Open House & Studio Warming Party!

Papirmass and Paper Pusher are delighted to open our doors to the public for a Studio Party and Open House on Friday April 18, from 4-10 pm! We will have drinks, snacks, and lots of prints. We would love to meet some friends, new and old. Details below. Facebook event here.

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So moved in. So much paper!

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So excited to have found a new space! Here is Kirsten practicing her high-jumping skills, which lay dormant until now.

 

April 18, 2014
196 Spadina Avenue, #406,
Toronto, ON
4 pm – 10 pm

Note: The street-level door locks at 5 pm. Call or text 416-458-2278 or 416-894-1023 to get in.

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Paper Pusher is more than just a publishing house, it is a publication research lab, living classroom, and collaborative platform where curiosity and relationships serve as inspiration in the pursuits of artistic and cultural production. Paper Pusher is run by Jp King and publishes artists’ books, prints, and stationery out of our Toronto studio using a Risograph RP 3700. http://paperpusher.ca

Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that sends a monthly print to subscribers for less than lunch. We want everyone to have art – real art. Not the fake paintings sold at department stores or the same tired old posters every college student has. No! We want images to travel, and people to get excited about seeing. Our eyes are beautiful things. Papirmass is run by Kirsten McCreahttp://papirmass.com

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Julia Dickens: Artist Interview

“My biggest success has been surrounding myself
with great peers and an awesome supportive community.”

Julia Dickens does it all:  illustration, text, animation, curation, poster art, and installation (for starters). Image and text are often at play as she oscillates freely between bold, bright shapes and light, shaded, delicately fading watercolours. We couldn’t sum her up if we tried, so we let Papirmass’ May artist Julia Dickens speak for herself in this exclusive interview. Subscribe by April 20th to get Julia’s print.

A poem by Emma Healey appears on Side 2.

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Hi Julia! Could you tell us a little about yourself and your art practice? 

Hi Papirmass! Well, I am a 29-year-old Toronto-based artist and illustrator, originally from Ottawa. I studied animation for 3 years at Algonquin College before moving to Toronto, where I am finishing my BA in Illustration, with minors in Printmaking and Painting & Drawing. I am a former board member of The White House Studio Project in Kensington Market (formerly at College and Landsdowne) and share a live-work studio with artists Vanessa Rieger, Andi Clifford and musician Caylie Staples. I am also a member of Punchclock screen printing studio in Parkdale. Although I hail from Ottawa and have (and continue to) exhibit work there from time to time, I identify as a Toronto artist mainly because I feel as though my practice really began here. Joining the White House was the key decision in not only taking my practice seriously, but also involving myself in Toronto’s artistic community. High points or acheivements include the two-person show ‘Cataract’ with photographer Greg Zenha in 2011, curating a group exhibition at the OCADu Student Gallery ‘Another Dark Day Passes’ with Diana Lynn VanderMeulen, exhibiting at Xpace, Ghost Hole V and being a feature artist in Go Home Magazine issue 2.

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How has your work evolved over the last few years? Can you pinpoint when you started to feel confident that you had found your stylistic voice?

That’s a hard question!I guess my work has become more cross-disciplinary, although I would first and foremost identify as a drawer, always. But deciding to take on installlation-style projects, like the Slime Library I made for Ghost Hole V, Don’t Go at Xpace and the bunting I made for the Long Winter (a concert series that happens in Toronto), has been a really fun challenge. I’ve moved away from the drawing style I developed when I went to school for animation, become a bit more experimental, doing a lot of text art now which I was surprised to discover that I loved. I think making work that distanced myself from figurative drawing was an important decision. I felt like I was relying too strongly on that skill because it’s something I felt I was good at. Is it ok to admit that you are good at something? I’m good at it because, when I was in school for animation, I was at school drawing from 9 am to midnight every single day. If you ever want to learn how to draw well, go to school for animation. It’s like boot camp. That being said, I don’t ever want to abandon it, drawings are one of my favourite types of expression, human hands can make really beautiful lines on paper. I think I just had to learn (and am still learning) to think about it differently.

I think the split show I did with Greg at the White House was a bit of a milestone. It was the first time I felt as though I could talk about each piece in the show confidently. It’s sort of embarrassing to admit that sometimes I don’t know how to talk about my own work, but it’s so intuitive, and frankly emotional, that I often find it difficult to articulate myself. Feelings are abstract and confusing! There’s been other moments: submitting to galleries and having your submission approved is definitely a confidence booster… overall however I’d have to say that while I feel as though there are stylistic choices and themes in my work that I’m committed to, it’s still evolving. I think it’s going to change quite a lot, even within the next year. It’s exciting!

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Do you see yourself situated within any particular artistic movements or styles? If I had to choose I would say that some of your art is “punk”, but punk art isn’t really a thing. Sometimes I wish it was as easy to categorize contemporary art as it is music!

I know! Music is difficult to categorize too sometimes… I don’t know if I would categorize myself as a ‘punk’ artist but that’s because I associate punk with collage and I don’t do collage art (although I’ve recently become interested in incorporating it). I grew up with punk culture and it still informs my day to day life so I think it’s inevitable that that’s part of it. I definitely take a lot of influence from music culture and a lot of my favourite contemporary artists have some sort of relationship to music, Raymond Pettibon being a great example (for those who don’t know, Pettibon designed the Black Flag logo and illustrated album covers and posters for them, in addition to the cover of Sonic Youth’s ‘Goo,’ and is generally just amazing). He’s probably the reason why I like to draw with brush pens, I’m still trying to emulate the looseness and confidence in his linework … Seripop, when they were still illustrators, are another huge influence (and also now that they are doing huge crazy installations – like what the hell? So good). They intersect the psychedelic with harsh visual noise, this almost violent or aggressive mess of lines and colour piled on top of one another and executed with total precision and it fucking rules. I think that’s pretty punk. I would identify my art as being contemporary psychedelic, with influences from comic book and zine culture (which is obviously linked to punk culture). I don’t know if I have the looseness of punk art, the ‘I don’t fucking care’ attitude in my approach, but I really would like to cultivate that more. It seems pretty liberating.

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Along with being an artist you are an avid music fan, and run a blog featuring regularly-added playlists. Is there a relationship for you between music and art? 

I think I mostly run The Loving Echo because I secretly want to be in a band and I’m not. I am pretty influenced by music, so it’s been a bit exciting that I’ve been asked lately to make show posters and do installations for musicians (The Long Winter, Feast in the East, and an hopefully an upcoming collaboration with Lido Pimienta). I think the real relationship there is that I am influenced by the emotional landscapes created in music, in a way that is very very different from visual art. Sometimes I feel as though I spend more time learning about music than art to be honest. I also use my art practice as a mechanism to get into new music: i’ll put on an album that I’ve never listened to when I have a big project to work on and just try to zone out. Just groove out you know? Especially when I’m screenprinting, the space-y-er the better. Most of the contributors to the blog are artists, musicians and DJs (all women, btw) so it’s also just an exercise in appreciating them, I’ll often write a story about how I know the contributor or what kind of cool creative projects she’s involved in.

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It’s hard to pick a favourite because they have all been so good, but I always especially enjoy Alicia Nauta’s mixes. She made this one for me called ‘Al’s Choiciest Choices‘ and man is it ever choice. My favourite mix I made is this sweet psyched out one called ‘Making Out On Acid.’ I also made this other one for my sister that I love called ‘Merry Krautmas Laura’ (other working title was Kosmiche Kirstmas) but I haven’t posted that one yet. Maybe I should? It’s really good.

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What is your biggest challenge? What has been your biggest success?

My biggest challenge is motivation and having a consistent practice, honestly, and part of that is just wrangling with depression. Maybe that’s a bit TMI but it’s the truth. It affects most areas of my life, and it’s a sneaky thing because when I’m really motivated and have a big deadline it’s easy to forget about it. We all suffer from self doubt and feeling as though we aren’t doing enough, so overcoming that is a day to day challenge. While strife or emotional pain can be an inspiration for some, I find it stops me from being able to achieve my goals. Having a healthy day to day life where I work hard and accomplish goals, and maintaining that life, is my biggest challenge. I’m working on it!

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My biggest success has been surrounding myself with great peers and an awesome supportive community. It can be daunting to be an artist and to show your work, you open yourself up to criticism and the chance of failure. It’s hard to measure success because it’s so relative. But when you can look around and realize that you are doing exactly what you want to be doing with your life, are surrounded by intelligent, interesting and inspiring friends, when you’ve cultivated a life where you can show your work consistently, when you are continuing to explore and grow, I would say you are already successful. Does that answer that question? Hopefully my biggest professional success is yet to come. I did a project for First Thursday at the AGO in January, definitely told my mom about that one. Oh also, my high school best friend bought a drawing from me in December, a friend who previously showed no real interest in art or things that I made. She bought it because she really liked it. I considered that a success.

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What do you have planned for the coming year?

Well… hopefully graduating from University finally! I wanted to get it done before I turned 30 but it looks as though that’s not going to happen. I would like to get more freelance work, doing posters and maybe some art for bands (hint hint BANDS). Myself and artist Sarah D’Angelo have been working on and off on a short clay animation film so I’m excited to get that project up and running again (hint hint SARAH). I’m working on a two person show with painter and filmmaker Laura Dawe (venue TBA) so that will be really fun! I kind of just want to paint this year! Laura is a fantastic artist, I am super duper excited to work with her. Diana and I are also planning on continuing the work we did with ‘Another Dark Day Passes,’ and we are looking at artist run centres we want to submit proposals to.

Julia Dickens is our May 2014 artist.
This is a taste of what’s to come when we release her 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, $129 Internationally. 

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See past issues here.

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Papirmass 52: a small paper sculpture by Steven Beckly

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For issue 52 of Papirmass we mailed our subscribers a small paper sculpture by the artist Steven Beckly.
It comes flat, and you fold it to bring it to life.

A lot of you will remember assembling what is known as a fortune teller from your childhood. This takes that form, but not that function. What I love about Steven’s piece is this subtle detail that you might miss at first glance. This isn’t one face. What you see are twin sisters, Hanna Hur and Laurie Kang, Toronto-based artists who Steven met several years ago. Each image, even the centre image, is half Laurie, and half Hanna.

Your Fortune Teller can be displayed on a shelf or table once you are done. We have printed the back side with fluorescent and gold inks so that it will literally glow if placed on a white surface. Buy it here for $10.

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A lot of Steven’s work deals with personal relationships, and reveals the intimacy that exists between couples. A great deal of his work has explored his own relationship with his partner Dylan. He also delves into history with a body of work that is still in progress called Queer Histories, looking through old photographs for images of same-sex people touching each other and exhibiting warmth towards each other. An only child himself, Steven was really touched by witnessing the bond between Hanna and Laurie, and made this work of art sort of as an ode to their closeness.

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8 x 8 inches, 2 sheets. Printed in black, fluorescent pink, and gold ink, you fold this issue to assemble it.

See more of Steven’s work at www.stevenbeckly.com

See more at: http://papirmass.com/products/52-a-small-paper-sculpture-by-steven-beckly
Artist Interview: http://papirmasse.com/art/2014/steven-beckly-artist-interview
Gallery of work: http://papirmasse.com/art/2014/steven-beckly-april-artist

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Papirmass is an affordable art subscription that sends a monthly print by mail for less than lunch.
You can be an art collector: papirmasse.com

Printed by FLASH Reproductions in Toronto: flashreproductions.com

Video by Istoica: istoica.com

 

READER QUESTION: How Do You Find Your Artists?

This is from a new series where we will be turning our most frequently asked questions into blog posts. Got a query? E-mail us at info @ papirmass.com, tweet to us (@papirmass), or post to our Facebook wall!

This week, Visual Arts Editor Kirsten McCrea answers reader Sarah’s question: “How do you find your artists?”

We are crediting this question to Sarah, but the truth is, it comes up all the time. Art is at the heart of what Papirmass is all about. So how we find work we love enough to publish?

As both a publisher and artist, I’m always on the hunt for new talent, and I absolutely love to see what other creative types are up to. My biggest goal as the Visual Arts Editor of Papirmass is to find work that will look great in print. I try to offer a range of styles over the course of the year, to give our subscribers a taste of what’s out there in the wide world of contemporary art. I want every month to be a real surprise!

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Our open call for submissions brings in about 200 Visual Art Submissions per year, but I don’t stop there. I’m an artist myself, and my desire for great visual inspiration is voracious. To find the best of the best, I also turn to the internet to see what other people are getting excited about. Blogs like the Jealous Curator, Art Hound, and Booooooom are perennial favourites, but my one-stop shop for undiscovered talent is Saatchi Art. In the real world, I love art fairs and auction because they bring together a more diverse range of styles than you’ll ever see in a single gallery. Saatchi is the equivalent online. While blogs tend to show a specific range of styles, Saatchi is the place where you can get a taste of everything.

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I’ve found some of my favourite artists on Saatchi. Kevin Ledo was published in Issue 48 of Papirmass, and Jp King, another Saatchi artist, was published in Issue 36. My current Saatchi art crushes are Ronald Rupert Santos, Sara Rayo, and Jieun Park. For now they are art crushes, but with any luck, you may see some of these great artists in a future issue of Papirmass.

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See more here.

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Got an artist to suggest? How about a behind-the-scenes question? Send all queries to info @ papirmass.com

 

Julia Dickens: May Artist

Julia Dickens is a versatile artist, working in illustration, text, animation, and installation (for starters). Image and text are often playing with one another as she oscillates freely between bold, bright shapes and shades, and light, almost fading watercolours. Subscribe by April 20th to get Julia’s print!

A poem by Emma Healey appears on Side 2.

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Julia Dickens is our May 2014 artist.
This is a taste of what’s to come when we release her 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, $129 Internationally. 

.

See past issues here.

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March Photo Contest WINNER @TaraObrera

This month our favourite photo features a furry friend. Congratulations @TaraObrera! You WIN FREE SHIPPING on any product at www.papirmass.com. 

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Stay tuned for our April prize, to be announced shortly.

 

March Photo Contest

A reminder to get snapping – there are only 4 days left to win FREE SHIPPING at www.papirmass.com. All you have to do is take a photo of a Papirmass print and tag us (#papirmass on Instagram or @papirmass on Facebook and Twitter).

Here are two of our favourites from this month so far!

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Steven Beckly: Artist Interview

“The malleability of the past in the hands of the present.”

April’s issue of Papirmass is a Double Feature of artist Steven Beckly, and special surprise! Steven’s work is sprawling and multidisciplinary, so we’re treading new territory to showcase it in a fun way. Subscribe by March 20th to receive his piece, and read below to discover his process.

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Hello Steven! We are very excited to have you on board as a Papirmass artist. Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? 

Hi Papirmass! I’m a Toronto-based artist. I live with my partner Dylan in a 120-year old shoe factory that was converted into lofts. My studio makes up about one-third of our home; it’s nice to just roll out of my bed and start making things, but it also means that sometimes I don’t leave the house for days! If I weren’t practicing art, I would run my own public greenhouse. I really love plants. Maybe that will still happen.

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You have a multi-faceted practice, rooted in photography but moving increasingly into sculpture, publishing and installation. What are the common threads you see in your work? What trajectory do you see yourself on?

Photography is a safe space for me. It’s the medium I’ve practiced the longest, although I find it really uncomfortable when I’m referred to as a “photographer” because it’s not really accurate nor fair to artists who define themselves as photographers. With that said, photography has always been the point of departure for my work. For example, I’ve been photographing my relationship with my partner for the past six years. This working archive of the life we’ve built together informs everything I do.

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The sculptural and installation-based works I’ve been making are direct extensions of that. I’m using geometric shapes, abstract forms, and subtle gestures to make intimate portraits that extend the personal and diaristic qualities of the photographs. I’m really attracted to the act of coupling and configuring ourselves with others, and exploring these ideas in the studio as well as searching for them in nature.

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Publishing is probably the medium I’m most excited about. For me, there’s a freedom with artist books that’s really unique. I don’t put the same type of pressure on a book I’m making versus a sculpture, for example, which sounds silly given the amount of time it takes to make a book. I guess I give myself more liberties with artist books than I do with other languages, or perhaps there is less fear involved. I can make a short run of a small book about plants and it still feels relevant to the rest of my practice somehow.

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Your photography is deeply intimate, often revealing quiet personal moments. Can you speak to the role of personal relationships in your work, and whether you feel a tension in bringing the private into a public sphere?

What I’m trying to do is fold private and public onto each other by activating the tension between the two. What happens or what does it look like when you put something very personal and private in a public gallery, on a giant billboard in downtown Saskatoon, in a book that gets sold in bookstores, on the Internet? I think the division we create between the two is an illusion. For me, private and public are one in the same.

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You are currently working on a fascinating series based around the idea of unearthing queer history. Can you tell us more about this body of work?

The work is called “Reunions” and it’s based on vintage photographs of same-sex couples that I’ve collected over the years. It includes studio portraits, vernacular snapshots, and wartime photographs spanning from approximately 1880 to 1980. I’m not a historian, so claiming to unearth any type of history isn’t something I’m equipped to do, nor interested in doing. I’m more interested in showing the malleability of the past in the hands of the present by operating between the intermediary roles of collector, archivist, curator, and artist. I’m using found images from the past to create my own contemporary album through the queering of past identities, relationships, and histories.

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I group these photographs, often in groups of two or three, and reproduce them on newsprint. These “groupings” became spaces where I can generate new connections using the relationships within and between the images. I can create tension by highlighting the similarities across gender, class, race, era or time period, or by intensifying the differences between them. The non-archival nature of newsprint also perpetuates the contextual tensions in the photographs. As the newsprint ages and yellows with time, it starts to physically exhibit the ephemerality of the relationships in the photographs.

I’m also publishing a book of these photographs (also called “Reunions”) that further engages with the materiality of the photograph and its printed forms. It will contain some commissioned writing, but supplemented by many personal passages and thoughts about my own relationship with Dylan. It’s a very personal project, of course, so it only feels right to open myself to it as fearlessly as I can.

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Your piece for Papirmass is an interactive paper sculpture (not pictured) featuring the portraits of Hanna Hur and Laurie Kang, Toronto-based twin sisters with prolific art practices. How did the three of you end up working together?

I met the girls around the time I was doing a residency at Gallery 44 in 2010. Like I said, I had been making work about me and Dylan from the first day we met, and we reached a turning point in our relationship where we had to stop and figure out how to live our lives as a couple without the camera. The residency was a great opportunity to shift my focus and try something new, and the twin relationship (especially the one between Hanna and Laurie) was something that I found really intriguing. The work I made with the girls really helped me expand on ideas of twos, pairs, doubling, and coupling.

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And finally, what is on your horizon in the next year?

I’m flying to Calgary in April for a show at The New Gallery, which I’m really excited about. I’m not well traveled in Canada at all, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also have a show in May during the Contact Photography Festival, so I’ll be putting the finishing touches on that when I get back from Calgary. Finally, in September, I’m moving to Guelph to start my MFA at the University of Guelph. I can’t wait for my life to be consumed with reading, writing, and making art.

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Steven Beckly is our April 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, $129 Internationally. 

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See past issues here.

Monthly Photo Contest: March Prize

Next month’s winner of our Monthly Photo Contest will get FREE SHIPPING in the Papirmass online store! Simply post your photo and tag us by the end of the month to be entered to win. Full details below.

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Photo Contest

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 winner on March 31. Get snapping!

And the new Art & Writing Submission Deadline is…

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…THERE IS NO DEADLINE!

After this year’s deluge of wonderful submissions, we nearly drowned (seriously, there were hundreds) so we’ve decided to start accepting submissions on an ongoing basis.

Now you can submit your art and writing to Papirmass at any time by following our Submission Guidelines!

Please note that due to the high volume of submissions we receive, it may take up to 6 months to hear back from us. We appreciate your patience.

We look forward to discovering fresh new art and writing in our inbox all year round, so get to it!

Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and never miss news like this!

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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, $129 Internationally. 

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