My plan was to find an accommodation for the duration of my stay in Amsterdam, as I was going to the Netherlands for a series of my exhibitions. There is always a choice of Airbnb, which I love, but for a longer time it may still become pricy. My friend who lives in Amsterdam remembered that there is this creative art center called OT301, which also has an art residency, so I decided to give it a try. After checking out the website, which gave me an idea that this place is very layback and open, I wrote an email to the organizers of the residency, describing my plans and the reason of my stay, basically pointing out that I am a traveling artist. To my surprise I received an email from one of the 4bid gallery owners, also located at OT301, offering to meet for a coffee in New York! I thought that there are some advantages of living in a big city 🙂
After just a few moments of meeting Irina, I knew that we will get along, Irina is an artist herself, a dancer. She was very open. During our meeting we not only talked about the plans of my visit, but also about the art world situation in general. We both share the same thoughts. Irina was very kind to offer 4bid gallery for my short solo show, as I was looking for one. So overall it worked out great: I had my exhibition and a residence at the same place! Here is the show: http://www.ekaterina-smirnova.com/67p-amsterdam/
The space I was staying at was Irina’s atelier. Extremely cozy and inspiring artist’s working space. It was very fortunate for me cause I could continue creating artwork while traveling. On my 1st day of stay in OT301 I went to Irina’s cyanotype workshop and could already try playing with it at the art studio. When I would get tired, I would go to the balcony to chill a bit. Funny to say, but the balcony was larger then the studio. You know, it is very nice to have a cup of coffee and observe how Amsterdam is falling in love with spring.
To rest my head after work I would use a mattress, arranged on the 2nd level of the studio. It reminded me Japan, when you sleep on the floor 🙂
Toilet and shower were shared, that was the only minus of the place. And I would say mosquitoes too, I did not realize it is a problem in the Netherlands (due to so much water). I still carry a few bites on my skin as a reminder of good times I had.
On the same floor there is a bar, called Mixed Tree, run by Italians. That place has different events every week, sometimes there would be film screenings at the movie theatre (OT301 used to be a film academy), at times that very theatre would be turned into a night club, that will party till 3 am, leaving me no choice, but to stay up till that long too, for obvious noise reasons. But I love the community there, everyone is just open, helpful and kind, not to mention artistic.
I would say that Frida Kahlo also would enjoy this modes but very cozy and welcoming art atelier, it’s up to her alley too.