Untitled Sketch. 2015. Acrylic on paper. 18in x 24in. 


We sat down with our current resident artist, Ed Spence, to discuss what inspires him, and what he’d like to do with his residency at BAF:

What is your artistic background?

I grew up in Salmon Arm where there is a pretty lively art scene. Lots of music going on. The annual Roots & Blues Festival brings a lot of energy to the town for a few days in the summer. Also, my mom and dad are pretty creative. Whether it be watercolour paintings, furniture or just home renovations, they were always making something happen. I was pretty invested in art so I ended up moving to Kelowna to do the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at UBC Okanagan. I focused primarily on video and sculptural installation.


Who were some of your first influences?

Hard to remember but I guess my older brother and his friends​. They would play Dungeons & Dragons and be constantly painting figurines and designing characters or board games. I wanted to make stuff too, so I would copy images of Iron man and Wolverine out of comic books. My mom is also quite a good watercolour painter and she used to make stained glass panels for the furniture my dad would make. There was a lot of creativity around. When I was really young I used to watch Mr. Dressup. He would draw all the time and I figured it was a pretty cool thing to do.


What inspires you?

I’m always interested in new technological developments and how they change the way we interact with our environment and how they change the way we define ourselves as humans. Technology has shown up as a subject in my work for as long as I can remember.

Music-wise, I keep coming back to Mac DeMarco, Ariel Pink and Kurt Vile. Recently reintroducing myself to Radiohead’s electronic stuff. But I also like putting Steve Reich on my headphones and hypnotizing myself into a meditative working state.


What do you like about the Vancouver art scene? What do you hope to bring to it?

I like talking about art and the people I’ve met in the Vancouver seem to like to as well. The artists who live here seem to be pretty well informed and I appreciate that. That way I feel like I’m always learning something new. As far as what I hope to bring to the Vancouver art scene, I just want to buckle down and produce quality work I’m proud of. Hopefully other Vancouverites can be proud of it and enjoy it, as well.


What do you hope to accomplish in this residency?

​I really want to use this residency as an opportunity to develop my skill as a painter. I’m experimenting with some abstract subject matter that may not end up going anywhere, but at the same time I’m painting from photo-based imagery I’ve gathered during walks. I want to find the sweet spot between a rendered image and the visible painterly surface. I’m interested in the moment when the painted image fails; when the image falls apart into brush strokes and surface.


How do you see your art changing in the next few years?

My work is recently returning to many new forms… video, sound, performance. I feel like there is a lot more to explore with my photographic collage work, but I want to shake free from expectations. Thankfully this residency is providing me with a chance to explore painting as another medium.


Ed Spence will be in residence with BAF this Fall. Stay tuned for his upcoming exhibition dates!


Interview and post by Alexandra Best