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Painting: Prairie Circus Series

“Humans, like magpies, are attracted to things that sparkle. The spark is the prime mover, the thing that gets things started. Universes, prairie fires, unstoppable revolutions and passionate loves are ignited by sparks but no one is quite sure how the cosmic spark plug works.” ~ Guy Browning

This series deciphers what it was like to be a child growing up in rural Alberta during the 70’s and 80’s, influenced by glittery costumes of the Solid Gold dancers, the strange cartoons on TV, and the collection of sparkly candy wrappers wadded into my pockets.   Children of that era grew up enjoying the prairie sky and the stars, while the age of disco was coming to an end and mass consumerism was rapidly taking over.  It was during this time that I daydreamed of fantastical landscapes, imagining any world other than my reality.

This work initially began in 2002 while I attended an artist residency in France. Inspired by the festivals, the people, the architecture and the art, I painted and drew images that emphasize the aura of mystery and fantasy that captivated me as a young child and continue to as an adult. I have always been drawn to old Hollywood, the circus, ghosts, abstract and portrait painting. I playfully borrow symbols and characters from my childhood and pop culture.

“The circus invented the rules of engagement for today’s global entertainment industry… the birth of pop culture.”  Noel Daniel

I unapologetically began to employ sparkle paint within my canvases. The use of this garish material is both attractive and repulsive; becoming an inherent contradiction.  Woven in between the somber compositions of these color-scapes is the childish, girlish, kitschy, crafty and playful, nostalgic associations that pique a viewer’s distant memory.  I am influenced by the colors in field paintings, which respectfully nodding to the Old Masters, the Surrealists and the Abstract Expressionists.  Incorporating compositions inspired by abstract and pop art icons such as Mark Rothko, Morris Louis and Jasper Johns, I create a glittery fantasy world that I wished I could have lived in…these “sparkly field paintings”

“But as a material I love it for its allure, its changeability, its flicker. I like to watch the way people behave when they look at my work- they move around it, they sway a little; it captures them for a moment. So there’s something almost predatory about the dazzle of glitter.” – Jamie Vasta, glitter painter.

This series incorporates fantastical imagery, visually dynamic narratives, heightened by composition and drawing, interlaced with dreamy landscapes and fueled by the influence of abstract expressionism.  Using this visual foundation to evoke moods and memories, a playground of nostalgia and personal revelations is created.