Your previous basement studio was aptly named “the cave.” What did you call your new 1,100-square-foot, detached custom-built studio? My new space, aptly named “the lighthouse,” has one entire wall of windows and a large roll-up garage door. For me, the creative process has always been about how I create and less about where. However, all I’ve known is dark and dank basement studios with little to no natural light, so my ability to produce works that are so light-filled is quite amazing.
What was on your must-have studio wish list? The studio was designed to complement my work process: fill my environment with natural light and provide enough space to work on multiple large canvases. Everything from chairs, tables and movable walls are on wheels so that I have the flexibility to rearrange my space as needed. Building my own frames and canvases is part of my process so there is a designated construction area with a large roll-up garage door, power tools and exhaust fan.
How has your new space impacted your work? My new studio has really broken the shackles and allowed me to spread my wings. I can work larger (although, I’ve never been accused of working small) and can work on more pieces simultaneously. I now am able to roll out and staple big rolls of canvas directly onto the wall that I will later stretch. I do need to restrain myself however, as the tendency is to just keep rolling the canvases out longer and longer on the 40-foot wall.
What is your evolutionary process from one series to another? My work is constantly evolving over time, but the changes happen slowly and subtly. I develop a new body of work with a cohesiveness and harmony that link each work to the next. I try and develop that theme until I feel that I have exhausted all possibilities. Only at that point can I move in a new direction. My current body of work focuses on finding a meeting point between my pure abstracts and abstract landscapes inspired by the lushness of the North Saanich Peninsula. I have been incorporating patterns of geometric shapes layered within these works that I am really finding interesting right now. I’m always trying to grow and move in new directions with the work.
Viewers of abstract art often try to interpret or make sense of what they’re seeing. How do you respond to questions regarding the meaning of your work? For me, abstraction was a way to find my voice as an artist. It allowed me to strip away everything I thought I knew and what I was left with was the essence of who I am as an artist. I started with drawings of simple shapes and basic colour fields and over time these rudimentary studies developed into mature, complex abstract paintings. Abstraction is the catalyst that presents what I have to say to the world.
Now that you have a bright new studio space and sound system, what’s on your current playlist? I have music going all day long and have quite an eclectic ear. I listen to everything from classical to electronic. These days I’m listening to some 90’s Stone Temple Pilots, James Blake and the Interstellar soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
Last year, you were invited to participate in celebrity chef Charles Chen’s Dinner Club series in NYC. What was your experience like? It was certainly an honour to be asked to participate in Charles Chen’s Dinner Club series. It was a bit of a whirlwind as I was asked if I could take part on a Wednesday and had to crate my work and ship it to arrive in NYC for Saturday’s dinner. It was one of those opportunities that when you’re asked, you make it happen.