I grew up in the suburbs of London’s Masonville district. I had a very typical childhood and after high school and began to follow the career path of my father, to study engineering. Perhaps afraid of the startling linearity of my life, I decided to make a U-turn halfway through college. I changed my career, friends, viewpoints, and enrolled at Western to study Visual Arts and Psychology. Unfortunately an Arts degree doesn’t open many doors in the job market. Thankfully I was able to fall back in the engineering field which allowed me the time and income to develop as an artist. After years working in an environment eerily similar to the movie Office Space, I was ready to jump ship again and give being a full time artist a shot. I’ve been a full time for about a year and what you see is one image in my upcoming series about London.
Where am I as a Canadian landscape artist? The Group of Seven serve as our one entrenched cannon depicting a romantic and untouched wilderness. When traveling around Northern Ontario I see the Group’s imagery all around me. When traveling around London I’m pressed to see a fleeting glimpse of this majestic terrain amidst the monotonous parking lots, strip malls and subdivisions. The London I know and the Canada they knew seem to be different planets. Photographer William Eggleston had a formative conversation with a friend where he laments about the blandness of his hometown of Memphis Tennessee.
William: I can’t photograph anything here, it’s so damn ugly.
Friend: Then photograph the ugly stuff!
Continuing this tradition, I look for the hidden harmony and magic buried within the banality of the North American modern landscape. Instead of wholesale rejecting this architectural trend and moving to another part of the world, I attempt to come to terms with my home town through my art by learning to love something I hate. At heart I think I’m a romantic but without the grand chalk cliffs that inspired Casper David Friedrich I have set my eye to find these same qualities in brick walls, parking lots, and polystyrene. It might be a total failure, looking for something that isn’t there, but I feel truthfulness to it and need to re-establish a Canadian landscape which investigates the way our culture looks today.