Arctic Hare Scullcap

Q. How would you describe your studio practice?

A. If it’s been a while since I’ve been in the studio then I usually take a bit of time going through different books/magazines and/or image hunting. I’ll read up on some favourites for example, Joseph Cornell. (I know nearly everything about him ever written almost by heart.) I have stacks of old books and magazines which I will flip through quickly stopping to cut or pull out something that catches my eye. I also make lists of words or phrases that have popped into my head which I need to write down before I forget them. The phrase “all of us are done for” came along almost simultaneously with the image of pianos falling from the sky, hence the drawing that followed nearly six months later. Serious Trouble Will Pass You By was taken from a fortune cookie message…. Once I’m in the studio, I pull out all my of my papers and organize them. Then I organize the oil paint. Then I organize all of my different inks. I make sure the brushes are clean and then
I start sketches.

Arctic Fox Hood

Q. What inspires you to make the work you make?

A. I am an obsessive collector of images with a million tiny stories to tell. If I hadn’t gone into fine arts I would probably be a writer, which I am but but very secretly, very quietly which is also how the art comes about. Vast worlds and lives and complex existences exist all within the confines of my scull and if given the choice between a gregarious situation or an isolated one, I would likely take the isolated version. Due to the dreamlike qualities of my inspirations my work sometimes has a tendency to reveal itself as a tad surreal which is probably why I admire the works of artists like Joseph Cornell, Yves Tanguy, Henry Darger, Hana Hoche, Hans Belmer and Max Ernst many of whom held their enormous talents to themselves before anyone ever even clued in… I like that about them. I inspire myself for the most part, by the life that was mine, by the life that is mine, by that the life that will be mine… that and renaissance portraiture and
Russian architecture. (pre Soviet Union of course.)

Q. How would you describe the physical nature of your work?

A. I draw. First and foremost. That is what I’m best at. Printmaking was a natural fit for me because it involved drawing but even more so printmaking is about process and patience. Anyone can make prints but to be truly good at it one must be dedicated to it’s processes and the meticulous attention to all of its details. Grinding your own stones until they are perfectly flat, beveling your own plates, the strength of the acid baths, the consistency of the inks, the way you roll on your ink, the way you wipe it down, the proofing, the long process of printing an edition to perfection entirely by hand. I could go on forever. Now I work mainly with oil, graphite, charcoal and inks on papers that have been primed and sometimes mounted onto canvas or board. Sometimes I work on a primed base of plaster, usually when I am working elements of painting into my drawings which I sometimes do to loosen things up a bit. Sometimes I use collage. Characteristically, I
work very tight. I work like a printmaker. Every now and then I’ll veer off into 3 dimensional work but that’s a whole different answer for a whole different interview.

Q. What recent work are you the most happy with?

A. I’m working on a new series that is almost on the verge of painting but is still clearly drawing. I call it “The armoured girls series” only because I can’t think of anything better right now. I’ve been interested in Renaissance portraiture lately and that seems to be playing a large part so far… I haven’t uploaded any to my website yet with the exception of a very small sketch of a young girl in armour which has already been taken away for a silent auction that is happening in June. I’ve alsoPolar Bear Hood just been recently published in Creative Quarterly Journal of Art and Design, a lovely little magazine out of Brooklyn, New York. They gave “Serious Trouble Will Pass You By” a silver medal for which I am very glad.

Q. Any upcoming shows?

A. As I mentioned earlier I’ll have a very small sketch in the Unite With Art, Unite with Children against Aids campaign’s silent auction in June. After that I will be a part of the Drawn Festival at ON MAIN. Fellow artist and friend Rosanne Bennett and I will be collaborating on a drawing installation which will run the duration of the festival which opens July 17th 2010.