Taking inspiration from various fashion brands—including Canadian designers Vejas, Maryam Keyhani, and Uncuffed—photographer Maya Fuhr and stylist Chad Burton created artworks with an air of accessibility not often found within the white walls of a typical gallery space. Covering a vast terrain that spans art, fashion, and new media, the frequent collaborators’ creations will be auctioned off at a silent auction hosted by S/, with all proceeds benefitting Black Lives Matter Toronto and The National Arts Centre Foundation. Here, the Toronto-based artists discuss their creative process.
Chad Burton, A Hat, a Bag and a Neckerchief, 2020. Gouache on canvas, 16 x 20”.
Hat by Maryam Keyhani; bag by Opelle x Warren Steven Scott; neckerchief by Uncuffed Leather .
WHAT IS THE CORRELATION YOU SEE BETWEEN FASHION AND ART? IS THERE A LINE BETWEEN THE TWO, OR A DIALOGUE?
“Absolutely, I think elevating fashion to the level of art is the goal of many designers. Fashion is so e-commerce and mass market–driven, which obviously creates obstacles in that respect. But I think designers and artists share the same DNA and aspire to spread beauty out into the world.”
WHAT OF THE PERSONAL DO YOU AIM TO CONVEY WITH YOUR CURRENT WORK?
“I love how objects can carry meaning and memory and bring you back to the moment you discovered them. The tchotchkes I collect and display around my home always connect me to a specific moment.”
Chad Burton, 7 Objets, 2020. Gouache on canvas, 20 x 16”. Earrings by Kunst; bag by Uncuffed Leather; cuff by Corey Moranis.
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS AND THE PAINTINGS YOU’RE AUCTIONING FROM THIS PROJECT.
“I chose to focus my paintings on smaller accessories rather than large articles of clothing, and I wanted them interacting with various knick-knacks and props. I like how the accessories become little objets d’art themselves when displayed in this manner. In the landscape format painting especially, the scale of the items comes into question by showcasing the mini bag by Uncuffed and tiny doll furniture, creating a sense of imbalance.”
IF YOU COULD RETROSPECTIVELY LOOK BACK ON YOUR CURRENT WORK, HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR PURPOSE?
“Highlighting the beauty not only of personal objects and the clutter of your life, but of the relationship between these items. When you place one object next to another, your mind automatically wants to create a link or connection, even if one doesn’t actually exist or isn’t explicitly for you to understand.”
Maya Fuhr, Olive, 2020. Coloured Plaster, Foam, Varnish, 5.5 x 15.5”. Courtesy of Patel Brown. Photographed with Number Sixxteen bow tights.
THESE WORKS CULMINATE IN AN INTERESTING PASTICHE OF CANADIANA. HOW HAS WORKING THE WAY YOU HAVE ON THIS PROJECT ALTERED YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE CANADIAN ART SCENE?
“I made these sculptures overlooking the Georgian Bay in Parry Sound, Ontario. You can’t get much more Canadian than that. Not including First Nations’ and marginalized communities’ art that existed longer than any Tom Thompson painting, the white Canadian ‘art scene’ got put on the map with landscape paintings by the Group of Seven. It’s funny that similar bird and cricket sounds and imperishable landscapes act as a backdrop for this body of work. During this quarantined, unprecedented time, I’ve gone back to the basics of my creative process—being like a kid outdoors, sculpting and moulding with no time constraint.
TELL US ABOUT THE SCULPTURES YOU CREATED FOR THIS AUCTION, AND YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.
“I created a high heel and a boot sculpture made of hardware materials: plaster, foam, stone speckle paint, varnish. The boot is inspired by Vejas and Aldanondoyfdez’s textural A20 Dissected Cloud Boots. The other shoe is a creamy coffee colour, versatile and comfy. An abstract version of a shoe you’d find from a brand like L’intervalle. I haven’t worn heels in months, and I sort of miss it, so I started drawing and sculpt- ing shoes during my time off.”
Maya Fuhr, Stone Cloud, 2020. Plaster, Foam, Stone Spray, Varnish, 8.5 x 8.5”. Courtesy of Patel Brown.
DURING THIS ESPECIALLY UNIQUE TIME, DO YOU FIND YOUR DEFINITION OF CANADIAN IDENTITY CHANGING?
“This is a huge time for Canada; 2020 is a year of change. Just like the shoes I’ve moulded, our country is doing the same—reassessing, layering, chipping away. I’ve been thinking about my own white privilege a lot. All in all, it’s time to give more exposure to emerging artists and minorities who don’t have the same accessibility or opportunities that I do. I’m grateful for my audience, but I do want to step back and hear other people’s voices expressed through their art. I’m looking forward to seeing what organizations and names we recognize in a year from now, and which ones might fade into the distance.”
WHICH FACET OF YOUR PRACTICE WERE YOU MOST FOCUSED ON WHILE WORKING ON THIS PROJECT?
“[I was focused on] making art inspired by the artistry of Canadian fashion designers as opposed to observing the industry through my glossy fashion photography lens, which often highlights global designers that are inevitably part of the wasteful and disposable side of the industry. This has been a subject that I’ve explored in my work since 2013, in my exhibitions “Garbage Girls”, “Malleable Privilege” and “Tec Style.”
The artwork featured in S/ magazine’s Summer 2020 will be auctioned off via silent auction on our Instagram on July 16th from 9 am to 9 pm EST. All funds raised will be directly donated to the National Arts Centre Foundation and Black Lives Matter – Toronto through Contempo Media Inc.
We are only accepting bids privately via DM. You must submit the title of the piece along with the pricing offer to be a considered bidder.
The winning bid totals are inclusive of shipping to the USA and Canada. Winners will have 24 hours upon issuance of an invoice to remit full payment. The highest bidder must send the invoice to firstname.lastname@example.org.