Can you give us a general description your artistic practice?
I’m a graphic designer who is interested in shaping visual narratives, both on and off the page. As a book designer, I find ways of questioning and at times subverting the expectations of what a book is, and what it can be. I’m interested in the artists’ book as a democratic cultural medium that can be produced in multiple and circulated through both traditional and alternative channels. I see graphic design as an inherently social medium, and many of my recent projects take on political topics from a feminist/queer perspective.
What is your primary area of research (or research-creation) and what sparked your interest in it?
I think one of the reasons I gravitated to book design is that I’ve always loved to read. As a kid I would stay up late with a flashlight, reading past my bedtime. My undergraduate degree is in comparative literature and literary translation, and I think that the act of translating poetry from one language to another has a parallel in what I do now, shaping content into the form of a book or an exhibition experience.
Tell us about some work of art that you read, saw, or experienced this summer.
Nina Katchadourian’s solo retrospective show Curiouser was a highlight for me. Her work is so witty. The show included part of her ongoing series Seat Assignment, which is a remarkable array of works that she creates while traveling on airplanes, using only the limited materials and time available while in-flight. My favorite would have to be her photographic series of “Flemish self-portraits” that she shoots in the bathrooms of airplanes, wearing elaborate bonnets and collars that she has fashioned out of paper toilet-seat covers and paper towels.
Why did the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia seem like a good fit for you?
I admire the strong sense of social engagement in the Faculty of Fine Arts, and among the faculty, students, and staff of Concordia as a whole. The Design and Computation Arts department was a real draw for me, because of its commitment to critical, sustainable, and experimental practices. It felt like a good fit philosophically, and is situated within such a dynamic and diverse group of creative practitioners and researchers across the Faculty of Fine Arts. There is a great energy here that I am excited to be a part of.
What was the best advice you ever received from a mentor as an artist or a scholar?
From Sister Corita Kent (not a personal mentor, but a role model of mine): “Consider everything an experiment. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”
The best advice I ever received from my thesis advisor in grad school was to look at the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson. For me, that opened up a whole universe of investigations into the ways Dickinson used the space of the page, the ways she inhabited the space of her home, and the expansive spatial metaphors she invoked in her poetry.
What classes are you teaching this year?
I’m excited to be teaching two new courses in the design program. In one of them, the students are forming their own design studio and working in collaborative teams to design complex projects for different entities within the university. The other is a studio-based course in the M.Des program in which we will explore the notion of what it means to inhabit this city, and devise very particular and personal guides to navigating Montréal.