The Light Grey Norway Creative Residency Program emphasizes connectivity, discovery, and learning together in a natural space fit for introspection and innovation. Team Vann includes a diverse group of illustrators, animators, photographers, composers, game developers, researchers and teachers. Team Vann residents hail from various areas of the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Throughout the program, artists will embark on a journey of discovery, collaboration and inspiration, surrounded by one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. By day, artists will travel along the Hardangerfjord in handmade boats, hike through coniferous forests, swim in natural springs, and wander through the cobblestone streets of Bergen. At night, artists gather for conversations, lessons, and workshops about creative practice and growth.
Read more about our 2018 artists-in-residence teams below.
TEAM VANN: Alexandra Lillie, B Mure, Carson Brown, Diego Gisbert Llorens, Emily L. Cardwell, Ena Kim, Evan Montiero, Jessica Lyon, Kaitlynn Copithorne, Mariyka Auber, Natalie Vestin, Nina Keizer, Rhonda Lashley Lopez, Sitji Chou, Steven Hughes, Victoria Chiu, and Youkyung Choi
Diego Gisbert Llorens
Diego Gisbert (Alcoy, Alicante, 1980) started drawing once he grabbed a pencil for the first time and he´s yet to stop. After studying Illustration and Fine Arts, he now works mainly with digital media in the fantasy illustration field as well as for entertainment industry as a concept artist.
He is particularly well known for his Warhammer and Warhammer 40K -related work, as well as for being a speaker in several events in Spain and other countries. His client list include, among others, GamesWorkshop, Behaviout Interactive, Aeria Games, Paizo, Fantasy Flight Games, The Creative Assembly, Sega, Volta, Konami, Alderac, Axis Animation, and CD Projekt Red.
"I am excited to enjoy the beauty of Norwegian nature and the intellectual exchange between likeminded creative individuals."
Rhonda Lashley Lopez
Santa Fe, NM
Rhonda Lashley Lopez is a fine art photographer living in northern New Mexico whose work reflects a life narrated by nature. She prints her own photographs using traditional and digital processes — platinum/palladium, cyanotype, archival ink — and often uses Japanese papers, vellum and gold leaf.
Until a few years ago, she worked as a journalist and documentary photographer. Her documentary photo book, Don’t Make Me Go to Town: Ranchwomen of the Texas Hill Country, was published in 2011 by the University of Texas Press.
A few years ago she set out on a new path, pursuing a different kind of photography, something more expressive and personal. Her recent, ongoing project is “Liable to Disappear,” about holding something in your hand for only a moment before it’s lost. Rhonda and her daughter, Emily Cardwell, a composer and singer, currently are collaborating on a multimedia project.
Steven Hughes is best known for his colorful acrylic portraits, having shown in numerous pop-culture and illustration-focused gallery exhibitions in California and New York. As an artist residing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and professor of illustration at Northern Michigan University, he can often be found exploring the natural landscape along the coast of Lake Superior with his plein air watercolor kit. His illustration work revels in the interplay of light and color, and the emotional impact of quieter moments of determination, thoughtful reflection, and preparation for a thing that must be done.
"One word—Fjords, but I'm also looking forward to creative discussions, generating ideas and developing a sketchbook for future work."
A composer, singer, poet, and art-maker, Emily's passions are creating chamber works, installation pieces, and electronic music. She collaborates with visual artists and choreographers, most closely with BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance, with whom she has performed live at Danspace Project, Federal Plaza, Gibney Dance Center, NY City Center, and Triskelion Arts.
Her works are inspired by nature, politics, and the human condition, and express both traditional and experimental styles of music. She is the singer, assistant composer, and Native American flutist of the NYC-based Trilogy Ensemble, which creates a mixture of live and processed sound for dance and film collaborations. Her classical, folk, jazz, and improvisational vocal training have led her to perform with Sarah Lawrence Experimental Chamber Ensemble, Sarah Lawrence Dance and Music Experimental Ensemble, Texas State Mysterium for New Music, Canto Choir, and Strayaway Celtic Trio. She was the assistant conductor of Sarah Lawrence Experimental Orchestra and Sarah Lawrence Chamber Improvisational Ensemble from 2016 to 2017. Emily has studied composition with Russell Riepe and John Yannelli, and currently studies with Maggi Payne and Chris Brown. She obtained a BA in experimental music composition from Sarah Lawrence College in 2016, and is now a first year MFA candidate in electronic music at Mills College in Oakland, California.
Nina Keizer grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and has recently graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in printmaking. She is now based in Milwaukee working for Kohl’s as an assistant artist designing patterns and graphics for home goods. Her decision to become an illustrator stems from her interest in art growing up and her appreciation of well-told stories. Fittingly, she’s a big fan of all forms of narratives from books, to films, to theater, and beyond. Currently, she has no pets, but a couple of houseplants she is desperately trying to keep alive.
"I’m hoping this trip will be a great opportunity for adventure, inspiration, connection, and revitalization, like a shot of adrenaline to my creative practice."
Vancouver, BC Canada
Sitji Chou works as an animator for Giant Ant, and is also producing a short film with funding from the Canada Council and production support from the National Film Board. Much of his animation work is created in Photoshop and After Effects. He tries to incorporate the spontaneity and energy of outsider art into his own animation work.
"I am most excited about meeting everyone else in the group and learning about their professional and cultural backgrounds. Also, having time set aside to work on a passion project I've spent a lot of time thinking about is a wonderful opportunity, and doing it in the beautiful Norwegian countryside is a major bonus."
Los Angeles, CA
Despite his best attempts at becoming a rollerdancer, Evan Monteiro is a professional illustrator working in video games and entertainment. After attending Ringling College of Art and Design, Evan became a full time splash artist at Riot Games in Los Angeles. Recently he has transitioned over to concept work.
"I am looking forward to fresh, smog-less air. Also meeting new art friends!"
Oak Ridge, NC
Mariyka Auber is a freelance illustrator who loves to work with a wide variety of subject matter, but has a particular affinity for humorous characterizations and colorful scenes of nature. She especially enjoys working on projects for children and children-at-heart. She is currently working towards a BFA in Illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design.
Aside from art, Mariyka loves taking care of her ever-growing indoor jungle, watching David Attenborough nature documentaries, and going on forest walks with her partner.
"Scandinavia has always seemed like the epitome of free, wild nature, and it's been a dream of mine to visit and illustrate the beautiful scenery there for a long time now. I'm also very excited to learn from the other residents, especially those outside of my particular genre of art."
Jessica Lyon is a graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is a design director at Pivot, where she creates brand identities and marketing campaigns. She got her BA in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she completed an internship with Disney. Her true passion lies in digital illustration. She is currently at work on a series of illustrations in various media and styles that star her cats, Hufflepuff and Nugget. That passion for illustration once won her a car featuring the artwork she created for a special release of a single by the band Snow Patrol. She wants to continue art directing and to never leave the Pacific Northwest.
"During this residency, I am most looking forward to collaborating with other creatives. I expect that they will challenge me and make me feel a productive kind of terrible about my own work. Also there should be narwhals."
Ena Kim is an a Korean-American illustrator from Seattle, WA, with a background in editorial illustration, graphic design, animation, and motion design. Ena loves and focuses on creating artwork with themes of fantasy, slice of life, romance, and sentimental content. In her spare time, she loves to foster her apartment garden, brew a nice cup of tea or coffee, mix cocktails for friends, and save weird cat photos on the internet.
"I look forward to traveling to Norway and experiencing the beautiful scenery and geography alongside other creatives and learning how others interpret and absorb their surroundings. I'm also very excited to listen and collaborate with other creatives and spend some time learning more about each others creative lives."
Saint Paul, MN
Natalie Vestin is the author of the photo novella Gomorrah, Baby (Anchor & Plume, 2017) and a chapbook of essays about astronomy and dance titled Shine a light, the light won’t pass (MIEL, 2015). Her writing, visual essays, and art have appeared in Territory, The Hopper, The Normal School, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. With E. A. Farro, she is the co-creator of Science Love Letters, a year-long collaborative project that uses text and art to explore how being a scientist is like writing a love letter in daily life. Natalie works in antimicrobial resistance and stewardship research in Minnesota.
"I'm looking forward to spending months dedicating myself to a practice whose end result is still a mystery. I want to develop habits of observation through creative process; learn how the combination of art, writing, and scientific practices can reveal different ways of knowing; and understand how other artists approach and find meaning in their work."
Calgary, AB Canada
Kaitlynn Copithorne is a freelance illustrator based in Calgary, Canada. Her illustrative work focuses on traditional folklore and the intersection of the supernatural world and the mundane, with a particular fascination with the witchcraft traditions of Early Modern Europe.
"I am excited to explore new landscapes and learn more about Norwegian history and folklore."
Youkyung Choi is a visual storyteller who conjures up images which provoke warm emotions in a viewer’s heart. Her work is characterized by flowing lines, repetitive shapes, cartoonish creatures, and vivid colors. With the characteristics of her work, her work is playful and light-hearted, but on a closer look, they have a subtle underlying tone of uncanniness, including sexual play, alien worship, violence, power dynamics, and spiritual beings. Inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgement, her work The End depicts the end of a world where a deity comes down to punish bad souls and demonic creatures emerge from underground and scare human-alike creatures. Resonating with pop surrealism, Youkyung illustrates anthropomorphism, dreamy extraterrestrial landscapes, and parallel universe using both traditional and digital methods.
Youkyung has a background in graphic design and illustration and has exhibited at The FIT Museum, Ground Floor Gallery in New York, The Roswell Planetarium in New Mexico, and Timberyard in London. Currently, she has been working as an illustrator and animator in her Brooklyn studio.
Mississauga, ON Canada
Victoria Chiu is currently a character and prop designer for an animated children’s series. You can find her freezing her buns off in the great white north and wrestling raccoons for her morning maple donut from Tim Horton’s. This magical place is commonly known as Canada. Unfortunately she lives in the greater Toronto area hence our snow quality does not suffice in quality igloo building.
You’d think her main medium of choice would involve maple syrup, unfortunately this exotic creature of the north is no more ordinary than your neighbors. She prefers to use watercolors, pencil crayons and for extra flare she might dash in a few inks to her piece. But as you can already gather from her occupation she mainly works day-to-day life digitally. Occasionally dozing off to the sweet serene calls of her co-workers snores.
"I’m looking forward to experiencing a whole new great white north, with a Scandinavian flare. It most likely won’t be white but hiking and learning more about Norway’s history will be an exciting new adventure for my pencils and watercolor"
B Mure is an illustrator and comic artist based in Nottingham, UK with a particular interest in cooperatives, social issues and exploration. They recently published their first graphic novel, Ismyre, with Avery Hill Publishing and are working on a second as well as continuing their strange webcomic series, Boy Comics.
"I am really looking into delving into a research project in a way I have not in a long time and getting to share ideas and thoughts with others!"
Carson Brown is a self-driven designer for commercial illustration, toys, and themed design with an interest in building the most effective story possible through intricate imagery. Carson developed much of his process at Art Center College of Design while studying illustration. Looking to develop a wide foundation of knowledge, he spent his time learning other skills in multiple departments outside of his own. Eventually, this led him to work at Coarse toys in Los Angeles, as a fabricator while in school. After graduating, he started working at Thinkwell, a themed entertainment group, creating immersive experiences around the world.
Carson currently resides in Los Angeles with some plants and a love of traveling to far parts of the world, hiking through forests, and discovering curious things found in antique shops and museums.
Alexandra Lillie is a student currently attending Art Center College of Design. She focuses on color and story telling for animation and video games. Originally born in Toronto, she loves the cold weather, cats and anything to do with horses.
"I'm excited to experience something totally new and start conquering my fears one step at a time."