A journal entry I made after painting the physically biggest thing I’ve made yet.
The reason for starting Thursday blog posts was more-so to prove to myself that I could have self-discipline.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been avoiding posting on Thursdays.
I feel the VOTE ASHTON project is a more constructive way of exploring myself as opposed to it being about when and how I share ideas… free speech, you know?
I’ll just post here whenever I’ve done something and/or have something to share.
I’d like it to grow organically.
Did I scan 9 cards once and digitally composite them 6 times to represent a whole deck? Did I lay out and scan 6 sets of 9 cards to then composite them to show the backs of the entire deck?
If anyone is to ask me, I could bend the truth, exaggerate it, make it seem like I was chuckling to myself while making/writing this, or make it it seem as if the concept was created out of spite… (ouch!).
Nobody will ever know the whole truth except for me and even then, my perception of the “truth” would be clouded by my own biases... I find this concept both hilarious and something worthwhile to think about.
“A carbon copied dream.”
“This is where everybody comes to pretend their life is perfect.”
“Ugly things happen in the suburbs.”
I’ve heard it’s common for people dislike the area they grew up in... At least that’s what I tell myself when I reflect on the strong negative feelings I’ve had about the suburbs for as long as I can remember. Growing up I thought it was ugly, boring, and too far from everything I wanted to be a part of.
Last summer I started exploring these feelings through 35mm film for the series The Cats Don’t Eat The Plants Anymore. I’ve always liked that series more than I thought I would before shooting it. I found myself as an obsessed observer, only stopping when the sun went down or when I ran out of film. I was enjoying the pure aesthetics of the suburbs for what felt like the first time ever and this brought me peace.
Since starting that series, I’ve shifted from distaste to an intense curiosity. I'm trying to let myself feel this topic out since I'm noticing it as a reoccurring theme in my work. I'm curious to understand more and why it has such a strong influence on me. For now, I'm trying to let it form organically.
Four years ago was when I finally started understanding how much I value alone time. Since then, I’ve been practicing this thing called “artist dates.” Once every 3 weeks or so I schedule time to take myself out on a solo date to do whatever I’d like to help refuel my passion and creativity. Going on these dates have been one of the best things I’ve started doing for self-care and I’m always looking forward to them.
On these days I love going to book stores, visiting galleries, going out for dinner, exploring parts of town I haven’t seen yet, etc.
My most recent date was spent at my favourite local vegan restaurant (Pure Kitchen) for early dinner where I painted until 7:30pm. I took a walk down Elgin street and checked out the lights the city had set up in Confederation Park for the holidays. On my bus back home I got lost in a playlist of music I can’t help but bob my head to and wrote more.
Moving forward, I’d love to document these dates more to look back on (I usually spend so much time locked into my journal that I totally forget to give attention to anything else). The images in this post are what I do have from this most recent date.
When I was 10 or 11 years old I got my first “real” camera - a Canon PowerShot SD1000. My mom matched every dollar I had saved up and we bought it from what I remember to be a really sketchy refurbished electronics + more store… my younger brother got one too.
We brought them everywhere and they had fallen victim to way too many pre-pubescent Tumblr-style mirror selfies, stop-motion videos of action figures wrestling, and photo scavenger hunts.
I found the camera in storage a couple months ago and couldn’t help but experiment with it. I’ve fallen in love with it again and use it now again all of the time. This has been the camera I’ve shot all of my experimental short films on, as well as my “VF” (viewfinder) series in my highlights on Instagram.
I love the nostalgic aesthetic of the mid 2000s digital grain and the simplicity of only being able to choose the ISO, JPG size, and white balance. In the age of photography where cameras come with manuals as big as textbooks and endless features and functions, it’s great being able to simplify the process, focus on the creative journey, and let go of the technical mumbo jumbo that we’re usually consumed with.
Growing up I was always the kid doing arts and crafts. I'd stay in my room for hours on end making characters out of my thumb prints (see photo), or monopoly-style board games named after my pets (Furball's Fur was my best work). Creating things had no limits and I didn’t care if something looked horrible because I’d just make something else right after. Fast-forward to now - 21 years old and there's still not a day that goes by where I'm not covering many pages of my journal in scribbles, paint, or glue, although I’ve somehow over the years learned how to take things too seriously.
For the last 3 or so years I've dedicated myself to learning the craft of photography and what it takes to work in the commercial industry, but here I am feeling as though that’s not enough and not the extent of what I want to do! Telling stories has always been my biggest passion and I'm ready to start creating more immersive works to do so.
Time to stop talking about getting my hands involved in creating tangible sculptures and installations - it’s time to just start doing it already! Time to allow myself to play around with creating things and have fun building again. I mean, why was I so afraid when there’s nothing to be afraid of? The words of my very wise grade 6 teacher is a good note to end on I think… “PULL YOUR FRKN SOCKS UP!