Donna Akrey teaches at Brock University. She is part of the (F)NOR collective, Hamilton Perambulatory Unit, and Zula Presents Music and Arts Collective Hamilton, and co-founder of Hamilton Zineposium. She has been making things with stuff for many years and is currently exhibiting some of that stuff in Also Also at Rodman Hall Art Centre. She will be giving an artist's talk there on March 2.
1. Pareidola & Apophenia
Finding faces in things and finding patterns or meaning in incongruent things. This has been a long-time hobby/fascination/activity/reflex of mine. There are too many of them to come to any real conclusive message. I just see them, tip my hat, and carry on. But there really are an awful lot of them!
Sculptural foliage – whether highly maintained or just left to be what it will be. I cannot get enough of shrubbery. It is my muse.
3. Improvisational music
I am very fortunate to be involved with Zula Presents. I meet and hear so many improvisers/creative musicians. Making music in the moment requires true collaboration with everyone acting and reacting intuitively. Listening can be hard at times, but I appreciate being absorbed in something that I have to be open to because I do not know where it will go. To work within a non-structure structure – even if that structure is decided on the spot – is like watching a conversation unfold. I learn from each piece I hear and often it feels healing.
4. Old variety stores
Not quaint old general stores (those seem to be coming back packaged and refined), but old variety stores from the seventies and eighties, maybe earlier, run by couples or families who have not upgraded since they opened. These stores are on the verge of extinction and may disappear soon. I try to avoid nostalgia, but these relics are compelling. I am in love with the packaging covered in dust on old pegboards that has not been reorganized for thirty-plus years. Everything is sun-bleached and a ghost of its former self. There may just be one item left – hanging on like a dead leaf to a winter tree. You can get dusty bleached-out packages of birthday candles, thumb tacks, ChapStick, obsolete rubber washers, a pleather pencil case with a dog in a cowboy hat on it, Zippo lighter flints, just one one-hole hole press, bicycle wheel playing cards, three rows of tree-shaped air fresheners, invisible Scotch tape, a cassette tape, a compass and protractor set, brown shoe laces, stained white sticker labels, a plastic tiara, fishing lures, coaxial cable, picture hangers, tiny hinges, work gloves, baby soothers, balloons, caps, four water guns, Gillette razors, fuses, a tiny key lock, Liquid Paper, markers in colours you have never seen before, ponytail bobbles, masking tape that most definitely does not stick anymore, key chains of the Canada flag, hair combs, hair nets, old brown eye makeup, X-Acto blades and silver insulating thermal shoe insoles. I endeavour to photograph these things before they disappear forever.
Seriously. Without it we are doomed.
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Posted by Deborah Margo, on 2017-03-07 11:57:17Love the combination of pictures with text. Long live comedy.