Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Zines + Craft

Here is installment number three of a series of work I wrote for the latest Toronto Zine Library resource zine. This time no interview...just a short piece on the co-relation between zines and craft. Enjoy.

And happy c-day, by the way.

I think it was in about 1999 or 2000 when I noticed the big shift. Suddenly it seemed like there was way more STUFF at zine fairs-I remember tables full of wearable bits and pieces, loads of t-shirts, pouches and patches. Later buttons became insanely popular, as well as hand printed posters and artist’s books, magnets, and hand-crafted one-of-a-kinds. Soon enough the few zines left at such fairs were drowning in a sea of knick-knacks and bric-a-brac. I remember grumbling about this at the time, concerned for the future of
MY MEDIUM, which was without a doubt the noble zine of the olde-fashioned cut’n’paste variety. My mantra was FUCK CRAFT. I was truly afraid that the people around me were forgetting their roots- opting for commodity over community, style over communication.

Well, I was wrong. It took several years and my delving deeper into my own life as an artist and compulsive maker to see the many connections zine and craft-based work share. Among these shared connections are:

The Power of Intimacy- Both zines and crafts are intimate in nature. Zine-makers make zines for the love of it, for little profit, and for a small (sometimes SUPER small) audience. Makers of craft objects are in the same boat- the limitations of the hand and one person making small runs of carefully crafted objects ensures that only a few people will be the recipients of such objects, making the power of the object to it’s owner all the more. Also, because both zines and craft objects are made by hand, evidence of the creator remains attached to the zine/craft- whether it be hand cuts, hand-drawn elements or handwriting, to crocheted embellishments or off-register hand-printing, the evidence of the creators hand makes for a more visceral experience for the keeper of the object.

Intellectual Accessibility- You don’t need to go to school to learn how to make a zine. Zine-makers make their own rules, write about whatever they want, and work intuitively. Craft-based artists make work with materials that are familiar to all walks of life (string, wool, fabric, and other natural/organic materials). Everyone has natural associations to such materials, which makes the general public infinitely more likely to engage in craft-based work than a lot of contemporary art that employs remote concepts (that are the product or 4-6 years of study within an institution) and materials. Not to mention many craft traditions are handed down from generation to generation- a way of learning and making loaded with significance and history.

Material Accessibility- Making a zine requires little more than paper, a pen, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, patience and motivation. Photocopying is a cheap and accessible method of self-publishing. Craft materials are also cheap, and are often plentiful and involve simple techniques and processes unlike more conventional sculpture techniques such as casting, ceramics, metal/woodworking, and other methods of making which employ the use of special tools, machinery, and sometimes harmful and hazardous processes and chemicals.

Creation as Democracy- One of my favorite aspects of zine-making is that anyone can make one. I made my first zine at 13. I knew a family growing up who made zines together- the mother and her two sons, who were about 12 and 8 when they started, we equal partners in the creation of what ended up being a long-running and widely-known Toronto zine. Zine
makers come in all ages, races and backgrounds. Zines empower and engage all different types of people, regardless of social position, education, and personal wealth. The same could be said for craft- all parts of the world have their own indigenous crafts and folk arts. Much of these ways of making are handed down, and involve sustainable materials and
and the use of natural national resourses.

The Power to Heal- For more than a few people I’ve known over the years, their zine was the ear they had when no one else was there to listen. On the other hand, craft techniques often involve a meditative, slow production which soothes the mind and bears psychic rewards not often found in other contemporary ways of working.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Interview- Shannon Gerard

Do you remember your first encounter with a zine or the "zine world?" How and when were you first introduced to zines?

I don' t remember the exact circumstances that led to zine appreciation or making-- I have always loved books and multiples and DIY. I do remember the first eureka moments of figuring out that I could be an artist and a writer at the same time-- that the two loves of drawing and writing could coexist as a practice for me and that there was this whole other community of people out there making similar work. After going to Canzine and CutNPaste and other smaller fairs for years, I finally started booking tables and throwing my own stuff into the mix about 5 years ago.

Do you think your early involvement with zine culture helped inform your practice as an artist/printmaker? Please explain...

Yeah, my books are really connected to printmaking in that they are both things I do in multiple. I totally love making more than one of the same thing-- when I see them all stacked up, or all hung up together I get all thrilly and excited. That kind of repetition is so compelling for me, and so satisfying. There is also a really strong connection between zines and printmaking in that screenprinting and letterpress, before they were taken up by the art world, started as ways to produce stuff cheaply and distribute it widely. So, maybe part of the appeal of working in multiple is that I can communicate the work to more than one person. Lots of people can read my stories. I find that I don't make so many traditional prints anyway-- mostly of the printing I do is part of book projects.

Much of your work involves the use of modest materials and techniques rooted in craft and lo-tech methods of making (silkscreen, letterpress, handmade multiples). What attracts you to this way of working?

I love the idea of not needing a lot of expensive equipment or fancy materials to make art or tell stories. So much of my work is autobiographical and intimate-- so it makes sense (hopefully!) to use materials and processes that feel familiar to people. I am just telling pretty simple stories from my life-- anyone can do that. And I am using materials and methods that a lot of people can understand and recognize. Also the stories are personal, so I want the books to have definite evidence of the hand of the artist all over them.

What sorts of things influence your art/writing/comics? (People who are influences, concepts, places, etc.)

Boys. It's kind of funny to boil it down to that-- but most of my books so far have been about all of the love and fear and losses and hope and fragility of relationships either beginning, ending or never totally materializing. But I think my focus is shifting too-- like my recent Boobs and Dinks project is connected also to questions about fear and fragility but in a broader more universal sense. I guess I am trying to tap into fear in a different, softer way with that project. And I also think and write a lot about faith-- trying to make sense of the Christian upbringing I had and then kind of fell away from. I feel like a lot of my childhood beliefs are in ruins, so lately I have been trying to search through that rubble too.

Zine/Bookmaking are quietly subversive forms of expression/creating. What are your thoughts on this, especially in light of your recent brush with censorship? (York U Bookstore)

It is really so important to make work that is subversive. When people react by censoring your work, I guess you know you're onto a good and provocative idea. The Boobs and Dinks project tries to get at people's fears and human underbellies through this ultra feminized, "soft" form of crochet. In a way the censorship of that project completely serves the conversation I am trying to start about fear. Some people were freaked out about a crocheted penis on display-- but that started a whole bunch of other conversations about being freaked out about our real bodies. It's so awesome.

Do you have an all-time favourite zine? A current (recent) favourite?

Big Questions by Anders Nilsen is amazing. Lickety Split Smut Zine out of Montreal rocks. stef lenk's silent graphic novel chapters are beautiful. Anything by Lilli Carre (Tales of Woodsman Pete is probably her best known series) is so sweet and inspiring.

Zinemaking/self-publishing is an intuitive medium that is most often self-taught. You teach a nano-publishing course at the university level- zines sometimes pop up in the curriculum of post-secondary art classes. What are your thoughts on TEACHING zinemaking? Is zinemaking something that can be taught? Have you experienced anything specific as an educator that has helped shaped this opinion?

I think it is important to expose people to zine making, bookbinding, multiples, etc... at any level and in any context. A place like OCAD is a natural place for courses about indie publishing to spring up, since people at art school tend to be searching for and forming little micro communities and zines and DIY are so tied to community. Art school students are also so eager to take courses that have a real world connection-- that mean something beyond the marks you get and the techniques you learn-- and courses in DIY are all about that. It is also really fun to use all the resources of the school (like the presses and typefaces and foil stampers and all the print toys we have at OCAD) to make experimental bookworks and to milk the access to that equipment while you have it as a student or faculty member. The courses I teach in indie publishing are more like open concept experimental arenas than really directed classes-- but then I also try to offer tonnes of practical advice about taking your work way beyond school into the broader indie community in the city. For a lot of people that course could be a point of entry into an otherwise overwhelming space, so I am really glad to get to teach for that reason.

Is it important to preserve zines as an alternative form of communication? What can we do as zinemakers/zine readers/indie publishers to facilitate this?

I think the impulse to catalogue and preserve ephemeral objects and ideas is so great. It is so amazing for me to be able to bring my class from OCAD for example to a place like TZL because it helps to fulfill my aim of taking the course out of the institution and into the world. I can show off all this amazing stuff that other people have made. It is inspiring. And to have dedicated spaces in the city where materials like zines and multiples are available helps solidify the importance of those otherwise invisible (or hard to find) modes of production, venues for expression and ways of communicating. So yeah, space-- space dedicated to housing zines and workshops and classes--is so vital.

Shannon is a book/comic artist, multiple maker and educator based out of Toronto. For examples of her work, check out her website: http://www.shannongerard.org

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Open Studio, December 13-15

My studio will be open to the public from December 13-15 this month. The open studio will coincide with the Toronto School of Art's winter open house, which will be taking place on those days as well. The reception will take place on Thursday, December 13th, from 7-11pm, and I'll be there for the reception's entirety, as well as all day on Friday. All are welcome...please try to make it out for some refreshments and a holiday drink!

Open Studio (Tara Bursey, Julie Himel, Brette Gabel and Andree Tardif)
In conjunction with the Toronto School of Art's Winter Open House
410 Adelaide Street, 3rd Floor (West of Spadina)
December 13-15, 2007
Reception: Thursday, December 13th, 7-11

Monday, December 03, 2007

Interview: Michael Comeau

The following is an interview I conducted a couple of weeks ago with local screenprinter and artist Michael Comeau for the Toronto Zine Library Resource Zine. Michael is an insanely brilliant guy, with a really amazing organic approach to making work. He is a member of the Punchclock Collective, a musician, and a long-time zine maker...

Do you remember your first encounter with a zine, or the "zine world"? How and when were you first introduced to them?

The first zine I ever saw was "Something Smells" which was published by this Barrie hardcore band Phallocracy. It was the secret communique from the world of the older punks who worked at a lettuce packing warehouse. It had an interview with Bad Religion. I think it was '88 or something.

Do you think your early involvement with zine culture helped inform your practice as an artist/printmaker? Please explain.
Sure zines help inform my art practice. It first taught me about engaging with an audience. It all seems like the same practice. The same ideas translated through different media. The public digests information differently. When it is between the pages of a book held intimately within arms length, an experience for the individual. Or a painting on the wall ,a t-shirt for everyone else to see as well. It appears like people can tolerate more content (words, pictures, ideas in general) in book format than they can in something that hangs on their wall or their person. It also gave me as sense of a pragmatic cultural economy. I seem to have an idea of what that labour is worth and am constantly surprised by those who either feel entitled to get things for free or art patrons that only want something for a high price merely because it has a high price.

Zine/book/printmaking involves the use of modest materials and lo-tech methods of making. (silk screening, letterpress, etc.) The same could be said for handmade multiples. What attracts you to this way of working?
I like to conceptualize projects both "idea to production" and "production to idea". When I keep means of production under my own control i know better what to expect. Many times I will start with a material or a technique to use and create content to embody that idea. Or I can tailor an idea to what means i have available. I enjoy that the production shows my decisions as well as the design. You can tell if i print something because i am less concerned if it is messy and the public seems to like that novelty because of the sterility and uniformity of mass production.

What sorts of things influence your work? (People who are influences, concepts, things, etc.)
The Power of imagination, faith, hope, i think of these things alot. Imagination can change our lives and our world. If it can be imagined it can be accomplished. I am interested how people invest their faith both actively (organized religion etc.) or passively (believe what they see on tv). I don't think alot of people see that they have a choice in the matter anymore. It appears like viewpoints and perspectives are narrowing. From what you invest your faith in you get your own sense of hope. You can't get out of bed in the morning without hope. It invigorates you to persevere through the mundane and oppressive. I believe all these things can be diciplined like exercising a muscle and it is important not to let atrophy in individuals or communities.
I like to think of culture in terms of evolution and magic. It seems like a very natural for individuals or communities with an active interior life to want to express this somehow when their views are not mirrored in the society they are apart of. If you think of cultural objects as being infused with power like spells you can see how these spells are cast and how they affect us.
For example the image of the skinny white girl has been foisted on the world repeatedly by misogynist fashion industry until finally women are starving themselves to embody this image. The spell has conjured a reality. It is a matter of spiritual health to reflect what your true values are and it is not an absolute thing it is an ongoing practice of affirmation and reaffirmation like love or life itself.
Formally I am fascinated with the touch of the artist mediated through techincal means. Like using a photocopier in an intuitive way and the manual manipulation of ink through a screen. Each step of the mediation can contain the pressence of the individual.

Zine/book/multiples are a quietly subversive form of expression/creating. What are your thoughts on this, particularly pertaining to the multiple format?
The intimate nature of the format can lead to quiet contemplation that may burn in the imagination for longer, though i fear the discipline for a longer attention span is dwindling. Singular art pieces seem elitist I much prefer a more democratic multiple format it can be much more accesible. For example you don't have to be able to afford a computer to crack open a book.

Do you have an all-time favourite zine? A current (recent) favourite?
The zine that had the most impact on me was Cometbus. Aaron Cometbus was the drummer in Crimpshine and had a great perspective about being a poor punk from Berkeley travelling and rejiocing over simple things like free coffee and fascinating people. He also did amazing artwork using a photocopier. Other favourites are the psychadooolic minis by great canadian doodlers like Mark Connery, Marc Bell and Pete Thompson they where a big influence on how i view huge ideas in a modest format (check them out in the anthology Nog a Dod). Paper Rodeo was amazing as well. It was great to see wierdos from Providence do crazy comics presented in a free newspaper format with great handdrawn ads to fund it. Great surreal fantasy comics that present anarchist, community minded ideals by the likes of Mat Brinkman, Brian Chippendale, c.f., Lief Goldberg and many others.

Working collectively figures in both the worlds of zines (zine making, zine libraries) and printmaking (collectively-run studios, co-ops). You are a part of the Punchclock Collective in Toronto. Do you prefer working collectively/collaboratively? Why is it important to you?
Working collectively is important because doing art as a strictly solitary practice can lead to a loss of perspective and insanity (for me, anyways). I like to think of myself as involved in a conversation, a back and forth with my peers and audience. I wouldn't see much point in making art for my own benefit. It helps to find a purpose and reduce creative anxiety when others are involved with the process like sharing a co-operative print shop or the final product like publishing others. When i publish others it takes the responsibility of my own work to captivate the audience. Some have accused me of having a martyr like disposition as i am uncomfortable putting myself and my work first. I like to be embedded in a cultural fabric as much as I can like doing posters for an event that has a band playing. Different layers of connection and meaning.

Do you think it is important to preserve zines as an alternative form of communication? Why? What can zine-makers/zine readers/indie publishers do to facilitate this?
Any alternative to the deafening chorous of the consumerist monolith is important to our mental, spiritual and physical health. Active resistence is valuable in any form. It may seem overwhelming but really it is for the benefit of yourself and those in the trenches beside you. It is a way to seek out any kind of dignity in sick society that wants to kill itself.
People require an affirmation of the value of their own efforts. This is something cultural imperialism trys to disuade. Cultural institutions promote their own idea of value and history and what artist are cannonized. Picasso wasn't the "best artist" of the 20th century he was just promoted that way. Humans are incapable of defining what is absoulute especially when it comes to culture. We see it reflected in unnatural attitudes to agriculture and a need to reign in attitudes of entitlement to the "biggest and best". It is important to get more involved in local culture in a more organic way. To see the natural rhythms rather than market demands.
Zine fairs are great and i am encouraged to see the diversity of work presented there (books, zines, comics, t-shirts, crafts). I would like to see the format escape the indie ghetto more without the stigma of "low culture" and for more people to see the potential of having zines as a supplement to their regular practices.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stephanie Cormier- The Showoff Collection: July 2007

Stephanie Cormier

The Showoff Collection- July 2007

December 1-31, 2007.
She Said Boom! Window Space

372 College Street


From Artists Statement:
“This installation is a development of the Dressguts series that involved aspects of community intervention and documentation. In this project 40 used dresses were purchased from thrift stores across Toronto, each dress was then altered with a short, inspirational embroidered quote placed discreetly in seams or linings. This process was documented and the dresses were returned to the same stores of purchase.

“While I had the dresses I used them as sculptural material to assemble and reassemble the forms in the Dressguts series. Since this project I have continued to create occasional compositions from my personal wardrobe. While periodically documenting my wardrobe I am also observing the way in which art making can affect my acts of consumerism and everyday choices.

“In The Showoff Collection – July 2007 I am playing with bringing a 3 dimensional aspect into the work. The process starts with 3 dimensional forms which are composed in a 2 dimensional plane. Here I am taking this 2 dimensional composition and reconstructing it into new 3 dimensional forms.”

Stephanie Cormier lives in Toronto, Ontario. Her practice is conceptually based and includes photography, video and sculpture installation. Stephanie studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design where she completed her BFA. Her work has been exhibited across Canada as well as internationally and has earned several national awards and grants. Most recently Stephanie’s work was featured in Carte Blanche: Photography 1, a publication of Canadian photographers and also Mix Magazine.

For more information, contact:
She Said Boom! Window Space

Friday, September 07, 2007

Shannon Gerard talk at the Toronto Zine Library

This Sunday at the Toronto Zine Library:

A talk with guest speaker

Shannon Gerard

Sunday, September 9th, 2007. 1:30pm
Toronto Zine Library at the TRANZAC, second floor

292 Brunswick Avenue. Toronto

Please join us for a talk with book artist Shannon Gerard hosted by the Toronto Zine Library Collective at the Toronto Zine Library. In her talk, Shannon will discuss her artistic practice, the book as a medium, and her history as a zine-maker and micro-publisher.

Shannon Gerard publishes an ongoing illustrated auto-bio project called Hung. She also prints, binds and distributes little books and artist’s multiples that are mostly about faith, wishing and loss. Her most recent project is a series of multiples called Boobs and Dinks: Early Detection Kits, which involve plush crocheted breasts and penises with little lumps sewn inside that can be found by following instructions in the accompanying booklets- also made to encourage real-life monthly self-examinations.

The Toronto Zine Library is run by a collective of zine readers, zine makers and librarians who are looking to make zines more accessible in Toronto. We believe that zines are still an important medium of communication, and that they should be cherished, protected, and promoted. Our aim to do this through our public collection of zines, conducting related workshops at our physical library and abroad, and by holding events that promote zines as a method of open communication and free expression.

For more information, please contact us at torontozinelibrary@hotmail.com
Or consult our new website and online catalogue: http://www.sitekreator.com/zinelibrary

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lindsay Zier-Vogel- Annie Oakley: Git Yer Gun

Annie Oakley:
Get Yer Gun

Lindsay Zier-Vogel

September 1-30, 2007.
She Said Boom! Window Space

372 College Street


Annie Oakley: Git Yer Gun is a paper and soft-sculpture installation based on an original poem written by the artist about the famed cowgirl, Annie Oakley. This installation reintroduces the historical figure of Annie Oakley into a contemporary context, highlighting the juxtaposition of Oakley’s the traditionally masculine world of guns and the Wild West, with a conservative femininity. The installation focuses on Annie Oakley as both subject and object, with a sewn paper quilt, two soft sculpture Annie Oakley dolls and various objects: the cigarettes Oakley shot out of the Prince of Prussia’s lips, feathers from the quails she shot as a sharp shooting child, the playing cards she could split in two with a bullet and the sewing supplies she would use to make her own clothes.

Lindsay Zier-Vogel is a writer, choreographer, book-maker and arts educator. She has recently graduated from the University of Toronto’s MA program in Creative Writing and is currently finishing her first novel. Her hand-bound book arts have been featured in a solo show at TYPE Books Gallery, OCAD Book Arts fair, Virus Art Gallery + objectorium. She is the founding editor and designer of Puddle Press, an independent publishing company, focused on art and text based limited edition publications. Zier-Vogel is interested in the intimate and invested relationship between reader and book and author/creator. Using new and experimental binding techniques and employing interactive, minimalist design, Zier-Vogel has created over a thousand paper creations. These include traditional hardcover books, soft cover books bound with hemp, books in sewn mull cloth envelopes, typewritten books, hand written books, books out of Erlenmeyer flasks, books on playing cards, books bound with wood sticks and copper, accordion style books that have been sold across Canada. She and collaborator Rhya Tamasauskas have engaged in The Love Letter Project I-III, a yearly guerilla art project involving the anonymous distribution of one-of-a-kind paper and fabric collage love letters. Her work can be found at: www.puddlepress.com

For more information, contact:
She Said Boom! Window Space

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Toronto Zine Library- Selections

Some photos of the installation at She Said Boom! Window Space. It's up for another week and a bit, so go and check it out while you still can.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Zines/Bookworks at Freedom Clothing Collective

I dropped off some more zines and bookworks at Freedom Clothing Collective last week...new titles now available include Tea Bag (2004), Cahier (2005), Plastic Nurses and Science Freaks (2005) and brand spanking new Pulp Cover Notebooks (pictured with spokescat, Exene), hand bound with real vintage pulp fiction covers! Stop by the shop and check them out!

Also, a solo show at Freedom may be in the works of original art I've created for zines, as well as altered books/art in book format. Stay tuned for more details...

Freedom Clothing
939 Bloor Street West
(west of Ossington)
Toronto www.freedomclothingcollective.com

Monday, July 23, 2007

Toronto Zine Library- Selections at She Said Boom! Window Space

Toronto Zine Library

August 1-31, 2007.
She Said Boom! Window Space

372 College Street

This exhibition showcases highlights from the Toronto Zine Library’s collection. Included are zines from the 80s to the present, ranging from literary and art-based zines to political/feminist/queer zines to punk rock fanzines. These selections- though only a mere glimpse into the past and present of “underground publishing”- illustrate the rich history of subversive thought, graphic art and free expression associated with
the zine medium.

The Toronto Zine Library is a reading room and lending library run by a collective of zine-readers, zine-makers and librarians striving to make zines more accessible in Toronto. They believe that zines are an important medium of communication, and that they should be cherished, protected and promoted. The TZL aims to do this through not only a public collection of more than 1200 catalogued pieces, but also by conducting talks and workshops at the library and abroad, as well as by holding related events that promote zines as a method of open communication. The Toronto Zine Library is currently based out of the
second floor of the Tranzac Club.

The Toronto Zine Library Collective is Suzanne Sutherland, Patrick Mooney and Tara Bursey. For more information on the Toronto Zine Library and its collective, consult the Toronto Zine Library website: http://www.sitekreator.com/zinelibrary

For more information, contact:
Tara Bursey
She Said Boom! Window Space

Pictured: Pig Paper #14 by Gary Pig (1982)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Upcoming Exhibitions

It's going to be a SUPER busy next month or so preparing for these shows! Stay tuned to the blog for more details about each of them...

August 2007
Get the Picture! at the Gladstone Hotel (Art auction to benefit Toronto Distress Centres)
September 2007 Elemental Connections at the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery (Curated by Arlene Gehring)
October 2007 Shadow Box Exhibition and Auction at the Textile Museum of Canada

Friday, July 06, 2007

Julian Calleros- Bugs In My Mind

Be sure to check out this month's exhibition at She Said Boom! Window Space...

Bugs in My Mind
Sculpture by
Julian Calleros

July 1-31, 2007
She Said Boom Window Space
372 College Street

From Artists Statement:
My personal evolution, how I relate and interact with people, is the motive for the creation of my artwork and the importance of communicating my thoughts. Through the years I have overcome many challenges, which have affected the way I work with materials. The concepts behind my artwork reflect socio-political issues, and reflect raw personal perspectives. My artwork represents bridges between cultures, languages and ideas, as well as the feelings of belonging and displacement.

Julian Calleros is a Toronto-based artist who works encompasses painting, papier-mâché/sculpture, video and photography. He is originally from Guadalajara,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bookworks/Zines now available at Freedom Clothing

As of last Friday, my zines/bookworks became available exclusively through a boutique/studio space called Freedom Clothing in Toronto. From Russia with Love, Teenage Lust and my Record Cover Notebooks are there on sale now, and other titles will be available there within coming weeks.

Freedom Clothing is run by the Freedom Clothing Collective, a group of fine young designers. The shop is gorgeous, and sells a variety of wearables and readables, from new and reworked vintage clothing to accesories, handmade jewellry, zines and artist's multiples. They also have rotating art exhibitions every month or so. From their website:

The core values of the collective are freedom of expression and freedom to responsible consumption. We feel that clothing should be expressive, intelligent and accessible. In an industry often seen as being frivolous and pretentious, Freedom Clothing offers an alternative way to make, sell & buy fashion. As young business owners we hope to foster both accessibility to local artists as well as bridge the gap between fashion and building community relationships. By supporting us, the community helps to recycle what would normally end up in landfills while funding creative and socially conscious production methods. We integrate recycled fabrics with new materials in our designs to promote an environmentally conscious way of purchasing and wearing clothing.

Freedom Clothing
939 Bloor Street West
(1 Block West of Ossington)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

From Russia With Love

I took these pictures one evening about a week ago.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From Russia With Love

I found this photo of the Russia installation on a photo-blog called
pause by Drew Thomas Levy. What a great picture! The following caption accompanied the photo...

'from russia with love'

Toronto, ON | June 2007

I was walking along College Street east of Bathurst this morning, when I noticed this display in the window of 'She Said Boom,' a used book and record shop on the north side of Kensington Market. The piece, by a Toronto artist named Tara Bursey, is entitled 'From Russia with Love' and features 54 portraits of Russian 'mail-order brides' drawn from photographs found by the artist on internet websites. The portraits caught my eye, and only in part because they reminded me of Walker Evan's photograph (pictured below) 'Penny Picture Display, Savannah, Georgia, 1936.'


Friday, June 15, 2007

Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach in Border Crossings Magazine

Check out the latest issue of Border Crossings Magazine for an in-depth article about Iris Haussler's
Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach by Andrea Carson. The article discusses the installation itself, Iris' previous work, and other examples of public/performative/"hyper-real" installation over the past 60 years.



Thursday, May 31, 2007

Response at Propeller Centre for the Arts

Keep an eye out for TEMPLE II (detail pictured above) in Response at Propeller next week! The show should be amazing...please try to make it out!


Propeller Centre for Visual Arts
in the Main Gallery
June 6 - 17, 2007
Reception: Saturday June 9, 2-5 pm

Artists Include: Tara Bursey, Stephanie Cormier, Dan Dodds, Tyler Hilton, Seungyun Im, Martha Jeblonski-Jones, Donna Kwasnicki, John Lismer, Lucinda Luvaas, Amanda MacDonald, Jo Anne Maikawa, Ann Marino, Frances Patella, Tina Oehmsen-Clark, Kayli Rodgers, Tammy Salzl, Keijo Tapananien and Kara Williams.

We are surrounded by artistic gestures in a multitude of media. Art forms weave in and out of our everyday experiences. We are conditioned by them, although the processes which form them are often a mystery. How do we understand our perception of these media? How do we comprehend their messages whether overt or subliminal?

This unique show offers an opportunity for visual artists to respond to another art medium of their choice. Propeller throws open its doors to invite everyone to view visual responses to literature, film, video, performance, prayer, music or other form. The challenge was to translate the salient messages received from the medium of choice into a medium of the Visual Arts -- a dedicated image that illuminates and unlocks the perceived meaning of the vehicle of inspiration.

The schedule coincides with the Luminato Festival of Toronto (http://www.luminato.ca), this show will be a celebration of art in general and the specific perceptions of visual artists.

Watch web site for additional details about performances.

Propeller Centre for Visual Arts
984 Queen Street West,
Toronto, ON, M6J 1H1
Hours: Wed-Sat 12-6, Sun 12-5
Tel: 416.504.7142
Email: gallery@propellerctr.com
Web: http://www.propellerctr.com

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From Russia With Love

Russia with Love


By Tara Bursey

June 1-30, 2007.
She Said Boom! Window Space
372 College Street

Bookwork multiples are available exclusively through the mail for $5 each for the length of the exhibition only. Address orders to From Russia with Love: 301-110 Tyndall Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 2E2.

From Russia with Love is an installation featuring 54 portraits of Russian “mail order brides” drawn from photographs on internet sites. The installation is an extension of the artist’s previous work exploring serial portraiture- yearbook photos, WWII military portraits- and the idea of portraits of this nature serving as “human catalogues.” Using the laborious act of drawing each woman’s likeness by hand, the piece attempts to subvert the idea of these women being catalogued, while alluding to their commodification through their presentation within a storefront installation and bookwork “catalogue” multiple.

Tara Bursey is a recent graduate of the Toronto School of Art’s diploma program, and a former student at Ontario College of Art and Design. An artist whose practice encompasses sculpture and installation as well as drawing, printmaking and craft, Tara’s work is characterized by its ethereal quality, and an often obsessive use of repetition, pattern and delicate sculptural materials such as eggshells, garlic skin, found garments and paper. During her studies at the Toronto School of Art, Tara was the recipient of TSA’s Barbara Barrett Scholarship (2004) and Matthew David Stein Scholarship (2005). In the past two years, she has exhibited extensively throughout the city in such diverse venues as Open Studio, MOCCA, Eastern Front Gallery, Fly Gallery, and Propeller Centre for the Arts. In addition to her work as a fine artist, Tara also operates actively within Toronto’s independent music and small-press communities as a DJ, illustrator, designer, writer, and is currently a core member of the Toronto Zine Library collective. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada.

For more information, contact:
Tara Bursey
She Said Boom! Window Space

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Heather Saunders- It's A Girl!

Here are some details of the installation taken last night. More to come within the next couple of days!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Toronto Zine Library in Broken Pencil!

We're in their latest issue...check it out!

Zine Libraries: Alternative Learning Centres with Couches


Visiting a zine library isn't like going to a conventional library. You don't have to speak in hushed voices, you can bring in a hot beverage, sit on comfy couches, peruse independent, hard-to-find publications and meet other zine enthusiasts. Toronto's Zine Library is housed in the Tiki Roon at the TRANZAC, a community organization that promotes the arts, theatre and music. The Tiki Room is not large or fancy, but it serves the purpose of providing a cozy place for people to gather and read zines or listen to readings. Most zine libraries are more than just archives with dusty boxes but also act as meeting areas, hosting events, talks and workshops where artists, writers, activists, media critics and others can congregate to share ideas.

However, if you're already visiting the Toronto Reference Library, why not check out the zine library there? Broken Pencil donates there zines to provide the bulk of this collection. While the focus is on the Toronto zine scene, you will find other Canadian and international zines such as Montreal's Fish Piss. The zines are neatly arranged in folders and are stored alphabetically by title. They currently have about 700 zines, and if you need a break from your studies, it's conveniently located on the 4th floor of the library for your perusal.

According to Montreal's Bibliograph/e co-founder Anna Leventhal, "By having a place where zines are broadly accessable to the general public, there is a chance of maybe breaking down some of the barriers between media producers and media consumers." It serves as a kind of "nexus for people who are interested in alternative media, original writing and weird art." The Toronto Zine Library Collective's Tara Bursey likens zine libraries to political infoshops in that they "provide people with a venue for free information exchange and learning without interference or moderation. Both are places that could be considered alternative learning centres or 'free schools.'"

Halifax's Anchor Archive is found in Sarah Evans' and Sonia Edworthy's living room in a detatched house in North Halifax on Roberts Street. Evans states, "The purpose of the Anchor Archive- and I would guess most zine libraries- is to share zines, often a hidden and inaccessible type of publication, with anyone who is interested." Anchor Archive also organizes zine fairs and since 2006, has been running artist/writer/zinemaker-in-residence programs where residents move into the backyard shed- which is cleaned out to hold a bed and a desk- for a few weeks or a month and work on projects, holding office hours during the library's open hours. They are a great opportunity for collaboration and allow for out-of-towners as well as local folks a chance to work on a project while using the resources of Anchor Archive. Past residents include Dennis Hale, Sarah Mangle, Jeff Miller and Sara Spike, and Iris Porter.

Zine libraries are mostly volunteer-run, recieving little funding except when supporters and organizers decide to pay for expenses out of their own pockets. They are truely labours of love. Says Evans, "Halifax has a real shortage of public spaces that are community-run, art-based, and when we moved in here, we decided that a zine library would be a good focal point for starting something. There was always a lot of interest in zine fairs or workshops we were organizing."
Broken Pencil #35

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Toronto Zine Library at the London Indie Media Fair

This Saturday, the Toronto Zine Library will be tabling at the 2nd annual London Indie Media Fair. The fair will feature Indie/DIY groups tabling their wares as well as a number of fantastic workshops. The Toronto Zine Library table will feature our physical catalogue, highlights from our collection, the TZL zine and pins for sale as well as many other goodies and surprises. If you are in the London area, please come down and say hi to us!

London Indie Media Fair

Saturday, May 12th, 2007
at the London Public Library,
Central Branch
251 Dundas Street
London, Ontario

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Compulsion Soap

Here's a picture I took recently of my Compulsion Soap multiples. They are a year and a half old, and for some reason, I've never taken decent pictures of them until now. Over 150 of these hand-carved soaps exist...they were one of the first of my multiple works that dealt with the theme of "domestic anxiety," which I have addressed numerous times through numerous multiple works since...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Heather Saunders- It's A Girl!

I'm very proud to present the inaugural exhibition at She Said Boom! Window Space for the month of May...please be sure to pass by and take a look!

Heather Saunders
It’s a Girl!

May 1st-31st, 2007

She Said Boom! Window Space

372 College Street


Caught in a state of flux, these abstractions of cocoons are both breaking free and being further bound by layers of stitching and layers of fabric. They are made from girls’ baby clothes, women’s lingerie, and hybrids of the two, in an attempt to emphasize their shared signifiers, such as colour, sensual fabrics and floral imagery. The newest additions to the series incorporate girls’ baby clothes that contain text, as an exploration of the messages of socialization imposed, ironically, on a preliterate group.

Heather Saunders has a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Art History from Sheridan College and the University of Toronto. At the University of Toronto, she is completing a Masters in Library and Information Studies and will be starting a Masters in History of Art this fall. She is a former director of White Water Gallery (North Bay, Ontario) and the current publisher of FUSE magazine. (Toronto, Ontario).

For more information, contact:
Tara Bursey
She Said Boom! Window Space

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Michael Comeau at the Toronto Zine Library

The Toronto Zine Library is holding their second in-library event on April 29th, and it should be a fantastic one. Try to make it out!

The Toronto Zine Library presents:
A talk with guest speaker
Michael Comeau

Sunday, April 29th, 1:30pm
at the TRANZAC
292 Brunswick Avenue, south of Bloor.

Please join us for a talk with special guest zine-maker Michael Comeau hosted by the TZL Collective at the Toronto Zine Library. In his talk, Michael will talk about his personal history with zines, and how his involvement with zine culture has informed his work as a professional artist and screenprinter.

Michael Comeau is a Toronto-based printmaker and poster artist , and is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design. In addition to his work as an artist, he has been a zine-maker for many years and was formerly the director of Cut'N'Paste zine fair as well as the Penny Arcade Print Shoppe and Gallery in Kensington Market. His recent projects include a solo show, Excretion Escapades, at Magic Pony and the curation of Regal Beast, a series of art anthologies.

The Toronto Zine Library is run by a collective of zine readers, zine makers and librarians who are commited to making zines more accessible in Toronto. We believe that zines are still an important method of communication that should be cherished, protected and promoted. Our aim is to do this through our public collection of zines, conducting related workshops at our physical library and abroad, and by holding events that promote zines as a method of open communtication and free expression.

For more information, please contact torontozinelibrary@hotmail.com
Or consult our website/online catalogue: http://www.sitekreator.com/zinelibrary

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Temple II

Here is a portion of a statement I am writing about the Temple dresses...

I and TEMPLE II are fibre works involving two modified dresses. Though appearing to be relatively normal from far away, both dresses actually have had all of their horizontally-running threads (save for very few) removed. Through the act of removing these threads, the dress is in fact only half a dress- destroyed and stripped of it’s function yet remaining completely intact.

These works were inspired by the book The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. The novel involves a young stuttering acolyte who becomes obsessed with the beauty of the Golden Temple where he is apprenticing to become a priest. Enraptured by the temple’s perfection and filled with self-loathing, the acolyte sets the temple on fire in a desperate attempt to free himself from the bonds of the structures magnificence, which serves as a monument to his own imperfection.

The TEMPLE dresses relate the themes of Mishima’s Temple of the Golden Pavilion- obsession and fetish, ritual and body image- to the contemporary female experience. The act of removing each horizontal thread by hand parallels repetitive (and often painful) beauty rituals such as plucking, waxing and hair-brushing. The intentional preservation of the vertical threads cheekily suggest the old adage about vertical stripes being slimming, while also evoking self-harm scars and long fair hair.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Local Calls For Submission

Call for Submission:

Deadline: May 1, 2007.

ALLEYJAUNT is Toronto's alternative, urban, community arts event. Through the transformation of garages and alleys into exhibition spaces, ALLEYJAUNT gives exposure to local artists, encourages public interaction with art, integrates contemporary art into public space, and reaches out to a diverse community of all ages within the Trinity Bellwoods Park neighbourhood setting.

ALLEYJAUNT invites artists and collectives to submit proposals for 2007. We are soliciting proposals for garage exhibitions as well as proposals for installations, performances and other works that animate the park and alleyway spaces. ALLEYJAUNT supports experimentation and collaboration within contemporary art, and we are open to diverse media and practices.

We are seeking projects that touch upon one or several of these criteria:
  • Projects designed for a specific site (garage, alley, park, etc.)
  • Projects that connect the diverse community that uses the garage and alley spaces
  • Projects that provide critical reflection on the nature of urban experience
  • Artistic interventions that captures the flux, chance and accident of everyday life.

Proposals will be evaluated according to the critical merit of the overall theme/concept, the adherence to ALLEYJAUNT'S mandate, and the feasibility of the project
The 5th annual ALLEYJAUNT will be held on August 11 & 12, 2007

Submission Requirements
CV & Bio

Description of proposed work, including space required

5 - 8 images of representative work in jpg format)

Please send all written & visual material on a CD

Include SASE if you want support material returned
Please send submissions to:
17 Bank Street
Toronto, ON
M6K 1R4

Queries: info@alleyjaunt.com www.alleyjaunt.com

Call for Submission:
BIG little fibre FIBRE
at the Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel
invites artists working in fibre-related media to submit proposals for installations and wall-hung works for the Gladstone's second annual show of textile-based art.

BIG little fibre FIBRE, will look at assumptions about fibre and size, and fibre and applications. Artists are invited to explore and explode the assumptions and expectations that come with the medium and to submit works at the extremes of size and format - the very large and the very small from the outer reaches of the realm of fibre.

BIG little fibre FIBRE will run from Thursday October 11 2007 to Sunday November 25 2007. The wall-hung works will be shown on the third and fourth floors of the hotel for the full run of the show, and, to launch the show with a bang, the second floor will be dedicated to extreme scale installations for the first four days - 11 to 14 October 2007.

For more information: www.gladstonehotel.com/callsforinterest.html

Chris Mitchell, Marketing, Communications, and Exhibitions
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON
M6J 1J6
416-531-4635 Ext. 7105