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Art studio residency to kick-start Indre's freelance future

A Fine Art student has landed the rare opportunity of a three-month studio residency shortly before graduating from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

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Indre Rimselyte beat competition from dozens of applicants to the Toru Namekawa residency awarded by Leicester’s StudionAme, ‘a centre of creativity’ managed by DMU Fine Art MA student Jonjo Elliot.

Starting this May, the residency will provide Indre with a 250-square-foot studio, £600 towards materials, mentoring and a solo exhibition at the end of it.

Indre, who is using oil and acrylic paints to explore the relationship between humans and animals, said: “I’m so happy with this opportunity. Without it I would have felt a little bit lost after graduation, but now I get to start working as a freelance artist straight away.”

With a body of large scale work, her current painting being 10-foot wide by seven-foot tall, Indre was worried about finding the right resources after leaving DMU.

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113 Blue Monkeys

The 21-year-old Lithuanian said: “The facilities at DMU are great. We have access to wood-cutters to make bespoke canvasses and knowing I’ll be able to do the same at StudionAme is such a relief.

“Being supported in this way will help me build on my freelance work and apply for other opportunities and competitions, building on the professional development I got at DMU.

“Going back to Lithuania is not an option as opportunities for artists are very limited there.”

Since StudionAme’s opening last year, Jonjo has hosted a DMU student visit which included talks from successful local artists and an in-depth look into a working studio.

Jonjo said: “The most rewarding part of the visit was the chance to pass on my knowledge and experiences to the students.

“I visited several artists’ studios as part of my master’s and found it very enlightening to see how a space can be used and how artists work alongside each other.

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Red Forest

“The day was a definite success and it’s important to me that I keep my ties with the university, which is why I’m currently curating a series of art work for the staircase in the new Vijay Patel Building’s Arts Tower and I hope to work in the new gallery space one day too.”

Becoming Studio Manager while studying for his MA has allowed Jonjo to carry on with a major body of newly created work, make important industry contacts and get his paintings into two galleries in central London.

His role involves creating exhibitions and events, hosting workshops, overseeing the building and promoting the space through social media.

He credits DMU with helping him achieve his success, saying: “My undergraduate degree gave me the chance to explore various creative techniques and allowed me to experiment.

“I also value the input of my tutors, who questioned everything I made giving me the skill of talking in depth about my work and the theories and ideas which inspire it.”

During the last year of his undergraduate degree, Jonjo worked with DMU’s Archives and Special Collections Department to create stunning images of campus over the decades by combining both new and archived photographs.

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An example of the kind of space Indre will be working in at StudionAme

Posted on Monday 6th March 2017

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