Interview: 10 questions
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I am a Toronto based Visual and Media artist. I did not study art, but instead trained at a theatre academy. After graduation I worked professionally in the theatre for several years as an actor, writer, and director. Four years ago I decided to shift the direction of my practice to focus on video and performance art.
2. When, how and why started you filming?
The first video piece I made was back in 2004, a short piece called boy meets boy that retold the story of a romantic meeting that turns violent. The piece was produced as part of a youth program at the Inside Out Festival in Toronto that helped youth create short video works through a facilitated workshop process. The piece premiered at the Inside Out Festival and went on to tour numerous other festivals.
3. What kind of subjects have your films?
My current body of work generally always features me as the central (or only) performer and often explore issues of Authorship through their use of found text that is re-appropriated/re-performed in the works. Thematically the works cover many areas: gender identity and the performance of gender, personal and professional rejection, and the challenges associated with creating art in this day and age, are some of the themes in my recent works.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
When I first come up with an idea for a piece I follow a process of writing where I examine the idea from different angles and think about text that might be used in the piece. I then engage in a period of research that consists of reading, online research, and talking to other artists. This research will look at: other artists who have addressed similar formal and thematic questions in their work and research on the specific topic I am addressing in the work. After this I return to the process of conceiving the work. Once I feel like the work is mostly set I arrange the production team, location, etc., and get ready to shoot the piece.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
Most of my works have been shot on MiniDV video, though my most recent work was shot on High Definition Video. Generally I rent/borrow all of the gear that I use during a shoot. My shoots are often deliberately very simple as I do not have a lot of technical experience and always try to create something that is technically within my ability level.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?
I do not understand this question.
7. How do you finance your films?
I have been fairly successful at receiving funding within Canada to create my work, and I also work to self-finance a portion of my works through other jobs I take on.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
I generally work as a solo artist, however I have a regular team of people (camera, lighting, sound, make-up) that I use over and over in creating my works. When I was still working in the theatre I spent several years as part of a collective and so when I first made the transition to being a visual and media artist it was important to me to have some time to work solo. I am now beginning to be interested in collaborating again and I am start to talk to other artists I know about forming collaborative partnerships.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Artists (though not necessarily film/video artists) who have influenced me include: Cindy Sherman, Ryan McGinley, Miranda July, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Nan Goldin, Boris Groys, Lisa Steele, Marie Brassard, Meg Stuart, Antonija Livingstone, Jacob Wren, Evan Webber, and Ame Henderson.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
At this point I just hope to be able to continue making and exhibiting my work in a financially sustainable way and to continue exploring different themes and questions.