Wassaic Artists Receive $10,000 to Improve Studio and Enhance Work

Wassaic Artists Receive $10,000 to Improve Studio, Enhance Work

For Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was, 2007 marked two major milestones: They began their full-time artistic collaboration under the moniker Ghost of a Dream and they were married, committing themselves in both life and art.

Over the past decade, the Wassaic, N.Y., residents have celebrated numerous personal and professional landmarks. They gave birth to their daughter, Holiday. They have shown their works (a creative collection of collage, mixed media, sculpture, painting and video) in exhibitions around the world. (You may have recently seen their work locally in the Wassaic Project’s “Vagabond Time Killers” show or at LABspace in Hillsdale, N.Y.)

And in 2017, 10 years after forming their artistic partnership, they received a $10,000 grant from the Artist's Resource Trust (A.R.T.) Fund to purchase supplies and materials for their studio, including projectors and a new computer.

 “It was amazing to receive the grant,” Was said while pushing Holiday in a stroller toward the studio. “We just opened up our mailbox and there was the letter. It was such an incredible surprise. We feel really lucky and thankful that we can buy some great new equipment for the studio.”

Eckstrom echoed those sentiments and explained how the funding will be an immense help in their artistic process. “It will make the studio more efficient. We’ve been using more video in our installations, and it was a slow process with our old computer.” He noted that using their outdated equipment, it took between 70 and 120 hours to generate the final product for each installation.

“And then you still don’t know if it’s actually going to work,” Was interjected with a smile.

While standing in their studio, surrounded by colorful collages and pieces of wood just waiting to be turned into something new, the couple said that the A.R.T. Fund grant will enable them to continue producing high-quality work and incorporating immersive videos into their installations.

For example, in “When the Smoke Clears; The Fair Housing Project,” they built a small house crafted from detritus that they collected while attending art fairs. The frame is made of wood from discarded crates, and colorful tape that would have been thrown away was transformed into abstract collages on the interior walls to “confuse your eyes, which is what happens at an art fair.” Using seven cameras, they filmed the house being enveloped by fog and then disappearing. When exhibited, viewers watch it fade away on a big screen.

This project personifies Ghost of a Dream’s artistic mission, which will continue to be brought to fruition by the A.R.T. Fund grant. “We mine popular culture searching for discarded materials that people use trying to reach their goals," they said. "We use these remnants to recreate people's dreams and portray the dreamer.”

GhostofaDream

Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was create art as Ghost of a Dream. They posed with their daughter, Holiday, surrounded by their work. Photo by John Dolan