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Question 14: Why do you continue to live in Atlantic Canada instead of moving to an area that affords a larger distribution network for your art?


I moved to Atlantic Canada about 1988 so that’s almost 20 years ago. Although it’s been a bit of a struggle to get to other areas of the country, it hasn’t been a struggle to show within Atlantic Canada. And I find that the artists here are very receptive to new ideas, they’re very receptive to new artists. They really care about the art first, over other social political factors. Yeah there are other limiting factors. Sometimes it would be easier, I imagine, if I was still living in Ontario where there are bigger urban centers close by. But I think working here, it allows you to really develop your own ideas, to gain confidence with who you are, to know that your success is really based on the works you’re producing rather than the network of people that you possibly would know, and not be overly influenced by trends and fashions. I think when you look at any field of inquiry, which art certainly is, that a lot of original thinking really does come from the margins. The mainstream certainly has a path to follow, but throughout the whole history of art making, individuals have come from the fringes and turned everything on its head. Even when you look at Canada, Canadian art was developed by those really tough-minded individuals who believed in what they were doing and pursued it regardless of what the ongoing thoughts at the times were. So I don’t think it’s a detriment to work here, I think in some cases it’s a real asset. I remember when Janet Cardiff did her piece for the Venice Biennale, she did it in Lethbridge, Alberta, because she found that Toronto was just too noisy for her to think. There was too much going on, she couldn’t clear her head of the influences. And I think that’s the advantage of working here.