Raoul Fernandes: Writer Interview

“The challenge of taking a very well-worn poetic image
and trying to approach it in unusual or startling ways.”

Our September issue has a floral theme, revealing perhaps our reluctance to say farewell to summer and transition to fall. Raoul Fernandes is an exciting figure in the West Coast literary scene, an editor of The Maynard, and a finalist for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award in 2009. A collection of his work is forthcoming from Nightwood Editions. His poem ‘Floral Arrangement’ appears alongside the art of Carmelo Blandino. Subscribe by August 20th to receive this issue.

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Hello Raoul. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

I was born in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to parents of Indian descent. Moved to Canada with my family at age 14, and currently reside in East Vancouver with my wife and 2-and-a-half year old son. I work as a maintenance worker. I’ve dabbled in painting and photography and composed electronic music under the moniker “Goodnight Streetlight.” I do most of my writings in cafes these days, often while my son naps in the stroller beside me.

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Your piece, Flower Arrangements, uses a number of cinematic techniques, like montage and juxtaposition, alongside postcard snapshots to capture a series of fleeting moments. Is this an approach you often use in your writing?

It’s an approach I use often in the early generative stages. I’ll free-associate around an image or idea and write down whatever comes to mind. It rarely stays as that, but for this poem I decided to keep it as a collection of distinct pieces that connect through a common subject. Perhaps it made sense to see it as a kind of a bouquet. I also enjoyed the challenge of taking a very well-worn poetic image and trying to approach it in unusual or startling ways. I’ve resisted using flowers in poems, but I think my wife and our garden has allowed me a deeper appreciation of them.

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“Having a large part of one’s consciousness materialize into a tactile form.”

 

How has your experience editing The Maynard and attending the SFU Creative Writing Program informed your writing, and what role has the West Coast Canadian literary community played in your development?

The Writers Studio at SFU was a big lift for me. I was becoming a bit too isolated and unfocused with my writing. I needed some guidance and, yes, a community. There’s a small friendly group of poets here in Vancouver – It often feels one meets half of them at any given reading. Some poet friends have helped me in very direct ways through reading/feedback, book clubs, or just hanging out and geeking out about writing. More indirectly, being in a community of writers makes you identify more as one. And then it’s like,”OK, you’re a poet. Time to get to work, kid.”

Working on the Maynard has been fun. Reading a lot of poems, especially the weaker ones, can make it really clear what you value in poetry, and what can make a poem go flat. My co-editors are excellent readers and give a lot of time and attention to the poems. I’m learning from them. It’s also a privilege to be in a position of supporting other writers, and perhaps even bringing some non-poetry readers into our weird little world.

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What’s on your plate for the next year? Any new developments and exciting events?

Funny you should ask! The most exciting development is that one of my favourite presses, Nightwood Editions, has picked up my poetry manuscript. I’ll have my first book out next year and hope to do a little flurry of readings and such. I’m pretty thrilled. It feels a bit vulnerable too - having a large part of one’s consciousness materialize into a tactile form that can be thrown across rooms, have coffee spilt on, and, of course, connect with other consciousnesses. But what an incredible thing to get to do. I feel so entirely lucky.

 

Raoul Fernandes is our September 2014 writer.
This is a taste of what’s to come when we release his print at the beginning of the month.

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Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that delivers 12 prints a year featuring fresh art and writing.

$69 in North America, $99 Internationally. 

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See past issues here.

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Issue 56: Special 4-piece Postcard Set by Chris Foster!

Featuring stunning illustrations by recent Halifax-to-Toronto transplant Chris Foster, issue 56 is here, and we are absolutely in love with it.  This 4-piece postcard set is sure to make you swoon as well. Take these cards on the road with you and send sweet messages home.

Chris Foster’s illustrations of makeshift dwellings grafted onto modified cars, trucks, limousines, and public buses can be read as immediate responses to the rising cost of real estate, gentrification, and the housing crisis that has swept across North America. Themes of escapism, transience, self-sufficiency and retreat from the urban are situated in the histories of frontier culture, heroic exploration, and freedom. His dark humour sheds light on collective anxiety rising out of the cultural inactivity in the years following economic collapse. Rendered in a vintage illustration style, the apocalypse has never looked so sweet.

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4 spot-colour Offset Lithography on coated cardstock, white fronts/kraft backs (yes! white on the front and kraft on the back!).

Purchase it for a mere $10 at papirmass.com/products/56-chris-foster-4-piece-postcard-set
Read our interview with him here: papirmasse.com/art/2014/chris-foster-artist-interview
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Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that delivers 12 prints a year featuring fresh art and writing.

$69 in North America, $99 Internationally. 

.

See past issues here.

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PHOTOMASS: Win a copy of Guillaume Morissette’s new novel, New Tab!

In Issue 13 & Issue 21 of Papirmass we published work from author Guillaume Morissette. We are happy to announce that the prize for this month’s Photomass contest will be Guillaume Morissette’s novel, New Tab. Set in Montreal, New Tab is a contemporary tale that recounts a year of a twenty-six year old video game designer’s life as he attempts to reinvent himself. The novel chronicles the dark, hilarious, self-destructing and gripping experiences of one man’s life.

NEW PHOTOMASS CONTEST RULES: As always, entering is easy! We will pick our favourite photo – of anything! – at the end of the month. Share your own photos, images of art or things that inspire you, or a photo of a Papirmass print. Just tag us to enter: #papirmass or @papirmass. Get snapping!

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Photo Contest

Every month we choose our favourite photo and send the lucky winner a great prize!

To enter your photo, simply post it to InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.
Just tag us and you’re entered – it’s that simple.
Tag #papirmass or @papirmass.

We will choose the next winner on August 31. Get snapping!

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Congratulations to PHOTOMASS contest winner Heather Serena!

Heather Serena (heatherserena on Instagram) snapped two beautiful pictures featuring July’s Papirmass print (issue 55 Sandra Chevrier + Emma Healey) alongside her lovely art collection. Thanks Heather! You will receive a copy of Chloes by Dean Garlick.

As of next month, we have new rules for our Photomass contest! Your submission can be a photo of anything, we just want to see what inspires you! More details below.

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We love seeing Papirmass prints featured in art lovers’ collections!

Photos by heatherserena on Instagram.

Stay tuned for the prize announcement for next month’s contest. Keep snapping those fantastic photos!

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Photo Contest

NEW PHOTOMASS CONTEST RULES: As always, entering is easy! We will pick our favourite photo – of anything! – at the end of the month. Share your own photos, images of art or things that inspire you, or a photo of a Papirmass print. Just tag us to enter: #papirmass or @papirmass. Get snapping!

Every month we choose our favourite photo and send the lucky winner a great prize!

To enter your photo, simply post it to InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.
Just tag us and you’re entered – it’s that simple.
Tag #papirmass or @papirmass.

We will choose the next winner on August 31. Get snapping!

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Carmelo Blandino: September Artist

Carmelo Blandino is a captivating artist whose work uses dynamic, vibrant colours to capture the movement of the seemingly static. This September we will be featuring a piece from his ‘Single Flower Series’, inspired by the Buddhist monk practice of bringing a single flower to a meditation session, wherein focusing on the single flower reveals a higher self. Subscribe by August 20th to have Carmelo’s print delivered right to your door.

A poem by Raoul Fernandes appears on Side 2.

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Carmelo Blandino is our September 2014 artist.
This is a taste of what’s to come when we release his print at the beginning of the month.

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Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that delivers 12 prints a year featuring fresh art and writing.

$69 in North America, $99 Internationally. 

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See past issues here.

Chris Foster: Artist Interview

“An effectual paradox on wheels.”

Chris Foster is a multi-faceted artist working in illustration, screenprinting, collage, sculpture, installation, and yes, even wielding a hammer as a heritage carpenter and superintendent now and then. We are publishing a special issue of his work in a few short weeks: subscribe by July 20th to get it in your mailbox!

To see more of his art, check out our gallery here.

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Hi Chris! Who are you and what are you all about? 

After graduating from NSCAD (the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design) in 2008, I decided to stay in Halifax. My community in North End Halifax is very nurturing and positive, people who make their own fun and have good politics, there is a real sense of family. Over the years there I worked dozens of different weird jobs. Because the city is so small and centralized, there are lots of opportunities for collaboration and cross-cultivation. I worked with several Artist-Run Centres, I ran a studio collective above a gun shop, I renovated an independent theatre and music space and produced a free quarterly newspaper promoting Halifax based artists. My studio practice includes lots of illustration, design, screen printing and sculpture.

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You recently moved from Halifax back to your hometown of Toronto. How do you feel this change of scenery has affected your art practice?

To be honest I have been making a lot less Art. Relocation is a time-consuming process and it has taken me a while to get re-grounded. This spring I landed a full time job as the Superintendent of Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island, a century old grade school that is now operated as an Artist Residency. It is keeping me plenty busy but thankfully I find working on old buildings about as rewarding as making art. I have just moved into a new apartment with my partner and it has an amazing studio space, which will generate lots of new work I hope!

Toronto is a much different context than Halifax and I am finding new influences and observing different themes in the work I see here. It is exciting to me to navigate this new influence and I am curious how it will steep into my work. I am finding myself more interested in installation and performance work as opportunities for these kinds of projects are plenty. I think I am also still processing the shock of image saturation, swamped from the barrage of images that have come with the great digital expansion.

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The work that we are publishing is a continuation of your series ‘Frontiers In Real Estate’. Tell us about that work, and the correlation between the two series.

Frontiers In Real Estate was a touring exhibition featuring a series of to-scale model sculptures. The sculptures combine new and old, mixing contemporary vehicles with heritage-style wood buildings common to houses in Eastern Canada. The project was inspired by my work as a Heritage carpenter in Halifax. During this time, the rate of urban development was rapidly expanding, leading to the demolition of heritage buildings and a dramatic increase in the cost of real estate. What resulted is an effectual paradox on wheels, for those wishing to reject the established system of buying deeds to land in order to build property. The sculptures reference a book called Rolling Homes which documents a 1970s subculture that built wood houses onto the frames of antique trucks. The exhibition was shown at Eastern Edge in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Struts Gallery in Sackville New Brunswick, Gallery Connexion in Fredericton, New Brunswick and at The Odd Gallery in Dawson City, Yukon. My series of illustrations for Papirmass is research for the next round of sculptures I hope to produce next winter, expanding the series into new directions.

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Is the end of the world nigh?

It always amazes me that despite the overwhelming problems we face and the destruction that currently swirls around us, humans go about their daily lives with seemingly willful ignorance. Climate Change, flooding, fires, Peak Oil, poisoned oceans, unsustainable development, sweeping demographic change, attacks on public services, attacks on access to abortion, the slow march to Fascism in Canada, widespread corruption, unprecedented political revolutions, open air genocides, recent revelations of the panopticon of total global technological surveillance, the fortification of the Global Corporate Slave State, rising tensions in Geopolitical conflict.. Fuck it, let’s watch Netflix.

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Assuming that life goes on, what’s on your plate for the next year? Any new developments and exciting events?

I am working on a series of 12 full body plant suits for a performance at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday in January. If it goes according to plan there will be a fake forest wandering the galleries of the AGO. I also recently got news that I won a Canada Council production grant to produce more scale model works in my series Convoy. I am really looking forward to that!

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Any road trip plans this summer?

In August I head to Nova Scotia for the sixth year of the White Rabbit Open Air Art Project, a week long Artist Residency on the Bay of Fundy. I have worked in various capacities on this project since the beginning and this year we expanded the program to include a extra month of week long intensive mini-residencies. The project keeps gaining momentum and funding, it is really awesome seeing this project continue to grown sustainably and attract quality people. I hope to bicycle to Hamilton and explore more neighbourhood nooks and back alleys in Toronto.

 

Chris Foster is our August 2014 artist.
This is a taste of what’s to come when we release his print at the beginning of the month.

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Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that delivers 12 prints a year featuring fresh art and writing.

$69 in North America, $99 Internationally. 

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See past issues here.

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CONTEST: Win a copy of Dean Garlick’s new book!

In Issue 19 of Papirmass we published an excerpt of a forthcoming novella by Dean Garlick. We are happy to announce that that novella is now published! To celebrate, we are giving away a copy of it. Recently launched in Toronto and Montreal, Chloes tells the strange tale (based on a true story) of a mysterious parakeet and our tendencies toward multiple selves. It is illustrated by Nicole Aline Legault.

As always, entering is easy: simply snap a photo of a Papirmass print and share it on social media. 

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Photo from Elan Arts

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Photo Contest

Every month we choose our favourite photo of a Papirmass print and send the lucky winner a great prize!

To enter your photo, simply post it to InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.
Just tag us and you’re entered – it’s that simple.
On Instagram tag #papirmass; on Twitter and Facebook use @papirmass.

We will choose the next winner on July 31. Get snapping!

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Issue 55: Sandra Chevrier & Emma Healey

Our latest issue has zipped into mailboxes around the globe and is ready to make its debut on the interwebs. Featuring the fantastic art of Sandra Chevrier and a wonderful prose poem by Emma Healey, this 8×11 inch print is sure to brighten your walls and make you smile (we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the idea of the National Student Loans Centre burning in flames is surely appealing to many of us…).

You can purchase remaining copies for a mere $10 while supplies last. Ships flat.

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BUY IT HERE: http://papirmass.com/products/55-sandra-chevrier-emma-healey

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Chris Foster: August Artist

We will be celebrating summer this August with a special issue commemorating that greatest of adventures: the summer roadtrip. Except that this particular trip, as envisioned by the artist Chris Foster, may or may not take place in a not-too distant future where humans create hybrid vehicles to battle resource depletion. Whatever – we’re sure that roadtrips will be just as fun after the apocalypse as they are now. And best yet, this is a Papirmass issue you are meant to take on the road with you!

We’ve got a delightful preview of Chris’ art below. Scroll down and you’ll see that he is the cheeriest of doomsayers. The end of the world has never looked lovelier.

No writer this time around (maybe you are the writer, hint hint), but as always: subscribe by July 20 to get this exciting set of art prints in your mailbox. A subscription nets you 12 (or more, hint hint) art prints for a mere $5.75 each, including postage. Great news: we also have a new lower International price – Papirmass all over the world for $8.25 per month.

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Chris Foster is our August 2014 artist.
This is a taste of what’s to come when we release his print at the beginning of the month.

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Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that delivers 12 prints a year featuring fresh art and writing.

$69 in North America, $99 Internationally. 

.

See past issues here.

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June GIVEAWAY Winner: Katherine Gleason!

Congratulations to our June GIVEAWAY Winner (and issue 21 contributor) Katherine Gleason (@KGleasonWriter on Twitter). We love to see our prints in action, and this photo sets quite the scene (featuring issue 30 by Melissa del Pinto and issue 31 by Sarah Burwash). Katherine, you have won a copy of issue 54 contributor Jeff Parker’s new book: Where Bears Roam the Streets.

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Photo Contest

Every month we choose our favourite photo of a Papirmass print and send the lucky winner a great prize!

To enter your photo, simply post it to InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.
Just tag us and you’re entered – it’s that simple.
On Instagram tag #papirmass; on Twitter and Facebook use @papirmass.

We will choose the next winner on July 31. Get snapping!