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  • Destination: Da Wang Culture Highland artist residency

    And so, my journey into China continues…

    I took a train across Hong Kong, which stops right at the border to mainland China. In my last post, my story ended as my friend Richard and I walked across the pedestrian bridge toward the customs desks, en route to Mainland China.

    Once past the hustle and bustle of customs, we grabbed a cab to get to Da Wang Culture Highland.

    Taxi from Shenzhen to Da Wang.

    Taxi from Shenzhen to Da Wang.


    We were greeted at the entrance of the residence, by a large sign, made out of one of those industrial shipping containers, standing up vertically. It had bold Chinese characters proudly displayed on it. Not speaking Chinese, I have to assume that it is the name of the residence. As we drove up the little road into this jungly oasis, we passed by several other containers, painted in various colours, repurposed so that they have become usable spaces, inside. There were people fishing in a brown water lake, and lush greenery growing along the side of the mountain, cascading onto the road; a vine creates a canopy over the road, as it reaches from treetop to treetop.

    The feeling one has, when coming here, is that this place is different from the surrounding area, and a bit special. It’s an artist community, with outdoor sculptures here and there, dotting the edge of the jungle. There are signs, as well, that greet incoming visitors. Clearly, they are trying to people into the place. There is a feeling of tranquility.

    Artist talks: I'll be giving mine soon, too!

    Artist talks: I'll be giving mine soon, too!


    After a bit of back and forth, trying to figure out where we should be received, we spotted our host, Tom, standing on the side of the road. He showed me my room, and gave us a tour around the facilities. My accomodations, as is the case with the last residency I went to, are modest ones: two single beds, and a large tiled bathroom.

    My (sparse) bedroom

    My (sparse) bedroom

    My bathroom: the shower, sink and toilet are all in the same room.

    My bathroom: the shower, sink and toilet are all in the same room.


    I discovered that I would not be alone: I was moving in with an arachnid roommate, of proportions like I have never witnessed before! We gazed at one another, and when I went to take a photo of her, discovered that she is camera shy. I think I will call her Donna. She is about 5 or 6 inches in diameter, from front toe to back toe, and is mostly all legs, but there’s some meat to her body, as well. Her markings are quite striking.

    My roommate: a giant spider, like one I've never before seen.

    My roommate: a giant spider, like one I've never before seen.


    I had the choice between two studios: shared, or not shared. I opted for the latter. It’s slightly smaller than the shared studio, but it’s all mine to spread out in. I’ve already started working on some pieces. More to come, in my next post!

    Front door to my studio.

    Front door to my studio.

    Inside my studio.

    Inside my studio.

    About Claire

    Claire is an abstract painter who teaches painting workshops in both Canada and in the US. She has received grants to attend artist residencies in Vermont (2011 and 2013), and in southeastern China (2013) and has been interviewed by various art magazines, most notably Magazin’ Art (Spring 2015) and Parcours (2014), the French language arts magazine. She was also interviewed for Art Inc. (a book by author Lisa Congdon. She has gallery representation in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Oakville, and in the US, in Charlotte. She appears regularly on a number of blogs, including Design for Mankind, Moco Loco, Design Milk and Saatchi Art’s online magazine. U.S. retail chain, Urban Outfitters, sells her original artwork under their Anthropologie banner. They reproduce her artwork on merchandise, and sell it under the Claire Desjardins signature label. Claire’s work has also appears in various feature films and television shows.
    This entry was posted in Art residency, Artist residency, My artwork, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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