Marisa Dipaola, USA / Portugal

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - July 31, 2017


Marisa Dipaola was born barefoot on December 12th, 1977, and grew up in the cedar swamps and coastal Atlantic of southern New Jersey. She graduated with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 where she majored in painting and began experimenting with site-specific sculptural installations. Upon graduation, Marisa received a travel grant to study la Mezquita, in Cordoba, Spain, which began a collection of travels to eighteen countries, studying the sacred architecture and natural wonders, producing site-specific artworks in Japan and Iceland as well as entire series of artwork while on residence in Spain, India, Italy, Egypt, Austria, and Bahrain.

She has exhibited her works internationally at museums, galleries, universities, cultural institutions, community gathering places, outdoors within natural sculptural parks and urban revitalization projects.


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

In the course of being a nomadic artist, Marisa Dipaola has wandered throughout the landscape in diverse surroundings, constantly inspired by the natural world that embraces us all. After residing in the southern Austrian Alps for three years, she and her family are ready for a road trip to move to southern Portugal, in order to buy and renovate an old farm as a sustainable, permaculture project: moonfarmers. Raising her three-year old daughter while this major project is on the go, she is unable to foresee any free-time to take part in the artworld, at least for a year or so. Instead, she will dedicate her time and artistic effort to turning an abandoned property into a sustainable small farm and retreat, and quite possibly a future artist residency.

Her time will be spent with rebuilding a sustainable habitation, sourcing and planting fruit and nut trees, native edibles, sacred seeds, establishing berry patches, grape vines, mushroom patches, a chicken coop, a small fish pond, a huge vegetable patch. She will use sculptural elements to create terraced farming areas, enhance microclimates and enable year-round cultivation courtesy of cold frames fashioned from old windows as well as illuminating indoor growing areas, a few wind-chimes, alternative-energy-generating works, and the interior redesign & redecoration of their living space. On a more scientific front, she hopes to incorporate the skills she learns during this time to create various sculptural projects that encourage growth, combining illuminated works with fungal works and garden projects to create sustainable, living artworks. Any additional free time she finds will be spent mending clothes from the pile she’s had gathering for years and to complete more butterfly carpets -- and there is that quilt she has wanted to make for her bedroom.

She hopes that the time working and reflecting while on-hiatus from the artworld, but proceeding with her moonfarmers project will guide the future, whichever way it grows.

Final Report




recent comments

On Jul 31 2017, mathieu commented on revival: part IV: thank you for the reports and for the gorgeous photographs, your adventure is very inspiring![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part IV: I'm all choked up... July 31 happened to be my birthday too; what a last day! Thank you to you all!![...]

On Jul 31 2017, co-director (m) commented on revival: part IV: Thank you so much for your generous contribution to this project Marisa - and everyone (we know it's[...]

On Jul 30 2017, co-director (s) commented on revival: part three: One thing we regret not to have done sooner is to make the comment section capable of posting images[...]

On Jul 29 2017, marisa commented on revival: part one: Most of our gardening is playing the long-game & indeed for the patient-hearted. some of our tre[...]

a little bit more

So this week has been unseasonably warm,
almost summer-like, reaching the upper 20’s,
even though it’s not quite Spring yet.

And many of my flowers are in full bloom!
From wild bulbs emerging on the hillside,

to the anemones I planted in the fall,

to the tropical flowers I transplanted earlier this week,

and wildflowers transplanted all around the house,

to the arugula and kale blossoms that are feeding the bees,

and the mustard that is finally in bloom all around the broccoli.

So the cool season garden crops have been thirsty,
as have our newly transplanted trees and flowers,
and our pond has been low yet still full of frogs,
because our from-the-canal water system
is 360 meters of pain-in-the-@ss hoses through the forest
that semi-continuously clog and need weekly maintenance.
The pond was flowing and full again for the weekend,
and so we witnessed seven happily swimming frogs,
and were able again to fill the garden watering can easily.

We are trying to get a manual pump for our well;
the best we found is a huge antique from Northern Portugal.
We have been trying to figure out how to actually get it here,
and unfortunately the sellers haven’t been all that helpful.
We’re also trying to get a rooftop solar hot water system,
and Mohammed spoke to the local supplier,
and so it seems that should happen soon.
(Though right now, our house’s hillside water storage tank
has been getting quite hot just from the late morning sun,
so all our water is becoming “solar” hot water.)

And we’ve been having more problems with our solar system:
not the panels themselves, we think, though we could use a few more,
but the transformer that converts solar to battery to house electric
frizzes out anytime it gets too warm or we start to generate too much power
(which is when we need the power to keep our cooler cool).
So Mohammed found better equipment for sale,
and has arranged to pick it up from the guy at Aldi this week
(the seller is German & although he lives an hour away,
he makes trips to Aldi to pick up groceries he cannot find elsewhere).
So it’s become super convenient to live near Aldi.
And if this new transformer/converter and loader work out,
we’ll actually be able to run our refrigerator!
(Won’t we be getting civilized!)

And I’ve been adding a lot more to the bamboo fence,
completing the longer segment and already about a third done
with the shorter segment that will wrap around the side of the pond.

Next Flower time I will start some climbing nasturtiums and sweet peas
for both the bamboo fence and trellises around the perimeter of our house.
There have been a lot more insects now that the weather has warmed.
Yeah, the mosquitoes are back, as are the mantises and grasshoppers
and a plethora of butterflies. (They never entirely went away, but now we have tons!)
At least a dozen varieties, (Red Admirals, Tortoiseshells, Cleopatras & Clouded Yellows,
Painted Ladies, Common Blues, Large Cabbage Whites, & new to me, Spanish Festoons)
spotting several of each, all fluttering around,
and even one Painted Lady founds its way inside.

And we found some that aren’t quite butterflies yet,

and a few that are just beginning their journeys as caterpillars.

But we also have these huge, I’m-not-sure-what-they-are, maybe a cicada-type relative.
I think we saw one crawling out of the garden last weekend, sorta grasshopper-like,
almost 6 inches/15 cm long, with two earwig-like curved spiky things at its tail.
Huge, when flying they look like small birds, but with two sets of wings.
At twilight they are loud, ear-piercingly so.
Totally bizarre.

Friday was a Stem day, and still during the transplanting time,
so after dropping Marmalade off (earlier, for a class trip to the library)
we went and dug out a really nice wild fennel,
to transplant and add to our wild fennel patch.

After picking up Marmalade from school,
we went over to the beach in Zambujeira do Mar.
The water was incredible! Not quite warm, but not too cold either,
and I probably could’ve stayed in for longer than the twenty minutes I was in,
but wanted to give Mohamed a chance to swim, too.
It was my first time swimming this year (since November really,
& Mohamed’s second time this year, since he went in in January,
when I only braved it up to my knees. It was pretty cold then.)

On the way home from the beach, Mohamed asked me if we could move here,
joking, of course, but asked because we are in awe of the ocean
so much that we want to be able to return often.

I told him that of course we’re moving here,
because it’s too far a drive from anywhere to just come for a short visit.
Sometimes we do get bogged down in home repairs and yard work,
so it’s really nice to step back a bit and go on an instant vacation.

The weekend was Fruit (& grain) time,
so I’ve planted a few rows of red amaranth in the garden,
and we transplanted our prickly pear cactus
(rooted from a pad taken at our last campsite in southern Spain),
and two rose bushes that we got at Aldi (for 1.49€ each, who could resist?)
hoping that they will produce both massive orange flowers and then rosehips,
which make a healthy and wonderfully tart tea.

Also, while watering all our fruit trees I noticed that two more have blossomed.

(The previous owners said they planted apples, cherries, pears & two kinds of plums,
but didn’t specify which trees were which, though the apples had apples,
so the white blossoms most likely means these are pears.)

And speaking of noticing things,
this afternoon I spotted three wild asparagus emerging from around the ruin,
in an area that used to be covered in blackberries.
So yay! I’m excited aBout wild purple asparagus.
But yeah, three don’t quite make a dinner,
or much of an asparagus patch once transplanted.
So I started clearing more blackberries around these three plants,
hoping that the Spring rains will encourage more to emerge.

Leave a Comment (2)

Toie wrote on Mar 15:

Beautiful! We're having a blizzard here today. 18-20 inches of snow. Maybe more. Nice to see it's spring somewhere. <3

co-director (s) wrote on Mar 14:

Wow, amazing, the first SWIM?? We are expecting 25cm of snow tonight...