Pique Artist interview

A little interview I did in the lead up to PIQUE, a new quarterly artist series presented by Debaser. The first installment is happening on June 12, 2021.

You can read the full interview here

How has the pandemic affected your artistic process?

I have so many things I want to say! On the admin side of things it has actually helped me be easier on myself in a lot of ways. I often felt stress and pressure before to keep up with the cycle of applications, deadlines, festivals, touring. And there was often this accompanying weight and regret if I missed anything and almost this anxiety of falling behind. I think a lot of that stems from how business oriented the industry (and also grant and program applications) can be, of needing to show how your career is advancing, progressing, and growing with numbers and accomplishments. I think I tried not to get too caught up in that, but when everyone else is also running on that hamster wheel it’s hard to not feel like you’re somehow straggling if you aren’t following that cycle as well. But now we’ve all shared in this collective pause and it feels like we’re able to choose our own pace more. So it’s been a good time to reorient my motivations, basically doing things less out of obligation and more out of desire.

I think staying at home has shifted our concept of time too and the urgency of (oftentimes, arbitrary) deadlines has softened as a result (like if something doesn’t happen by a certain date that is okay, or if you miss a date there is still a next time and that is okay too). It feels like people have become more flexible and understanding which has also helped with the immediacy that was creating a lot of that stress and pressure. It’s almost like a lot more people have gained empathetic insight that it’s hard to prioritize answering e-mails when your mental health isn’t doing well or something.

On the creative and artistic side, because of all this extra time I have at home I’ve allowed myself to try a lot of new things and really stretch myself. It was like, “Well, I have time, why not build a sculpture or write a short story?” Again, I think I felt some pressure before to focus only on writing music, so that I could record, release, perform, tour, rinse, repeat. I also find it pretty hard to create anything while touring, even though you technically have lots of idle time on the road or in airports. It’s hard to get in the right headspace to organize my thoughts and experiment in the same way as I do at home. I’m truly a homebody so this has been really nice, and I’ve discovered new things about myself!”

SK Arts Awards Nomination

  • Post category:Press

I’m shortlisted for the SK Arts RBC Emerging Artist Award alongside 2 other amazing artists, Maia Stark and Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson.

A really big thank you to Rose Bouthillier, Shellie Zhang, Simon Fuh, Marcel Petit, Amalie Atkins, and Troy Gronsdahl for their kind letters of support 💗. I am very lucky to be surrounded by a community who teach me, inspire me, and keep me humble.

As some of you know, I have a strange relationship to awards: who does and doesn’t get recognized, who decides who’s worthy of praise. And it’s extra strange when it’s funded by a bank like RBC, who are one of the largest financers of fossil fuels in Canada. Artists deserve recognition and awards without strings attached to the destruction of our earth. We deserve compensation and financial support without being used as distractions from the harm that banks enable, especially on poor and indigenous communities. Artists aren’t sellouts for accepting opportunities funded by banks, banks are sellouts for putting money before people and the land. Don’t accept greenwashing, pressure banks to divest from fossil fuels. Switch to a local credit union, protest pipelines. If RBC gets upset with me for saying this, it just proves how they use funding the arts to silence criticism of their profiting from the extraction industry

Back to the Roots: A conversation with respectfulchild

  • Post category:interviews

I had the opportunity to do a little interview with Graham Wall at Toast about 落叶归根::falling leaves return to their roots. You can read the full article here

Installation view, respectfulchild, 落叶归根 :: falling leaves return to their roots, 2020, RBC Emerging Artist Series, Remai Modern, Saskatoon. Photo: Blaine Campbell.

Remai Modern Questionnaire

As part of Remai Modern’s online programming during COVID-19, I got to answer their questionnaire to share my personal perspective and experience of the pandemic lockdown. Here is an excerpt:

“I share the same enthusiasm for my bed as Chibi Maruko-Chan”

5. What are you letting go of? What are you holding on to? 

Trying to let go of the feeling of needing to prove my worth through doing rather than just being. Getting in touch with my own enjoyment rather than doing things for other people. Observing myself, learning my needs and understanding how I function. Using this time to practice being actively gentler with myself and holding onto how it feels to be my own best friend.”

You can read the full questionnaire here

Film Score for “In The Shadow Of The Pines” by Anne Koizumi

  • Post category:Press

I had the honour and privilege of composing an original score for this beautiful animated short doc by Anne Koizumi. The story is one that is personally tied to Anne, but the film’s themes of shame, guilt, regret, loss, and love are universally relatable and is deeply moving. To me, it reminded me of how racism and classism felt as a kid, but we don’t yet have the tools or vocabulary to understand these until later on when we’re adults. You can stream the full film on CBC Gem and YouTube.

poster by Marigold Santos and Julien Charbonneau

Trans Day of Visibility

  • Post category:Press

Transgender Day of Visibility in the era of COVID-19: Four artists in conversation with Rae Spoon

For this year’s Trans Day of Visibility I got to join fellow non-binary pals G. R. Gritt, Kimmortal, and Evelyn Charlotte Joe for this little interview with our friend and icon Rae Spoon. Here is an excerpt:

In 2019 Miriam Webster chose the non-binary pronoun “they” as the word of the year. Some people started calling 2019 the year of “they.” What was your reaction to that? 

respectfulchild 敬兒: To be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to it…I think it felt like getting validating approval from the mainstream and I don’t really care for that kind of momentary recognition. What about next year? Will we be forgotten once “they” is no longer trending? The comfort, safety, and space I have to explore and express my identity is due to the work of all the gender revolutionaries that came before me. Recognition and visibility are nice, but seeing allies celebrate these sort of milestones feels kind of shallow when what we need as a community is more education, empathy, safety, and supports. If we don’t have those things in place, then visibility can just make us a target for more danger.

You can read the full interview here

photo by Lindsey Rewuski

Creative Saskatchewan feature

“I think the greatest border we have to overcome is the one that’s stifling our imaginations. We’re taught throughout our lives to accept so many things, whether they’re political boundaries, gender norms, or musical conventions, that we forget how to dream of other possibilities for ourselves and our collective future. For me, it’s really important to learn about and know where I am coming from in order to see how things can change and grow.”

Read the full interview here

photo by Chris Graham Photography

Breaking Borders award and bursary presented by The Derek Bachman Foundation

  • Post category:Press

I was completely surprised to be presented with this award and bursary from The Derek Bachman Foundation. This was my acceptance speech on social media the next day:

“So at the Saskatchewan Music Awards presented by @saskmusic this past Thursday, I got completely surprised by receiving the Breaking Borders award and bursary from the @derekbachmanfdn. It meant the world to have it presented to me by my friend and role model @megannashmusic, who I’ve looked up to as both a touring artist and amazingly funny human being for many years. I never got to meet Derek, but I know that the work he did and belief he had for SK artists created the foundation for the opportunities artists like me have to travel and share our music abroad. Hopefully without dishonouring his memory, I’d like to expand on what it means to me to be Breaking Borders.

All borders are fake, including this rectangle we call Saskatchewan. All borders are created by the powerful and are used to control, exclude, separate, and break up communities. We also have borders around ideas, ideology, societal structures. We have borders around gender, bodies, class, and race. Borders limit our thoughts and imaginations. Borders are barriers. They’re maintained by convincing us to believe they are real and accepting them as natural. By buying into the idea of borders we enable, justify, and perpetuate the divisive violence enacted on marginalized communities and cut off our abilities to dream of how things can be different.

I need to clarify that I am Not describing some naive Colour-Blind-We-Are-One-World. We can live in all our complexities without homogenizing ourselves. Freedom of movement already exists, it’s just only available to the rich and powerful.

I’m not one for awards, but I’m definitely receiving this one in the spirit of DESTROYING ALL BORDERS. Whether they’re fake lines on a map or fake lines in our minds, we do not have to accept things as they are.”