What draws you to toy parts? They’re often used as a medium for your pieces.
Toys symbolize innocence, youth and generally in some way prepare us for some aspect of adulthood. The use of doll heads in particular is a way of representing the universal anybody. The way I distort them symbolizes people’s own particular perception of reality.
You also use concrete. Why?
Not only do I like concrete for its aesthetic qualities, I like to use it as a symbol of an urban existence. It is heavy, cold, and in its liquid form can be manipulated into a multitude of things.
The Concreaturesare cast inner forms of once loved and cherished plush toys. These stuff animals are frozen in a petrified state that solidify their importance and recorded memories of past physical handling and emotional associations. Created from discarded toys and local thrift shops finds, I manipulate the found pieces to create altered visions that redefine and renew their purpose. Hidden inner features are revealed with the imprinting of fabric and fur, which remain on the concrete surfaces marking this former existence. At once each piece simultaneously conveys soft and hard, cute and creepy, comfort and unease.
You also use concrete in your Heavy Heads series (see Fingers Crossed, below). Tell us more about this work.
Infants are a recurring image in my work. In Heavy Heads, they resurface cast in cement. Here they symbolize the average urban dweller caught in the midst of routine occurrences. The distortion of the heads create a sense of pressure and uneasiness which is meant to remind us of the constant flow of information and the chaotic life style to which we have grown accustomed. The awkwardly frail bodies drawn on wood are symbolic of the weary and transitory aspect of our existence.
How did you get involved in The Artist Project? What do you hope to get out of the experience?
I have taken part in The Artist Project since its Toronto debut back in 2008. For the first couple of years I took part as one of the members of the AWOL Collective. The last two years I have done it on my own, it is just gives more opportunity to show more work. This fair offers artists a chance to show work in a professional and high-end art fair type forum, and it’s also a great venue to network with hundreds of people, including other artists, collectors, gallery owners, curators, and press.