Concordia Graduate Dabbles in Painting and Photography

These days, more and more artists seem to be taking on more and more mediums. No longer do we have Vincent van Goghs who focus solely on one mode of expression. We have multi-disciplinary artists who don’t believe in the boundaries of a canvas, lens, material, or whatever way you choose to explore art.

Concordia fine arts graduate Laura Findlay is no exception.

Living her teenage years in the West and having the ocean so close, Findlay’s thirst to depict the vivid world around her led her to painting and eventually to photography.

Although she gives both photography and painting the same artistic weight, she uses the two mediums to express different ideas and emotions.
“Painting is an inward reflection. It is centered on memory and recreating experience. It is a very good language to try and recreate [those memories],” she said.

Photography, on the other hand, “is an outward exploration.”

Findlay’s works will be featured in upcoming exhibition A Multi-Discipline Crop Rotation. The show will feature 21 works of varying size.
In her canvases, Findlay borrowed her closest friends’ pictures from childhood and re-contextualized them to her own past.
“My dad never dealt with cameras,” she remembered. “There are all these memories of my childhood but the pictures are missing. I used the images of my friends and added them in the places I remember.”

Findlay makes connections between the people she has loved and lost, and the objects that belong to them. In doing so, she unveils the emotional gap that resides within.

Inversely, she has photographed found objects that she relates to herself. In both cases, she wants to understand the life that lingers in them, appropriate them and experience them through the lens.

As with many emerging artists, Findlay has encountered the competitive work field with a strong persistence. Her inexhaustible passion for art helps her find order within chaos and discomfort. She understands the difficulties that arise when entering the highly competitive environment of the professional art scene.

Although Montreal has introduced Findlay to a number of people and artistic opportunities, she recognizes the inevitable challenges that will continue to arise. She considers her education at Concordia—the fixation with ideas and projects—a help to her as an artist.
At the same time, she understands the importance of marketing oneself and trying to compromise with the demands of the art world. If art school is successful in nurturing one’s ideas and demanding a consistent outflow of projects, one thing it doesn’t teach is how to decode the art of business. Findlay has to learn this on her own.

“I have to teach myself the irrefutable connection to business that needs to be nurtured as an artist,” she said. “You need to know how to sell yourself.”

A Multi-Discipline Crop Rotation will run for the month of October at Galerie Armatta (5283 Ave. Du Parc). Entry is free.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 08, published October 5, 2010.