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Desktop, japanese paper sculpture

 

Did You Feel Something?, 15 x 23 x 2, japanese paper sculpture

 

 

 

Artist: Cybèle Young , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Interview 50!

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.

 

Biography

Cybèle Young is an internationally renowned artist, represented by galleries in New York, London, Vancouver and Calgary. She studied sculpture and printmaking at the Ontario College of Art and Design in the early 1990s, and has since received over twenty arts grants and awards. She has been profiled in numerous publications including Art in America, the New York Times, Canadian Art, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Fibrearts, Maclean’s, Elle and Toronto Life. Her work resides in major collections around the world including Canada Council ArtBank, Foreign Affairs, Ernst & Young, BMO, OMERS and Gryphon. She has mounted over twenty solo shows, and has been included in thirty group shows and countless annual international art fairs over the past sixteen years.

Cybèle creates sculptural works and film animation from fine Japanese papers and intaglio prints, which are juxtapositions of objects that evoke a sense of human dialogue. Her art practice and family life have inspired the creation of several children’s books. She released two books in 2011 – ‘A Few Blocks’ (Groundwood Books), and ‘Ten Birds’ which won the Governor General’s Award for Illustration 2011. Both were a Kirkus Best of 2011.

Cybèle was recently awarded a Canada Council artist residency to live and create new work in Paris, France for four months in summer 2011. She lives and works in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two children. Cybèle's Website

 

Artist: Cybèle Young

 

Tell us about your work?

In terms of my fine art practice, I create sculpture out of Japanese paper, which is often printed with etchings. They are individually very small (usually ¼” up to 7”), and are sometimes arranged in larger compositions. They are real and abstract objects that make up an inventory of narrative pieces, from which I compose visual poems.

 

Did you feel something?, 15 x 23 x 2, japanese paper sculpture

Did you plan this?, 16.5 x 16 x 3, japanese paper sculpture

 

From where do you get your inspiration?

My inspirations come from fleeting day-to-day experiences. I flourish in the mundane, where small observations become fantastic. The results are works that emerge from familiar motifs abstracted by passing impressions. Whether it is in the kitchen, or out in the neighbourhood on garbage day, the discussion between inanimate objects from ordinary life, seems to fill in the blanks of human interaction.

 

I'm still looking,, japanese paper sculpture

Red Dress with Scissors, 2011 - 2012, japanese paper sculpture

 

How did you decide on this medium?

It wasn’t initially a conscious decision but a visceral, one based on the tactile strength, beauty and delicacy of Japanese paper. I studied sculpture and installation at OCAD, where I worked in wood and metal and I tired of their material bulk. I turned to printmaking to make sculptural images instead of large constructions, and as soon as I tried using Japanese paper a world opened up. Three-dimensional applications seemed endless, but on a very modest personal scale which really appealed to me. I also became a mom at this point in my life, so I was really satisfied with the practicality of working with nothing but a few ounces of paper, some glue and minimal tools.

 

 

A Few More Reasons, 39 x 59 x 2.5, japanese paper sculpture

Are you still looking?, japanese paper sculpture

Dress with Punch, 2011, japanese paper sculpture

What other mediums do you work in, and how does this inform your work?

I create books. I can re-invent myself with each story and can therefore explore entirely new mediums every time. So far, I’ve used pen and ink, watercolour, paper sculpture, intaglio print and a combination of two or more. Even though I’m working in the confines of the pages, this offers me a great sense of freedom and playfulness. This for me is essential to fuel a fine art practice.

 

 

Desktop, japanese paper sculpture

 

What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

First and foremost, Alexander Calder, who was born in Pennsylvania, but worked for much of his adult years in France. He influenced me for the same qualities that I find essential for creative fuel – a sense of freedom and playfulness. While doing this he tackled and mastered huge formal aesthetic challenges. He crossed lines and barriers between craft and art and took the art of making toys quite seriously. His art made me happy as a child and that joy hasn’t waned over the years.

Ernst Haeckel is a major influence, but I didn’t come to know his work until about ten years ago. He was a brilliant nineteenth century German artist, who also happened to be an eminent biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician and professor. He discovered, named and drew thousands of species of life forms and described them as art forms in nature. His drawings are incredibly beautiful, equally as fascinating scientific studies, or the wildest embodiments of abstraction. I’m influenced by his choice of subject matter, his powers of observation, his attention to detail and his methodical categorizations.

And I have to mention Bruno Munari – Italian designer, artist, philosopher, and creator of books as interactive art forms for all ages.

 

Where's My List, 17 x 21 x 3, 2005, japanese paper sculpture

Is it May already?, 2007, japanese paper sculpture, intaglio print.

Detail: Is it May already?, 2007, japanese paper sculpture, intaglio print.

 

What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work?  

I’ve been most excited by the sculptural work of Sarah Sze, and just about everything that comes out of Maira Kalman.

Sarah is American and lives in New York. She creates complex sculptural installations from basic found objects and humble materials. They are very intricate and one can get lost in them, and these are things I strive for.

Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv, but seems to be a devoted New York citizen. Her illustrations do justice to the best of Matisse paintings, with a good dose of humour. She shares Alexander Calder’s sense of freedom and play, and there are no limits to her potential audience. I hope to have even some of her joie de vivre and to be able to connect to as many walks of life.

 

It's worth it this time, 20 x 30 x 2, japanese paper sculpture

I might Need That, 36 x 48 x 4, 2008, japanese paper sculpture

 

What other artists are you interested in and why?

Tomi Ungerer makes a fine art out of writing and illustrating for children – with wit, drama and stunning paintings. Children are brilliant artists. Every one of them. Thank god for Wes Anderson – his films are a feast for the senses. Theo Jansen and his StrandBeests – I dream of encountering one on a beach someday.

 

Take a Better Look, 1 5 x17 x 2, japanese paper sculpture

 

What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?

The tactile stimulates the senses to remind us that we have hands that can make things. I see fibre art getting people excited on a very deep level.

 

When did you first discover your creative talents?

It was already clear in grade one, that gifted athletes surrounded me, so I had to figure something out quickly. It also helped that I loved to be alone in a room drawing and making things.

 

I Think I Have Everything, 12 x 15 x 2, japanese paper sculpture

 

Where did you train and how did your training influence your art?

I mentioned I trained at OCAD and I thought I would be going there to study design, but was convinced by the dean of the design department to use that time to expand my notion of art – and the world. I’m very grateful to him because I did just that. Painting, foundry, metal sculpture, woodwork, printmaking, fibre art and the list goes on.

 

Please explain how you developed your own style. 

Large sculpture became prints of sculpture, which became sculptural prints, which are now often just sculpture – again - but small.v

 

Detail: I Think I Missed That Part, 2008, japanese paper sculpture

 

How does your early work differ from what you are doing now?

Everything goes in cycles. I’m recognizing things I did years ago in recent work.

 

How did you initially start showing your work in galleries?

I started with a gallery that found me at the Toronto Outdoor Art show fifteen years ago and have been showing in several different galleries ever since.

 

"Ten Birds" book launch at the Wychwood Barns, Toronto.

"Ten Birds" book launch at the Wychwood Barns, Toronto.

 

Do you find it more difficult to show and sell your work than non-fibre artists? Can you talk a bit about the commercial viability of fibre art?

No, but to sell commercially they absolutely have to be framed.

 

What do you consider to be the key factors to a successful career as a fibre artist?

Develop a routine that enables you to focus but take regular breaks to avoid repetitive stress injuries. And know that failures can mean success – and sometimes the other way around. It all balances out.

 

In the Studio in Toronto. From the magazine: 'Covet Garden'. Photographers: Tracy Shumate (process) and Maya Visnyei (studio shot).

 

Tell us about your studio and how you work:

My studio is small and sunny and very close to home and family. It faces a park so my son can host a lemonade stand while I work on a hot summer day. I’m there five to six days a week – and lately I’m racing against deadlines more than loosely experimenting, but I love what I’ve been working on.

 

What project has given you the most satisfaction and why?

One where I can explore sculpture, film and bookmaking at once because those are my three muses.

 

From the magazine: 'Covet Garden'. Photographers: Tracy Shumate(process) and Maya Visnyei(studio shot).

 

Where do you imagine your work in five years? 

More sculpture, film and bookmaking.

 

Is there something else that you would like us to know about you or your work?

The best thing about working in an arts community such as Toronto’s is getting to know the plethora of bright creative minds that surrounds you within and beyond its borders.

 

I Think it Should Work, 72 x 30 x 8, japanese paper sculpture

Seasonal, 72 x 1.75 x 3, japanese paper sculpture, intaglio print.

 

 

What interests you about the World of Threads festival?

That’s like asking a child “What interests you about a candy shop?”

 

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.

 

I Think I Missed that Part, 37 x 49 x 3, 2008, japanese paper sculpture, intaglio print.