Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), Sensoria Mission 2, Mauna Loa, HI

We talk about going to Mars but what is it like living there? Often we consider the technological breakthroughs needed for space exploration but what does it mean to be a human in space?

Becoming a Marsonaut, Richelle Gribble. PC: Amanda Knutson

As we venture outward into the solar system, we must consider human factors of space settlement. Our emotions, social tendencies, and individual needs create an intricate, somewhat unpredictable outcome to each mission. Human behavior and instinct adds a fascinating dimension to the story of space exploration, especially when it is experienced first-hand.

As I traveled to Mars through the HI-SEAS Sensoria Mission 2, I explored the…

Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), Sensoria Mission 2, Mauna Loa, HI

A view of the Habitat at HI-SEAS, 2020. PC: Jaden J. A. Hastings

Many people wonder what will life be like on Mars? As we move off-planet, what things do we take with us? And, what things do we leave behind?

After venturing to Mars via HI-SEAS Sensoria Mission 2, with an all-female crew, it forced me to consider what is the most essential: What do we need to survive on Mars? What does the crew need to succeed? What do I need most to live and work off world?

The Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard, Norway

As we sail the perimeter of Svalbard, into the northernmost part of Earth, I can’t help but think — we (humans) are strangers here. Up here, this wild place survives and thrives absent of human progress and interaction. It feels like we’ve entered a special time-capsule, preserving pristine nature and honoring the quiet.

The Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard, Norway

How far will you go in the pursuit of art? From Los Angeles to Oslo to Longyearbyen in Svalbard, I venture on planes, trains, and busses to set out on a 2.5-week voyage on the Tall Ship Antigua. This journey takes me to some of the most isolated areas in the high arctic, circling Svalbard to reach beyond 80 degrees latitude, nearing the North Pole.

Biosphere 2, Artist Residency, Oracle, AZ

A look at Biosphere 2 exterior. PC: Richelle Gribble.

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” — Rachel Carson

In the early 1990’s, eight “Biospherians” entered Biosphere 2. They would live in a self-contained ecosystem for 2 years. This research project was one-of-a-kind, captivating a global audience. The goal was to see if humans could live and survive in a man-made world, one that replicated our very own Biosphere 1 — the Earth.

Lakeside Laboratory, Milford, IA

“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.” — Charles Darwin

During my two-week residency at the Lakeside Lab AIR, I made a series of creative projects inspired by site-specific findings. Located alongside West Okoboji Lake, the lab is home to diverse species thriving in an abundant ecosystem. I created three art projects based on my experiences in the research labs and on the field.

Project 1: 3D-printed insects based on insect collection.

Moth collection at the Lakeside Lab AIR. PC: Richelle Gribble

Iowa Lakeside Lab contains an enormous collection of plants, algae, fungi, insects…

Lakeside Laboratory AIR, Milford, IA

A collection of animals studied in the Animal Behavior course. PC: Richelle Gribble

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” ― Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Creating a large-scale drawing at Vermont Studio Center. PC: Richelle Gribble

“Basically, I think art is just a way to think. It’s like standing in the wind and letting it pull you in whatever direction it wants to go.” — Kiki Smith

Let art flow. Sometimes there is no better format for an art project, than a giant scroll. The pallet becomes infinite, material expansive. Working becomes inevitably open-ended, process-oriented, with no clear end in sight. By setting up a series of creative and freeing conditions, I begin a new project.

Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Private studio at the Barbara White building. PC: Richelle Gribble

It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas. — Paul Cezanne

My favorite part about art is starting with a clean slate. It offers infinite possibilities for new findings, growth, and exploration. Yet, it can also be a new beginning that leads you astray.

Hesitant to share the mistakes and internal struggles of my own making, I learned that some projects are just not meant to be. …

The Nomadic Artist

Traveling the World with Artist Residencies (for free!)

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