Interview with ZeeBigBang Blog.

A few weeks ago I sat down with Maria de Cardenas at Navillus Gallery to talk about my recent show, “Urban/Landscapes”

The recorder was a fair distance away, the room was had some echos, so you’ll have to forgive the odd transcription error, but here is the interview:

August Round-up

Well, it looks like another month has slipped by without any updates from me. It’s not because I have nothing to report; it’s actually quite the opposite. Lots of things have been going on, and I’ve been struggling to keep up with it all.

The biggest time-sink of the past month has been the Site 3 Silent Auction, which Brad and I organized. I have never taken the lead on a big event like this, I had no idea what I was doing, but the evening turned out to be a huge success. I learned a lot, and I do see areas where we could have done things better, but we had enough redundancy built into our system that even with a few mishaps, everything still ran smoothly. The reactions I’ve seen so far have been entirely positive.

And for anyone planning on organizing a similar event, I will give you this piece of advice: fire performers at a silent auction is definitely a great idea!
Yes, we really had fire performers! I missed nearly the entire show because I was sorting and packing up items, and sorting through paper work, (the performers were a distraction for the guests while we did the behind the scenes work) but our guests seemed thrilled upon re-entering the building.

Of course, part of the reason for organizing a silent auction for artists and makers is to create an opportunity to show off my work. That means that I have to make a bunch of new stuff that fits with the show. So, on top of all the organizational stuff, I had a lot of creative “gotta make something good, and I gotta make it in time” stuff on my plate as well.

When I wasn’t planning this auction and making my own art, I was travelling up north to the top-secret lair (also known as “Brad’s house”) working on the next new-media project to be released to the world this fall. This body of work is going to be kept more hush-hush than Take a Picture (a little mystery is a good thing) but we have been releasing a few hints along the way. We’ve recorded a bunch of videos about the project and it’s construction, I’ve just has no time to edit or post any of them.

Editing video takes a long time. “One hour of editing per minute of finished video” is the expression that is often heard about editing. I am also producing the background music for the video, and that eats up even more of my time. The point I’m trying to get at can be summed up as follows: I’ve got a lot of stuff on the go right now; you just haven’t heard about any of it because we are sitting on a big stockpile of media that has yet to be released.

But it will be.


A Last-Minute Fix Before Maker Faire

One of the things I like about blogging is how it gives people a back-stage pass to the mess that is going on just out of sight to make the show possible. It allows people see just how thin that veneer of professionalism surrounding an artist really is.

I have this theory that artists actually aren’t all that weird. They are just severely sleep deprived whenever they are showing their work, because something always pops up at the last minute and requires a long night of building something so the show can happen.

I had just that experience myself at Toronto’s first Mini Maker Faire. (Really! I’m not always that twitchy, grumpy, forgetful, and out of it!)

The venue provided some interesting and unforeseen challenges for installation. Set-up went on for much longer than expected. When the project was up, I realized that our invisible paintings were being washed out, and I had to do something. I took my project down and moved to a darker spot, which was slightly better, but not perfect.

Upon returning home, I constructed some sun shades for my paintings. My words can’t properly describe the situation and my state of mind. Luckily, I made a brief video documenting the experience (and my sleep vs. caffeine levels).

Continue reading A Last-Minute Fix Before Maker Faire

Going Through Some Old Photos

I’ve been working on the CV section of the website lately.
When I started building my site 3 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing, and the result became a maintenance nightmare. Lately, I’ve been going through, and cleaning things up, and reorganising the pages.

Continue reading Going Through Some Old Photos

Just Like Old Times

I had just put in yet another 14 hour day with Brad. We were closing in on the 90 hour mark for that week, and I was worn out. After the short walk home, I stumbled through the front door, and headed straight for bed. It was nearly 4 am. My shoes were still on my feet, and I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

Around 9 am, my phone rang.
“Kyle, put together an art show for November.”
I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I crawled out of bed around noon and made my way over to the secret lab / collaborative studio (otherwise known as “Brad’s house”).
“Hmm…I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamt that I got a call from my old high school teacher, ordering me to put together an art show for Bob’s gallery. Weird.”
I checked my phone’s call history. It wasn’t a dream. I did agree to curate an art show.

Brad looked at me, “Have you ever curated a show before?”
“Do you know how to curate a show?”
“So, why did you agree to it?”
Because it’s a show!

Never turn down a show. That’s the rule. Show. Show your work. Always be ready. Be ready for three shows at once, just in case; and if you are already booked, work harder and make it work.
Continue reading Just Like Old Times

Art Toronto 2010 Review: Part 2

I think the word I should have used in the title instead of “review” was “commentary”, because that probably offers a better description of what I’m doing here. I’m recording my own, highly subjective and biased reactions to what I saw over the weekend.

This was the first time that I was able to attend the show twice. I think that made a big difference. If you are wondering how I pulled that off, how an artist can afford to go to a show like this twice, let me explain the story:

A friend of mine won a free pair of tickets.
Being a poor starving artist, nothing perks my interest like the word “free”.
I must get my own free pair of tickets…but how?
Luckily, I came across the guys at Dapper & Debonair, who were holding an Art Toronto ticket give-away contest. “Tell us why you should win tickets, and the person with the best reason will win free tickets”.
I gave them my reason, and somehow, I was lucky enough to be selected as the winner! So I had a pair of tickets.
Then, my friend’s plans fell through at the last minute, so she invited me to go along with her on Friday. That meant that I still had my tickets, so I could go again on Saturday!

This was an awesome turn of events, since a big project that I am secretly working on in the background (that I’m not allowed to tell you about yet) isn’t going nearly as well as I would like, so having something go right was a nice and much-needed boost to my morale.
Continue reading Art Toronto 2010 Review: Part 2

Art Toronto 2010 Review

I’m not sure when it happened, but the Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF) has been renamed “Art Toronto”. So instead of writing “I’m at TIAF”, people will now be typing “I’m at AT”
“At AT?”
“You’re at AT?”

The confusion will really set in when Star Wars nerds start having these conversations.
“At AT? AT-AT?, You’re a gigantic robot walking the surface of Hoth in search of rebel troops?”

Anyway, this is the event’s 11th year, and this is the 8th one that I have attended.

Before I write about my experience with this show, I want to write about my past experiences with it. (and I’m writing this part the night before seeing the show)

The first time I went I was completely blown away by the amount of art. I had never attended an art fair anywhere near that scale, and the experience was quite overwhelming, and mentally exhausting.

This was a high school school trip, so I was under strict time constraints, and had to make a certain number of notes and sketches. (Which I still have with me today) Since this experience occurred before going to University, I was still unaware of the great divide between art that gets written about by academics, and art that someone would actually want to purchase. I just saw it as art to look at, think about, and enjoy.

As time went on, and I saw more and more shows, I became more aware of the difference between blatantly commercial fine art, and the more non-commercial intellectual, academic-wet-dream art. I began checking out shows at artist run centres and non-profit art centres in the days before and after TIAF, so I could make easy comparisons between market-driven work, and the other stuff that artists are making outside of the commercial world. That doesn’t mean TIAF is blatantly commercial; this Art fair does not completely exclude some of the more conceptual work. Interesting installations line the edges of the fair.
Continue reading Art Toronto 2010 Review