【Emily’s Report エミリーのレポート】The Tenjinyama Dispatch I: Sunset 天神山よりお届け:夕焼け By Resident Artist Emily Clements 滞在アーティスト エミリー・クレメンツ

Report 2023年7月26日

From left: Emily Clements (This blog’s author), Connor Greer, and Austin Krauss


Photographed by Adam Thorman (アダム・トールマン)撮影


A painter can hang their art on the wall; a dancer can perform; a photographer can print their pieces and hold them in the palm of their hand. For a writer, it is a little harder to share their creative vision in such an immediate way. Still, I feel the need to give back to this residency, which has offered me the invaluable resource of time and space to write. In return, all I can offer is my words and hope that they can reflect my experience of Tenjinyama with a little in the way of artistry. Without further preamble, this is a writer’s report on Tenjinyama Art Studio: or what I have fondly come to think of as The Tenjinyama Dispatch.


天神山展望台から見える夕焼けーPhotographed by Adam Thorman (アダム・トールマン)撮影

Because it is useful to know from whom one is receiving a dispatch, here is a little about me. My name is Emily Clements and I am a writer from Australia. In 2020, I published my debut, The Lotus Eaters, which was shortlisted for the National Biography Prize. I have for the past three years been battling what is cursed in the publishing industry as “second book syndrome”. When you transition from unpublished to published writer, the pressure and expectation can be stifling creatively. As someone who has been writing for almost my whole life, I somewhat arrogantly thought I would be immune to this syndrome. Turns out, it can be a lot easier to make art in the dark.

どんな人物からのお届けなのか知りたいと思われるかもしれないので、ちょっとだけ私について書いておきます。私の名前は、エミリー・クレメンツで、オーストラリア出身の作家です。2020年に私は、私のデビュー作となったThe Lotus Eaters (蓮を食べる人たち)を出版し、Natonal Biography Prize (全国伝記賞)の候補者に選ばれました。出版業界で言われている「2冊目シンドローム」に囚われ、過去3年程は苦心してきました。出版経験のない作家から出版した作家に移行した際に起きる、プレッシャーや期待は、創作活動において息苦しいものになりえます。私みたいに人生のほぼ全ての時間を費やした人物には、そんなシンドロームはないと傲慢にも思っていたのですが。結果的には、暗闇で創作活動をする方がずっと楽だとさえ思えていました。

So I came to Tenjinyama seeking a quiet space in which I could forget about publishers and agents and contracts and find my way back to writing for the joy of it. I chose Japan for its vibrant arts scene, in which ancient tradition coexists with contemporary experimentation. I chose Sapporo for its forests and mountains, which I have always found nurturing to the spirit. I chose Tenjinyama for its community and the unique space it occupies between the city and the environment. When I am feeling uninspired, I gather art around me; it feels like there is no better place than Tenjinyama to be surrounded by art. On the day I arrived, the breeze stirred a small army of cottony tufts from the leaves of the trees outside my window. I watched them drift upwards in rows, as though answering a summons, and it felt like something within myself was being called, too. I was immediately welcomed not just by the Tenjinyama team but by my fellow artists. I was introduced to the tradition of sunset-watching by Connor, another writer, who had brought the tradition with him from a residency he had completed in Iceland.


滞在スタジオ西側面の窓から – Photographed by Adam Thorman (アダム・トールマン)撮影

It goes like this: at around half-six, I notice that the light through the trees outside my window has slanted red-gold. I become aware of the other artists awash in the same light, sitting or standing at their desks, all of us with our rooms pointed to the west. Then it is time to pad across the carpet, descend the spiral staircase, exit the foyer, walk under the darkening maple trees, and wade through the daisies to the lamppost that faces the mountains. It might be that no one else comes, although almost every time it happens that someone else has arrived before me. Each day, the sun performs her work differently. Kintsugi with clouds, gold seams fusing mountains to sky. All colour, then none. A grey blanket with only light pink toes sticking out from the edges. A scroll of indigo unfurling. We watch and gently probe each other about our work, how it is or is not progressing. Sometimes a well-placed mosquito will help to derail the conversation. Of us all, Connor is the only one who will watch the sunset in the rain.


Written by Resident Artist : Emily Clements