Sunday, April 24, 2011

FOUND Photobooth, week 6

A friend of mine who was working at West Edmonton Mall found this photostrip in the winter of 2007 and was thoughtful enough to give it to me. This is what I see:

Mike’s first wife had paprika coloured hair and a laugh like a magpie. At 18, they wasted no time and got married a few weeks after high school graduation. They got their first apartment and a tabby who they called Maurice. They had only been married 14 months when Mike’s wife was struck by a car on her way home from grocery shopping. Mike spent the following years in self-inflicted solitude, haunted by the image of his young wife flat on the pavement, decorated by scattered produce. However, when his fortieth birthday came he recalibrated his approach to life and was determined to find a new life partner.

Sandy’s first husband had terracotta coloured skin and the temper of a boiling pot. Sandy was convinced that the
rocky early years of their relationship could be remedied by bringing some beautiful babies into the world. When their children were 5 and 3 it had come to Sandy’s attention that her husband had been unfaithful to her and being too afraid to confront him directly she fled in the night with the children to her mother’s in the country. The divorce was simple and she dedicated the next fifteen years of her life to raising those beautiful babies.

Mike and Sandy’s eyes first locked at a speed dating night held at a local bar. They both enjoyed playing cribbage, fishing, and watching stand-up comedy. Sandy appreciated his sensitive side and Mike felt a new sense of importance as a role model to her children.

They had been dating steadily for three months and like most Friday nights they were headed to The Comic Strip in West Edmonton Mall when they spotted the black and white photobooth. Neither of them had used one in years, they felt like clumsy teenagers as they negotiated how to seat two people in a space built for one, giggling all the while. When the photos were all taken Sandy turned to Mike and pecked him on the lips.

Unbeknownst to Sandy, the photos fell out of her purse when she opened it to retrieve a tissue and minutes later caught the eye of a young mall employee.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April’s Showers Bring May’s Flowers

It’s true that it has been raining quite a bit here in Halifax, but I mean the title of this post a bit more metaphorically. I’ve been investing a lot of time into some endeavours that will hopefully pay off. I’ve also taken a two week vacation from the FOUND Photobooth series as I’ve been applying for grants and planning parties. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Firstly, I’ve been taking acrobatics classes through the Halifax Circus and just love it to bits. I’m astonished at the muscle mass, flexibility and new friends I’ve gained in such a short period of time! The acrobatics, combined with doing yoga daily have revived a connection that I lost with my body during my student and traveling years. Anyway, I’ve been dedicating a lot of time to working out and soon as I master the perfect backhand-spring, I’ll post video here.

Secondly, it’s my birthday in a few days and I’ve decided to throw myself a Wes Anderson themed birthday! I’ve been sitting at my sewing machine working on my costume and some decorations. Here’s the invite I made to mimic Eric Anderson’s drawing style on the dvd cases. I’ll share some photos of the party here.

Thirdly, this past Wednesday I was running some errands and decided to pop into an intriguing antique shop I’d never been in before. I didn’t really know what I was looking for and generally speaking this is a high risk situation for me and my wallet. I got chatting with the owner about British Royal Family tins (which I collect), and she told me how the CBC had called that morning, looking to do a story on young people’s interest in the Royal Family, which she was convinced, there was none. Lone behold on my out of the shop I bump into said CBC crew and they decide to showcase me in the story. We filmed in the shop and I shared my knowledge of Royal Family memorabilia. (The expression “bull in a china shop” could just as easily be “camera guy in an antique shop”). When we finished they asked if they could come home with me to see the rest of my collection, I said yes of course and thanked a higher power for sending me the impulse to clean my bedroom that morning. Long story short, the bit will air nationally during the dinner hour and all throughout the day on the CBC 24h News Channel on Wednesday the 27th.

Lastly, my friend Becky Johnson, who is incredible in a spectrum of ways does a craft tour across North America every summer but this year her beloved car died. She is raising money so that the trip is still possible and she offers many sweet deals for your dough. The fundraiser only lasts another 5 days, visit here to learn more about it and to donate!

Monday, April 4, 2011

FOUND Photobooth, week 5

Think about how often you find something on the ground that isn’t garbage, then think about how often that thing happens to be a photograph, then think about how often that thing happens to be a wet chemical photobooth strip. It doesn’t happen very often.

In the eight years I’ve been collecting, on average I only find a single photo or strip about every 6 months. So, you can imagine my disbelief when I found these three strips all within the same hour. The amount of them surprised me, but also of course, the peculiar similarities.

I found these strips in and around photobooths in West Edmonton Mall in the summer of 2010. This is what I see:

These girls, like most little girls have mothers. However, unlike most little girls they don’t belong to their mothers. They have large loving families in fact and are widely adored. These families see their little girls much like they see birds. A caged bird is distraught for it can’t fly and the owner is deprived the majesty of the bird that can only be realized in flight. These girls are trusted to know that fire is hot and that the night is cold and should they forget they’ll learn when they burn their hands and shiver in their skins.

All family members are connected with invisible dotted lines from their heart centers. When someone is far the spaces between the dots expand and the connection is weakened. If weak enough, a mother’s instinct will set in and she’ll put out something much like a bird call. Though, almost alwa
ys the connection is strong. So strong that if you swat your hands in front of your chest you can feel the resistance as your hand goes through the force, much like when you wave your hand quickly underwater. So, it doesn’t matter where these girls are, so much as it matters that they are.

These families also understand that beginning, middle andnd are fine devices for storytelling but that life is not so linear. What matters is the force of the dotted lines and that the sequence that things unfold is just for extra clarity in our picture book world. These girls have a vague understanding of this, though it has never been explained to them. Occasionally however they are caught up in the chronology of their personal narratives.

To them photobooths are like little time machines. They know that they are just manmade contraptions but there is a pleasurable and unique sensation that accompanies the act of documentation. The booth is a marker for past and present states, a setter of tiny milestones.

Girls like these who lived in this space before these manmade machines were invented would stare into their reflections in ponds and not be able to stare away until a frog or fish came along to meet the gaze of their reflection. This simple act, the acknowledgement of another being, validated their physical experience and that moment was documented in a chasm somewhere far away.

The girls do not need to keep their photo strips, it is enough to know that they were taken and developed and that the moment was placed safely in a pocket in the Universe. In bus stations, shopping malls, and county fairs everywhere images of these girls are left for others to gaze into to.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Writing Right: Two Months In!

Well, I’ve been perfecting the dexterity of my right hand for two months now. And, I have to admit, the novelty of the project is starting to wear off as my skills have plateaued. My penmanship and speed certainly have improved but consistency with the shapes of my letters and developing a personal style are still months and months away.

I also have to admit that I missed my daily lessons on more than a few occasions towards the end of March. I have been busy! I was judging at the Nova Scotia Canadian Improv Games tournament, taking Two Hands Two Crowns special orders and doing illustrations for Picnicface’s book being published by HarperCollins this autumn. I’ve also been working on an EXCITING TOP SECRET PROJECT that hopefully will be ready to share online by mid-May.

Here’s the latest ambidextrous drawing video (this one is edited down two minutes and has music to go with it, so hopefully it is not as dry as the first two.)

Any advice on how to rekindle my relationship with my right hand?