Saskatoon, Treaty 6: Lindsey Rewuski
When I met up with Lindsey to shoot the portrait above, she was on her way back to work after making a run to PAVED Arts during her lunch hour. Deeply involved in Saskatoon’s artistic community, she balances a day job in the arts with an impressive freelance art/design practice. I recently had a chance to check out her animation The Secret Garden (deconstructed), a stop-motion piece composed of thousands of photos of flower-petal mandalas. Like Lindsey it’s inventive, interesting, a little bit mysterious, and exceptionally charming. You can also find her work under the alias Ghost House.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I do creative freelance work under the name Ghost House, and most recently, I’ve started delving into the world of ‘visuals’, or creating live visual expressions of music. I’ve been working with different bands to create custom visuals for their live shows, using anything from liquid lights, to stop-motion animation and projection-mapping. Mostly, I’ve been doing pre-recorded work, which is then projected on stage, but this summer I finally performed my first live set with Chad Munson for MoSo Fest using an overhead projector, moire patterns, and various liquids…we’re planning to do more performances together, too! I’m also pretty excited about a music video that’s coming out soon for the band Dumb Angel, featuring my stop motion animations of flowers.
This summer, I’ve also been lucky to work some of my favourite projects ever, including publication design for a hard-cover anthology of critical writing for Paved Arts artist run centre, branding and cassette design for my partner’s new tape label, Magnetic Domain, and doing the branding and design for Last Mile Coffee Truck. I’ve also been dabbling in band photography, social media consultation, and designing odds and ends for friends.
For myself, (rather than working with a client), I like to make big, messy, hands-on projects. I just had my first public art installation, titledSecret Garden (Deconstructed) for Saskatoon’s 2015 Nuit Blanche and this work has probably been my most consuming project to date, with more than 17,000 photographs animated to create kaleidoscopic sequences of spinning flower mandalas. A flower mandala is created by carefully deconstructing a flower, petal by petal, and carefully arranging these petals in patterns on a flat black rotating surface. The animations were then projected from a rooftop onto the ground in a back alley, where people could interact with the piece.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
I am the Content Coordinator for Remai Modern (opening in 2016) and I’m currently responsible for all of the digital content, including web, social media, and quite a bit of graphic design. Not only is it an inspiring place to be right now, as we watch the construction get closer to completion, but I can say wholeheartedly, that I am never bored at work! I can go from photographing students in a printmaking workshop, to designing 20-foot high billboards, to sourcing a drone to take footage of the construction site, to live-tweeting a stunt pilot drawing shapes in the sky above Saskatoon (THE SKY IS THE LIMIT is one of the coolest art projects I’ve ever been part of!). I am constantly amazed at the resilience, dedication, social consciousness, and vast amounts of knowledge and expertise that my coworkers display, even when things get tense. It’s pretty amazing to work with a group of people who care so much about culture and community, and are fun to be around, too. Which is good, because of course, it can be incredibly challenging when we’re all working at our fullest capacity, with the pressure (and excitement!) of building an entire organization from the ground-up, under the public eye.
KC: What’s important to you?
Stepping back and evaluating where my energy is coming from and where it’s being drained, is key to my personal well-being. Things that give me energy, and that I believe have a profound effect on myself and on community, include; spending time with positive, respectful, and open-minded people, finding time to read books, helping facilitate understanding between people, building connections between like-minded souls, belly-laughing with a close friend over coffee, good food, a glass of wine, or a back-alley beer, not over-committing to things, being open to the experience of wonder, encouraging a sense of wonder in others, doing things right the first time, coming to my own conclusions through examining all sides of a story, making things with my hands, creating safe-spaces for others to feel comfortable in, seeing things from different perspectives, enjoying the outdoors, spending time with family and loved ones, and lastly, challenging myself and others to be more self-aware, and to keep growing and learning.
KC: What do you like most/least about Saskatoon?
Saskatoon has an amazing community of culturally-minded people, who are doing interesting things. I love the big trees, and the river, and it feels like every year that I live here, it just keeps getting better. But the rent keeps going up, too. I think that the cost of living in Saskatoon is ridiculous, and there needs to be better, more affordable housing options. Also, when I moved here in 2008, I was shocked at how divided the city was, and how people treated me differently, depending on where I said I was living. I think that the divide between East and West is deeply ingrained into Saskatoon’s history, and that even people who believe they are socially aware, can be horribly unconscious about how that plays out.
KC: What is your impression of Regina?
I’ve been to some damn good parties in Regina! Everyone I meet from there has been friendly and engaging. Also, I think the German Club is one of my favourite music venues, ever. There’s just so many activities!
KC: How do you survive the winters here?
I flip-flop between hibernating and socializing like mad and I look forward to both equally. Hibernating for a few weeks at home; reading, cooking comfort food, making perogies, crafting, and listening to winter jams is pretty much heavenly. I recently saw a Danish word (on one of those ‘Words that don’t Translate to English’ Buzzfeed posts) that summed it up perfectly: 'Hygge’ loosely translates as “togetherness,” and “coziness,” though it’s not a physical state, it’s a mental one, that is most often practiced in winter. And of course, getting together with friends at a local pub or a house, playing board games, or just enjoying each other’s company over a glass of wine, is pretty much the best when it’s cold outside. Another thing that makes winters livable, is looking forward to that first week of spring when the snow melts, and the city explodes with people, all laughing and smiling and proclaiming, “Summer is coming!” like they’re the ones responsible for making it happen.
KC: (From Proust Questionnaire) What is your most prized possession?
One of my most prized possessions is a letter I found in an abandoned house, when I was 15. The house had been lived in by a bunch of hippy engineers who had moved to a small town for a brief time in the 70s, in order to have a cheap warehouse to build hovercrafts in. It was and it wasn’t a love letter, and it was covered in mad scribbles of equations and poems and engineering drawings and it was my first glimpse into the world outside of my small town. Even though the words now seem much less eloquent, and some of the mystery is gone, it’s one of the few things that has made it through all 27 moves.