OVERSEAS: Yulgilbar Fellowship recipients and filmmakers Sammy Lovejoy and Danny Loyden spent a whirlwind couple of weeks in New York. STORY PAGE 5.
OVERSEAS: Yulgilbar Fellowship recipients and filmmakers Sammy Lovejoy and Danny Loyden spent a whirlwind couple of weeks in New York. STORY PAGE 5. Adam Hourigan

Whirlwind adventure in New York for fellowship winners

WHEN you have a couple of weeks to soak up the cultural delights of the "biggest metropolis on Earth" there's no time for navel gazing or even sickness when you are on an artistic mission like this.

Recipients of the 2015 $10,000 Yulgilbar Fellowship Sammy Lovejoy and Danny Loyden abided by a gruelling itinerary, downing four bottles of cough mixture and two remedial massages along the way, to ensure they spent every moment of their three-week odyssey gleaning what they could from their adventure in New York recently.

The artistic couple and film-making partners undertook the whirlwind 30,000km round trip back in June/July highlights of which included attending the Lumen event on Staten Island and New York Electronic Arts Festival.

To get around the pair took every mode of public transport including 60 subway trips which included visits to the area's five Burroughs - Manhattan, Brooklyn (their favourite), Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island.

"It is an exciting busy city and visually surprising. We would pop up from the subway and be in a completely different space each time. The whole atmosphere, even the smell of the burroughs were all very different."

The couple managed their trip as frugally as possible staying with a friend using the budget online accommodation giant Airbnb and, remarkably, surviving with carry-on luggage only.

"We packed stuff we could leave behind, so we could bring home a few t-shirts," Sammy said wearing one of her Brooklyn examples.

Armed with two mobiles, a camcorder and DSLR camera, the pair shot more than 2000 images and pieces of footage, visited 10 museums and galleries, walked bridges and scaled rooftops to soak up city life. "We spent 4th of July on top of a building in Brooklyn watching fireworks going off on all the other buildings that were also having parties. It was an amazing sight."

Sammy said they "totally immersed" themselves from the moment they arrived which was always their plan of attack when they first considered apply for the fellowship.

"I've been wanting to go there for 30 years and this was a fantastic opportunity to do that. It was really inspirational. We almost felt like locals when we left."

Sammy said their basic goal with this opportunity was to "observe their surroundings, be inquisitive and bring it all back home."

"We couldn't do it all in three weeks but we gave it our best shot."

So far they have created a seven-minute art film about their experiences, encapsulating the experimental nature of the city's soundscape scene, which premiered at their artistic base The Pelican Playhouse in South Grafton last week.

They also did plenty of networking which may result in future collaborations and have plans for more of projection art installations with proposal to include something in next year's Plunge program.

Besides the artistic merit of the trip Sammy said she also gained a lot from the trip on a personal level.

"It has really inspired me to be the person I am when I'm away, to get out explore my local area a lot more. There are some great places around here."

What is the Yulgilbar Fellowship?

The $10,000 Yulgilbar Fellowship for an artist or group of artists who reside in the Clarence Valley to enable them to do a residency, attend visual art events such as biennales, conferences or festivals, or visit galleries and museums overseas and/or in Australia in order to develop ideas, skills and contacts while exploring and experiencing creative and innovative visual art practices. This fellowship is available to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists or artist groups.

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