The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

From Austin Kleon’s book Keep Going…

From Austin Kleon’s book Keep Going…

This has been a theme I’ve been examining more closely this year (and I was delighted to see a whole section in Austin Kleon’s new book about it.) I think it’s always been there but I was never really deliberately aware of it before, or at least not in the way I’m looking at it now. I’m inherently curious and as soon as I got an iPhone (circa 2007) I began collecting imagery and capturing things that I saw and liked just because I could. Things would fill up pretty quickly and you had to delete pretty much everything or like, upload it to your computer, crack open photoshop edit the shit out of it, save multiple versions (final13_FINAL), and upload it your Flickr account or whatever… so much effort. With cloud storage and a bevy of filters that do everything for you in a fraction of the time, it’s even easier to make a crappy photo look like something worth keeping.

That said, now that I have a more discerning eye, I don’t have the endless collection of photos that I took just because I could. I do have an endless collection of things that caught my attention, usually the composition of something, the interplay of shadows and light, the construction/destruction of pretty much anything, and piles of shit left behind that tell a compelling story especially if you make the photo BW and it becomes a poignant statement for insert whatever topic here. Très artistique!

This week I had the pleasure of being a guest for my friend and fellow artist Cheryl Taves class The Artist’s Mindset. We were talking about sources of inspiration and where it comes from. I’m going to have to go back and review the interview and probably edit this because I know there were some little insights that came up but my monkey mind can’t remember exactly what they were just now. This is all part of Cheryl’s magical ability to draw this sort of thing out of you.

Awesome video still of me and Cheryl Taves from this week.  *It’s been pointed out recently that I talk with my hands but I worry that it might be interpretive dance. Either way, look out.

Awesome video still of me and Cheryl Taves from this week. *It’s been pointed out recently that I talk with my hands but I worry that it might be interpretive dance. Either way, look out.

I have just recently moved into my new studio and while I’m still prototyping the new routine, I found this past week that the short walk to the studio is a lovely transition moving from my business head to my artist head. I’m very lucky to live in a beautiful neighbourhood close to the downtown core where my studio is. The walk should take me about 13 minutes if I stay focused and don’t get distracted, but there is so much to be distracted by that I find it can take me twice as long to get there. I’m calling this productive distraction and part of my process because something happens in that transitory space. I might see something that sparks a narrative in my head and I like to think that comes through in my work. 

Here are a few snapshots from my walk-in days last week with tree lined streets (from which I took zero photos), a Cathedral beside a small cemetery full of people smoking weed, and if I’m really into a productive distraction, an art store stop-in to see what’s new. In a more literal merger with abstraction, I will use some of these images as image transfers to kind of catalogue things, they may be obscured, prominent, or covered up completely but I feel like this layering adds to the overall story of the work. It’s all there, even if you don’t see it.