If you're Canadian, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If not, I'm terribly sorry that you had to spend your teenage years without the comfort of a great public television show featuring others as zitty and angsty as yourself.
It may not sound like a winner, but it was great. Latecomers who try to get into Degrassi in their post-highschool years often don't - can't - understand the appeal. Part of the power of the show was undoubtedly the empathy it inspired in its teenaged viewers. While the premise of most television shows is based on a sort of voyeuristic longing, Degrassi was less about peering into the lives of the upper class, and more about peering into your own house. For those of us who tuned in to the CBC weekdays at 4, this series is for you.
The series is a mix of ink, graphite, acrylic gel, pastel, oil, acrylic, and collage. I was going for something that would look illustration-like and flat from a distance, but would reveal a greater complexity close up.
And my personal favourite (as a character) - Caitlin.
View of the series as installed at the Concordia University Painting and Drawing Students Association show on Crescent Street in Montreal, 2007.
What a fun medium! Seldom used because you have to make your own gesso from scratch, egg tempera is itself extremely easy to make. It is, essentially, egg yolk and dry pigment. That's it. Okay, so there are a few tricks.
Egg tempera allows for a lot of detail, and is appealing because it is extremely durable and long-lasting. One of my favourite pieces in the Musée des Beaux Arts here in Montreal is an egg tempera painting from 1410. It's a religious scene, but the red pigments in the skin have all faded, leaving only the greenish-grey underpainting. Everyone in the painting looks like a creepy space alien. The "space-alien effect" can be avoided in your own pieces by using stable pigments that won't fade over time.
"Dirt City" (above) is a personal coat of arms, a call-out to my home province with an oil-gushing sick heart over a yellow prairie, gorgeous sun and huge sky, and the Edmonton skyline in the distance. Realistically, you can't get a view like that of the city; from that distance, you would likely be standing in a suburban cul-de-sac (Edmonton has one of the lowest population densities of any city in the world, and in size is larger than Toronto).
"Noxema Girls Get Noticed" started out as a tribute to Yayoi Kusama, and ended...well, it's not quite done yet. I got off track and started thinking about the gender relations in the oil boom towns, and the syphilis outbreak in Fort McMurray and Northern Alberta. I'll re-post this when it's finished.
I'm planning on doing more with this medium because it's so wonderfully portable and easy to use. Eggs + pigment, and water to clean everything up. Easy. The fact that it dries almost instantly also makes it a nice change from those pesky oils. Though egg tempera (along with watercolour) has a bad rap because of it's association with cheesy subject matter, I think it has a lot of potential to liven up contemporary subject matter. At any rate, definitely worth continuing on with.
Ms. Guided, a feminist travel 'zine, launched issue #3 last week with a great party at the Eastern Block, and I'm honoured to be included. Just look at the thing! It's gorgeous. Perfectly bound and with a great cover illustration (in my mind I tell myself that the children are wearing orange jumpsuits because they're escaping from some sort of mad child-prison).
The inside is drool-worthy at points.
The theme was Change (,) of Course. My piece, Bearded Ladies, is about the fashion industry, which purports to "change" all the time, but in fact merely recycles the same tired looks (and ideals) over and over again. I thought it would be great if the fashion industry really did radically change for once, and bearded ladies became the next hot thing. Imagine...
Many thanks to Eliane, editor in chief, who did a fantastic job turning my image into one of those sliding-square puzzles (love it!) and all the bands who played the launch. Ms. Guided is available at select outlets around Montreal and elsewhere: check http://www.msguided.org for a full list of retailers.