Last year was the year of #ICONICCANUCK, my journey through the Canadian POP culture landscape. Returning home from Edmonton, after the opening of my solo show, I found myself delving deeper into my journey as a Canadian contemporary artist. Seven years ago I transitioned my part time studio practice into a full time career and I find myself reflecting on this journey more than ever. As my paintings inspired by Canadian culture continue I find myself taking a side journey, that is in someways more personal, but in keeping with the themes of Canada and Pop culture. Narrative has always played an important role when fleshing out a body of work. Seven years ago it was the narrative provided by music or film, but I have found through my creative process I have come to develop my own narrative or back story for my paintings.
When I was about four years old, I watched 'The Wizard of Oz' for the very first time on TV. Little did I know that this film would change my life in so many ways. This film meant so much to me as at four years old; I was contemplating running away from home to find something more exciting than my country life. So much so, that I packed a bag, grabbed my ragged old stuffed yellow elephant and began walking up the hill to the top of my road where it met the main road into town. My plan was to sit there until someone was kind enough to give me a lift. Little did I know that my father had slowly followed behind me in his old red truck, keeping an eye and waiting for the moment of realization, that I was all alone and four years old. That moment came and he opened the door of his truck and I climbed in, teary eyed and feeling somewhat defeated.
Fast forward to now. What the Wizard of Oz did for me was open my eyes, encourage my dreams, and transformed me into a 'wonderluster'. It is entirely coincidence that this year marks the 75th anniversary of this groundbreaking film...or perhaps the media injected it into my subconscious. For whatever reason, I find myself wanting to re-imagine this great story through my Canadian perspective. I am now three paintings in, some will stay and some will go, but the ones that remain at the end of this journey will become a new chapter in my body of work.
Here is a closer look at one of my new paintings inspired by Canada and Oz. Inspired by Dorothy falling asleep in the Poppy fields. Painted on canvas with poppies cut from a vintage version of the sheet music for 'O Canada' as well as an old paint rag and paint covered palette sheets kept from the past seven years. Title to come...
Back to Oz.