The Second Screen: Making things with our hands.
The video extras
When we shoot with the artist in their studio they are the boss. We are the invited guest and we take great care to not put things out of place. We might shine a light or two, but it is the camera lens that becomes the medium, our trusted device that brings digital moments to the second screen. We capture images and sounds. Moreover, we get to see the creative process as it unfolds. My desire is to not interfere and just let the natural process unfold.
Art for its own sake
Here is a sample of how each artist works. There are no voices overs or narration but instead are served up as straight-up video essays. They are meditative, soothing and beautiful to watch. They are shot by Mike Grippo, edited by Bob Schroeder and scored with music from Cris Derkson and Jason Burnstick.
Episode 1 – Alex Janvier
Episode 1 is Alex Janvier at work in his studio in the Dene Suline territory of Cold Lake, Alberta. This day of shooting is one of the great privileges I have as a filmmaker. Like many full-time artists of his generation Alex works nearly every day, never tiring, always imaginative. After seven decades of creating amazing imagery, Alex is considered as one of the first abstract artists in Canada.
Episode 2 – Rosalie Favel
Episode 2 is Rosalie Favel, a Metis photographer who lives and works in the Ottawa region. She has her roots and family in Manitoba where she cultivated a love of the still image that carries messages of identity and belonging. She held an art collaborative event at the University Gallery of Carleton University. She called the event, “Wrapped in Culture”.
Episode 3 – Lou Ann Neel
Episode 3 is Lou Ann Neel, a descendant of the Mamalillikulla, Da’nax’daxw, Ma’amtagila, ‘Namgis and Kwagiulth tribes of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak’wala-speaking people). She paints, designs and carves from a “Box of Treasures”, traditional family properties. She also has very strong views about cultural property.
Episode 4 – James Hart
Episode 4 is James Hart, a prominent Haida sculptor, carver, and designer. He is also known as Chief 7Idansuu of an eagle clan from Haida Gwaii. Hart carves monumental totem poles and other three-dimensional art that reflects the stories and struggles of his people. We get to witness the work he does, in this instance the Creation of his Homage to Salmon that resides in the Audain Museum in Whistler, B.C and his carving of the Reconciliation Pole at the University of British Columbia.
Episode 5 – Nadia Myre
Episode 5 is Nadia Myre, a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Montreal. Nadia is an exceptional concept artist who is also concerned about identity. She tackles notions of colonialism unpacking federal laws with irony, such as her canoe made from cedar and metal. Nadia is a child of a sixties scoop survivor and this experience fuels her creativity. I love her expression that “we are carriers of ideas”.
Episode 6 – Lawrence Paul
Episode 6 is Lawrence Yuxweleptun Paul, (LPY) a modern artist who paints vivid landscapes that depict ravage and despair while using beautifully conceived northwest coast imagery. His use of traditional formline is challenged by his own use of “ovoidism”, somehow finding a unique harmony in his diatribe against colonization. LPY invited us to his studio with the question: What do you want to do? I asked for a blank canvas and that is what we got. And more.
Episode 7 – Dozay Christmas
Episode 7 is Arlene “Dozay” Christmas, a Maliseet Wolastoqey woman who has devoted a great part of her artistic career bringing to the canvas, stories of Glooscap. Dozay grew up on the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick. Inspired by parents who were also artists, Dozay went on the attend Nova Scotia’s College of art and design where she ran into bigotry and racism. That didn’t stop this determined and cherished soul. Dozay began her spirit journey in the early winter days of 2019.
Episode 8 – Teresa Marshall
Episode 8 is Teresa Marshall, Mi’kmak artist who lives and works in Truro N.S. This accomplished master of multidimensional art is a joy to watch and a delight to listen to. Her depictions of everyday life are manifested in clothing that defies expectation, in modern sculptures that test the boundaries of colonization and paintings that mirror her soulful Mi’kmak heritage. Her work is funny, entertaining and beautiful. Teresa uses Mi’mak symbols to create a post-modern statement that is at once, elegant and abundant.
Episode 9 – Skeena Reece
Episode 9 is Skeena Reece, Tsimshian, Gitksan, is a performance artist whose wit is as sharp as a chef’s cutting knife, and her sense of humour fulfills the indigenous soul. Skeena has dislocated colonization at the knees. Her sharp and insightful analysis of the Canadian cultural hegemony has not gone unnoticed by the art world where she is a cause celebre. Skeena unpacks colonization but then throws it on the floor, as though a bunch of roses on opening night.