Although "jack of all trades, master of none" echoes in my head late at night, my explorations in art, music, radio and community intersect from time to time...here is how I got to this point....
I graduated from the University of Victoria in 1989 and, after some time in India, I arrived in Ottawa for a short holiday and ended up staying two years, after discovering the amazing art of mixing music, creating soundscapes and telling stories through the medium of community radio. Despite a passion for radio, Ottawa's long, cold winters quickly lost their appeal and I left for warmer climes, heading to Mauritius to learn French. But that destination was never reached. A three day stop-over in Paris turned into almost a year, spent absorbing the architecture, style and language of the city. I then headed to Japan and never spoke a word of French for the next two years.
While in Japan, I lived in Himeji City, behind Himeji - Jo, one of the most beautiful castles in Japan. Daily bicycle rides, to catch the train to Kobe, would take me past tiny traditional houses, over cobble-stone streets, and through the castle gardens, with grey herons filling the trees hanging over the moat. Shoji screens and tatami mats, steam rising from a bowl of udon soup, the deep reds and golds of the autumn leaves--these images found their way into my art in subtle, almost unconscious ways. The piece Poppies
is reminiscent of the piles of exquisite, earthy pottery found at Diamaru in Kobe. The image of Silver Dollars
reminds me of the translucence of a shoji screen.
From Japan I moved to Australia. Settling in Melbourne I found a place that combined the elegant architecture and style of a European city with the vibrancy and irreverence of the Australian people. Melbourne became my city, where I rediscovered radio and music and became part of the city's cultural fabric. From singing in Petrunka, the Melbourne Women's Bulgarian Choir, to hosting a radio show and editing a cultural magazine, I worked with artists, musicians and dancers from PNG, Greece, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Asia.
All of these artists had one thing in common, they took inspiration from their traditional roots or were inspired by other cultures' traditions. The friction between cultural expression and appropriation added an element of self-examination and questioning to these artists' work that made it an exciting and at times controversial world to work in.
My return home to Canada to raise my children opened the door to my own exploration of art. The hours spent wandering my parent's property, at the base of Mt. Revelstoke National Park, and the children picking up every leaf and branch that caught their eye, led me to discover the beauty of the minute details of our natural world. On one of our wanders in April of 2002, I found a leaf that had lain under the snow for the past five months. The flesh of the leaf had disintegrated and all that was left was a skeleton which reminded me of ancient lace, a musty grey colour, so fragile it would crumble into dust at the slightest touch.
At that moment I would have given anything to be able to paint as I wanted to be able to transfer this beautiful leaf onto canvas. I wanted to show the leaf as it really was, not interpret it in some abstract or impressionistic way. Despite the fact that I could never actually paint the leaf to my satisfaction, I kept the leaf on the window sill as an inspiration. It sat there until the beginning of June. I decided at that point to try and scan it and play with it on the computer. I was amazed at the clarity of the leaf. The detail was extraordinary. And so began my artistic journey. From scanning plants to photography and digital art this journey home has led me to the series of images you can find on this website.
To be continued.