Meet Phoebe Todd-Parrish
Phoebe is a YorkU fine arts student, tattoo designer, illustrator and print maker. Phoebe's work tends to reflect on natural elements including animals, landscapes and organic shapes often featuring clever phrases that speak to human imperfections. She is 1, of 4, artists participating in our Art Outright residency in the #NuvangoGallery.
Nuvango: How does your studio space help shape your practice? Does it have any sentimental or symbolic meaning to you? If you don't use one space consistently, have you found any changes in your work based on where (physically) you make it?
Phoebe: As a print maker, the state and atmosphere of the studio starts to feel like it’s as much part of your practice and your ideas are- everything is about give and take with the process, and the process is entirely dependent on time and space available to you. I like this about printmaking– as artists I think it’s very important to be able to adapt and to be open to working with what you have and the people you share with! Printmaking also often requires the help of another human being (in addition to all the presses and things) to make it efficient and easy (and fun!) so definitely working in a bigger studio where other people are trying new things is great for the practical purpose of having other hands available but also for idea generation– you have not just your wealth of experience, but everyone else’s too right there! It’s like google for making things!!
Nuvango: How did you get here? Tell me a little bit about your journey so far.
Phoebe: I actually thought I was going to go to school just for English when I went to university but I applied to York on a whim and got into both programs so decided to pursue both. I took my first print class with Professor Barbara Balfour when I was in first year because I was inspired by a Rembrandt show at the AGO with a number of lithographs and etchings. Professor Balfour was more than encouraging and I found I really liked the medium of print and all of its possibilities for image making– it seemed like like it held the potential for entirely new ways of making and I was hooked. After that, I spent the next five years mostly in the studio at York taking all the classes in print and trying all the things I could while the studio was available to me. I also got pretty involved in the idea and making of Artists' books and multiples. I had the benefit of having inspiring and enthusiastic professors in print and even had the opportunity to do a residency at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in 2014 where I met a handful of other art students from across Canada. Now I am doing my English Masters degree, but I plan on pursuing my MFA in printmaking next year. For now I make things whenever I can– I draw, design tattoos for people, make zines and work out of my godfather’s studio near Stanley park where I have access to a tiny press!
Nuvango: What do you plan on creating while at Nuvango gallery? Do you have a specific project in mind?
Phoebe: In my final year at York I decided I wanted to take print from two dimensions into three. I upholstered a vintage couch that had been sulking around my godfather’s studio. I didn’t know anything about upholstery (and still don’t) but I approached it like the printmaking process: as a puzzle that you work through as you work with your materials– a kind of symbiotic relationship. There is another couch in the studio that has been begging to be reupholstered too, so I’m hoping to screen-print some fabric and reupholster it while we’re in the Nuvango space. The project is about the idea of a “living room” and the objects we imbue with meaning/sentimentalize and also humanize. I want to make a piece that kind of explores the overlap of the “living room” as a space that lies on the border of public and private in the home, where you can invite people, but it’s not personal the way a bedroom is. I think this also makes sense in the context of the Nuvango space- like bringing the idea of the “private studio” of the artist into the “public space” of the gallery it might stir up some interesting images and discussion. I will also be toting my press and plan to make a few small editions of woodcut prints I’ve been working on.
Stay tuned for our series of blog posts that will introduce you to each of Nuvango’s resident artists and what they plan to create during their stay as part of #ArtOutright.
If you plan on visiting a particular artist, please call or email Gallery Manager Rachelle Sabourin ahead of time to confirm their schedule for the day 647.808.0032 firstname.lastname@example.org