FALL 2015 Re-Establishing Exploration
lie transparency flat on page and move left to right to see animation.
Editor-in-Chief Daniela Buitrago Art Director Karim Kadi Editorial Director Bronwyn Carere Media Director Olivia Chaber Design Team Riley Banks Lula Christman Cassie Chuang Taysia Louie Naitik Mehta Jordyn Taylor Editorial Team Adi Berardini Jess McDaniel Media Team Jess Mcdaniel Matthew Wong Illustrators Juan Cisneros
Editors Letter Change is in our nature. These 5 words have defined Woo throughout its history and we must say we have come a long way. This year is no different with a new team, we are re-imagining what Woo has come to mean. Over the last couple years it has transformed it into a high quality publication. This year alone, Woo received honourable mention at the Salazar awards, won for book design at the Applied Arts Student Awards and was named outstanding achievement winner in how International Design Awards. Coming off these big wins, we are pushing Woo even further, not only through design, but though our voice. This issue is our exploration. We are trying a new size and new interactions. Our voice is stronger. We are your publication, and in this issue we brought together some great interviews from Emily Carr Alumnus to answer questions about navigating post-graduation. We are very proud of our work so far, and this is only the beginning, we have a lot in store for this year and are excited to show that to you over the next couple months. We want to give a special shoutout for all the students that have supported Woo and have submitted their work to the publication over the years. We welcome to our team, Karim Kadi as our new Art Director. Through our collaborative atmosphere at Woo we are bringing together new ideas and re-establishing who we are. This issue is a testament to our new modes of thinking. We wanted this issue to have something unique, experimental and enticing. We decided to take our designs to a new level by creating our own animated optical illusions. All you need is the special acetate overlayâ€”provided in the publicationâ€”to show apparent motion. We hope you enjoy them us much as we do! And hopefully this issue will inspire you to create work that engages, questions and pushes your practice in new directions.
By Daniela Buitrago & Karim Kadi
Suitcase Caravan (IF: forget me forget me not) Hannah Fisher 2015
Sleep Walk Stefan Obusan 2015
Mother M.E Sparks 2015
ODE TO SODA CRACKERS AND MAYBE MY EX. by: Blake Critchley I have known you a long time and have never had strong feelings about you. You have offered nourishment and salt in times of hunger. I like to eat you, only when there is nothing better to eat, or when I am sick. You are usually very square, but sometimes you break and crumble onto my bed. You are bland and thatâ€™s not a bad thing. But you can be stale and that sucks. You are really fucking cheap. My mom likes you. I drink wine with you, again when I have nothing better to eat. You leave my mouth dry and my body unsatisfied, but nourished.
Blue Moon Jamie Bale 2015
Oh well Seongryung Jenny Lee 2014
Wanderlust Erin Waters 2014
Charal HatďŹ eld
interviewed by: jessica macdaniel
Yes, making things is something I’ve always done. Even when I was in France I started painting and
Did you have any plans to emerge back into a creative/ visual field?
Well, what happened was that over the winter holiday my sister got me a plane ticket to visit her in France. I signed up for all my classes but a few days before my plane ride back I told my family that I couldn’t go. I stayed in France for a few months. It was a strange time. I panicked and applied to a bunch of other schools. I thought I’d give it a year and come back to Vancouver but I kept putting it off. I always thought I would come back but it just didn’t happen, it’s a beautiful school and I miss Vancouver all the time.
Where did you go when you left the school?
Before I left we had to submit our major applications, I had chosen sculpture. I think I would have stuck with that. I think its all encompassing. There is so much potential to do so many things, I did not want to be stuck doing one thing. It felt like a way to explore what kind of artist I was.
What would you have majored in if you stayed at Emily Carr?
I completed only one semester. I said I was in it for the long haul at the time, but that didn’t happen. It’s a great school and it’s providing a great education for people but my heart wasn’t in it. I wanted to get out of the school and make stuff.
How many semesters did you complete before you left Emily Carr University?
Everything. I miss the natural beauty, snow on top of the mountains and a forest in one day. It’s rare to be in a city where I can take a deep breath of clean air. There is a good amount of diversity and culture in Vancouver. I miss how forward thinking the culture is. I felt very safe there with who I was and navigating around the city, compared to living in a Southern State in the USA.
What do you miss about Vancouver?
When you are not in an education system you can fail and do things, you are still in the system of working towards a degree and having that in sight. No one is holding me up in this process, the only person that is going to “make it happen” is myself. It has created a fire for me, to keep moving forward. A self-motivated. The possibility of nothing happening for me is very real. It’s only me getting myself up and applying to do different things right now.
What have you gained that you may not have at Emily Carr University?
Part of it was because I felt that I needed to figure out what my point of view was when it came to making things and what my aesthetic was. I know some people look for that in the school. For me it’s important in an education setting to already have an intention in mind. It was a weird need to prove to myself that there is more than one route to learning and developing a career.
What solidified your decision to leave?
doing more 2d work. It was always something I did wherever I was, there was more freedom and I wasn’t being graded.
Félix González-Torres, he has a way of creating conceptual pieces that are so tied to the heart. Its not about unsettling you, it causes you to feel deeply and profound, in a way that is trickier when it comes to making conceptual work. He has a piece called perfect lovers: its two clocks and whenever they go out
Who is your favorite artist?
I would say “bizarrely magical”. It’s a strange gathering of artists on Granville Island, and a tiny community within Vancouver. It is so different than any other school. It is very special. It is a hidden pocket of brilliant people doing exciting things.
If you had to briefly describe Emily Carr University what would you say?
There are so many lovely places. I used to take the bus that would loop around ubc, it was peaceful and everything is so beautiful up there. On the bus I could be alone and not be alone. I would hop off the bus and hike around. One time a coyote chased me it was fun I thought it was a dog but it wasn’t, it kept following me until a biker came by.
What was your favorite spot to be in Vancouver, your “Zen”?
In terms of art and craft related things. People were very diverse in what they were doing and making. There are a lot of bizarre and experimental things happening in Vancouver without the ego attached to it. It feels more genuine and earnest than in other places, I guess.
What did you notice that Vancouver people “did” differently than other places you have been?
When I left school I drove my sister around France and Spain for a couple of months.
What things/ places where you went?
I identify as a ceramic artist, whatever that means. I am making both functional and sculptural work. A way of making that is very indicative of my hands. What I am making now represents me. I am still trying to generate new work and learn more. I am in a residency now in Iceland. I am not ready to settle down in one studio and buy a kiln. Before I decide what percent of my work it sculptural vs. functional I need to figure out practical ways of making money: gallery or craft sale. One of the reasons I left school was because I was struggling with what audience would actually see what I was making. The gallery can be very conceptual and not everyone is always going understand it. I wanted a foundation in craft. I wanted anyone to be able to appreciate its aesthetic. Everyone should have access to good quality. Cups and bowls was a way to get these objects into people lives. I encourage a tactile experience through Democratic objects, the idea of these things not being so precious. I thought of the problematic of art sitting in a sterile house, untouched and on display.
What does your practice consist of now?
of sink in a gallery or museum they need to be re-set, its about his lover that passed away. Joe Pintz, the ceramic artist is also doing really exiting things. He works with low-fire red clay. It is super simple minimalist work—he is a hand builder like I am. It is so pleasing to have a cup of tea from one of his mugs. Using his pieces feel very ritualistic, they carry a weight to them, which is very special.
Currently I am making strange looking white sculptures they look a bit like organs, they all have some sort of damage or hole. Once I finish the ceramic part I am going to sew all of the broken pieces with yarn. The process is going
What exactly are you focusing on making at the moment?
The landscape is bizarre and barren. There are no distractions. There is a grocery store and a gas station and a restaurant, which doubles as a place to get alcohol. When you order wine they give it to you in a maple sugar bottle so you can take it home with you. It is great but terrifying at the same time, you have to reconcile with yourself. It is the perfect place to think about your work.
What is your favorite thing about where you are now?
Later I got on a bus with a bunch of Australians and drove around Ireland for a couple weeks. I went back to Vancouver for a bit of time. I lived in Florida for a winter, which was a nightmare, and I was unsure about what I was doing. I was really confused; I just panicked and ate a lot of Ice cream. I eventually went to a craft school in North Carolina to study kiln making, a class that I knew nothing about. It was the best experience ever. After that I started working at a well-known ceramic community studio in Minneapolis. I was accepted and attended an artist residency in Maine for a couple of months. That was the first residency I’ve ever been to, it was affirming. After that I got a job apprenticing for 2 potters in North Carolina, I did production work for them, I was given a studio space where they were, I was there for 6-7 months. Now I am in Iceland.
I would probably be a baker. It is still a creative. I enjoy it and it is very calming and meditative. It feels very similar to working with clay. Baking is relaxing there is no pressure like art. You have to get up really early but I think it would still be fun.
If you were not practicing in a creative field what would you be doing?
I’ve been thinking about it more and more lately. I’m not fully versed on what the situation in Canada is. In the US if you have done the equivalent outside of school apprenticing and working you can still apply for grad school. I think it would feel right for me to find an education program that is self-directed. Maybe in the next couple of years I will see if that is going to happen for me.
Will you head back to a school at some point?
No. There have been times when I haven’t had it in me to make anything but my body will know when I can start making again.
Has there ever been a time when you considered abandoning art altogether?
deeper then I thought it would. It is about making and mending. Objects and vessels can be similar to the human form. The ritual I am performing is putting something back together, it is like the process is healing myself.
Do’s And Habit’s Joy Kim 2015
Cause And Defect Lucy Kinsella 2015
Half Cap Matt Lawson 2015
Wave Cube Neil Manchon 2014
Adaptivity Klaudia Niwa 2015
THE PUNK ROCK SHOW Carlos Rossell The Punk Rock Show is a short film about Mary and Jane, two nuns who are tired of their lives in convent and opt for a more dangerous lifestyle. These two outlaws manage to avoid the authorities with the help of a young punk rocker and together they find paradise. This one-minute film is a homage to my grand aunt who was the coolest nun ever. Watch the film at: https://vimeo.com/124867062
Mak-Ta Father of All Sharks Quinn McCallum 2015
Posers And Thugs Carlos Rossell 2015
Paper Art Daniela Buitrago 2015
A Family Portrait Vinson Phua 2014
ALICE - DAY HIKE FOOD CONTAINER Linda Aristizabal A portable lunch box intended for people who enjoy hiking regularly. My main focus are people who have a busy schedule and chooses to do day-hikes rather than camping overnight. I will be focusing more on the regular hiker not the occasional, so I will be working under the premise that my user already has proper hiking gear such as a day-hike backpack with a hydration system. The proportions of those backpacks are different than lets say, a laptop backpack. It is more elongated and hugs the body to prevent back injuries during strenuous activity. Due to the nature of the activity, the product has to be light, easy to carry and have an air tight seal. This precaution has to be taken because the movement can make the food spill. Additionally I included a component that allows the container to be collapsed after being emptied. The overall objective of the product is improving the dinning experience of the hike and making it more sustainable by replacing prepackaged foods and Ziploc bags.
â†‘ The Woods Erika Medina 2014
First Kiss Patrick Bravo 2015
interviewed by: adi berardini
That’s a good question. I think it evolves. For example back in 2011, or even before that, I would draw something in my sketchbook and I would carefully cut that out and collage that into the painting. It allowed me to move that little figure into the space and find a good composition. Part of that acted like a crutch, but it also had a cool effect. Eventually I did away with that because I got a better handle of visualizing it. Sometimes not making super
In what ways does your process change or evolve overtime? Or does it tend to be steady?
No not really. I think there is some sort of kinship between the way that I’m building the paintings and how I’m thinking about story, but it’s in a very abstract way. For example if I’m making one of the iceberg paintings, I may be thinking what does it sound like here, or what does is it feel like? Is this painting really energetic, and if not, how I can bring in the energy with the geometric shapes? Although not so much with the writing.
Your work involves a sense of narrative and place. Does your process usually involve writing?
rebecca chaperon is a graduate of emily carr university’s fine arts program (2002). she is a painter and storyteller currently working in vancouver. chaperon is a creator of other-worldly landscapes inspired by the exploration of place. in her work palm trees join icebergs and shadowy figures to create a surreal sense of narrative. the following discussion addresses the relationship between her process and painting practice.
I think what came first was the letters that my uncle wrote. They got passed down to me and I read them. I wanted to talk to him, but sadly he passed away before we had a chance to talk about it. The letters were written to his parents from when he was on an expedition as a young sailor in the Antarctic bringing scientists to the shore. He was trying to describe the icebergs in detail so his parents would have a sense of what it’s like. He was trying to explain “the iceberg is this length by this length.” In a way, his clinical description was this grand, romantic gesture and he was sharing his adventurous spirit with them. I read that and I was really moved. I’m not the most adventurous person, you know, I’d rather stay in one place than move around. I always need a purpose for going somewhere. I really appreciated getting a little piece of that adventurous spirit. Then it reminded me of my dad telling me these crazy stories of growing up in Mauritius and the lizards that were there. He’d say they would make boats out of leaves since they had massive banana leaves. These stories are great to
Your series Antarcticus was inspired by travel stories from your father and uncle. Can you explain your process connecting the two narratives together?
complicated compositions is helpful. I became really confident with painting, so much that I could paint the whole thing and think “it needs to move over an inch.” I would paint over it perfectly as if it wasn’t there. I would pretty much make it disappear from the painting. That might be a weird thing to do, but that’s empowering knowing that you can recreate it. You can paint over it, it’s okay.
I think so. I never wanted to say that when I graduate from Emily Carr I’m going to be a landscape painter. In my mind it just wasn’t exciting enough.
Your work seems to involve some juxtaposition, with the eerie forests and confetti icebergs. Is juxtaposition a common basis for your process?
I think it’s hard to separate, like the Eerie Dearies book that I did. I was recently interviewed a bit more in depth about it. A lot of the images are connected to what I experienced in high school. For example, this page (holds up M is for Mono page). There was this one girl in my class who was normally really athletic, but she had mono. I clearly remember her sitting there all slumped over while we were playing sports. I thought “But she is usually the one who loves sports! We don’t even care.” Sometimes these things happen consciously and I can tell a story about it, but sometimes not as clearly.
Have other childhood events inspired your work?
share because I’d never necessarily be able to experience this place. It’s really far away and expensive to fly to. I just figured there are these two men in my family and their stories represented this adventure. I just wanted to take a piece of that, and I had to do it my way since I’m painter. So I thought I’m gonna take something and make something new. I’ll combine them and put in these geometric elements to put my stamp on it somehow. You know like in the cave paintings how they would paint the animal back in prehistoric times. They would spray paint their hand over the animal to have that animal’s features. In a way I think as painters we’re always doing that. This was my way of doing that without going there.
There was a time not last year, but the year before, I was working on something and decided to do a really big painting which is not always a good idea. What I’ve learned is to try something small first. Do a small one especially if you don’t know if it’ll work, or it seems weird, or you feel it’s scary. You are skilled enough that you can make something small then
How do you address fear and self-criticism as an artist?
I like both, but I like quiet when I’m working. Cameron’s really quiet so that’s great, we work really well together [Cameron is her studio mate, sitting quietly on his laptop]. There’s certain stages at the beginning of paintings where I really need to hear an inner dialogue happening. I can’t listen to music or put on a TV show, I need to be conscious of the decisions happening. These are stages later on in the painting where things become automatic since you’ve narrowed down your path. At that time, Netflix makes an appearance or I can throw on some tunes and start gabbing.
Do you prefer working in solitude or do you like to discuss ideas while you are working?
After I graduated, I was making these crazy little robot paintings and I just wanted to do something different. When I started doing the landscapes I was surprised, but then I found you can paint this beautiful landscape and then you can put in a surprise. You’re welcoming people into your way of thinking more since people understand what a landscape is. It’s my job as an artist to take a bit of a risk and add something more surprising and hopefully inspiring to people.
For me, I think an artistic block is when I’m trying something new and I’m just not ready to accept it for what it is. Last spring, I started doing these garden paintings and they were really wild in composition and uncomfortable for me to make. I would talk to friends about them and keep suspiciously looking at them. I would just leave them alone. I was trying to figure out “Is this ok?” You may look at something and say “Did I make that? It doesn’t seem like something I would make.” Just taking that time was all that mattered. For artistic blocks I would say to talk to trusted friends, or even friends whose opinion you know will be oppositional. You start to build up a feeling for what that painting really is and fight for things you like about it.
Staying creative can be tricky, even for artists. How do you overcome any artistic blocks?
recreate it bigger later. Back in 2013, I had started this painting and it had these pretty gradients that I’ve been working with since, the pinks and the blues and the landscape with the snow. My mind knew I was going for this thing, but I couldn’t quite visualize what it was supposed to look like. So I took the canvas and I put it away. It was tough, but I knew that I couldn’t see the way forward. Then about three months later, the thing I was striving for came naturally and an image appeared. Although it came out of natural evolution of the work I was doing. It made me realize that all that temporary frustration was worth it because I knew I was working towards something.
Lady of the Pink Lake 18” x 24” Acrylic on Canvas
Hellen Keller 18” x 24” Acrylic on Canvas
The best advice I ever got was from a painter here at Emily Carr. It was that the main thing is to persist and keep going. I think that’s actually the best advice because it’s such a weird path to take. No one can tell you the way that’s best for you. To keep making is the most important thing. I know it’s hard when people have jobs that are full-time or part-time, but it’s important to set that time aside. Paint what you’d like to paint, but not what you have been doing automatically. Don’t paint something just because you think it will sell. Paint what is satisfying to you and if you’re a sculptor, sculpt. If you’re excited about what you do, it will show, and you will be the best advocate for it. If you have some shame and don’t feel that great about you work, how will you be able to sell it or get a gallery to pick it up? I just becomes a bit awkward. It’s okay to go through phases you don’t like, but strive to make things you do like. Once someone told me “Just try it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but at least you tried it.” Yes exactly. Submit everything, even if you feel there’s no chance you will get it. I am not a fan of submitting to juried things where you have to pay. Submit to places like Hot Art Wet City, they always have calls for artists and they’re really supportive. There are lots of shows to be a part of, and don’t limit yourself to Canada. It’s smaller and naturally the viewpoints are more narrow. In the states there’s a lot of different types of artwork in galleries. If you’re putting your work out there, it’s good.
Do you have advice for emerging artists and students?
I Kiss The Hand Of My Destroyer Kerem Dogurga 2015
When in pain, make Art Han Fei Chen 2015
Lou Lou Brittany Nickerson 2015
Inside Out (Places of Belongings) Joy Kim 2015
Tehran Sahand Alizadeh Mohajer 2014
ELĒ (EPILEPSY LIVING ENHANCEMENT) Josiah Ganzeveld This proof-of-concept wearable device was created to allow people with all types of epilepsy to go about there daily lives without having to worry about having a seizure. The ELĒ would be worn overtop of the user’s clothing and a gyroscope and accelerometer would monitor their body movements throughout the day. If a seizure is detected by the user-specific programming in the device, a hood inflates out of the collar to surround the user’s head, thus protecting them from further head trauma. There is also information displayed on the back of the hood to notify others of what has occurred, as well as the proper steps they can take to ensure the user’s safety. This device would decrease stress for the user, as well as protect them in their dayto-day activities.
GILLIGATOR Daniel Gleiberman This project was built for the Vancouver Aquarium to aid in fish surgeries. It won a 2015 Red Dot award. This Industrial Design project was designed to hook onto a hose and fit into the mouth of a fish. Water with dissolved anesthetic flows through the device into the mouth of the fish and over the gills. The Aquarium has many thousands of fish that will occasionally need health-related surgery. This surgery is done in a small medical room and requires a vet to hold a hose in the fishâ€™s mouth and alternate sides to keep the gills irrigated. My device allows the vets to have 1 less person involved in the surgery as well as provides better flow of water to the fish.
My Gift Sahand Mohajer
t was the morning of my thirty-third birthday that I noticed it. The arms of the clock on the nightstand declared five thirty. I didn’t intend to wake up so early. What happened was that I noticed it, half-asleep, when I was trying to roll from one side to another. How could I keep on sleeping after noticing it? I laid stiff on my back. My mind still slow from sleep, I turned my head and looked at the clock, and then back at it again. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’ve had some vivid dreams but this was no dream. Yet I was reluctant to believe my eyes. I shut them hard. There was no use; the thing had already engraved itself into the memory of my eyes, leaving an inevitable trace. Its outline made of light. I rubbed my eyes trying to erase it. I automatically used it to rub my eye – the thing that I couldn’t believe seeing. The thing itself was rubbing my eye. With perfect pressure and also empathically, making circles against my eyelid. This freaked me out. I gathered up a scream like a ball in my chest, but it imploded there without leaving my body, reverberating soundlessly inside. I opened my eyes. There it was, still erect, with palm facing me. Its limp fingers were shaking in the air as if trying to communicate. I thought it was trying to tell me something, maybe even ordering me to do something. But somehow I knew that it didn’t have a mind or a voice of its own, and I was comforted at that. The hand stopped shaking. I realized its frantically shaking fingers were only a consequence of
my inward scream (I guess it had gone on longer than I thought). After all, that’s where it had sprung out of: the centre of my chest. I accepted that it was not going to go away, this third arm of mine. It was still strange to call it mine or refer to it as an arm for that matter, as it was not quite the same as a left arm or a right arm. It was a limb for sure. Yes, a limb. No one could dispute that. I drew a breath and pushed myself up. Sun was starting to shine in through the window. Sitting on the edge of the bed I started looking at it more objectively. For most part it resembled an ordinary arm with all the ordinary parts. A bicep, tricep, elbow, wrist, but it didn’t have a shoulder—or at least there didn’t appear to be one. Whether there was a shoulder buried inside my chest or not, I had not yet decided. My third arm appeared to carry a sense of discipline, a sense of purpose even. While the neutral position, the resting posture for normal arms, or at least mine, is to hang by the sides with palms turned inward, this arm found rest in reaching out. Firmly, but not tensely. The palm of its hand faced the sky naturally, as if it was holding an invisible ball. But it was absurd of me to assign words like discipline and purpose to it. Of course it didn’t have a mind of its own. I could bend it and use it in any shape or way that I wanted, as long as the bone structure allowed me to. The most fascinating part was the hand.
It was a perfectly symmetrical hand. As symmetrical as a face. Imagine normal hands split in two halves—the left half of the left hand paired with the right half of the right hand. That is exactly what this hand looked like. It had six fingers: two thumbs, and two identical fingers in the middle. There was something poetic in the way two adjacent fingers matched each other’s height. They exposed a secret. In normal hands the ring finger is the saddest finger. It’s awfully close to being an equal to the middle finger, yet it’s not. The secret was that the ring finger was always jealous of the middle finger. And if the ring finger had one wish, it would be this, to be no shorter than the finger next to it. Strangely enough, my new arm made me see my normal arms in a new light. Only that day when my left and right arm became mere reference points, I began to realize how alien my limbs were to me. Suddenly arms were things to take notice of, hands to be marvelled at. So I did. I came to think of it as a gift. ‘Woman wakes up on the morning of her thirty-third birthday with an extra arm,’ and I could use this arm as I desired. It was a shame I had never been good with my hands though. I don’t believe it was that I couldn’t be good with my hands, I just never wanted to. If I had a third arm from the beginning that would certainly change things. I would’ve made the perfect use of my hands. Perhaps would’ve picked up painting or playing the piano. Would’ve become the world’s greatest pianist. Would woo the world with my gift... but what could I do now? Make sandwiches faster? Pick up extra tips at my day-job? I couldn’t help but be overtaken by the voice in my head going “Thirty three years! Thirty three years!” How did I accept having only two arms for so long? Did I have the potential for a third arm all along? I partially felt that my body was in on this without me, choosing to leave me in the dark. When I sat on my bed leaning forward I could feel the skin on my back stretching. I fit my skin tighter than ever before. I had never been particularly observant of my body, but as you enter your thirties, with every wrinkle you become more self-conscious. You become tormented. The worst was the extra skin around my elbows. But that was gone now. My third arm had used up all the extra skin. Could it be that my skin had anticipated this, making room over the years for what appears before my eyes today? Once again, my mind was clouded by thought and questions I couldn’t know the answers to. If it weren’t for my shadow moving from one corner of the room to the other, I wouldn’t
have noticed the passing of time. Hours must’ve gone by because the shadow of my third hand was in a different corner than I had noticed it last. I stared at this shadow—there was nothing left to focus my eyes on except the silhouette of the symmetrical hand. My mind was still for a moment and then I suddenly remembered. When I was a kid I had imagined. Not only imagined, but had actually made a drawing of a hand just like this. It was in pre-school when we would trace the outline of our hand on a piece of paper, one day with pencils, the next day with crayons, then with markers and so on. The same activity day after day. Amusing at first, it became painfully dull after being repeated so many times. And I eventually became irritated by how similar my artwork was to that of my peers. Maybe even irritated by how regular my hands were. So one day I picked up the marker and started tracing. I stopped halfway, where the middle finger ends, and switched hands. Then I continued tracing where I had stopped. Two halves joined creating the perfectly symmetrical hand. And it didn’t stop at preschool. If anything, it started there. Obsession with, and obsessing over hands became a part of my childhood that I managed to forget as a teenager and then as a grownup. Maybe it was because I wasn’t good at using them. I lied when I said I never wanted to be good with my hands. I was around nine years old and could already feel that everyone my age exceeded me at doing things with their hands. Unlike me, they weren’t afraid to use their hands, even if the task was unfamiliar to them. So instead I imagined. I imagined up tons of weird hands then. I specifically remember this one where smaller hands, much smaller hands with complete sets of fingers, much smaller fingers, would spring out of the tips of my normal fingers. Each finger would have its own hand to use. At summertime, me and the kids in our neighbourhood, after playing some game, would run to a bush and pick blackberries. Boys always picked more than their share. I would stand there, slowly reaching for a spot and imagining all my extra fingers helping me pick more blackberries than I could ever eat. Other kids never noticed but sometimes the voices around me were reduced to a quiet hum and I was moved to this deep concentration. In this deep thing, just me and the blackberries. Then I could slowly see my fantasy manifesting itself in reality. Like an artist I was so attached to my fantasy that I could no longer see the impossibility of it.
Effigy Andrew Tavukciyan 2015
Fascination Andrew Tavukciyan 2015
Skip Town Andrew Tavukciyan 2015
Sarah & Jacquie
interviewed by: bronwyn carere
jacquie: I have two practices currently, my personal and my professional practices. My professional practice and process isn’t all my own, but part of the larger collaborative practice of the studio I work at as my 9–5 job. It’s a research heavy process. It’s interesting and I’m learning a lot, but at the end of the day I’m working for someone else and getting to put some of myself into it. The most rewarding part is how much I’m learning working in a studio, and being fortunate enough to feel creatively fulfilled in a real-life job. The most challenging aspect is not being too hard on myself, and remembering that I’m still a baby designer, so of course I’m striving to be as good as everyone else at work. The reality is I just
sarah: I’m currently completing my Masters of Design at The School of Visual Arts in NYC, it is a very fast paced program and a lot of work is produced quickly. It has been important to learn how to prioritize specific aspects of a project. A lot of the work I do is somehow based in the physical form, so I like to do a lot of experimentation with different materials, which takes time. I have become very good at creating realistic timelines for myself.
How would you describe your current creative practice? What is its most rewarding aspect, and its most challenging?
design alumnae sarah austensen, and jacquie shaw conversed with woo, sharing their respective creative practices and offering insight into the world beyond emily carr.
sarah: Over all I think I am a very self-critical person; most of the designers I’ve met are. I go through periods where I think everything I try to create is shit. I always try to remember that if I thought everything I did was amazing then there would be no need for growth or learning anything new to improve. One of the skills that I’ve learned in the past year is
What aspects of your current work are you most critical—and most proud—of?
sarah: The four years that I spent at ecuad gave me a foundation for how I approach each project. It wasn’t until I got to The School of Visual Arts NYC that I really started experimenting with different materials and methods of making things.
jacquie: At the studio I work at our process is far more thorough than anything I did during my time at school. Of course I’m constantly working in a team of people. One thing that I think is slightly unrealistic in the design processes at school is that not only are you creating the final resolved design pieces but you’re also creating all the content that goes into them. Working and collaborating with clients, and teams of other professionals (photographers, copy writers, illustrators, etc.) you really start to focus on the design aspects of the work again.
Has your process and practice changed since you time at Emily Carr, and if so, are there any moments that stand-out as having incited this shift?
don’t have the years of experience behind me like my creative directors, or more experienced designers in the studio.
jacquie: The big, and glamorous things I need are great collaborators, clients and colleagues. There’s that ubiquitous idea that good design doesn’t happen in a vacuum, which I really subscribe to. I need people who I can bounce ideas off of—that I jive well with—and who are open to chewing on problems together. I’m awful at working in isolation.
What constitutes your ideal workspace? Are there any essential materials, collaborators, or other miscellaneous ‘things’ that make your studio complete?
jacquie: In my own life I’m constantly critical of my own buying/spending/consuming of goods, so often working at a branding and packaging studio where our main goal is to create design solutions that are about feeding into consumptive capitalist lifestyles creates a kind of conflict, but I can say that one thing our studio works primarily with local businesses with good values, run by good people. Creating packaging and branding for companies and clients like this makes me feel better than working for giant global corporations, or just straight up advertising. I’m able to pay my bills and sleep well at night. I’m proud of my ideas knowing that my concepts usually stand just as strong against the others in the studio. I’m proud that I’m learning to create stronger work pretty much every day, and that I refuse to settle and risk stagnation post-graduation/as I settle into “the real world”.
the ability to sell myself and my ideas. No one will care more about your project than you do, and if your not excited about it then why should anyone else be?
1. Laser cutter 2. CNC machine 3. 3D printer 4. Large format printer 5. Lots of Books 6. Photo studio set-up
sarah: I would love to share a space with people who do a lot of unusual work, Designers that are open to approaching each project differently and aren’t afraid to fail sometimes. But as far as tools or physical things I would love:
On the materialistic side of things, I need the basics: wifi and a computer loaded with adobe creative cloud is pretty dreamy. Having a scanner, photography studio lights and backdrops, is super great too, and in a perfect world I have a nice printer that I can use endlessly for free and with no fear of environmental repercussions—ie. feeling guilty for using so much paper. I know it seems redundant and preachy to say (or at least it did while I was in school) but printing off what you’re working on is so helpful, and it feels good to be able to see things at scale/ real size and scribble on them. If I could, I’d print off almost every round of changes I make to a project. Aside from big things I like having a good stock of all the small stuff you never think about but that are super useful like binder clips, good x-acto knives, a sketchbook and pens you don’t hate, tracing paper, etc. And then of course natural light is essential for so many reasons, but primarily for the sake of sanity and the ease of taking pictures. Natural light is the best. jacquie: Honestly, I don’t have that many “creative manifestations” outside of work. Outside of my professional life I tend to put a lot of the energy I use to create stuff into maintaining a work life balance, seeing friends, cooking good food, trying to exercise, and getting 8 hours of sleep every night. I’m pretty convinced this makes me sound terribly boring, as if I’m not “working hard for my art/craft”. But to be real I suffered some pretty wicked burn out during my final year at ecuad, and I’d prefer to never feel that way as a person, or about my work again. I need to have a life outside of design to be a good designer. I think what helps a designer stand out with the work they create is having a personal life—hobbies, opinions, interests outside of their field of work or study. Maybe this makes me sound like a bit of an asshole, but I try to not have conversations that I don’t gain something out of—inspiration, a new point of view, or something similar. I keep a close group of friends and a network of people who are all also creatives. I think every conversation ends up with us talking about our work, or things that inspire us. I try to be a more engaged person as a whole. I find this is what informs my work and anything else I create/make. I really just love a good conversation, because in the end that’s what design is, it’s a conversation between you as the designer, and the user, and the product. That sounds totally cheesy and pseudo-deep. I’m really sorry (but also not).
How does your creativity manifest outside of your professional or academic environment? Do these personal modes of expression—or interests—inform your formal work and vice-versa?
jacquie: I love robust processes that require a lot of previous research. I remember when first learning about design research and process I had no clue what that meant and I was doing it all wrong and hated it and didn’t understand it, but after a couple years I’m starting to finally feel like I’m getting a grasp on everything.
sarah: Experiment a lot. You don’t have to get things right the first time; a lot of people do a detriment to themselves by taking the safest route when first approaching a project. Don’t filter yourself. Let all the crazy and outrageous ideas out. Then, if needed, you can always scale yourself back. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to freak some people out.
What do you get excited to see in the processes and work of other artists and designers? Are there any critical factors that you would recommend aspiring artists and designers implement into their own practices?
sarah: I am currently completing my Masters of Design, it is a lot of work and I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I have found that if I don’t take the time to do my own projects I get very stressed. I work a lot at night—sometimes into the early morning— and I find that’s when my best thinking happens.
I’m working on setting myself up a podcast, in the kinda egotistical, “hey I have a bunch of great conversations with people. I’m sure other people would like to listen to the great things we have to say,” way, but I could be totally delusional about it. Regardless, I want to give it a try.
The research part of design, to me, is just as fun and important as creating your final product. I find the research part interesting because that’s where you go and seek inspiration from other work that creates a solution from the problem space that you’re working in; or how solutions from totally different problem spaces can be applied to what you’re working on; or just seeking inspiration and methods from totally different areas. I feel like maybe this is basic information, or maybe I was just a bit slow on the uptake with it, but it took me so long to understand. For example, if you’re working on packaging projects, don’t just look at packaging solutions, especially current and contemporary solutions in the same market (ex. working on beer, looking at beer bottles) because that just creates homogeneous work. I love seeing work where every single part of something can be justified with a reason that comes from your research, so that style doesn’t dictate concept, but concept dictates the style. I would recommend that aspiring designers do their research; make mood boards, try a bunch of different paths of concepts. Let your research and concepts inform
“experiment a lot. you don’t have to get things right the first time... don’t filter yourself. let all the crazy and outrageous ideas out.”
sarah: I would love to implement a large-scale street installation. I have no idea what it would look like or what the context would be but if there is someone out there that would like to give me all the time and money to make a street installation Woo knows how to get a hold of me.
jacquie: I’d love to create a collaborative workspace for other designers that would also output content and have mentorship opportunities, and host talks and exhibitions. This would allow for designer growth, as well as open-up and make accessible the city’s design community. In my dreams a beautiful publication with all the print technology I could ever want would also be a part of that, or a little publishing house that puts out little books and prints or what have you. After running Woo and burning out in fourth year I was a bit over publications, but I find myself missing it more and more.
Finally, to end on an exorbitant note: If you had an infinite amount of time and an inexhaustible number of resources, what project would you undertake?
your design solutions, and make sure you infuse yourself into your work. Be inspired not just by what the design world is doing, but also by whatever inspires you outside of it. And where possible, play and have fun with it.
Binning House Terry-Dayne Beasley 2015
Big Rock Joakim Zatko 2015
Lines Rydel Cerezo 2015
Holographic Study Jane Q Cheng 2015
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A collection of creative works from Emily Carr University School of Art + Design