The First Issue | Fall 2016
Polygon Magazine Publisher + Editor-in-Chief Melanie Whorton Creative Director Melanie Whorton, Sasha Mills Layout Design Sasha Mills Copy Editor Edie Reaney Chunn Contributing Writers Amy Donnelly, Amber Savoie, Colin Courtney Front Cover Art Hannah Eriksson, Evelyn Affleck, Mirriam Mak, Caleigh Mayer Back Cover Art Sterre Fenna
Anyone who knows me well will know I have a special type of paranoia around technology. Partially fueled by my well-meaning mother, and partially by my obsession with science fiction, I have developed a mistrust for the role of technology in human life. I’ve been blessed this past year though, with a man in my life who has turned all of this on its head. He has made me realize, begrudgingly, that our relationship to technology is a lot more complicated than I thought. Some days it still scares me, but today, to technology and specifically the Internet, I say thank you. Endless hours of Facebook Messages, Google Drive sharing, Instragram dms, and WeTransfers are what allowed us to connect all of these amazing creative people. The magazine you hold in your hands, virtually or otherwise, contains the work of artists from over 12 different cities including Berlin, Rotterdam, Vancouver, Halifax, and Bristol. Inside it’s pages, you will find an eclectic mix of fashion, photography, fine art and personal reflections. This is why we are called Polygon; because we stand for multiplicity. To quote a famous youth fiction author, this is our “shout into the void.” Finally, I would like to thank my best friend and collaborator, Sasha Mills. You are the best person I know, and I can’t wait to know you for the rest of my life. Melanie Whorton Editor-In-Chief
Letter From The Editor..........................3
Caleigh, Evelyn, Hannah, Miriam........9
FILM BA 5
By Fruzsina Bodnรกr 6
Model: Miriam Mak Photography: Caleigh Mayer Makeup Design: Evelyn Affleck Costume Design: Hannah Eriksson
Caleigh, Evelyn, Hannah, Miriam 9
Evelyn Affleck approaches makeup as a form of extenuation, pulling out the modelsâ€™ natural features, and highlighting individual beauty rather than concealing it. Affleck and Eriksson have factored in this philosophy while working together in order to create a product that allows our model to have an identity that she can recognize while producing an image that raises curiosity. The clothing shies away from practicality, as Hannah Eriksson has always enjoyed religious apparel but has no god to create for.
Shannon Darby-Jones Lovely and strong, Shannon Darby-Jones has a very sweet disposition. However, this 20-year-old UK-born girl should not be overlooked or taken for granted. When it comes to her career, Shannon is not afraid to give a good push. Graduating this year from Falmouth University in Cornwall, England, Shannon has a CV worthy of someone who has worked years in the industry. Shannon has been to every fashion week in London for the past two years and has worked in a variety of positions. From fashion editor’s assistant for 1883 magazine, assisting Love Magazine’s backstage photographer Asia Werbel, shooting backstage for StyleFan and this September with Fashion Scout backstage. Shannon has recently been offered a position at Big Sky Studios, as well as the London Fashion Film Festival. Although she aspires to explore Fashion Weeks outside of her home in the UK, Shannon seeks a lot of inspiration in her native country. Shannons’ favourite achievement of the summer is having a 45-minute phone call with her photography hero Nick Knight, regarding her upcoming dissertation on fashion film.
â€œ My favourite achievement this summer was landing an interview with famous fashion photographer Nick Knight.â€?
Sydney Switzer Sydney Switzer is an up-and-coming artist from Vancouver, Canada currently working out of both
able. Each time that somebody sticks their finger through one of the holes in a granny square, that person becomes part of the textile, part of it’s creation. They’re contributing to the fact of it’s existence, so it’s quite important for the object to have a life after I finish casting off. Each time somebody wears one of my tops, they become a part of the story of that top, and contribute to the formulation of it’s surface.
Vancouver and Poland. With a passion for travel and documentary photography, Sydney brings intimate moments of people’s lives into the spotlight. At the age of 22, Sydney creates powerful and provocative works, combining her love for textile work and photography.In an age where religion is becoming the centre of fewer people’s lives, Sydney has a fresh and exciting perspective.
Hey Sydney, thanks so much for agreeing to this! Tell us a bit about yourself.
club, and now I never leave the house without two or three different projects. I work with all sorts of different methods of textile production, including knitting, embroidery, weaving, sewing, and macramé, but I think that right now my favourite is crochet because it’s so diverse. The fact that you’re only working with one stitch at a time allows you a lot of freedom to start and stop, shape, curve, and really manipulate the object in different ways. Andrea Zittel notes that crochet is one of the closest mediums to working directly with your hands, because the only additional implement you use is a single hook, and I really connect to that idea of taking yarn and creating something in a tactile way. One of the things I’m most excited about is my crochet clothing line, which includes swimsuits, tops, socks, hats, and skirts, but I also do a lot of work making blankets and tapestries, dolls, and sculptures. I did a fun piece for a vegetable themed show at Studio 126 that was a mobile made of stuffed crochet carrots, so I do like to experiment and think about different ways to integrate crochet into places where you might not expect it.
A M y name is Sydney Switzer, I’m originally
from Calgary, going to school in Vancouver, and having fun making art all over the world, predominantly in Israel, and most recently in Poland.
What is your favorite dessert?
A C reme brûlée is really delicious, but let’s be real, all desserts are pretty delicious.
If you could be any animal what would it be?
A H m, I’m not actually such a big fan of
animals, but if I had to choose it would be something sensible like a duck or a pet rock.
What makes you angry?
A W hen you have all three bars of wifi but it still won’t work!
ell us a bit about your textile practice. T How long have you been working with textiles and what is your favorite medium?
A W hen I was three we used to spend a
lot of time visiting family at the nursing home in Winnipeg, and to pass the time my mom taught me how to make really simple friendship bracelets, and it went from there. When I was in second grade I was president of the school knitting
hat do you see for the future of your W textiles work? Would you like to be selling it?
A I tend to have this desire to hang every
piece on the wall and not let anyone else touch it. But I think it’s quite integral to my work to bring the textile object out into the world. One of the most amazing things about the textile object is that it exists as a solid form, yet it’s still perme-
ou make a lot of work that incorporates Y the history/family/personalities etc of your friends. Why is this important to you?
A W e make what we know. My Jewish
identity is very important to me, and thus is very prevalent within my work, sometimes in more or less obvious ways. For example, one thing within my work, which can sometimes seem like a contradiction, is the concept of tzniut, or Jewish modesty. There are quite well-defined guidelines for dressing, and while I try my best to dress myself within these guidelines, a majority of the clothing that I make doesn’t fit within these notions of traditional modesty. This is something that I’m trying to work through on a personal level, but perhaps this is also what distinguishes my work as art as opposed to just a clothing line. Perhaps the exploration of modesty rests on a level of symbolic personal exploration and identification rather than on a level of literal boundary. I’m also interested in exploring the identities of others through my work. The very first swimsuit project I did was more based in social practice, as I worked with the models through a process of dialogue to design a swimsuit based on their cultural histories and identifications. That project was based on the notion that even though we may find ourselves in common situations, we all come from very different places and bring vastly different notions of experience with us, but
“A majority of the clothing I make doesn’t fit within these notions of traditional modesty”
“It ’s quite important for the object to have a life after I finish casting off ” 21
Calgary the end result was a visual representation of non-visual ideas. I also did a sock line based on my friend’s personalities, and the idea that you can attempt to represent somebody’s personality through the arrangement of lines and colours and frills on a sock is really exciting to me.
side from creating garments, you are A also a photographer. Do these go together for you, or are they separate?
A I think that the root of my practice is
really the concept of the surface. When you crochet, you’re building up a surface, stitch by stitch. And when you create a photograph, you’re also building up a surface, made out of thousands of emulsion crystals. Whether these surfaces are representational or abstract is less significant to me than the fact that so much information can be stored within each surface. When we consider works of art as nothing more than constructed surfaces, there’s not so much that distinguishes a textile from a photograph. So in addition to creating textiles that are based on photographs, and creating photographs of textiles, I’m interested in the relationship that the two surface forms have to each other.
mazing! What are you working on A next?
A I’m just coming off of a two-month resi-
dency/internship in Poland where I was exploring the history and implications of Jewish life in Poland, so I’m looking forward to continuing to explore that, especially how the cultural legacy of the Holocaust affects Jewish identity today. But I’m also looking to expand my clothing line and hopefully launch an Etsy shop as well, so stay tuned!
his reminds me of one of my favourite T pieces of yours! You create a pixel pattern in crotchet and lay it over portraits. Can you tell us about this piece?
A T hat piece was also working with the
idea of each surface being constructed of small parts, whether they’re molecules, or stitches, or pixels. Each image was comprised of a printed digital photograph, over which a tapestry was suspended about eight inches in front. The tapestry was roughly a pixelated version of the photograph, but when the two surfaces are viewed together, it forces the viewer to acknowledge the presence of multiple surfaces and how they can interact with each other. It also encourages the viewer to consider the photograph as an object of engagement. The tapestry ‘photograph’ exists as a three-dimensional object which the viewer can interact with, touch, even slip their fingers through, and I think that just reinforces the idea that the surface is not necessarily a concrete object, but something dynamic.
Ingrid Reigstad I’m a fashion photographer born in Norway, currently studying Fashion Photography at Falmouth University. I am in love with both minimalism and surrealism and I can hardly ever seem to stick to one. My favourite movie is Bridget Jones’ diary and I think that’s because I identify so much with it. I tend to have an idea of how everything will turn out, and it always ends up differently. I love the morning, the sunset and the evening, I stop to pet every dog I see and I always feel like I’m in a movie when I listen to music.
Yola Vermeer “Photography is playing, experimenting with yourself and the subject in front of you. These are pictures of my little sister, she is my muse. Taking these Polaroids is a form of play. You do not have a lot of
control over the camera, so all your concentration is on the feel and experience of the photo. Perfection is overrated, people aren’t perfect and neither are these images.”
WEIGHTLESS Carly Stone
In the water I am weightless It does not Measure my thighs Before I dip Them in Ask me to S T E P Onto a scale Before I enter It’s oceans. It laughs When I ask, “Can you hold me... Up?” Pulls me onto Its shoulder swell And I am A feather floating Skimming surfaces Like The fragile froth That catches In the corners Of the currents.
In the water I become Balletic Be-n-ding With the buoyancy While I waft Through waves Arms akin To gossamer finsDiaphanous And delicate. <whisper> And in The water I am light I am the beam That touches down When the rise of sun Kisses the waves Flawless And Unapologetic Choosing to stay Longer this day Floating. Feeling Weightless.
Hannah Eriksson “I am of the opinion that if clothing myself is what I must do, then I would prefer to decorate my body rather than conceal it. Though I am primarily a painter of sorts, my interest in fashion has revealed itself in many of my paintings. Displayed here, I have Lily Napier Machek adorned in a decorative neck piece designed to highlight her colourations and physical beauty while allowing her natural body to remain partially visible. Her hair has been replaced by octopus’ limbs because octopi, in my mind, represent the most beautiful movement I have and may
ever encounter. These movements are fluid and curved which represent the model’s natural shape. Using tentacles for hair also inevitably brings Medusa to mind; My intention to convey ferocity and beauty in unison which I believe is so often the case. It is very important to me that, when representing the human form, the body portrayed in a way that is unaltered to accommodate current physical trends. Human bodies are nature, they are beautiful, and they should not be expected to change with the seasons of human preference.”
“My interest in fashion has revealed itself in many of my paintings.”
Sterre Fenna 33
Sterre is a Photography student in her fourth year at the De Kooning Academy of Arts in Rotterdam. Sterre is a lover of beauty and has an obsession with so called “imperfections”. While she originally studied documentary photography in Breda, she later moved to Rotterdam in order to combine her love of photography with fashion. In her own words,
“Here I combined what I had learned from both genres which resulted in photographing my critical view on society with a fashion twist.” Most of Sterre’s recent work is motivated by the desire to incorporate what may be called “alternative” models into the mainstream fashion world. She works with an incredibly wide variety of models, showcasing the beautiful and the unique side of each person. Sterre calls this work “The Defining Beauty Project”.
“They might have huge birthmarks, or a whole lot of wrinkles. They might miss an arm, or two. But aren’t they nice to look at anyway?”
Model: Anne Martha Blok Photography: Sterre Fenna Styling: Natasha Rijkhoff
Models: Nel Pullen, Gerda Pullen Styling: Natasha Rijkhoff MUAH: Minou Meijers Photography: Sterre Fenna
Always experimenting with fashion and art her whole life, Evelyn stumbled onto Makeup Artistry, and found her niche. Throughout her training at Blanche Macdonald, Evelyn began to discover and 41
experiment in her makeup style, and found what is now her signature style. Her work is abstract, full of colour and precise detail. Her work is something to stop and stare at, not something to just scroll by.
Feminine as Feminist 43
Amber Savoie Female empowerment is becoming harder to pinpoint, in a society where images of femaleness are often skewed, constructed by mass media and perpetuating a misogynist ideal that influences young girls to believe as truth. For the past fifty years, the world has seen women rise up to attempt to thwart the patriarchal impositions placed on gender, with artists using their personal experiences of femaleness to comment on the sinister ways that women are kept inferior, denied opportunity, and forced to live out assumed traditional roles regardless of individual strengths or desires.
critical elaboration of distinct aesthetic qualities characterized as feminine.” Notable artists of these formative years include Hannah Wilke, who photographed herself nude in poses referencing magazine glamour-shots covered in small vulva-shaped sculptures of her making she endearingly called
“One approach favored by female artists relies on conscious choice of aesthetics and subject matter, using softness and typically ‘feminine’ representation as a feminist method.”
One approach favored by female artists relies on conscious choice of aesthetics and subject matter, using softness and typically ‘feminine’ representation as a feminist method. This is not a new tactic, beginning in the 1970’s under the feminist art movement that saw artists embracing essentialism, the belief that women have a fixed universal essence, rooted in biological difference, which distinguishes them from men. This concept, which has problematic connotations of equating sex with gender, and denying individualism, was turned on its head by women artists who would reference female genitalia, domestic activities, and delicate aesthetics as a strategy for critiquing patriarchal oppression and the positions or values imposed on their gender. Dr. Catriona Moore of the University of Sydney explores this topic in her Artlink article “Feminine Aesthetics, Then and Now”, relaying the ‘herstory’ of female artists in the seventies working with a “…
‘cunts’. Judy Chicago, responsible for the formation of the Feminist Art Program in California in 1970, worked across disciplines calling attention to women’s domestic work with use of embroidery and ceramics, and with female-centric imagery seen in the installation “Menstruation Bathroom” and her collaborative series “The Birth Project”, where she and over one hundred other women used needlepoint to create tapestries depicting various aspects, both biological and mystical, of the birthing and mothering process. A contemporary artist working with softness and essentialism is American film director Sofia 44
Coppola, though she uses subtlety not shared by her early feminist predecessors as a mode of critique. Sofia Coppola’s filmmaking style, defined by female-centered narratives and heightened aesthetic sensibilities, has been criticized for being overtly feminine in its form, perceived by critics and audiences as lacking meaning due to its visual ‘prettiness’. Todd Kennedy of Nicholls State University reflects on the critique of shallowness placed onto Coppola’s work in his essay “Off with Hollywood’s Head: Sofia Coppola as Feminine Auteur”, suggesting rather that her saturation of feminine imagery is a “…way of indicating the idea of “excess” as feminine in a post-feminist environment where one can only be empowered through “female” consumption”. This idea that one must be overtly feminine to be heard is seen in Coppola’s 2006 film Marie Antoinette, a film about female empowerment, a young woman forced to play traditional roles of wife, mother, and queen, within the stifling patriarchy of 18th century France. Her only mode of escape is to revel, or rather drown, in feminine delights of fashion, soirées, pastries, and the pastoral countryside. Often discussed as the paradigm of ‘feminine excess’ in film criticism and literature, this period piece is definitive of Coppola’s style with a confluence of dramatic extravagant fashion, background eye candy, and lavish sets and pastel colours shouting volumes in scenes of otherwise quiet reflection.
arguments for and against the case of essentialism, but if the mission of feminism is to bring about the social and economic equality of men and women, why does it matter so much how we get there? For some artists, essentialism is the most poignant means of critique, with myself included in that category. I’ve often used methods of female representation seen in fashion editorials to draw attention to their exaggerated forms and aesthetics, as well as working with the handmade, the nude body, and natural objects of the earth to speak to women’s inherent mystical creative power as life-giving goddesses. If the work causes the viewer to reflect on his or her own status in society, and leads to the questioning of the imposed and ingrained methods of female control and disempowerment, then the art is successful, regardless of the chosen method of patriarchal critique.
Feminist artists in the 1970’s may have set the stage for strategic femininity, but it has not been a consistent method, with some feminists and critics claiming it furthers the binary between men and women and perpetuates the stereotypes of femaleness. There are undeniably strong
“Why does it matter so much how we get there?” 45
TRANSIT Candice Yee
99 sweat seals his thighs to the seat trapped in a sauna with a 29 year old stranger their knees brush he glances over her eyes flicker he swallows because this is some sort of invasive tickling he prefers not to engage in. she smiles, hot breath burnt and cancerous. Sheâ€™s Bambi, symmetrical, like she dragged a knife down the center of her face and flipped it over she could pin him down, they could be lying in a pink pool of body liquids his skin flakes jum ping like lice off the mattress even though he changed the sheets twice. passengers rise from their seats quite early (and when they walk by they smell like a good home a dog, maybe two, and some offspring) he gets up to move a seat away flipping over the pillow to the cold side and leaving a wet stain behind (no one puts sheets over blue vinyl bus seats)
Jordan Woods 50
Mackenna Johnson Mack Johnston is a queer photographer currently residing in Vancouver, BC. Born and raised in the Okanagan, she discovered her passion for photography through a tiny, point-and-shoot camera that she used to document her seclusion from the social jungle gym of high school. Her dreams of getting out of small-town living were made a reality when she moved to Montreal, created a portfolio, and eventually got accepted into the School of Visual Arts in New York City. But, being low on funds, she had to turn down the opportunity and look elsewhere. Always carrying a camera with her, Mack uses her introverted qualities to better observe and capture the flowing energies of the humans she surrounds herself with, and to focus in on the details one might overlook. In an anxietyriddled mind, photography has given her a voice with
which she feels comfortable communicating. Her work tends to include elements of mystery, melancholy, femininity and solitude. She is interested in candid portraiture, self-portraiture, and surrealism and is inspired by artists including Francesca Woodman and Lillian Bassman. Her favourite Pentax KM 35mm film camera can be found wrapped safely in a scarf in her backpack, and the Canon Rebel she got as a graduation present is always close by if needed. Mack is inspired by emotion, the female form, flawed beauty, language, rainy streets, dirty cities, and the colour pink.
â€œElements of mystery, melancholy, femininity and solitude.â€?
How You Live is How You Dance How you Live, is How you Dance . Take the word “dance” from that sentence and replace it with a sport you’re passionate about, or a personal goal. ‘How you live is how you run a marathon.’ ‘How you live is how you lose 10lbs.’ ‘How you live is how you become more productive.’ Because how you live is how you achieve… or don’t. Whether you’re a dancer, athlete, player on a team, someone who is working towards a physical goal or if you’re simply working to improve yourself, this theory is applicable to you. 59
Dance is a very particular and precise art form. Body image, posture, physical ability and technique can always be improved. Although you are constantly under the scrutiny of teachers, choreographers, peers and audience members, there is nobody judging more than the reflection looking back at you in the mirror. This is why dancers learn self-discipline very early in life; they’re always aiming for improvement. A dance teacher used to chant “How you live is how you dance” to us every technique class. He’d explain that it’s not enough to only
Treat it like brushing your teeth; you just do it because it’s good for you. It’s even more crucial in this day and age because the majority of us spend our days sedentary. Not stretching is like not brushing your teeth because the less you do it, the worse your condition gets, and age is not on your side here! Dancers are admired for their immortal flexibility. They are flexible because they have been stretching daily since they were children. Everyone had the potential to be somewhat flexible once. You either use it, or you lose it. So start using it and improving it. In case you aren’t sure of what to stretch or how to, I suggest you take up yoga or another guided stretch class. Disclaimer: You may find you need fewer physio appointments. practice in the studio and forget about dance in day to day life, because the way we walk, sit, eat, wash our hair, sleep, spend our days off (the list is infinite); it all contributes to our training in either a beneficial or detrimental way. Although dance is one of the strictest disciplines, the mindset and dedication required to achieve in the art form is admirable and can be applied to absolutely anything you want to achieve in life. So how are you prepared to live? The following tips are in the mentality of a dancer, however are universal to anyone looking to improve their self-discipline in order to achieve a goal. Remember: it will take thought followed by action and repetition until this new change becomes a familiar habit.
PRACTICE PROPER POSTURE Back to talking about today’s sedentary society sitting hunched over the keyboard... Most people I hear talking about their bad posture talk like it’s a syndrome and can’t be fixed. Like stretching, it just has to be practiced and worked at! I had a few clients who I called my ‘desk athletes’; they had been sitting at a desk their whole career. With focusing on back strength, staying away from too many ‘push’ exercises, stretching religiously and sending them home with new stretches and mobility exercises, their posture improved immensely. They felt the change for themselves, and we measured their success using markers in specific mobility exercises. Something you can do to remind your spine of where it should be is to take a break, stand up tall 60
and place those shoulders back with your chin up. If you’re training for something, good posture will help to improve your performance. I sometimes surprise people when I tell them I’m only 5’3” (160cm), and it’s the biggest compliment. Good posture adds height and changes the way you are perceived, ladies and gents! EAT WELL If I told you to eat like a dancer, you might think celery sticks and salad. I’m here to tell you, you think wrong! The truth is, most dancers I know have the appetite of a football player, especially the tiniest of ballerinas. They just eat well, and expend a lot of energy. Eating is a simple maths equation; the more energy you use, the more fuel you need to put in the tank. So plan your eating based on your exercise. Think of the ever-lauded vegetables, protein, fruits and whole grains. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the box, you probably shouldn’t feed it to your body. KEEP INSPIRED First of all, make sure you have time off so you can allow room for inspiration. You are not weak or any less dedicated to your work if you say no to something in order to dedicate a day or two to time off. Life is about balance, and without time off, your performance will not be optimal. Now on your time off, do something that inspires you! Don’t dedicate that time to laundry, groceries and chores alone. Go see some art, listen to music, go on a hike, attend a live performance, head out to the ocean. Art is found in many forms. EARLY IS THE NEW LATE For me, whether it’s showing up to class, work or a doctor’s appointment, five minutes early is already ten minutes late. I used to arrive an hour early to technique class every morning to warm up, do some conditioning and gentle stretching before the day began. That’s the dancer mentality. Arriving early gives you the chance to physically and mentally prepare. To get in the zone. It gives you the best chance to be prepared and ready. BE PRESENT, NOT PASSIVE Every now and then stop and be aware of your body. How are you sitting? Have you been in 61
one position for a long time? How’s your posture? Are any muscles sore or tight? Are you frowning? Clenching your teeth? Zoning out? What’s going on in your mind? Be aware of you, what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. This is another glimpse inside a dancer’s mind. They learn to be so in tune with their body, that these are the kinds of things which run through their head naturally, even when they aren’t in the studio. So what do you want to live to achieve? The real question, however, is, how much are you willing to commit to making that that dream your reality? The dancers’ mentality is what makes them such mythical beings. Their dreams are their life. With the self-discipline, dedication and responsibility of a dancer, you have the power to conquer anything you desire, because how you live is how you dance.
“I sometimes surprise people when I tell them I’m only 5’3”, and it’s the biggest compliment. Good posture adds height and changes the way you are perceived.”
â€œYou are not weak or any less dedicated to your work if you say no to something in order to dedicate a day or two to time off.â€? 62
Lucy Rooney Originating from Cheltenham, Lucy Rooney is a fashion photographer based in Cornwall. She has recently completed an internship at Big Sky Studios in London, opening her eyes to the fashion industry. After embarking on travels through Europe she was offered a job with Big Sky, and spent her summer of 2016 working there. Lucy is now in her final year of study at Falmouth University and has fallen in love with the sea and environment whilst exploring the Cornish coastline. This has become a large influence on her work over the past two years and this becomes apparent in her development as a photographer. ‘Dunes’ is inspired by the idea of touching a texture to evoke emotion effectively. This was also shot on the Cornish north coast, inspired by Lucy’s time living in Cornwall. The garments in ‘Dunes’ were created by the fantastic designer Krasimira Stoyneva and they create a beautiful, coherent aesthetic along with the stunning Cornish environment surrounding them. This shoot took place in 2016 and is Lucy’s most recent project at Falmouth University. After completing her studies at Falmouth University, Lucy plans to continue working as a freelance fashion photographer, assisting other photographers and continuing to explore different sources of inspiration to expand her portfolio further.
Model: Chloe Russel Photography: Lucy Rooney Assistant: Tara Mcguire Costume Design: Krasimira Stoyneva
Throughout my life I have welcomed all that engages my creative mind. Growing up in rural Michigan, I spent my summers immersed in nature, canoeing turtle-filled rivers and infatuated by the world of entomology. I remember running through dense fields with my butterfly net, with an orchestra of clucking chickens in the background. My evenings 67
were devoted to identifying and displaying the insects I found. I embarked on frequent trips to sand dunes that towered above the glimmering expanse of Lake Michigan. I took shelter beneath the roots of windswept beech trees, observing iridescent beetles darting across the silt. This pursuit of knowledge and experience has evolved throughout my life. Following a move to Canada, it took the form of macro photography, powder skiing, poetry and skateboarding. Dabbling in drawing and painting over the years with indifferent interest, I decided to enroll in a painting course taught by Martin Guderna. One frigid fall morning midway through the course, I awoke with an unfamiliar and
primal urge to paint. Grabbing a decommissioned toothbrush and wool sock, I spontaneously mixed mediums upon the surface. Feeling as though I emerged from a time warp, the three hours of intuitive painting ended with a splatter flung onto the canvas. With half bewilderment and half excitement, I looked at what I had created. That morning I felt the uttermost sense of freedom and expression, sparking the love I have for visual art. On a recent six-month adventure in Mexico, I felt my senses heighten as I absorbed my surroundings. Living off the grid in a quaint organic garden, watering and harvesting the tropical plants became a daily meditation. Nestled between the lush jungle and soft sands of the Pacific, the garden was a vibrating hub of biodiversity. On regular walks through rural villages, the decomposing paint on building walls inspired brushstrokes of my evenings. A near death experience with a scorpion inspired a painting of the encounter. Approaching Pachamama Gallery in Sayulita, I presented the paintings I had done during my travels. Soon, I
was organizing my own exhibitivn and adorning the galler`yâ€™s walls with murals. In the midst of preparing for the exhibition, I was influenced by teaching painting classes at a local youth community center. Providing them with materials, I soon felt like more of a student than a teacher, observing their creativity with awe.
My artistic approach has remained essentially unchanged since its conception. Beginning with a fleeting thought of color, shape, or sound, this acts as a catalyst for the intuitive process which follows. My practice of experimentation and automatism allows memories and emotion to surface from my unconscious mind. As I create, my archive of sensory information is accessed, translating into a visual form. The aesthetic of my art continues to grow and evolve as I uncover new techniques through experimentation. My wish is to inspire others to think without boundaries, in the hopes they discover something about themselves. May my art act as a starting place for contemplation.
â€œ With half bewilderment and half excitement, I looked at what I had created.â€? 68
Originally from Vancouver Island, I am an interdisciplinary artist working primarily with photography. I am drawn to the west coast’s natural beauty and laid back vibe. For me, photography is a tool to express a moment in time and space and navigate how a body takes form within it. With a previous background in dance, I have a passion for exploring how a still image can evoke movement and emotion. The human figure is a primary subject of my work, and becomes a vessel to explore beauty, fashion, emotion, and movement. I enjoy the collaboration between subject and photographer, and I am drawn to the ability of catching a chance moment that can’t be recreated or produced again from subject to subject. Beauty does not have one look nor a single definition; it occurs in a moment—so why are we as society striving towards ideals that aren’t tangible? With these images I wanted to explore a more meditative take on fashion and modeling, reflecting on preconceived ideals. I was interested in how the subject’s own feelings about her clothing and environment could be displayed naturally in these images, rather than employing a pre-existing concept or visual brand. Here I have captured serene moments that may be reminiscent of classical paintings or sculptures of the romantic period, while calling upon the tensions of ideals of beauty, the gaze, and viewership.
“I am drawn to the ability of catching a chance moment that can’t be recreated or produced again from subject to subject.”
Christie Wood 70
Queer Last Supper