What I’ve been up to

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News / The Braille Project

It’s been awhile since I’ve spoken here about what I’ve actually actively been working on.  I know that I vaguely touched on this a little long while back, but since then I wasn’t ever really sure what to say about it as we worked out the many aspects of our process. This post has been a long time coming. Now that we’re finally about to launch our website, here I go!

Last Spring, I teamed up with my friend Faye, to help bring to fruition an idea she’d had brewing for awhile:  

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.14.34 AM

Faye, a multi-faceted, ridiculously brilliant artist, author & braille transcriber, is also my sister-in-law, so we’ve had the opportunity to watch each other’s work evolve for the last eight years. A couple years ago she wrote this awesome YA book called GirlFight, while she lived in London, UK., and she occasionally consulted me on things such as, if I’d ever heard the term “bitch-brawl” or, if I could describe to her the smell of Leslieville*, where her protagonist lived. She learned Braille when she returned to Toronto, and thus began volunteering at the CNIB. Last Spring, she asked me via text if I’d be interested in creating a series of Braille-incorporated abstract paintings, and without knowing much more than that, I agreed. Faye had long been creating sim-Braille-based poems, and I’d been struck by the beauty in which they were organized. The visual patterns of the dots actually resembled the message of the poem.  I’d never looked at Braille that way before. I didn’t have much of a relationship with Braille at all. When Faye first sent me her proposal for the project, that first sentence stuck with me:

” the incidental beauty of a language system not meant to be seen. “

An example of Faye’s  (sim)Braille poetry

We created THE BRAILLE PROJECT as an umbrella to cover all of our Braille-related creations. The main purpose of our shop is to help fund the creation of new work related to the paintings in the PLEASE DO TOUCH! series of the Project. When this series is complete, our objective is to host a show to present these works, with a percentage of the proceeds going directly to the CNIB.

Screen shot 2013-11-13 at 11.21.30 AM

Back in April, we got together in my old studio and started working out ideas on how to make these paintings come to life. A lot of questions came up, everything from  What do we want to say?to the less exciting  How are we going to attach the Braille and make it look cohesive?  I am thrilled to say it seems that we’ve worked out all the big kinks, for the most part. Here are first three finished pieces from the PLEASE DO TOUCH! series. All three are around 30″ x 30″ on canvas using acrylic & mixed media. They each contain a different quote modified from Jorge Luis Borges‘ piece Blindness*. Click through to see more details:

AS FOR RED*

As for red, it has vanished completely / but I hope someday to be able to see that great color”

 *   *   *

EXCEPT BLUE MAY BE GREEN

blue may be green

“I can still see blue and green / except blue may be green/ and green may be blue”

*   *   *

 “CONFUSED WITH GRAY”

Confused With Grey

“White has disappeared completely, or is confused with gray”

*   *   *

We also recently launched some prints of various details of the above three paintings. Each print is professionally printed on 80-lb linen-stock, and hand-embossed, dot-by-dot by Faye. A task so tedious, my bones ache thinking about it.

EXCEPT (2013) 5.12″ x 7.85″ embossed Braille on linen stock

YELL/OW (2013) 6.5″ x 6.85″ embossed Braille on linen stock

So… that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m still working on other things, but I’m mostly invested in this project and I’m really excited to see how it evolves. You can keep up with us on here, or by bookmarking our site to see the new stuff.

Oh yeah, we’re also on Twitter @PleaseDoTouch.


|NOTES|

  • AS FOR RED is now on display at Le Papillon On The Park
  • *Blindess by Jorge Luis Borges, from Seven Nights, Revised Edition, Nightwood Editions, 2009*
  • *Smells like poop, for the record.

 

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