Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your practice.
I graduated in 2010 from the painting program at the Alberta College of Art + Design. I am currently the Administrative Director at AVALANCHE! Institute of Contemporary Art, administrator for the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation and a full time business marketing student at SAIT Polytechnic. I have shown my work both locally and nationally and maintain both a solo and collaborative practice.
Where did you study? What kind of an influence has this had on your practice?
I went to ACAD and the best part for me was sharing communal studios once you got to third and fourth year. You get to really watch how other people work and have a lot of casual conversations about ideas as they progress. I think this kind of studio structure has seeped into our post-grad life with both the Bakery and AVALANCHE! studio spaces and become a really integral part to how a lot of us work.
I also think the community formed at ACAD was incredible, we all went to Seattle in third year and funded our own trip to San Francisco after we graduated. I think being so close during ACAD has allowed us to continue collaborating on projects and supporting each other’s practices going forward.
What have you been doing since graduating?
I took the year after graduating to start up the Bakery studio spaces with Matthew Mark and Nate McLeod. We really wanted to keep the momentum from school up and for us that meant getting studio spaces and keeping that kind of community feel we had at ACAD. We started in the old Alberta Boot Factory building and had an opportunity to move to the Seafood Market studios the following summer. I was working at a modern furniture and decor store which influenced a series of work where I was examining relationships between humans and animals and the amount of material possessions people keep.
I decided to go to SAIT to take Business Administration with a focus in Marketing the following September. ACAD was amazing but I felt like I needed more experience and education to compete and gain the professional experiences I wanted. Also co-managing the studio spaces sparked an interest in business and I was bored so I started school in the Fall of 2011 and I’ll be graduating this Spring.
What struggles do you face in your practice? Do you have any insecurities while making your work?
I think everyone is insecure about their work or ideas to some extent. I feel like some of the best work I make has nothing conceptual to go with it whereas the best ideas I have don’t translate into interesting work. I also have so many unrelated ideas a lot of the time. I’ll become obsessively interested with something that has nothing to do with my practise and then a month later I’ll be really excited about something else, so I find it difficult trying to build up this consistent body of work without getting really bored and wanting to do something completely different – which probably explains the pretty radical shift this show has taken since my last show in the summer.
Do you find yourself attracted to work that is unlike yours, or work that is very similar?
Both! I love work about spaces and architecture and houses and destruction, but ultimately my favorite work is portraiture. People who can paint mega realistically just blow my mind. Artists who can paint that well and still include abstract elements in their work or create portraits in environments are my definitely my favorites!
Who are some other artists whose work you are interested in, or who have influenced your practice?
James Olley, Ben Grasso, Ehryn Torrell, Cornelia Parker, Yves Marchard & Romain Meffre, George Webber. I’m mostly really bad at falling in love with peoples work and never writing down who they are.
What music do you listen to while working in the studio, if any?
Usually just my ipod on shuffle. For “Estate Sale” I was listening to a lot of xiu xiu which is pretty dark and strange so I guess that fit with the theme of the show
What are some of your favorite things to do in Calgary? Places to eat? Way to spend a day off?
This is a hard question because I don’t really feel like I have days off. Even my days off I’m working on applications, or doing admin work for other companies – I don’t know. I eat a lot of french onion soup when I can! James Joyce has the best french onion soup, made with puff pastry. Kensington Pub is always a close second!
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
Yes! I will be showing at AVALANCHE! with Slavek Pytraczyk in April. There are some other projects in the works but nothing confirmed yet so I’ll keep those on the D-L.
Photos via Stride Gallery (Photo 1), Cassandra Paul (Photos 2-8)