I am passionate about art as an act of generosity, the creative process and about honoring intuitive potential. I believe in building new forms to educate and motivate young artists. With my work as an artist, educator, mentor and speaker I am fortunate to be able to enact this generosity. If it is my artwork presented for someone to see, my workshop inspiring a student to create, my words of guidance to a young artist moving them forward, or a public talk that I give about the creative process – all of these are ways in which I can generously share and teach.
I am a graduate of OCAD University (MFA) and Ryerson University (BFA), and have been based in Toronto for the past 19 years. In addition to arts administrative roles in an artist-run centre and a post-secondary institution, I have, since 2005, worked as an arts educator, teaching youth to express themselves artistically through photography and writing. Leading OUTREACH workshops and camps programs at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and LAMP Community Health Centre, and working as a Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Art & the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences at OCAD University.
In 2010 I began to thoughtfully consider how the concerns of my own art practice might inform the projects that I offer as an educator. My art practice explores the body’s intrinsic link to language, the desire to document personal experience and how these histories reside as memory in the body. My work is an exploration in embracing process, and in research through writing and I contemplate how, with the rise of the digital era, handwriting has become typing, and the archive is now much more portable, and more vast. Whole music libraries can now be held in your pocket, years of photographic memories sit on a portable hard drive, and thousands of words press together in our cell phone text archives, and on our social media accounts; the shift is significant – what once took up physical space, is now immaterial. Considering the physical gesture of writing, the notion of the archive, and the current rise and insistence of online social interactions I began to develop the workshop The Poetic Turn with high school students in mind. This workshop was subsequently funded by The Ontario Arts Council’s Artists In Education program in 2011 and 2012 and with this, the beginnings of 1000 Invisible Threads took shape.
In 2014, I completed the Artist Educator Foundations course at The Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through The Arts program, and I continue to develop courses and workshops that evolve out of the questions and gestures of my own art practice with the goal of engaging and inspiring critical thinking and art-making. In spring of 2015, I completed my yoga teacher training certification from YMCA Canada and am working towards a certificate in Mindfulness for Educators from UBC smartEducation. With this, I have begun to integrate movement and breathwork more intensively into the visual art workshops that I offer.
My personal art practice involves performative drawing, stitching, writing and listing, photography and small sculptures. Referencing the personal archive, my work seeks to chronicle individual identity by uncovering intimate moments of both vulnerability and strength that speak to a larger cycle of uncertainty, wonder and heartbreak in everyday life.
Currently I am also a Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences at OCAD University, an artist mentor with tdsbCREATES and Development Manager and Educator for the Flash Forward Incubator Program with the Magenta Foundation. See more of my personal work and research at www.empirelineprojects.com and forageforbeauty.tumblr.com
In my classes and workshops there will be a range of activities – focused time to look at visuals and listen to information about contemporary working artists and their ideas, quieter time for writing and sketching, and plenty of time devoted to moving and making! There will always be music (sometimes soft, sometimes loud) and there will be DISCOVERY. You can expect to leave with artworks that you’ve made, tiny experiments with materials, words written, and your creativity and ideas expanded!
Please note: I hold a current vulnerable sector police reference check.
Interested in my ideas? Have questions about my classes or workshops?!
Contact me at daniellebleackley[at]gmail[dot]com