Alleys are full of garbage, graffiti, cardboard and signs. They have puddles settled into patchy pavement, potholes, and wild grasses gathered in cracks. Alleys are heavily used yet forgotten offbeat pathways between city streets.
My body of work consists of paintings and sketches that portray Saskatoon alleys. I work from my own reference photos and recently have taken photos almost exclusively of alleys that include graffiti. Graffiti is a map and a historical record of the artists who have visited but are not able to publicly claim their creations. I paint alleys in black and white because it makes these smelly, dirty and grease-covered pathways look like beautiful soft spaces that exist just behind the real world.
In my work, recreating the alleys in black and white allows the beautiful interplay between grey shadows, white light and carbon black to reveal the softness found in these pathways. Instead of focusing on the mess of garbage and grime, the viewer is drawn into the pieces through the way that darkened grey and black buildings stand in vivid contrast with the bright white sky, crisscrossed by poles and power lines. Alleys are more than just a mess of garbage and cooking grease, these forgotten pathways are living spaces that tell a story of the city.
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