Category Archives: Art everywhere

posts about artists and galleries

© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

A dissenting opinion about selling Detroit’s public art collection

My initial gut feeling and my enduring general position is that the City of Detroit should sell off its art collection.

Strictly speaking, what the City of Detroit decides to do with its public art collection is none of my business as I’m Canadian. However, the phenomenon of large and valuable public art collections is universal across much of the world. As such there are some common characteristics that I do feel comfortable commenting on.

The problem with large valuable art collections is that they are tombs for the collected works. You the public will ever only see the very tip of the iceberg, even if you attend every exhibit at one of these large institutions during your entire life. A public art institution buying your work is most likely a death sentence for that work, but a nice addition to your pedigree. The worth through this relationship is thus largely removed from reality — conceptual and abstract for the artist and the public. To me, this is the same kind of instability produced through the financial system on perceived worth of bonds, stocks and futures. At some point, for the institution, the physical cost of housing, maintaining and documenting a large amount of work increased the value of a few works and the others depreciate because no one has ever heard of these artists or seen their work.

What selling this collection would do is allow most of this work to see the light of day again. This work could be disseminated across the world, allowing people to see it who would never have been able to see it otherwise. This is great news for the work and the artist(s) who made the work. It is not such great news for the institution that was hoarding it but how does or how should that affect our opinion? I feel it does affect most people’s perspective on this situation but I also think most people do not realize they are associating the art with an institution. An organization’s ambitions are not the same thing as important art works, though I think they want to be and we want somebody to be taking collecting art works seriously on our behalf. That’s cool but if we believe in collecting works we would be disingenuous to deny the collection of collections.

Another benefit would be the absence created by selling off an entire collection as presumably the institution would need to start collecting again. This is a great opportunity for artists and a great opportunity for cultural institution workers. Imagine the activity and spending that would happen that could be spun into economic feel good indicators.

In principle I also like the idea of demonstrating the worth of collecting art by selling it and paying off the debts incurred by business-oriented ideology. I think the US, as with many countries, already gets this idea and accepts the worth of art in society. Sadly, this last point may be a more useful albeit basic lesson for Canadian arts funding models.

My partner and I rolled out the spool of cable and set up the camera right in this aisle with grocery workers behind me and in plain site of the check out. I was curious to see if someone would say something as I am sure people take photos inside the store and they don't care, but my still poses and use of the cable prop changes this act. Maybe we were too quick but none of the employees seemed to care that much. The shopper behind me certainly didn't.

10 Selfies as Interventions

This was another rewarding exercise for my New Media Studio grad program. I’ve never done a sustained series of self-portraits, and being challenged to do so caused me to ponder how to compose these perhaps in a critical and new way (at least for me).

We had been looking at a lot of “selfies” so I decided to take more “anti-selfie” approach: instead of up close, I would far away from the camera. Instead of relying on the gesture of a raised arm with a camera pointed back at me, I decided to use a remote shutter release with a cord. Instead of framing the environment to be about me and my dominance of it, I wanted my presence to instead be awkwardly inserted into environments where people were busy doing other things.

What I call “Intervention Selfies” was born.

BONUS SELFIE:

I made an 11th meta-selfie with some of the other selfies I did not use. It’s pretty funny – can you find all the me’s? Do you really want to?

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A 10 photo based works from the last 3 years

This post is a school assignment for my class “New Media Studio” (hey everyone). As I understand this exercise, we are to post 10 photos that we’ve taken. Next week we are presenting another photo assignment of 10 works from around our neighbourhood.

Since quite a large part of my photographic practice is specifically about where I live, so I’ve decided to present 10 works that outside of this part of my work. I’ll save the local stuff and its sordid back-story for that next assignment.

This was a difficult but a very valuable endeavour. The tight constraint of choosing 10 interesting photo works over a scope of over three years was challenging but rewarding.

For example, after reviewing so much of my work as chronical narrative, I am starting to believe my relationship with photography is as activity, performance on par with gratifications of memory and communication.  Perhaps it was not an approach to create an object so much as a record of meaningful work.

I am pretty much a painter and drawer, even with a camera. Everything I do is composition and conceptual based and sacrifices any notion of being a window or representation in order to try to be interesting.

I don’t know how to use even use a proper camera and I look forward to picking up those technical skills and the chance to work with DSLRs. In the meantime, I’ve been working with my cell phones and whatever software I could hack or was free. Welcome to my digital image revolution.

I scanned the well worn path up the side of a mountain in Mexico with the panorama function of the iPhone 4s, happily stressing both its purpose and ability to render seamlessly. It is important to me at this point that my work is entirely captured, rendered and output through a mobile device and on location during one session.

For me, there are several classical and contemporary themes in the work, such as: the supernatural; a formal approach to landscape; a questioning of political / social issues involving digital topographical mapping; a spiritual journey reflecting on death. There are many other contemplations that are evoked for me when I engage the work, and hopefully there will be for the viewer as well.

I enjoy the compositions of the shadows and the rocks, as well as the idea of a digital shadow cast on real objects through a challenging process of documentation for both the tools and the artist. The stresses of this effort on the image and the human traces archived in the process are a very interesting for me.

As you can see in the previous work, I seem to like taking things apart and reassembling them in different presentations. Including landscapes and the idea of collage led to this kind of work of pulling stills from video I would take on trips and presenting them one by one. More maps of time and space. The below video is from a bus trip many would be familiar with between Hamilton and Toronto, and right through Ford Nation territory. As such, I named it “A Nation’s Official Landscape”. I like the blury smears of colour and the wiry trees and bleakness.  It reflects my astonishment of the landscape of southern Ontario consisting almost entirely of suburban sprawl and highways. This is our shared ceremonial landscape and I understand if you grew up in a populous region such as this it is not unusual. But it is for me and this is my way of showing you that, I think.

I also enjoyed the wide array of consumer level photo tools available, and continued to enjoy pushing them to stressful limits both conceptually and technically. I often made work through multiple exposures, layering, as I did with this series of photos from a protest in Hamilton. I made this anon because I wanted to focus on the mass of people as a formal study of light and landscape and not political.
Here’s a recent photo that I like a lot. It stresses the technology and is an interesting formal composition to me, as the paper border is broken only by my hand and a little leak of light at the bottom left hand corner. I think I am finding placing myself as evidence of framing my own photos is theme that is emerging.

Here’s another selfie. I like messing around with as many image capture and rendering apps as I can, so I tried to capture my head with a 3D object app. The result is simply simulacrum. I really want to do a whole series of this, whole bodies in groups. Somehow so each part is something you can turn and play with.

Again, I love the idea of imperfect transportation into the digital realm. Perhaps I have Tron envy.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading the post and thanks to my classmates and Professor for being my captive audience for this artist talk. I’ll take it when I can get it.

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[This is the first online exhibit of 2014] “How to become an abstract painter”

Welcome and congratulations on wanting to improve yourself.

All you need to start is a pre-existing figurative oil painting (can be substituted for acrylic – consult your Doctor) with an impasto flare to it. It should have at least one area that wants to leave the confines of the canvas.

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I used a still life painting of fruit that I did in 1994. At the time I was living in Montreal and going through chemotherapy. There were over 15,000 empty apartments in Montreal, so I was able to live in a loft in the old port even though I was a student. I lived beside a hydro facility with lots of wires and conductors. I took so long to do the painting that the fruit dried up and a wasp flew in through the open window and worried me.

Step 1: Preparing your Palette 

Try to use a painting with at least as interesting a backstory to it and follow the video tutorial below before proceeding to Step 2.

Step 2: The Basics

Are you done? Great!

Now it’s your turn to create a pile of the paint flakes on a neutral surface. Like this:

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Now zoom in close with your camera phone, pretending it is a wooden frame. You should end up with something that looks a bit like this:

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Don’t be afraid to take photos from different angles or mix up the paint chips a bit:

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Great! Now that you’ve got the basics of abstract painting down, we’ll move on to more advanced techniques.

Step 3: Advanced Techniques

Let’s pull that “wooden frame” out a bit to make use of negative space. Don’t be intimidated – the post-it note was invented from negative space. Steve Jobs was famous for creating negative space in the office, and so can you.

Again, express yourself by randomly mixing the paint flakes around a bit. Yes. Good. Like this:

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Look at you!

Now, let’s create some “dynamic energy” and spread our paint flakes even further, with an even larger lens. Don’t be concerned about reaching deep inside, but do keep children and small animals away from the designated creative area:

So beautiful. Don’t forgot to pin it with a link back to this tutorial.

Step 4: Master class

You are truly ready to unleash your inner artist. For this final segment, we’ll be using negative space combined with a circle shape. You may recognize a circle from your yoga class or from that power point presentation, but it has actually been used in many civilizations throughout history – and now it’s our turn!

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Give yourselves a pat on the back – now you are ready for a rich and rewarding hobby.

And don’t forget about the painting we started with! It’s now a new work too and should be mounted with glee:

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Here’s what we call a “detail”:

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Step 6: Art as an object

And that’s not the only new work you have – don’t forget about the paint chips themselves. They make a nice ornament if you put them in a glass container. I’ve used a round jar so it will go well with the circles from our master class:

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Questions or comments? Please let us know below – and we would love to see how your home abstract paintings turn out, so please feel free to share in the comments as well.

What I have learned from grad school so far

This is the best single example of this relationship so far.  From my slide deck presentation for Communications Research Methodology on Chapman & Sawchuk’s “creation research”  (Canadian Journal of Communications) and *unexpectedly* put together for me by Google+ during automatic archiving from my phone.

Happy 2014 everyone! Make art not oil.

4-up on 12-19-2013 at 5.58 PM (compiled)

Artist Superpower: Shipping & Receiving

Don’t you think this is the most important skill that is not a skill? I do.

Sometimes I wonder if there is a correlation between being a “good shipper” and artistic success. Obviously, this is true for online art sales. My point is you probably are held back if you can’t pack it or rack it efficiently.

Don’t look at me. I suck at that and, frankly, am intimidated by the whole process.  When I actually get around to packing something its never that bad. But its definitely not great either.

I  have some artist friends who are fanatical about packing. They’ll build a crate for a week. They are such nice crates one keeps the crate forever. Me, I just started to use paper and work with digital prints more.

Even just the act of postcards or stuffing envelopes and actually going to the post office is simply not to be underestimated.  International? You are at the mercy of a series of several shipping challenges which are so little appreciated and understood by me that they are impossible to describe here.

Speaking for myself, I think having a personal delivery drone would help. Then I could tell it to deliver hand written exhibition invitations so I would not have to ship work.

A cool idea might be to turn a drone into an actual gallery. It  flies around at art festivals holding a work, for example.  I would have to pack it in carefully constructed crates in order to send it to galleries and festivals around the world. Ah, forget it.

I wish I was better at shipping and receiving.

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10,000 hours later…. now what?

I’ve been captivated by the 10,000 rule since hearing about it a few years ago. Simply put, if you put 10,000 hours into something you’ll become an expert on it.

Well, since I’ve been launched Art PR Wire (4,732) and Art Listings Professional (7,245) since 2009, I have posted over 10,000 posts. I’ve been aiming for this metric consciously and now must decide what to do next.

Continue reading

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What is a blog? What is the point of all this?

The act of blogging is unnatural at best.

At worst, it is a natural part of what already exists – a lot of marketing, advertising, business, porn, political and industry propaganda, some news and opinion. Outside of the guided tour provided by search engines, the reality of the real blogosphere is one that is overwhelmingly dominated by empty graveyards of abandoned blogs and an ecosystem of robots who scour everything.

I never really held a structuralist view of blogs as being different that any content posted to the web. It does not really matter as you cannot ultimately control the appearance of your content, but you can frame how you would like to be seen. (If you want it to be seen with a blue background colour, for example, then you are SOL). You can control exactly how something is to be seen but then it needs to be something other than a blog or website.

The same goes for the content of this blog – what the hell have I done here? It’s all over the place. There’s no editorial calendar. Those involved in one sector of my professional life are probably aghast if they read my opinions about my other professional haunts. Blogs and social media are already experiencing an actual to goodness paradigm shift based on reputation management and other vulnerabilities. It is an extension of our own local laws and customs and often there is more than one layer of this. Some folks are virtually unhireable based on what was posted about them, and not on any exceptional qualities or for any other reason uncommon in society. A true online diary is a risky and rare thing now and perhaps this is for the best.  Most, if not all, of what you will be able to find is arguably contrived.

(I always wondered why submarines don’t have more windows. The Nautilus did. Are we not able to reproduce the technology of steampunk? I mention this because navigating the web is much like I imagine being in a submarine is like: a map, a sonar and a radio but you are not actually looking at the landscape. Giant squids can still sneak up on you.)

So blogs now seem best suited for a professional narrative or to house a serious project. Things that you want to be found. Sometimes I post things that I don’t want to be found. Sometimes I change things or contradict myself. Sometimes I ramble.

I felt bad about the way I blog, over these last 4 years, until I started reading Michel de Montaigne. He is the source of essays and, by extension, blogging. He also would of loved LOLcats.

This makes me happy with what I’ve done, and ok with the fact that what I have compiled here is worthy and interesting. It is a rich source of my projects and priorities since 2009 and in some ways I see parallels with Montaigne deciding to write and reflect in his tower. Seeing yourself reflected in Montaigne is actually quite common, apparently, but I’m ok with that. It is reassuring.

However. There are many differences and many changes coming to my own life at this point. I feel the urge to destroy and create. This blog, my blog, is a constantly changing and evolving and contradicting and snarky and satire and serious and pathetic and .. popular. The more it becomes popular, the greater the risk of not being able to manage my online reputation effectively.

However… I know it sounds simple, but I have recently realized social media is different for artists than it is for everyone else. The same rules do not apply – there is more elbow room for the personal and controversial. If you are a professional outside of cultural spokespeople, then you have to pure as the driven snow. I called this the social eunuch in a previous post.

My posts are not me. They are my work and my work is part of who I am. I have treated my blog as both a sandbox and a jade garden. I’m ok with that and so are many people but most do not get it. I understand and accept it now but not always and not until recently. I have also realized if you are going to do something then do it all the way. If you are going to be an artist online then be an artist online but don’t be what you think other people think an artist online is supposed to look like. Don’t be a simulacrum.

So, by this time next year I should have my grad degree finished. These last four years have been a self-imposed series of learn’ins and experiences vital for preparing for a career of serious work in earnest. Four years ago I lost my business, house, fiance and worst of all time with my son. What was the point of that? A failure for a most people. A typical and honourable tale for an entrepreneur. Rich texture for the life of an artist.

So. It has come to this.

I think it is time I close up and summarize this blog and my art listings professional endevours too. I want all content I produce to be housed on my server with teaser content on social media. What I am thinking, researching, producing will be my posts of my art and creative writings. My communications work will on linkedin and throughout that industry.

I think I have other channels emerging and a new art magazine website project starting next year. I want to “thread” my content out and disperse it widely. A new blog for my activist posts and another blog for my communications career. A third blog for my artwork is almost done. I am trying to currently decide whether to port over some of this content first or simply start anew? I do like a blank sheet of paper.

I am also considering a name change. I am considering a complete severance with any work done prior to 2009. I am considering a PhD in Bio Art. These are all refreshing ideas to me and suitable as interesting blog posts. After I post about them, I will probably be in a better position to understand how I actually feel about them.

There are a lot of things to purge and clip by the end of next summer. I’ll keep this blog going until then and will post new links and updates in the meantime.

I think I am starting the equivalent of Montaigne’s second book. Maybe the third.

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It’s in the BAG: Barton Art Gallery project space finally opens next week

I have a small, enclosed front porch with it’s own lighting and electrical outlet. It’s almost perfect to maintain a small gallery space so that’s what I have been threatening to do.

So, now I am. The space is still not finished and has a whack of drywall leaning on one side. I’ve been waiting for our cheap and (very slow) renovations to stop but I don’t think they will before I leave Hamilton. Sometimes, you just gotta say “fuck it” and go ahead with a project – this kind of public declaration essentially forces you to carry through with your threat of art. Sometimes it takes me years to demonstrate I was serious (and usually right) about something and the BAG Project Space is such a something.

So, no time like the present. After agonizing for a year about how I am going to work with and work around the long vertical windows on the west, east and north walls I finally came up with a practical, cheap solution that is easy to implement and just as easy to remove and without damage to the space before we sell the house: white fabric over the walls. It sure beats my previous plan to have a series of drywall panels with wooden frames hanging from the ceiling by hinges.

The 6 sheets of drywall leaning against the west wall are not going anywhere but with a white sheet draped over that, it will transform into a respectable plinth. Hey, it’s my project space and I can do whatever I want.

So the first exhibit “slower: advice for the economy” (a projection about the industrial skyscape) opens up next week on Friday the 13th from 6-9pm. Yes, I am aware of the symbolism of both sets of numbers. For local readers, you will also no doubt recognize that my gallery is open during the exact hours of the ArtCrawl.  You will also note that I live in a poor, some would say “scary”, area of downtown Hamilton not know for arts and culture. Well, consider this new gallery space as a response to that – I’ve criticized designated areas for arts and culture in a city before. Now I believe independence for an artist is the most desirable goal to achieve – more than funding.  No, I don’t believe in the BS that anti-arts advocates spout about not funding the arts. I believe the arts should be so integrated and integral as part of our society that we would have trouble even distinguishing where support ends and begins.

So. I have a humble and independent space for exhibiting a series of exhibits by others and myself. I have some really exciting ideas to materialize in this space, and in many way culminates my work about and in Hamilton over these three years. I have not listed the address because I want to encourage people to explore this community in order to find. I want people to explore this community because that is the way to improve any neighbourhood – go walk through it. Lots of people out walking through a place is a very powerful device. I know many people will probably not bother coming to find it at all, especially if I keep the exhibition hours the same as ArtCrawl and I don’t pander to the usual agencies for promotion. I don’t care if anyone shows up or not – I care about the projects and the documentation. The reason we were able to buy a house here was because of the negative impressions people have of this area – and they don’t come here so the houses were affordable. Why should I now conduct my business on my estate grounds with any different formula?

However, I care if the local community here engages with the projects. I do care about people coming here to engage with the projects too. This space is simply part of this neighbourhood though the act of a pop up art space should be universal.

Contained therein this act and through this upcoming series of projects is my final dialogue with Hamilton.

Art Souterrain – 4km into the underground city (2010)

I forgot about this video! One of my first “art documentaries” –  it gets funnier but not easier. Description below:

Two goofballs from Toronto decide to travel to Montreal and keep a video diary of their exploration of Nuit Blanche 2010, following the “Art Souterrain” route of contemporary art in the subway tunnels and public halls underneath Montreal.

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The Consultant @ Supercrawl 2013

This is the 3rd performance intervention at the arts festival in Hamilton, Ontario and perhaps my last here.

My recurring character for these enactments is the Consultant persona – a outside critical eye from an outside theoretical framework, and not always welcome. This series of my work is not meant to settle as part of a landscape (the Consultant may describe the same concern as “becoming a monument”) but a slight affront to it, and three times in the same context is probably approaching a demystified state of local cultural interpretation.

The first intervention was a interpretation of the local concerns of gentrification of an area, and took the form of evaluating the worth of gallery spaces, but outside of considering the cultural worth but the physical shape and other detached values. The second was in collaboration with a poet and performance artists and we adopted a social theory induction approach that was more aloof of our immediate surroundings, but drawing our “data” from it.

This, the third time, was based on my earlier concerns about the presentation of the role of the visual arts as a brief form of entertainment in a carnival context that would lead to expectations of public art’s function as almost purely theatrical. I reject the notion that art is entertainment, and worry about the political economy interpretations of art as function for entertainment. This is the crux of the criticism.

To enact this, I designed the performance to skirt around the edges, the fringes, of the festival as a sort of walking “Salon des Refusés” of the curatorial process for these kind of brief public constructions of precious arts funding. Being a closed ecosystem for artists outside of property owners and the jury, all others participation of serious contemporary creation are, by definition, an intervention.

I’ve been interested and incorporating elements of popular myths into my performance interventions for well over a decade now, starting with UFO mythology as embraced in the group performances of The UFO Research Group collection (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto). The Consultant incorporates common reports of behaviour and situation as reported in Sasquatch reports.

Specifically, some of the elements I am researching through this practice are:

Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film
Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film

1. Just outside of civilization (the border of the art festival).

2. An aloofness; a sense of purpose, value and priorities unknown and unknowable to the observer (projection my own “art” onto objects that do not normally warrant close or equal scrutiny).

3. A reaction of confrontation, hiding, and moving away into darkness, i.e the bush (hiding in doorways, behind signs).

4. A reliance, a faith in, a tertiary media (social media, photos, oral retelling and interpretation) to substantiate the documentation of the event.

I am happy to report it worked – someone told me of the “creepy guy” they saw. What a great opportunity to find out why! I learned from him it was my “odd” behaviour and the confusing costume (he couldn’t see “where the face was supposed to be”) that prevented meaningful interpretations based on the immediate cultural / ceremonial context.

In other words, I was out of place and not cooperating by providing instant meaning in an entertaining, accessible way. I was creepy. Most people keep their distance. I’ve had groups follow me for awhile, almost as if they are waiting for something to happen. Sometimes I get trapped by a group of people circling around. Believe it or not, sometimes people get really mad and confrontational when I don’t acknowledge or interact with them. You’ll see an example of this in the video below.

This time, I incorporated a catcher’s mask with an iphone displaying an animated swirl (as did my papered (bureaucratic) costume). These are “null” symbols – the swirl is universal enough to be without any set cultural meaning other than usually meaning something. They broadcast an intent, but not my meaning. They aren’t meant to as tools to decode, but to establish questions in a public sphere.

I had a second iphone mounted on the frame in front of my face, but this one was with the camera facing outwards and recording whatever I was looking at. It was very shaky and poor quality – perfect media for an imperfect experience. I wanted to document the experience of being … different in a crowd. The quality of alientation and intrusion are very present, I think. I’ve included a three minute clip. It’s very shaky, grainy, inconclusive and heavily processed with anti-shake and anti-wobble algorithms – just like a number of media fragments surround the Sasquatch mythology. Thanks to my support team, Jen and Cedric.

 

“Supercrawl to be moved to Ancaster, merged with Festival of Friends”

As I attended my grad program’s orientation session, the Department Chair informed the room full of new students and new Hamilton residents of this news. To be fair, he was hesitant about it’s validity because it does seems ridiculous – and it is ridiculous because it’s actually a superb piece of parody news originating from this city’s version of The Onion – Hammer In The News.

OMG. I laughed and still chuckle thinking about it.

Luckily, I clarified that this was spoof news (which is very relevant to my communications program) and encouraged my fellow students to attend the event on James Street North in Hamilton – it’s not moving anywhere. I also found out later a couple of last year’s students have installation work happening that night and I am really excited to go see it. Hopefully no one will show up in Ancaster looking for Supercrawl, and hopefully the organizers of this event have learned a lesson about marketing and publicity.

For example, one small signal that they have become more sophisticated is that little old me has finally received a press release for the event after three silent years since asking to help promote it through some of my art news websites. Their previous approach reflected the insular and political nature that plagues much of Canadian arts marketing practices by keeping it in within the community of arts professionals and out of the larger discourse of the public realm. This is akin to a siege mentality which is of course ultimately self-defeating. It is getting better simply because it has to get better to try to keep up with the rest of the world – but this is a whole other post to composed soon.

The lessons here are three brave new forms of media born of digital culture that are crucial for art industry to embrace.

This local parody news website has tremendous value in earned media and shared media because it focuses on very relevant local attitudes and politics. Earned media because people are talking about this spoof news of their own volition – it’s what happened in my above example of a the department chair discussing this of his own volition with the new students. Shared media is passing a brand’s marketing campaign through social media and other channels – it’s what I’ve done by posting Supercrawl’s press release, which goes straight to my wordpress, facebook, tumblr and twitter accounts. Think of it as a net being cast out and capturing more relevant eyeballs, as opposed to keeping inside a sort of walled garden of content where only the same community of people are subjected to the same message over and over.

The third media form I wanted to point out is News Jacking – which Hammer In The News engages in and what I have done with this post. Simply, by posting your own relevant content that mentions, links and relates to large events before or as they happen will result in increased organic search engine results. When someone searches for Super Crawl, or about the rumour that Super Crawl is moving to Ancaster, then this blog post may very well appear. For an artist, you can post about Art Toronto a couple of weeks before it happens and include a photo of your own work. Chances are you’ll get increased traffic to your website as people search for news about Art Toronto as the date closes in, and these people will see your work when they are in a mindset to see the best in world class contemporary art. Best of all for the arts, it’s a free strategy.

Hammer In The News has caused disruption media for Supercrawl’s brand message, and I think this ultimately of great value to the festival though I hear the organizers are somewhat exasperated with the popularity of this parody news and the catalyst it provided for some negative feedback of the festival’s direction.

Speaking of negative feedback, I delivered some in an earlier post about Art Crawl and Supercrawl that I’ll again clarify, as my criticism reflects some of my points above.

First, I only am commenting on the visual arts approach of the events and is not relevant or pertinent at all to other elements present such as music, performance, food, activism, etc. Only the effect on the public’s relation to the visual arts and the compromises that the artists themselves make to their art to accommodate the nature of the festival. It is not a criticism of the artists or even their art – it is a criticism that work, even the “best” work by the “best” artists in the world, are compromised when placed in such a short, temporary location and subjected to thousand’s people shuffling by briefly. It pulls fine art out of it’s purpose of contemplation, challenge and questioning into the realm of entertainment. Fine art is not entertainment, but becomes such when competing with the overwhelming sensory experience that is the entertainment of this kind of festival. This is different than Burning Man which runs for a week and allows for time and space that is not cluttered, or Art Toronto which is only three days but the art is not competing with entertainment or performing arts.

Secondly, these concerns about such festivals are not original or new. It is simply a concern that local visual artists are there to be called upon by a tourism department to “celebrate the vibrancy” of a city’s cultural scene at such brief events and then are dismissed back into a state of toiling and scrounging in relative obscurity. There has always been a bias that visual artists need to volunteer their time and comply with presenting temporary art that is “appropriate” – which means safe, temporary, non-offensive and generally entertaining. This is not a sincere reflection of a serious contemporary artist’s motivations, in my view. My concern is this approach is putting the cart before the horse. A festival like art crawl did and should continue to be the child of a sustained contemporary art scene and not be confused as the end motivation. People should be coming to downtown Hamilton any day of the month because of the visual art, and not associating it with a once a month party.

Thirdly, it’s about ownership and control. By limiting the exposure to Hamilton’s art scene to a handful of a single location specific festivals, we are ceding ownership of our work to a select group of interests who have now taken control of who can show and how – the roots of the scene were firmly placed in a more open environment for artists and this was the engine of its initial popularity. Extended, this is the crucial problem with Toronto’s Nuit Blanche – it’s an onerous application process to be included and is virtually inaccessible by a since art-loving community as it now largely an outdoor drunk fest filled with yahoos and absolutely packed with crowds. It’s turned into a corporate advertising opportunity tightly controlled by a select group of interests. This is not about the sustained development of excellent studio work by a community of contemporary artists. It had the promise of that, but isn’t and should *not* be the measurement of the local art scene. It should be one of many supporting apparatuses of such a scene.

Fourthly, my view of the problem of juries selecting art comes into play here – any jury selecting any work of any medium tends to eliminate the best and the worst applications and you are left with a slate of programming that represents the average of the submissions. Thus, a prestigious festival such as Nuit Blanche attracts some of the best artists from around the world, and you’ll get a high caliber of art but it is still the average of the range of submissions considered. Masterwork, by definition, is the unexpected, unconsidered and unexplored that confronts and challenges us and this is what confuses a jury of experts whose job it is to compromise and select work that is recognizable as acceptable by other experts. This is not a specific criticism of any artist or curator but it is simply an observation of human behaviour and group dynamics, and I am sorry if I offended anyone by applying this concern to Supercrawl. In my opinion, the only way to truly embrace the avant garde, the experimental, the truly best of contemporary art is to open up meaningful participation beyond the specific time, location and control. In this way an art festival can grow and become remarkable and the remarkable becomes the new normal.

Fifth, to be fair, I am not a hypocrite and I do participate with my own work in both Art Crawl and Super Crawl. I have not applied to be part of Super Crawl, and I do believe there is a place for excellent and sincere contemporary visual and performance art in such a setting. Having thousands of people and open streets to work with is a fantastic opportunity, but I will not cede my own standards of a progressive contemporary art scene to a small group of community festival organizers. Myself and other artists will take part but in a real sense the participation will be intrusive, disruptive and guerrilla in nature. I won’t be measuring the success of contemporary art work by how entertaining it is or by how many people walk by it. I won’t judge a work by being on one part of the street rather than a few blocks away . This is a dangerous path to limited arts funding because corporations and local government who will put more of this precious limited funding into a two day event rather than other overall sustained efforts that are ultimately more beneficial to the creative economy. Politicians love a chance for one-off, symbolic support with high media visibility that will carry over to the next election and corporations are the same as they want to appeal to the broadest demographic, and not necessarily the worthiest.

I am concerned that, typical of Hamilton and many other smaller cities, that Supercrawl will become a white elephant project of sorts to the detriment of the health of the larger arts community and to the benefit a few business owners and the careers of a couple of curators.

I understand that the counter-argument will be that such a festival attracts interest in the arts and enhances the health and thus overall funding. I hope this is the case, but my criticism was a challenge to do better, do more and do it all the time. Galleries sit largely empty on James Street North between the art crawls – this is the crux of the problem. If you let them, those who control and dole out art funding will pay themselves to throw a big party with all the money and starve the event workers for the rest of the rest of year.

Does open public debate about these kind of issues have a place in Hamilton, or should I have submitted it to a committee first?

The Consultant will be back for Super Crawl 2013.
The Consultant will be back for Super Crawl 2013.
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New series of prints for some special people

014It seems once a year Shutterfly has a promotion for free 4″x6″ photo prints. In my practice, I’ve always liked the idea of working with a very common, consumer oriented medium and trying to make it something … “more” than it was intended for. By signing and numbering the prints as editions, am I somehow magically turning these into art with the stroke of pen? Yes, and so can you.

Anyways, with the Shutterfly email promotions, sometimes I manage to work with some books or prints – I would like to do more but it seems pretty pricey at normal prices.

Last year, I left a series of prints at Hamilton’s Supercrawl to be found. It was a series of three and I left them on garbage cans, curbs, window sills, hidden in brochures at the tourism office, inside gallery comment books, in cafe bathrooms, etc. I don’t know if anyone managed to collect all three, though I did leave complete sets at Hamilton Artists Inc.

This year is a bit different though. I’m in a decidedly “Salon des Refusés” mood about all things art in Hamilton these days – let’s just say there are way too many one-way streets here and not enough two way streets. I know now I am leaving here in just over a year. To where is not quite certain – certainly internationally is captivating me and the job opportunities for me are very lucrative. I know now I need a more “vibrant” urban core to work with, and even moving back to Toronto is real second option. This is because I know I’ll be working with the contemporary art and social media for the rest of my life, and if you are serious you generally have to leave Canada for greener grasses (or at least a bigger city in Canada). I think I have a lot to contribute to organizations as online communications professional, and I have a lot to contribute as an artist and general artsy smartass. Sometimes if the local scene is not getting this, you gotta shake things up and find somewhere where you can be who you know are. It’s about fatigue and both myself and other people taking things for granted. It’s also very exciting.

I’ll miss many people here and hope to continue life long friendships with them – and so this year’s print give away is not random, but I am giving some certain special people a set of prints that were part of but not displayed at my Uranus of Hamilton exhibit. Usually with a rather sappy and badly handwritten letter. Most of these are non-artist friends and I am not sure if they really like or “get” the work, but that’s ok, because it’s a sincere gesture. That, as an artist and a human being, is all I can do and what I try to do.

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10 unsuccessful photos of Jim Lambie’s stairs at the Albright-Knox

And one normal one.

Was in Buffalo for the first time in my life and my partner and I loved it. The downtown architecture and neighborhoods were fascinating, dense and historic. Compared with the terrible state of the ravaged City of Hamilton it was truly a vision of what a community in a former rustbelt city could be – especially as a place allowing and encouraging the arts to flourish. If it made sense at this point in our lives my partner and I would live there in a heartbeat. That’s the power of preserving a city’s built heritage and making a downtown community livable.

One of the highlights of our visit was a visit to the Albright-Knox Gallery of Art. Finally, I was at this gallery I kept hearing about – and now I know why. It kinda was exactly the gallery you wanted it to be – not too big, not too small and full of famous art and unknown (to me) masterpieces.

Below are some of the photos they allowed us take – Jen sitting on these crazy ass stairs that my phone had trouble with. I think it’s the straight hard edge colour contrasts that defy media reproducibility – and I loved it.

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I hate art: a test story & post via Storify

I hate art

An art critic’s critical look at critics of art criticizing art.

**UPDATE** Seems Storify is kinda clunky when it posts to WordPress When I self host my this blog (soon) then I may have more control over that by being able to embed the iframe they supply.

I really like the idea of covering events remotely on my blog this way, and being able to pull my content published from across the web and curated .

  1. So this is my first time using Storify – I really like it! The idea to collect some social media based on hating art is off-the-cuff, so we’ll see how it goes.
  2. Why People Hate Art: Brad and Kyle at SoOnCon 2011
  3. These two patiently tug and nip at the carcass of art in the barrens of the art world – at an art school. I think they actually love art (and art students) but the below poster is a different story…
    • To be fair, this poster never says they hate art – just art schools. They really, really hate art schools.
  4. Bad joke and bad art at Beth’s cafe pic.twitter.com/NpFWOU8R8L
    • Don’t sell yourself short – that’s a pretty good drawing. It might actually help the national GDP. See below:
  5. Behavioural economics: The utility of bad art | The Economist econ.st/11LD9dd
  6. Are speculators of bad art ruining the art world for the rest of us?
  7. There’s a lot of bad art out there, kids. Terrible, unspeakably horrific art. For the love of God, be careful.
  8. To be fair, Dana is more of afraid of some art in this tweet than actually hating art. The tweeter below has total sanctions going on any art trek:
  9. Have you visited any art galleries or museums recently? — No I hate going to them ask.fm/a/5p6i6g7o
  10. An honest answer. Most artists hate it too. This is still not someone proclaiming to hate art. Would he love or hate going to the gallery mentioned below?
  11. Did you know? There’s a MOBA (Museum of Bad Art) ow.ly/2zaO7D
  12. They’ve been around for awhile – not quite the same as hating art. Check out the video below for more about MOBA
  13. Bad art is funny, life is a comedy – Eduardo Jáuregui
  14. Hallelujah! Someone finally proclaims to hate art! And they swear to it too.
  15. Is it okay to hate art? pic.twitter.com/4GaqOKnSP6
  16. I think it’s ok. I like it though. But do you respect it like the guy below?
  17. Napoleon’s art downtown don’t like it but well done pic.twitter.com/zoHSMlavpX
  18. Dude, that’s harsh. Just kidding – but I do like it too.
  19. Well that’s it for now. I’ll be back with more. Thanks for bearing with me through the first trial run. ~ Chris

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mountain path – the movie

Christopher Healey
From Feb 13, 2013 in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

This is a work I am experimenting with by presenting it as an “Online Exhibit”. Though there is nothing new or experimental by having an exhibit of digital works on the web, I wanted to show the work in many different forms (i.e. photos, slideshow, collage, movie) on many different platforms (Blog, YouTube, physical gallery space) throughout 2013.

Process notes:

It is important to note that this work is entirely captured, rendered and output through a mobile device and on location during one session.

Artist Statement:

For me, there are several classical and contemporary themes in the work, such as: the supernatural; a formal approach to landscape; a questioning of political / social issues involving digital topographical mapping; a spiritual journey reflecting on death. There are many other contemplations that are evoked for me when I engage the work, and hopefully there will be for the viewer as well.

I enjoy the compositions of the shadows and the rocks, as well as the idea of a digital shadow cast on real objects through a challenging process of documentation for both the tools and the artist. The stresses of this effort on the image and the human traces archived in the process are a very important part of the production philosophy for me. I welcome comments and questions in the discussion field below where this conversation can continue.

You can see the original posting with the work as a series of photos and a collage at:

http://chrishealey.me/2013/02/10/online-exhibit-mountain-path-2013/

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A visit to 10 Montreal Galleries, in Photos

I was at a cottage in the Gatineau Hills last week. Surprisingly cool and misty weather, so I decided to “pop” into Montreal for a few days and check in on some of my favourite galleries and artists. I was sure glad I did, not only to be able to hang out with my friend, artist Andreanne Hudon but got to meet and eat Taiwanese food with artist and curator Edwin Janzen. I also happened upon many exhibits for the “Extreme Painting Festival 2” – during my time at CA I discovered this school of work and saw some amazingly lush and layered surfaces. This stuff was a bit more street art styles I think, more figurative in a way.  See what you think below.

The Franco Follies were going on when I was there - look at this beautiful pedestrian only downtown street. They open it to cars in the winter, then hold many festivals because there is no more hockey.
The Franco Follies were going on when I was there – look at this beautiful pedestrian only downtown street. They open it to cars in the winter, then hold many festivals because there is no more hockey.
I was told this is a changing, curated space with projections at night. I was also told the text was poetic, confusing and sexual. Ah, Montreal.
I was told this is a changing, curated space with projections at night. I was also told the text was poetic, confusing and sexual. Ah, Montreal.
I was super glad to have seen this, the second installment of an amazing exhibit at UQAM Gallery. However, it was one of those rare spaces I was not allowed to take photos for posting, but rather could request "Peer reviewed documentation." Fair enough, and that's why I ask. They had a policy, it was fair and clear and had options.
I was super glad to have seen this, the second installment of an amazing exhibit at UQAM Gallery. However, it was one of those rare spaces I was not allowed to take photos for posting, but rather could request “Peer reviewed documentation.” Fair enough, and that’s why I ask when composing a post. They had a policy, it was fair and clear and had options. So, no photos of this particular exhibit, though I’ve seen great photos online since. Just google it – it’s worth it.
This is a rather iconic building in downtown building because it's so small and isolated - and has some popular clubs and seedy shops surrounding it. Trust me, this was a common kind of landscape when I was living in Montreal in the 90's.
This is a rather iconic building in downtown building because it’s so small and isolated – and has some popular clubs and seedy shops surrounding it. Trust me, this was a common kind of landscape when I was living in Montreal in the 90′s.
Aside from art, the other half of Montreal loves car racing. And this is their artwork about it.
Aside from art, the other half of Montreal loves car racing. And this is their artwork about it.
3D printing and the north! This was a great exhibit to wander into at 372, rue Sainte-Catherine O., where a good mix of arts and culture industry and most of the good galleries seem concentrated these days.  Many have never left.  suite 507  SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
3D printing and the north! This was a great exhibit to wander into at 372, rue Sainte-Catherine O., where a good mix of arts and culture industry and most of the good galleries seem concentrated these days. Many have never left.
suite 507
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art Curator: Sarah Watson Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
LANDINGS // Sovereignty and the North
http://wp.me/p22MS4-1oY
SBC | Gallery of Contemporary Art
Curator: Sarah Watson
Artists: DUSTIN WILSON, ZACHARIAS KUNUK, PETER PITSEOLAK, JOANASIE SALAMONIE
What an drawing! Amazing find while browsing through La Galerie Trois Points at Unit 500
What an drawing! Amazing find while browsing through La Galerie Trois Points at Unit 520 – not sure who did this but I posted the signature below… any ideas what the name is? Love to tumblr this one. UPDATE: The Gallery got in touch with me and confirmed the info for this work is:
Natalie Reis
Crawl Space
2009
Acrylic on paper
56 x 76 cm | 22 x 30 in
Another Galerie Trois Points open storage score - beautiful cloud painting. Again, not exactly sure the artist name but below is the signature.
Another Galerie Trois Points open storage score – beautiful cloud painting. Again, not exactly sure the artist name but below is the signature.
UPDATE:
David Gillanders
Floating #5
2010
Oil on canvas
35,5 x 46 cm | 14 x 18 in
Pudlo Pudlat (1916 - 1992): glad I discovered this important inuit artist's work. He'll be rediscovered again and again I'm sure.
Pudlo Pudlat (1916 – 1992): glad I discovered this important inuit artist’s work. He’ll be rediscovered again and again I’m sure.
Fantastic drawings.
Fantastic drawings.

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Mario Côté - a remarkable hard edge pop painting with censored text.
Mario Côté – a remarkable hard edge pop painting with censored text. UPDATE: Received a clarification from GTP about my comment and Mario’s painting. Here it is – “Mario Côté’s paintings do not include “censored text” : I know there is a similarity in the way he paints it, but the black lines represents the interval of indeterminate sounds that he is not able to identify. Mario Côté is interested in transposing sounds and music with painting to make them visible for the eyes. “

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La Galerie Trois Points is by far one of my favourtite galleries, both by email newsletter and in person. Always worth a visit to at 372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Espace 520
La Galerie Trois Points is by far one of my favourtite galleries, both by email newsletter and in person. Always worth a visit to at 372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Espace 520
http://galerietroispoints.com/
Vicky Sabourin at CIRCA
Vicky Sabourin at CIRCA: For me, this gallery has been a cornerstone of the Montreal art scene since I attended Concordia University in the 90′s. Still showing some of the best contemporary artists in Canada too – I always feel like I’m getting a sneak peek at future art history here.
http://www.circa-art.com/En_cours_files/depliant-VSabourin.pdf
372 Ste-Catherine Ouest. Espace 444 – Montréal.Québec H3B 1A2
You can't see it with this photo, but this is a small dark room with a platform and objects like stones, papers, cups and fronds. I think this was the artist, and she walked about a bit and wrapped what appeared to be a loaf of bread into her apron. I could of watched this all day but there were many shows to see, including the rest of this one.
You can’t see it with this photo, but this is a small dark room with a platform and objects like stones, papers, cups and fronds. I think this was the artist, and she walked about a bit and wrapped what appeared to be a loaf of bread into her apron. I could of watched this all day but there were many shows to see, including the rest of this one.
A view of Montreal from CIRCA's corner window.
A view of Montreal from CIRCA’s corner window.
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA Really nice feel with these works, with an explorer / surveyist meets steam punk feel to them, but with far more yarn. In the background stand artist Andreanne Hudon, kinda making this a league of extraordinary artists.
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA Really nice feel with these works, with an explorer / surveyist meets steam punk feel to them, but with far more yarn. In the background stands my friend & artist Andreanne Hudon, kinda making this a league of extraordinary artists.
Detail of this crazy art - organic or industrial references? Both? This is such good work..
Detail of this crazy art – organic or industrial references? Both? This is such good work..
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
montreal laParyse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
I repeat: This is such a good show. Every bit of this form and surface is considered.
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
Paryse Martin exhibit at CIRCA
http://www.circa-art.com/Circa/MARTIN___SABOURIN.html
http://www.circa-art.com
http://www.circa-art.com
Galerie Lilian Rodriguez
Galerie Lilian Rodriguez
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com
Gabrielle Laforest
Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
This work is by -not clear on the gallery website – Gabrielle Laforest and it was one of my favorites on the entire trip. This one work is a successful painting and sculpture.
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
This drawing / collage / installation is breath taking and successful close up and far away. Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Gabrielle Laforest
I could probably earn some sort of grad degree on researching this remarkable installation. A fleeting crush via a blog post will have to suffice.
Gabrielle Laforest
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Carlos Ste-Marie
Carlos Ste-Marie’s painting – “Extreme Painting”? I’m not sure because I am still learning what that means, but it’s a brilliant work no matter how you look at. My friend Andreanne has some similar work, probably because she’s brilliant too.
This composition is so fantastic – look how there is so much energy as you are drawn in and stopped by the hands, which draws you in again. A successful composition in painting is often considered to be a circle of some sort. The best ones I think extend the circle of the composition beyond the surface.
Carlos Ste-Marie
Carlos Ste-Marie
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
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montreal lac sam 111Carlos Ste-Marie Another terrific painting. Maybe I l just ike this entire Extreme Painting thing.
Carlos Ste-Marie
http://www.galerielilianrodriguez.com/
Carlos Ste-Marie
Carlos Ste-Marie
Laroche/Joncas
Laroche/Joncas – Terrifically approachable gallery and one of the best in Canada with an alternate slate of Canadian and international contemporary artists.
http://www.larochejoncas.com/

Laroche Joncas

EXTREME PAINTING  June 19 - August 31, 2013  Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING June 19 - August 31, 2013 Adam Bergeron Jean-Philippe Harvey Sean Montgomery Manuel Ocampo Jayson Oliveria
Laroche/Joncas: EXTREME PAINTING
June 19 – August 31, 2013
Adam Bergeron
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Sean Montgomery
Manuel Ocampo
Jayson Oliveria
Étienne «NIXON» Chartrand @  Espace Robert Poulin www.espacerobertpoulin.com Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
Wow … very confident. I like this work more everytime I look at again.
«NIXON» @
Espace Robert Poulin
http://www.espacerobertpoulin.com
Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
Étienne «NIXON» Chartrand @  Espace Robert Poulin www.espacerobertpoulin.com Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
«NIXON» @
Espace Robert Poulin
http://www.espacerobertpoulin.com
Ceux qui arpentent les rues de Montréal
Nathalie Savoie
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
A really good painting exhibit by Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com
Nathalie Savoie @ Galerie Luz http://www.galerieluz.com

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John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
Very happy I discovered this artist during this visit – superb paintings both formally and for relevance to media + right wing political + military day and age.
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain www.pfoac.com
John Player at Pierre-Francois Ouellette Art Contemporain
http://www.pfoac.com

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That concludes our visit to 372 St. Catherine in Montreal - this is a shot of the empty store next to it.
That concludes our visit to 372 St. Catherine in Montreal – this is a shot of the empty store next to it.
Still some grit and run-downess in downtown Montreal... someday, for better or for worse, somebody will sell this dirt lot to a condo developer.
Still some grit and run-downess in downtown Montreal… someday, for better or for worse, somebody will sell this dirt lot to a condo developer.
Next we headed off to the Parisian Laundry in Montreal's west-end St.Henri neighbourhood.
Next we headed off to the Parisian Laundry in Montreal’s west-end St.Henri neighbourhood.
http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre – love the idea of this work and why it’s here. Just not so sure about it though… just not sure.
http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Fabienne Lassarre http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Area shot of the 2nd floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Area shot of the 2nd floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Projection installation in the basement - confusing and dark down there! Loved this space.
Projection installation in the basement – confusing and dark down there! Loved this space.
Olivia Boudreau
Olivia Boudreau was the artist in the basement space. Worked really well – very quiet.
We were guessing this industrial building, and it's basement, is about a hundred years old
We were guessing this industrial building, and it’s basement, is about a hundred years old
Back to the main floor of the Parisian Laundry. Look at this terrific drawing / sculpture! By Fabienne Lasserre. This I am sure about.
Back to the main floor of the Parisian Laundry. Look at this terrific drawing / sculpture! By Fabienne Lasserre. This I am sure about.
Fabienne Lasserre
Fabienne Lasserre
Derrick Piens
Derrick Piens
Derrick Piens
Derrick Piens
Celia Perrin Sidarous - I really, really dig this work. Another favourite artist added to my list...
Celia Perrin Sidarous – I really, really dig this work. I feel like I can learn alot from this series. Another favourite artist added to my list…
Area shot of the 1st floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Area shot of the 1st floor. http://www.parisianlaundry.com/fr
Parisian Laundry always has great shows. They know it too ;)
Parisian Laundry always has great shows. They know it too ;)
Found this gem of a public art dedicated to Dino Bravo in St. Henri.
Found this gem of a public art dedicated to Dino Bravo in St. Henri.
This old warehouse building is really interesting visually as it undergoes restoration. Hamilton could learn from Montreal that you can be corrupt and still keep your heritage buildings.
This old warehouse building is really interesting visually as it undergoes restoration. Hamilton could learn from Montreal that you can be corrupt and still keep your heritage buildings.
Andreanne has it easy - back when I was her age, we had to locate galleries by using a piece of wood and some chewing gum.
Andreanne has it easy – back when I was her age, we had to locate galleries by using a piece of wood and some chewing gum.
Back to the tree-lined streets of the NDG neighbourhood.
Back to the tree-lined streets of the NDG neighbourhood.

              Well, that was the big art day in Montreal. Was it worth the almost 2,000 kilometers and 20 hours of driving? Absolutely. It’s Montreal. I can’t think of many people who have lived there and wouldn’t want to again. Many of the artists are very inspiring and I really lucked out seeing much of the extreme painting festival. When I am able to paint again in the studio for a sustained period, I know this trip will affect my work.

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Pop-Up gallery exhibit one for the books

Open Book Group Exhibit at 21 Rebecca Street.

Hamilton purportedly has a DIY culture and attitude and that reputation has attracted many arty types like myself to this quirky rust belt city. Sometimes, the perception is not really the reality and many of us have been yearning for empty buildings downtown to be bought and turned into impromptu exhibit spaces – and only three years later, have I finally seen this happen the way many of us have been daydreaming it should happen.

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Book Club Gallery.

Located on Rebecca, just off of James Street North and in the shadow of the Jackson Square monstrosity, the Book Club Gallery was never a Book Store. It was a wool broker office, and a print shop, and a hair salon – it is currently a pleasant austere space with art by some of Hamilton’s best artists. At least for the next few weeks – who knows what the owner, Cameron, will do with the space next but having a pop-up exhibit is such a great way to fill the space in the meantime. There are a lot of empty storefronts in Hamilton, and their owners could learn a thing or two about fostering community from people like Cameron.

(Unfortunately, Hamilton has many empty storefronts because of their owners are slumlords who don’t want the “expense” of the space being used for anything. They just want to flip the property at some point in the future after people like us creative class types put in all the hard work to improve the community and thus the real estate value. The City councilors here are, in turn, kinda meta-slum lords because the home crowd in this small city all know each other and look out for their “buddies”. But things are changing because there are so many new people arriving , and we’ve see that things are better elsewhere and so things will change here. This is a kind of hostile cultural takeover. But enough of this issue at the moment..)

Back to the show – the participating artists in this exhibit, one of the best so far of 2013, are Donna Akrey, Sarah Beattie, Andrea Carvalho, Margaret Flood and Svava Thordis Juliusson.

There was a small amount of people who attended the opening, but it’s slightly off the Art Crawl beaten path. A couple of sandwich boards would address this problem nicely. Such a good show – Cameron, please consider keeping it open for the next art crawl!

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Donna Akrey’s work is sprawling and subtle. Go ahead and try to find this bear. You’ll be glad you did.
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Donna Akrey
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Andrea Carvalho – this work really takes advantage of the space, I think. These sculptural installations look like “Office Ghosts” to me. Love this.
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Margaret Flood is making some multiples of the HOV lane on the highway – the car pool lane. She’s communing to work in Toronto and making art about it. Like I did when I was commuting. This is a very real part of the landscape. Maybe there should be a group exhibit of commute art…
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Donna Akrey’s secret storage space…
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Donna Akrey
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Donna Akrey
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Donna Akrey
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Svava Thordis Juliusson – Toronto’s loss, Hamilton’s gain.
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Svava Thordis Juliusson
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Donna Akrey
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Andrea Carvalho, Margaret Flood and Svava Thordis Juliusson
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Svava Thordis Juliusson
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Svava Thordis Juliusson
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Donna Akrey
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Andrea Carvalho, Margaret Flood

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The Mona Lisa by DaVinci

Great art is 99% media and 1% substance

If you think about some of your favourite art you then you might note that you have probably actually never seen the work in person.

Take the DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, for example. You know what this painting is, I know what this painting is and we can discuss this painting with a reasonable amount of familiarity – but chances are, like me, you’ve never seen the actual, physical painting.

The Mona Lisa by DaVinci
The Mona Lisa by DaVinci

In a more contemporary timeline, think about Damien Hirst’s Dead Shark or  even his Spot Paintings. Love them or hate them, these works transcend their physical location through the media’s reproduction of them. They are well know outside of contemporary art circles now and they will be part of art history classes for many generations to come. Am I saying that controversial work is media friendly? Not exactly, because no one would of cared about these controversial art works if they were not intrinsically “media friendly” already.

This is not an aspect of great art that is isolated in the last century – it is an enduring characteristic of art history for all peoples since the very beginning of time. Cave paintings were seen and reproduced by different artists of that era. Manuscripts and their illustrations were hand-copied by monks throughout many centuries. That Mona Lisa painting was copied by artists as a drawings, prints & paintings so patrons in many cities throughout Europe could view the work without having to travel. Damien Hirst’s Dead Shark appeared in hundreds of magazine and newspapers, and countless websites and blogs.

A work that is easy to reproduce does not become great work because of this characteristic, but it is an essential ingredient for whatever elusive formula for greatness is out there. A work can be a masterpiece, a subtle and delicate work that defies proper documentation or description (and isn’t that the point of art, many would argue) but if it’s not easily reproducible as a quick sketch then it won’t be immortalized by media. It’s stays mostly substance and less media. In this sense society’s most common experience of art history is essentially that of a collection of rock stars who appeal directly the masses both commercially and aesthetically.

This has led me to wonder if when we see and identify with a reproduction of a work of art, if in fact we are mislabeling our experience of what we are seeing – this reproduction is no longer a reproduction but a stand alone work of art on it’s own. There is not one Mona Lisa or Dead Shark – there are millions of them.

Side note: This insight was supposed to be a blog post four years ago, but I didn’t have a blog. So I started this blog and decided I needed a few other posts to put this into context – and now here we are.

still life with cow skull

Sneak peek of #Hamont exhibit @ The Inc, June 13 – July 6 w/ Cow Skull

still life with cow skull

I have an upcoming exhibit, sharing a space with my Mom, Beverly Healey, at Hamilton Artists Inc. The opening reception is Thursday June 13th from 7-9pm-ish. Art Crawl is June 14th.

It’s called “Mexico ii” and features work done from my parent’s residence in the town of Ajijic, Mexico – just south of Guadalajara. My Mom is a painter and a very different artist than myself so it will be an interesting show of contrasts and similarities. Of course, her being an artist has been central to my development and its a dream come true to have a show together like this. I know she’s looking forward to it as well. 

I’ll post more work and info next week. As usual, these works I am posting here now probably won’t be in the final exhibit but are part of the same series.

 

 

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FEAST: gourmet food meets art project crowdfunding

As the event announcement states: “FEAST hamilton is a new community micro-funding event and is looking for Artists Project Proposals.  FEAST  (Funding Engaging Actions and Sustainable Tactics) is a series of community dinners and micro-funding events that bring people together with the aim of supporting local projects through funds raised at each FEAST event.

Jen and I went and it was a really fun event – and I learned a lot about how artists present and saw how some strengths and weaknesses influenced the final vote. I’ll talk about those in a sec. I took some photos, posted below, and I apologize for my name being in the bottom right. That was an oversight from a new process.

Grazyna Ziolkowski
Artist and ceramic art studio owner Grazyna Ziolkowski presents her work in support of working with kids and growing beans.

Each one of us received a list with six artists names, who would be presenting projects we could vote on at the end. Aside from costs, the entire funds raised went to the artist and the organizer’s anticipated $500. The actual amount ended up being just over $800.

Marco D'Andrea
Audio artist Marco D’Andrea presents his project at FEAST 01. It was a very cool vintage equipment sound installation in a car and presented at the “Electric Eclectic Festival”. I may go.

It was fun sitting with some new people and even a couple of the artists. This sort of format and social funding in the arts here has not happened before and there was an excited buzz in the air, and an excited rumbling in our stomachs as the food was in the next gallery over. Tickets sold out for this, and I think this sort of format has a very bright future within the arts community. OK, I know it sounds like a cheesy quote from the Hobbit, but I really got a  “jolly fellowship” vibe from the whole thing.

Andrea Carvalho
Hamilton Artists Inc Director and FEAST 01 co-organizer Andrea Carvalho explains how things work. 10 Minutes per presentation. That’s it. No questions.

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What we noticed about some of the proposals is that there never a complete “who, what, where, why, when” picture of the projects. Even if you don’t have confirmed place, you should specify a date and place that is the goal of the work being supported. There was some nice overviews of some studio work or other successful projects, but no “and this is exactly what we are going to do with it with the money you give us”.  In terms of the audience judging this, that seems worthy and genuine but it’s too broad.

IMG_4865 IMG_4866

It’s was of no surprise to me that Chris McLeod won – he has a great deal of work done on a crazy-ass steampunkish bicycle power water purification contraption. He stated he wanted finish the machine with some specific materials. He was going to take it to festivals and concerts so people would be able to connect to our use understanding of water. That was a the clearest, most demonstrable and destination / time-frame specific proposal of the night.

Jon Grosz
Jon Grosz

I must admit I was imagining my own proposal and what I would say and show in 10 minutes. They say they’ll have two a year, and I suspect it will be even more popular – especially to present. I hope I still get a chance and would think more events like it should pop up on the landscape. Hopefully.

Jon Grosz
It was interesting that two of the names on the list were representing a collective of artists. Jon Grosz showed us the work of his colleagues.
Chris Fergusan from HAVN
Chris Fergusan from HAVN
Congratulations Chris McLeod!
Congratulations Chris McLeod!

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[photos]Go see Dagmara Genda & Bruce Montcombroux @ The Inc

Make sure you check out this exhibit at Hamilton Artists Inc before it’s over March 13th, 2013. Some remarkable work by these two artists from western Canada.

(I like taking photos of artists and their work. I think I’ll do more)

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BRUCE MONTCOMBROUX
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DAGMARA GENDA

[photos] Painter Kathy Seaboyer’s studio & home in Ajijic, Mexico

Kathy is an artist hailing from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and now lives in the middle of an Mexican farm field near the shore of Lake Chapala.

Kathy could be another case in point for making an argument of a talent drain from Canada, and her life here gives one ideas and schemes. A comfortable, sunny living and studio space that is sorta typical here and rents can be very affordable (The crop fields are a bonus for this particular location). I loved the chickens in the space, and the stained glass doors too. Also, the dogs.

I met Kathy at Pat Apt’s studio and we quickly figured out my family and her live very close by and in fact we had mutual “friends” – her dogs. Dogs, both street and domestic, are everywhere here in this village and one tends to get to know the area pooches who greet you as you walk by. Many domestic dogs are strays taken in by people, and can be fierce and loyal pets – Kathy’s are a mix of both and I was received well by them but they kept a close eye on me. Especially around the chickens.

www.kseaboyer.com

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[Podcast #7 / Video] Interview with artist Pat Apt

While I was staying in a village called Ajijic, in the mountains of central west Mexico, I talked to an artist whose free spirit led to a commitment to living and working in this artist community for the last 21 years.

Painter and printmaker Pat Apt just moved into new studio space digs in the downtown of this cobble stoned town with it’s narrow streets and a bustling international foot traffic. With a wide open garage door, Pat risks people like me wandering in and asking her a million questions. But she’s a shrewd and insightful person and knows that location, location, location is everything – whether for your studio / gallery or hoping into a car one day and deciding to go get lost in Mexico. Pat is an eminent figure in this community of artists and I suspect her new studio, with the addition of the soon-to-arrive intaglio printing press, will be a thriving and central art hub for years to come.

I wanted to hear some of Pat’s story about an artist deciding to pick up and move one day and what factors lead into her decision to settle in a mountain village called Ajijic. The answer may surprise you.

I took some photos of Pat and her studio, but also of some of the other artist’s work in her studio at that time. I’m sorry I don’t have those names to credit those works but hopefully will soon. I added in other photos of the region as well, in part to provide some context to the landscape paintings. Included are shots of Guadalajara, Chapala, Chapala Lake, San Juan Cosala, Colima Volcano,  Colima and Cuatulyan on the coast as well as scenery from in between these places. (I know I need to take more photos for the movie version of my podcasts, but I discovered my iphone won’t upload files that large to youtube – a snag in my quest for 100% production mobility.)

[Podcast] Interview with Artist Pat Apt



Pat Apt’s artist website is patapt.artspan.com

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[online exhibit] Mountain Path, 2013

Instructions:

*update: I’ve added a stand-alone montage version of the work. The instructions below are for viewing each slide individually.

1) Click on the first (top left) thumbnail below to enter fullscreen slideshow mode
2) Scroll (to the right) through the slideshow until you reach the end of the path. Get comfortable: there are 170 slides, including the entry and the eventual destination.
3) You can of course jump in and out anywhere along the path you choose, at any time, but then you might miss the journey inside the experience.

Process notes:

It is important to note that this work is entirely captured, rendered and output through a mobile device and on location during one session.

Artist Statement:

For me, there are several classical and contemporary themes in the work, such as: the supernatural; a formal approach to landscape; a questioning of political / social issues involving digital topographical mapping; a spiritual journey reflecting on death. There are many other contemplations that are evoked for me when I engage the work, and hopefully there will be for the viewer as well.

I enjoy the compositions of the shadows and the rocks, as well as the idea of a digital shadow cast on real objects through a challenging process of documentation for both the tools and the artist. The stresses of this effort on the image and the human traces archived in the process are a very important part of the production philosophy for me.  I welcome comments and questions in the discussion field below where this conversation can continue.

Why exhibit online?

This series works well online I think through the intimacy of scrolling through the series of horizontal based documentation. I enjoy the ideas of creating a work while mobile and exhibiting almost immediately after production, without interference or influence – qualities in art which are actually rare to achieve and I believe warrants further practice.

Though much worthwhile art only works online, this particular show would translate well to a physical exhibition environment and I hope to mount multiple instances of Mountain Path around the world. Please contact me if you are interested in a hosting an edition/ installation of this work.

_______________________________________________

MOUNTAIN PATH (2013)
Christopher Healey

 

Mountain Path
Mountain Path

_______________________________________________

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[Podcast #6 / Video] Interview with artist Jack Butler

&

Podcast #6 (also on iTunes)

Jack Butler is one of the first friends I made when I moved to Hamilton, Ontario 2 years ago – and he also happens to be a significant figure in art history. Not only in Canada throughout his 61 years of exhibiting but also internationally as demonstrated by being the first Canadian artist included in the seminal Jansen’s History of Art. His accomplishments include being a founding member of the Sanavik Cooperative in Baker Lake, Nunavut and being a pioneer in bridging art and science as medical model builder for over thirty years.

For me, this is perhaps one of the most important interviews I have approached, and this is evident by my taking almost 6 months to edit and finish the video and podcast. I struggled to keep up with his keen insight and vast experience both in my familiar area of art knowledge and my unfamiliar area of medical research methodology and culture. I hope I brought a bit of what makes Jack Butler special forward into this three-part conversation.

The first part is discussing a particular experience for Butler as he conquered a phobia induced by a footbridge in Toronto, Canada. The second is a walk through of his studio where we examine some of his current work and research, and the third is an audio only recording delving in his past – including formative moments in his development as an artist. For the video version, I have overlain photographs of his studio, the footbridge and work documented on his website.

Jack has two major exhibits coming up in 2013 – one opens Jan 10th at Hamilton Artists Inc. in Hamilton, Ontario ( http://theinc.ca/2012/12/06/storybones-jack-butler/ ) and the other opens Jan 2nd at Red Head Gallery in Toronto, Ontario ( http://tinyurl.com/ccltzpe )

You can also hear Jack talk more about specific projects at his website below:

http://fatemaps.ca/

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[Podcast #4 / Video] 2009 Interview: Artist Michael Myers 1939-2010

This interview is from 2009 during a studio complex open house in Toronto, Canada.

Podcast is here and the original video is below.

I have been informed that Mr. Myers passed away in 2010 by someone who found it on my YouTube channel:

“Can you comment further on the 2009 ArtScape open studio event in which you interviewed UK artist Michael Myers? Any establishing shots or any of Myers? He died in 2010, and you may have some of the last video of him and/or his work. In the snooker world, his art became pretty well known.”

He was a very gracious and engaging man when I very briefly met him through a studio tour visit and conducted this quick, informal interview. It was one of my first and I have since done many more because meeting artists and discovering work like Myers is very rewarding. I am glad I had the chance to contribute some documentation about this artist.

These links were sent to me about Myers:

http://www.global-snooker.com/global-snooker-news-pays-tribute-to-michael-myers-101213.asp

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestar/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=147106965

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[slideshow] dodging tourists in the ruins

More instagram fun as we check out Elora, Ontario … with lots of people. Happy with the opportunities I found to snap without people in the shot. Solitude is the new El Dorado.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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[raw video] Matthew Tegel “Windy Sketch” @ Hamilton Artists Inc.

One of my favourite works in this year’s Member Exhibition. It is wind-powered and has a proximity sensor, so it reacts to your presence. This tone it emits sorta has an arthouse movie soundtrack quality to it. Or this is music robots make when all the humans are dead. Or perhaps it is a foil for our organic based assumptions of music. Looks like a moonshine still too. Or at least what I imagine one might look like, which is entirely derived from watching Dukes of Hazard when I was 7.

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Video and Podcast: Interview with Dr. Jennifer Willet, Bio Artist

After a lecture and workshop on BioArt at Centre 3′s Function Keys Conference, Dr. Willet discusses with host Christopher Healey a bit about the history and future of this misunderstood and emerging art practice.

Near the end of the interview, I thought I was asking a clever question but Dr. Willet threw me for a loop with her answer about the evolving relationship between Bio Art and Media. I am already doing some work into this area and will post my work from this bioart workshop and some other new work soon.

Dr. Willet and her student / assistant Kacie Auffret are featured in the first of some photos I added to the movie. This interview is also available as my first foray into podcasting.

Dr. Willet is the director of Incubator: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Ecology and Sciencei at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

http://www.jenniferwillet.com/

Podcast Version

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Richard Degelder’s 3D printer demo @ Function Keys Conference

A member of Think|Haus hacker collective, http://www.thinkhaus.org/, Richard built his own 3D printer and was very gracious in answering questions and discussing the technology. Also get to hear a bit of Richard talking about his machine.

This reminded me of when home computers made a first serious push about 20 years ago – I remember dudes with self-made computers showing them off in exactly the same manner. And many people also viewed this computer fad with curiousity and without any real sense or idea of the mega paradigm shift it was heralding – as 3D will affect our daily lives and our civilization. Seriously, think about the future where we can create an object. Right now, machine parts can be fabricated – but extend that logically and soon we can start printing off houses. This blows my mind. I know the uses will reach far beyond what we can imagine at the moment, and this will be a staple for generations of a new kind of artist.

For now, a hacker at a conference shows off his Prometheus tech – or maybe more of a kind of Midas, as everything the printer touches turns to plastic. Anyways, we are in the middle of an art history moment so please enjoy it.

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Christopher Healey (ArtListPro) gets interviewed by a blogger at an art exhibit: karma rebalances

Thanks Scott Simmons for that interview, it was nice to experience that and get to talk a bit about some of this stuff. Scott’s being doing video interviews for awhile as well, about 700 of them actually, and it’s neat to see some of the differences in style i.e.  the camera angle and the sountrack added. Our similarities included a sense of humour, a passion for new media and communications – and also share being forgotten to be invited to the VIP opening night party.

I actually did not realize there was video being shot during this interview until near the end … probably for the best. Apologies for duplicate jokes. And I’m not sure why I said “essay-based blog”. Must be listening to Q too much.

There was a national magazine writer at our table who expressed dismay at how expensive and difficult it is to do video for the web. She excused herself and left before we started the video interview, as she did not look enthused about “blogging”. I think this is really interesting how some publishing cultures clash with the production capabilities available and this results in a self-fulfilling high production and cost barrier for web video. Though there are some simple adjustments that could be made in shooting this video if you wanted it to be a little more slick, Scott essentially puts on a clinic for media concerned with how to do this properly and cost effectively – just do it and post the best. Repeat.

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Art Toronto 2012: raw photo walk-through

Here’s the entire 332 photo roll of some of my favourite work I took over two days at this year’s Toronto International Art Fair. For now, I am presenting this as a giant slideshow until I am done “dripping out” this series, work by work and with proper links and some notes, on my ALP project website. That should take a couple of weeks, at least.

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Christopher Healey

Gallery space: the final frontier of not being the centre of attention in our society

This notion occurred to me suddenly the other day as I was looking at my TV-less living room. Setting up a room with a TV is easy – you stick the box where a window won’t wash out the screen, and place chairs, couch and coffee table around it.

Then I thought about Target stores and retail chains like them who seriously, hard-core study the shit out of how best to maximize space and opportunity centered around the movement and product focus of shoppers. This experience is centered around the desire and ambitions of the shopper – obstacles and distractions are minimized.

In fact, almost all of our shared public experience is based on us, as individuals, and we have come to expect it.  Other obvious examples of our public space expectations can be found in movie theatres where every step is a measured science; or the airport – where people are managed very closely, as we all know; casinos are carefully set up to avoid being able to see out a window, as our attention is drawn to the games and lights. Highways are centered around your individual need to drive and even schools are built specifically to manage your studies, your leisure time and every other facet of your behaviour in that space. The point is, almost everything in our society is a science of space that centres around you, most often for entertainment, shopping or work. This is the normal we subconsciously register to evaluate whether a space, i.e. a company or organization, is worthy of our participation in it.

Except for many contemporary art galleries that is, as they are not typically spaces designed for entertainment and the visitor is *not* the most important presence in the room.

I think that explains a lot about the views most people have about contemporary art practice.

You see, most people avoid most galleries like the plague. Many times I have heard about people not “knowing enough about art” or “feeling stupid” by visiting a gallery. They feel awkward, even exposed as their footsteps echo faintly in a white cube with some inexplicable object that continues to mystify long after the befuddled visitor in question has left. This fight-or-flight feeling they have is a result not being in a space designed around “the consumer experience” people are used to – this is a space designed around something else and not them. Simply put, they are not the most important thing in the room, and most people instinctively hate this because it goes against everything they have been raised and taught to expect. They are *entitled* to be entertained, and anything else in a stage like context that fails to effortlessly amuse like the punch-line of a a knock-knock joke is a failure of the creator.

You and I realize of course this basic kind of uncomfortableness and confrontation through contemplation is a rare and precious gift preserved from the history of art and museums (though mainly the ones that do not contain dinosaur bones or kid edutainment zones). Most people, unfortunately, cannot separate entertainment from art. They are very, very different things but this line has also blurred, as evidenced by the behaviour of large museums and galleries.

Places like the Art Gallery of Ontario are about entertainment more than the kind of smaller, public art spaces I am talking about. “block buster” shows such as King Tut, Picasso and other very recognizable household names bring out the masses that would not set foot in anything smaller, less advertised or with any less unpredictability (i.e. newer) of what they are going to see. Most people will prefer to pay the $17 to get in, after being in a line-up and coat-check and then jostle shoulder to shoulder to see a work for 8 seconds – the man objective int his kind of situation is to see all the rooms before you leave so you get good value for the price of admission.

This process is entertainment and is safe because it is familiar. I am convinced an art experience for most people involves the validation of a crowd and an admission charge because this puts the individual back into a familiar process that centres around them, and is validated by a large community of regular, middle-class folk just like you who are also paying money and lining up. To me, this explains the appeal of Art Crawls, Nuit Blanche and art-in-the-park type of events – there is a safety in numbers and participating artists often put great effort into performances and displays that do entertain briefly as clutches of gawking families shuffle by.

Contrast this with a smaller independent or public gallery that has no admission charge and is mostly empty should somebody visit it. Maybe this is not good art because you don’t recognize it, so you have no pre-conceived notions to understand it immediately. Imagine it’s just you and a stranger in a room with a work of art and the stranger knows you are stupid, unsophisticated and always will be because of the wrong way you are standing or looking at things because there is no obvious consumer process to engage in. If you paid, then you can act anyway you want because the customer is always right.

Also, incredibly,  many many people don’t know that almost no gallery actually charges admission – a symptom of the conditioning of big entertainment in our society.

The woes of the public art world would be solved if most people went to their local gallery once every couple of months. Unfortunately people have an assumption that good art, like entertainment, is a window into another world. They simply do not understand the dynamics of looking into art that is a mirror, and especially if they are not front and centre in the reflection.

Christopher Healey

Wente’s Wendigo: Social media is the only real public editor in Canada

Publishers and editors hate being corrected by artists – trust me on this one.

Carol Wainio, the artist and professor based in Ottawa, has forced to the light a serious issue in our country simply by observing the truth that a columnist for the Globe & Mail, Margaret Wente, has committed plagiarism . She has also, to me, revealed some of the deep seeded problems with most industries in our country – namely that each sector is so small that inside politics essentially negates a merit-based system and duplicates behaviours that others may call corruption. Entitlement, protection, unaccountability, job opportunities for collaborators and exile for critics – this creates a closed community and defensive organizational behaviour that is currently on display with the Globe & Mail.

I don’t like how Wente and The Globe & Mail have treated this so far. In particular, the dismissive tone of the editorial staff and the passive-aggressive non-apology from Wente focusing on disparaging the efforts of an “anonymous blogger” bothers me. She uses words in this context such as “self-styled”, “obsessive” and “publicly complaining”. And for the rest of us sharing this developing story via social media, she says “were retweeted by a number of people who didn’t bother to think twice – or ask for a response – before helping her to smear my reputation”. So in other words it’s unfair and unreasonable because of the public, and presents a dim view of “the blogger”. A relatively closed organization culture is hinted at here, as the reprimand and results of the Public Editor’s investigation are being kept confidential with Wente presently looking like she gets to keep her job.

You see, these people all know each other. Most of them are friends. They have drinks together, dinner and give each awards. If you were to be critical of a colleague, boss or owner – especially publicly -  you will almost certainly face career-affecting ramifications for the rest of your life. Conversely, if you play your political and social cards right you will get fantastic opportunities that others deserve more – I have also seen this happen. This is not a conspiracy or specific to any one industry or sector, it’s simply a logical result, a matter of scale as the reality of being Canada is a norm of small and largely centralized industries that are or share a monopoly. Well, the news media industry used to be similar to a monopoly but not really anymore thanks to social media. Perhaps the relationship between these two entities can be better understood if we think of social media as a multi-national corporate entity and major player on the scene, as they have almost no overhead and an army of 5 million interns with no editorial bottleneck.

Oh how the publishing industry in particular disdains bloggers, google and social media in general. To label many news media old guard as unimaginative slow adopters might be an understatement. Often I had to fight tooth and nail to get a media organization to even consider a Twitter account.

Also, to me, it is not a surprise to see that an artist has brought about this public discussion. Artists are, can be, outside of and included in every social class. Most successful artists are generally very methodical and focused on tasks, which Wainio certainly is. Slandering contemporary artists historically has limited success by virtue of the fact they are at least romanticized for quixotic efforts and alternative opinions. It can argued that is their job. Demeaning the artist blogger did not work for the Chinese government in regards to Ai WeiWei, so I’m not sure why the Globe & Mail and Margaret Wente thought the same approach to dismiss an outspoken artist blogger would work. The fact Wainio is protected in an academic setting and safely able to publicly list problems with a large and powerful public record is part of what being in a university is supposed to be all about –  though I am sure the same could not be said for, say in this particular Wentegate issue, an economics, journalism or business program. Fine art in higher education still has a position of relative intellectual freedom because, I think, it is largely ignored in importance to the corporate and political influence over our higher education (I wish the same could be said for the art sector in general…).

So in steps the crowd, that unruly mob, the chattering classes, the chorus that can insist on accountability and answers (I am referring to those who read as well as write, as well as back up arguments with facts and references. sorry right wingers ;) yelling at people in comment sections does not make you justified). A public editor, or even ombudsman and certainly most “customer complaint departments” is simply not good enough anymore to be trusted because when the top of the heirachry is rotten, it affects the rest of the culture of the organization.

So established Canadian media organizations, you close your eyes and ears to bloggers and social media at your peril. You are not too big to fail and as many downsized organizations have found out the online community tends to create elsewhere what is missing in your product. I’ve seen this happen as well.

The political pin drops – more fun with 3D Apple Maps

So I noticed when entering a country in Apple Maps, a pins drops to a precise location within that state and does not move as you zoom into it. I can only assume this is the approximate centre of any particular nation. I started with zooming around the ice shield of Greenland and when I got in close to look at the dropped pin, Apple Maps did it’s artist thing and created a very spike-filled terrian cradling the perky label “Greenland” (and hopefully offering directions by car to this particular spot). So by defacto, Apple is showing us the heart, the core of every region we search for and sometimes it is literal and other times a fictional depiction.

I thought it was kinda neat how each landscape is unique, and most did not have any buildings represented. England does (it’s hiding behind the pin in my screenshot) and Spain has some very curious shapes in the farm field to the right. I honestly don’t know what that is.

The richer nations tended to have farmland depicted in this spot, and with higher resolution – the noticeable exception being Canada, which shows a very low-resolution lake filled splotchy terrain. Many of the poorer states and countries at political odds with western powers have lo-res, undeveloped and muted imagery. A remarkable variance in what looks like an early turn-based fantasy adventure video game level.

My hankering with these screenshots is to eventually monoprint a collage but some sort of acetone transfer on paper.

Screenshots below – including a first crack at a collage but not completely happy with it so far..

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Augmented-reality art “(Project)ions of Community” unveiled in Barton Village


[Sept 20 2012 Hamilton, Ont]  New media installation projects scenes and sounds onto neighbourhood from another urban village – Parkdale, Toronto. Artist offers free, public talk and guided tour of the work.

Using an internet connected iphone or android mobile device installed with the free app “Aurasma Lite”, certain areas and angles throughout this neighbourhood will activate a work by local resident and artist Christopher Healey. For example, standing on the north-east corner of Wentworth and Barton and facing west is a “trigger image” that will bring up a video overlay of Parkdale from a similar vantage point. The contrast between the two communities can be disorienting.

The work is about the perceptions of this neighbourhood  - one of the poorest in Canada. Many strongly associate Barton Village with elevated levels of danger and violence, and consider it an area to be avoided entirely, if possible. By designing a location based interactive experience that encourages walking and careful consideration along Barton Street, the work offers to engage participants in a wider discourse about notions of community and transformation.

Healey states: “This work is not about the people who live in Barton Village – it’s about the people who don’t live here. Projecting expectations on a community is a powerful force, perhaps as powerful as taking a walk through it. My work addresses this by contrasting the shared experience of one neighbourhood, The Village of Parkdale, with the expectations of another area, Barton Village. Hopes, aspirations and critiques are examined through the spaces and architecture of these two areas.”

Join artist Christopher Healey for a talk and guided tour of the project starting at Woodlands Park on Saturday, October 13th, from 1pm to 2pm.

Maps, trigger images, a video demo, download links and more information is available at http://www.projectionsofcommunity.chrishealey.name

More about Aurasma technology can be found via this presentation at TED Talks.

Media contact:
Chris Healey
email@artlistpro.com

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Robert Carley

A Diamond in the Rough Hood: Robert Carley

Had the pleasure of visiting my new found neighbours, Glenna Jones and Robert Carley, during Robert’s home-based exhibition this weekend.

I should mention their home is structurally ideal for fine arts exhibits and studio work – it used to be a woodworker’s home and business when they purchased it about 9 years ago. There is a glass atrium joining a large workspace and the early 1900′s house and Robert’s production and caliber are up to the task of making the most out of the space.

They are in a very real sense living the Barton Village dream for artists like myself who have move here attracted to Hamilton neighbourhoods with the more affordable houses. They are involved with the community, they want to help raise the quality of living here and they have space to work. I am very glad to discover they live a few houses down from my place, and add yet another layer of awesomeness to the kind of terrific neighbours we have on all sides so far. Robert and Glenna are also, like me, aware with the effects of perception on this neighbourhood, and see the potential that awaits along Barton Street (hence my tongue-in-cheek title of this post).

Below are some pics of the space and Robert and his work. He’s also a poet and this is evident throughout his work, as well as a kind of crisp, musical rhythm in his abstract paintings.

robertcarley.com/

(Bob wanted me to mention he welcomes public visits to his studio, but you need to call ahead. You can find more info here on his latest exhibit invite.

 

 

Irene Loughlin @ Performance Art & Punk

A performance work dedicated to Pussy Riot. Taken at This Ain’t Hollywood, Hamilton, Ontario at PAP #1, a fundraiser for local arts organizations.

http://www.ireneloughlin.com/

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good art bad art explained in a chart

Good art and bad art (finally) explained – a relationship chart

good art bad art explained in a chart
Contemporary, experimental art fails often by virtue of the risk-taking involved in the artist’s choices. Hence, the final product can be disastrous or genius but both results more often closely related than one might initially suspect. Relying on more accepted conventions places the art somewhere in the “shades of mediocrity” between the two polar extremes. Thus there is a small window on this scale for “good art”, which is also the most perilous area close to “bad” or “confusing”. Sometimes, there is no discernible difference between the three for critics and the general public.

listen up Canada: Artists in Mexico can pay income tax with work

I’ve known about this for awhile (they’ve been doing this since 1957), and it seemed timely as we are going through a period here in Canada with a social conservative, big business government that is described frequently as “secretive” and “bullies”. Unfortunately, this seems to describe most Canadians as well.

In the arts industry in general there is a constant background noise “artists versus taxpayers”. Some people get upset over publicly funded work that they do not like. In our culture of epic, chronic, financial crisis there is a sense the arts should be the first to be axed during cutbacks.  This is long standing political rhetoric in Canada from any given government on any level. It only confuses things that the dreaded 1%ers and aspiring 1%ers are often very signifigant contributers to the arts and the industry is often associated with elitism and decadence.

I just find this fundamental difference of the value of culture between Mexico and Canada really interesting to think about. It seems that there is a prevalent attitude here that it is a burden on taxpayers in Canada to support the arts in contrast to Mexican artists (in my limited knowledge), who are seen are taxpayers supporting the state.

Could this model ever work in Canada?

Sadly, I just can’t imagine this working here. Ever. Bitterly, I can explain it by pointing to the dominance of the suburbs in shaping policy and politics, with largely conservative and individualistic values trumping the typically progressive and liberal community values from urban cores.

I can also point to what is going on in Montreal with the student protesters taking a stand against tuition hikes on tuition that is already the lowest in the country. A noble cause, in my opinion, as we should be aiming for tuition free education for everyone.  The backlash from other parts of Canada, the lethargic and disappointing lack of solidarity from other student communities and the somewhat tepid domestic media coverage points to a certain kind of shallowness. Perhaps it can be defined as making sure the next guy does not have it better than you, rather than insisting on progression towards a more Utopian vision. This lack of priority for an educated society has resulted already in a generation who emphasize school as technical training in lieu of critical thought and research. So what chance would a proposal for artists to pay taxes with their work have in this kind of political environment?

Though Canada suffers from a largely puritan and loyalist history, it seems to me that there was a more ambitious goal of our society during the 60′s and 70′s for technology and progress to help create less jobs, more leisure time and higher standard of living for everyone. Arts funding, universal health care, uncensored science research, open schools, job sharing, environmental sciences – now it feels like you are likely to put on some sort of government watch list when you promote these views.

One of the greatest tools a politician has to utilize is to claim to be acting of behalf of “taxpayers”. Income tax was implemented in Canada in 1917 – so is that when taxpayers become more important than citizens? When did culture outside of shopping malls stop being the soul of a nation? When did more jobs, more subdivisions and more cars become our vision of a Utopian ideal to strive for, at all costs?

So that is why I don’t think Canadian society will be enlightened anytime soon to even be able to consider such lofty goals that are apparently outside the immediate wants and needs of your average voter.

And that is a shame. We have the means to a better place to live, more responsible ways, but not the collective will.

I may try to send in a painting in lieu of paying income tax, but as an artist I have a ways to go before being in a comfortable enough position to actually owe anything.

drift 9

Cut loose in your neighbourhood and set a Drift app on your iphone

Recently downloaded and installed the new Drift app from the artist group (and Sobey Award long-listers) Broken City Lab. Described as “a tool for getting lost in familiar places” the app simply gives you a random set of instructions for exploring your immediate surroundings, as well as what to document and upload to the collective project database. For example “walk north for two blocks, find a sign of hope and take a picture of it” – which, for a poor neighbourhood like mine, can produce quite a poignant result.

Anyways, each set of instructions is called a “drift” and I must admit it was a lot of fun and a very insighful process to follow. My partner and I set out, with the dog in tow, to complete an entire set of instructions and re-discover our hood. We actually ended up walking down streets we had never been on, though at one point a literal following of the instructions would have resulted in us walking up and down the same stretch several times.

Below is our Drift, in pictures and with the instructions we were following.

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Secret art from the archives: cubicle farm panoramas sneaked from a cheap cellphone, 2009

I worked at an IT sales company for a little while and it was as uncomfortable as you might imagine it was. While I was there though I decided to do a photo series on this environment, but there was a strict “no photo” policy and many who would gladly volunteer to report any deviant behaviour by a fellow employee. To make matters more difficult, cell phone cameras in Canada had to (by law) make a “click” sound when taking a picture so you could not sneak around a gym shower or otherwise take a photo without people knowing about it. I figured out a loophole though – if one was on a phone call, then one could take photos at the same time without any audio alert. So I happily took photos while phoning a large U.S. Financial firm’s automated customer service line. Seemed appropriate, but this created another problem – the cellular signal would disrupt every monitor and computer speakers in proximity with very noisey distortions.  Amazingly, I was still able to conduct my project to completion, and no one was the wiser.

My cheap cell phone had this panorama algorithm that auto-stiched three photos together – even if they were not lined up properly, which was awesome because this is allowed for much more creative visual exploration. I’ve been playing with present day panorama apps for my iphone, but they work too well in way by forcing the user and the pictures together as seamlessly as possible. For this reason, I wish I still had that old flip phone!

Below are the results of my unannounced artist residency.