5 studies of my neighbourhood park

It is quite a boring and unspectacular park. As such, I thought it was very suitable as a challenging exercise for practicing my photography and refining my collage ambitions. This was back in 2011-12.

In addition to the ambitiously named Woodlands Park (a “gift” from a manufacturing corporation that has since abandoned the community for greener pastures) is the vacant Westinghouse Building. A favourite locale of movie productions and idling cops cars.

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Churches of the body

As part of my graduate studies, I’ve been reading a lot of philosophy concerning the mentalistic, the internal, and the imaginative simulation of realities as a way of explaining the way we think about reality (Chomsky, Goldman, Descartes for example).

It bothers me to consider the notion that we live in the very top of the inside of head, and arguments of the divine existence of another mind, and thus of the divinity of ourselves by virtue of recognizing this, is a way to keep us safely separated from the rest of our beastly body.

So as a counter reaction I dug up some fun collage work from messing around with some apps and pictures from my phone. These are kind of Churches to the body, and not the divine. They are not devoid of morality or guidance, but structures we’ve built ourselves, with our own hands, and determined our own ceremonies as research into meaning. I beleive we understand the world around us through our full selves, and we are connected to the world around us in ways we don’t yet understand. You could rightfully consider these as shrines to Carl Sagan ūüėČ

(These look kinda obscene, I know, but there are actually just very ordinary body parts suitable for public display…)

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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 Refus√©s” 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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Another X composition to mark a spot

Sanford Avenue School with X and R and Andreanne

Sanford Avenue School with X and R and Andreanne

My Montreal artist friend, Andreanne, told me my recent photo collage artwork gives her a “headache” when she looks at it. She also introduced me to her roommate as a “really good drawer”.

I get the sense she doesn’t prefer most of my work.

That’s ok, because she gave me feedback, and she doesn’t pussyfoot around – that’s all an artist can ask. I also kind of like the idea of my work giving someone a headache. That’s more powerful and tricky to do than perhaps making someone coo with how pretty a work is ūüėČ

I also don’t mind criticism from Andreanne because she shows up to my exhibit anyways – and offers to help with any art installation or performance going on. Again, what more could you ask for?

So I got her help with another “Landscape with X” work – this time at a demolition site of a heritage building in my neighbourhood. I have a series of paintings I finished with the letter “R” repeated in it (sort of a reference for corporate involvement in my subject matter). So I used that in this work with Andreanne holding a piece of paper and I used my pocket projector, on site and at night. I think it turned out really well, and it gives me a little thrill inside that I had an artist who is not crazy about this work participate in helping to create it. Hopefully, someday this will be an interesting footnote in an art history textbook – because when you’ve involved two artists, you’ve doubled your chances of this happening.