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Last week, we took a walk down memory lane to reflect on a weekend we spent at Sound View. The hotel in Greenport—owned and operated by Filament Hospitality under the direction of the group’s Founder, Erik Warner—was a home away from home. We quickly noticed that while it payed close attention to comfort, design, and community, it embraced creativity above all. During our stay, there were also a handful of creators there—including singer-songwriters, composers, dancers, and, artists—who were participating in the establishment’s Uncommon Art Residency Program.
Guided by its Creative Director, Brian Gorman, we saw an array of talent sharpen their skills for upcoming projects they’re working on in New York and elsewhere. “My main focus is developing experiences that inspire our guests and create a greater sense of connection,” said Gorman. “We are all about inspiration and looking at the impact environment and community have on the creative process. I believe in awareness, presence and being grounded in not only our own experiences but in our interactions with others and the world around us.”
Born into a hospitality-driven home, Gorman knew he wanted to keep the tradition alive. He worked at his father’s design firm during summer breaks from the time he was 16 until he was 30. He then worked with brands all over the world—including both big-timers and boutique hotels like Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, St. Regis, and the Gramercy Park Hotel. “I was entranced with the dreams that travel creates,” he said. “I then worked for Mentor, who really taught me to see branding through a different lens and the importance of creating unique experiences through culture. This is effectively what hospitality is.”
Today, he too is sharpening his creative tools, curating artists for the Uncommon Art Residency Program at the hotel. “It was important to find individuals who didn’t just fit into a singular box. I looked for texture, movement, sound, a form of expression that also creates an experience through the artists methodology.”
To hear more about what the art program, Whitewall also spoke with a handful of visiting artists—some that are currently in the program, and some that are excited to begin soon.
WHITEWALL: Brendan, why were you interested in participating in the Uncommon Art Residency Program?
BRENDAN FERNANDES: This residency, and the site of Sound View during the winter, gave me the opportunity to make in a relatively isolated environment. The residency provided me an immersive experience where I was supported in respite to think, focus, and make clearly—without distraction. This type of free time is not always available to us as artists, but is crucial for experimentation and play. Being taken care of with provisions and accommodation for the week allowed me and my team of dancers that freedom and the opportunity to come together and create.
WW: What inspires you about being at the property? Did it allow you to focus?
BF: On the North Fork, I allowed the work to be influenced by the landscape. The movement of the tides and the sea provided a point of departure for choreography and to create gestures in response to. The residency also introduced me to a new community of people who affect the making of the work. I found inspiration in notions of generosity and kindness. I began to think through these ideas and question how they could manifest in the work, via the support and care being offered to me in the residency. I incorporated these ideas into the work by generating motif movements and actions in the dance piece. I also took inspiration from the site of the hotel and its architecture. The site lines of the sea within the hotel’s architecture further inspired the work undertaken at the residency.
WW: What are you working on while here?
BF: Currently, I am working on a number of dance-based performance art pieces, including new commissions from the Guggenheim, The Noguchi Museum, and the 2019 Whitney Biennial.. While at Sound View, I cultivated new movement vocabularies with a team of dancers, who were also so generously invited to be hosted with me throughout residency.
WW: Peter, how did you originally get involved? Why were you interested in participating in the program?
PETER WISE: I had performed at Sound View back in September through the Joe’s Pub program, and the idea of getting to spend a week out on the North Fork on a writing retreat sounded like a fantastic opportunity to reflect and work on some new material. The added benefit of getting to meet and interact with artists across an array of different mediums was also very appealing. But the thought of having a place where I could have the space, mentally and physically, to reflect and create was originally what drew me to the program.
WW: What about North Fork inspires you?
PW: I’ve always gained a lot of inspiration through solitude and through nature, so the opportunity to be alone on the North Fork in the middle of winter was exactly that. Inspiration is usually thought to be the time of a creative spark, where you are impelled to make art. However, I think inspiring experiences are those that run the gamut of emotions—in the moment they can be joyous, lonely, frustrating, peaceful, anxiety-inducing, etc. The inspiration at least for me comes from riding out those emotions and making it through to the other side, most often at a place of gratitude. Although I did write plenty while I was out on the North Fork, I think I cherished more of a spiritual self-reflection, which to me is an incredibly important part of progressing creatively.
WW: What did you do during your time here?
PW: I wrote a number of new songs. None are complete yet, a few I think have potential, and a few I will probably scrap. I also really enjoyed the conversations I had with fellow artists during the Uncommon Artist weekend and the creative coffee and lunch on Sunday.
WW: Treya, why were you interested in participating in the Uncommon Art Residency program?
TREYA LAM: As an artist, one of the biggest gifts to receive is space and time. This was particularly exciting to be a part of because of its sublime location and the quiet solitude that comes from staying by the Sound during the off season. It was also a rare treat to have total creative liberty and be free of any external expectation from the program. Sound View was also gracious enough to extend the invitation to any collaborators of my choosing and we gathered as a full team for the first time at the hotel, not knowing what we would have at the other end of the week. It was an incredibly organic and environmentally driven creative process that was fueled by a sense of communal living that we had at the end of each day. The residency was a much needed and perfectly timed retreat for all.
WW: What did you enjoy about being in North Fork?
TL: Waking up to the constant meditation of the Long Island Sound really soothed the mind and energized the spirits. The quietness of the North Fork during the winter was a much-needed reminder to take the time to rest. It’s the season to let things process beneath the surface and set intentions for the spring. I have always loved the stark contrast of the beach during the winter and it was wonderful to have the week to recharge
WW: What did you create while here?
TL: During our week, we created an audio/visual piece that reimagined the restaurant in an increasingly automated world. Jason Chew directs a story of an un-human server played by Bretony Mcgee who uses movement to portray some unaddressed and undesired norms within the industry—particularly with mental health and sexual harassment. Trish Nelson, who is a fierce advocate for women in the restaurant world, as well as the arts, joined us as a consultant for the story and helped with on-site production. I created the score with Olive Alice and Kate Hannington using a few approaches: composing music inspired by the property during off hours; creating music in response to the visuals that were shot; and recording a live improvisation that was performed during our set at the Halyard. Everything was filmed and recorded during our week-long stay and we will be editing things down in the upcoming weeks.
WW: Jules, why were you interested in participating in the Uncommon Art Residency program?
JULES GIMBRONE: I’m interested in being put into environments that are new. I like the idea of being in a space that is made for travel and relaxation and what that will do to me in terms of generating content and situations for my work to appear.
WW: Your residency is approaching. What will you be working on while at Sound View?
JG: I will be placing my sounding glass vessels inside the internal and external architecture of the hotel and surrounding environment. I will use these encounters to create photographic tableau vivants where the resonant glass vessels become living subjects depicting transmorphic scenes.
WW: Julia, why were you interested in participating in the program? What’s inspiring here?
JULIA BLAND: My work is very influenced by the natural environment, the elements, the weather. It’s quiet and peaceful to work in nature, but it’s also extremely exciting, even overwhelming. I love the way the hotel is sitting almost exactly on the water, it’s a very active and dynamic situation. I am also looking forward to exploring the area, seeing what kinds of materials people are using, reusing, and throwing away.
WW: What will you be working on during your residency?
JB: I will work on a series of drawings and small pieces using linen threads. I also plan to incorporate materials I find, I will look for things that bring some kind of context or story and that are materially challenging.
WW: Mau, why were you interested in participating in the program? When you start your residency, what will you use your time here to do?
MAU QUIROS: Changing our surroundings as artists, is a big incentive, and can provide you with just the perfect mental and spiritual motivation to explore new paths or even alter the one you are on, a residency in this beautiful space is a great opportunity to be exposed to all these elements and let them affect your art.
MQ: I’m interested in working as a solo artist, layering sounds, looping, and creating this kind of layered music pieces. But I will also use this opportunity to write, very interested in doing that.
WW: Monday, why were you interested in participating in the program?
MONDAY MICHIRU: I have been performing annually at Joe’s Pub since 2014, and also resided in the North Fork, in Aquebogue, from 2000–2015, only recently moving to Westchester County. I still have ties to the North Fork as my son is a high school senior at Riverhead and I stay for periods of time to be with him. A little over a year ago, the previous manager for Sound View, Teach, reached out to me, inviting me to come check out the piano bar and its various performers. I eventually came by meet Teach, who explained the Joe’s Pub connection with The Halyard, and to see the newly renovated Sound View, which I was really impressed with. I explained to Teach that I too am a Joe’s Pub performer, and he booked me for a night last Fall. It was a lot of fun. I then approached him about the possibility of doing the residency program this winter which he was very open toward. Even though I might be considered a more “established” and seasoned artist, one thing holds true no matter what point an artist is in their career. There is a search, a hunger, an answer waiting, a question unfolding, a constant sense of dissatisfaction that the best work has yet to reveal itself, that an expression has still not be found and needs to be unveiled, that we are the clay that still needs molding. It is a life quest.
Life can take over sometimes. Bills have to be paid, taxes need to be filed, kid needs to be chauffeured here and there, parents get sick and need to be taken care of, etc. In the scuffle of surviving, it is sometimes difficult to carve out the time needed to focus solely on creation. The truth is I work best under deadlines. The Uncommon Art Residency Program is exactly what the artist doctor ordered.
WW: What do you find special about Sound View?
MM: The North Fork is a special place, and the Sound View is an even more special space. Situated right on the Sound, the isolation and lack of outside stimulation and distractions, the white noise of traffic whizzing by reminding you of the world that passes…it’s a great opportunity to have conversations with yourself. I’m not expecting or anticipating anything and am open to what awaits and will flicker forth.
WW: What will you use your time here to do?
MM: I always have a physical folder of sketches—whether they are harmonic, a melodic line, a stream of consciousness writing or small block of poetry—that accumulates from the last recording, which for me was two years ago. I also have a recording app on my phone that I record little snippets of melodic ideas, and another folder on my computer again of ideas. I’m going to challenge myself to shape a song out of those ideas, one for every day I’m there working, and hope to perform them.
WW: Paul, why were you interested in the program? What do you love about North Fork?
PAUL LOREN: The idea of a multitude of artists, from different media and with unique workflows coming together in one week in one space was really appealing to me. I also love that the Residency coincides with the end of winter and the beginning of a new creative season.
I grew up on Long Island and have been coming out to the North Fork since I was a teenager to play music and take in some fresh air. There’s always been something special to me about the landscape—being on this narrow strip of land between 2 bodies of water—and the fact that it’s truly agriculturally-based and filled with talented local craft people feels really appropriate. Folks are growing things and making things most everywhere out here.
WW: What will you be doing during your residency?
PL: Naturally, I’ll be writing new music. And while I have no set goals about the quality of the work itself, it will obviously be specific to a place and time. I think that’s the big takeaway—that art can evoke certain sensory relationships to a certain moment in one’s life. In this case, it’ll be the North Fork in early spring 2019!