Today is day four of an artist residency I'm doing at Spark Box Studios in Ontario. It's my first residency, and also my first time in Canada. Now that I can say I've left the United States, I'm feeling a little more cultured. Here's a list of things I've learned so far while staying here, in no particular order:
I'm infinitely more productive without access to the internet. This is something I've always assumed, but haven't put to the test until now.
Remember to expect the unexpected. While I was expecting the other residents here to be Canadian, I was not expecting them to have Australian accents. Both of them are from Australia originally and immigrated to Canada.
Canadian cops (at least the ones at the border) are equally as rude as American cops.
Canada has an artist UNION! This is by far the most impressive thing I've learned. If you have an art exhibit, make public art, or do any kind of art related work, they are legally obligated to pay you a living wage! I'm not sure what they consider to be a “living wage” but I'm certain it's more than $7.25/hr.
Traveling alone is much less scary than it sounds.
Having a studio space separate from my living space makes a world of difference. I need to find a studio ASAP.
No one who's not an artist understand the concept of a residency or what I'm doing here.
Places exist that are simultaneously country and classy.
All of Canada is supposed to be bilingual, and pretty much everything has both English and French on it. Not like America does with Spanish, where only certain items and places have Spanish and the Spanish text is smaller than the English text. I'm talking one side of my Wheat Thins box says “Wheat Thins” and the other side says “Fins Auble”. Why doesn't America do that with Spanish?? (Spoiler alert: the answer is racism.)
I learned how to use a French press coffee maker. It's much less complicated than it looks, and it actually makes my coffee taste better.
Canada has a ridiculously small population. Also they're so eco-friendly that even their gas stations have recycling and compost bins! Does that exist somewhere in America? Maybe, but I've never seen it.
And finally, I learned that I really need to get out of Cincinnati, or at least travel a lot more. There are bigger, better things in the world that are much more suitable for who I am.