Artist Watch: Exploring drive, creativity and meaning with student artists

By in Culture/Features
Abby Holtslander – Dancing Erupts

With the recent opening of the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon has been abuzz about all things related to visual art. However, you don’t have to go down to River Landing to view exceptional artwork — it’s already here at the University of Saskatchewan.

Though you would be more likely to see these artists featured in the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery on campus, they don’t have that far to go before they could be included in reputable art galleries like the Remai Modern. So, the Sheaf emailed some talented U of S artists to talk about their work — let’s take a look!





Riley Deacon, first-year arts and science

Names of works: Untitled; Untitled

Materials used: Canon AE-1 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens, HP5 Plus film

How do you find your subjects?
“I shoot what looks interesting to me. I try to shoot my life and the things surrounding it. Photography is always second to what is going on in life — it can accompany any kind of hobby or interest. It’s a way to document life as it happens.”

Where does your artistic inspiration come from?
“I don’t fully know where the drive comes from, and I try not to think about it too much. Wondering why tends to convolute the process and can create unnecessary doubt. Art is a reflection of humanity — it’s like a mirror — and can reveal our lives to us, good or bad, big or small.”

Jasmine Redford, fourth-year English

Name of work: Blue Beard

Materials used: Watercolours and blood on paper

Why do you create art?
“I feel the need to create art innately. If I didn’t spend my free time with visual art, or the written word, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. It’s simultaneously meditative and purging.”

What place should art have in our lives?
“I can’t really speak for others, but what kind of world would we have without allowing ourselves artistic expression? I suppose that’s a bit of a dystopian non-answer.”

Amirali Nazari, fourth-year physiology and pharmacology

Names of works: Send Your Dreams Where Nobody Hides; Untitled

Materials used: iPhone 7

Why do you create art?
“It’s my addiction, in a sense. Whenever I see something that may resemble art, it just gets me and drives me to capture the moment.”

What place should art have in people’s lives?
“I think that art is a wonderful distraction from the things we get involved with in our lives. It can be used to send strong messages about specific subjects.”

Jaden Pierce, third-year political studies

Names of works: I’m Not Your Aunt Barb; Hairy Nipz

Materials used: Oil and acrylic gel on canvas; Adobe Illustrator on iPad with stylus

What was your inspiration for this piece?
“I was in a depressive episode when I painted this. I didn’t know what I was going to make when I started and had no idea it would be a goblin’s lovechild. I wanted people to be unsure of the gender. As for the title, it refers to personally being asked ‘Are you my Aunt Barb?’ on a weekly basis.”

What drives you to create art?
“Life feels chaotic and sometimes pointless, especially when I’m depressed — so only like 10 months of the year. If I can create something that people like looking at, then it feels less like I wasted my day.”

What place should art have in our lives?
“I also have a lot going on in my head, and creating helps me work through that. With so much theory and slow action in academia, I find art very empowering. It can convey messages and inspire change — art is protest. I want to make people a little bit uncomfortable, because I think the more they’re challenged, the more they will be open to new ideas about gender and ideologies.”

“Art makes us feel things, and I think those feelings bring us closer to humanity. It’s a way of making life a little bit more beautiful and making us all more vulnerable, which will hopefully inspire us to be a little more gentle with each other.”

Kenton Doupe, fifth-year fine arts

Names of works: Untitled; Untitled

Materials used: Nikon D610 with a Sigma 50mm Art lens

What inspires you to create?
“My drive to create [comes from] my mental inability to sit still. Not to detract from my enjoyment of it all, but if I spend too long without doing something creative, I get antsy and need to get out and shoot. Couple that with the fact that I love to post my work and get feedback — and with my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts show coming up, which will be solely focused on photography — [and] it’s a bit of a kick in the ass to keep creating.”

What should we know about these photos?
“I always feel bad for making the models go into the river, but they seem to be okay with it. I hope they aren’t just telling me that, though.”

Tanner Bayne / Culture Editor