A journey that took 7 days, 3 ferries, around 18 hours of driving and many meetings and sights along the way. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
Some perspective, perhaps, before you begin reading this post. I work (when I can afford to) as a visual artist. In May of 2011 I had won a 3-month residency with a centre in a small town in north-west Iceland named Skagastrond. After winning this I had to figure out the most painless way to get from my wee island to the other wee island in the north Atlantic.
To explain about the residency briefly, a residency is basically a stint of time where an artist is allowed space and freedom to work on their own practice and develop their own work in the company of other artists. In this case I had gotten 3 months to live and work in a shared studio at Nes in Skagastrond. Residencies are sometimes funded, but more often than not, especially in places like America and Canada, they cost money to attend. To some it might sound wasteful or pointless, but the residency system allows for a sharing of ideas with other artists from different places that you cannot normally get in regular studio hours, and also gives the most valuable thing needed for working on an artistic product – time.
This residency was for the most part self-funded, with help from a small grant from Sligo Arts Office, so it was my own prerogative to ensure that I could afford the journey as well as three months of living in a notoriously expensive country.
So, after much price-conscious transport shopping, along with checking the price of art materials in Iceland, reading Lonely Planet and travel blogs etc. and contacting Couchsurfers who lived in Iceland, I eventually found myself wedged into the driving seat of my white Peugeot 206 van with all manner of living and artistic clutter surrounding me on all sides, and a healthy stack of CDs ready for the journey.
That was in May 2011. The story is a little long-winded so I’ve split it up into sections. The text & images for this story are excerpts from a travel journal that I kept on my way to Iceland. More to follow on this for the time spent in the land of light, and the return voyage.