Back in September, I introduced you to International Man of Mystery, Mr. Marbles. One of the main reasons I love working on this blog is the connections I've made with great artists and creative people. Mr. Marbles and I have kept in touch. He mentioned in his September interview that he was looking for a Canadian art show of some sort. He approached me about being his representative for Canada and of course, I agreed.
I approached a few venues about shows but nothing panned out at first. I approached the curator at the ebar about the possibility of a show and I was able to secure a solo show in The Green Room @ ebar. The ebar is a really cool bookstore, cinema, and bar in Guelph, Ontario (about an hour from Toronto).
Working with a busy international artist does bring some challenges, but after countless e-mails and even a trip to IKEA on the Saturday of a long weekend to look for frames (it actually wasn't that bad. I got a spot near the door and no shoppers were harmed) I'm happy to announce that "Turn And Face The Strange" will be on display from June 6th-July 8th 2017. It's been an enjoyable experience and I'm hoping that this will be the first of many Canadian shows I'm able to help Mr. Marbles put on, and who knows, maybe it's something I can help other artists with as well. Call me.
The series seeks to explore how individuals cope with the bizarre occurrences life throws at them. I've always been amused at how utterly surreal and ridiculous the mundanity of life is, and am fascinated by how people deal with their own. Some embrace it, others run away, while some may make their individual obstacles the focal point of their very being.
Each collage uses only two different images - the small figures and the large, bizarre motif, that represents the peculiar scenarios that life deals them.
All collages are on handmade, archival paper.
If you'd like a peek into Studio Marbles where this was all created, click here and then let's catch up with Mr. Marbles below:
1. What's new since the last time we spoke? Have Cameron Diaz's people been in touch about you painting her in the nude as yet?
They did as a matter of fact. They read the interview, gave it to Cameron who was intrigued by me and commissioned me to paint her in the kip. Word on the street was she wanted more than that, however I don't listen to gossip. The only day she could sit for me though I had a darts match so it didn't materialise. Her loss.
2. Has fatherhood dulled your artistic edge or changed your artistic process?
It hasn't dulled it. On the contrary, it's made me even more driven. I want my son to be proud of me. I want him to look at his Dad and think 'that man rejected a conventional way of living, did what he enjoyed and was good at, and was happy and content.' Imagine how shit it would be if his Dad was an accountant or some bollocks like that? We'd have more money but I'd be miserable and it'd rub off on him. He'd see an everyday muppet with no ambition and that'd break my heart.
3. How did you come up with the idea for this series?
From looking at this turd of a world around me. It's surreal beyond words. We've a man who is, by any definition, a moron, leading the free world. A prime minister here who is acting like she is a bad guy in a Power Rangers movie. A woman who is Hell bent on destroying the hopes of millions of working class people. We've got the Christian Right standing back while kids are being gassed in Syria, and maniacs blowing children up on our own doorstep. It's a horrific time to be alive.
I am fascinated at how people react to the surreal environment we find ourselves in. For me, the concept of leaving the EU, or a fucking reality TV star being in the position to have access to the red button is as surreal as leaving the house and seeing a giant red ball floating in the sky, or a huge geometric triangle. It's how people respond to this - do they embrace it, do they look at it in curiosity, do they run, or do they fight. That, in essence, is what this series is all about.
4. How long did it take you to complete this series?
The scale is small which ironically takes longer. Each collage is made of only two pieces - the people and the shape. The key was getting the composition right. I'd cut out my little people, position them where I thought they should go, then leave them for a week, unglued. I'd constantly be moving them around until I was satisfied. This OCD approach meant that the series took near on a month to complete.
5. Is there a piece in the series that you are most proud of? If yes, why?
I like how they all function as a body of work. If we look at them individually, all the people are all dealing with the surreal situation they find themselves in differently - which is indicative of real life.
6. What would you like people to take away from this series?
I'd like them to put themselves in the work and substitute the shapes with the immediate environment. As I said, these are incredibly surreal times we live in. When they've done that, I'd like them to think about how they would react and, indeed, how they are reacting.
7. This will be your first Canadian solo show. What is your hope for this show?
I'd like to sell enough to cover the cost of posting my work out to Canada and framing! Financial gain aside, I'd like people to get a glimpse of who I am and become as famous as Rick Moranis within a year.
8. What's next?
I'm trying to organise a pop-up show over here with fellow artist Thomas James Butler. He's ace, and we both recognise each others genius so it was inevitable we would do something together. Trying to find a venue in town is harder than Chuck Norris on Viagra. Unless you're putting on a hipster gin festival or some Beatles shite Liverpool doesn't want to know. It says a lot I could get a show in Toronto much easier than my own city.
Professionally, keep creating. I've quite a few things I'm working on at the moment that I'm excited about. I believe now it is important for artists to make people realise what's going on, and I aim to continue to do that on as many levels as possible.
Follow me to get some behind the scenes photos (framing, hanging, etc) and of course shots from the opening night party. You can find me here: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. If you're local, I'd love to see you opening night. Come out and have a drink and buy some art.
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Interview by Glodeane Brown
Artwork provided by Mr.Marbles
Event poster created by ebar curator Eric Montgomery, featuring "Sightseers" by Mr.Marbles