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Holiday Gift Guide Cadeau

With the holidays right around the corner, there is certainly last minute gift shopping taking place in full frenzy in the shops and online.
In case you haven't sorted out all your pressies for your family and your besties may I point you towards the 2014 holiday gift guides from ELLE Canada and ELLE Québec that I had loads of fun/stress-filled pleasure to research, edit and style.

As you can see it's a bit of same/same but different-spot the differences if you feel so intrepid.
While I love all the pages, I have a soft spot for the all black/all white mood shot, with a particular jonesing for those matte black ester & erik candles...just in case you were curious.

Joyeuses fêtes!


Tour de Bloc - New Kid on the Bloc

climber: Karine Gervais

In November Bloc Shop hosted a competition in the 12th season of Tour de Bloc's Canadian bouldering series' eastern division.  Yours truly was asked to capture the very photogenic sport-for my first time ever.  Taking up the task, I contacted seasoned climbing photographer François Lebeau for some sensei-like advice.  Over omelettes at Brooklyn Label Lebeau and I discussed lighting situations, shooting etiquettes and PocketWizards, filling my head with trepidation and antici...pation

 climber L: Florent Balsez R: Eveline Lapierre

climber: Sue Brumm

 climber: Marc-Antoine Vigneault

 climber: Clarrie Lam

climber: Ayo Sopeju

climber: Florent Balsez

While I had a couple of technical difficulties, I am pleased to say that I got a chalk-covered handful of images I was happy with. Whoo! Check out the whole series on Bloc Shop's Facebook page.


press days - SS15

A dear friend's four-year-old child came up with the wonderful term of "goose-boobs." It's meaning is when you have goose bumps, goose flesh or cutis anserina (if you want to get all technical) on your breasts.  And as the temperature drops, I am definitely suffering of goose-boobs.

I've been doing the rounds of showrooms and reconnecting face-to-face with the lovely PR and marketing gurus around town for spring/summer15 collections and yearning already for summer-or spring! Why don't we just skip winter for one year?

The above image (right) was taken during a cozy presentation by the Michael Kors team.  Somehow the flowers are the only image that survived a hasty phone clean-up.  Fortunately that black calf Bradshaw sandal from the SS15 lookbook is giving me something to look forward to as my toes will remain bundled until at least April.


artUnion-Spotlight on the Arts14

It started at the QPAT in 2013, a first-time outing in a collaborative art project that began its life centred around themes with a difficult-to-conceive on the spot drawing component.  One year later artUnion decided to submit a proposal for this year's teachers conference, with a significant change to the focus.  A shift was made from thematic images to biographical, where the students carried out the research for their assigned figure of historical or current importance.
Holy moly, what a difference it made!
We (a group of artists) were so pleased to facilitate this project and look forward to bringing it to schools in the upcoming new year. Art Ed! Whoo!



Égrégore at Galérie d'Art Yves Laroche was a jam packed crazy confluence of all sorts of styles, artists, mediums and messages.  And somehow it all worked together: the lowbow, the pop surrealism, the graffiti or street art influenced and the classically trained brought forth a dynamic show that will be on Yves Laroche's walls until the 20th of December.
Click on the photo above to learn about the word "égrégore" or to marvel at the insane work of AJ Fosik's Nighttide for Idols (2012)

I checked out the show during the opening and will share a handful of faves here, but the show is massive! Worth an in-person visit, unless you can't make it/feeling lazy you can check out the online visit and start picking out works that will look great above your sofa.

Whoa! Upon walking into the gallery Dave Cooper's bronze Crittergirl (2014) is the first work that greets you.

Two beauties by Miss Van: Diablada (2014) and Lady Blue (2014)

Jeff Soto's Man (2014)

Ok, this piece isn't from Égrégore, but from the adjacent gallery Lacerte, whose space we ambled through during the opening.  Jean-Robert Drouillard's Mini Love Louve (2014) is barely a foot tall and was sitting on the floor.  I crouched down trying to take this image, causing another art reveler to almost trip over me.  Art party!

Back to the show! The insane awesome cardboard sculpture work of Laurence Vallières

Liam Barr's Wed to the Wheel (2014)

An Immaculate Conception (2014) by artist and friend Kevin Ledo.  I've had the pleasure of sharing gallery wall space with Ledo in the past and have seen his work evolve over the years, but still remaining distinct in his figurative style. We chatted about this evolution and getting ethereal with gold foil.

Regarding your new works (Arsenal, Yves Laroche, Muralfest) portraiture always remains strong and present and dominantly women, but recently you have integrated elderly faces and men, where did this direction come from?

I never really planned this progression, though I've been wanting to explore some new subjects and themes. Once I began painting murals I found that it was the perfect outlet for it.

The use of gold foil is consistent in your work and it first appeared as glowing halos in your Guiding Light (2006-10) series.  How has the use of the foil evolved and what does it represent to you now?

It still represents an ethereal energy in my recent work.  It is still speaking some of the same language that it did for me in older paintings, though it's not literally a halo anymore.

Any words you can share about you work in Égrégore?

That piece, like most of my recent work, wasn't planned to convey any particular idea before I began working on it.  I just went on feeling and a vague direction and then began understanding what it was about more and more as it progressed.  I titled it "An Immaculate Conception" because it seemed to me that that was what it was about.  There is a clear religious reference there, and the fact that it's "An Immaculate Conception" and not "The Immaculate Conception" plays with ideas surrounding Christian beliefs and how similar story lines were told in religions before Christianity existed."

Voilà, a little art insight for the day.  
These works and so much more on Yves Laroche's walls until December 20th.


Les HTMlles: White Sugar

I have a soft spot for Francesca Fini's White Sugar (2013), one of the programmed shorts during the Mad Parade at GIV.  In my own art practice collage is my medium of choice either via Photoshop or scissors and glue; so I naturally gravitated towards Fini's work.  Utilizing 3D techniques and archival footage Fini recontextualizes the cultural expectations and pressures of women.

More words and images here.


Les HTMlles: Prendre le pouls

Les HTMlles is underway! The festival held its opening festivities at Studio xx last night, unveiling multiple exhibits in the festival's headquarters and in the adjacent spaces of OBORO and GIV.

Off-site at La Centrale, Prendre le pouls by Marlène Renaud-B. has been open for the past week.  Take a peek here for some teaser images.  There will be an artist talk this Thursday to learn more about the intriguing work.


Tanya Tagaq - Animism

Many moons ago I was introduced to the person and the music of Tanya Tagaq, an artist who created her own solo form of Inuit throat singing which is traditionally performed by two women.  It was a fall evening and Tanya stepped onto the stage, barefoot and very pregnant surrounded by two musicians, violinist Jesse Zubot and percussionist Jean Martin.  Tanya spoke softly welcoming the audience to the continuous set, as if to prepare us for what was to come.

I had been told that a show of Tanya Tagaq was "intense" and I am admittedly pretty sensitive, but from that spoken introduction came a spectrum of sounds that hit me straight in the chest and rearranged my insides.  Almost as soon as the music and vocals reached me, involuntary bio/physiological reactions were taking place, I was instantly tearing up and trying to visualize rainbows and puppies to calm down.
Whew.... that...was...raw.
Did I mention intense?

photo: Jenn McInnis

Tagaq's Animism recently won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize and the tour will touch down in Montreal a sold-out show in Montreal at the Centre Phi tomorrow night.  I had a chance to exchange some words with violinist Jesse Zubot about Polaris aftermath and what we can expect at tomorrow's show.

Have you felt a change in the response to the band since winning the Polaris Prize?

Yes, a change in response to the shows with Tanya has definitely happened since the Polaris Prize scenario...all of a sudden Tanya can barely open her mouth without all the press in Canada freaking out.  Also, every show we've done in Canada since has been sold out and we are even having a hard time getting our close friends into some of the shows!!  It seems like people are now listening to the music on a higher, more concentrated level to everything that goes down, so we have to be in top form!

You mentioned in an earlier correspondence that you were going to do a hardcore show.  Were you being serious?! What can Montreal expect at the Centre Phi show?

Hardcore show!!  Well, that just means a 'no holds barred' full-on smash-in-the-face vibes...There will be some moments of serenity and calmness, but in general the show will probably be very emotional, aggressive and hopefully transcending in some way.  We usually play about 70 minutes with no stopping to create trance-like vibes.

Thanks to Jesse Zubot for the warning.  I'll be the one in the corner crying with kleenex.


Le Serpent - Pierre Dorion

On a early fall evening I went for dinner at Le Serpent, nestled in the awesome art space of the Darling Foundry that was once Cluny Artbar, a popular lunch destination.  What rose in its place was Le Serpent, a stylish and delicious part of Le Club Chasse et Pêche and Le Filet family.

As I was seated, I was captivated by the stunning Pierre Dorion painting Crepuscolo, a commissioned work that echoed the early evening's sunlight setting through the restaurant's windowsills.


alice kass

all images courtesy of Alice Kass

I had stumbled upon Alice Kass through the magic of Instagram, discovering their feed of edgy looking women with even hotter lingerie.  The freshly launched online multibrand shop kept beckoning me with lacy, sheer and mostly black pieces.  Scrolling through Instagram one morning in bed I saw a post stating: Kayleigh Peddie's Frances bra will be discontinued.  That yanked me out of bed and I ordered the super comfy bra right away.  Ok, so I had ordered the wrong size! But an exchange was brokered with ease and speed by founder Sabrina Cassis, a former womenswear buyer at luxury retailer SSENSE.  I had a chance to chat with Sabrina about sexy lingerie and how to dress down your satin and lace bodysuit with denim shorts (#casual).

What place or gap in the market were you looking to fill?

There really is no curated lingerie website for cool, fashion girls at the moment. They're either buying their soft bras from designer labels like Alex Wang or Helmut Lang or they are substituting quality for style and opting for bras from the big name lingerie shops or chain stores. Personally, I don't identify with the women on the Victoria's Secret catwalk who wear brightly coloured push-up bras, and neither do any of the women that I know. So I wanted to create something that reflected our lifestyle and need to express ourselves via clothing right down to our underwear.

What kind of product do you seek out?

I'm not a girly-girl when it comes to clothes, so I want my underwear to have an edge. I'm not into the frilly stuff but I'm not going to go into extreme bondage wear either. After doing a lot of research, I discovered all these amazing independent labels online and wanted to give them a place to come together where they could be featured in awesome editorials as opposed to just a boudoir setting. My goal is to offer my customer the best, most fashion-forward pieces that are still affordable and wearable on a daily basis, not just for special occasions. 

So what's the best piece of lingerie you own and why?

Best piece of lingerie? I'm obsessed with the Kayleigh Peddie high-waisted Rina thong. It's just such an obvious shape yet I haven't seen this cut anywhere else! Perfect for high-waisted jeans and under tight dresses. Also, I'm super into bodysuits these days. The L'Agent Marisela is super versatile and can be dressed up under a blazer or dressed down with denim shorts.

Thanks Sabrina! I'll be back for more...



On a lovely fall evening hundreds of art goers packed themselves into the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal for the opening of the Biennale de Montréal.  In the rotunda, under the colourful works of Étienne Tremblay-Tardif (above), patrons enjoyed the opening remarks by the curators and some wine and snacks before heading upstairs to the galleries which housed a large majority of the Biennale's works.

While it was A LOT to take in, and the crowds did not help my ability to concentrate or sit and watch video, there were many works that stood out for me throughout the evening.  A repeat visit is on the menu...

Taxidermied creatures, such as the fox and the bird seen above, were laid to rest in several corners around the gallery.  The work of Abbas Akhavan chose not to represent these dead animals in their traditional and vivid trophy stance, but as they are: stripped of their life and "doubly-dead."

The Steubenville, Ohio, High School rape case that made my blood boil.  The 2012 case that converged many skin crawling tropes of modernity: victim blaming, slut shaming, social media trolling, rape culture, bias in the media, and on and on... Andrea Bowers' work (above) featured the exchanged text messages between the (Anonymous dubbed) "Rape Crew", providing a sobering moment in the exhibit. 

Other highlights:
Details from Nicolas Grenier's Promised Land Template (2014)

the painstaking economics of Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens

Eternity, the photo-op inducing work of Nicolas Baier

Finally, Suzanne Treister's insane mind-boggling work Hexen 2.0 (2009-2011) composed of multiple works throughout the gallery, but what did it for me was Treister's re-working of the 78 cards of a Tarot deck.  I will quote the gallery text here:

"Since at least the second half of the twentieth century, the West has witnessed power and agency slip away from tangible, accountable structures of governance towards intangible, quasi-mystical forces whose goals and interests reply on programmatic techno-utilitarianism."

I had the pleasure of babbling like a child to try to convey to Treister why her work resonated so much with me.  She listened politely as I gesticulated while saying: "meticulous! Medium! Message!" 
It was all too much! 
Art overload!

But there's so much more:
-an artist talk with Shirin Neshat
-an artist talk with Ibghy and Lemmens
-and mysterious workshops!


Les HTMlles: Mareikura

Hinenuitepo (2008), Lisa Reihana

I am super stoked to be a contributing blogger for the 11th edition of Les HTMlles, a feminist festival of media arts and digital culture, produced by artist-run centre Studio xx.  The festival runs from November 7-15th and will be chock-full of discussions, performance, video, sound and more.

Some pre-fest events got underway and I checked out Mareikura, a retrospective of works by Maori artist Lisa Reihana. Check out my thoughts on the opening here, and then go see show before it leaves articule's walls on November 13!


pumpkin soup

It's rainy and cold outside so I'm starting my winter hibernation with a hearty and filling pumpkin soup.  I never used to make soups, but then with all the squashes coming in from our veggie baskets, it was time to put them to work.  Then I discovered that making soups was pretty much a no-brainer.  Roast some veg, make or buy a good stock, season how you like, blend that shit up and voila.  Meals for days.

This particular deliciousness above was a combination of a pumpkin and what looked like a pumpkin on the outside but its innards looked like spaghetti squash.  Whatevs, all squash leads to the same road of goodness.  Here's the "recipe" (aka, throw whatever you have in your fridge), it yields A LOT of soup, watch out!

-roasted pumpkin and squash, probably equivalent to 3-4lbs worth
-two big leeks
-lots of garlic
-a can of black beans
-3-4 big tomatoes
-4 cups or so of veg stock
-2 cups of water
-a bunch of coriander
-a teaspoon of smoked paprika (maybe more?)
-season at will
-blend it real good

I cozied up to my soup with Hijacking the Runway by the very smart and funny Teri Agins, a writer at the Wall Street Journal.  Agins' "beat" is fashion, but not the trends or who is wearing what, but the stories behind the business, a beat she was onto before Business of Fashion gave a wider audience the bigger picture.  The book is proving to be a fun read with some surprising info, read this great interview with Agins for more tidbits.


fall '14 cultural preview

The October issue of ELLE Québec featured a fall cultural preview of the local scene.  I was invited to style the men in this project, who were three easy-going dudes who didn't mind wearing sweaters and jackets in July.  At the top: thespian Benoît McGinnis opened the portfolio wearing pieces from Diesel and John Varvatos (from Holt Renfrew).  Next we had musician Pierre Kwenders, looking regal in a smattering of patterns.  I layered him in pieces from Diesel, MatiniqueG-Star Raw, DJAB from Simons, Breed Knitting, kicks from Aldo and specs from Céline.   Finally, the very charming screen actor Victor Andrés Trelles-Turgeon closed the portfolio layered in Diesel, Steven Alan and Michael Kors.

The photography was achieved with the wizardry of Marc Montplaisir and was definitely #nofilter.  Montplaisir has been perfecting his ambrotype photography for more than a decade, finding the balance between the exposure (controlled by the removal of a lens cap) and the chemicals at work in the darkroom.  Above, the exposed glass plates of Trelles-Turgeon and McGinnis sit in a rack to dry and reveal the ghostly images.  This was not a shoot of hundreds of clicks a day from a DSLR, more accurately, each photograph took about three to five plates, and we patiently waited while Montplaisir went to the darkroom to develop the image.

Our three subjects behind the camera