Saskatoon, Treaty 6: Blair Colwell
(Photo by Jennifer Sparrowhawk, Intro by Aaron Shoals)
Let me be clear: Blair Colwell is a weirdo. Make no mistake; this man is a monster. His art is a distinct marker of a cornered beast ready on his haunches to hurl animosity and rage onto the closest victim. And it comes from the most gentle man.
I’ve become friends with Blair through Saskatoon’s thriving music scene. He’s played drums for the danceable GO JEFF!!!, freaker punks The Faps, and the melodic boppers Sad Buckets. Always supportive of other artists and ever a willing collaborator, Blair has been a strong supporter of the arts and his musical peers.
While Blair is known to many as a musician, he is also a gifted visual artist. Deranged and dystopian creatures crawl from Blair’s fingers to his pen. In his art, you’ll witness horrific beings, holy incarnations, and honest caricatures of his friends.
Nothing brings me greater delight to know that Blair’s contributions to the Saskatchewan arts community are being honoured and celebrated. If anything, he needs that deep humility stirred around a bit. Congratulations, Blair! I love you.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I play drums and howl like a goddamn banshee in The Faps. We just got home from tour. We went out to the west coast to test out our new material on unsuspecting strangers, that went well so we hope to be getting into a studio soon. We’ve also been doing an ongoing remix project and have had way more contributions than expected so we’re having an official release at Amigo’s January 27th, we’ll be donating all the proceeds from the release to Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik (Women Walking Together)
I play drums in a catchy little rock band called Sad Buckets, which is great fun. I draw pictures and have had quite a few local musicians and establishments use my work which is a great feeling, I’ve fallen way out of that though. Hopefully I can get something together and do an art show sometime in the new year.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
I work at the Underground Cafe on 20th and I really like it, I consider my co-workers good friends and really love working in Riversdale and meeting the people who live in that community. There have been a few challenging times with customers complaining about the folks on the street, so sometimes it can be hard to stay neutral to the odd slightly racist or classist comments.
KC: What’s important to you?
I think honesty above all else. I can be brutally honest and highly critical, which isn’t always a good thing, but it’s important to me to continue learning and to receive feedback whether it’s constructive or not. I try to surround myself with close friends who will tell it how it is, it’s a great way to keep working at the best of my ability while staying aware of all the privilege I have that I may otherwise overlook.
KC: What do you like most/least about Saskatoon?
I’ve been in Saskatoon for about 4 years now and I’ve met some of the most incredible friends I could ask for. I’ve had constant outlets to do what I love. I like the little restaurants and pubs, and the river. I like that cool things come here sometimes. It’s okay. I guess what I dislike is that the scene is a bit incestuous. There are a lot of great artists doing mediocre work because there’s a high demand for art, (which is great) but I just know there are talented people out there who should be seen even if that means others, including myself, need to step aside for a moment. That, and it’s way too fucking expensive to live here, my sister pays less in downtown Montreal.
KC: What is your impression of Regina?
I’m from Moose Jaw so Regina was always the “big city” to me. I lived there for awhile after high-school and quite liked it. Regina has a weird music scene, you’re either playing a packed bar where no one gives a damn about you and they’re just there to drink, or you do a show at some hall while praying you at least make some gas money. That being said Regina seems to take more pride in it’s successful artists than Saskatoon.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
I hate the cold. Luckily for me I also kind of hate most people.. so if nothing else, at least I get to use winter as my icy, hellish scapegoat to avoid social situations and recharge for spring.
From the Proust Questionnaire: What/who is the greatest love of your life?
I’ve had the same best friend since I was 5. I have another best friend I talk to almost every day. They’re the loves of my life. They know me better than I know myself, and I know they’ll always be there. That’s a pretty great kind of love.