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Home » Music

Jane of all arts

Submitted by on April 4, 2010 – 5:27 amNo Comment

Entertainment-Unarthodox-2Asking Vanessa Vaughan to pick between painting, designing, editing or teaching for the rest of her days is like asking a shy eighth grader with a lust for life to choose chicken or go.

Faced with the question Vaughan, a 31-year-old Jane-of-all-arts and self-prescribed workaholic from the cultural capital of Canada, is hesitant.

“…I don’t know, I like all of them for different reasons,” she says. “But I’d say the one thing I really like about my fine art is that it’s mine, it’s completely me and there’s no other involvement and never a fight about artistic direction.”

The Montreal-based artist says that with most of her projects – doing post-production on a Blockhead video, designing covers for Siren magazine and teaching multi-media to her students at Laurier Senior High School, to name a few – she needs to justify decisions to others and, while she enjoys gaining inspiration from what her teammates and students are doing when she’s working in a classroom or with mixed mediums, “It’s nice to come back to something that is yours, something that no one has input on.”

Vaughan’s canvases are contemporary creations crafted on computer, printed out on vellum paper and transferred using a thick, old gel. Her use of muted colours and soft hues mix with loud messages and raw dictums like “You don’t have to listen to time” or “Question everything tomorrow,” to form a clash best captured in a paragraph posted on her website: “The juxtaposition of the two illustrate in some ways the absurdity of how ads have been communicated and where they are found.”

Isa Tousignant exhumes the essence of Vaughan’s work when she writes in Mirror magazine: “Her pieces breathe in the vocabulary of graphic design and exhale an aesthetic well anchored in the 1950s, which she considers a heyday of American consumerism worthy of nostalgia.”

Vaughan’s newest creations are, fittingly, influenced by time. She says the collection is about the stage that she’s at in her life and about the limited time that she has left with her mother. The result is a testament to the time that it took her to complete the collection.

“It’s a long process, it takes…sometimes, like this for example,” she says, motioning to one of her larger canvases. “This one took me about two weeks just to design it. Even though it looks simple there’s a lot that goes into it. After two weeks of layout then I went into the painting process and the transfer process and then it took probably another week and a half before it was fully done.”

Asked what the aim of her canvas work is, Vaughan answers ambiguously, asserting herself as a genuine artistic agnostic.

“I don’t want it to mean anything other than what people want to interpret for themselves,” she states. “What it means for me is going to be completely different and I don’t suspect people will get the same things out of it that I do.”

Remi L. Roy

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