Jonathan Creese, Artist – Calgary
Jonathan Creese is a Trinidadian artist currently residing in Calgary. He works in the disciplines of print media, fibre arts, photography, and sculpture. Being an outsider to Canada, his work is a reaction to the environment, as he draws parallels and observes the differences from his lived experience in his homeland and the prairie and mountain communities of western Canada. His solo exhibition Building Patterns opens at Stride Gallery on November 4 and continues until December 1.
I was introduced to papermaking over the summer of 2022 at a workshop in Maine. I was initially interested in the craft out of a desire to have greater control over the materials I made my prints with. I am still exploring the medium, still learning to perfect the motor skills required in sheet formation. It is a challenge at times, but ultimately enjoyable.
- Writing stories
I have been writing stories since I was in primary school when I began reading classical literature. Narrative composition is my main interest though I dabble in poetry once in a while. I am ultimately interested in stories, be they personal or those of others. Writing is on my mind a lot presently as I am compiling and editing a collection of stories I began during the summer to publish in an anthology this coming winter.
- My body
I’ve been focusing on my body and the changes it has been going through since I’ve been here in Calgary. The climate has a pronounced effect on everything. My eyes feel dryer, my throat is sore, my sinuses are always acting up. As the seasons change, I feel my body’s response to being outside also change. How do my muscles feel? How does my face look? Am I tired or am I malnourished? Why are my hands always hurting? I think about the stress I put myself under and how it is affecting my health both physically and mentally.
- Music from home
I rely a lot on music to keep me going throughout the day. The sounds playing in the background help to keep track of time and fill in the empty space that is a quiet studio day. Even on the not so quiet days when the studio is busy, music acts as a soundtrack to keep some level of focus. The music I listen to is from the Caribbean – reggae, soca, dancehall, calypso – music that I grew up hearing in the streets and in the maxi on the way home from school. It grounds me and takes me back home.
A mask is a spiritual thing in many cultures; it is the donning of a new persona, the creation of a new character, the becoming of a new self. The masquerader is a new person when they put on a mask, divorced of the body that the spirit of the mask is inhabiting. I want to make a mask for myself, not only to create this new persona, but to pay homage to the entire culture around masks that was passed on to me from the traditions of my homeland.