New! New! New!
I’ve started to post on tumblr as Private Spectacle Press. I’m finding it a bit easier to keep myself updating using tumblr and connecting to folks. I’m still going to maintain this blog since I’ve put so much heart into it already, but the PSP tumblr will be seeing more action than this space, so give me a follow if you’re already a tumblr addict! (Not too late to become one btw…)
I have a new shop up as well, where you can buy some of my zines, comics, books and prints. I’m planning on adding many more items to it in the coming month, including my new comic, Last Playlist. I just posted my latest linocut print, a No Junk Mail sign to detract those useless flyers and real estate broker business cards from accumulating in your mail box.
Last week I came back from a spectacular week-long residency at Spark Box Studio, run by Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping in Picton, ON. I was a lucky recipient of one of their Emerging Artist Residency Awards and I was so excited to see what the week would have in store for me. I documented my process of making a four colour reduction linocut, so this post is pretty image heavy. I’ll keep the commentary light and let the pictures tell most of the story:
Here’s my little work space. Each artist at Spark Box gets a private studio space and bedroom, but Chrissy and Kyle are open to artists claiming their own work space in the print shop or house. I picked this sunny corner in the print shop. The counters were too low to sit with a stool and too high for a chair so I improvised.
The shadow puppet show put on by Small Pond Arts was so impressive and inspiring. I would love to work on one of these some day. It featured shadow puppets and shadow actors and was narrated by a very engaging storyteller (standing on the left).
I ended up with an edition of ten, plus about 15 artist proofs. I kept a few of the bad prints and ripped up the really bad ones. It felt kind of crazy but also very cathartic! I think it’s really easy for artists to have a tendency to hoard and lately I’ve been trying hard to resist the impulse to hold on to everything.
Many thanks to Chrissy and Kyle for providing me with this amazing opportunity to relax, create and learn!
Spring is here, more or less, and just like nature, I’m busy make, make, making things!
Here’s some tiny linos for your eyeballs. I made them for a new poetry/image zine I launched at the Kazoo Print Expo in Guelph last weekend. Each linocut is just under 4 x 3 inches. In making these, I was challenging myself to see how much I could do in such a small space… the polar opposite of my last self-challenge, which was to make my largest linocut yet.
This weekend I’m preparing, with extreme excitement somewhat in check, for my upcoming residency at Spark Box Studio in Picton, ON. I’m very happy to be a recipient of one of their Emerging Artist Residency Awards which means I get to spend one week in their awesome print studio and stay in their beautiful home! I encourage you all to check out their website which has tons of great info and resources about building your art career, whatever stage you may be at.
For the residency, I hope to complete my first ever color reduction lino (always need a new mountain to climb!). In a color reduction print, you use the same piece of lino for all of the colours/layers. First you crave away everything that will be the color of the paper, print the first color, carve away what you want to keep the first colour, print again, etc. If that sounds confusing, it is! I’m working on separating out the colours now and it is breaking my brain just a little bit. Wait, I think that’s called learning.
Yesterday, the boyfriend and I went for a walk to the library and I saw crocus blooming everywhere and even a few daffodils! If you’re in a part of the world experiencing spring, I encourage you to put on something waterproof and go seek out these first bursts of living color! It’s a great way to bring a smile to your face to replace your winter scowl.
Happy New Year to all! Here’s a peek at a print I’ve been working on for the past few weeks.
Only one more sleep until Toronto’s all night art event Nuit Blanche! Despite the unfortunate corporatization of this event over the years, I still get giddy seeing the city transformed into an open art forum for one crazy night. Mobs of art-hungry citizens fill the streets, exploring unknown alleys, basement and other crannies that otherwise go unnoticed. The fact that it happens until 5 in the morning adds to the carnivalesque surrealness of it all. This is the first year that I will be taking part in the festivities and I am SO HAPPY about it. Here’s what’s up:
I’m starting the night right in the East end of town. My pal Stefan Berg has curated an awesome pop-up show of over 25 artists at a warehouse space at 138 Main Street (at Gerrard). The Closing Reception is from 7 to 9pm (RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org to add your name on the guest list) and will feature local live music (There is also an open house during the day from 11 to 3, also with music). I made my biggest linocut ever for this show: 18×24″ block. There were definitely some difficult moments (tears) but I’m really happy with the final result. I got to play a lot with pattern and movement (and narrative as usual). Here’s a little detail:
As the night moves on, I’ll be taking part in Redhead Gallery’s Insomnia (Redux) event. Redhead has asked members of the public to contribute a two-dimensional something (old photo, painting, magazine page, found image, whatever)($25 submission fee required) that will be hung in the gallery during NB and remixed by the participating artists. I’m collecting some really great collage materials to bring with me! The contributor of the original piece will have the option to keep the new, remixed work of art or have it sold and collect the profit$. I will be collaging and drawing it up from 10-11pm (and maybe longer) if you want to see me at work. Redhead Gallery is located in Suite 115 on the ground floor of 401 Richmond. There will be plenty going on at 401 so be sure to make it a part of your Nuit Blanche circuit!
After some exploring of my own, I will be heading over to the Gladstone Hotel for the Madeline Colelctive’s 12 Hr. Zine Machine event. Between 2-3am, I will be working my buns off with Aviva, Jess and Melody from Static Zine to produce a zine in one hour based on ideas contributed by the audience.
Here’s the cover I drew for our zine! (We were asked to make in advance/No, I don’t have a time machine)
I love that both of these events require spur of the moment inspiration and the involvement of the audience. To me, the whole point of Nuit Blanche is to provide opportunities for interaction between “artists” and “non-artists” (false dichotomy, everyone is an artist). I wish there was more hands-on involvement from the audience, but seeing as how the audience of this event has grown to fantastical proportions, I can see how, from an organizer’s standpoint, it makes sense to limit the pool of contributors.
Whatever criticism might be lobbed against this event, I still remember the magic of my first year and it seems every year, wether I’ve scour the city til the wee hours of morning or limit my explorations to 1 hour in 3 square blocks, I experience something that inspires me for years to come. Here’s one of my favourite memories from of this event.
A beautiful installation where audience members activated the sculture by placing any music playing device (mp3 players and music-playing phones) over the small silver discs at the edge of the podium (seen in the bottom right corner of the image below) and the sound was amplified and played out of one of the trumpet-like protrusions. The magic of this piece was how interactive it was and how each person could bring their own personal meaning to it (by contributing music that was personally significant to them) and how these meanings combined to form something else. It was interactive, but a lot more personally interactive than many interactive installations I’ve seen at Nuit Blanche of the “walk by a sensor and the light show will change” variety. I played some Leonard Cohen and Edith Piaf’s “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien”, which was chilling projected loud and warbled across the CAMH grounds.
Image courtesy of Everyspoon‘s flickr
I’m back from Alaskaland and ready to share some news with you!
For the month of August, I will have some prints from my books on display as part of an excellent printmaking exhibition called Cut.Ink.Press. There’s a great group of artists involved so if you’re in Toronto, make sure to check it out. The show will be at Jetfuel Coffee, 519 Parliament St, from August 2nd to 31st. The opening is tomorrow, August 2nd, at 9pm. Come out for a beer or a snack or just to eyeball some fine prints (if the first two are not motivation enough). I will also have some copies of Back + Forth and Boom Boom Boom available for sale during the exhibition.
In other news, Kate from the Porcupine’s Quill did a wonderful review of Back + Forth and my pal Megan’s book Wanderlust on the PQL blog. I really enjoyed reading her interpretation and I hope you will too! Leave a comment on her post and you have a chance to win a copy of one of the books! Sweet!
Here is a little look at a copy of Boom Boom Boom. I sold out of the copies I had ready for TCAF but there are many left to bind. I’m going to have busy hands for the next few weeks!
Japanese Stab Binding with a hinged hardcover
Title and endpages
An image from my story Wild Seed
Back cover 🙂
Meanwhile, in the studio…
Studio work is always made happier with a robust selection of snacks!
TCAF is only a few days away and I am hustling to prepare my latest project for the viewing (and purchasing) pleasure of Toronto’s comic-loving masses. Here’s a preview of what is to come:
Boom Boom Boom is an anthology of woodcut and linocut stories about SEX. The artists involved are Stefan Berg, Dmitry Bondarenko, Colin Rogers, Megan Speers, Rihkee Strap, George Walker and myself. I am also the editor and bookbinder of the anthology. The book was printed on the risograph by Colour Code Printing. I am so happy with the results! It has been such a pleasure watching this book come together. I can’t wait to see it completed and in the hands of readers!
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is this weekend at the Reference Library and is totally free to attend. Come visit me on the second floor at booth 258!