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SPACES & PLACES: EXPLORING THE SYMBIOSIS BETWEEN ARTIST AND ENVIRONMENT

Updated: Feb 18

The spaces we live and work in have a social and symbolic dimension to them that exists beyond the material space and as an artist, these dimensions have a huge impact on my ability to live and work in certain spaces.


I've always admired the artists who can sit down in a buzzing coffee shop and whip out a set of travel watercolours and spend the next 3 hours creating a decent masterpiece under the watchful eyes of the baristas and other patrons.


I moved into my condo 8 years ago, and I still remember the gruelling process of shopping for the perfect place. On one hand, the excitement of finding my future home was overwhelming, but on the other hand every time I entered a condo that was seriously missing that special feeling I was looking for, it felt one step closer to hopeless. Even worse was when each time I felt I'd found the perfect space, someone else had got there just a little bit sooner.


I know that in actuality, a home is what you make it, but I also believe that the history and the past human interaction in a space influences its immaterial qualities. For me, a buzzing coffee shop is a great place for a chat with a friend, but to be in a creative mindset surrounded by others just keeps me distracted and focused on the wrong parts of my art-making process and busies me with worrying about what people are thinking. Sure, one could argue thats a me-problem, but you have to work with what you have, right?


This painting I created during a bout of artist block, sketching some new ideas and exploring abstract elements with my portraits. While there isn't a story or a reasoning behind the figure or her apparent mood, I do think there is room for you to find meaning in it yourself.


In the past few weeks I've been on a bit of a journey to uncover more about my story as an artist and what is important to me, and I've discovered that space and the places we find refuge in are really important in my work. When I paint, I pay a lot of attention to the abstract spaces my figures are situated in, and I want the dreamy aspect of their reality to come through for you as my viewer. I know that sometimes the environments don't make sense or there are parts of the picture that seem really strange, but much like the places we find ourselves in in real life, there is often so much that is unexplainable or intangible.


As a child, I remember watching this particular movie a few times (my brother loved it and he tended to be a re-watcher of the things he loved) called "Wild America." I absolutely hated this movie for one reason only. I hated the feeling it gave me when the boys in the story were lost in the middle of nowhere for a super long time. It always made me feel uncomfortable and longing for the characters to just get home safe. Looking back, it kind of makes sense because I am a homebody and I often only say yes to plans that are far away from home if I know I get to go home at the end of the day. But this brings me back to that idea of finding comfort in the spaces that are our refuge.


For me, this means filling my own spaces with paintings that I love, whether they're my own or ones I've collected from other artists. I am hanging some new works in the next few weeks, so once I get that done I will share with you what my space looks like (it is pretty kooky so get ready)!


If you also feel this intense connection to your spaces, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! In the meantime, please check out my shop for artwork to decorate YOUR special spaces!




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