Christine Montague, The Invasive Species
- Tell us about the salmon artwork you have in the Salmon Run Project: The Exhibition.
According to the CRAA, development and urban expansion is the single greatest threat to the health of the Credit River and the salmon that migrate there. Hundreds of Mississauga storm sewers empty directly into the Credit’s waters. The increase of impermeable surfaces (roofs, patios, roads) means rain carries debris, oil, gas (from roadways) and silt directly into the Credit. The resulting brown water stresses the salmon, kills the insects they feed on, and buries their spawning grounds. Through my art work I have shown how development builds “on the back” of the salmon. I am a portrait artist so I painted the taxidermy form quite realistically, and used mica paint so the scales glittered slightly. I paid special attention to the salmon’s eyes, as I do with a human subject, so that we could all “connect”. A large number of Monopoly house tokens, painted either in the pattern of zebra mussels or in a shiny oil-like black, are adhered as if by tar and shingle materials to the salmon’s body. This unfortunate salmon, although darkly beautiful in his suffering, is choked and impeded by the invasive colony on him..
- What made you want to submit a proposal for the Salmon Run Project?
About three years ago I attended a lecture by the CRAA about the remarkable work they were doing to revitalize the Credit River and increase the salmon population. So I was aware, and cared about the subject. My Williams Mill studio is by the Credit, and so is Riverwood Park – two of my favourite places. The Salmon Run Project is the first visual arts collaboration of this sort for the city, and as I am a Mississauga artist, and have advocated for the arts in the city, I was determined to be part of it, and to enjoy the whole process if I was included. I was and I did!
- How and when did you become interested in creating art?
I have always been interested in art and have always had the rep as the best drawer in school- even in kindergarden. Later on, I was always the one told I would “make it” and that I could “do” anything. I can draw easily from my imagination as well as from life. As a university honours biology student, the lab drawings were what interested me the most. I was always rushing off to life drawing classes or reading painting and photography books in the library. That is where my heart was. However, it was only a few years ago I was able to have my own studio, start oil painting, and begin my fine art career. .
- What do you think of the art scene in Mississauga? Where do you see it heading in the next ten years?
Where do you see it heading in the next ten years? The cogs are finally turning for the art scene in Mississauga. With the establishment of the Office of the Arts, culture has been given a strong voice and a financial boost. Every existing venue, including the AGM, is more on the radar and the momentum is building. Celebration Square and the media board will play an important part in promoting art in Mississauga. It is a healthy sign that there are new commercial galleries. And once the Lakeview Legacy Foundation opens the Small Arms Building, a 44,000 square ft. heritage building reborn as low cost visual artist studios, performance studios and galleries, the art scene will actually be hopping! If the vision is successful, if it is protected and nurtured, visual artists will be able to work, sell, teach, network, and be stars in Mississauga. We will be envied for what we have..
- What advice would you give young people who want to become artists?
I have so much to say on this as the business side of art interests me. However, there is one thing that I wish I had understood in my youth, and its lesson still applies today. Surround yourself with people who believe in what you are doing, and let them help. It is almost impossible to do this difficult career that involves intense production, marketing, writing, networking, accounting, time management, record keeping, and life long learning, by yourself. Family, friends, and mentors who support your vision, will greatly increase your chances at success and make it easier for you to persevere. Good luck!
- What do you currently have lined up in terms of artistic opportunities? For people interested in finding more of your artwork, do you have a website, blog, Twitter account or gallery?
I work, sell and accept commissions at my studio at the Williams Mill Visual Arts Centre. The Williams Mill is a beautifully restored heritage complex comprised of 30+ artists’ studios, a gallery and a learning centre. Every Friday and Saturday, I open my studio to the public. It is an attractive, spacious, inspiring space with high ceilings that serves well as a showcase for my paintings and photography. I also exhibit my paintings in the Williams Mill Gallery, in regional juried art shows and online. My portrait of Dr. Oscar Peterson hangs in the Living Arts Centre.
My web sites: http://www.christinemontague.com
My blogs: http://www.christinemontagueart.wordpress.com
I also write the Williams Mill blog http://www.williamsmill.blogspot.com
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Montague-Visual-Artist/173443876028331
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/christinemontague