Drawing Across Disciplines is OCAD University Faculty of Art's first-year drawing experience. In the wake of COVID and other difficulties in the year 2020, this exhibition-site of our students' drawings stands as a testament to our collective will to educate ourselves and make the world a bit better, more beautiful by our re-making.
This year the course was taught by Luke Painter, David Griffin, JJ Lee, RICHard SMOLinski, Amy Swartz, Heather Frise, Spencer J. Harrison, Derek Liddington, and Erin Finley. Working to engage our first-year students with a wide range of materials and ideas, DAD faculty emphasize that drawing is a thinking practice with deep roots, surprisingly useful across disciplinary lines, not just as formative approaches to the work of Art and Design.
To draw is to build bridges between languages and cultures. Human beings have been working surfaces for tens of thousands of years, and while we can't know exactly what our ancestors were up to with their glyphs, notches, or pictures, we surely recognize ourselves and our preoccupations in their markings. DAD argues that in the primacy of drawing – scroll through this exhibition, for examples -- we are enabled to generate complexity from the simplest of means. Look at what we have done together this strange year, and read the thoughts of the artists about all that work! (David Griffin 2020)
Collaborative Video, Continental Drift, 1920p x 1080p. Individual artworks represented in the video: Theo Zgraggen, "eyeDENTITY", Sushi rice and nori, 7” x 16”; Deanna Gene, "Con you bring", Green onion pancake, 9”x12”; Jason Mendiola, "Role: Undertaking cultural identity", the artist, spring roll sheets, bacon, string , tape, Approx. 21” x 90”
The collaboration between Deanna Gene, Jason Mendiola and Theo Zgraggen was inspired by Kara Walker's work. This video is a performance piece recording our conversation of our experience with our Asian identities. As a result of this conversation, we made three individual artworks. Some of us felt we weren’t raised the same as other Asian families, assimilating to Canadian and western norms and not celebrating certain traditions. Some of us felt like we live a double life and not understanding where we fit in within both cultures. And some of us just honestly thought we were white for our whole lives. Syrus Marcus Ware summed it up the best by saying, “we all are living self-determined lives with a collective sense of community”. This work embodies our combined experience being mixed, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese people. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
This piece is a light-hearted exploration into an aspect of non-verbal communication in queer culture, colloquially known as “gay sitting," which involves positions mainly focused on the placement of the legs that are usually dramatic or unusual for the situation. I wanted to represent some interpretations of that posing with very quick gestural lines, referencing quick or “secret” glances and shorthand body language, along with expressive elements that speak to the comfort in discomfort and the strange & fun physical sense of community present within this phenomenon. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
I was very inspired by Do Ho Suh's Rubbing/Loving message in his art video; I loved the time he took to painstakingly go over each and every inch on his apartment. It takes a lot of patience and presence of mind, I think, to create that sort of art that is so detailed and at the same time so seemingly simplistic and minimalist. With my piece, I wanted to capture the drawing-on-everyday-items approach and also wanted to make the process my own, drawing eyes on all the wipeable surfaces and adding my own eye on the laptop screen staring straight at the viewer, to represent the feeling of being watched at all times and not having any privacy, not even within the confines of your own home. As a Pakistani Canadian Muslim, I felt much hostility directed at myself and my family after 9/11, and I felt all eyes were suddenly on me, watching and scrutinizing my every move. It was a deeply disturbing experience that permeated my day-to-day life and even made me feel unsafe in my own home sometimes. I wanted to portray that lived experience in this work. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
Rachel Zhuang,, A Tour to Suzhou, Medium: sand.Size: 600*450mm https://youtu.be/puuYYLqJUoA
This video of a continuously changing drawing in sand is a tour of my hometown Suzhou of impressive locations in my memory. The first image is an old street showing the typical architectural style of buildings there. The second image is a scene of Pingtan, a classical performance in Suzhou. The next image is a scene of rowing, as Suzhou is famous for its river. The final image is the Suzhou Museum, which is famous for its linear architectural style. The order of the scenes has significance: the video starts with the traditional architectural style and ends in a modern architecture to show the evolution of my hometown. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
For this drawing I choose the prompt “Create a drawing that exists in 3–dimensions”. The gesture I chose was "pinky promises," so I drew two hands separately, rendered them using coloured pencils. I cut them bent at the bottom so that they could stand on their own and I used thread to wrap around their pinkies as a way of representing the saying that you cannot break pinky promises. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
My grandma has quite the personality and is very out-spoken, when I was little I remember whenever she got mad at me or my siblings, she would take off her glasses and close her eyes and jokingly say "I don't want to see you right now!" As kids we thought it was hilarious, because we knew she couldn't see well without her glasses meaning she can't see us in quite the literal sense. It has been years since then, and whenever I see glasses that resemble grandma's I laugh to myself and remember the nice memory. I wanted to create an intervention that can accurately represent the light-hearted mood. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
Artist: Alyssa Virjee Title: we are only seen when you want us to be seen Size: 11’ x 20" Medium: Water colour and black India ink Statement: I wanted to show cultural appropriation on the runway. When designers take cultural styles from minorities and give it to others. People from minority groups are protesting in order to be safe from police, while more privileged individuals make money off their cultures and clothes. Minorities will often be told that fashion and food is weird and gross growing up, however as soon as it's put on the runway and done by someone who isn't us, it's seen as innovative and new. Not only will traditional outfits be depicted with no input from who they are appropriating from, but they often do it in a way that sexualizes and fetishizes the culture. It tells us that the designers and the consumers see minorities as props to use to promote themselves. We are only seen when you want us to be seen. (Faculty: HF)
Artist: Joshua Novales Masso Title: Stranger Medium: Charcoal Size: 9.14cmx 10.58cm Statement: I decided that I would try to depict a person who I never really met, but was described to me by different people. The person's image is made up of fragments in my mind, but they remain a shadowy stranger.
This piece is multiple interventions in one, they intervene with each other in the variety of different orders the pieces are can be in. As well as with anything that is displayed behind it, for example, one (or more) of the panes can be put in front of a person’s face to represent their inner monologue. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
Kaydee Rangel Vargas, "no querer permanecer (not wanting to remain)" Mixed media 8.8”, 2020
Drawing Prompt: Draw flight. For this piece I cut a piece of paper and gave it the figure of a cone, then painted the interior all black. I put the wider hole of the cone towards me and the smaller facing the screen, so It’d give a sensation of a tunnel. Then I recorded a video of several videos I had where I felt the happiest (from inside the cone). Then edited it and decided to add the clouds to give it a sense of longing for a time that will obviously will never come back. As if one were looking at the sky just remembering, while at the same time wanting to leave in order to feel like that again. (Faculty: JJ Lee)
For me, this drawing is all about looking closely at texture, light, and colour. Studying my pet lizard carefully, I was able to take in details I had never noticed before. I found the way light and shadow changed the colour in his skin incredibly interesting. I sought to capture those variations in this drawing, along with his wide range of textures, so that others could see the complexities in this small being too. (Faculty: David Griffin)
I wanted to emphasise the surface of the object and give the drawing a tactile nature. To do this, I used acrylic paint to recreate a wet sheen and coloured pencil for the bumpy surface. I didn’t want the object to be immediately recognizable, but for it to seem painfully obvious once told what it is. I chose this object because it is rarely given much attention or seen up close in this way, and I like the muted green colours it reflects. (Faculty: David Griffin)
This is a drawing of a patch of pincushion moss examined very closely to explore scale and capture detail. Using shading and contrast of values, the moss is detached from its context and creates a microbial interconnected world suspended in space. (Faculty: David Griffin)
For this piece, I wanted to focus on making it look ethereal and space like. I was drawing the wings of a moth painted over foil and gold flake. I used teals and greens in a attempt to create a holographic/iridescent layer which lays underneath the white veins of the wings. The dark background represents the night sky, since it is during the night moths are most active. I’m not entirely sure I succeeded in my goal, but I enjoyed the process nonetheless. (Faculty: David Griffin)
A drawing of a sad plantain chip up close and personal. Originally what was so striking about the subject was the different organic shapes and silhouettes I was able to see in a single chip, the goal ultimately was for the drawing to not be recognizable. The way the colours are represented is also a focal point of the drawing, to show the coolness in the yellow colour of the chip. (Faculty: David Griffin)
This is a close-up observation drawing of the side of a bad lemon. The drawing focused on the depiction of the pulp of the lemon and colours that are different from the normal yellow pulp.
I struggle to title my work a lot of the time, but I hope this to be a kind of series, I hope to make more work around representations of peeling paint and those kinds of minor details of decay. I don't exactly know what to say about it, it was made with chalk pastels and conte, (it) cost me many hours. I love it, and am elated that I got to make this piece.
Our project Eco-Bot 3000, is made to make recycling easy and profitable. With our innovative technology Eco-Bot 3000 will scan your items and check them against our digital catalog to determine how the object needs to be recycled. Eco-Bot 3000 comes with an App where you can see your recycling progress per category such as Cans, Cardboard, Glass, Bottles, etc. With educating the user on their monthly total usage, we offer alternative items from our shopping catalog to purchase reusable eco-friendly items such as bags, bottles, and jars to encourage the user to get rid of one-time usage of packaging items, brands, and daily items they use. Every item that is deposited will return a small cash amount directly deposited to your linked bank account via Interact e-transfer.
Navigating the world is no easy task, but fortunately there is the school of life in which learning never ends.
Kate Hemblen, Transforming No Place. Transforming No-Place into Someplace project: Practices of Thought. Faculty: RICHard SMOLinski
The intent behind our design was to create a space to cultivate a garden or grow one's own food at/in the home at a scale which approaches independent food sustainability. The greenhouse pod structure, composed of insulated plexiglass infill panes within a frame of steel beams, is affordable and easily integrated into existing or new designs for single or multi-unit structures. The greenhouse pod is modular and can be built to any size or specification. The roof is angled to collect and distribute rainwater. The pod is of simple and adaptable materials making it a viable option to grow one's own food at home.
Anna Randall, A Graveyard for your Childhood. Transforming No-Place into Someplace project: Practices of Thought. Faculty: RICHard SMOLinski
Antonia Wilhelm | About the work: For the Gesture and Light assignment. I used colored pencils and markers to convey the idea of creation through the power of imagination. You can see a person posing their hands around a glowing rose, fingers almost touching while splayed in an energetic motion, giving a sense of delicacy and power at once. (Faculty: Luke Painter)
Christina Barrot | About the work: For the Practice of Thought Assignment. This still life drawing shows a hat, pencils and pencil holder surrounded by cloth. These objects are drawn using various marks made by graphite pencils, cuts by a penknife, folds using my hands and the shadows cast by a small lamp. (Faculty: Luke Painter)
Xinzhu Li | About the work: For the Figure in Space Assignment. It's very clear to see that the figure in this space is me and this space is my apartment in China. I just wanted to depict a very normal day in my life. (Faculty: Luke Painter)
Sadhbh Doorley | About the work: For the Practice of Thought Assignment. For the second photo I was given I noticed the single rose particularly its red colour, the red became the accent colour within the graphic black and white shapes and line work of the piece. Having the red appear at least once in every object was to draw the eye around the whole piece not a specific area. (Faculty: Luke Painter).
Jennifer Reis | About the work: For the Practice of Thought Assignment. The realistic technique is my preferred way to draw. Using value, implied texture and shading, I reproduce the still life with a monochromatic appearance. (Faculty: Luke Painter)
Alona Fiandaca, Statement: My final piece is a self-portrait showcasing my own personal mental health diagnoses throughout my life. This self-portrait will be a series of objects that have an assigned disorder to them. I want to illustrate the objects in a way that demonstrates how my triggered and relapsed mind views them, and how I feel towards them. The final product will consist of four individual drawings sewn into a book.
Jessica Dipietro, Statement: For my three pieces I will go off my own experience and incorporate pop culture moments where the male gaze has been popularized. The male gaze has fetishized the idea of young submissive bodies throughout history. I acknowledge that the fetishization of the bodies include other bodies other than white ones, but I don’t want to exploit those bodies. Through my work I have carefully analyzed what the male gaze exploits and translated that into three separate pieces.
Tiffany Duong, Statement: I am planning on creating a series of drawings that explore the different forms of death (beyond the means of a physical existence) and the ways that we cope with them. Through this, I will be confronting my own anxieties about death. Each drawing will seek to combine the present, past, and future, creating a timeline that represents the different stages of life, death, grief, and mourning.
All images courtesy of the artists