Home > Uncategorized > Six Things that Surprise Artists When They Stay in the Gallinero – I/II

Six Things that Surprise Artists When They Stay in the Gallinero – I/II

The Gallinero bedroom/workroom with view through to kitchen/sitting roomMaureen Booth, Granada, July 18, 2011–I’ve had artists coming to stay in my “Gallinero” artists’ residence and work with me in my printmaking studio for a year and a half now. I’ve welcomed all sorts of people: working artists, advanced beginners, people between the ages of 15 and 82, a Canadian return-to-art person, a couple of delightful veteran artists and art educators from Colorado, a Hungarian sculptor, an Australian painter… All of them have taught me something, and I’d like to think the experience was mutual. And there’s one thing they all agree upon: Printmaking here in Granada and staying in the Gallinero is a unique creative experience. That compels me to try to figure out what makes it so. I’ve made a list of possible factors:

  1. The Silence—People coming from advanced societies have more of everything: more money, more luxury, more labor-saving devices, more entertainment possibilities… and more noise. When they arrive here in this Andalusian backwater and spend their first night in the Gallinero, they find the silence deafening. If it weren’t for the counterpoint of the riverflow and the birdsong they might find it downright spooky. They soon get used to it, however, and I suspect it becomes an important element contributing to their concentration and productivity throughout their stay.
  2. The Sleep—People tend to sleep better in the Gallinero, both at night and for siestas. (One artist admitted sheepishly, “I love the siesta. It’s like an excuse to take a nap!”) I suspect the silence is a factor, accompanied by the gentle white noise of the rushing river. The air is clean and healthful, as well. We’re at 700 meters of altitude, which is above the pollution level here. Maybe being far away from one’s day-to-day cares and obligations also helps.
  3. The Space—The Gallinero measures almost 500 square feet, not counting the front and back terraces. So there’s room for a spacious sleeping/work room—I know this sounds unusual, but everyone agrees that it works—and a good-sized kitchen/lounge with access to a little sunbathing/stargazing terrace with mountain views.  The workspace that people find revolutionary is a 5.30-meter-long (that’s 16 feet) built-in standup workbench interrupted only by an ink-jet printer and a set of computer speakers. It’s an area where artists can not only work but, perhaps more importantly, spread out their work for selecting, editing, or just taking a long critical look at it. Whatever its appeal, artists like it a lot.

Go to part II of II

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