The Art of Tim Jocelyn edited by Sybil Goldstein (McClelland & Stewart), 96 pages, $29.99 paper. Rating: NNN
the art of tim jocelyn, a retro-spective on the life and art of the Toronto fashion innovator, pioneering Queen West scenester and all-around flamboyant 80s guy, is not a seamless piece of work.From the first essay, which threads through Jocelyn's life as if guided by the hand of a drunken seamstress, to the portfolio of plates, which are sometimes badly lit and at other times brilliant, the book is a patchwork. But that actually makes it a fitting tribute.
Jocelyn's life and work were a seemingly haphazard blend of colours and influences. His works are bright, bold and simple, with references that range from African to stereotypical Canadian, from graffiti to technology. He straddled the line between fashion and art, specializing in "wearable art" pieces.
His signature style involved sewing flashes of silk and leather onto garments that, in retrospect, are outrageous even by the standards of the preposterous 80s.
He grew tired of the fashion world and later became an integral part of the developing Queen West art scene, building a name for himself as an impresario and creator before he died of AIDS in 1986.
The book has three essays. Bonnie Devine's is a sentimental look at Jocelyn's short but full life. Donna Lypchuk writes about Chromaliving -- the monumental 150-artist show that Jocelyn helped organize -- as if she ripped out a page from her party log in the 80s. And Stuart Reid takes an informative -- if sober -- approach to Jocelyn's work.
That range makes for a good read about a great innovator.