Casually Indifferent | Concepts

When I originally shared the show, I left much of the interpretation of the individual paintings up to the viewer. The show itself was heavy, dealing with relationships in a digital age, through the lens of social media, and specifically, my own struggles after spending nearly a decade in an abusive relationship. Casually Indifferent was a culmination of assessing the mask I wear while looking at the why. Instead of just displaying superficial social posts, I dove deeper into my darkness simply to express how it came to be that way. Narrative and imaginative, the show was not simply about any one topic. This is an inside look at a few significant paintings and  how each came to be. 

  unicorns aren't real , 36 x 60 in, oil on canvas, 2018

unicorns aren't real, 36 x 60 in, oil on canvas, 2018

“You’re not like other girls” just about sums unicorns aren't real up. I am a compilation of every girl I ever met that I thought was cool. I appear to be a “cool girl” because I am apathetic and do not care if you don’t reply to my texts. I appear to be the opposite of clingy and needy, but in reality I do not feel like I have the right to be either. I associate being beautiful with privilege, and it is one I do not have. After years of being told I wasn't good/attractive/smart enough in romantic relationships, it's hard for me to believe anything else. I've lost track of the number of times a man has called me a unicorn, only to hide me away from the world, afraid to be seen with me in public. I am the dirty little secret, the woman you’re only attracted to behind closed doors. It feels okay to you, because I don’t seem to care. No man has ever bothered to ask why I don’t care, which further perpetuates my belief that I don’t have the right to demand respect because I am only beautiful when the door is closed. unicorns aren’t real is both a statement on how I don’t exist in public as a love interest and also how my “unicorn” status is merely the exterior perceived by men. Painted as a double exposure, a flickering of two selves, accompanied by a beer that flawlessly captures the moment.

  ICYMI , 48 x 66 in, oil on panel, 2018. Photo taken by Robert Green at 2Cream2Sugar showcase,  Electric Lust.

ICYMI, 48 x 66 in, oil on panel, 2018. Photo taken by Robert Green at 2Cream2Sugar showcase, Electric Lust.

An acronym for “in case you missed it”. Utilizing a Snapchat image with the signature bar across sharing something to the world that’s only designed to be seen by one person. That image being available for only twenty-four hours with the hope that a specific human will see it, instinctively know it’s about them, and then what? Is that success? I find the idea of Snapchat funny – it has died in the same way as the images it hosts. That quick blast of vulnerability, like a shooting star, but dying before you can really get it. The Snapchat mentality is something I continually want to explore. This particular piece with the text, “I just want to forget you exist, but when I’m drunk you’re all I think of” is meant to resonate with the majority of audience members. Whether it’s an ex, a crush, or a current toxic fling, alcohol has a powerful way of bringing this person to the forefront of your mind, flooding your thoughts. Fun fact: inverting this image brings up the regular colours. 

  new sincerity nude , 60 x 36 in, oil on canvas, 2018

new sincerity nude, 60 x 36 in, oil on canvas, 2018

This piece specifically discusses my own self-sabotage. A frequent theme of mine in order to avoid admitting, validating, or indulging in feelings and to avoid getting hurt is to sabotage a potential relationship prior to it getting off the ground. You can’t get hurt if there’s no chance of a beginning. As Jaik Puppyteeth says, “a freshly hatched dead end romance”. Running from your feelings into the arms of another is not only escapist, but often appears much easier than facing them head on. The recognition of this attribute of myself during the creation of the series instantly made this piece my favourite. It resonates with the darkest parts of my heart more than any other. If I can make a man hate me before he realizes I love him, then I never face rejection for any reason other than having hurt him. Flawed logic, and perhaps the most honest of any piece. 

  tbh bae, idgaf , 22 x 30 in, oil on panel, 2018

tbh bae, idgaf, 22 x 30 in, oil on panel, 2018

Title taken from a meme, bae said with sarcasm, throwback to Gone With the Wind. Created in relation to self-love, something I am working on and slowly. The idea that it shouldn’t matter what someone else thinks about you or your body. The POV of the hand puts the viewer in the position as the person giving someone the finger as opposed to the other way around. It is the response I so regularly want to give to the strangers that feel the need to tell me how unhealthy I am. It is the response I want to give to the men who catcall me, and the women who comment on my weight. It is the response I want to give to any unsolicited commentary on my appearance. Bae, the slang pet name “before anyone else” brings to mind someone who thinks they are important enough to voice the opinion in the first place. I also want to give this response to my own insecurities which often drown out logic. 

  things left unsaid (i, ii, iii, & iv) , 25 x 25 in each, oil on panel, 2018. Photo taken by Robert Green at 2Cream2Sugar showcase,  Electric Lust.

things left unsaid (i, ii, iii, & iv), 25 x 25 in each, oil on panel, 2018. Photo taken by Robert Green at 2Cream2Sugar showcase, Electric Lust.

Everyone’s favourite to decipher, things left unsaid is a four part piece dealing with modern relationships, the impact of technology, and an inability to communicate emotions. Have you ever reread a text conversation and wish you could write it differently? Imagined the things you should have said? Could have, but didn’t? I have. I purposely delete my text messages to avoid obsessive analytical behaviour. Meant to be arranged in any order that doesn’t necessarily have to make sense, things left unsaid prompts the viewer to question what was said, what wasn’t, is it real, is it made up, and furthermore, who is saying what? Here’s a clue: none of these conversations originally happened in text format. They are a combination of four different moments with four different people. They all happened in person. I redacted each conversation and added additional phrases that are imagined. These works are both too close to reality for comfort and at the same time, entirely absurd and fictional. Things were not said as they are laid out. Much has been left unsaid. Every single message has been edited to some extent. While anyone could recognize a part of themselves in a message, there is no direct correlation between the work and any single human.

And yes, I will be making more text conversations.  

Casually Indifferent | Show Recap

Social media is a fickle mistress. We display the inner workings of our lives like celebrities, and vaguely address our feelings because anything more would be "off brand". We're all subject to this in some way or another, even if we don't address it. Most people are entirely different without the facade of the internet. After becoming obsessed with redacting my online and offline persona, I chose to explore these themes through painting.

Taking the ephemeral nature of social media and translating it into something permanent entertained me. It duck-tailed into my initial conception of the show being based around the walls I had built up after years of relationships that were toxic in one way or another. Casually Indifferent encapsulates my response to romantic relationships in a world where it appears that nobody truly wants to know the 'real you'.

If you fall in love with me, it's from a lack of knowledge of who I am. If you don't love me, it's because you are all too aware. 

Each piece from the series touches on an aspect of redaction, self-identification, or modern relationships in the age of technology and social media. Below are some highlights from the show and opening night.

  Photo of opening, taken by Kim C.

Photo of opening, taken by Kim C.

  new sincerity nude, oil on canvas, 2018.

new sincerity nude, oil on canvas, 2018.

  Photo of opening, taken by Heather I.

Photo of opening, taken by Heather I.

  tbh bae, idgaf (left) and things left unsaid, series of four (right), all oil on panel, 2018.

tbh bae, idgaf (left) and things left unsaid, series of four (right), all oil on panel, 2018.

  Selfie wall interaction, pht by Chelsea O.

Selfie wall interaction, pht by Chelsea O.

  ICYMI, oil on panel, 2018.

ICYMI, oil on panel, 2018.

  Selfie wall interaction, pht by Megan M.

Selfie wall interaction, pht by Megan M.

  unicorns aren't real, oil on canvas, 2018.

unicorns aren't real, oil on canvas, 2018.

  Casual indifference, acted out by Kim C. and Nicole T.

Casual indifference, acted out by Kim C. and Nicole T.

  carefully script  ed reality (i & ii), oil on panel, 2018. 

carefully scripted reality (i & ii), oil on panel, 2018. 

Obsidian

Recently I shared on Instagram that I was moving away from the type of content I had been producing and travelling back to creating an intimate behind the scenes glimpse into my practice, and who I am as an artist. Tonight I shared a very truncated version of this story in a panel discussion at my alma matter. I'm expanding upon that in this post.

  My old studio on Commercial Drive.  

My old studio on Commercial Drive.  

My first external studio space (pictured above) was in East Vancouver. For those of you familiar with Vancouver, it was off Commercial Drive and next to a medical marijuana shop. This was my first space after completing my BFA at Emily Carr and I felt unsure of what type of work I wanted to create. As I mucked around and waded through uncertainty, I opted to  predominantly post images of my brushes, palette, and essentially any component of my practice that wasn't actual work I was making. A handful of followers (I barely had a few hundred) asked for videos of my paint mixing after seeing an old stop motion buried in my feed. I was excited at the prospect of posting something that wasn't my confused artwork that people wanted to see. It was incidental that this opportunity fell in to my lap, but I did seize it after noticing that the content I was prompted to create was actually popular.

I fell headfirst into content creation, posting mixing videos of my colourful palette. I began a #100daysofpaintmixing challenge for myself, which garnered me the attention of Buzzfeed's Mackenzie Kruvant. After her article came out, I was approached by writers for the Daily Mail and the Huffington Post, as well as a producer from NBC's Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. I said yes to everything.

  Shortly after moving into my current studio in the Arts Factory.  

Shortly after moving into my current studio in the Arts Factory.  

At this point, I had moved from the grungy studio on Commercial, to a bright and warm space (the one most of you are acquainted with) in the Arts Factory off Main. My following increased dramatically and I was consistently overwhelmed by comments, notifications, and hatred. More and more articles came out during the summer and fall of 2016. I began to hate the work I felt obligated to create, including pieces such as 'Love Song'. I felt frustrated by the paint mixing trend and many of the people that came to me demanding certain types of content.

In 2017, I spent most of the year bitterly producing studies that helped me grow my spectrum of colours, but weren't what I wanted to create. I was desperate to just be an artist, and put the concept of a day job behind me that I think I was willing to go to great lengths just to achieve any semblance of this. It wasn't until I saw a post on social media that simply said, "stop saying yes to shit you hate", that I recognized the hell I was putting myself through.

  ‘She said, he said’ on display for the Flats Block Party. 

‘She said, he said’ on display for the Flats Block Party. 

I wanted to recapture the magic of my 2015 pieces (one of which is pictured above) while applying the skill set I had garnered from more meticulous and commercially successful portraiture work. I started to approach things differently in the fall of 2017, choosing to live paint for the duration of the Eastside Culture Crawl instead of exhausting interactions with people who wanted to ask how much my studio rent costs.

I produced a couple of practice-changing pieces in that four day period which validated to me that the problems I were facing had more to do with my approach than the work itself. I produced a final set of colour studies before embarking on my personal history series. I posted a small snippet of a paint mix on Instagram and a comment to the effect of, "the paint mixing queen has smiled upon us" indicated to me that it was time to purge. I made the bold and potentially rash decision to remove all click-bait or on-demand content I had produced over the past couple years.

At the same time, I recognized that the cloudiness of my own identity as an artist had produced some of the least cohesive work I had ever made. I simultaneously decided to sand down the images I disliked, in a less flammable version of a Georgia O'Keefe "fuck you". I rendered all old posts obsolete, causing any news publication that directly embedded my videos from Instagram to lose their content as well. I have no regrets in that regard.

  Sneak peek of the size I’m working on and the reference photos.  

Sneak peek of the size I’m working on and the reference photos.  

I'm currently approaching my series and show (now June 7-9, with the working title 'Obsidian') with fresh eyes, a more confident hand, and an open heart. I can't wait to keep showing you what I make. That panel there is a cool 40x60 inches of potential.