19 November 2013

CUNE Comics Residency in Riga II - Emmi Valve

In the month of October kuš! had the pleasure to host Emmi Valve for the second CUNE comics residency in Riga. She stayed on the beautiful houseboat by NOASS. Below you can read her report. If you also would like to do a residency, you can apply now for the 2014 residencies.
Emmi Valve: I'm a Finnish comic artist and I came to Riga trough the CUNE comics residency program, hosted and invited by kuš! magazine. My residency was located at a wonderful houseboat in the middle of Daugava. It was just next to old town, and still in it's own solitude. It was the perfect location for a small town girl like me, who has those Scandinavian introvert-genes.
My original plan for the residency month was to hold an anthropomorphic taxidermy workshop, but it got cancelled due to some misfortunes. While I was trying to come up with a new project, I took the most out of my stay.
I made a day trip to Jurmala beach, which was a very nice experience. The atmosphere of the off-season seaside town was nearly haunting. Empty beaches, summerhouses closed for the winter, and the grey and cold sea created a beautiful and somehow sad setting that stayed in my mind. 
Even tough I like my solitude, I was happy to have just as much welcoming company as I needed. I took part to several events every week, from Sound forest festivals to short film festivals. I think the Latvian mindset is quite similar to Finnish one, and I felt comfortable and taken care of. 

One of the places that stole my heart, was the central market place. I spent a lot of time in there. I love food and cooking, and just looking at the rows of vegetables, fish, meat, dairy, and everything you could imagine made me happy. I went there if I had a need for fresh herbs, new pair of shoes, or, well, anything basically. Food became something I put a lot of time and energy in. I cooked in my small kitchen, and I ate out a lot. One of my favorite comfort foods has been pelmenis, those Baltic dumplings, and I was happy to find them everywhere. (In Finland they are rare and rather expensive.) 
At some point a plan started to form in my head. I turned to my old idea of writing about food, and that's what I eventually did while my stay in Riga. I came home with a script for a comic cookbook.

I also came home with bunch of other stuff. I think that the real value of my residency month was revealed to me when I returned to Finland and my old routines. I've been more focused, more confident of what I'm doing as an artist (I'm seamlessly working side by side with comics, dead animals and food!) and I've been full of this new energy I'm putting in my work. I can recommend an opportunity like this for anyone who has the chance to take it.


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