’re endowed with. And we are all endowed with it. Every child draws with the directest of means, their line unquestioning and unselfconscious. And so I drew.
   My commute to the studio was often by bike. It would send me through the bowels of a rapidly changing city, past construction sites, tunnel boring machines and always weaving through traffic jams. Sometimes when at an impasse, I would walk around Capitol Hill and study the neighborhoods. I would overlay my memory of what building was here or there but is now replaced with something bigger. Through these journeys, I decided that displacement would be the core idea around which I would build my residency. It began with thinking about who gets to stay in a rapidly changing city. But the thought expanded to contain the whole idea of displacement. Displacement of people, displacement of land by water, of animals, of ourselves from the natural world and on and on. To me, displacement seems to be the theme of the age. Of course it always has been, but with a finer. more urgent point to it now.
   As I settled into my residency, I was successful in shrugging off a laboring urge to produce a polished body of work. If the day demanded that I just show up and think, then so be it. An acknowledgment that execution can sometimes just be half the work.
   One of the many gifts of this time, was getting to see the idea of an artist through the eyes of the students. My teacher friends here allowed me to share my work with them, have class studio visits and go on field trips with them. The student’s insights were always refreshing. Their reactions and thoughts were a keen reminder that art is communication and feel. It gave me immense respect for those who decide to teach art.
   To have an exhibition at the end feels necessary and gratifying. But it also feels inadequate to the task of relating the entirety of my experience as the artist in residence. This was my first residency and the first time I have been significantly back in the academic atmosphere since my own time as a student. It is a place where great seeds are planted; what a sweet place that is. I wish to express my gratitude to Seattle University and the Art and Art History Faculty for asking me to be their 2015 SUVAIR. It has been truly rewarding.

Matt Sellars
January, 2016
 
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