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Guanlan Printmaking Artist Residency

Since mid February, I’ve been commuting between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China for an artist residency at Guanlan Original Printmaking Base.

I’m working on Phase II of my crazy 99 Polluta Propaganda Woodcut projects. They give technical support for printmaking projects (alongside many other incredible inspiring benefits.)

I wouldn’t be able to experiment so much make the works I’m making without this residency.

✵✶✺What is an artist residency?✵✶✺

An artist residency gives artists uninterrupted time to explore, experiment and produce new works.

I always say artist residencies are like professional development programmes for artists.

Each artist residency offers different perks and has different expectations of the artists. For instance, some pay a stipend whereas some require a fee. Some expect the artists to give an artist talk, an open studio or an exhibition at the end of their stay, and some don’t require any physical outcome.

At the Guanlan Original Printmaking Base, I was offered room and board, art supplies and technical support to realise my printmaking projects. A portion of my output would go into their China Printmaking Museum collection.

✵✶✺A typical day at the Guanlan Printmaking Base✵✶✺

8:30-9am Head to the studio

9am-12pm Work in the studio

12pm-12:45pm Lunch

12:45-6pm Work in the studio

6-6:30pm Dinner

6:30-12am Work in the studio

12am switch to lighter studio work

1am Computer work and sleep

I wake up and spend ten minutes getting ready. I go straight to the studio with a bottle of tea.

The mornings always feel too fast. Usually when I look at the time again, it is already closer to lunchtime than to my bed!

My days are organised around mealtimes. Mealtimes are strictly 8am, 12pm and 6pm. I don’t know how people do it but they finish eating and start leaving after ten minutes…

Usually around midnight, I want to be out of my street clothes. Sometimes I stay a bit later or work on the computer for a bit in my room.

✵✶✺Cloud Dragon Handmade Rice Paper✵✶✺

Most artists’ projects are usually more ambitious here to take advantage of the facility and technical support.

With the time and resources, I’m able to experiment a lot more.

Without the burden of proper printmaking training, I’ve always printed on cloud dragon handmade rice paper. That’s a paper I’ve used for 10 years for drawing and painting.

In the first week, I tried printing on thick expensive western printing paper because it would be so much easier for myself and my collectors to frame and display.

I watched the image emerge on the snowy white paper and a visceral repulsion.

Too harsh.

Too masculine.

Too…not Michelle.

I had to go back to printing on cloud dragon handmade rice paper.

For Polluta Propaganda Woodcuts Phase II, I picked the beautiful 清水雲龍white cloud dragon handmade rice paper.

Its long beautiful fibre makes the paper resilient, highly suitable for printmaking.

It is thin like butterflies’ wings, imprinting every intricate detail on the woodblock.

I love the negative space where you can see the paper texture.

These new works will be shown in the upcoming solo exhibition.


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One Day in Polluta

solo exhibition

5/F Pao Galleries. Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wanchai, Hong Kong

24 May - 3 June 2023


Follow more of my Guanlan residency journey on Instagram and Facebook. I update in stories regularly too!


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