I just received some exciting news! In late 2011, I applied for a public art project in Banff and then kind of forgot about it as I hadn’t received any news from them after sending my application off. So you can imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail last week that my piece, Love Is Touching Souls, was selected and will be shown on the exterior wall of the Banff Town Hall, for 18 months for some time in 2014-2015. I’m very excited as I had such a great time at the Banff Centre in early 2011 on the What’s Love Got To Do With It residency, that it’s nice to be able to give something back to the town of Banff.
A reproduction of my piece will be shown on the exterior of the building at approximately 8 x 10 feet. This will be my first public art piece and I’m very excited to be a part of this and hope to be able to go for the unveiling next year. It’s not until at least next year, but I wanted to share the news and I’ll post more updates as I receive them.
In other news, my pretty boys kill me artist books are now available for sale at Project Space in Vancouver. They also have kept my The Way We Were postcard sets for sale, from their Art Market in December, so both of these are now available in their gallery/shop.
Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who has been so supportive of my Indiegogo campaign. Thank you for the contributions, sharing the link and spreading the word. I’ve still got just over 30 days to go!
So the idea for this series of drawings, pretty boys kill me, came to me while I was on my residency at Ox-Bow last fall. It was a bit of a light bulb over the head moment. I had been working on these patterned fabric scans and digitally overlaying text and I wanted to somehow do the same thing but carry it into my own practice of portraiture. But not just any portraits – I wanted to do portraits of pretty boys as a female artist, as they have mostly been subjects of male artists in the past. At first I thought about doing small paintings and creating a digital pattern from scans of the paintings, but that wasn’t enough. It didn’t have enough of an impact and wasn’t getting my idea across. And then, in my head, I thought to myself, “pretty boys kill me”, and that was that. I knew where this project was going. And like my past works, I mined my personal experiences for inspiration, combined with my interest in pop culture media.
Now this work wouldn’t be very me without my own personal spin on things, so the images from this series will be overlaid with subtle text taken from e-mails, chats and texts from past long distance relationships, examining how words are used in communicating desire, wavering between lovingly sentimental and overtly sexual. The gender of the speaker will not always be clear. The text is actually erased from the drawing, created through the negative space left over.
With the two different types of texts being exchanged, I envision the works being read in pairs – going back and forth between the loving and sexual. Both types are somewhat cliché words that we are taught communicate love/sex/desire through popular media, especially in songs and movies. The contrasting forms on the one hand compliment each other, but on the other hand, read almost as a lack of communication. The exchange of this type of text, in short bursts, is representative of the digital age. Letter writing gave way to e-mails and internet chat, which happened to coincide with my teenage years and is perhaps why I understand the communicating of desire through text in this way. Desire conveyed in just a few words – short enough to send in a quick text message.
So that’s a little bit more information about the concept behind this series, which I will be working on during my residency in Reykjavik. That and oh, pretty boys do kill me.
In my next blog post, I’ll talk a bit more about who these pretty boys are and show you some of my inspirations.
Earlier this summer, I was gifted a found photograph. It was a lovely group portrait of Québécois tourists in the Rocky Mountains. I’m assuming it was taken in Alberta (I can’t identify the exact mountain), and I’m not sure when the photo dates from, but I’m guessing sometime in the early 1960s perhaps. There are so many things I love about this photo, from the crazy patterns in their polyester outfits to the faded yet saturated colours that you get with photos from this period to the outlandishly tall tour guide on the far left. There is so much to look at in this photo, and it also related to some of my previous work, aesthetically and thematically. I knew that I wanted to make some art out of the photograph, but I wanted to work out a way that I could do so without revealing all the people’s faces.
I thought about it for a while, as I brought the photo with me to Ox-Bow, knowing I was going to do something with it. I had it pinned up on the wall in my studio, greeting me each morning. I knew I wanted to somehow carry on the theme of love, from the Banff residency I attended earlier this year, as it seemed to fit with the subjects in the photograph. And then the idea came to me, while listening to Joni Mitchell’s song, “A Case of You” on repeat one day at my desk. I scribbled out the lyric, “Love is touching souls,” and started working on my laptop on a scan that I made of the photograph. And here is what I ended up with:
I only realized recently, while going through old files on my computer, that the background that I used in my painting, “Wish you were here! (Family 2)” of the snowy mountains was from a photograph of Banff that I found online. I had always thought that the original reference photo was from somewhere in the Alps, so it was funny to realize that I had painted Banff in one of my paintings, about family and love no less, before actually going there this year for my residency.