Artist Statement: VISITORS
I have faced two culture shocks in my life. The first, moving to Florida at age 9 and being dumped into an alternate universe where tourism, retirees and locals intentionally segregated themselves into cultural bubbles. Up to then I had only experienced Florida as a child tourist. So living in the midst of Disney and the Disney World Theme Parks, the Americana Land-of-Opportunity ‘Dreamer’ idea left a permanent impact on me as an artist and as an outsider growing up in the 80s and 90s. I moved back to Canada as an adult and experienced my second culture shock. Leaving that world behind, for a land and community I didn’t remember, I am still adjusting some 20 years later.A collection of works I've created over the last decade explores that journey through mysterious ‘visitors’ who rediscover what remains of the futuristic and abandoned Disney World Theme Parks and Canadian Landmarks long after humans have vanished. A journey similar to how I have been obligated to discover the North as an adult now with my own family. For now, the journey has taken me from Florida and from the East Coast to Ontario. In the future it will take me and my ‘visitors’ much farther. Paintings of this fantastical, dystopian vision will include a mix of Disney Theme Parks, along with iconic Canadian architectural landmarks. including the new construction of a certain giant pink bear statue with deep roots in Toronto.