We spoke to artist Rebecca Chaperon about her upcoming project for Façade Festival 2016.
Burrard Arts Foundation: What would you like our readers to know about your existing body of work that might help them contextualize your upcoming project for Façade?
Rebecca Chaperon: Many of the projected works depict my internal psychic space as though it were a landscape full of waves of energy, creativity and wonder. There is a continual theme of existentialism within my work, and, lately I have been examining of the process of visual perception: optical input and cognitive understanding.
The projected images are existing artworks that I have altered digitally to enhance them for the medium of projection and to create animated elements ie. making my paintings move! Most of the images are from either my Eccentric Garden Series or Imprint Series. And some of the originals are on display in the Art Rental & Sales showroom at the Vancouver Art Gallery until Sept 23.
BAF: What inspires you?
RC: I’m inspired by ideas of surrealism, storytelling and the genre of science-fiction. I’m fascinated by the process of how we perceive the world around us. Our landscapes provide a rich code of visual information that we reinterpret to create images in our mind of what these places “look like”. Our perception is a science-fiction. Like scientific fact – much of what we perceive is agreed upon, the view we see directly in our field of vision. However fiction comes into play when we deal with what we perceive at the edges of our vision, we receive some information and our minds invent the rest.
BAF: How does working in projection mapping fit into, and contrast with, the work you’ve done in coding and animation before? Much of your previous work has an interactive element – will that be a component of your upcoming project, as well?
RC: I haven’t worked in coding and animation before. My skills are very limited in this area…we could say non-existent! But I have worked with other creatives who have those skills sets and helped me to adapt my ideas to those frameworks. The best example is from my Great Black Fire exhibit in 2011, with the assistance of an expert, we created a way in which people could tweet their text into the paintings. It was fun to see people’s humour come through in their engagement…a sense of play.
BAF: Describe your project for Façade. How did you come up with the idea, and what kind of effect are you hoping to have on the viewer?
RC: I will be showing approximately 10 different images with different elements animated. At the time of this interview we are still finalizing the details and working out the animations and the transitions but I can say that I hope to really envelope the viewer in the worlds that I have created. I love surrealism and projecting my already surreal paintings onto the art gallery will be even more surreal.
BAF: Were there any challenges in this process?
RC: Technically speaking, I’ve been rusty with Photoshop as I usually only use it to adjust my images so that they are more accurate.. so it was interesting to refresh old skills and get used to that process. Other challenges came in the form of the medium itself, understanding that white and black aren’t going to project very well which lead to making some adjustments to my images.
BAF: What have you learned about your art through this process?
RC: I think I’d like to work digitally with my paintings in the future. I was surprised by how much I like the combination of using paint and importing it into digital programs. It’s fun to manipulate the images in photoshop and I haven’t done that since I was at art school. I look forward to seeing the effect of these manipulated elements of the images projected at such a large scale.
BAF: For Façade we partnered with Go2Productions to bring the festival to life. Go2 specializes in content and installations that marry technology and art – what was it like working with them to complete your vision?
RC: It was great to see the test projections and learn about the specific parameters that are involved with projections ( I had no idea!). The test projections were good for me to see because my art was projected onto a scale model of the Vancouver Art Gallery. This meant that we had a physical example to use so the people at Go2Productions could explain very clearly the elements that I needed to consider before creating my final images for projection. As I mentioned, we are still completing the process of preparing my work for projection, but I have to say that it’s been a great experience so far.
BAF: How did you come to collaborate with us here at the Burrard Arts Foundation?
RC: I’ve known about BAF from perhaps the beginning via my friend, artist Joseph Staples, who did an initial residency. I know many people who have been involved with BAF in some form or another. It’s wonderful to see the impact that you are having on Vancouver’s art community. I’m pleased to participate in Facade!
Rebecca’s project will be displayed Thursday, September 1st from 8pm to 12am on the Robson Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her work will also be shown on September 4th and September 5th for the encore and Grand Finale evenings. Façade Festival 2016 runs from August 30th to September 5th featuring the work of Rebecca Chaperon, Barry Doupé, Renée Van Halm, Eric Metcalfe and Chris Shier. Learn more about Façade Festival here and follow online #facadefest @burrardarts.
Text by Genevieve Michaels and Rebecca Chaperon