Q&A SWARM

 
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The Artist

Follow @sw_rm

How would you describe your work and artistic style?

I use celestial aesthetics that stretch over a vast spectrum of media to empower and transport myself as well as people viewing my work. I am hugely concerned with the nature of the space between everything and liminal states. The main motifs that appear in my work are my portals and star-beings. Lately I have been thinking of my practice as "universe worship". The celestial theme is deeper than just an aesthetic for me, it's a way of thinking, a way of seeing and a way of knowing. I come from an upbringing with a scientific father who is into astronomy and astrophysics and a religious mother. This has led me to essentially fuse the two, even though I don't necessarily consider myself to be religious.

 

Where do you look for inspiration?

My inspiration for my work comes from my upbringing as well as my own personal experiences. My father is an astronomer and my mother is dreamy and witchy as fuck, but she doesn't even know it. She gives me chills sometimes. She's actually psychic but doesn't necessarily believe in "that stuff". I also go to sci-fi, specifically Star Trek for my inspiration because both of my parents are Trekkies and I grew up watching that as well. For a good portion of my early adulthood I was convinced I didn't care about space, that I was my own person independent of my past. Traumatic events in my life led me to go back to all of these things for comfort and I realized that it's all I want to do art about. I also draw inspiration from naturally-occurring patterns throughout the universe, such as fractal patterns (not the computer generated ones - the patterns in which leaves and trees actually grow). That is only one example of many beautiful patterns that are generated by the universe. I read and watch lot of stuff about astronomy and astrophysics, and inevitably the philosophical questions behind the study of the universe. But above all that, I simply look to the sky every day. I am so thankful for it's immaculate and infinite beauty.

 

Who have been your greatest influences when it comes to your work?

There are important people in my life who influence my work every day through closeness and friendship, as well as having an intimate relationship with my practice and ongoing collaborations: Kaye Bleuet, Dolly Deals, Alenn, Zola, Chris Robertson, Camille Larivee. All of these people are close friends of mine and support me in countless ways. I am so lucky to have them in my life and to be making art with them. I probably didn't name everyone, but I did my best!

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How has your work and artistic style evolved? How did you manage to find a style representative of your persona?

It may sound like a lot, but it's the truth. My work really developed the most in my early to mid 20s when I was going through a traumatic period of my life. Times like these in ones life become part of who you are as a person. I started watching Star Trek again after many years and I found it very comforting because on top of having a genuine love for it, it also reminded me of a time when I felt safe as a child. I couldn't stop marveling at the windows on the Enterprise and how the stars looked. It all just looked so endless and infinite. It was then, in 2014 that I started painting stars and I have not stopped since. In the past few years I have taken influence from astrophysics/ astronomy as well as science fiction to create empowering artwork. All of my work before late 2014/early 2015 feels directionless and empty (even though I know logically it's not). It was in that time that I truly found my voice as an artist, where I could express my struggles with identity while also holding space for others. It's in this space that I created where I am the most positive I can be, where I feel empowered and feel able to empower others.

 

Can you describe your creative process?

Most of my works are simply records of my waking dreams. Others are more academic and informed by a specific event or concept. But they all come to me the same way, as a vision.
For my street art specifically I always do a very brief sketch in my sketchbook and then I take out newsprint and paint and cut it out. I guess this is how most of my pieces come about, but also from simply writing down a few words so that I remember the idea later. I don't like to limit myself to one medium of art, I will go far and beyond. My practice ranges from printmaking to textiles to painting to photography and more, and it will only keep expanding just like the universe. People always ask me "what is it that you do exactly?" My response is always "everything".

 

If you could meet one artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

Vangelis! I love his music so much. Just sitting down to listen to one album is like going on an epic journey.

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Do you have a current favourite musician or musical genre?

I really enjoy spacey sleep music, hip hop, pop, etc. It depends on my  mood and what I am doing. I definitely veer towards instrumental music a lot because sometimes I am simply too fragile for lyrics. However, I recently re-encountered a song that I used to listen to a lot in my early teens: Roam by the B-52s! It's such a portal song, and I believe it had a subconscious influence on the way I think. If you listen to the lyrics, its all about traveling the world without physically going anywhere. I just think that's so great. It's also a really happy song and I find it really empowering.

 

What is your current must-have clothing item?

The Citizen Vintage mesh bell sleeve top! I must have it! Soon I will.

 

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to create?

Do not judge a work until it is finished! Stick with it to the very end! Give it a chance to realize its potential. Give yourself a chance to realize your potential.

 


Come see Swarm's work at our Mile End shop!

Follow the artist at @sw_rm

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