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. 

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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!

Sandra Chevrier: Artist Interview

“There is always something good in what we do,
even if we fail, because we learn from it.”

Sandra Chevrier merges beautiful hyper-realism with the simplified, yet exaggerated lines and colours of mainstream comic books. With such bold and large-scale works, we couldn’t help but ask what goes on behind the scenes. Subscribe by June 20th to receive Sandra’s print.

Includes a short story by Jeff Parker on Side 2.

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Your portraits are incredible for their ability to blend realistic representation with the strong graphic elements of comics. Are you a comic book fan? How did this combination get started?

Sometimes ideas come from a lot of thinking, other times it just happens suddenly or by accident. Let me start by explaining how my ‘Cages’ series came to life, which was about one year ago. I used to work in a really controlled and hyper realistic way. One day, I was doing crafts with my kid, and just started painting with loose and heavy textures of paint on some of my old drawings of women portraits. I found that there was something really interesting there. And for the past year, I’ve been working on this idea, trying new things, and playing with it. The comic book collage idea was also born ‘by accident’. I was supposed to do a DIY project by covering one of my IKEA-dressers with comic books, but it broke. I didn’t know what to do with these comics that I had already bought, and that’s how the idea of creating these different cages came to life. What I love about comic books are the aesthetics, the colors and the energy, but mostly the clash between deep emotions and vibrant colors. The comics play a prevailing part in the social message in this series.

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What is your work set-up and process like?

Creativity is the result of experimentation and evolution. It is easy to repeat something over and over because it was successful. By trying and making mistakes one can evolve and create something new & powerful. That’s what I am trying to do every day. I am a really hard worker, though, I’m not always happy with the results. There is always something good in what we do, even if we fail, because we learn from it.

I think, write and sketch a lot. When I find an idea that I love, I want to play with it until I have no more fun.

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Is there an underlying message to your work?

The series ‘Cages’ portrays women trying to find freedom from the cages of society’s twisted preconceptions of what a woman should or shouldn’t be. These  women are encased in cages of brash imposing paint or comic books that mask their very own persons. That symbolizes the struggle that women go through with having these false expectations of beauty and perfection as well as the limitations society places on women; corrupting what is truly beautiful by placing women in these prisons of identity. By doing so society is asking them to become superheroes.

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What has been the most exciting moment in your artistic career so far?

I have been blessed in so many different ways, but to see that my Art can touch someone, make them think and even sometimes cry, it is a big reward.

There was a precise moment in time that made me realize that I wanted to be an artist. I entered a gallery in Montreal at age fourteen. I was attracted by the painting  Detritus of devotion made by the great Heidi Taillefer. I was drawn to it. Suddenly there was a rush of emotion inside of me, and I started to cry. It made me realize that I wanted myself to be able to make people feel emotions while looking at one of my creations. An image can be worth a thousand words.

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What are you working on right now?

Working on the series Cages, I have a lot of upcoming shows in different countries, solos/groups and different kind of exciting projects.

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Who is your favourite comic book superhero?

BATMAN no doubt. Because he is as human as we are, fragile and sometimes weak, but the greatest hero for his intelligence, his insanity and his thirst for revenge.

Sandra Chevrier is our July 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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HIRING: One awesome person to help grow our team!

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papirmass COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Papirmass is looking for a passionate, detail-oriented, and energetic person to become our Communications Coordinator. This job is comprised of three main responsibilities: Online Content, Shipping & Fulfillment, and Customer Service.

As our Communications Coordinator, you will help to conduct artist and writer interviews, will post content to our blog, will help to promote new issues as they are released, and will manage our monthly photo contest. Additional responsibilities include responding to customer emails, monitoring the web store, and shipping single issue orders.

There is a lot of room for growth in this position. As Papirmass gains more subscribers, there will be room for more hours and additional responsibilities. We are looking for someone with a passion for publications, a vision for the future, and the creative skills and excited attitude to help our company grow.

Read more »

CONTEST: Win a copy of Jeff Parker’s new book!

If you’re a subscriber, you’ll have read Jeff Parker’s short story ‘The Back Of The Line’ in our latest issue. Hungry for more? Well, do we have a great prize for you this month. WIN A COPY of Jeff Parker’s just-released Where the Bears Roam the Streets by posting a photo of a Papirmass issue to social media. Just tag us and you’re entered, it’s that simple. See our favourite past photos here. The best photo of the month wins June 30!

Join Jeff in Toronto on Monday, June 16 for the launch of Where The Bears Roam the Streets.

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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 June 30. Get snapping!

Emma Healey: Writer Interview

“The whole thing just made me want to hug and then light them on fire.
So that’s where the poems came from.”

Emma Healey is cracking wise — cutting to our core and making us laugh the whole damn time. She writes, reviews, and edits in Toronto, but is currently living on a beautiful boat at the Banff Centre, where we caught up with her. Subscribe by June 20th to receive Emma’s poem, which appears in our July issue.

Art by Sandra Chevrier on Side 2.

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Hey Emma, could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Hi! My name’s Emma. I’m a writer and editor from Toronto. I do poems mostly, and fiction sometimes, and reviews, a little, lately. I’m blind in one eye and not British.

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Much of your writing is about Canada, particularly its institutions – could you tell us more about why Canada appears so often in your work? What other themes are you working with most often?

Institution-wise, I realized recently that my favourite voice to read or to write in is a kind of imperfect chorus. I love the vocabulary and weird high diction a group takes on when it speaks as a we, and I love it double when that language misfires, when personality starts to cut through at weird angles. I feel like a group – a company, a government, a city, your neighbours, whatever – speaking as a unified entity often ends up communicating so much more confusion and vulnerability and weirdness than any single person can on their own. It’s almost like cheating.
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“I love the vocabulary and weird high diction a group takes on when it speaks as a we, and I love it double when that language misfires”

 

As far as Canada goes, I dunno, I feel like the confused plural might be our federal mode, all earnest and grave and expansive and dorky. I listen to a lot of CBC. The two things go together. Other than that I think most of my preoccupations are pretty much the same as anyone else’s: loneliness, Cheetos, Drake.

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Your poem for Papirmass is about the National Student Loans Service Centre, and it is deliciously scathing – what prompted this vicious retort?

The poem you guys are publishing is from a longer series I wrote a few years ago, when I was having a real bad time with the federal student loans people. Somehow, during this one semester, they lost a lot of my paperwork and the whole thing got permanently complicated as a result. There were broad swaths of time that were just all filling out forms, signing, scanning. Lots of waiting on hold. Everything felt very high-stakes and intense because money is terrifying and dealing with this kind of stuff can make you feel very small and everywhere I turned I was running into all this labyrinthine bureaucratic language and red tape. But at the same time it was impossible to be 100% mad at them, because of what I was talking about up there in that last answer – all the correspondence I had with them was infused on their side with this weird, sincere, misguided humanity. The whole organization came off so well-intentioned and at the same time so wildly off-base in their actions that it didn’t feel like I was dealing with a corporate monolith; it was more like trying to settle a bet with someone’s sweet, bumbling uncle.

Like okay: one time that year, around the end of December after I’d left school for the holidays, they sent me an email. This was right in the middle of when everything was going to shit, they had been telling me I might not be able to get my loan from them, and I just couldn’t open it. I was too scared. I was sure that something else had gone wrong and that I was never going to get the money and I did not feel up to dealing with it, I was at home with my family, it was Christmas, fuck it. I spent hours pacing around, completely freaked out about what could possibly have happened and what I was going to do, how I was going to talk to my family about it, what my backup plan was. After like a day and a half, I finally worked up the courage to open the message, my palms were sweating, I was actually shaking, and all it said was: “Happy holidays from everyone at the National Student Loans Service Centre!”
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“Someone who does not understand their influence, someone who has never felt the anxiety you feel every day at their hands, who means well but is flawed in the follow-through.”

 

That’s it. That’s all. I almost threw my computer out the window. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person this happened to. All I could think was, Whose idea was this? Who agreed? But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like: this is the action of someone who is clueless but not thoroughly evil. Someone who does not understand their influence, someone who has never felt the anxiety you feel every day at their hands, who means well but is flawed in the follow-through. The whole thing just made me want to hug and then light them on fire. So that’s where the poems came from.

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What are some of the challenges you face in your writing career? 

Myself! I’m mopey and jealous and in the winter I have to sit in front of a special giant lamp for 2 hours every morning just so that I will be able to make it through the rest of the day without falling asleep in public. On one hand there’s probably no career for a person like this other than “poet,” but on the other, I understand how it might be hard to trust someone who has literally no depth perception or fine motor skills with the task of naming and tracing the sadness and small losses that comprise the fabric of our daily whatever.

What are your greatest sources of comfort?

Drake, again. Twitter. Wellbutrin, most dogs. Since I stopped being in school I’ve been able to actually read books, which is fun; yesterday I read Dept. of Speculation which made my nerves feel lit up like sparklers, and now I’m reading Peter Criss’s autobiography, which is teaching me just as much.

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Anything exciting on the horizon? Paying off those loans, maybe?

Right now I’m at the Banff Centre in Alberta, in a boat in a forest on the side of a mountain, pretending to write a novel. It’s about call centres and pornography and sinkholes and being in love with the wrong people. I am pretty sure that after this nothing exciting is ever going to happen to me again, so I’m trying to enjoy it while I can.

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Emma Healey is our July 2014 writer.
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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Issue 54 is here! Troy Lovegates (OTHER) + Jeff Parker

Our latest issue is large and in charge! Check out this beauty featuring the artwork of Troy Lovegates (aka OTHER), graffiti-artist-muralist extraordinaire, and the writing of Jeff Parker, whose hilarious and contemporary take on modern relationships is surreal and exceptionally entertaining.

BUY IT HERE for a mere $10 plus shipping!
http://papirmass.com/products/54-troy-lovegates-other-jeff-parker

15 x 23 inches, offset-printed with CMYK + gold and fluorescent pink spot colours on the reverse.
Ships flat or folded for all budgets! Add $10 shipping for flat (rolled in a tube).

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Image by Troy Lovegates. Badass skateboard not included.

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