This Spring I created a series of collages based on my love of and memories within my home city, Kitchener Waterloo. If you live in the region, you will be able to see A Dreamer Lives A Double Life installed in a bus shelter (location TBA) in 2023 as part of the Destination Art program created by Button Factory Arts. And you can see Go Inward displayed in Waterloo park as part of the Art Walk Promenade, created by the City of Waterloo. The other two collages, Silver Lake and Nature's Turn, were also inspired by these calls.
A Dreamer Lives A Double Life: This collage was inspired by the experience of being isolated throughout the pandemic and finding solace and joy and a sense of connection with others (some of whom are no longer living) in dreams. Some of these dreams were uncannily lifelike and I awoke feeling as though I had truly been with those people. Which made me wonder - if maintaining psychological relationships in dreams evokes the same feelings as it does in “real” life, who’s to say our dreams aren’t a type of “real” second life? Pictured in this collage is the Exotic Skin Shop, a little tattoo shop at the corner of King and Ottawa that has been there forever. A masked person looking out the window across the street as a bus displays the "Lest We Forget" motto of Remembrance Day. Above is a striking sunset. Dream images include our cat Chico lounging in a duvet and photos of plant life taken at the Grand River Hospital cancer centre.
Go Inward: This image was created specifically for the Art Walk Promenade, which I was inspired by because I've spent so much time in Waterloo park throughout my life. I grew up near the park, hung out there with friends as a teenager, walked through it to get to the University as a student and lived a few blocks from it in my first apartment with my wife. Some of my most profound memories are of solitary walks through the tree-lined trails surrounding Silver Lake, where I would get lost in my thoughts and have vivid creative inspirations or insights into my personal life. These walks sparked the line “go inward” - which calls the viewer to enter the park and also enter their own minds and memories.
I accessed the digital archives from WPL to find this fabulous image from an undated postcard of a shady dirt trail that still existed up until about a decade ago on the side of silver lake. Surrounding the scene of the trail are images representing the thoughts in my mind - random cheap craft supplies (for all the wacky ideas for art projects I’ve had walking in the park), cats, etc. The letters on the beads represent the names of my son, wife, late parents, siblings and friends.
Thank The Lake For Its Silver: Inspired by my love of silver, lakes, swans and the song Bless This Mess by U.S. Girls, this image is of Silver Lake (one of the few bodies of water in Waterloo, a manmade lake in Waterloo park) from a postcard image from the archives of WPL. Silver lake used to be home to swans. The text is inspired by the lyrics by U.S. Girls "Thank the sky for the deluge". It reminded me of sitting by the lake on a sunny day and seeing twinkling silver lake dancing on the surface of the lake.
Nature's Turn: Does anyone else remember this house, which stood on Dorset street, kinda behind Jane Bond, kinda across the street from the Waterloo Library? It must have at one time been a lovely house but in the early 2000s when I found myself at a party in it thrown by some nice hippie students I didn't know it had already fallen into disrepair. I remember sitting in an upstairs room filled with plants and tons of windows. As a joint was passed around people told each other about themselves and I looked out at the night sky. By the 2010s it was bought by a developer and boarded up, slowly but surely nature took it back. The facade crumbled, the glass cracked, the paint wore away and a thick carpet of green enveloped the house in a smothering embrace and when I saw it in this shape I thought of all the different people who had lived in this house throughout its lifetime and grieved for it's emptiness but knew it was nature's turn with the house. It's gone now and a fancy schmancy new condo with a racing stallion painted on its side stands there now. Underneath the stallion are the words "The Jewel Of The City".