Reflection on Erasmus – Venice

Where do I start… As this experience is coming slowly to its end I cannot help but to reflect on it. There were ups and downs without a doubt. Frustrated, confused, sad, excited and happy are couple of adjectives among others that describe the feelings I felt throughout this experience.

I have mentioned before how difficult it was getting adjusted here and to how this academy works. I have never experience anything so unorganised and confusing. Sometimes I happen to think of my university in Cardiff being unorganised at times but it really isn’t! At first I was surprised to find out that not many people spoke English in the university and that was not stressed to us by the erasmus leader. Then another surprise was that we had to find who the teachers were and what they taught and go up to them and ask to join their class. It was at times very intimidating and stressful. But it did make me go out of my comfort zone and communicate with professors I’ve never met and some who did not speak English. We were left to ourselves to figure out what was required in which module and how many credits it was worth in order for us to achieve the maximum credits of 20 (equivalent to 40 in Cardiff). It was stressful and for the majority of the first month I was so confused about what was going on! I was baffled by how little help we were getting in the academy. But I started to realise how much I really appreciate Cardiff! The school of art and design is amazing, and the resources we have are exceptional. Which makes me more motivated to make the most of them next year. The academy here really proved that university is more than just single modules and making art to pass. It’s an institution that is made up of great lecturers, resources, people and inspiration which I have not found here. I feel that the modules here are lacking the excitement and creativity.. or maybe I just haven’t came across it. There are no personal tutors, you are left with no help, no ideas to gain from professors. They do not inspire you or make you look at particular works. I feel that its more traditional here. Don’t feel people are going out of their comfort zones as much as I have experienced in Cardiff.

Doing three modules Woodcut,Photography and Anatomia Di Venezia was not difficult to partake. These sessions ran twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Although after having done the exam in woodcut I have realised that the professor wanted more than I’ve showed him. Meaning he was not happy with how unclean my prints were but personally I thought they were more interesting that way. I don’t even know what to expect from Photography! Firstly the professors was quite surprised about erasmus people in his group, half of the people did not understand his lectures.. lectures, well slideshows. I still am unsure what is required for this exam. He doesn’t say much. But I guess I will find out next week when I show him my photographs. Which is a shame because I can’t communicate with him due to my lack of Italian and his lack of English.

Looking at the city itself it has been a great experience. Apart from a scam that happened even before we arrived in Venice it’s almost forgotten about now. The city is beautiful and it’s architecture and interesting location makes me really appreciate it and experiencing it as an artist is a dream come true! The people I’ve met were great too and the food is just phenomenal! The city has really got a lot to offer and having lived here for four months I have really seen a good bit of the Venetian life, from acqua alta, siestas, aperatifs to getting lost in its streets. Having this beautiful architecture and life style surrounding you 24/7 it’s crazy. Having a keen eye for details I have experienced this city in a way that it will inspire me forever.

Being here during the Biennale has really affected me as an artist. I had an opportunity to view an important event in the world of art and how these exhibitions are being set out and who are the current most wanted artists. Being so close to experiencing it was inspirational and a drive for my work. I am grateful to have been able to not only spend 4 months in Venice but also seeing some incredible and inspiring works that not everyone gets a chance to.

I must say that even though the academy here has not driven me as an artist or expanded my visions it has though showed me how to appreciate where I am now because some people don’t get to use the same equipment we do.

These four months here were crazy bipolar but I know that if I said no to coming here I would regret it and right now having done this I definitely do not regret anything because it has built me as a person. Even coming back to Cardiff now with lack of inspiring work I have made I am definitely going to come back with tons of inspiring memories, sightseeings and experiences that may influence my work in the future. I have been here alone, living in a foreign place and at the beginning I believed it would be so easy because of my past of ‘nomadic’ life style. I was wrong and I found myself wanting to go home and give up at times. But time proved me wrong and I began to understand and enjoy myself. Now that my flights back are booked and my mum coming to see me tomorrow and my boyfriend the following week and with only couple of days left I will feel somehow sad to be leaving. This place is beautiful and memories have been amazing,too. But at the same time I do feel ready to go back and begin some work and writing and become a better artist. Because that is what Venice taught me to be, to be a better artist.

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