For many people, collage isn’t really an art form. It’s an activity you give kids when you have a bunch of old magazines to get rid of and they’re bored and restless. Quebec Collage is looking to change all that.

This initiative seeks to promote the art of collage through webcasts, calls for artist submissions, workshops, and exhibitions. Their latest effort is the Retailles exhibition, a collective art show featuring collagists from Quebec and abroad.

Hosted at Galerie/Atelier Marc Gosselin, The Retailles exhibition invites you to look beyond your perceptions of collage. It features two parts, one showcasing ten Quebecois collage artists, and the other displaying a selection of postcard art in the Noir & Blanc.

The Quebec artists featured include Virginie Maltais, founder of Quebec Collage, as well as Jérome Bertrand, Lucie Bosquin, Éric Braün, Madame Gilles, Caro Dubois, Linda Luttinger, Jean Marie Moncelet, Jean Martin (RAVEN), and François-Xavier Vigneault Marcil. One look at their works will dispel any misconceptions you have about the art of collage.

Despite the myths, collage is a complex art, with some artists featuring intricate scissor cuts or torn paper and elaborate placement, while others, like Virginie Maltais and Linda Luttinger, opt to combine torn or cut paper with the use of paint in their work. It is truly eye opening and proof that collage is more than child’s play.

The Noir & Blanc part of the exhibition is the result of an international call for submissions. Artists from around the world were invited to submit analog collages in the form of black and white postcards.

This included everyone from established collagists to those new to the art form. What you’ll see at the exhibition are the postcards that made the cut, pun intended.

If you’re interested in visual art and want to expand your horizons, learn about collage, or just see some amazing work by local and international artists, check out the Retailles exhibition. It ends tomorrow (Sunday), so get moving!

Retailles can be seen at Galerie/Atelier Marc Gosselin, 3880 Saint Catherine East until July 14, 2019 at 5 pm

Photos by Rene Bellefeuille

Some things are more important than money. Things like knowing someone wants to be in a cabin in the woods with you, spending our days in no hurry, reading, making art, and building forts. Burning wood and making love, swimming naked under the stars and howling at the full moon.

I want to plant a field of sunflowers so we can hang out in them. I want to fly kites and climb trees, run through fields and streams, I want to rip my dress, and I want you to tell me it’s ok, because it’s just a dress and there are more important things to worry about.

Money has never been something that concerned me. I know it is a necessity for prosperity in a modern capitalistic society, but why? If everyone just went vegan, grew their own veggies, composted and repurposed everything, and just self sustained in general, we could all go on living in harmony forever without the evil tendrils of capitalism and greed sneaking into every orifice of our identity as humanity. Nothing is free though, is it?

The oldest profession is prostitution, trading your physical self, your lady tunnel and supreme mountains, the curves of your sweetness, for dirty green paper. Children are sold into sex trafficking rings across the world, its fucking horrific. Consent is what is needed, my body is mine alone.

Dirty green paper kills people, it is the root of all that is evil and wrong. I also use my body for money. I dance. I dance because I must, because there are so many things to say. I dance because I know people will always watch.

Amusement and titilation, the politics of body language are not universal. I live in a lace cage, its stretches but you can’t tear through, straps and garters, nets and spikes, don’t forget the blood red lips. Art is not free? You mean, I am worth something more?

It feels good to get paid for something you love. There is no such thing as too much boob. Counting crumpled dollar bills while naked like a drug dealer’s girl (they make women count money and bag drugs while naked so they don’t steal anything).

I give myself golden showers. Glitter for days. I always douse myself in the luminescent perfection. To be loved and hated for your glitter at the same time. Some people want me to rub my body all over them and steal my glitter. My disco tits inspire.

Others won’t touch me, those are the glitter is herpes people (and they can go fuck themselves). Burlesque is a beautiful world of sparkling bits (it is also getting fake shit on by a bag of chocolate frosting in your best friend’s crotch sometimes). Shock value is priceless, giving someone a moment they will never forget is what life is all about.

I barely break even, spending money on costumes and makeup as soon as I make it. My weekly show is just enough to buy a bag of weed and keep me in glitter.

Can I just live life topless? I want to start a BOOBER instead of Uber where I am just topless and charge 10 times as much. There will be a bouncer in the front seat.

Sometimes artists have a hard time doing free shows, feeling like their my time is precious and expensive. Artists are constantly expected to do work for free. Sometimes I am HAPPY to do things for free if I care about the project and want to donate.

And yes, it is true that I do not like money, I despise it and want to burn the capitalist system to the ground. I want to piss on its ashes. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need some money to live. Not to live life lavishly, but to survive and meet my basic needs and primitive wants. Go to Amy’s Place and get the vegan french toast AND the bbq seitan BIF sammich. I deserve it. I want to say yes to the dress and go to all of the concerts and plays. I want to take a day off to run through a field of blooming flowers barefoot.

I take my clothes off as currency. My revolutions and movements are enough to feed me. I am inspired to do this forever because I cannot trade my life for a cubicle. I will never ever work for the man or sit in an office ever again. I do not look good in a fucking pants suit.

More money more problems. Less money more problems. Seems like everything is just problematic. Happiness is easy if you stop worrying about bills and bullshit. Everyone should free their mind from insecurities and just get naked.

The roar of a crowd is invigorating, higher than any drug. People are more afraid of being naked then being burned alive. Let your confidence and beauty feed you. Take off your clothes every chance you get.

I hear a beautiful song or poem or painting or glance

It touches my heart
Then I want the artist to touch my body
Skillfully
Artfully
Fully

Spend time on me like a painting
Write our present moment like a song
Give my kisses the passion of a poem

I just want to know him
She is too beautiful to tell
I see the girls that strike their fancy
Hell
They look nothing like me

But I know that art is meant to make that feeling feel real
And I am not special
I am seduced like the others

You are the electric tangerine stripe in a cobalt sky just after sunset
You are the poppyseeds in my teeth
The barbeque sauce on my fingers
Delicately licked
Smacked
Sucked
Sticky

They will tear you apart
Until there is nothing left but your art
Open wide with a price tag
Vivisection connection
There on display for mass consumption

I see
Obsession in the third degree
I have a problem where I think the world revolves around me

But the art you made was for a girl you knew growing up
The song was about a stranger on the subway
Something you heard in a dream
Perhaps an ex or a fantasy

Not me
It was never about me.

As an artist myself, I am often surprised at how I fall in love with the sparkles of hope in someone’s soul bearing words or visuals. Every time I feel duped by shiny pretty lights. Smoke and mirrors.

I often wonder if someone has ever felt that connection to me? Has someone thought I was out of their league? Saw my art and fell in instant love, lust, glee, watched my ass jiggle on stage, or heard me read a poem for the first time, perhaps even reading this blog.

I hope to connect with the broken hearted but not to break more hearts. I sit here alone at every art opening and poetry reading, every concert and play, just hoping that this one time it IS about me, and I will live happily ever after with the artist of my dreams.

Every person I have loved is an art maker, a shaker, an artful faker, and a heart breaker. I need to be with an artist because I know they are capable of passion. Life must be lived with absolute passion, careful thought and careless blocks of paint and color, words that stop wars.

Musicians are the worst. I fall for them so easily, so hard. It’s like their words and sounds touch places inside me that cannot be touched by mere mortals.

Drummers hold a beat in the bedroom, guitarists and piano players are good with their fingers, songwriters and poets write lyrics better than sex, they linger. The everlasting embrace of creativity that enraptures me, seduces me, envelopes me in thoughts that are dangerous to my mental health.

I have no stealth. I clumsily love those who are floating on their own clouds. They all have hot girlfriends now, but not when I started. I feel eternally broken-hearted. I love so hard it blinds me, then when I see it’s truly embarrassing.

I do get sad. It’s unavoidable. The pandora stations I listen to are based on all of my past relationships, people I have dated, girls I have had crushes on. It’s not like I want to go back to any of them, I know everything ends for a reason. But I think what if I ran into him at the Pink? What if I looked up and saw that familiar pout? Would I brush the hair from his forehead and kiss him like I did a thousand times before? Would it feel the same?

I took it for granted, didn’t know it was going to end, did’t really have any expectations, I never do. I never know who is going to make my chest tingle, these people are few and far between. I don’t just pounce, I long, I wonder, I let things pass me by. I never think I am anyone’s “type”, do people have types? I don’t! I walk through life haphazardly bumping into people until one of them makes me tingle, then I cling to them like static and never say a word until, of course, it’s too late.

What happens when your current crush likes all the bands that your ex liked? Then who will the songs remind you of? Both simultaneously methinks. The good times are killing us while the bad times consume our souls. It is unrelenting and never ending.

I elevate my crushes so it’s easier to feel that way about someone who is already on the stage. Looking down on me and my insecurity, they have no idea how much love is bursting from my seams. My skin is going to explode and a ball of light is going to shoot out of me.

I need to love others, share the light, stand up and fight, words like daggers can stagger through the night. Putting people on a pedestal is wrong, they are just human. If I never tell any of them how I feel, is the feeling real? Or is it just something that lives and dies inside of me, a waxing moment of passion, gone in a flash.

Even this pain will fade, the colors will blur with new love and possibility. It will turn grey and shrivel. Lather, rinse, repeat. I will never stop loving musicians, poets, painters, photographers, and creators. Even if it hurts, it’s worth it to feel that moment of special. They SEE you! To be loved by an artist you will forever be second to their art, because even love and sex don’t compare to expression!

Usually I am lost in my own art. I haven’t written about my heart lately because honestly I haven’t “felt” anything “real” in awhile. My heart has been too swollen with the reality that a young black man has been murdered by the police in my neighborhood. The president of my country is a cheeto demi-god complex fool who is making even more a mockery my country. 40% of the food is in dumpsters and children starve around the world and around the block from me. Transgender women are being targeted and murdered, they can’t even pee in peace. No Muslim or Jewish person is safe, neither is anyone of any distinguishing race. Animals are being tortured for consumption. Rape, slavery, bombs, wars, and lack of education are killing us and big corporate greed is demolishing our Earth at a rapid pace (not even the water is safe). I have no debt but still don’t know how I am going to continue to pay my bills. My grandpa has dementia, my best friend is racist, and my job is in jeopardy due to gentrification. How can I find time to be sad about my lack of a love life? There is no time to wallow, only to fight, and not forget to dream.

That’s why I fall in love with fellow artists, with those moments that make me forget about how hard things are. It is a selfish release. I want to live in their world, be part of that fanciful scene. I want to be the girl they knew in high school or the song they wrote in a dream. I want beauty, passion, and all that lies between. Bask in the spotlight together, the same kind of weird.

Pay attention to your heart, pay attention to art. Love uncontrollably, even if it hurts after, it was worth it. It will always be worth it.

 

I am an artist, I have been involved with and gone to a lot of art openings. It takes a lot of tedious work to curate and hang, to prepare, to get everything ready for public consumption.

The artist bares it all, it is terrifying, even if you are confident in your work. It is the culmination of months or years of dedication to your subject matter, it is who you are. One does not make art: you give birth to art.

Art openings are supposed to be a celebration of investigation, of the audience questioning and discerning for themselves. Usually they involve looking at art, some contemplation, maybe a paragraph on the wall to read, and oh yeah, wine, lots of wine and frivolity.

Recently I went to several openings, and noticed that I was being just another shitty hipster. I was drinking and laughing while a powerful black woman was literally hanging by her hair. I was white privilege incarnate, I was wrong.

The realization that I was part of the problem forever changed my attitude towards the current state of the art world, and made me look inside myself. Admitting you are wrong is only a small step.

Art is about expression, it is connection, it is the artist figuring out a way into the viewer’s soul. It is a shared experience, it is the extreme beauty and abject darkness made into “stuff” for us to be affected by. Art is what we feel, it is the heartbeat of the universe.

Art does not lie, it doesn’t know how. Are we just afraid of reality? Have I been so bound in my own small world that I did not know I was being just like every other asshole who didn’t pay attention? Apathy is evil.

My friend bared her soul, she spoke of a black woman’s relationship to her hair, and how a Eurocentric society has pressured her and her family to be forever. They conformed to survive, and were forced to abandon their culture and natural state of being to fit in with those who oppressed them, people who look just like me.

I do not want to be the oppressor, but it was happening. It was not until her boyfriend said “finale” that I finally went into the room, I finally listened. Standing in shame in front of her opus. What kind of woman lets another woman suffer alone?

Art is not just another opportunity to jerk ourselves off or flaunt our coolness. Go to an art opening to be with the art, respect the artist by giving your full attention.

The snacks are there but they are not everything. Yea, vegan cat shaped pizzas are fun, and sometimes art is fun, but other times it is serious.

The complimentary wine doesn’t mean stop looking, it doesn’t mean stop noticing or questioning. Art is not an excuse for social fuckery. Get drunk with ideas.

We are lost, using art for social gain instead of intellectual growth. You must actually show up to make a difference, be present in your community and pay attention to the world at large.

YES, it matters that atrocities are happening all over the world (and right here) while we sit here and complain about nonsense. Art is a record of that suffering, it is a shared feeling, we are transported to a moment or a dream when we view art. Ir is more than just looking, it should be a full all encompassing experience.

A look at my own art made me realize that even though I try to be woke to the evils of the world I still generalize, I still only touch the tip of being political. Art is direct action! Who am I fighting for?

I am not using this opportunity to say something. I need to stop making pretty things and start making change. We are on the verge of an apocalypse and we must actively be there for each other.

Use your power to give voices to the voiceless, a platform to stand on. Never objectify another’s experience by misrepresenting them or speaking for them.

I want this to be a public apology to every artist and subject I have ever disrespected. I promise to pay closer attention and think critically about the art I encounter and make from here on out. I will no longer shuffle off in ignorance, I will be there in silent solidarity. I will give you center stage. I will learn what you are teaching and immerse myself in your ideas.

Art is bigger than us, it is immortal, a record of the current (soon to be past) or already gone. Make art everyday, live it, and become it. Take this time to be present with me and let’s change the world.

 

 

 

Forget The Box’s weekly Arts Calendar is back for its early November edition. The chill has definitely returned to Montreal, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock ourselves indoors yet! Take a look at these excellent events if you’re looking for fun and inexpensive things to check out!

As always; if you’re interested in going to one of these events and want to cover it for us, send a message  or leave a comment below.

Bareoke presented by Glam Gam

No stranger to performing in local strip clubs with the burlesque troupe Glam Gam, Lipster’s organizers realized this type of venue would surely allow them to transform their karaoke show into Stripster!

Now you can find them the first Saturday of every month at the historic Café Cléopâtre, which comes equipped with a large stage, a smoke machine and crazy lighting which allows people to take their performances to the next level.

Glam Gam’s organizers have made an important step in making the space open for everyone, according to their Facebook event page : “We are thrilled to have performers of all different backgrounds, ages, body types, gender identities and sexualities. Some people will take off just a sock, others will get down to their skivvies and a lot of brave souls prance around in their birthday suits! The best part is that everyone respects and encourages each other’s boundaries with little to no policing on our part.”

Come see what all the fuss is about!

Bareoke @ Café Cléopâtre, 1230 St Laurent, Saturday, November 5, 10PM, $5

FTB is no stranger to Glam Gam!
FTB is no stranger to Glam Gam!

Fishbowl Collective Presents: An Anti-War Art Pop-up

The Fishbowl Collective will be occupying a studio space in Griffintown and filling it with art of all kinds against war/militarism of any kind!

At 8:30, the space will be taken over by anti-war Pierrots in an hour-long version of Theatre Workshop’s Oh What a Lovely War!

From 9:30-11 the space will act as a showcase for local artists to show their work!

Local anti-war organizations will be tabling in the space.

Oh What A Lovely War's Theatrical Poster
Oh What A Lovely War’s Theatrical Poster

Using songs and documents of the period, Oh What a Lovely War! is an epic theatrical chronicle of the horrors of WWI as presented by a seaside pierrot troupe. It was collectively created by Theatre Workshop in 1963 under Joan Littlewood, and over 50 years later remains unique in its innovative satiric way of looking at the difficult subject of war and its futility. Its dismissal of sentimentality and its distinct anti-war-agit-prop flavour highlights the oppression of the working stiff turned common soldier and points to the absurdity involved in war.

141 Rue Ste Ann, Pay What You Can (All Proceeds go to Actions Réfugiés Montréal)

Pride Screening presented by Socialist Fightback!

Socialist Fightback is screening Pride (2014) at McGill University’s Shatner Building in Room 202 this Wednesday. Entrance is FREE, and a spirited discussion is sure to follow. Curious about what “Solidarity” means to the LGBT community? Check this movie out.

Pride offers an excellent example of solidarity along class lines. Between 1981-1984, the British government under Margaret Thatcher had closed around 20 mining pits and coal mining employment continued to fall. The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a major industrial action to shut down the British coal industry in an attempt to prevent colliery closures.

Also victims of Thatcher’s bigotry and conservative policies, gays and lesbians came together to collect funds and sustain the miner’s strike. Although reluctant at first, the miners accepted the support from the LGSM.

Pride is a great demonstration of how class unity is the best and most effective way of fighting against all types of oppression.

Pride is screening in the Shatner Building Room 202 @ McGill University, November 9, 7pm, FREE

 

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Hello faithful readers! I don’t know if this is going to make me seem like more or less of a narcissist but I am going to be writing a monthly ASK CAT column for Forget The Box.

While I don’t claim to be a real expert on anything in particular, I do know that I am real. I have been through a lot in my life and can use my experiences to help you with any question you throw at me.

I will answer you blatantly and honestly, without a filter, and completely from the heart. I will answer anything from questions about Sex, Dating, Politics, Art, Feminism, Activism, LGBTQ issues, Drugs, Culture, or anything else you can think of.

Email your questions to Cat@ForgetTheBox.net and I will answer them ASAP in a monthly blog entry. (“Ask Cat” sounds like “Ass Cat” when said out loud)

I threw this idea out there to my Facebook friends and responded to the first six questions I received (my friends are f*cked up). Here are the first three, with three more to come next time:

Dear Cat, what are your thoughts on art expression over personal issues with waste? I feel a calling to do a photo shoot in a giant tub full of blue cheese for the sake of art because I feel like the Buffalo chicken wing of life. My problem is I can’t convince myself to waste all of that blue cheese. I recall some of your work with the Wesley Willis song “rock n roll McDonalds” and how you were able to incorporate food into the act. Some of the fries never made it to the mouth. How do we approach artist feats like this and overcome the guilt?

– Micheal

cat mccarthy ronald mcdonald clown burlesque

Hi Micheal! As you know I am very much against the issue of food waste in this world, I am a big activist for dumpster diving and Food Not Bombs, using food that would have otherwise been thrown away to feed the hungry. It is also true that I often use food in my performance.

It’s a catch 22. I want to make a comment on shitty corporate food and the accessibility of vegetables and healthy stuff, but still feel bad for wasting. I am a hypocrite when I throw out rotten leftovers or put compost in the trash, I am even more wrong when I ejaculate burgers and toss perfectly good french fries into an audience, half to be smushed on the floor, or smash a 100 cupcakes on my body dressed like Marie Antoinette, cover myself in galloons of pudding in response to Bill Cosby, rub donuts on my boobs dressed like a cop, or dressed like Colonel Sanders throwing chicken at someone who is texting.

I make comments about greed, consent,corruption, body image, and corporate waste with my art. My vision is to participate in the bad parts of society on a stage so people can become aware of the abject horror of reality, kind of like John Waters. It’s like there must be sacrifices made for the revolution to be a success.

wet dreamland pudding buffalo infringement

Nobody is perfect all the time, myself definitely included. Of course I feel bad about the fries on the floor when there are hungry mouths to feed. I guess where I was coming from with that is the food I was “feeding” to people is shit food with no positive nutritional value anyways, so I feel less guilty about that.

I fully support the idea of you submerging yourself in blue cheese, make sure it’s the good kind. Buy it, and put yourself in a claw foot tub in the middle of an art gallery. Lay in in naked, submerged.

cat fashionHave plates full of chicken wings, carrots, celery, pizza, all the vessels for blue cheese. Invite people to dip in your tub, see how long it takes, see how far they will go for blue cheesy goodness. Will they lick it off of your body? People are obsessed with that shit. People also get weird in the name of art.

Document the entire thing. The exhibit ends when the food is gone, nothing is wasted, and you can probably get a pizza shop to sponsor you. I once wore a dress sponsored by Mr. Pizza. It was a collaboration with Melissa Campbell called Upper Crust Punk, we literally bit every slice of pizza. It was a cathartic, gross indulgence in the name of fashion, there was a spittune. I was empowered by food.

When we made the PBR corset, some of the PBRs were dumped down the drain because they couldn’t physically drink anymore damn PBRs and there was a deadline. It was a sin! If I was there I would have shotgunned every single one of those PBRs, waste not want not,bro. Let them eat blue cheese! Let them scrape it off of your flesh!

Dear Cat, what happened last night? I know I showed up at the bar with $1.25 in quarters, the last shot I took made me black out, and I know I fell off my bike mounting on the way home because of a bruise on my arm and a scratch on my face. I think you were there dressed in white.

– Darren

Hi Daren! I remember seeing you at Nietzsches last night for the Stripteasers weekly bar show, I was dressed in white because we were doing a tribute to Prince and I was a crying dove.

What I assume happened is that people bought your fine ass some drinks, since the bar is cash only. You then were too drunk to bike and should have left your bike at the bar and gotten a ride home or walked.

Or perhaps you were abducted by aliens and drugged, not remembering the experience. The bruise and scratches were from the alien probing, not from a bike fall like you initially thought. Maybe I wasn’t there at all and the “girl in white” was some kind of extraterrestrial being.

I cannot let you know for sure what happened to you, but am happy you made it home safe with minimal damage. Stay safe dude! Use the buddy system in the future. Or be like me and get a trike, I never fall off that thing when drunk riding!

Cat cycling (3)

Dear Cat, I think that you are the cat’s meow! Were you always fearless or did you work up to it?

– Melissa

Hi Melissa! Thank you for the amazing compliment, you too are the cat’s meow! I think have always been pretty fearless (sometimes stupidly fearless)! My parents are amazing and taught me to only speak my mind and fight for what I believe in.

As a little kid I was the one who stated the blatantly obvious. I was a little feminist, fighting to play football with the boys. I love myself and fight for those who are afraid. It’s important to be strong and never give up on important things.

I am also a constant work in progress, I know that I continue to grow and learn each day. I can’t say I’m fearless. I definitely get afraid of walking upstairs from basements, that feeling that something evil is coming up after you to pull you down the dark rickety stairs is real.

Got a question for Cat? Ask it: Cat@ForgetTheBox.net

“Let’s plan on being spontaneous tomorrow!” There is no moment other than the one we are living in right now. You can’t push off things. Our world is on the verge of apocalypse, so why wait? You must delegate time to every important person and endeavor in life now. It’s easy to overfill your proverbial plate. Dreams don’t magically happen.

I will be late to my own funeral, feverishly typing this article the morning it’s due, I’m constantly in a hurry but I can think of other things to do.

I’m on my period and my emotions are running wild. AllI need is chocolate and a bong rip, I want sleep but have so much I need to accomplish before closing my heavy lids.

Instead of finishing and moving on I got my nostalgia on and watched a Fuller House marathon in my sweatpants with my roomie. I am the worst when it comes to being distracted. There is always a cat needing to be pet or a cute human starving for my attention. Why clean my room when I can have a threesome instead? The bar is always so much more appealing than the gym.

Its easy to be distracted when you live in an adult fun house. My roommates are all artists and performers, collaborations waiting to happen, an endless sea of ideas. I am excited to come home and create after a long day at work. If we are caught doing housework we are usually in full costume.

housework

We are all busy with multiple jobs and love affairs. Never judge someone by their day job, you never know what their dreams are. A fast food worker who does burlesque at night, baristas with soulful voices, bank teller poets, call center thespians, teachers who write pulp romance novels, tattooed doctors, veterinarian vegetarians, and retail rock stars.

We all have to take on many roles in life just to pay the stupid bills. I am sick of working everyday, life would be better if I could be an unemployed activist.

I still play dress up. I was the little girl who put on my mom’s clothes and makeup. Now I have more costumes than street clothes. My entire life is consumed with creation. I live like an eight year old, a pinup girl on a pink tricycle, the prettiest princess, and a powerhouse of ideas.

burlesqueI live with a makeup aficionado. It’s fun to come home at 9AM to someone in full drag, and then joining in. Playing is what life is all about.

Sometimes we dress in full costume for no reason at all and just wander around the neighborhood. There is no better cure for a broken heart. Halloween is everyday in a burlesque dancer’s house. It makes adulting nearly impossible.

Besides Facebook crack, my biggest distraction is love. Yearning to be swept off my feet, yet I have never been picked up off of the ground.

The world stops and I low key lose myself in pursuit. My thoughts get consumed, suddenly all of my art is about this person and not about politics or important issues.

I need to focus on meaningful art and experiences and half the time all I do is dwell on people who don’t want to have sex with me. I can’t get past rejection, I become addicted to the wrong person, and then let it totally yuck my yum.

When I just am the rawest version of myself and I do not expect anything, good things come my way. I had a threesome the other day that was by far the best sex I have ever had in my life. I never felt closer to letting go. I always hold something back, even when I “love” a person, I can’t help it. Maybe it’s self protection?

Letting go is my new theme. I recently did my first whip it in a yurt on top of a mountain in West Virginia and my thoughts vibrated. I was definitely a late bloomer when it came to drugs and alcohol. Even though I am a total stoner now, in high school I wasn’t the kid that skipped class to smoke across the street or steal parents’ liquor.

I didn’t drink at all until well after my 21st birthday. I wanted my brain to fully form before I destroyed it. I was always fighting distractions, I felt like school was an important thing to focus on and I’m glad I did it sober. I talk to a lot of people that partied hard in their youth and are now burned out. I didn’t die at 27 with a white lighter in my pocket, #winning.

dress up

There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Some days it’s so hard to even get out of bed, I will often sleep away my only day off because I spent every other night up writing a blog, working on a costume, or painting a damn masterpiece. I need to just do nothing with my purring cats, they know when I need to chill more than I do most of the time.

When I find motivation I am fucking unstoppable. I am so afraid of missing out and having life pass me by that I go balls to the wall and attempt to get everything done under pressure. I am always being lectured: Act your age, get a “good” job, a girl like you should be getting paid (I would rather get laid).

As I age I digress, and that’s true success. Act out! Act up! Act a Fool! Act like today is your last day of living! Don’t stress on the stuff you didn’t accomplish, no looking back, just move forward. You are the best.

I want to be all of the colors simultaneously. When my kindergarten teacher asked me what my favorite color was, I said “Rainbow.” She responded with, “That’s not a color. What’s your real favorite color, Catherine?” I said “GLITTER” with a smile on my face. I knew damn well what I was saying. Glitter and rainbow are colors: they are all of the colors and beautiful intricate sparkling facets of diversity. Who knew I was just a budding color theorist? A tiny little genius really. I didn’t and still don’t give a fuck.

I have always wanted to be a rainbow, wear as many colors as possible and dye my hair the spectrum. I am my art, my art is me – I wear it like a flag with fashion, makeup, and crazy fun hair. Dying my hair fantasy colors has been something I’ve identified with for my whole life. I remember the first time I had pink in my hair, I was exhilarated. It made me feel so beautiful, so punk. My mom hated it, but my best friend was the one who put it on my hair. Pink hair don’t care. I have been a lot of colors since and don’t see myself going natural anytime soon. My roommate is a true unicorn, his hair (even his pits and pubes) are always a different, perfect hue.

The other day I slept past noon, then I woke up all gross and depressed, crusty from being a mope. Heartbroken and lost in my stupidity. I needed to create. That first stroke was like that perfect glass of water when you slept too close to the heat vent and feel dried out. Making art revitalizes me, it puts life in my veins. It is a necessity, NOT a hobby. I went to art school when I was told to be a doctor. I knew at a young age that all I wanted was to be happy for the rest of my life, I never cared about money. Art is my air. Money is evil bullshit that people kill over. I would rather help be the voice of my generation, comment on the world at large, show people the pictures in my head, and express everything. Even making bad art feels good.

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I AM AN ARTIST! In a dismal world you need to find the luminescence. Sex, politics, ugliness, and beauty. I make art like I make love, passionately and with every part of my soul. You know I care about you when I make art about you or for you. I have so many things in my head that I want to make, and if I take the time to do a stupid portrait of you, that’s love. Art is selfish until you share it. Art is therapy, it soothes a weary heart and puts mortar between the bricks of a positive life foundation.

I sacrificed a lot of kisses in the name of art. Scrumptious yummy little droplets of chocolate kisses. I harvested their foil and little kisses flags to glue on to my painting. I use every opportunity to make art. Inspiration is instigation. I enjoy sparking art in others more than anything in the world. To create is to live life to the fullest. There’s no regrets in art, just happy accidents as Bob Ross would say. I will always share my art supplies. I love bringing a box of porn, scissors, glue, and just let people live out their fantasy. Hilarity ensues – instant party slayer.

I remember hanging out with my grandma watching Bob Ross and desperately wanting to paint like him. He created luscious landscapes with a zen-like ease. Some Bob Ross wisdom: “I think there’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us. You too can paint almighty pictures.” I was always so incredibly obsessed with art. I did watercolor paintings of drag queens. I outgrew my Catholic school’s art cart and the do-it-like-the-example philosophy to art very young and my mom was awesome enough to further my art advancement with outside classes.

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I remember finding Frida Kahlo for the first time. I loved that she didn’t give a fuck about her eyebrow. The hair on her upper lip inspired me. She revolutionized the selfie and didn’t give a flying feminist fuck about what a woman was supposed to do or look like. She was a bisexual communist painter who had an affair with Georgia O’Keefe. My kind of weird, I saw her as a soul sister. Her pain so freely expressed in front of me, teaching me to express my own.

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
― Frida Kahlo

I am so happy that I am not alone. I wish I could have met them both, instead their inspiration lives on in my heart and work. I’ve done burlesque as both Bob Ross (aka Boobs Ross) and Frida Kahlo respectively. I have painted canvases with my boobs as the brush on stage in front of shocked fans. That feeling is everything.

I use art to lift me out of horrible holes. It puts the lotion on the skin – and believe me I need lotion, my skin is the worst. It puts the paint on the canvas and the ink on the paper. I look at the world with intention, I search for beautiful intricate details in moments of pure madness. I see possibility in the abject and linger in the strange. I want to change things, even if just within myself. Damn, it feels good to be a painter.

Art is all about shock, awe, and being remembered. It’s about challenging the viewer and the idea of what art is. Beauty in the abject, genius in the absurd, and connecting with the humanity and realness of the artist. In a world where censorship is real, it’s important to push the limits to the furthest point.

Chris Burden was crucified to a Volkswagen Beetle, kicked down stairs, and shot in the arm with a real gun by one of his assistants in the name of art. (He did this way before Jackass). Carolee Schneemann inserted scrolls into her vagina and read them out loud. They are two of my favourites, but compared to what’s happening on the Internet daily, are they even that crazy anymore?

I’ve never physically harmed myself or inserted anything into my body, but I’ve some crazy shit in the name of art. Dressing in drag and pulling flags out of my plush strap-on penis; wearing an adult diaper and riding around on my tricycle; painting canvases with my breasts in front of an audience; and, most recently, stripping out of a Bill Cosby sweater, being covered in pudding, and reenacting “2 Girls, 1 Cup” to advocate consent.

I think the infamous shock video “2 Girls, 1 Cup” is art and not porn. It went viral and was elevated to common knowledge. People who saw it talked about it. Who knew that 2 girls playing with what seemed to be real human feces would become a legend? I even watched it in a college art class, some people left the room, I smiled and was inspired beyond words. That shit eating grin would make even John Waters proud.

John Waters is by far my favorite cult film maker, he is the filthiest man alive. He deals with incest, rape, chicken murder, and debauchery at the highest degree.

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Being covered in pudding at Wet Dreamland last week.

In addition, Divine (whom you can see on the featured image above) will always be one of my greatest inspirations. She didn’t care that she was overweight and did vile things on camera, she owned it.

I don’t think the naked human body , no matter how fat or skinny, should shock people like it does. We all have the same parts, more or less. People should not be so prude and scared of nudity. Spencer Tunick created landscapes of human bodies in his work. Mounds of beautiful flesh were his palette. I am obviously not scared of being naked, it empowers me! I am a burlesque dancer and a nude-not-lewd advocate. I recently participated in The Naked Bike Ride in Buffalo and that was incredible!

So much crazy stuff happens in this world and on the Internet that I think the idea of being “shocked” will go extinct. How can you gross out an audience that has seen it all? I look forward to seeing what comes next – what will someone do that makes me go “holy shit, did I just see that?”

Today I wake up knowing that in only a few short hours I will be in a kitty pool covered in chocolate pudding and living out my every fantasy at an erotic art show called Wet Dreamland. Last year for this event, I rode my pimped out tricycle from Babeville to the Wet Dreamland show wearing mutton chops, a beard, a tie-dye wolf shirt, and an adult diaper. Once I arrived, my friends and I stripped and painted canvases with our boobs. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is a sweet escape from reality. It is my Christmas, my bliss, my safe haven, my pride.

Its roots run deep and start in Montreal over 11 years ago. Infringement rejects corporate sponsorship and the oppression and censorship that goes along with that. It is about artistic freedom and breaking free from social norms. Infringement excludes no one. It is a state of being. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is in its 11th year.

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Aurora Borealis – Two angels singing.

We take inspiration from the Montreal Infringement festival started a year before us as a direct protest to the corporatized Fringe festival. Infringement is a non-profit ,non-hierarchal, grassroots art festival. It is a revolution that brings together independent, free spirited, and often controversial and experimental visual art, performance art, dance, film, theatre, and music. Everyone is accepted and celebrated in this 11 day art explosion that hits Buffalo from the last week of July to the first week of August. Art can happen anywhere, anytime, with no restrictions, and for free!

11 days of art under the radar has evolved into an all encompassing artistic free-for-all that spans the entire city. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is my favorite part of the summer and makes me proud to live in Buffalo. It revitalizes my soul and the city I live in. All of the artists and hardworking organizers and venues inspire me beyond belief.

We are now in day 7 and it’s very bittersweet. So much incredibleness has occurred already and it will all be over soon. Then I can finally sleep. But not yet. On my agenda: Wet Dreamland tonight, Sex and Body Positive night at Ol’ Wondermoth tomorrow, Wam Bam Thank You Slam at The Gypsy Parlor on Saturday, and a big block party on Allen St., and the Iffy Awards on Sunday.

I’m also really excited for Car Stories, the show that inspired this whole movement. It is interactive street theatre where the audience becomes the show by traveling from car to car. It is the show originally rejected by Montreal Fringe for being too political. Donovan King is the man who started it all. I always look forward to seeing him during both the Montreal and Buffalo Infringement festivals.

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Rock out with your chalk out at Kidfringement.

Some highlights so far include The College St. Block Party and Kidfringement. I love making art with children. They are so open and free spirited, the ultimate inspiration. I also loved the first annual Purple Sparkly Unicorn Potluck Party which turned into a Hooked on Casiophonics dance party that felt like an acid trip. The ice dragon Erica Wolfling has continued to blow minds this year. Lazy Ass Destroyer never ceases to amaze me. My pride and joy was The Worst Show Ever at Nietzsche’s, a satirical variety show filled with satire, comedy, music , and burlesque. I did burlesque as both Ronald McDonald and a creepy old man.

The street performance and open busking has been on fire this year,taking the city by storm. The other night I walked out of a bar to see two girls dressed like angels singing beautiful music, it was magical. I can’t wait for the rest of the weekend. Bring it on! Infringe Everyday!

Laying in a tent that defies all logic and common sense underneath a sleeping bag because everything is pulsing, feeling the vibrations of live music and people. Smelling nature, every sense electrified, and every feeling new and intense. Beneath your eyes are more colours than you could have ever imagined, melting into each other and swirling uncontrollably to create a new way of thinking. Music is more intense, art is more beautiful, everything is sensual, and your mind is open wider than it has ever been before.

Sounds great right? Be careful! Drugs are fucking scary and can kill you. Being reckless can mean DEATH! It’s important to be in a safe place with people you trust while tripping. A bad trip can change your life forever – but I’m not going to give you the scary accounts that your D.A.R.E. counsellor gave you. Be an adult and make up your own mind.

Music festivals are more than just pretty girls dancing in flowing dresses with flowers in their hair and guys playing frisbee, while bands play all day and night. Music festivals are also the Number One place where people experiment with psychedelic drugs. Rapper A$AP Rocky openly reports that he took LSD at the South by Southwest festival and then slept with nine women. Whoa. Not everyone has psychedelic orgies, each experience is different.

A painting I did of Lisa Frank on acid.
A painting I did of Lisa Frank on acid.

I was recently at a smaller scale festie and I couldn’t believe how many people were selling all the drugs. “Molly… Mushrooms… Ketamine…” were common greetings, almost like a peanut salesman at a ballgame. Every conversation I overheard involved the sentence “Man, I was really tripping balls last night!” Every person there was on something, it seemed. I was surprised how out in the open it all was, considering that all of these things are illegal. The police were out in full force all around the gates of the festival. I know a few people who were busted for weed. They didn’t get all the drugs though.

Scantily clad smiling girls and sweaty shirtless guys slithered about with wide eyes, fully dilated pupils, and the look of a god/goddess. Hula hooping, flow arts, dancing, making and listening to music, and art making are commonly enhanced by these drugs. Colorful intricate art is important to the visual experience.

The first two hits didn’t seem to do a thing, then a third was taken (not a good idea, give it time to kick in). By the time all three kicked in, everything was a roller coaster ride. I was also the funniest person in the world. Eyes watering. Dancing as if floating. Everything was warm and life made sense. Several hours in I did not have the same zest. Hiding within myself I needed to go into the cocoon and go the fuck to sleep.

Often the worst part of an acid trip is the fact that it can take 12 hours or more to come down. You feel like it’s going to last forever, and that’s super duper scary. When doing these drugs you definitely want to plan at least 48 hours for the high and the come down. Don’t plan on working the next day or going to dinner at your parents house. Interacting with anyone at all will seem difficult actually. Also, your serotonin levels will be depleted so don’t expect to be jovial.

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The term “Psychedelics” refers to drugs that alter cognitive perception and cause dreamlike hallucinations. Tests have been done that prove these drugs can help with stress, PTSD, OCD, and dealing with the end of terminal illness. The most commonly used drugs in this category (besides marijuana) are LSD (acid) , psilocybin mushrooms (magic shrooms), and DMT (the spirit molecule). MDMA (Molly or Ecstasy) and the dissociative drug Ketamine are also very popular recreational drugs in this setting. Cocaine, marijuana, hash oil dabs (pure THC) and good old fashioned alcohol are often thrown into the mix to try and maintain a state of control over the “trip”.

Dabs are intense, you need to use a blow torch to do them. The first time I ever did one was in my friend’s van and I definitely felt like a badass. Molly/Ecstasy is scary because most of the time it is cut with dangerous chemicals or you are actually buying bath salts. Candy flipping is when you combine ecstasy with LSD. Hippie flipping is combining ecstasy with mushrooms. DMT is the strongest of these drugs – it contains chemicals naturally released when you are dying.

Music festivals need to realize that they can’t stop people from experimenting with recreational drugs. Harm reduction and education is so important. The Lightning Bottle Music Festival in California is offering resources to help minimize the potential fall out. They are partnering with DanceSafe and the Zendo Project to provide a judgement free space to address drug dangers before they happen. They educate people about things like heat stroke, dehydration, and the signs of overdose. They also provide condoms, earplugs, water, and an extended line of communication about safe trips. The Zendo Project advocates drug policy reform and mental health services for people on psychedelic drugs. If someone is upset or confused during their trip they can turn to a trained drug therapist for help.

Major festivals have been under a watchful eye due to the amount of tragic drug overdoses and deaths. The fact is that most of the cheap synthetic substances being pushed are not what they are supposed to be, often mixed with things like rat poison. Colorful pills and powder filled baggies traded off in porta-potties between strangers are dangerous. The Electric Zoo festival requires their audience to watch an anti-drug PSA and also has medical students on hand to help with situations.

With anything you put in your body it is important to do the research and be smart about your choices. Some people see the psychedelic experience as a birthright, that you must expand your mind to see the world completely. Nobody can police your brain.

Viktor Tatran opens the Photography exhibit Musée de la vie et de la mort this week at Théâtre Saint-James. This not to be missed show is on from June 2nd to 8th and features a series of provocative Erotic photography, artistic nudes as well as the artist’s powerful image series from Auschwitz, Germany.

The stark contrast between these subjects exemplifies the theme of the exhibit, where the viewer is tempted with seductive images of life in all it’s beauty and then reminded of our frail mortality by being confronted by images from the Holocaust.

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Viktor Tatran is a former photojournalist who shot photos during the war in Afghanistan (1980-81) and then returned to pursue his career as a Fashion and Erotic photographer. This is Viktor Tatran’s first major international show, and as such he has invited three other photographers to present their work as part of this complete show. On display you will find the works of Thierry Quenette, MAXXX and Michel-Pierre Levy.

viktortatran_visuelautiliser_72dpiForget The Box is also happy to announce that we have a limited number of tickets for this event! To score a pair of tickets ($40 value) simply share this article on Facebook or Twitter or sign up to our email list (in the sidebar) and send and email to chris@forgetthebox.net letting me know.

Musée de la Vie et de la Mort de Viktor Tatran au profit de la Fondation SoFy, Don d’organes from June 2-8 at Théâtre St-James, 256 St-Jacques Ouest (purchase tickets)

 

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Well it’s already that time of the year, time for Nuit Blanche as part of Montréal en Lumière Festival. The 11th edition is as packed as ever and spread out across the city.

From Quartier des Spectacles to downtown and Old Montreal to the Plateau/Mile End area, east to the Olympic Park and to the newest Nuit Blanche location: the Blue Line, this night promises to be amazing!

What to see, where to go, what to do? Here is a little preview of some events happening in the Arts.

At the Musée des Beaux Arts, join the illustrators, Cyril Doisneau and Siris, and participate in creating a colourful collective mural. While you’re there, check out the Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands exhibition (admission $10).

If you have ever wanted to explore a museum with  a flashlight, then the Redpath Museum should definitely be on your list (admission $10 at the door).

MAC will have four exhibitions open including the 24 hour projection of The Clock by Christian Marclay. In conjunction with the exhibit, DJ Monique Giroux will help you seize the moment with tunes from Pink Floyd to Charles Aznavour to Nina Simone.

The Fresh Paint Gallery ‘s second Art Attack exhibition with artists HOARKOR and MissMe painting live to the music of HighonBeats (admission $5 at the door). In Old Montreal, the Phi Centre will host Hybrid Bodies which explores the complexity of organ transplants with a Dubstep DJ set by VILIFY and The Salvation Army.

The Belgo building is offering, as always, so many activities in different galleries. There’s a fun fair at les territoires and an interactive photo booth at studio 303 to name a few.

Meanwhile Maxime Geraldes invites you to Theatre Ste-Catherine to help him create a piece and then destroy it at 3AM. 

At the Darling Foundry you can taste some mulled wine while discovering two new exhibitions.

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The Plateau and Mile End area will also be bustling with activities. The MAI will have an immersive installation by an Icelandic artist which sounds quite trippy. You can also get your cut and paste on at gallery Monastiraki‘s Collage Party or create etchings on vinyl records at Espace 503.

If you plan on hanging out around the blue line then you can learn to make a mosaic at Mosaïkashop or experience a night of performance and sonic art with a hot beverage at Espace Projet

Obviously we can’t mention all the Nuit Blanche events here, so pick up a copy of the program for more info or check out the Nuit Blanche’s website. Now let’s all hope for warmish weather even though the weather won’t change how awesome the night will be.

Remember, the metro is open all night!

What do you look for in a good night out? Spiritual enlightenment and broadening the mind are usually not at the top of most people’s list.

Michael Noom and Adina Viarengo of Montreal psychedelic band NooM, have created a monthly series that aims to do just that. They’ve dubbed the events New Moon Psychedelic Mass, held on the night of the new lunar cycle.

New Age-y connotations aside, this is not some granola-crunching hippie shit where everyone is expected to sit in a circle and meditate. It’s simply a really good time where attendees get to watch short films by local filmmakers, see some good bands (Bearmace, NooM and Light Bulb Alley performed at last month’s party), partake in some arts and crafts and get their face or body painted. This Saturday’s event will also feature a paper airplane contest and group yoga.

It’s all in the name of bringing positivity into our lives and exchanging ideas that have the potential to make the world a better place, according to Viarengo and Noom.

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“[It’s about] bringing people together in a nightlife environment where you can get more out of it,” Viarengo said, “we wanted to open up room for cool activities, discussions about information and sharing different forms of art. We want to bring down limitations and have people be exposed and try things out while they’re going out. Self-empowerment, empowering people spiritually, I think that’s something that needs to be highlighted in society right now.”

She’s not talking about spirituality with a capital ‘s’; Viarengo’s definition of the word is much more casual than that.

“I think spirituality is really about an acquisition—just asking the universe the questions that you have and being receptive to the answers,” she said, “it might be in the Bible or in the Qur’an or…”

“…a Bazooka Joe comic,” Noom offered, “I was walking in Salem, Massachusetts a long time ago and I think I was seeking a mystical experience. I was like ‘I wanna experience something trippy.’ I was by myself walking down the street. A little wrapper was blowing in the wind and it hit my feet and I picked it up. It was a Bazooka Joe comic. They always had the fortune under and it said ‘never underestimate the power of positive thinking.’ I had never been exposed to the words ‘positive thinking’ before and I was like ‘that’s a good idea.’ That fucking comic strip changed my life!”

“That’s the type of atmosphere we want to set up at the parties,” Viarengo said.

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This might all sound a little ambitious but Viarengo and Noom think that the most effective way to bring about real change is by not sweating about the big picture, focusing on the self and by remembering that even the smallest gesture can lead to something.

“The spirit is us, really. That’s who we are,” said Noom. “If people are losing touch with who they are, they’re not in touch with their spirit and more in touch with institutional learning, corporations, pharmaceutical drugs, genetically modified foods, compromised manipulated mass media. Everyone’s like ‘well what can you do?’”

“I think that’s a really closed-minded way of looking at things—‘what can I do?’ Because everything you do is doing something. People should never feel like they aren’t making a difference because they are,” Viarengo added.

Noom and Viarengo understand that ideas and positivity can be contagious; all it takes is a common interest in being open. They’ve achieved this—whether consciously or not isn’t clear—by not setting up too much expectation for the people who come to their parties. If reading the event description leaves you feeling like you have no idea what this is supposed to be about, it’s a good thing.

This approach has worked in their favour. There was a diverse crowd of people and a really good vibe going on at the last one, which took place on January 30 at Café Cleopatra. Blame it on the influence of the new moon, which supposedly makes people act crazy, but there was definite electricity in the air that I don’t think had anything to do with the venue’s wild lighting fixtures.

The next New Moon Psychedelic Mass takes place this Saturday, March 1 at Il Motore. Follow Witching Hour Events on Facebook for upcoming New Moon parties.

Photos by Bianca David.

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Drawing, as a fundamental medium in both the arts and sciences, is a rich topic for exploration. Very few of us have gone our entire adult lives without being asked to draw out our ideas, stick figures and all. A Priori, an exhibition held at the VAV Gallery, is showcasing the works of 12 artists that have investigated the important relationship between drawing and communicating knowledge. The aim of the exhibition is to showcase work created during the Concordia University course “Drawing and Knowledge” taught by professor Patrick Traer.

The exhibition will also provide the public with a chance to meditate on what drawing means to them. Tremé Manning-Cere, one of the participating artists in the exhibition, explained their goals: “We hope that after visiting the exhibition the viewer has gained new knowledge, either on a topic they were unfamiliar with, or on how drawing as a medium, can hugely vary and has the power to portray great information, ideas, narratives and histories.”

Each artist has chosen a particular subject to communicate through the medium, ranging from gun laws to anatomy.  “Much like the diverse experiences and ideas that each artist is trying to document and express, their representations are fluid and each uniquely individualistic”, added Tremé. The exhibition gives equal space to both traditional forms of drawing and broader conceptualizations, such as using makeup to create marks on a face.

The place of the artist themselves in drawing is questioned in some of the pieces that have used mechanized objects, such as a mousetrap, to create marks. One of these mark-making machines will be running during the exhibition, giving the viewer a chance to experience the performance of drawing and mark making.

What place does drawing have in today’s image-saturated world? Make your own interpretations by visiting the exhibition February 3 – February 14. A Vernissage will be held February 4 from 6- 9pm, as well as a Finissage on the 14th from 6- 9pm, each with a different set of artists present to talk about their works. For more information, visit their Facebook event page.

 

 

Last Wednesday night, I was invited to participate to my first Sociale event with a lovely group of ladies at the Musée d’Art Contemporain. The event was called Wine, Cheese and Art Evening, a great mix of some of my favorite things in life. I was intrigued to discover what Sociale was all about and excited to check out the Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture exhibition.

Sociale was founded eight and a half months ago. It is a family affair, started by two sets of sisters who are cousins. Kara, Katrina, Tasha and Olivia are the brains behind the company.

The concept is to create events for women of all ages to network and learn new things. Their motto is “Learn, Socialize, Network” which sums it up pretty well. The venture has been very popular so far, hosting 28 events and welcoming about 400 people. The feedback has been very positive and participants are always asked for suggestions at each event to ensure their needs are fulfilled.

Katrina told me that the variety of activities is enormous and the possibilities are endless. Everything from cooking lessons, to wine tasting to one on one make-up sessions just to name a few.

Sociale is affiliated with a lot of partners as well. There was delicious cheese from Bio Bio, wine from Vin Parfait and Beringer and my coup de coeur Grok, pure parmesan baked cheese, beware as it is very addictive! At the end of the evening, there was a draw from another sponsor, Lush.

Most of the events cater to women only, but there are a few with men as well, such as the upcoming Spice Up November à la Sociale on the 28th at New City Gas. A perfect occasion to mingle after a hard day’s work while listening to beats by a DJ and enjoying a cocktail.

social signAfter enjoying some cheese, wine and great new company for an hour in one of the ateliers of the museum, it was time to go on a private tour of The Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture with two guides. The exhibition started in Vancouver and has been travelling through Canada and is in Montreal until January 5th, so make sure to check it out as it’s well worth it.

It brings together the work of 48 artists from all over North America using different media, such as painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video to express the current realities of Aboriginal culture. Hip Hop is very present in Aboriginal communities and its influences mixed in with Aboriginal traditions brings out very innovating and original artwork.

The museum was bustling as entrance is free on Wednesday nights. We all had a great time walking around and learning interesting facts about the different pieces in the exhibition. I was particularly inspired by the wall spray painted by Corey Bulpitt and Larissa Healey with Haida culture colours and style. There was a lot to see and I definitely will be going back to observe it all more deeply.

There was a nice discussion going on in the group as the guides would ask us our opinion on the artwork and not just give us information. I learned where the word rap came from, Rhythm And Poetry!

Once the visit was over, we went to atelier 2 and met up with Vincent for a graffiti-inspired workshop. After a little demonstration with a big red Sharpie and black ink, it was our turn to become creative.

It was a very relaxing activity and many of the ladies commented on how long it had been since they last did something this creative and how good it felt. The hour in the workshop flew by and before we knew it it was time to pack up and leave.

What a fun and interesting evening I had at this Sociale event. I definitely learned new things, socialized and networked in these few hours. Check out SocialeMontreal.com and find out more about future events and join the fun!