Ordinary to Extraordinary: Denim wigs & flowers into insects | Exhibitionists S03E24 Full Episode

on today's episode we're meeting artists who are taking something ordinary and transforming it into something extraordinary I've cut up so many books that I almost look at all books as if they're material for a collage Jimmy is just the most beautiful person he's the most charismatic person I've ever met [Music] [Music] hello and welcome to CBC Arts exhibitionists the TV show that is dedicated to introducing you to the coolest people in the world artists I'm your host Amanda Paris today we're meeting artists who take every day materials the ordinary things we see in our daily lives and use their creative talents to transform these things into extraordinary works of art we start our journey in Sudbury Ontario those of you born after the year 2000 probably don't know this but research for a school project used to require something called an encyclopedia these are usually very large books packed with tons of information and if you're lucky very colourful images the Internet has now made encyclopedias obsolete but this artist is bringing them back in a meaningful new way I'm Sidney Rose and I'm a collage artist in Sudbury Ontario I like to recombine images that had a previous meaning and take them out of their original context and see what kind of stories you can tell by recombining them in new ways [Music] I'm from Sudbury I was born and raised here there's something about Sudbury when you leave something draws you back in and sometimes you need to get away a little bit to realize what Sudbury has to offer it's a really neat place to be and a really neat time to be in this crater we can make it what we want it to be after my grandparents died I moved back into their home to help my family kind of sort through all of the leftover stuff there was a lot of stuff that needed to be donated or thrown away and sorted through but a lot of what was left over was fabric and books and things that you can't really donate and there was a lot of that left behind and I kept a lot of the books around because I thought I would like to read them but there was also these encyclopedias that I remember when I was a kid having to do little research papers for school so flipping through them again I had that nostalgia and I wanted to give the images a new life again I felt it was a shame for these beautiful illustrations to be hiding in the dark in a basement and not see the light of day I think it's important too to keep track of where we've come from and where we're going [Music] well it's a shame in some ways to cut up something that may have value or may have importance or a history to it I think that as long as what I'm creating tells a new story that's worth telling I don't feel so bad I've cut up so many books that I almost look at all books as if they're material for a collage I hope that my artwork and my collage work encourages people to just try to make things I like collage a lot because anybody can do it it's very accessible I'd like people to know that if you're interested in art at all or even if you don't feel like you have any talent that collage is probably a good place to start there's not much pressure on the collage making process it's very easy it's very relaxed I think I think that's what I'd like people to take away from my work is that art can be playful it can be accessible and it doesn't have to be so serious the worst that can happen is you make a piece of bad art but even bad art is is worth making [Music] our journey continues in Calgary where this next artist creates these really cute and fuzzy animals they were all made by our exhibitionist in residence an artist whose work we've chosen to showcase this week I'd like you to meet Deena cipher Lange I'm an illustrator and fiber artist based out of Calgary Alberta I really like to sculpt and draw animals and that's mostly because I'm inspired by them I also create characters with them that people can connect to lately I've been experimenting with how animation can help bring life to those characters even more I think that the element of movement really inspires imagination and believability and the gifts work really well on Instagram we're moving from the animals that run around in our backyards to the plants that adorn them you may recognize this next artist we visited him a few weeks back when he showed us his signature insects today he's showing us his step-by-step process for how to turn the stuff that's in your garden into extraordinary works of art my name is lucky Nolan we're going to make insects out of plants [Music] picking the material you know it's always about finding interesting shapes interesting interesting colors and also at the same time it's also about cleaning our garden so you know when you have a garden you have to trim out some excess branches anyways so instead of just throwing them in the compost I will use them for my arrangements during summer we have much more choice as you can see pretty much everything is dead right now but there's still beauty when we look closely I come back inside usually at that time I pour myself a second coffee and then by drinking the coffee I just let my my creative creative thought go so the goal is to really be three I just created freedom is what I was seeking I usually start with interesting shapes so then I wrote I will start selecting I will start by trimming out what's nice and what's what's usable at that time usually I have a general direction that I'm gonna take so I usually just pick an insect or just a basic shape and I'll try to feel that shape with materials that I just built I am making the horn right now for my Japanese rhinoceros beetle I usually try to do this without glue without without tape and there you go and then I will just start adding to it but like everything in nature sometimes it's hard to control so control controlling was never part of this exercise it was always meant to to go with the flow I guess after this it's like a like a small puzzle I just try to to find the pieces this is a this is an Ikea banner scissors you're very young useful to cut any any type of branches and it's done complete I make sure it's it looks nice from above because when I take a shot I take the shot from bird's-eye view coming up an artist whose photography has a far greater destiny than a gallery wall [Music] welcome back in a typical exhibition photographs are printed framed and hung on a wall but for Jeff Burke he had a different vision he wanted his work to live in the world not just in the gallery so he printed his portraits on blankets and gave those blankets to his collaborators who have made sure that his photos turned up in the most unexpected places the back forty is my home I've been here for 20 years in the back 40 I slept here I lived here I have a home now but I'm still back there because my second home the back 40 is it's like a secluded parking lot that is behind my apartment and it's just this this place that is secluded and and relatively private and so a lot of the work I make is documentation of things that have happened in the back 40 or it's about relationships that were fostered in the back 40 my name is Jeff Burke I'm a photographer and a human being for contact photography Festival in Toronto I'm doing a public installation where I'm making ten blankets in collaboration with two of my friends Jimmy and Karl it's taking place in two neighborhoods the neighborhood that I live in and the neighborhood that I work in it's a collaboration in the sense that I will be making blankets of my friends so it'll be a photograph printed on a fleece blanket there'll be a sort of dance or exchange where I'll give the blanket to my friend we'll photograph it and then kind of let it exist in the world and see what happens like this okay okay leave this hand like that yeah yeah it's perfect beautiful [Music] I was taking a lot of photographs of people sleeping on the street without consent I saw it at the time as like a kind of evidence of poverty in Toronto that I thought people needed or should see at the time I was trying to articulate my experience of loss and death and addiction I was taking pictures of other people to try to to talk about those things or make sense of those things for me I got an offer to publish that work in a book and I became really really uncomfortable with the idea of showing or publishing this work of people's faces and images that were taken without consent and I just couldn't do it I just couldn't publish the work and so that marked a big change in the way that I was making photographs and so you know when I started to photograph Jimmy it was beyond just asking if it was okay to take a photograph it was it was making taking a photograph showing Jimmy or whoever the image of themselves you know letting them know that I was putting it on Instagram or whatever kind of internet platform if I was printing work for a show it would be like a collaborative process where we would pick the image you know the the subject or the person would be comfortable with the image we were using they would sometimes help with the title and so there was like a complete transparency in the way that I was making images I have hundreds and hundreds of photographs of Jimmy Jimmy is just the most beautiful beautiful person he is so funny he's the most charismatic person I've ever met you know that's like why I was initially drawn to Jimmy is he's a panhandler he washes windows in the annex and he's just hilarious he's so funny and beautiful hold it up check it out Jimmy get a haircut you get a haircut okay you're gonna do this one Jimmy okay sissy take this I love photography how long have you been taking pictures well for Valentine's what do you think of that I love it it's really cool [Music] in my opinion Jimmy deserves to be honored in this neighborhood this neighborhood that he's been in for such a long time I'm so grateful that we're friends and that we have this this nice kind of like exchange it's great that story made me feel really good about how art can bring people together but this next story may be offensive to some viewers it's about a topic that is incredibly divisive and very controversial pineapple on pizza we teamed up with CBC Radio's as it happens and animator hain Li to bring the story of Hawaiian pizzas origin to life and who better to tell the tale than the Creator himself the late mr.

Sam panelist [Music] while we're working on it there was a ton of pineapple some defects no you just had some around yeah at first you know I had a bite then I liked it I pass it into sometimes I didn't like it to begin with but after a while the tempeh you want to fishy everybody wants it but there's certain other toppings that go best with fine apple so you agree because the president of Iceland also says seafood is good on pizza your pineapples first short hair curly hair red hair purple hair have you ever heard of denim hair that's coming up next we've seen artists transform encyclopedias turn leaves into insects and now we turn our attention to denim when you're done with a pair of jeans what do you do with them give them to Goodwill throw them in the trash how about transforming those high-waisted mom jeans into a stylish bob cut Rene Mathews works with denim burlap and other found materials to create beautiful wigs that remind us there's no limits what you can do with some discarded material and a little imagination you can change who you are from like one minute to the next and like hair is the easiest way to do that or makeup or the way that you dress but here's the most fun [Music] my name is Renee Matthews I am a multidisciplinary artist today we are deconstructing a pair of jeans piece by piece to harvest fabric from them my process for deconstruction is basically just cutting out sections deciding on the length that I want and just pulling just pulling apart piece by piece this is the most fun part it's the most tedious but it's so much fun when it gets like more into like the little like tiny picking apart that's a lot more headache-inducing I guess but still fun my relationship to picking has been lifelong and I didn't realize that until I think I started or like maybe a year before I started doing this I realized that I'd been doing it my whole life and like I'm even doing it but yeah like it's always been I think just like a like stress coping mechanism like I just automatically start picking it stuff like it used to be like the bottom of my feet when I was like really young I would like pick at that and then I think in high school like I was like constantly like rubbing my forehead and then recently it's been like my hands so doing the denim deconstruction felt good to kind of put it into like a constructive and creative mode rather than borderline so far yeah deconstruction opens up like an entire new way of looking at it you're not really thinking of it as like oh this is something that I could wear in a completely different way with the pin just separating our like loosening the weave so that it's easier to get a grip on to pull out denim forms these strands and just behave so similarly to hair it was like Kay Addis is gonna work really well as a wig anything that forms into strands automatically can be manipulated and worked with the same way as hair today we are about to reconstruct all of the tiny little pieces of denim that we took apart [Music] construction of the actual wig itself would take about 26 hours [Music] I just like that idea of like it being kind of like an everyday whatever thing that you don't think about and being able to make something great or at least beautiful or something from what you can just look at is something was kind of ordinary to begin with [Music] they're not obviously current replacements for wigs but in like a very like almost Jetsons type of way like I hope that this is like the beginning of thinking about other ways that we can change our hair and wear our hair and play around with identity if there's an artist you think should be on CBC arts exhibitionists let us know send us a message on Twitter Instagram or Facebook our handle is at CBC arts I'll be back next time with even more artists from Pembroke to Sherbrooke until then keep creating and innovating but before I go I'm gonna leave you with a time-lapse video of artist Alexis ek using Photoshop and illustrator to transform a regular photographs into extraordinary futuristic works you may recognize the person in her portrait she has a great hair and apparently looks really good in black lipstick peace [Music] you.