Tuesday July 20th 2021
First time in new house: weird at first, overwhelming, too many feelings to even discern what i was feeling, then ACTIVE trying to outfit it scavenging beds from my dads finding dishes a few random chairs. And then my friends were there and it was perfect and beautiful and it was mine and my heard was exploding. And then the friends leave and it's just me and him and it turns out he's a garden boy and the garden is glorious and we are just there making breakfast talking about flowers looking at the ocean and it hits me we are attempting the life of retirees. It's ok, I think to myself, we're weird, not boring. And I never wanted to leave but we had to do and we close it up and get in the car and when we get back to my house i remember that i love my house in the city and the neighbourhood and the feeling of city and I am so happy to still have my place. And then the next morning the letter from landlord saying that no, nick is not allowed to move in and I am ANGRY and worried my plans aren't going to work out but i talk on the phone to different people, dad hannah etc and they remind me everything is going to be fine and I dont have to move out of my apartment right away and we will air bnb the new house and figure it out. On the phone to Hannah I tell her something I've been trying to express, something i want to say sensitively, which is that the overwhelming happiness and gratitude i feel in the house makes me sad, because i want everyone to have this feeling, and so few of my friends will. Everyone should have that feeling. The feeling of lying on the grass, thinking "this is mine" not so much in a feeling of land ownership but a feeling that no one can tell me what to do here, no one can take this away from me. Though truthfully my predictions for the future run towards the anarchistic and if in 30 years a huge upheaval in radical indigenous sovereignty involves forcibly taking land from settlers I won't be shocked. Until then, i will approach this experience with as much gratitude and generosity as I can muster, I will let people stay there, i will invite people to stay with me, i will try to make the best art I possibly can in that weird little basement. I will be friendly to my neighbours, I will be warm and welcoming to my dad, I will let my sister use the house as much as she needs.
trying to build this huge wire sculpture. thinking of moreau and paintings of all those weird arch structures with mythic figures at the base. that's what i want to make, i dont know if i'll have time. i know that if i keep wrapping wire whenever i have the chance i can get it done. a lot of people dont really understand how much work it takes to make my work. thats ok, usually, but these days it annoys me because no one realizes that 2 months is a criminally short amount of time to make a solo exhibition. but i can do it. i know i can.
Wednesday July 14 2021
OOPS i let 3 months pass. what happened? world opened back up, projects started again, more working at the stupid gallery, i think i felt like this project was lame and wasn't really doing much for me and that I was essentially a fairly uninteresting person. But now i have this writing voice in my head again and I'm reading books i think i could write and there's stories building up in my head and i dont really feel GOOD these days like the part of my brain that sometimes feels strong and smart feels weak and out of shape. there are things that i want that are within reach right now and my privilege is STAGGERING and I am buying a house and i am a colonizer and my general stance that "i never claimed to have radical politics so don't come for me" feels like a weak defence these days. seeing the story post about even the DESIRE to own land is colonial and being very realistic (privately) about that fact that my existence is colonial, and my organism is programmed to protect and defend itself and to find the best possible situation and environment in which to exist. we are self serving organisms!!! if you were born poor you are ENTITLED to radical politics, they are yours they belong to you, you can embody them truthfully and honestly because to want what's best for the poor is to want whats best for YOURSELF. if you are born into generational wealth you are lying if you say you want what's best for the poor. you are lying, because you are not handing it over, you are not inviting the homeless to sleep in your bed, you cannot give back what's been given to you. deep in your heart you want whats best for 1. yourself 2. your family 3. your friends and the people around you and maaaaaayyyybbeeeee 4. the destitute in your immediate surroundings. YOU CANNOT SOLVE GLOBAL INEQUALITY YOU PROBABLY CANNOT EVEN HELP A TINY BIT. when the revolution comes they will come for YOU, you will not be spared because of gofundme's you posted or infographics you shared. they will take your house and they will hurt your family because of things your ancestors did. how many generations deep do you need to be to call something your ancestral lands. i have always been on the wrong side of history. on the edge of the rich neighbourhood across the street from the reservation. at the private school vying for power with the popular girls. gentrifying the other side of town with art spaces that made people feel unwelcome and uncool. the overpriced art school in california. the overpriced apartment on commercial drive. all of these factors that gave me a leg up but i still dont really seem to be winning. dating my friends ex. avoiding my best friend. i might have bed bugs and i haven't told anyone, not even the person who sleeps in my bed and is planning to move in. not even the people who come visit me, inside my house, sitting on my couch with piles of fabric everywhere. currently that's my worst secret. because it is so immediate and real, and because my friends will be genuinely angry with me if/when they find out. avoiding a problem until it either goes away or becomes so real it cannot be ignored. it works when you're younger, when your family can bail you out, when people look after you. it's going to stop working, im going to have to deal with my problems, i'm going to have to tell the truth to myself and other people. something tells me that everything is about to change.
Wednesday March 24
Well ok applied for a grant applied for a residency have a job still making art got a sweet cutie so i guess everything is fine, deeply bored and restless but have learned that it's sort of a productive state. Part of my personality has shrivelled and atrophied but does the party girl really need to come with me through this new world? She might.
Scared of the internet scared to be left behind. Scared to be out of touch, not so much of getting old but scared that my worldview shrinks when I stay in this familiar place. So the fear turns me to the online and i lurk and i creep and maybe i learn something but what I learn never really feels very good.
Maybe this staying home time is almost over and maybe there is travel coming up.
Spent the day yesterday painting white walls white "sorry that's the wrong white can you do this room again?" texting with my group chat trashing more successful artists like "i think shes just a socialite with basic painting skills" while i pick chunks of dried wet paint off the blindingly white walls my vision blurs like when the camera can't focus. Got white paint on my best black sweatshirt i forgot to turn it inside out.
Trying to defend myself in the car with my coworkers on the way home "i know i don't exude hard workingness at work but i swear i can work really hard" when the conversation turns to how testosterone makes effort feel good.
Wednesday Jan 13 2021
Thursday January 28 2021
these 4 walls are warping deforming and im making patterns just to watch them unravel
sometimes this vertigo feels kinda good
is this expansion growth or an overflow
this old house is warping deforming and im building patterns just to feel it unravel
sometimes this waterfall feels kinda bad
is this attention love or a smothering
this old house is bending and breaking and im mixing colours just to watch them unravel
sometimes this overflow feels pretty warm
is this exercise pain or a punishment
these 2 hands are bending and breaking and im mixing patterns just to see them dissolve
one time this waterfall felt like a plan
is this expansion pain or a smothering
these 2 plans are warping deforming and im making colours just to feel them evolve
one time that water thing looked kinda good
was the overflow really an accident
Wednesday January 27 2021
These flies dude!! they are everywhere
lately when i smoke weed i feel good for a minute and then i am overcome with feelings of pure terror that everything is fucked and all the things i'm afraid of are going to come true and everything becomes ominuous the flies are a menace the faucet is dripping there is junk everywhere the night creeps
then i run inside to my phone like a life raft and pray that someone needs my attention
then i broooooowse and fuck around
pick a path through it and just follow it see who knows who
its like socializing except you're just a weird creep who knows way too much about a bunch of strangers
so entertaining though
the group chat a godsend
chatty angels dropping tidbits of their beautiful views
barely clinging on to the january wagon
i want to make it through february with the organized notebook style of life
this thing becoming useful
something about the terror of it being "discoverable" makes it a more interesting activity
it's a weird thing to write TO
ok the other thing that happens after i smoke weed is that i become shakey and trembly and my hands get freezing cold and i have to like have a shower or bath or something
thats probably not good
Tuesday January 26 2021
oops i fell off the blog wagon already
wrote a poem on instagram maybe the worst place to do it
trying to be more courageous in general about everything ie dont be scared
i think its ok to feel a little embarrassed
sold all the watercolours! too cheap maybe but whatever now my friends have them
i have a bit of a fly problem in my kitchen i swear they keep doubling everytime i go back in
this too is going in a strange direction
Thursday January 21 2021
getting lazy with this writing business already. trying to quit weed again couldnt make it ONE day? disapointing. got obsessed with listening to my own voice on that podcast, couldnt bleieve that i didnt hate it more. tracking everything in new planner, feeling very january. SO sunny out the last few days but snow is coming. house is dirrrtyyyyyyyyy all the time getting cluttered will have do big clean. got some new airbrush containers in the mail might spray on top of weird seal drawing. feeling not necessarily happy but everything is fine. i think paths are opening that will bloom in spring. would like to go on a big nature adventure, doing car updates to get it nice and reliable. bought some cd's for car so that i can stop looking at my phone in there. want to sell watercolours on ig but it makes me nervous and im afraid no one will want them or that i dont want to be someone annoying who posts so much but it would be such a good feeling to earn some money from the dang art.
I'm going to be on a podcast in a few hours and im nervous so im going to write my truly honest answers here but i'll probably say something much more normal and polite in the actual thing.
How the two of you started collaborating – maybe this is a place to briefly describe the show.
we were a few years apart at emily carr, like i don't think we were ever there at the same time, but we had some friends in common, from the "scene" or whatever. i had been away for a few years at grad school and a residency and had recently moved back to vancouver and was trying to figure out my next move. i think i was at a party whining to marisa like "no one wants to show my art here i guess i'll have to move to berlin like all my friends from school did" and maybe that planted the seed? we also went on a weird road trip to olympia together with marisa's band and our other friend olivia and i came becausae i was bored and they wanted someone to drive the car through the border who wasn't playing any illegal shows in the US. one day marisa came over for a studio visit and asked if i wanted to do the polygon show with her. i was like yes of COURSE i want to do that bc i had zero other opportunities except for like, making installations in under construction houses or having a show in my friends shed. when we first started talking about it we thought it would be fun to actually make some pieces together, but it proved logistically really hard as we're both pretty busy and finding time to actually be in the studio together seemed disruptive to our respective studio flows, so the form the collaboration ended up taking was that we were basically collaborating on an exhibition together. we stayed in really close contact while we were working, doing lots of writing back and forth and keeping the flow of images going, especially during lockdown when studio visits weren't really ideal. so i think that though we both made individual art works, the works grew out of conversations we were having and there was this back and forth of ideas as the works were getting developed.
What it means to be a millennial artist, and how the peculiarities of our generation might factor, visibly or conceptually, into work.
right now the most obvious quirk about our generation of artists is the seemingly complete takeover of visual culture by social media platforms. though it's been ramping up for almost a decade, the way that its accelerated in the past couple of years makes it feel like it somehow happened without us really noticing. it's confusing as an artist, because personally i've been putting art online since i was a teenager, on blogspots and tumblrs and various other platforms, and I've always gotten a lot of satisfaction from that process, because i make work in order to communicate ideas, and there's no communication if the art is just sitting in the studio unseen. recently tho it has started to feel a little more sinister, as we see these tech company emerging as world powers, and the realization that the algorithms that control what we see in the feeds are a kind of AI, handing over your sacred and personal art works to these forces can be a very psychologically taxing experience. i think we're also seeing this kind of mashing up of aesthetics, as people scroll through endless images, sometimes it feels like we're not even fully aware of what ideas are getting through and who exactly is influencing aesthetic decisions. part of that is what we were trying to access in this show, like when you are just swimming through digital photographs all day, what happens to your brain, and what happens to your output. like its not uncommon to dream about an image you saw online, which means that these things are truly entering your psyche, in a way that i like to visualize as a kind of wallpaper on the structures of your mind. and when you fill your feed with aesthetics you admire or aspire to, how do those ideas leak out in your own work, and how many people are looking at the same images, and how are our ideas flowing back and forth as peers, and do we feel a sense of ownership over our own aesthetic, even if it's just been collaged from a conglomerate of sources. so with this show i think we just tried to open the floodgates between our two practices and really encourage the leakage. like allowing ourselves to influence each other and steal from each other but through our individual lenses. like for an example i might see a technique marisa is doing with photoshop and try to see if i can mimic it with sewing, and i think she kind of leaned in to sewing as a form of collage, and then bring the works together and see what happens when they're in the same room.
Your take on art in Vancouver, and what it's like to work among our city's idiosyncrasies.
Vancouver is my hometown, so i have a familial relationship to it, which, like family, is getting better as i get older. My attitude is sort of "well its not perfect but it's mine and it could be a LOT worse". I don't want to go into a huge list of the cons of being an artist in Vancouver, because i try not to think that way in general, but it basically boils down to: space is expensive and its not a major art center. Those two factors can both be extrapolated on for hours but they encompass the biggest challenges of working here. The pros are that it's one of the most beautiful places on earth, and personally my relationship to the forest and the ocean has a significant impact on the way that my brain operates and my mental health, and those play a major role in the way im able to make art.
The role of the post-secondary institution in Vancouver's art ecology: whether it's helpful to artists or a sort of "rite of passage" that's needed for viability.
I am pro art school 100%. I think it has flaws, of course, but my experiences in art schools have been some of the most exciting periods of growth in my life. One thing that art school teaches you is how to be comfortable taking up space, how to be comfortable showing something to a group of your peers that expresses your vulnerability, how to take explicit criticism, how to recognize more subtle criticism, how to harness creativity in relation to a deadline, and you do it all with this group of people who, if you're lucky, you become bonded with for life. Now i have a lot of of friends who hated art school, who were great artists, but just found the whole thing to be incredibly challenging for their mental health and wellbeing, and who felt at odds with the institution the entire time. So it's definitely different for everyone, but i was such an art school nerd, like so excited to make friends and do projects together and loved the challenge of having crits and getting to talk about art all day with a bunch of new friends. I wish that everyone who wanted to could go to art school without going into debt and without working themselves ragged trying to hold down multiple jobs while doing their degree, because I think the structure of it only works if it's made explicitly clear to everyone that it is a no-promises degree. You will not necessarily get shows because you have a BFA, you will not necessarily get into grad school, there is no clear career path mapped out for you. It's really just a great life experience, particularly for your early 20s, that gives you some very abstract knowledge and a particular form of confidence but you are still completely on your own to figure out your life afterwards. I think that almost everyone goes through a bit of a post art school slump, where they realize how unique of an experience it was and how it will probably never be recreated in their life again.
How the pandemic year has changed what a day in the studio looks like, and whether it helped or hindered the collaborative nature of your project.
the pandemic has been a kind of grounding experience, like ok how can you keep yourself busy if there are no parties and no real social life, which personally has been helpful for my work, because there's a continuity and i dont spend as much energy on socializing. but it's hard on the spirit, and can be hard on the body, especially if you're prone to bad habits while working. i think it ramped up this idea of the consumption of images, which accelerated some of the ideas we were thinking about already, and things like the unemployment benefits were really helpful for not having to spend so much time going to other jobs and really being able to focus on being in the studio. This show was kind of a life raft for me during the fall, as I live alone, and have my studio in my house, I'm not sure what it would have been like to not have a very clear focus as days started to get shorter and we stopped being able to see friends outside so easily.
And – food for thought – what it even means to be "emerging"; what comes between "emerging" and "mid-career", or whether these terms are feeling obsolete.
honestly these terms dont really mean much to me. i think they may be helpful for funding bodies or gallerists or something, but i feel like, as an artist who has no commercial career whatsoever, i'm doomed to be forever emerging.
Don those thinking caps!
Wednesday January 20 2021
this is headed in a strange direction
Tuesday January 19th 2021
Monday January 18 2021
thinking about this painting which got a little out of control and made me realize that i had no idea what i was doing and no plan and barely any skill just kind of a ~zone~ i wanted to occupy which works if you are IN the ~zone~ already but if you keep working after you leave the zone and forget what it even felt like to be there then you're just floating around in colourfields trying to shape an object with just a LITTLE more yellow but it only gets darker it can never get lighter you will never have as much light as you had before you even touched the stupid thing
Sunday January 17 2021
unrelated pic of cutie wall
i know the advantage of planning first but im addicted to the mystery and possibility and magic when you just wade blindly into a project, turning down the brain voice turning up the eyes and hands voice. following weird little material paths is the only way i know how to make anything, which is why when a curator says "can you tell me about the work you're going to make for the show in 6 months" it's like asking a pregnant person what kind of personality their baby is going to have.
also i have SO MANY bad ideas i have to work through before anything decent emerges. it's why actual collaboration is so hard bc honestly the first couple ideas i propose are probably pure trash but you will hurt my feelings irreparably if you tell me the truth and it will take me days to see that you were right and by that time the vibe between us might be weird (ugh sorry). i'm actually pretty good at taking criticism as long as it's not immediately after i made something in the tender moment of bliss where i'm proud of myself and excited to show you and all i really want is to be loved.
i know now after making lots of art where my weaknesses are. sometimes i push too hard, try to make too much out of insecurity that what i've got isnt enough, start new things too late in the game, throw in some undeveloped ideas at the last minute, make it all look sloppy and unfinished, because i'm overly attached to all the crap i made and can't kill any of my babies.
but i guess i've picked a side, i will always pick too much over too little. sorry, if there were too many pieces in the show, maybe you could just look away. when i think of shows with one painting hanging in an empty room it feels like to me is a waste of space and some kind of complicated arrogance around attention and real estate. but i know some people just love the feeling of those clean white spaces, areas of contemplation. but my eyes get excited when they see lots of stuff, when they can think on their own without language, when i can feel the energy put into an object and the charge it preserves and delivers to me. my standard for exciting art has always been that if i look at something and it gives me ideas about art i want to make, thats magic. thats a direct transfer of energy from artist to object to me, and if i carry that energy home and into the studio i can keep it moving through my own work and maybe into someone elses brain.
Saturday January 16 2021
I wonder if there's any research on the difference in brain patterns while sleeping whether a person is alone or sharing a bed with someone. I think my experience of sleep is entirely different when there's someone in my space, where I can feel their body when I turn around, if i see their face is there when i first open my eyes. It can be such a beautiful thing to wake up to when everything feels good, but the most invasive, claustrophobic feeling in the world when it doesn't.
What is going to happen to me if I can't handle sharing a bed for more than a couple nights a week? Is that allowed or am i doomed to be either hurting someones feelings or alone :/
casually getting into graffiti at the ripe age of 32
It gives me the fear like deep in my young teen self like what is the female state of being interested in something dominated by the BOYS where they make fun of you for being even a tiny bit interested and so my defense mechanism as a young person was to pretend to be completely uninterested while secretly being obsessed looking it all up online on my own time.
almost everyone annoys me right now i want to be alone all the time no i want to be with people who live other places no i want new friends my one consistent life skill of making new friends easily USELESS to me right now everyone lives in my phone i want a new best friend neighbour roommate someone easy to hang out with mellow energy but lots of energy lots of laughs smart cute has other friends to introduce me to does cool art has good ideas
things about seals
underwater animals that have to be on land to breathe
hang out on land, cant walk or move very far
body in the water head above, watching everything keeping guard
proximity to vulnerable humans (ie swimmers ie me) love to get close but almost never aggressive
body molds onto jagged rocks,
always watching activity on the water
just learned that closest relative to seal is BEAR not otter
Listening to an audiobook that i picked at random from the "popular self help" category on audible when i was craving some explicit motivation called "the power of writing it down" whose demographic is VERY specific mostly women who are unsatisfied with their lives want to make changes and the claim is that 20 minutes of writing a day will change EVERYTHING but there are all these other things too like "make space for creativity in your home", "make time in your schedule that is just for you" and i realized oh shit i have shaped my life around these principles but it didnt make me feel smug it just sort of made me feel selfish? like women everywhere trying to get a minute or a second of the day to themselves trying to make a tiny little corner of a room where they can do some writing, and i understand how they feel because any time i lack either of those things i lose my fucking mind. the introduction talked about a vague feeling of dread in the morning and before bed that you are not living life as fully as you could because you have not found your voice and all i could think about was the inverse feeling of dread in the morning and before bed that i have "found my voice" at the expense of things like a stable job and having a family (maybe) and this feeling that I could be doing something more difficult more challenging something that involved other people that i am doomed to a life of puttering around a studio by myself drowning in my extravagant hobby.
Friday January 15 2021
Thursday January 14 2021
After giving in to the desire to be a lazy pile comes the burning question about what to do next. Since i only ever seem to have one project at a time, wellllll spaced from the next one, it sometimes feels like being pushed off a ledge. Like I've climbed up something and immediately fallen over the other side, like the safety ropes I've been relying on have been severed, like I have to build a new system from scratch from the bottom of the pit. In the past I've taken breaks in these periods, left town, moved, changed studios, done a breakup, forced disruption. This time I'm just here in my house. Everything is set up, and it's January, and its covid, and there's nothing else to do.
After the last show I had one Big Night with my sister, we drank everything did all the other things and the next morning I woke up feeling terrible. That felt right and normal but late in the day something started to feel wrong and bad. Every time I turned my head a certain way i felt my brain sloshing around inside, like the spins where you spin ALL the way around, like a k-hole without the fun parts, like my perception had become dislodged from my environment.
What followed was almost 3 weeks of vertigo, gone for now, could come back.
When it was at it's most intense, a few days before christmas, when i hadnt left the house in days, but also hadn't done anything in studio, which means i was scrolling, watching, listening, texting, i decided at the last minute to make some presents.
They were sweatshirts, dyed with ink and with a logo in sharpie drawn over top.
Something about copying the logos temporarily cured the vertigo. I couldnt figure out exactly why, but something about the eye movements, about grounding my vision along the curve of a line, about staring intensely at something that was not a screen, worked.
That led me to these drawings which started with sharpie but then incorporated watery ink bc i got lazy colouring everything in with the sharpie, which are copied from these books that archive ornamental patterns. I dont think I'll ever show them but they were very effective at stabilizing my brain and vision.
I had some very spooky superstitious thoughts about the vertigo. Like the fact that it started immediately after the show, after working for 4 months straight on these pieces that I stared at almost every waking moment, made me think that something about stopping that work had led my mind and vision to spin out, that there was nothing for my eyes to hang onto in my house anymore, like when a camera cant focus on a blank wall.
Honestly tho I probably just did too much ketamine.
Last night I dreamed my mother died, again. Like she died again, in the dream, it was established that she had already been dead once, but she had come back and this time had died of some kind of illness, some way of dying that was more normal, more mundane. No one knew about it this time, it wasn't in the paper. I had to tell my teachers, my friends, and every time i told someone i SOBBED full heaving collapsing on the ground crying. It felt so good to cry in the dream, I remember that. And we were at the old house on Highbury street and my dad was there, and he was trying! He was really trying, I remember thinking to myself "he knows how to do it this time" he knew how to keep fresh towels in the bathroom and put food out for guests and there was an actual feeling of maternal warmth in the house. And there was some real estate scandal, someone was buying the house, or I wanted to buy the house, or someone had bought it and I was trying to get it back. I remember a car driving slowly up the street and saying "thats them, those are the people trying to take our house".
There was a storm last night while I was falling asleep, I thought the wind was going to break my windows, I thought a tree was going to fall on the house, but in the morning it was sunny and I woke up alone sleeping diagonally on the bed well rested feeling like my brain had been cleared out.
I should have cleaned the apartment last night like I told myself I would. It would have made this morning miraculous.
Tuesday January 12 2021
I was a blogger, once.
And here I am.
Was thinking it would be nice to write some secrets somewhere. The kind I can never do online anymore because the experience of sharing anything on the platforms fills me with dread.
I thought twitter might work but the format was too established, the jokes were too specific, people were too good at it already, I was 9 years too late.
And why can’t I seem to write anything these days just for myself? Why does the word file called ***NOTEBOOK**** sit untouched, since April 2020, with this bad poem as its last entry:
My brain feels like a puddle on a warm day
Muddy, murky, hazy
like something you wouldn’t want to touch
but wouldn’t hurt you if you did
A time when it was clear and strong
But maybe I imagined it
I didnt mean to but over time
I filled the puddle with junk I thought was harmless
Jokes and photos
of other people’s lives
Stories from the boring apocalypse
I’m worried if I cleaned it up
And fished out the trash
The water might be clear enough
To see if theres a bottom
Thats how it goes mid quar when you haven’t read a book in weeks and smoke weed all day scrolling through the trash.
So maybe writing, with an imaginary public, something that gets published but not publicized, will be a new way to exist online, without feeling like im running a failing business promoting my own art.