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.