February 2018

Erika Lundahl

Erika Lundahl in front of the Gingerbread House

Paonia Experiential Leadership Academy (PELA): Where are you from?

EL: “I grew up in Corvallis Oregon which is a college town in the Willamette Valley. And now living in Seattle Washington."

PELA: What are you working on during your time at Elsewhere studios?

EL: “I am working on a multi-media writing and music project based on my experience biking from Seattle to the tar sands of Northern Alberta. I traveled along the tar sands pipeline collecting stories from farmers, biologists, parents, people from the local first nations, oil and gas workers and politicians with a group of friends and storytellers.”

PELA: How do you work best?

EL: “I tend to start writing around ten o-clock AM. I start out with a free write based off of a prompt from a book or interview that inspires me. After the free writes, I zone in on something that I want to continue working on more of --usually ideas from the free write that I want to further develop. Later in the afternoon I usually switch over to something a little more hands on like writing music or playing the guitar.

PELA: Do you have any books/movies/songs that inspire you and your art?

EL: “I have been reading a ton of Joan Didion lately who is a journalist that writes about sense of place, politics, all through a journalistic lens that is also very poetic. I also am inspired by poets like Adrienne Rich who passed away a few years ago. My earliest big music influence was Ani Difranco, and other lady musicians from the 90’s and 2000’s.

PELA: Is this your first time in an artist residency?

EL: “Yes it is.”

PELA: Why did you decide to come to Elsewhere?

EL: “A friend of mine did the Elsewhere residency last year. He told me really positive things about it so I decided to apply, and I got in and now here I am.”

January 2018

Elaine Shoaf


This is Elaine's first artist residency! She grew up in Florida, but spent time getting to know winter weather in Chicago. She currently lives in Gainesville Florida, but misses the changing seasons. She came to Elsewhere to experience a remote western town with beautiful mountainous landscapes. She enjoys the calm quiet town of Paonia and the people who live here. Everyone she has encountered has been super nice. She values the locals' conscientious attitudes towards social and political issues. 

Elaine comes from a creative family and was encouraged to dance and perform on stage as a child. As she grew older she developed a preference for visual arts and moved away from the stage. She would rather her artwork be in the spot light. She loves stories about mythology, history, and politics. French New Wave Films and old silent films are also an influence on her work. 

She is looking forward to creating smaller assemblage pieces during her time here at Elsewhere. She has been collecting objects since she arrived in town and will be using them to create low relief sculptural collage. If she has time, she will also create some larger pieces with colored pencil and ink. 


Janika Herlevi from:Vaasa Finland

When Janika first came to Elsewhere studios she had no idea what she wanted to work on but decided to do an illustration project with her friend.

Art was always something Janika had close in her heart. It always came to her effortlessly. A large part of why She decided to become an artist was because of her great art teachers who encouraged her to go to art school, and always reminded her how talented she is. She has never gotten tired of making art. Her influences include: her colleagues, other people in her life, music, and literature. She is a printmaker and works best in a studio with all of the tools she needs.

Janika has been at various other residencies, such as one in Florence. She also attended a few during art school. She enjoys getting others interested in her artwork through galleries, museums, and art shows.


Yifan Renxu

Yifan was born in China and now lives in Rhode Island and does ceramics, he is working on ceramics while he is at Elsewhere Studios. He decided to become an artist because he likes to make art and expresses himself through clay. He works best in a studio and anywhere where he can put all his emotion into his clay work. He is inspired by his experiences in life and artists including: Hans Bellmer, Louise Bourgeois, and Francis Bacon.

Elsewhere Studios is his second residency, he enjoys residencies because he gets to communicate with other artists and see how they create their art. Yifan's work is very unique and creative because he suspends his clay work on rope, metal, and other interesting materials. He creates many forms out of clay and makes beautiful sculptures that all represent something. He enjoys Paonia it reminds him of his home town in China he likes that it is convenient and everything is close by.


Stephanie Kranstover


Stephanie is an artist who is 2 months into her 6 month stay at Elsewhere. Stephanie was born in El Progreso, Honduras, and then moved to Virginia. During her time at Elsewhere Studios she wants to keep her art work cohesive, and make an installation. Stephanie is very into growth and fungi, and she works to combine both of them into one clay figure.

Stephanie says that she never decided to become an artist, she was born this way. “Since I was little my happy place has been drawing, it’s like therapy for me.” It’s best for Stephanie when she’s around someone, it helps her when there is energy beside her while working. “I always have music in the background, it kind of just puts me in the mood and helps me do my art.”

Stephanie is inspired by her life. “If I’m having a bad relationship or going through a hard time, you will see it through my art. I don’t speak out about those things.” Her other influence is her old job, she was a pastry chef and she felt that all the work she did on the pastries she could put into clay as well.

Elsewhere is not Stephanie’s first residency, she did one in Fredericks Town, Ohio at a residency called, Open Wabi. That was much shorter than the one she is doing now, it was only 2 weeks.                                                            

Stephanie will never stop doing art. “I think I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life, it really helps me in all situations, and of course it’s fun."  Stephanie shows people her work and asks for feedback, but she never forces anyone to like her work and she doesn’t shove it down their throats, but she has never been rejected.

Stephanie thinks Paonia is a wonderful place. “I come from a Suburb, very city like and not many people are super friendly and you can forget about nature and seasons very easily there. But in Paonia you can take it all in, and everyone is very nice and open minded.”