September 10, 2018

A Thought or Two: Relationality in Art

I've felt this heavy shift in the last half of a year. Heavy in the good, planets shifting, mind bending kind of way.

My research and work is in relational caring, relational philosophies for working with persons with dementia. The theories resonate with me, they parallel something deep down in my psyche that I've not ever been able to put words to until now.

Relationality is how I live my life.
My relationships are a central part of my life, organically, naturally, always.
I thrive when I'm connected with others. I have a suspicion that this is how all humans thrive. So do all the relational theorists!

So how has this changed my art practice?
I still enjoy a good hours-long paint session, with good music, just me and my materials and ideas.
But I get a much bigger kick out of making art collectively, collaboratively. At work with my seniors, I work side by side or in collaboration with people all day. It's a freeing space, it lets relationships flow and grow. 

Knowing how good it feels at work to be in connection with others while making art and being creative, it made me wonder how I could translate this to my art practice. For one, I've been trying to make art with friends when we spend time together! For another, I've been re-reading all of my art school materials on relational aesthetics, thinking about how to make it a reality with my skillset.

In May I facilitated an interactive collage installation at an arts and music event. It was a total dream come true to have people come up to my collage wall, with their collage materials in hand, so excited to contribute to the collaborative collage pieces. We made 4 very colourful, bedazzled, and fascinating pieces. I loved watching people make collage decisions I never would have thought of, watching people pair things together or fold things or cut things a certain way. It was beautiful and I can still feel the high of it when I think back to the event.

I want to do this again. And again. And again. I want to make art with people indefinitely and always. It's a beautiful and healing and magical.

So, here's to relationality in art, and artwork becoming less competitive and ego driven - instead, community minded!


May 20, 2018

Sunday Diary ~ May 20, 2018

This week was full! 
Yet, I feel I just sort of glided through it without noticing the passing of time. Do you ever experience that? Weeks that you reflect on and suddenly don't remember what you did, who you saw, how you felt....

I only had work two days of the week, which likely has something to do with it. I always lose track of time if I don't have a structured schedule. I worked a day with my seniors and a day with the wedding photographer I work for. I also spent a day working on my research assistant work with a colleague, and I took a day on Monday to unwind and force myself to do a bit of "nothing", after the turbulent Mother's day weekend feels.

~ Went to my brother's high school art program graduation this week! It's the same specialized program I graduated from, and I am so proud of him and excited for his upcoming university adventures. Here's a fun compare and contrast image for you from my graduation to his.....

~ Spent an afternoon running errands with my step mom and got my new place WAY more settled feeling. Some face cloths, some throw pillows for our couch, a little adorable cabinet/cart that will soon be my art supply storage, but for now homes the record player and our modem so that they aren't just sitting on the floor in the corner! I found it at a thrift store in dire need of a hardcore scrub, but it was cheap and fully functional and worth it!

~ Cucumber Kombucha is my latest favourite flavour - this week I'm brewing up a cucumber and cilantro batch, I can't wait to see if it's as good as the cucumber alone! It's been really fun brewing kombucha these last few weeks - though I admit I'm one of those scaredy cats who constantly thinks I've managed to make mine mouldy. I never have, not yet. It's hard to do but the scoby always looks SO WEIRD that I worry anyway! Ha! Do any of you brew your own kombucha?

~ I bought a camera! And sold my old one. My aforementioned photography boss works with Canon and I've been stubbornly holding onto my Nikon for 4 years. He finally convinced me to buy his extra Canon off of him, and I found someone online who bought my Nikon for his fiancé who wants to get into blogging! I'm SO glad it's going to good creative use and staying in the blogging world ;) Haha. Be on the look out for new and excited photography adventures....

Today, I am off to the farm in the middle of the city - Riverdale Farm. I'm excited to see the baby animals that come with spring and the blooms in the ravine. Last year the entire side of the hill was covered in a carpet of tulips and it was remarkable!

Hope you are also having a great weekend - and a lovely long weekend if you get tomorrow off in your part of the world, too!


May 14, 2018

Gallery Chat: Transitions

When you open the door to the universe, welcoming change, sometimes it feels like you've opened a pandora's box and the universe begins throwing all sorts of surprises at you. Here, you want change? Have more than you asked for! You want an inch? I'll give you a whole dang mile!

Transition periods can be tumultuous and fulfilling and devastating and beautiful. Moving has been so good but also so difficult. Everything takes a little longer to do as you figure out a new space and a new routine. Everything takes a little more mental energy and I'm left feeling super exhausted all of the time. That's not to say Im not also thriving - having my own place feels amazing. I leave my door and walk down the street and just smile. It all feels like a big, full-body, full-spirit sigh of relief.

Mother's day was sort of tough. While I got to spend it with some beautiful people and celebrate some wonderful mums, my grandma was taken to hospital and things aren't looking great. Not terrible, and I'm waiting on more results before I make any mental conclusions myself, but it's a curveball nonetheless. I got home and felt OK, but also not OK. It feels as though I am in a funny tight-rope, limbo position emotionally. My room mate came home and found me fresh from a little cry prompted by not being able to open the new compost bag (but really about everything else). She promptly brought out the chocolate and made me tea and gave me the biggest hug. I'm so grateful to be living with this gal.

Spring is also in full swing - another transition period. The city is exploding with blooms and gardens are just so full of newness to explore. I thrive in this weather and this season and I'm so glad and hopeful to grow alongside all the flowers and trees, fill out this apartment and this new routine with beauty, and persist despite the growing pains of transition periods.


Eyes have always been a subject of interest to me - my high school notebooks are covered in endless sketches of eyes. All of my paints are at my parents' house still, so I had some fun trying this out on photoshop today. What do you think?


Gallery Chat is a recurring post series where words and imagery collide, sometimes unrelated but emerging from the same mind in the same place in time nonetheless. In this series I explore topics and ideas that are on my mind as well as my more recent art works that I want to share with you on House of Ell.