By Jennifer Cushing for Velvet Rope Magazine
How can you describe to art fans the style of art you create?
People wonder if I am crazy or a genius. I am both. I have a germ of genius. I am what I call a“Germius”. Both. Crazy and a seed of genius.
People envy me because of this. I encourage people to go insane. People often like to listen to me speak. I rehearse in front of a mirror. I do a
puppet show called Billy Scarecrow. I also rehearse in front of a camera. I have a youtube channel. It is called Surrealfaz. It is like Surreal fag but
not. Sort of like me Surreal but not gay. I look at every crazy idea as an opportunity. I’m sure a lot of people do that with their lives. For example,
gay people probably look at their lives as homosexuals as an opportunity. People who run businesses look at money as an opportunity. Art is just what I
am passionate about. You see, some people think that art is a risk. Each painting is something that can be changed with a brush stroke. My painting is
the one thing I can control. It is much organised and contemplative. I can’t control, stuff like getting laid, getting a job, finding work,
however I can control my art. I choose the colours, the medium, and scale.
What genre would you place your pieces in?
I think I am a gothic realist and folk artist. My paintings are simple and come from my imagination. I like all art. I dabble in realism and the occult. My
father collected many art pieces in his life. He never wanted me to be an artist. Sometimes during the war there are many secrets. Machines used to kill animals. I am a vegetarian. My art is a blend of colour and design. Imagine a chair and table. It is an idea of design. Understanding -a table a chair. I like music and that is the alchemy. Music is the magick. Sort of like a battery for the brain. My work is cerebral. I do comedy. I do a night club act. My painting falls in this category. I am a sad clown with the soul 46, 47 chromosomes. Colour is art and music too. Some people often see colours when
listening to music. Some people create art from music. I guess that is sort of the muse type of thing in Greek Mythology.
do you have any artists that you idolize if so who and why?
I like art by the old masters. People like Velázquez. Dali liked this artist. He painted like Rembrandt. I admire people that can take a simple court scene or portrait. I also admire Picasso. He created an enormous body of work. People think you become an artist to become famous. Even if I never become
famous it will not stop me from my work. There are also contemporary artist like Warhol. There are great Canadian Painter’s like the Group of Seven, Emily Carr. I try to be very tolerant. In this Interview, I tell what truth is. If you want to know what I think, you have to get me alone. Some people need to hear the truth. I trust my instinct, and watch. Every artist that has lived and painted carried the history of every artist before him.
What was the inspiration for the event name "Undercover Over The Top"
That was James. You would have to ask him. I think he just came up with the title and forgot the exhibit was called A Farm to Raise Paintings.-
A Painting Farm. Under cover reminds me of the Montreal band, Arcade Fire.
Why Jane Bond?
I like their vegetarian ways. I have wanted to do a show there for a long time. If you come in you may see me. I frequent the place quite often. I am glad they let me do a show there. It’s kind of fun to be in a bar and drink with all my paintings on the wall.
Where do you find instauration?
Sometimes, I over work my paintings. This is a flaw in my technique. I am always striving for perfection. I admire art like Picasso. He had great energy and imagination. Apparently he painted naked and encouraged people to watch him. The idea of instauration in art must have something to do with fixing paintings that are damaged. I once dropped a music stand on one of my paintings, from my father’s collection. It took a piece of the varnish off. There is a resilient quality in art. I donate works to Queens University, in the restoration program. It was of the collection of my late father. This can be done as a tax credit.
Who is Caliban Strange? where did he come from?
It first started with Caliban. The last name Strange came later. Caliban Strange is my alter ego. Caliban was made famous by Shakespeare’s the Tempest. The American Poet W.H. Auden also used a character,called Caliban. I think of Caliban as the alien, like Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. Caliban has a spaceship that is a giant caterpillar. He writes a blog on a Blackberry device with 100 legs. Imagine the psychotic state when a Caterpillar changes into a butterfly. The Butterfly is Caliban’s spaceship. He is a renegade who travels the universe hunted by Dr. Hofer, The UFO-oligist. I have a blog on CBC music, for the
The thing about an alter ego is that it is up to the patron has to figure it out themselves. The idea of Mystery is often overlooked in art. Every year a new artist is discovered, and every year, the mirror shades. We have to have that higher innocence. The act of being creative all over again. Caliban Strange is an invention of mine. I actually own the domain name. ..(pause and think) It is hard to define someone that I invented in my head. It’s not like a bird chirps
and these ideas of art pop into your head. We are part of a bigger picture. People want to become artist for many reason. People worship them. I think we
can become bigger than who we are. I mean, we can become like Jesus, or Salvador Dali. It shouldn’t just be a dream.
And who is this James P. McAuliffe?
James is a good friend. He is a poet, and I like to feature his collages. He works, and raises his kids, and writes.
How did the collaboration of you both come to be?
The story is that when he lived in B.C., a charity for art was looking for pieces to be auctioned. Jim donated a collage, and the rest is history. The collages at Jane Bond are from my private collection. Don’t get me wrong. They are for sale too. Every artist has a price. The trick to doing art, all the time, is to have an income. Selling a piece here and there won’t work. Jim taught that to me.
Is there anything that you would like people to know that they might not?
I am also a film buff. I made a short film with a friend. It is in the IMDb. It is called The Solar Powered Rock. I wrote and acted in it. I want to make movies funded by my inventions. I like this interview. The idea of a stream of consciousness imagining the mind of a bug, or alien. Jim Morrison knew the idea of the interview. WE have an internal dialogue with God, in our heads like being interviewed. We are constantly correcting and criticizing ourselves. The idea of Heaven is just a picture in our minds. Also, I know I sound very lofty and high minded but I have great sense of humour. This is seen in the folly of my paintings, and light hearted and cajoling. My paintings are indeed whimsical.
Where will your next exhibit be?
I am looking at some places in Kitchener. I try to exhibit at least once a year. If I can get to a point where I am painting more paintings, I
can exhibit the new stuff. I am always amazed how we can push ourselves. Create, and create more. It is the act of a child.
Anything that you would like to add?
I have to add about a teacher of mine, called Tibor Puskas. He was a classical guitar teacher. He would always talk about the future when you’re young, and he could see why I had a jaded outlook. Tibor was quite bitter himself. I sometimes thing the way particles behave depends not only on observation but the mood you are in effect the determinism. Puskas is a dinosaur and is long gone. It’s amazing what we call our mentors.