New studio, new perspective!

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In October 2013, my whole street was being undergoing sewer replacement surgery, and I’d already been through a maddening year of pulsing jackhammers, limestone dust, and exhaust fumes emanating through our walls from the inner transformation of the old bank building on the corner. I found myself focusing far too much energy interacting with the construction site and the developer and not enough time working on projects. I was no longer able to relax at home because of the noise and vibrations. And there was always limestone dust on everything!! After a long battle: eviction notices, hydro woes, a horrible cough and visits with lawyers – I succumbed to the inevitable and accepted a settlement to move out. My quirky home of 15 years is now being gutted and thoroughly re-modeled, along with its immediate neighbours, into high end loft units. (from right to left, Right Spot Restaurant, my apartment, old bank building)
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This slender 130 year old building had formed the basis of my identity in this town, and it anchored a community of like minded individuals through a series of non commercial events like free DIY workshops, music appreciation nights, and Perogy Parties. Fluorescent fish on the bathroom walls, bright red/mint green colour scheme, waves, figure studies and spirals painted directly onto the walls – 35 years of underground history tumble down the yellow chute into a dumpster, and I’m surprised I don’t find myself feeling an unbearable sense of loss. I guess I’m done with grieving at this point and I’m ready for change. Leaving the space has lifted a weight off my shoulders. I got rid of mountains of clutter when I moved. Oh, and I won’t miss the pee and vomit in the alleyway, the litter blowing in from the street, or the noise from the Jack Astor’s rooftop patio a block away.

Some of you already know that I’m writing a book about the apartment, telling the story of  barbers and dressmakers who lived and worked here as far back as the 1880s.  Their stories will intersect with those of bands such as Weeping Tile and 13 Engines who lived and jammed here, and speak to the importance of non-commercial spaces that support local culture and art. I walked by my old place the other day and there were a pair of pigeons sitting inside the window of my room.  I walk by that old building all the time, think about it every day almost. I think as long as the building is still standing, it will feel like home to me.

In mid October, thankfully, I was able to set up a temporary studio in a friend’s house to prepare for the busy holiday season. She welcomed me with open arms and to my surprise – my creative energy soared in the new space (or was it the radiant floor heating that inspired me?).  I had a successful and very un-stressful show season with no jackhammers, no dust, and no exhaust fumes waking me up on Sunday mornings!

This spring I’ll be setting up in the heart of Portsmouth Village, a community full of artists, workshops, and studio tours. There’s a neighbourhood pub with live music and pool tables close by, and the waterfront is even more accessible here than downtown. Instead of walking out the door and being hit by a blur of cars, garbage, and noise, the village offers the promise of wave watching, open water, trees breathing in parks, and a quiet atmosphere of solidarity and creativity.
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Drop me a line at epidemic613 .at. hotmail.com to get on the update list for my book and related events/openings.  In Kingston at the Glass Studio on Queen there will be a reception on March 30th for Stewart Jones, the show opens March 15th. This accomplished Prince Edward County artist will be showing, among other  paintings exploring space, architecture, and urban life, a painting of 167 Wellington. Shown above is one of his pieces, from the collection of a previous tenant of 167 1/2, Mary Harmer of Weeping Tile.