The Annual at the Gladstone

I had the pleasure to participate in a group show titled The Annual at the Gladstone this past October. The show was curated by Deborah Wang and Noa Bronstein and the experience pushed me to create something that was slightly beyond what I thought I could do. Also, it was a neat sync to be able to show with Tara Bursey who gave me space to make a debut of sorts a few years ago.

For this show, I allowed myself to indulge my fascination with the creative process. I find myself thinking about it often; what creativity means, how it manifests and sometimes I try to wrap my heart and mind around why it exists. This show was a great opportunity to dig into other people's creative processes, which I might be even more fascinated with than creativity itself. I chose a few dozen creative people in my life and asked them questions about how they unwind. More and more, I see the value of rest in nourishing my own creativity and I wanted to understand how other people—real people who I'm lucky to associate with—factor downtime into their lives. Specifically, I wanted to know what they did to recharge. Initially, I was only interested in folks who made a living off their creativity. But, I realized that this was too narrow a focus as so many of my favourite artists (and people) need to work a day job to keep doing their creative work. I ended up with a mix of artists with day jobs, full-time artists, photographers, yoga teachers, photo editors, designers, writers, editors and illustrators. What I found most compelling is that it really didn't matter what people did to unwind, just that they did it. For some folks, it was an act, like playing weekly soccer, whereas for others, it was visiting a place, like a park. Often, people were alone when they did their thing that refreshed them, but just as often they were with others. Almost everyone did something that they found meditative and allowed them space to breathe a little deeper.

Using my findings I wrote the following statement that guided my work:
The Preservation Series depicts distilled acts of recharging and refueling as culled from interviews with more than a dozen local artists, filmmakers, photographers, editors, writers and designers. These sometimes private, often repetitive and usually meditative escapes are shown via delicate, ephemeral paper sculptures. The sculptures live in antique mason jars that magnify the importance of these seemingly mundane acts of reflection and repose.
My talented and beautiful friend Natalie Castellino took photos of the show. Thank you to Natalie for giving me the only photos of my work (so far) that I'm genuinely happy with.


Couch Potatoes for MoneySense Magazine

Sometimes, I lead a silly and wonderful life. Last month, part of my job involved discussing, thinking about and making a paper potato for the January/February issue of MoneySense Magazine. MoneySense recommends an investing strategy called couch potato investing (also called index or passive investing). The author of the article, Dan Bortolotti explains that "you simply choose a blend of stocks and bonds suited to your personal goals, and rebalance the portfolio back to those targets about once a year."  

Having thought way too much about this, I think there's something quite lovely about the process of couch potato investing: one needs to trust initial decisions, have some inkling that everything will work out for the best and essentially, stop being neurotic.

Dan outlines the various hurdles a couch potato investor faces, which are mainly psychological. There was a legacy of a potato character from a previous issue and I was asked to re-imagine that character. I named him Franklin (true design nerds will know why) and I was really surprised how much he was able to express! I think he's quite cute, but still a bit macabre, as my style tends to be.

Once the effervescent Ronit Novak shot Franklin emoting, I made some whimsical photo collages, depicting the various challenges an investor faces. I also designed the layout, which was really fun to do.

The series was art directed by the hilarious John Montgomery. John has more energy in his little finger than I have on my best days! It was a joy to talk potatoes with him for a couple of weeks.

Silly and wonderful life, yes?