Courtney Acosta

May 27, 2024.

Posted by Kris Madejski.

Courtney Acosta is a US based artist living in Baltimore, Maryland.


They came to Iceland with a stack of paper and a few inks with the expectation of producing drawings that challenged the traditional way they knew how to draw. By the end of the residency they were able to complete over 200 drawings by leaning into a new practice for the artist, they called instinctive drawing. This practice is to draw on the page with no intentions in mind and letting ideas and form unfold as the drawing develops. Acosta was able to find joy, silliness, sexuality, humor, horror, figures, and abstractions from this experiment.

first image

My previous practice surrounded portraiture; I worked from images and took time sketching and planning a piece before execution. However, since graduating from school a year ago, I’ve found my old processes difficult to return to in a limited space. Coming to the factory was the perfect opportunity to reacquaint my hand and cultivate a new practice. I limited my material and medium to allow myself to focus on a form of drawing that I could pick up at any time without a reference or idea. This led me to produce a lot! Here in these images, I play around with collaging my drawings over a light box and exploring their various compositions.

In my month here I was able to complete the stack of papers I brought with me; filling them with quick expressive drawings and expanding on ideas I came across onto a few larger concentrated drawings. Despite an impressive output, I really only found about a third of my drawings exciting. The real takeaway was not the drawings themselves (which are only a pushing off point) but learning the skill to draw instinctively. This method is one I can now return to when I seek creative freedom. Before this residency, my practice consisted entirely of portraiture. Here in Stöðvarfjörður, I learned how to draw mountains.

last image

I hold lots of love for this Fjord and my cohort I met here. What I’ve learned from my time here will stay with me for years to come.

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