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ESKFF Residents' thank you's...

Scott Harbison - Winter 2022

three months in the life of an untrained artist

I am an untrained artist residing in Newark, NJ painting lifeforms from my imagination... One that has created a world where ALL life forms (including those of other galaxies) have merged and coexist.

Having gotten unexpected interest from galleries in my home environment, I have enthusiastically ventured into a new world called Art. It was in this world a certain life form by the name of Suzan pointed me towards a potential residency with something called ESKFF... The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation. They reside at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ. They expressed interest in my work after seeing images I sent. After an interview I was presented with a wonderful opportunity to have a three-month residency with them. Yes, even the misfits such as myself, can grow and even thrive with the help from kind devoted people like ESKFF. 

The environment they provided me was nothing short of dreamy... As I had 24-hour access to a wonderful space where monsters and aliens and creepy flowers all were conceived in the night... Where friendships I keep to this day where birthed in the day... Not to mention the knowledge of the art world and how to grow in it. The three-month stay flew by there and much work was produced... In my case very large paintings. I am so honored that Eileen liked them and chose a couple for the ESKFF collection and donation. In short, ESKFF transported me from my basement to another world where I fell deeply in love with the slop sink and the night quiet of outer space. Thank you!!!!!!

Cheryl Gross - Winter 2018


I would like to thank you for the opportunity to have been part of the Eileen Kaminsky Family Foundation Residency, Winter 2018.


To begin, the ESKFF residency permitted me to focus on my proposed project, thus allowing me to come up with new ideas, and problem solve. This is a true luxury. It was great to have a separate space and be able to work without the distractions of home. As a result at the end of the three months, I produced a substantial body of work that is indeed noteworthy of exhibition quality.


The studio environment (being around other working artists) was great too. I feel that I came away having made new friends and important connections.


The Professional Career Enhancement Program aspect is a vital part of ESKFF. The invited guests, Joy Glidden, Rachel Vancelette and Paul Laster were incredibly beneficial. The attention paid to the fundamental tools which are vital to an artist career such as a website, resume, business card as well as professional advice, was more than helpful. All three visitors were insightful, supportive and generous with their observations and time. May I reiterate it goes without saying this is an extremely valuable resource to the program.


Again, thank you so much for the opportunity. It was indeed a wonderful experience and will no doubt benefit my career if it hasn’t already.

Zeal Harris - Summer 2017 Miami


I would like to once again express my deepest gratitude for the opportunity of Summer Residency with ESKFF at Mana in Miami. It was a life changing experience. I made deep discoveries and decisions about the direction of my life and and how I'll work for the next few years as an artist. The residency gave me the support I needed to complete research that would allow me to begin a history intensive art project-- "The Contraband of Bantus" project. I had been trying to conceptualize the project for nearly a decade and until I did the residency, only then was I able to actually begin making the artwork. I was also happy to begin the sketches for my new fine art/illustration project, "I be living Black Love" and to bring the sketches back to LA and to get feedback from illustration artists that are advising me in concrete ways on how to go about advancing the project.


An additional thing that I discovered during the residency...I discovered more about my materials and my technique of making art. As a result of those discoveries, I believe that my future work will quickly take a jump and become stronger. During this time of developing the technique and process for painting and printing the artwork on fabric, I have worked full time and in different environmental conditions that were different than the conditions in Miami. I learned that having more time to create the work did not speed up the process of the paint drying (!) and that my time would have been better managed by working in a different painting medium. Similarly, I discovered that temperature, humidity, fans, and workspace setup also were significant factors impacting the quality and speed of completion of my work in ways that I never realized. I am grateful for these discoveries.


Lastly, I would like to say that another incredible and priceless thing about the summer residency was simply being in Miami. i was trying to decide if I would move there at the same time that I was making art. It's a funny thing, I'm back here in LA and brought and sent all my things back here but I kind of feel that I haven't fully decided! Haha.  


In Miami while doing the residency, I was able to deepen my friendship with Johanne Rahaman. We continue to talk everyday about art and life even though I'm back in LA. While in Miami, I was able to "research" the environmental and sociopolitical landscape and let it sink into my psychy as visual inspiration for my Contraband of Bantus project. Evacuating from the hurricane and driving through the deep south from Miami (for the 2nd time within a year) gave an unplanned opportunity to extend my research in the south thereby further informing my work. (I also had the best visit of all my visits with my sister in my adult life when I evacuated)!


Even though the hurricane disrupted my plans of having meetings and a couple of "open studio" events for myself to close out the residency, I was able to get myself an art show there, participate in a art film as an "extra", and in general continue to advance my networking and take a handful of meetings. I finished up painting on Labor Day when I heard a category 5 hurricane was headed straight for Miami. Twenty four hours later, I was in Savannah. Fortunately, before leaving, I was visited by curator Ysa Pinyol, the artist Morel Doucet, the writer Yajaira de la Espada who ended up including me in her miami-based literary zine, "A Gypsi's Library", fine art artist Fereshteh Toosi, and comics artist Neil Brideau, Ashlee Thomas (Director of Miami Urban Contemporary Experience arts organization),and most importantly, I was able to have a studio visit with Mikhaile Solomon (Director of the Annual Artweek Prizm Art Fair). It was my favorite fair last year during Artweek and I'm proud to have been invited and have work selected to be included in this year's Prizm Fair. Coincidentally, I think Mikhaile said that the space where the fair will take place this year is a Mana space downtown.  What an interesting reinforcement of my artistic network.  I will be back in Miami for Artweek for a week at the beginning of December and will try and say some of the goodbyes that I didn't have a chance to say before returning to LA. 


Again I would like to reiterate that I am extremely grateful for the ESKFF residency. It was right on time and it was what I needed. Please enjoy the artwork that I exchanged for the residency. I forgot to take great hi-res photos of the artwork for my website and other promotional purposes. I hope that someone at ESKFF could do this for me and dropbox the files to me.


When I exhibit the artworks on fabric, I usually use neodymium magnets and steel tacks with rounded flat heads to display the artwork. I press the work with a lightly warm iron. For longevity, the work is best framed floating and unstretched like a textile artwork. If it's framed it wont require washing. I've never washed one, but if I had to clean one, I would certainly take it to an experienced, reputable dry cleaner.


Now that I am back in LA, I've returned to "working". Since I quite my job before I created the 8 month self-created, self-funded sabbatical for myself that included my time doing the ESKFF residency, I have returned to working various odd and part-time jobs. (I apologize that it was several weeks before I finished the artwork and sent it to ESKFF). Im still working on catching a rhythm here. In a few weeks, I should have a new rhythm and and flexible schedule that will allow me to get back to working productively and more quickly as I'll be bringing the elements of together of more solidified conceptual direction and improved and more efficient artmaking techniques and time management. 

Tenesh Webber - Spring 2015


During my time at ESKFF, I had a very productive time in the studio, and developed ideas that I am still working on now.


I also made some very good connections, at the residency and during the Mana Open House, that led to an invitations to show at several spaces. These included Schema Projects in Brooklyn, SPRING BREAK Art Fair, in Manhattan, and an upcoming three person show at the Garrison Art Center, in Garrison, New York, later this year. 


A collector in Jersey City, who edits The College Mathematics, purchased the piece I sold at the Annual ESKFF Auction Fundraiser. Journal, the piece he purchased was selected for the cover of the November 2017 journal.


It was wonderful to build my community of artists, collectors and curators, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do this through the ESKFF Residency. 

Erik Formoe - EURO 2015 (July)


In July  2015 I received a resident stays through ESKFF at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, New York. I got covered materials and studio space, which I shared with 5 other artists from Norway and Germany. It is long time since I worked so close to other artists as I did during this stay. I am used to work alone in my own studio . It was refreshing and inspiring to share experiences and discuss art with other artists for a period.


In addition to studio space and materials, we were introduced to gallery owners, curators and art collectors. We also got to know other artists who had studio at Mana, and for my part I was invited to studio visits and socializing with important art collectors and artists in New York. Because there are so many galleries concentrated in Manhattan, I visited dozens of galleries. I got a good overview of the arts in New York.


Among the most important things that was happening, was a seminar with a veteran of American art scene. Joy Glidden told about the collaboration between artist and gallery owner, which was extremely useful for any future exhibition plans in New York. ESKFF also contributed greatly to withdraw gallery owners and collectors out to Mana Contemporary, where we worked. This is unique and can be a catalyst for future exhibitions.


I have, because of this stay, become much more aware of what it takes to succeed in an art environment with so much competition. I have gained an insight into how New York's art scene work, which is absolutely invaluable. It is easier for me now to work toward specific goals regarding my future artistic career. Because I met so many talented artists and professionals, it is more inspiring to start on new projects. The stay gave me insight into New York's art scene and I would say that I have become a much bolder artist because of the stay. I dare more and am far more quality conscious than I ever was before the stay.

Webber's work that sold at the Annual ESKFF Auction Fundraiser.

Michelle Doll - Winter 2014


My experience at the ESKFF residency was exceptionally rewarding and continues to be a resource of valuable return in my artistic career. It provided a wonderful, nurturing working environment where artists were able to seriously work while meeting other artists in the residency for creative input and exchange of ideas and thoughts. It was also an extraordinary way for me to connect with the artists in Mana as well. These relationships have become immensely valuable to me since the residency.  The space is open to the public for tours and events, which afforded a unique opportunity to connect with galleries, curators, museums, etc.. I’m now represented by Galleri Ramfjord in Olso, Norway because of this introduction. And, I continue to be contacted by curators, collectors and other artists who found my work through ESKFF. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities Eileen Kaminsky has given me through the ESKFF residency.

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