An artist profile of Shannon Gerard.
Describe your process of creating a piece. What materials do you normally work in?
Books and artist's multiples have been my focus for years, so the work was always equal parts writing to drawing. But then, last year I learned to crochet and since then the process has completely taken over my life. I crochet about 60% of my waking life. Anything can be represented by crochet-- any shape, 3 dimensional form or idea. It is material and conceptual perfection! For me it holds the mysterious, intuitive mathematics of everything.
What projects are you working on? What do you have coming up, any shows?
Recently I have returned to drawing and writing for two projects. I'm drawing a post-apocalyptic graphic novel called Sword of My Mouth written by Jim Munroe of No Media Kings and I'm drawing and writing a serial for Top Shelf Productions called Unspent Love. I'll be participating in TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) on May 9 and 10 this year.
When are you most productive?
Definitely in the morning, after coffee. Unless I decide to play "just one quick level of Katamari"-- that somehow turns into 2 hours and my whole morning is gone. Katamari is evil!
When did creating art become something important in your life?
I don't think it was ever not important, but I have been at it professionally full time since around 2004.
What are some of your favorite spots in the city? Some favourite places to go, eat, drink, bike ride?
Here is a perfect bike ride: Start at I deal coffee in Kensington. Travel west along Dundas. Notice the amazing "MOM" sign over an abandoned shop near Palmerston. Stop by Melody Crochet at Dundas and Grace. Spend the afternoon at Trinity Bellwoods Park. Go back east along Dundas and have dinner at either Buddha's vegetarian restaurant at 666 (!!) Dundas or get $1.75 Vietnamese subs sold along Spadina near Dundas, then have drinks at Magpie at Dundas and Euclid (though I have not seen big beards behind the bar in a long time-- this is really sad!)
What are you currently obsessed with? Any blogs, pod casts, films, artists?
BEARDS. Also, I'm reading tons on the IFF website (Institute for Figuring). On my Ipod: Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog on repeat, This American Life and Writer's and Company. How predictable! But being predictable is like crochet-- nearly constant repetition but any slight variation in the pattern creates surprising, amazing, amorphous results.
What are your thoughts on the Toronto art scene compared to everywhere else you've experienced?
I have a fantasy about moving to the country. I grew up in the forest, so I want to go back to where the light is like the light when I was little (to reference Lynda Barry). But it is a dream and when I think about how much I would miss the city and the little community I have here, I realize I am totally citified. I like the art scene here and how it is mushing together with the craft scene. One of my favourite writers, Kathleen Norris says that "people tend to build small towns wherever they go" and that really describes my life and relationship to Toronto.
What is your survival food? Cheap eats for the starving artist?
The Good Food Box program through Foodshare and local farmer's markets. It is cheaper than you think.
Any last words?
I killed Laura Palmer.