At the end of the last "school year" I finished installing an art project at an elementary school in Montreal, École Katimavik-Hébert. The grades ranged from kindergarten to Grade 8. Each student was asked to select a page from their favourite book, either a photo, or text, and these would be integrated into the final artwork. Since a lot of them are quite young, my description of the project seemed to fall on deaf ears. I decided to make a short video for them to watch, explaining the process. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure!
Time can fly pretty fast. As a parent, I often gauge time in terms of how old my son is, or what happened ‘pre-child’ vs ‘post-child’. But in the case of my public art project for a new AMT commuter train station (Montreal-North / St. Michel AMT station), it’s literally the age of my son. I was pregnant with him when I was short-listed, and showed up for the site visit with the artists and architect waddling at 5-months pregnant. I continued to work furiously on the design every time my newborn slept. Then, when he was only 3 months old, I had to present my design concept and maquette to the selection committee. Sleep deprived or not, never underestimate the competitive drive of a new mom! I was awarded the commission and now, my son is almost 3 years old and the project is finally done.
It's on the floor and waiting for an installation date to be set. Hopefully that'll be in the next month, but with construction deadlines, it may have to wait a little longer. I'm only showing details for now... you'll have to wait a little longer for the grand unveiling.
Last night, my 3-year old found my Achilles heel. Just before it was time for him to go to bed, he started begging and pleading "but I want to DRAW!". Over and over, he asked to draw. How could I refuse? Although the chance was very high he was just trying to avoid bedtime, I still wanted to believe that he might have been overcome with inspiration. Heck, maybe we could pull an all-nighter sometime, drawing, collaging, listening to music. Ok... so maybe not that far. But if his reason to go to bed later is because he wants to draw, I'll gladly grant him that wish.
Here he is in front of his first wall painting:
And this is his "edited" version of my design for the MUHC hospital public art project. He continued to glue additional hexagons onto a print-out of the design that he found on my desk. It's pretty good. Maybe next time, I'll consult with him earlier in the design stage.
With the official press launch of all 11 public artworks out of the way, I can finally post images of my design and the work in progress. It's been challenging to be so tight-lipped, but I guess it was good to build suspense!
This is a photo of my artwork design in the architectural maquette I made for the selection process. To give you a sense of the scale, that little black figure represents a 6-foot tall person. The artwork dimensions will be 25 feet high x 28 feet wide. The location for my artwork is right at one of the main entrances to the adult hospital wing.
The work is being fabricated in ceramic, hand-build clay, onyx and mosaic, as well as some image transfers on ceramic. Here are some details of the production at Mosaika Art & Design. Click on image to scroll through.
One of my favourite things about starting a new project is figuring out how to turn an idea into a tangible thing. Everything is perfect in your sketchbook. My sketchbook is my playground; a place where I can dream big. But to convince others to fund those dreams takes a different art form: planning and budgeting.
To make my ideas come to fruition I need to collaborate with other talented people. I visited m3béton yesterday, a company I worked with a few years ago to help make "CIRCULATION". Together, we're coming up with great solutions for new ideas. Tomorrow, I'm going to visit a 3D printing and modelling lab. I've never done that kind of work before, and maybe I won't anytime soon, but I'm excited to see new possibilities and to forge new relationships.
I used to think that art-making was a solo act. But I've learned over the years that it takes teamwork to accomplish great things: professionally and personally. I still like to sit in my studio alone, enjoying the silence. But I keep reminding myself to open my door, and symbolically open my heart to ever increasing possibilities in the world.
Laying on my studio floor is a palette of fabrics: clothes and household linens that I've arranged by colour. I plan to make an art quilt with these fabrics. They were given to me by an old childhood friend. These clothes, tablecloths, gardening gloves and aprons belonged to his mother, who recently passed away. I think the clothes, fabrics and objects we surround ourselves with say a lot about who we are. I'm hoping to make a portrait of my friends' mom, Lorraine, through the fabrics she was surrounded by.
This will be a long-term project, as I'll be chipping away at it in my spare time, in between other projects. But I'll keep posted my progress here.
At the start of the new year, I decided to set what seemed to be a small goal: to make a 9″ square quilt block each day, for the rest of 2013. I consider it like a ‘drawing a day’ exercise, but mine will all be done with fabric. When I was 2 weeks into it, I’m saw that it’s more work than I expected.