Canada: A Spring Residency #2

Sophia Moseley is part way through a residency in the mountain-side town of Banff in Alberta, Canada. While there, she will be working on a project surrounding the ‘deregulation’ of language through the mediums of art and storytelling. In this second of a series of three on the residency, Sophia explains the the development of the project and her experiences of living in Banff. 

Now deep in the midst of my residency, I’m enjoying the disconnection from reality. I can’t use my mobile; most of the people I know live in a different time zone; I can’t get a proper cup of tea, and keep being handed honey and lemon (where’s the milk?) The solidarity is refreshing and a calming change from the chaos of modern city life.

The mountains seem to have an underlying power here; every artist I’ve spoken to admits to subconsciously slipping mountains into their art. My work is no exception: this past week my pieces have consisted of using a marbling technique to create prints, and every time I lift the painting from the water, staring back at me are those unavoidable mountains in the background.

This element of surprise is exactly what I enjoy most about marbling inks. It becomes a game, almost child’s play, which is the precise reason why I chose to bring them with me to the residency. They become a way to stay peaceful. They are my way of therapy when other projects are getting a little too much to think of.

Aside from these prints – which were made in the dead of night after a particularly Zen session of yoga and a can of Cariboo beer – I have been working on my project intended for the residency. Primarily I have played with form and collage to begin the process. I have done this by using imagery and lettering from old Design magazines, particularly old National Geographic, which are especially humorous for their not-so-PC pictures. The collages have ranged from quite detailed to very simply a single image and pencil lines. I actually prefer these latter pieces as I feel they present more of a sense of freedom from mayhem when I place the image on an expanse of paper, leaving an empty clear space surrounding it.

I came across a whole stack of old National Geographic in the local thrift store, which has been the basis of my collage and amusement this week. The imagery has inspired writings and dialogue for the prints I am developing for a small publication as well as, like usual, the characters I daily come across. Creating a new context for an image, means creating a new tale. The majority of short stories I have been working on here have been stored in my mind from my previous life as a waitress, waiting for the right moment to dedicate these memories and fantasies to paper.

All of these elements are going to be pieced together towards the end of my residency within my work. I am most excited about the idea of a publication which I have, for quite some time, been impatient to work on. In my third and last article, I will be talking about my final pieces created here at The Banff Centre and something of my travels on the west coast of North America. Until then.


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