Possibly unbeknownst to many, but my jewelry is ceaselessly a representation of who I am, so this will be as much a self-portrait as any. If it’s meaningless, I don’t wear it; everything I drape about my neck, wrists, or on my fingers contains a story: of travels, of somebody or something important, of some aspect of character.
When I taught art, I would try to tell students: When you need to take a break, leave yourself satisfied enough with your work that it actually makes you want to return.
This canvas is only small, but I am a cartoonist at heart. This will take awhile.
The most significant moment regarding “wabano” - that ephemeral time between night and day - that I remember in my lifetime was the wee hour bus ride from the airport to a hotel in Jerusalem in 2011. Oh, the city shone like gold! I wish I could package that beauty to share with you. The background here is a pictorial representation.
This was how I needed to spend my day today.
I felt like I couldn’t rest until it was finished. I’m more pleased with this than just about anything I’ve painted in the past eight years or so. I’ve never listened to anyone when it comes to painting - I use black, I mix colours straight on canvas, I outline, it sometimes “suffers from too many marks” - but I never could. I’m all about symbolism and embracing the accident. Sometimes I feel if I can teach kids anything at all, it’s only this. It makes it a discipline I do not prefer - but I can never, ever abandon the desire to create.
I painted this over an image on canvas I never much liked. I made it in 2009 or 2010. It was called “The Dichotomy of Being” and was mostly about how difficult living gets sometimes.
This one is called “Wabano Ginew” and, as I said, is about survival. A palimpsest. A new beginning. An eagle - my eagle - flying over my favourite Eastern landscape. Mousseau told me: “You’ll learn to land.”
Yesterday I visited Manitoban Traditional Healer / Elder Colin Mousseau at Anishnawbe Health, who told me he saw a grandmother in a vision who said I was her relative. He said to my father, mother, and myself: “You have the blood in you. It’s obvious.” He spoke of my former sickness, of the recurring dreams of flying. He said I am “Wabano Ginew”, or Eastern Golden Eagle.
I feel honoured to have a spirit that is one of the most powerful in the skyworld. East, he said, is where the sun rises. This is also where all my connections lie.
Sometimes I forget how therapeutic painting is to me - watching landscapes unfold from a brush, as if created by something other than my own hand. I used to say that painting was always the only thing that made my head feel clear. Earlier this week, someone who knew me as a painter last year, as I frenetically prepared for my exhibition on Biomusicology, asked if I were painting. I hadn’t been, I said. I’d been otherwise occupied. It’s been about a year, actually.
If this takes me another year to complete, so be it. I want it to be one of the most beautiful and important things I ever paint. It is about everything this year has meant to me. It is about survival.
I made this skirt from patches of my first ever silkscreen attempt and a pretty old tablecloth I once bought for Canzine.
It’s horrible and amateur and way too big for me and I love it to pieces because I made it and it’s mine.
I decoupaged some clocks.
The butterfly is decorated with timepiece illustrations from a 1923 Sears Catalogue.
The owl is decorated with photographs of owl stone art from an old art book.
Each clock operates with one AA battery.
They’ll be for sale at ArtFest for $35 each.
A recently-recalled tale of my entrepreneurial arts-side:
When I was about six or so, my mom would hand me packs of twist ties from the household garbage bag boxes. I would weave tiny baskets, with every intent of selling them at garage sales.
"How much?" I would ask. "$10?"
My mom would say she thought I must have meant 10 cents.
"No," I would reply. "$10. They’re handmade.”
All in a strange day’s work.
(Why, no, I am never bored.)
I’ll sell these for a couple bucks a piece at Artfest.
Some people have their meditation. Some have their yoga. I have my decoupage.
These are crafted from some of the following: a 1923 Sears catalogue, stamps, plane tickets, pieces of envelopes, some of my OCT magazine, scraps of my artwork, an old parking ticket, and an almanac of Early Canada.
This summer, I’m helping to build an orphanage in Zambia with Habitat for Humanity.
Some facts: Zambia is one of the least developed nations in the world and one of its poorest, ranking 165 out of 177. 82% of people live on less than $2 a day. More than one in seven adults is living with HIV, which has resulted in about 600 000 children being orphaned due to AIDS. The build in which I am participating will be focused within an orphaned and vulnerable children region near the capital of Lusaka.
To raise funds, I’m going to offer up some custom-made shoes.
If I am purchasing the shoes, cost is $110. If you are, cost is $90 (plus shipping, if it is required). Let me know the size, and give me an idea of what design(s) you’d like.
Message me here, or email abondart @ gmail . com and we’ll arrange the details.
These could be a nifty gift to yourself, or one for someone else.
Order by mid-November and I’ll have them ready for Christmas!
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