“In spite of myself I can’t not be myself.”
In his series titled SALLY, Toronto-based mixed-media artist Homepoke exhibits his painting for the first time for the Fourth Autumn. The paintings serve as a retrospective into Homepoke’s creative process, emotional and mental state of mind. Better known to the public for his quick line drawings and doodles of his stick n’ poke practice, Homepoke’s painting are much more consumed by the process than the end result. “It’s like [the paintings] are the slow release version of my wigged out little doodles from Homepoke.” Denying any foresight or hindsight to his work Homepoke is primarily affected by his surroundings, and what he has access to: his materials, his state of mind, in revelation or desolation. Using assemblage and found objects, Homepoke’s paintings combine abstraction, illustration, and text. In reflecting on his work over the past several years, Homepoke has had to come to terms with the fact that he cannot escape his own aesthetic.
“I’m finding that over time I can’t seem to escape myself, which is kind of what the work in the show is about- a lot of it. Because I have not yet been able to master something, which did not clearly express, who I am. It’s almost like a time capsule because there are layers from seven years ago me, and then there are layers from three years ago me, and then there are layers from today. They don’t really look that different. The small elements I feel inclined to change, or cover up, or rework, and I guess its just that slow pruning over time, and reduction over time into something that is its own, more present…”
Homepoke uses a multitude of visual mediums on canvas, wood board and others on layers of materials, fabric, partial yet personal mementos. Fragments of himself that can be seen as part of his constant work in progress play a significant role in his pieces. His paintings still hold elements of his tattoo aesthetic and include poorly drawn line work along with color blocking, childlike, inconsistency, texture, intuition, color, and appliqué of different found objects and materials. There are no boundaries, no confinements of dimensions; Homepoke’s work both impulsive and expressive. In gaining significant media attention for his stick 'n' pokes, Homepoke has had to be fairly protective about his personal life and his identity on social media. Conversely, SALLY is an opportunity for other people to see what’s going on within Homepoke. In SALLY, the trials and tribulations of producing work comes to light as we see how transient, trivial, and cathartic of a process that can be.
“If there is anything that I aspire to this with this new found attention its to frame a conversation for people to find themselves and find there true power within. That’s all I want, for people to really be mobilized. And if we can frame a conversation in which all types can chime in or find themselves within that, as a community we will be so much stronger. So everything I usually do is anti-individual, pro-community, anti-hierarchy, so there is more of an opportunity to continuously frame and reframe that conversation. Much like my work, you just keep working at it, its never over, you keep bringing it up, you keep taking it out from the trash and keep working it until you get closer and closer to some genuity and human expression.”