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My Approach | Kodje Arts

My Approach

I am an Ojibway artist, and I work in two different media.

Since 2010 I’ve been working in collage, cutting and glueing repurposed fabric on canvas. I’ve found that in using cloth, I can achieve colour and texture effects that I can’t get in painting. With the designs, colours and textures of a wide variety of cloth materials, I’ve created images that speak of the culture of Canadian aboriginal people, particularly the Ojibway. The images speak of the past and present; the traditional and the modern contemporary. There are themes of life and death, political life, spiritual life and belief, and the natural world. For the most part, the images are colourful, and full of the beauty and wonder that was, and is, the world of the Ojibway and other Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

I have always held a love for the artistic skill of gesture. Whether it’s in drawing or painting, the movement of pencil line or ink brush has grasped me with its beautiful energy. No matter the media, to capture the energy is, in my eyes, to capture the dynamism of life…and in that dynamism lays the spirit of everything. People, animals, fish and birds all have dynamic energy; but so too do water and trees. They all have the spirit that aboriginal people have spoken of in their reflections on life, legend, and art. However, my pictures differ from other Aboriginal artworks in that my work is a based-upon gesture. Colour and texture may be used, and often are, but the gesture is the primary element of my paintings and even my drawings. Commonly known motifs from the Ojibway “Woodland School” are replaced in my work by energetically depicted esthetic elements in shape, tone and line; yet they maintain a quality of spiritualism. To that end, I am not so interested in depicting images with the natural correctness of form. For example, the hoofs or paws of animals may take any shape at all; the only dictate is that the shape fits comfortably within the context of the overall image. People, animals and other subject matter will always bear the essence of the object that they depict, for it’s in the essence that we are intrigued; but it’s the gesture that excites!