CHAPTER 1. NAPTOWN CITY
In a 1940’s blue house, in the middle of the Midwest, the days go by with seemingly nothing happening. That “passing” of time amidst the quiet and the cornfields is an active rather than passive passing, there is precious time for observation and reflection but at the same time you are overcome with a strange feeling of being late for something. Your eyes embrace an infinite sky of earth-planning environment and the sound of nature marks the rhythm of the days. A strange calmness marks what will be the beginning of a storm of ideas and projects.
We are in Indianapolis, Indiana, popularly known by the name: Naptown city. Some say that this name is “an ironic reminder of its supposed sleepy nature, but the reality is, that it is a very important American city, known for its jazz culture in the 1920’s, where Naptown didn’t sleep. Naptown partied, played music and held a bunch of social events.
To this day, after having lived two years here, I can say that the energy of this place and its sleepy nature, has made me grow immensely. In this antagonistic and contradictory environment you catch oxygen in the rhythms associated with big cities and your mind starts functioning differently.
IndiaNAPPolis is awake and so are we.
I started thinking about inviting artists here to experience how I was living. I began searching for everything needed to create a space where artists could freely create. Where the environment and experiences would inspire them, allowing them to think, reflect, and if they wanted to… paint.
This September I was finally able to welcome Iñigo Sesma (1987, Donosti, Basque Country) a great painter and great observer of the environment. His work is characterized by showing the reality of American society through small frozen fragments of places and spaces; his multiple stays in the country and his experience with residencies and projects make him a wise spectator of the area, and a great companion to have, as the first in residence.
During his residency he will elaborate and describe a symbolic and physical map of the area through his experiences, his photographs and his pictorial work.
“An artist residency represents, in my opinion, an excellent opportunity for introspection on all levels. It is a space where we can stop, ask ourselves questions and allow doubts to arise. It is also a valuable opportunity to continue building and strengthening one’s artistic project.”– Iñigo Sesma
His work has photography and painting as tools, both associated with a long research and field work, which leads Iñigo to travel many kilometers in search of those “frozen vital spaces”.
“My work is nourished by the experiences and realities I go through, as well as by observations of the everyday, of people and the environment that surrounds them. Sometimes, I can have a clear vision of what I am looking for when taking photographs, I have references. However, other times I tend to let myself be carried away by exploration and chance in equal parts, although always through a gaze loaded with pictorial intentionality.”– Iñigo Sesma
In his first week here, and while the materials for painting arrives, Sesma makes contact with the space through walking, taking photographs of the environment and reflecting on the “tranquility that precedes creation”.
“I am looking for scenarios that possess one or several elements that transmit me, either by their shape, light, color or arrangement of elements. Later I will modify them and shape the images digitally, thus generating a final reference before transferring it to painting.”– Iñigo Sesma
Sesma, begins to make an x-ray of our environment through streets, avenues and other various places. We travel the city passing slowly through 38th Street every day, a vital portrait of different scenes, situations and events, where houses, neon lights and cars tell us about social strata and everyday life. Kilometers and kilometers are explored, in search of the perfect light to take these photographs, with many glances at the clock to help us remember when the light is best, for the coming days.
“I feel a very positive connection with this place, especially because my pictorial project has a total relationship with the scenery and imaginary of the American Midwest. I consider myself lucky, this is a big city with a rich history and, above all, replete with references that feed my mind.”– Iñigo Sesma
Few truths as great as “Landscapes depend on the eyes of the beholder”, but something ethereal and strong at the same time rests on our gaze when we are here. In Naptown, many of its places seem prisoners of time past, even though the world has moved on and continues to move forward. Will we be able to understand what it is?
Metaphor or not…, we will continue searching for the perfect light.
To be continued.
Photos by: Iñigo Sesma