Graduated: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography, 2002
Current city: Toronto, Ontario
What are you up to now?
I’m currently finishing my MFA in Documentary Media at Ryerson University. My thesis show has been selected as a featured exhibition in this year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, which is coming up right away (yikes!). The project, Three Women, extends from the time I spent living in rural Saskatchewan. In 2006, I moved from Vancouver to Bruno, SK (a farming community of 600) with fellow artist and Emily Carr alum Tyler Brett. Together we opened All Citizens, a tiny art-shop/café/music-venue. Sadly All Citizens as it currently exists will be soon be closing, but it was a transformative experience that I will continue to work from.
What is your best piece of advice for prospective Emily Carr students?
For starters, don’t let your experience in art school define you as an artist. The people who are successful in school aren’t always the ones who find success post-graduation.
Further to that, Vancouver isn’t necessarily the best artistic climate for everyone—some of the greatest advice I was given came from Janet Cardiff, who said that one of the most destructive things you can do as an artist is to get caught up within a particular city’s art scene and become overly concerned about how you fit in. She said moving to Lethbridge, Alberta (from Toronto) was one of the best things she ever did. In fact, I was talking to another Emily Carr grad just the other day, Jason McLean, who recently moved from Toronto to London, Ontario, and he loves it there. But he acknowledged that there’s a certain group of people who feel you need to be living in a major centre (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal) to be truly successful. It’s not true. Not at all.
Photo by Rebecca Baran