Artist in residence Jony Easterby on finding inspiration at CAT


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CAT’s artist in residence Jony Easterby writes about exploring the creative possibilities of the site.

After many years of waiting for the right opportunity, I have finally managed to find a way of working with CAT as an artist.

CAT has played such an important role in shaping my ideas as an artist over the past 20 years. Visiting the centre in 1989 on my trusty old motorbike and sidecar with a fellow art student, we were entranced by the magic and alchemy of solar, wind and hydro power and the oh so right ethics of recycling and the reuse of materials. It’s very exciting – actually somewhat daunting – to now have the chance of working here.

Visitors to CAT will have seen the Bee space that was designed and made by my partner Pippa Taylor and myself (with help from Rachael Solnick and Max Jenkins). This was very much a display work for the visitors circuit. I now have the opportunity to start from the bottom up in realising a project at CAT exploring issues that I can research and develop over a long period.

My passion is well and truly rooted in the soil, landscape and the life that it seems to spontaneously bring forth; the focus of my energies in this residency will be the exploration of ideas around our relationship ecosystems, habitat, biodiversity and ecology, with a specific emphasis on the Dyfi Biosphere. Working alongside Grace Crabb and the Biology department will provide a catalyst and starting point for my research.

I am also really interested in what the role art can play at CAT in redefining what experience the public have when visiting the centre. How can art explore and present the questions, problems and answers that our present apparently suicidal social trajectory is heading us?

For the next year I will be working in and around CAT using it as a basis and inspiration for my work. I have started a process of conversation, observation, contemplation and debate with myself and those who want to talk and listen about what, why, where, how and when. These are early days in the process of investigation, so I have been exploring CAT with new eyes and ears as well as venturing along the estuary and into the hills to make contact with people and places.

For my own work and methodology I want to change the way I do things to embrace a more sustainable method of practice, less focused on produced objects and consumption (quite tricky for a sculptor!) and more concerned with the creation of spaces and events that can help enhance the beauty and ecological value of the landscape.

Last week I presented an artists talk at CAT sharing my previous work with members of staff and invited public, it was a fun evening and I have had some really positive feedback and I hope it will form the basis for more conversations and collaborations with the CAT community.