Wednesday, December 8, 2010

City of Craft, Love and Money

A strong suggestion for those in the Toronto area, City of Craft, a wonderful event that I had the pleasure of being a part of last year is happening Dec 18 & 19 at The Theatre Centre. It only happens once a year, so don’t miss out! It's a great chance to support local crafters and buy some one of a kind holiday gifts. If you aren’t in the Toronto area, check out their website, it has lots of nifty stuff on it, including an artist interview I did this past weekend for an upcoming exhibition!

In conjunction with City of Craft, Tara Bursey has curated Love and Money, it's on from December 16 to 31st at the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery. The opening is Thursday, December 16, 7-10pm. This group show features lots of stellar artists working with the themes of craft, fine art and commerce. Unfortunately I'm not able to make it out to Toronto this year for the show, but there will be a long list of awesome people in attendance. To read more about the exhibition visit here and to read the ongoing artist interviews visit here.

I’ve finished and shipped off my piece, which is compromised of five cross-stitches of the former Canadian dollar bills. I posted an image of the 50 dollar bill a while back and I won't share the other bills until the show is over, but as a little sample of the work here is a close-up of the two dollar bill laying over the ten.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Fotomaton: Selections"

A few months ago I was happy to be approached by Miami-born artist and photobooth connoisseur Aran S. Graham for an exhibition he was putting together. The show, "Fotomaton: Selections" is the first of many in a series of small exhibitions that feature photobooth art. I’m pleased to have two pieces in the show, other artists include Odile Marchoul from Austria and Verdi Yahooda from England.

Here’s the show information if you happen to be in Florida:
Location: Andy Gato Gallery at Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33161-6695
Opening: December 17th at 7pm

For more information, including how you can submit works for future exhibitions, contact Aran Graham at The website (which is still under construction) is

As a teaser here is one frame from the 20 frame piece I submitted to the show. I’ll post the final work here when the exhibit has finished.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NEW PROJECT: The Photobooth Drawing Swap

My three very favourite things in the whole world are photobooth pictures of other people, sending and receiving real mail and the making drawings. And so, I’ve come up with a simple ongoing project to swap your photobooth pictures via the post for my original drawings. This is how the Photobooth Drawing Swap works:

1. You decide you would like to make a mutually beneficial trade and email me at to give me your address and request my address.

2. You then find a nearby classic black & white or colour photobooth (not a digital one), you can use’s Locator* feature if you don’t know where the booths in your city are. Then have some fun and take some candid photos.


2. You dig through that old shoebox or junk drawer and find those old pictures you don’t need to hang on to any more. Whether you send one individual photo, a whole strip or 10 strips, you get a one of a kind drawing/drawings. (Let me know if intend to send multiple strips and I will send you several drawings to make it at fair trade.)

3. You pop your photos in a mailbox.... wait a few days and presto! You’ll have a pleasant surprise waiting for you.

Just to give you a feel, here are some drawings from some old sketchbooks, the sort of things you might expect to get.

*I volunteer for the Locator feature on and you easily can too. If you know of a photobooth in your area that has not been added to their database, click here to see how you can contribute a booth location.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Femme Avec Un Chapeau Rouge Update and Other Photobooth Projects

I have been slowly amassing more Femme Avec Un Chapeau Rouge photobooth pictures and thought that I would post an update. (Click to enlarge the image.) If you’re curious about the project please read the post I wrote for it back in April and it will make more sense. Here’s a selection of the photos I’ve taken with the mask, it includes photos from Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Sydney, Paris and Berlin.

And now’s as good as a time as any to announce that in January I’m moving to Halifax! I'm excited for the move for many reasons that I'll go more in depth about in a later post. Though specifically I am excited to take the mask with me to new East Coast towns and also to find new booth locations for’s Locator feature.

I’m generally anti-digital photobooth but while travelling I’ve made a few rare exceptions to my own rule. In countries where photobooth pictures can still be used for passports, the digital booths are taken more seriously, ie. you can’t overlay a flowery border or a Wanted sign on your picture. I like differences between the French, German and Japanese borders in these supposed passport pictures.

I still have plans to make the short narrative into a photobooth animation, it’s all storyboarded and ready to go but I’m waiting until I have a free weekend, a pal who can donate their time and a whole lot of loonies.

In the meanwhile you can watch the (very) short film I made the first time I experimented with photobooth animation in 2008, The Birth of a Genius. There aren’t many frames so the transitions are quite choppy, though I think its decent considering it was shot during rush hour in the infamously tiny booth in the Bloor-Yonge Subway Station in Toronto.

Stay tuned to the blog as next week I'll be announcing a new photobooth project that you can participate in!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Glimpse into my Collections

To my knowledge, I own more things than any person I know my age. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, I have moved eleven times in my adult life, and each move has required the purchasing of new furniture and what not. Inevitably things get confused between all the moves and needless to say I have four tea kettles, three cheese graters, fifty dish towels, a humidifier, a dehumidifier... you get the idea. Then there is also the matter that I am an interdisciplinary artist and craftsperson, and have just about every art + craft supply you can imagine. And then there is the art... oh, the woes of storing sculptures. However, I also have a lot of things because, well, I like things. I’m very tactical and garner a lot of pleasure from one-of-a-kind objects, particularly of the vintage assortment. Above is a collection I just started of old Air Mail envelopes.

As far back as I can remember I’ve been interested in collecting and organizing. As a child I collected “cool” cat posters, as a pre-teen I collected porcelain dolls, as a very awkward teenager I collected anything (and everything) Anime, and as an adult I have a few very specific vices. As I am always on the go and haven’t had a home of my own in a year and half to display my collectable goods I thought I would do a show & tell here. (Click on the images to see larger versions.)

I have quite a bit of Canadiana memorabilia from the 50’s to 80’s including many pieces from the Centennial, Expo 67 and the Montreal and Calgary Olympics. Though, currently my most prominent collection would have to be Queen Elizabeth II Coronation tins and other commemorative tins, trays and dishes from her Silver Jubilee and other royal visits to Canada. I do have a small assortment of older tins from other members of the royal family including George V, George VI and the Queen Mother. Next on my wish list is a commemorative tin (but I may have to settle for a chocolate or cigar box) of King Edward VIII, which are very rare because he was only King for eleven months and because most of his items are in more serious collections due to his affiliation with Nazi Germany. I love their colour palettes, design aesthetics and the histories behind them. The photos reflect about half the tins in of my collection. (Note the antique toy sewing machine is named “Little Queen”, adorable!)

When collecting, it’s important to me to have the whole experience. I don’t find it very satisfying to acquire something just because you can, so I don’t buy things online. (For this reason I don’t collect things that are common either, like bookmarks or rocks.) I sometimes shop at antique shops or markets but I prefer to go to flea markets because there’s nothing like the feeling of finding a diamond in the rough and bartering for a deal. Though if anybody wants to give me a Queen Elizabeth II tin, I promise I won’t object.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jack'o'lanterns & Phot'o'booths

It had been years since I had the chance to celebrate, or even acknowledge Halloween. During the University years I was too busy making art to make a costume and last year I was in France, where no could understand the allure of dressing up and embracing the dark side for a day. So, naturally this year I was enthusiastic when Mark Meer (a Halloween expert no doubt) asked me if I would do some speciality pumpkin carving for his live late night talk show, Oh Susanna. I said yes, but first I needed a costume!

As per usual I have been busy working on various commissions and on some pieces for my own art practice, so budgeting time for making a costume was tricky. However it only took me about 45 seconds to think of this idea, as it is always on my brain anyway and justa few hours to make it.

Before going to Oh Susanna I practiced carving the show’s logo into a pumpkin and realized that drawing skills and pumpkin carving skills are not the same thing, especially if you took a five year hiatus from Halloween. I was nervous, though I’ve become used to making art on the stop with a full audience watching (check out previous posts here and here about Improv Art) and the show’s cast and audience are as kind as they come. “Susanna” (Mark hosts the show in a drag persona) also gave a drawing I did of Susanna in my Friends as Beast and Creeps series away to an audience member.

Without a doubt my highlight of evening was during intermission when an audience member approached me while I was still carving on stage. She said she had heard of "this girl" who knew everything about photobooths in Edmonton and was wondering, (based only on my costume) if I was her. It felt amazing to be recognized not by my name or face, but purely by my hobby. That means something, right?

All in all, it was a two-thumbs-up evening.

Photo credits: Top photo by Brad Fischer. Carving on stage by Theresa Wynn and the two pumpkins by me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In anticipation of Two Hands Two Crowns

I’ve been a busy bee working away on new items for a more focused product + project line. It will replace my current line, Go Eat Some Poison Productions. (I started working under that name when I was 17, and feel like its time to update it a bit to reflect who I am now.) The new items will be available for sale on Etsy in December. In the meanwhile I'm still toying around with a new logo. The company name is Two Hands Two Crowns. I won’t go into the backstory for the name but I will say it relates to a pair of tattoos I’m getting in November. Currently I’m trying to come up with a simple but eye catching logo, though along the way I’ve had some fun experimenting with some more elaborate designs. I've had a Wacom tablet for almost a year and haven't got much use out of it (I just like drawing on paper), so playing around with these designs was good practice for my hand to screen coordination. I’ve posted some of the “just for fun” and early drafts here and would appreciate any comments/ feedback you’ve got, as it may help me solidify the final design! Click to enlarge the images.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Long Overdue Update!

My blog has gone neglected for almost the last two months as other projects have taken priority. I’m up to my ears in new projects, commissions and collaborations. This is great, but does mean I have a few more balls in the juggling act than usual. The primary project that has consumed my time is my new website design, which is correlated to launch at the same time as when my new production company and line of crafts are ready. Here are some samples of the things I’ve been working on. The banner is part of the new craft line and the cross-stitch below is one of six old dollar bills, the series is titled Tender Tender (click to enlarge). I’m making them for a show in Toronto in December. The show, at the Ontario Crafts Council is curated by Tara Bursey and is titled Love and Money, more details here.

p.s. I was a judge for The Art of Waiting's Photobooth Contest and it was a real treat to see all the submissions! The very creative winning entries were announced at the end of September and can be found here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

From One Pacific Coast to Another

Well, I’m back from my adventures in Australia and Japan and have been thoroughly filled with new and enlightening experiences. Some highlights include photobooth-hunting in Sydney and San Francisco, improvising with my friend Cale in our duo “Hands are for Friends... Werewolves are for Night time,” spending hours in stationary stores in Tokyo and getting to spend quality time with my sister and her family in the lush wilderness of Northern Honshu. I had many thrilling experiences though I am, without a doubt, pooped. I’ve had a few days in Edmonton to shake off the jetlag, only to leave in another few days for Victoria, Vancouver and then Hope, British Columbia.

I’m partially going on this trip to do some research for an art project and for some tattoos I’ll be getting in October (stay tuned). Though the primary reason for the trip is to go teach at the Improv Camp! This will be the ninth camp I’ve attended (including last year’s one in Australia) and the sixth one I’ve instructed at. This year I’m working on bringing a few new features to the camp such as a library!

I’m also juggling a few other projects; a handful of illustration commissions, continuing the Anonymous Pen Pal Matchmaking Service, helping with the Art of Waiting's Photobooth Contest (which you can still submit to!), putting together applications for Toronto’s City of Craft and a Prism Comics grant and getting ready to launch my new production name & line of craft products, which should be ready in three weeks! I’m reminding myself that I can sleep when I’m dead, or more realistically, during the winter holidays.

The photo was taken underneath an art installation on the east side of the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Adventures over the Pacific!

I’m stationed beside the only free electrical socket amongst the hustle and bustle at the San Francisco airport, not because I prefer the city’s airport to the city itself but for the practical reason that I’ve got a layover before I fly off to Sydney, Australia. I’ll be teaching improv at the Australian Institute of Performing Arts at their Winter Improv Intensive. I’m going with three other representatives of the Canadian Improv Games to help bring the format we teach in Canada to the Australian school systems. With just a little bit of down time after the Intensive, I’ll be flying back into the Northern hemisphere to Tokyo! I’m going mostly to visit my sister and her family but I’ll also be teaching a little bit of improv (to English speakers). I’m excited and nervous for the cultural differences and the language barrier (I plan on using my six year old niece as a translator.) I’m particularly excited for all the paper and stationary stores. I love handmade paper and thematic stationary kits. (Speaking of which, I’m still taking folks for the Anonymous Pen Pal Matchmaking Service.) After Japan, I’ll fly back to Sydney to visit with some friends and then fly to Edmonton from there. I’m really excited for the trip, I’ve got loads summer reads packed, a few illustration gigs to work on, some Beast and Creep drawings to keep up with and some final details to work out with the storyboard for Arc in the Sky. I’m also putting the final touches on a blog entry I’m writing for Art of Waiting. Their Summer Photobooth Contest is on now until September 1st , this is a super fun way to win some swell prizes. I took the photos above (collaged together for from different strips, click to enlarge) to help inspire some creativity.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anonymous Pen Pal Matchmaking Service

UPDATE: (March 13, 2012) I'm no longer operating this project.
Who doesn’t love snail mail? Who doesn’t get enough of it? I thought up this simple, low commitment project to make the most of our postal service and to brighten our days. Here’s the project:

1. You send me your current mailing address, the number of pen pals you want and an alternative name for yourself; it can be a code name, alter ego, anagram or anything you’d like to go by. Send the info to

2. I reply to your email with another person or persons’ information. (I will only match up people that I know will not use other people’s info to harm them in anyway.)

3. You and your new pen pal can send each other letters, drawings, recipes, quizzes, stickers, postcards, pictures, crafts, lists, compilation CD’s, article clippings or anything else. A good way to start is by committing to each send one piece of correspondence a month. If you’re afraid of forgetting about your pen pal, pick a day of the month that you will always write to them on, like paying your bills, but more fun!

4. The rest is up to you! You choose how many pen pals you’d like, how long you’d like to be pen pals for, and if you want to remain anonymous to each other.

I will be running the Anonymous Pen Pal Matching Service as an ongoing project, so there’s no deadline, but why put off a good thing?

Improvaganza + Beasts & Creeps

This June brought Rapid Fire Theatre’s 10th Annual Improvaganza, Canada’s largest improv festival. As per usual this year’s festival featured performers from across the globe, which included some of my favourite people. It was a super blast, needless to say. I did some visual consulting for the festival and a drawing project I originally started just for kicks. “My Friends as Beasts and Creeps” is a project I started on Facebook at the start of June. It consists of me “stealing” friends’ photos, re-interpreting them with drawing skills and giving them back to the source from which they came. Amy Shostak, the Artistic Director of Rapid Fire Theatre asked me to do a ‘ganza specific edition where I drew performers from the festival and displayed them in the theatre’s lobby. Here a few of my faves so far (click on photos to be enlarged.) If you have a Facebook account you can view the album here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Art of Waiting: Photobooth Contest!

Earlier in June I got an intriguing email from Jeffrey Nachtigall who had heard of my photobooth expertise through my work with Jeff, who also goes by the name Dirk Lancer online, runs an fascinating website, The Art of Waiting where he uses the young medium of the internet to promote interest in old analogue technologies. Art of Waiting is mostly dedicated to photography but also to other ideas like using the postal service. (I love real mail!) We’ve collaborated on a summer contest for Art of Waiting and it’s all about photobooths! The project is really exciting and there are some really awesome prizes to be won. I highly recommend you check out the details here on the site, you’d be missing out if you didn’t.

Monday, June 7, 2010

June: the sit still mod podge month

I returned from my trip to Toronto a few days ago, I was there for PROJECTproject’s incredible COMBUSTIONfestival. The Tumbleweed Project (cross-Canada improv tour) went extremely well as well. May was a really swell month that involved a lot of moving and shaking- both in the geography and dance floor sense. Though June has brought a drastic change of pace and the way things have worked out I’m going to be in Edmonton for the whole month! This may not sound so outlandish to most but for the last 12 months I haven’t stayed in the same city for more than three consecutive weeks, with an average of one week in each city I visit. I’ve got ants in my pants and one month of sitting still is a lot for me to handle these days. Though I do have good reasons to be here, Rapid Fire Theatre’s Improvaganza is on from June 16-26 and I will be helping out the festival. I’m also collaborating with a retired UofA art professor on a series of photographs (more on this in a future post). For the most part I’ll be doing Go Eat Some Poison commissions and freelance gigs here and there; little things that will be good at occupying my time and putting moneys in my pockets. Which will come in handy because July brings travel adventures in Australia and Japan. All I have to do is ignore the ants biting at my legs for 4 weeks.

The photo is of a banner I made upon my return in order to encourage myself to get through June.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tumbleweed Project !!!!!

Yes, that’s right, there are five exclamation points in that title. “Why so excessive Meags?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. There are five exclamation points because this is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of. The Tumbleweed Project is the brainchild of Julie Dumais, Artistic Director of the Combustion Festival; an enormous and lovely improv festival in Toronto in the last week of May. The project is essentially a cross-Canada road-trip that picks up a new improviser in every city it visits, does a show, takes some workshops and finally arrives in Toronto were we’ll perform as an ensemble at the Combustion festival. Each improviser also loosely represents a region of Canada, though that region may not be the location the improviser is joining the tour, for example Justin Collette of Moncton, New Brunswick is joining the tour in Chicago. I’m going to be 3rd to join the team on May 15th in Calgary. I’m looking forward to the road-trip across the prairies, particularly to visit Winnipeg, where I haven’t been in years. I’m also going to seize this opportunity to track down some photobooths in each city for

For more information about the Combustion Festival, the Tumbleweed Project or to follow our on-the-road blog visit (The artwork on the poster is by Vancouver’s Ehren Salazar.)

Here are some tour details, for the specifics please visit the Facebook event here.

MAY 13: VANCOUVER- Tim Carlson @ Little Mountain Gallery
MAY 14: EDMONTON- Hannah Spear @ Rapid Fire Theatre
MAY 15: CALGARY- Meags Fitzgerald @ Loose Moose Theatre
MAY 16: REGINA- (no new member) @ The Fainting Goat
MAY 17: WINNIPEG- RobYn Slade @ Exchange Community Church
MAY 19: CHICAGO- Justin Collette @ Playground Theater
MAY 20: OTTAWA- Cari Leslie @ Elmdale House Tavern
MAY 21: MONTREAL – Kirsten Rasmussen @ Mainline Theatre
MAY 23: TORONTO - Mark Little @ Clinton's Tavern
MAY 24-29: TORONTO – @ the PROJECTproject COMBUSTIONfestival

Friday, May 7, 2010

Back from the Chicago Improv Festival!

I’ve just returned from Chicago where I was making Improv Art at the 13th Annual Chicago Improv Festival (CIF), the largest improv festival in the world. The festival was spread out over multiple venues in the city; Second City, IO, Annoyance Theatre, The Playground, Comedy Sportz... and others. There were hundreds of acts from all over the world, though unfortunately the festival was less international than originally anticipated because the European groups were unable to fly in because the Icelandic volcanic residue. The biggest highlight for me was CIF’s Award’s Night where they gave a best Ensemble of the Year award to The Improvised Shakespeare Company, Best Improviser to Susan Messing and three Lifetime Achievement awards to the late Severn Darden, Dick Schaal and to Harold Ramis. It was at Second City’s intimate ETC stage and the tone of the evening was uplifting and inspiring. It was very exciting and humbling to be around many of the field’s most talented individuals. I may be writing an article for about the evening’s events and will post a link here if I do.

From an improv art perspective, the festival was a challenge for me because I had to carry my materials with me from venue to venue, usually doing three shows a night and sometimes with only minutes to set-up. (Usually at a festival I have a little studio on stage, where I sit comfortably for the whole time and have a convenient area in the lobby to display and sell my works.) The challenge ended up paying off because I got to meet tons of people that way and got to work in some great venues. After this experience I feel like I could make improv art under any conditions. In an Icelandic volcano? Probably.

I’ve been to a lot of Canadian Improv Festivals (spectating, performing, or art-making) and I’d like to think that I know a good percentage of Canadian improvisers, and that if I don’t, that it’s just a matter of time until our paths’ cross. Going to a Canadian festival is like going to my family reunion, if my entire extended family were comedians. CIF was the first American festival I’ve been to and though it still very much felt like a family reunion, it felt like someone else’s family. This may sound like a silly observation but it was crazy to meet that many improvisers at that level that I’d never met before. Once I got over my shyness I made some great friends from companies all over the states and Mexico, and I’m looking forward to my next American festival which will be that much less daunting.

The photo above is of my make shift studio at Comedy Sportz, it was taken by Jerry Schulman.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Femme Avec Un Chapeau Rouge" Series

This project requires a bit of back tracking to explain it best. In 2002 I was looking through some old magazines in art class, in a French haut-couture magazine from the early 90’s I found a grainy but captivating image. I wasn’t sure what it was but something about this woman dining with this huge red hat really fascinated me. In 2003 I tried to paint the image to the best of my abilities in acrylic paint. In 2005 I found the image again and thought it would be an interesting experiment to paint the photograph again as a measure of my artistic growth, this time in oil paint. In 2006, I had a university painting class where the teacher had asked us to work with repetition. I decided to test my painting skills, but also artistic range once again and painted the “Femme avec un Chapeau Rouge” over twenty times in various mediums and styles. Above is the original magazine image (I drew on the horizontal and vertical lines in 2003 for reference) and the first and second attempts. On the right are a select few of my attempts from 2006.

In the fall of 2009 I spent a month in France. While I was there I was looking for non-digital photobooths (a personal passion of mine, see old post) and was visiting more booths than normal, though I didn’t necessarily have ideas every time I was taking pictures. A week into my trip, in the children’s section of the gift shop for the Musée D’Orsay I found a mask. Being in France and seeing this red had, I was automatically reminded of the magazine photo from years before. For the rest of the trip the mask and signature pose of the woman became a default pose for me while photoboothing. Since returning to Canada I’ve played around with the background in these photos because the background in the original photo is very non-descript and it was always a difficult formal decision to make when painting. The mask is conveniently light and small so it’s been ideal to bring it with me for my other travels this year. I brought the mask on my latest trip to Ontario, Quebec, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois. I’m also going to bring it with me while touring an improv show across Canada in May and when I visit Australia and Japan in July.

Here are some pictures I have taken with the mask during my travels so far.

The next step in the project is to do a stop-motion photobooth animation, done in a similar style to an animation I made with artist Pamela Norrish last year, which you can check out here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Comics Everywhere! Adventures in Montreal and New York City

I’ve had very lovely visits to Ottawa, Montreal, Boston and now New York. In Montreal I had the pleasure of visiting the Drawn & Quarterly storefront. I whizzed with excitement and ended up making multiple visits to pace myself. D&Q are my favourite graphic novel publishers and also happen to be Canadian. At the shop they sell all the works they publish but also a wide variety of other books (comics or otherwise).

New York has always been great for comics and graphic novels, in between the amazing selection at Forbidden Planet and Midtown Comics and the ultra-discounted finds at the Strand Bookstore. This past weekend though, was particularly exciting as it was the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s (MoCCA) Festival (a.k.a. a finer comicbook convention). There I got to meet some up and coming graphic novelists that I’ve been following like Austin English and Lucy Knisley. I also got to meet a long-time admired illustrator, Jillian Tamaki. My favourite of the booths included Drawn & Quarterly (obviously), Sparkplug Comic Books, PictureBox Inc., Secret Acres and Book by its Cover. Unfortunately I forgot my camera that day and have no pictures.

I’m here in New York working on a graphic novel with writer Elizabeth Archer. The book we are working is mostly auto-biographical but a melange of her’s and my experiences, it’s titled “Arc in the Sky”. Elizabeth and I have been working with the help of telephones and the internet for months now but I came to New York specifically to take photos to use as reference for the drawings. I’ll be doing some sneak-peek drawings when this leg of travels whines down and post them here.

And on another graphic novel note, I’m going to be in Toronto at the end of May, where I’m already saving for my next visit to The Beguiling. It’s an amazing independently owned little comic shop tucked away in the Markham area. I’ll be arriving too late to attend the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, May 8-9, but I would give my pinky finger to be there.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Visit to Our Nation's Capital!

I’m in Ottawa for a week to volunteer at the Canadian Improv Games National Festival, where hundreds of high school students from across the country will participate in friendly competition. In high school I competed in the games myself and owe many thanks to the organization for giving me an outlet in my formative years. It’s one of the two weeks a year (the other being Improv Camp) that I whole-heartedly look forward to! It’s a fun and uber supportive environment and hosted in the National Arts Centre! This photo is of one of the founders of the Games, Howard Jerome speaking before the competition.

This trip also marks the start of 6ish weeks of travel in the area. I’m working on various projects, (most of which are collaborations), of the visual and performing arts variety. After Ottawa I’ll be visiting Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Stay tuned for some recounts of the adventures! This photo is of a Louise Bourgeois sculpture outside the National Gallery, with Parliament in the background.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Back from the Woods

I spent the month of February in Saskatchewan, most of that time I was in a cabin on a lake near Prince Albert National Park, up north. I was there all by myself to work on art in an internet-less, cellphone-less and more or less distraction-less environment. I chose to go this lake because my great grandparents bought a cabin there many years ago and the area has hosted five generations worth of family reunions. I spent many of my childhood summers there and I was interested to return as an adult, this time in the starkness of winter and without the company of dozens of family members. In my art practice I’m interested in origin points, familial history and personal meccas; I felt like this place deserved some time and meditation. While there, I worked on a series of landscape paintings (not my usual medium), sorta as a means of reflection, while simultaneously I brewed about other larger, more conceptual projects. I was also interested in being a “Canadian artist” and what that means in a historical context. I couldn’t help but think of the members of the Group of Seven painting the great Canadian wilderness as a means of understanding it. The experience was a very rich and rewarding one, partially for the paintings I did but mostly for the time I had to think about the direction of my practice.

Here are two of the ten oil paintings I made. I’ve sold all the pieces to fuel the next leg of my travels.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Canadian Winter = Time for Crafts!

I wrapped up my travels by going to my parents’ home in Edmonton for the holidays. I get antsy if I go five minutes without having something to do with my hands so I capitalized on being locked in doors by making some commissioned Go Eat Some Poison products and by organizing some family-fun crafts.

The first project was a Solstice banner (our holiday of choice). On the Winter Solstice every member of the family completed one or two banner pieces by sewing letters I cut out in advance to a triangle of a different material. The level of sewing ability varied greatly but everyone felt very accomplished in the end.

We also made a felt wreath, I crocheted some berries and everyone cut-out different shaped leaves and petals (based on their scissor abilities). I stitched the pieces of felt holly together and glued it to a wire wreath ring.

I was also busy making some more cross-stitched Interracial Sex Sketchbooks (I’m working on some gay couples now), and decided to try out a less controversial image for a sketchbook cover. All in all, it was a restful and productive holiday season.

Toronto's City of Craft!

Best friend and fellow artist, Pamela Norrish and I travelled thousands of kilometres to meet up at Toronto’s City of Craft event where we showed a film piece we had collaborated on months early, titled Coast to Coast to Coast. It was a stop motion animation that we shot it in a non-digital photo booth using objects made from various craft mediums. For now you can see the film here, but soon it and photos of our installation will be on my website once my computer savy friend, Scott Borys tweaks some things to support video files.

The event itself was a really lovely experience with loads of talented artists, crafters and DIY’ers. It was hosted in the Theatre Centre on Queen West, and for sentimental reasons ( I used to live in Toronto) it was really great to be back in that neighbourhood. I also showed pieces from my Crèche exhibition at a show curated by Tara Bursey titled Home and Away. To the right is a photo of the vendor's tables once some of the hustle and bustle died down.