March 15, 2011 Walking Home Projects’ Q&A at 221a A Participant’s Response

WHPender 2011 – Q&A with 221A Artist Run Centre
By: Sam Knopp

Walking Home Projects Q&A at 221A Artist Run Centre provided a unique opportunity to hear what young designers Brian McBay and Laura Kozak do, and more importantly for many students thinking about a future career, how they got there.  As an aspiring artist, this event offered a rare glimpse into life after art school, but as the discussion began Bryan and Laura’s reflections quickly turned to their personal stories.

Telling stories: artist Brian McBay (far left), WHPs Laurie Dawson, artist Laura Kozak and WHPs Director Catherine Pulkinghorn at 221a Artist Run Centre (Photo credit: Sam Knopp)

Beginning with their childhood, both shared different moments that led them to where they are now.  I found their openness refreshing; it was obvious that they had both taken time for this kind of self-reflection long before our meeting, and I was reminded that conscious and critical observation of one’s self is integral for growth.  Laura then spoke about Brian’s idea that there are two types of thinking: spotlight and lantern.  Many times, our thought is often focused and directed, like a spotlight, but with time, our understanding broadens, and the larger context is revealed.  When we take time to evaluate the past using this lateral “lantern” method of thought it becomes easier to use that same thinking in the present, which is critical for success.

Artist Laura Kozak building on artist Brian McBay's "lantern thinking" idea with Laurie Dawson recording (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)

In the end, the talk was not a “how-to-guide” for life after art school, but instead offered different ways of thinking and re-examing one’s own artistic trajectory.

Sam Knopp

WHPs Intern & artist Sam Knopp listening intently at 221a Artist Run Centre (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)