An interview with Sarah Joncas

An interview with Sarah Joncas

Can you share a bit about your new body of work for ‘Between Wind and Water”? What do these new works represent for you?

Unlike many of the larger shows I’ve done in the past, I decided to go into this body of work with no particular theme in mind. I also decided I’d keep my planning for the show to a minimal, just painting and letting ideas stir as I got further and further into it. Since I tend to work on 8-10 pieces at a time, I did find some similar ties between them and emphasized ideas as I went along.

For me, I see this work symbolizing change and transformation though. Destruction and renewal, sexuality and identity… An emphasis on character both vulnerable and powerful. Not every piece plays to this, often I simply love the look of an enigmatic face, but I can see now how my afterthoughts about the work have started directing me in my newer sketches still. I think it’s necessary sometimes to just let go and see where things take you.

We’re often asked if the female character in your work is intended to be yourself and I know sometimes that is the case. Would you care to talk about this a bit? 

Yes, I get that question all too often. To be honest, I don’t intend self portraiture unless the title suggests it, which is few and far between. I think maybe when people say ‘self portrait’ they simply mean the painting looks like me though. When we were asked to make self portraits at OCAD, students would come in with abstracts and far less straight forward ideas of what the self meant… So, though I can admit the resemblance of myself to my girls at times, I don’t actually see myself in these paintings. Trying to analyze it objectively, I did grow up learning to draw from my own face though, I spent a lot of time alone, I’ve never used models and my whole family looks a little alike… I often think of these paintings to be more like alter ego’s instead, or my way of acting out ideas and feelings that concern me. I’m a very quiet and reserved individual, so in a way, I also find these paintings to be manner of breaking free from that restriction, playing out characters that are bold, moody, angry, powerful and unapologetic. I guess I’m as much a self portrait artist as Cindy Sherman was, or as any actor should be considered. Obviously your empathy and ability to express certain emotions truthfully comes from an inner experience, but it’s a tool, not the story.

What fuels you to keep creating?

Simply that it makes me happy, but also just the continual emergence of ideas for painting. Creating becomes a way to express beauty and find understanding, which makes life much more meaningful.

Please describe your dream project if time and money were not issues.

I’ve dreamed of being able to make a book of my own someday, since I was little. Either a graphic novel, storybook or children’s book. I have no ideas for one as of yet, but imagining an end product with pages of illustrated work and a well thought out story… Such a huge feat, and I really would need so much more time and money to set things aside and complete it. Even if it were a book of themed poems with illustrations… I made a simple version of something like that in high school.

Favorite item in your studio?

My cats! Not really an item, but I love those little guys far more than any of the ‘stuff’ in my studio.

If you were to take us out on the town in Toronto, what might we get up to?

More than anything I love just walking around Toronto. But we’d have to check out the AGO, Second City and the Harbourfront. It’s fun getting out to Toronto Island at night to see the sun set over the city, as well. There’s just too many good restaurants to choose from, so lunch and dinner would be necessary. In the winter, skating at Nathan Phillips is fun and getting on top any building with a roof top is a great way to view the city!

Is there anyone in particular, artist or otherwise, that you’d like to mention here?

No one in particular, I think… I’m not really sure how to fit anyone into a conversation like this, but I suppose I’m always thankful to my BF who has to put up with my craziness and worry while developing a body of work for a show like this! I try to pry opinions from him about the paintings and what he thinks I could improve, which makes him uncomfortable, haha.

Any special projects coming up after your exhibit with us here at Thinkspace you would like to mention?

At the moment, just getting in more group shows and I’ll be working on a new solo body of work for December at the Last Rites Gallery in NYC. I will also be participating in a project that can’t be mentioned at this point, but it should be pretty exciting! Will post all about it come due time.

‘Between Wind and Water’ on view through this Sat, June 30th at Thinkspace

New prints now available from Sarah Joncas and Caia Koopman

Sarah Joncas 'Decadence and Despair'

Sarah Joncas
‘Decadance and Despair’
Edition of 25 + 3APs
Hand-signed & numbered by artist
18×18″ paper size with 16×16″ image area
Giclee print on Museo Portfolio Rag Paper

Available here:

Caia Koopman 'Endangered'

Caia Koopman
Edition of 30 + 3APs
Hand-signed & numbered by artist
16×19″ paper size with 14×17″ image area
Giclee print on Museo Portfolio Rag Paper

Available here:

Juxtapoz interview Sarah Joncas

Sarah Joncas 'Ophelia' - oil on canvas

Coming up THIS Saturday, June 16th we welcome the returns of Sarah Joncas and Caia Koopman to Thinkspace for a very special show. To help us spread the good word Juxtapoz have posted a ‘Back Talk’ interview with Sarah Joncas.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and was it worth it?
Going to art school in Toronto with only the hope of scholarship money to get me through it. Moving away from home to live alone was a big step in my life. I learned a greater responsibility and maturity because of it.

Check out the rest of the Juxtapoz ‘Back Talk’ interview here:

Look for our interview with Sarah to be posted here in the days ahead.

‘Between Wind and Water’
New works from Sarah Joncas and Caia Koopman

Reception with the artists:
Sat, June 16th 5-9PM
*Featuring a print release from both artists (details to follow)

New issue of Pop Surrealism Magazine now available

Summer 2011 issue of Pop Surrealism Magazine - now available

The new issue of Pop Surrealism Magazine is now available online and features Thinkspace family member Sarah Joncas on the cover along with a nice feature on her art within. Congrats to Richard and his crew at the mag on continuing to break new ground with the new issue now being available for iPad download and the addition of their Pop Goes LA publication that will be available very soon at high-end hotels around the LA area. It will serves as a great item for art lovers from abroad visiting LA to have as a handy lil’ guide. Pop Goes LA will list all the hot upcoming exhibitions in the burgeoning new contemporary art scene as well as provide a guide to all the galleries in the LA area.

View the Summer 2011 issue online here (also now downloadable for iPad):

Sarah Joncas in NYC at Last Rites Gallery (April 30th)

Sarah Joncas

Canadian artist Sarah Joncas is returning to NYC next week for her show with Last Rites Gallery opening on April 30th. ‘Lilith’ will feature a new series of oil paintings on canvas alongside a small selection of new graphite works on paper. Sarah talks a bit about the show and her inspiration behind the new series below.

“Given the opportunity to go darker with this show, I chose to go full force in celebrating the original femme fatale, Lilith – not necessarily as a direct allegorical reference, but more so for what she represents. According to Jewish Mythology, Lilith is considered to be the true 1st wife of Adam, though her unwillingness to submit caused her to rebel from Eden in search of her own dark path. As such, she’s been written as the temptress, the mysterious and the devil. Taking from fairytale and folklore inspirations, much of my work for this show borders on the fantastical, indulging and sometimes turning other mythological females into similar demoniac beings. Though working with a relatively more aggressive theme than usual, I’ve kept the melancholic and pensive tone that my work is most well known for.”

Sarah Joncas ‘Lilith’

Opening Reception: Sat, April 30th 7-11PM

Last Rites Gallery / 511 W. 33rd Street, 3rd Floor in NYC /