I grew up in a small town in Canada, in the days of the internet just beginning to come to life as I graduated high school. Well before things like Instagram or Facebook or other social media sharing platforms. Being constrained to a small town with no way to see other art other than the kind of art that you usually get in a small town, it was hard to see where I could go with my work. Luckily, I stayed true to myself and created what interested me, even though I was never exposed to the kind of work I liked.
I think that this was one of the many reasons that for my current show, I wanted to show somewhere a little different. Up until now, all of my shows have been in big cities like Vancouver and Los Angeles. I know that today, people living and growing up in smaller towns do have an easy way to be exposed to art they like via the internet. But I still wanted to bring my art directly to people that maybe wouldn't necessarily get to see it in person. Almost a little shout out to my younger self.
(Some amazing and gruesome fan art from Eva!)
A few years ago, I was lucky to work with Chris Millin with Crows Toes Quarterly. Crows Toes is children's literature paired with artwork by many talented artists from around the world. Not too long ago, Chris moved to the Okanagan and took over St Germain Gallery. He has been working tirelessly to bring unique art into Penticton and open the viewers eyes to a type of work that they wouldn't necessarily see there. Chris gave me the opportunity to show my work in his gallery this summer. I was a mix of excitement and nerves. I love the Okanagan and definitely try to take any opportunity that I can to spend some time out there. But I was also worried about what people there would think of my work? I didn't want to change my work to what I didn't want it to be to cater to a different crowd, but I was also afraid of terrifying people with what I find to be beautiful. In the end, I realized that I didn't want to be lead away from my own creative voice and I can't define my own creativity in terms of someone else's opinion. So, I decided to take a risk, be true to what I wanted to make, and see what happened. Everyone ended up loving the work that I created for this series. And the more important thing, I ended up creating a body of work that I loved.
In my last post about The Artist's way, I talked about artist dates and how important that I think they are to opening up your imagination and trying new things. A lot of times, you will try something different, but maybe you won't see the results right away, and that is okay. Usually it is in retrospect that you can look back and see where a new idea started from. Last year I treated myself and went to Science World for the Body Worlds Animal Inside Out Exhibit. I went with sketchbook in hand, no plans for it to turn into anything other than to practice drawing something that interested me. Months later, some of that I saw from that exhibit had warped itself around in my mind, and started to come out in my drawings. I begun slicing animals in half. Instead of bones and guts, I filled them with other animals, berries, nests and more. I let my mind run wild and created surreal images from my imagination. It is interesting looking back that I didn't see this connection at the time. It wasn't until the body of work was complete that I realized what created that spark. Not all new things you try will lead into something else. But by NOT trying new things, you will never get the chance to find out what will.
A big thanks to everyone that made it out, Chris and all the staff at Saint Germain, and Kristian Adam for showing some pieces in my exhibit as well! Also The Penticton Western News for the nice little write up which you can read HERE.