"You'll Distract the Boys!": A Choose-Your-Own Compendium of Female Existence
"You’ll Distract the Boys!" is an illustrated gamebook that addresses the influence of patriarchy on our discourse around women, and the impossible standards and contradictions of how females are expected to look, speak, and behave.
Presented with a non-linear narrative, readers are invited to assume the lives of various female characters, and respond to situations that North American girls and women commonly come up against. The types of scenarios included vary from one event to the next, from hurtful comments, to acts of sexual violence. After reading the description of each scenario, readers are then tasked with choosing how to respond from one of two options. Their selection directs them to the corresponding outcome, which then leads to the next narrative. Every selection affects the outcome and potential consequences of these choices and determines the direction of the reader’s narrative path. The option pairings provided are not the only possible choices a woman might make under these circumstances, but merely represent examples that can lead to typical outcomes. The outcomes, as well, are not finite. They are meant to illustrate common after-effects that can result from such encounters.
The corresponding exhibition and book launch for this project took place at OCAD University's’s Ignite Gallery from April 21 - 29, 2018. During the show, enlarged pages from the book were displayed sequentially throughout the gallery’s main room so that visitors could physically navigate the narrative beyond the intimacy of a bound book format. In a second room, paper and writing utensils were provided so that people could share with one another their own thoughts and experiences pertaining to patriarchy and the discourse around gender. In this space, visitors were invited to pin their contributions up on a wall, and/or view the expressions that others had left behind.
It is the artist’s hope that this project may serve as a pedagogic tool for sharing the realities women face, inspire empathy, compassion, and equality for female existence, and provide a sense of solidarity to women and girls by acknowledging their diverse realms of experience.
2018 Medal winner of the Interdisciplinary Master's of Art Media and Design graduate program at OCAD University. Trade paperback book. 1st Edition. 5”8.”
My acrylic and oil paintings are meant to draw you into the middle of an untold tale, where you are the author of their narrative. The climactic imagery and vague titles leave room for the imagination to play, answering questions such as "who are these characters? How did they get here? And what happens next?"
A Perilous Journey
A Perilous Journey is an interactive "storybook" about a young girl navigating her way through a magical realm. With no written chronicle as reference, and only the most crucial and climactic moments of her tale to draw from, viewers must rely on their own imaginations and "write" this child's story.
The goal in allowing this space for interpretation is to promote the use of and patience for one's personal sense of wonder in a world where information is immediately accessible - unlike my own childhood where people were often left to imagine the possibilities of their curiosities long before their questions might be answered.
Thanks to Modern Eden Gallery for hosting this exhibition! I'd also like to express my gratitude to the Toronto Arts Council for awarding this project their generous grant, and for believing in my peculiar, dreamy world.
While I enjoy creating new worlds and curious creatures through my art, I am also a huge nerd and pop culture junkie, with a love of movies and general nostalgia. The pieces in this section are tributes to various pop culture references. Most were created specifically for shows at galleries such as Gallery 1988 and Spoke Art, but a few of them were just for fun.
The best part of creating these pieces is allowing myself to play around outside my usual style, to create images that are silly and fun.