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:

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

[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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Carnival – an exhibit of black and white street photography

inviteCHMay2015V2My first solo photography show opens this week in Ajijic, Mexico. I was lucky enough to be here for this historic village’s version of Mardi Gras.

Compositions exploring the dynamics of crowds in public spaces, centered on ceremony, has been an emerging interest for me. Formal issues relating to classical works, the sociological gaze within a post-colonial framework (in particular D.H. Lawrence’s problematic and revealing Mornings in Mexico) as well as critical interest of Mikhail Bakhtin’s Carnivalesque theories are reflected in this narrative.

If you happen to be in the mountains just south of Guadalajara stop on in and say hi.

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The accidental week in Sayulita – in photos.

We went to the coast for three days. Jen’s brother-in-law was caught in an avalanche back in Canada so we wanted to spend some time here before she left to help her family. We camped along the beach along with other travellers, many of whom were surfers from all around the world.

We woke up in our little tent on the third day with Norwalk Virus like sickness. I leaned out of my tent and threw up. Jen could barely walk through the heat to the shared bathrooms. Apparently everyone staying here at the campground for any extended time caught the same sickness.

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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.

Self-Portrait as a Simulacrum

I’ve been enjoying working in virtual reality this past school term, and that has led to messing around with 3D modelling apps on my mobile phone.  As I keep figuring out about myself, I really enjoy working with the possibilities and limitations of a mobile device – including the artefacts and degradation of importing the real world into the digital world.

I’ve also enjoyed my philosophy class, wherein I’ve learned about thinkers such as Jean Baudrillard – though exploration of his ideas does not necessarily mean I agree with them, but there is something to them when we think about why people think they way they think.

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I would love to do an interactive full body work like this. So much fun.

Here’s some bonus screen shots of a sad stapler – my first attempt.

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[Video + Podcast #8] Christopher Healey interviewed about exhibit Mexico ii, by Hamilton Artists Inc.

You listen to the Audio Only Podcast or watch the video below:

Raw audio + finished video  from a 20 minute interview on June 29th, 2013 of Christopher Healey. Conducted by Hamilton Artists Inc’s Curatorial Assistant Caitlin Sutherland, and Gallery Assistant Samantha Roketta, about my exhibit Mexico ii featuring paintings by my mother Beverly Healey and digital collages by me.

I’m the first artist for this video interview series for the Inc, and was glad to help out this way. I really appreciated being able to articulate more of about the show and the process, and yet still feel like I forgot to mention a couple of key points – of course. That is, essentially, my work is about death and the “thinness” of our existence – which is one of the reasons I used the sunlight and the materials I did, such as the skull and white plastic. My Mom’s oil painting portrait work is about life, and the richness of an individual’s character and immortalizing it.

More information at my original post about the show here: https://chrishealey.me/2013/05/26/mexico-ii-an-exhibit-of-paintings-digital-collages/

One of great things I enjoy about the culture of the Inc is involvement with some young graffiti artists – one in particular has been very involved. He got very excited telling me about the impression my Mom’s work made on him during the member’s exhibit “Oh my god it was so good – no offence, but it was the best work in the gallery… it’s like a 17th century painting by on old master… no one else came close to it – no offence to your work or anything – it was totally sick. If she gave me her one of her paintings, I would walk out of the gallery and never do graffiti art again.. I’m serious!..”

This was awesome feedback for my Mom 🙂 Especially since we live in an age where street artists usually end up as the new art stars.

I’ll update this post when the video is available. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of the exhibit below:

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Christopher Healey & Beverly Healey – photo by Joanna St. Jacques

Mountain Path

Mountain Path

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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

Sanford Avenue School shines bright – photography by artist Joanna St.Jacques

Sanford Avenue School

A friend here in Hamilton, Ontario came over to my hood and took this photo. When she emailed it to me later, I was blown away – not only because I’ve developed a personal attachment to it while fighting to save it from being demolished, but because it has been stubbornly difficult to being able to be photographed as a whole, with its character intact. This is the best contemporary  impression of this 1932 depression-era heritage I have seen.

I love this photo for many reasons. Formally, I love the grid of windows, each with it’s own variance tells a story of when it was last used (can you spot the Mona Lisa lurking in one of the windows? a neat cardboard cutout I had not noticed before…). I look at the accents on top the building and how this is like something straight out of the Art Deco influenced movie “Metropolis“. I look at this and it makes me want to learn more about architecture.

Sadly and beautifully, the neglect and stress of the last ten years is all over this building. The atmosphere of this work is troubling, brooding and somehow majestic. I had the pleasure of hanging out with St. Jacques while she took this photo with some special techniques, but I won’t reveal them.

The grit and dirt of it’s exterior is a texture that contrasts with the solid frame and spectacular craftsmanship that would hold this structure together for hundreds of years – if we let it. The school board has rebuffed those who wanted to re-vitalize it over the last ten years, while not maintaining it or making repairs.

Currently, the building is still slated for demolition as early as three weeks from now. They have no funds to replace it with anything but a rubble strewn empty lot, and they are essentially tearing down this building because the “big machine” of bureaucracy considers a mostly empty parking lot beside it as untouchable. Insurance, of course, is also an issue and the school board could clear this liability off their books, regardless of the developers and community members asking to be allowed to present alternatives for using it. Exactly how could these considerations be any less inspiring, noble or even necessary?

There is a Hamilton Wentworth District School Board Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, December 17th. This is the last meeting before they can go ahead and demolish it and leave this poor neighbourhood another empty lot to live with.

Please consider contacting your local Trustee and expressing your concerns about this situation – our community voices are making a difference:

Ward 3
Lower City

Tim Simmons
Chair of the Board
Chair’s Office: 905.527.5092 x 2279
Phone: 905.308.6832
tim.simmons@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 9 & 10
West Stoney Creek
(lower and mountain)

Robert Barlow
Vice-Chair
Phone: 905.308.2483
robert.barlow@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 1 & 2
West Lower city

Judith Bishop
Phone: 905.512.5713
judith.bishop@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 4
East Lower City

Ray Mulholland
Phone: 905.547.2237
ray.mulholland@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 5
East City

Todd White
Phone: 289.237.1644
todd.white@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 6
East Mountain

Laura Peddle
Phone: 289.238.9284
Cell: 905.308.3367
laura.peddle@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 7
Central Mountain

Lillian Orban
Phone: 905.573.8181
lillian.orban@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 8
West Mountain

Wes Hicks
Phone: 905.383.2222
wes.hicks@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 11 & 12
East Stoney Creek
Ancaster
Glanbrook

Alex Johnstone
Phone: 905.515.7082
alex.johnstone@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 13
Dundas

Jessica Brennan
Message Line 905.627.3820.
jessica.brennan@hwdsb.on.ca

Ward 14 & 15
Flamborough

Karen Turkstra
Phone: 905.515.8726
karen.turkstra@hwdsb.on.ca

A view of the parking lot the City and School Board bureaucracy want to preserve (note the wide and underused street suitable for street parking)

Sanford School, street and parking

Sanford School, street and parking

 

uh-oh – Seth Godin is flatter marketing with the word “art”

I have been wanting to rant about this for a little while – as I am sure many in the arts and culture industry have – and finally seeing business author Seth Godin’s post today has inspired me to state for the interweb record that no, making something well and being clever about it DOES NOT make you an artist.

I model much of my own arts and culture marketing after Seth Godin and his vaunted teachings. He’s a marketing thought giant and well worth subscribing to. Now I understand that he has a new book, and a key part of this book is throwing the term “artist” loosely about to probably appeal to  fragile and vain egos of people in the marketing and business industry who desperately need to hear this kind of thing.  Seth sees an opportunity and develops it – I respect and admire that because that is the fundamental lesson in his  business teachings. However, this does not mean I, as a real artist, have to like this.

Art as a tired old cliché for every non-artist out there

Here is Seth’s definition of art:

“My definition of art contains three elements:

  1. Art is made by a human being.
  2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
  3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.

By my definition, most art has nothing to do with oil paint or marble. Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work”

So, with all due respect and with humour, Seth’s definition of art contains three elements:

1. That as a human being, you can make “art” by doing whatever you are doing if you just try harder. (Whatever it take to feel special, I guess)
2. There are no such things as a happy accident, experimental research or exploring process – it’s about contriving messages, short-term value and designing to reach the most people possible (Sounds like advertising, not art, to me. )
3.  That art is has more in common with a motivation poster of some mountain climber with the words “Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work”.

Why do people feel so liberated to slap the “art” and “artist” on anything with the slightest of justifications?

There are some theories about this that I have heard over the years, and I will paraphrase them for you below:

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