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Visual Arts

Artist in Residency (AIR) Program

Caleb Speller's residency is now complete. Read Caleb's winning artist statement and view his documented progress.

Caleb Speller Artist in Residency 2011

In his own words…

Photo of Caleb SpellerCaleb Speller was born in Victoria, British Columbia at the end of 1982. He lives with his wife in a one bedroom suite with large windows. In the evening on a clear day the sunset paints the rooms completely orange with its light. It is here, at his desk, where he draws and collages before heading out to take some photographs, walk down to the shed to paint, or bike out to his ceramic studio. His artwork explores themes such as Canadian nationality, photographic performance, fabricated family history, and the human relationship man has with eternity.

Read Caleb's winning artist statement and view his documented progress. You can also view his artwork and small business website Dingus Bikes.

Caleb Speller - Photo: Don Denton, Black Press

Bird House - Ceramics

"Bird House"

Ceramic

Rainy Day - ceramic

"Rainy Day"

Ceramic

Henry Darger's Last Days in the War

"Henry Darger's Last Days in the War"

Painting

Painting: War

"War"

Painting

Caleb Speller - Artist Statement

SYMPHONY OF DISTRACTION                                                

A visual artist’s creative practice begins when inspiration comes. Initially, the artist commits a significant amount of time and space to allow inspirational motivation to arrive and once that inspiration reveals itself the artist has a starting point into the exploration of ideas. He is enabled by this inspiration to set out and discover something unknown to him. During the process, he contextualizes the inspiration through creative experimentation, tests the strength of the ideas from differing perspectives, and transforms the ideas with various mediums into visual metaphor. It is during the creative exploration of an idea that distraction inevitably arises and the artist’s initial inspiration and mental focus is challenged.  Distraction can benefit the artist by giving him distance from the work to see it from new perspectives, but it can also break the artist’s concentration by leading the process away from the original purpose of creative exploration; it can alter the outcome entirely and even destroy it completely.

Distraction of the mind is a dark force in today’s society. It is a force which is getting louder, flashier, and more destructive to the natural thought process. Our mental private space is being penetrated in such an effective way that it is changing the way we think, making it increasingly difficult to be alone with our thoughts. These distractions leave us with less time to solve problems, memorize facts, and focus throughout the day. Technology is a primary contender for our attention. Modern tools such as the Internet, cell phone, and modern transportation claim to make users ‘aware, connected, and free.’ The Internet provides access to so much information, thereby replacing the natural process of trial and error and the need to converse with others to hear alternate opinions which differ from our own. The cell phone makes us available around the clock, removing the ability to leave work at work, creating a virtual office wherever we may be. Modern transportation makes us feel we can be anywhere in the world within twenty-four hours, shifting our focus beyond our physical restrictions, offering us unrealistic visions of what we can accomplish. This mental stimulation scatters and destroys our natural thought processes and disperses the consciousness between twenty or more thoughts at once, instead of a healthier and more manageable one at a time. The long term affect of these distractions is an unfocused, vulnerable, and increasingly weakened state of mind.

In this type of setting, the sanctuary of the artist’s mind is left to fend for itself as it tries to navigate, organize, and hide from daily distractions while continuing to listen and wait for inspiration. In order to use inspiration to explore creativity, he must designate space and time for this activity alone. It takes discipline, practice, and concentration to use distraction as a tool to navigate through an idea and control the outcome of its inevitable inclusion in the process. This sanctuary is being wooed into complacency by the beautifully orchestrated but extremely destructive Symphony of Distraction.

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