And while yes, you could probably swing a cat in a bonnet around by its tail and hit at least four new art shows in town(that is to say that an art opening probably isn't the most exciting thing for most…unless free wine and beer is involved), it's always a pleasure to find one that both peaks an interest outside of typical art circles and makes good on the hype surrounding the latest exhibition of post-modern whatsitnow at the very cool West-end art and toy shop/gallery Magic Pony.
Enter Mittenfists, a creative collective consisting of Melinda Josie, Jacob Whibley and Andrew Wilson. I've known Whibley (also of Team macho fame) for quite some time now, and have always appreciated his style, which I suppose you could consider as consisting of smaller collages made of ephemera, sometimes as old as from the 1800s (before the internet and elliptical trainers). Anyhow, his bio hints at the exploration between the relationships of things mechanical and organic, but if I was to really try and get into art-speak, I'd probably want to slap myself, so I asked him instead and this is what he had to say about the collective, and about his own work.
"We're young, slightly up-and-coming and not so established in the art
community, and while showing individually is not so much daunting, showing together makes it a bigger spectacle, and you just provide a show for everybody. We all have a common goal to create, and we're fastidious in the creation of our work. Like, Andrew's stuff is multi-layered and takes him days and days to finish.
"My work evolved out of a affinity for paper and ephemera as far back as I can find it. Each paper has its own sense of history, so I'm faking a history, by combining things and making multi-layered histories."
I also asked him how long til he's famous.
"Probably when I'm dead. Everything I've learned so far is that people
won't appreciate what you're doing til your dead."
Dude's super talented, and even though I can't afford to buy any of
his stuff, it sure is nice to look at for an appropriate amount of
time (3-4 minutes?).
What makes this collective so cool is in how strikingly contrasted
their works are from each other, so where Whibley's work is full of
stuff like cut-up old library cards and Victorian patterns (or what
looked to be…), Melinda Josie's paintings were as different as they
were rad. I talked with her for a sec, because schmoozing is what I
thought you're supposed to do at art openings, and found out that
she's heavily influenced by old folk and children's illustrations, so
naturally some of her work prominently features the likes of
anthropomorphized animals like a fox with a plaid blazer. They weren't
straight rip-offs though, and you could see how she found a balance
between the classic style and contemporary illustration, if that makes
I didn't talk to Andrew Wilson, but his collage work was equally
interesting, and seemed to feature landscapes again made of various
I'd understand not going crazy when someone says "Hey, isn't that new art show so gonna be the best thing to happen to us all summer?!" if you have a chance to make it down to Queen West, check out Mittenfists, because you'd have to be a pure evil jerk face not to dig it.