By: Dawn Laing, Artist Manager - @loraxgirl on all things social
As part of our a-MAZE-ment series, you will get to see numerous works of art spanning the genres of theatre, dance, film and visual arts. Some pieces you will be fully immersed, others you will be able to step back and enjoy. Through our blog series, we hope to introduce you to a smattering of the artists we will be featuring as part of a-MAZE-ment. Everyone has a story and we want you to hear it.
Meet Stephanie Payne - a Latina-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, designer, and muralist based in Toronto with an eclectic background in fine arts, theatre/film production, and graphic design. Originally born in Edmonton, Payne spent most of her childhood and teens between Southeast Asia, Venezuela, and Trinidad & Tobago, and has called Toronto home for the past five years. The dynamic of Canadian versus global citizenship motivates her to explore themes of identity, transformation, and impermanence in her work and you won’t believe what she’s created for a-MAZE-ment. Come in and get lost...in the meantime get to know Stephanie below.
1: Can you introduce yourself and a bit about your practice?
My name is Stephanie Payne. I'm a Calgary-born, half-Venezuelan/ half-Trinidadian multidisciplinary artist, and designer. So the inclusivity and diversity behind 'Toronto for Everyone' really applies in my case. In terms of my artistic practice, my work is generally an explosion of colour and patterns found in murals and installation art. Because really, who doesn't love colour???
2. What does Honest Ed’s mean to you?
When I first moved to Toronto four years ago, I was lucky enough to end up living in the Annex. Honest Ed's became an overpowering presence in my daily path. Unlike many born-and-raised Torontonians, I don't have a life-long connection or history with the space. However, my relationship with Honest Ed's quickly centered on its whimsical signage and circus-like aesthetic. This is the main inspiration behind my art installation as part of a-MAZE-ment.
3. Why do/How do you think your project pays homage to Honest Ed’s/Toronto?
My installation commemorates the wacky and theatrical voice of Ed Mirvish. It captures the essence of Honest Ed's, and re-tells Ed’s story through a fantastical hidden carnival.
4. What does it mean to be a part of this project?
This is such a big moment in the history of Toronto! I feel so privileged and honoured to be a part of this transformation. I love the challenge of working in site-specific spaces, especially in an insane two-week time crunch. And as Degas once said, "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." I can only hope that my installation can make people see what Ed Mirvish saw for so many years.
5. Your style is so unique. I’ve got to ask, who is your favourite artist and why? Who brings you inspiration?
This is a hard question because I have so many favourites...
Contemporary Artist: Pip and Pop, they're a duo who do amazing candy-like installations. They're incredible, and kitschy in all the right ways. I love kitsch! Also, Katerina Grosse, Ernesto Neto.
Muralists: Felipe Pantone, Okuda, Maya Hayuk.
Historically: Frida Kahlo. From her themes of sexuality and feminism to her aesthetic and colour palettes, Frida has always been my artistic guiding light.
My next project is House of VR- a virtual reality lounge that will be opening up in April on Queen and Bathurst. I'm designing the interior space and will be showcasing a couple of new murals.
For a limited time, you can visit Stephanie’s carnival-esque exhibit on the basement level between the east and west buildings of Honest Ed’s as part of Toronto for Everyone, Feb 23 - 26. Get your tickets here.