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Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

Originally I’m from Toronto. But I moved elsewheres a few years ago, to a small town outside Toronto known as The Port. It’s a nice, quiet place; a good place to raise a family.

"Some Fellers"

What's your background as an artist?

Growing up as an only-child with a single mom, I had a lot of time to draw by myself. I used to draw a lot of floor plans for imaginary mansions. But I was never interested in becoming an architect. I was more interested in creating little worlds. Then I went to art school. I studied Fine Art at the University of Guelph; another town not far from the city. I got discouraged from drawing early on in my time there and ended up specializing in photo and video. It wasn’t until a few years after I graduated that I reconnected with drawing. And I promise not to leave er’ ever again.

"What Fer"

What is a geist?

A geist is the spirit of an individual. Likewise, a zeitgeist is the spirit of a time or era. I call the colourful swashes in my drawings ‘geists’ because they are the physical manifestations of the spirits of an individual’s ideas. The process of procuring a geist from the sky is called ‘geisting’ or ‘geist fishing.’ Whereas, the process of obtaining a geist directly from the mouth of a Foredad, before they have a chance to roam and transform, is called ‘zeitgeisting.’ Everything that is created from a geist possesses an intangible power that gives the possessor potential to do magical and mysterious things.


Can you tell us a bit about your book, "Wanderer of Yawnder"?

Wanderer of Yawnder follows Jiggs on his ventures as he discovers the origin of geists in the yawns of the Foredad clouds. By building himself a very tall ladder, he procures a geist and proclaims his first invention: the Magical Mystery Beard. Soon enough, others happen upon this source and he realizes his invention wasn't so inventive after all.

The narrative is based on Granduncle Jiggs' tellings and has been featured in the series of graphite and watercolour drawings that I have been exhibiting over the past few years. This series purports to elucidate epiphanic experiences through whimsical illustrations of an elsewhere place where wanderers search for geists and zeitgeists. References to hiking, fishing, agriculture and forebears attempt to create a timeless yet palpable perspective on the nature of inspiration, creation and originality. Contemporary cultural trends, where ideas can be broadcast instantly to a wide audience and recorded in the ‘cloud,’ also manifest themselves in this story. It’s the first in a series. The next part is called Further Over Yawnder and will be featured in an exhibition at Galerie Youn in Montreal this October.


"Magical Mystery Beards - Library III"

Beards are everywhere in your work. Do beards have a particular significance to you?

To me, beards are a manifestation of a man’s experience; specifically, an experience in which he is so engrossed that he doesn’t have time for shaving. Whether it be hiking in the wilds or becoming a father or going deep in the playoffs, a noble beard shows the world that one has experienced something significant. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some fellers just grow their beards out cuz they’re lazy or they want to appear like they’ve been up to some heavy experiencing. Most women, on the other hand, reveal their worldliness in much more sophisticated ways.

In Wanderer of Yawnder, when we see that ol' Jiggs believes that he has invented the Magical Mystery Beard just by sticking a geist on his face, he soon figures out that his invention wasn’t so original after all, even though the beards do provide unusual capacities. He must dig deeper and cultivate the geists before he can create something truly innovative from them.

Your drawings have names like "What Fer?" "Thisaway" and "Whusky." Is this a real dialect or something you made-up?

What do y’mean? Don’t you talk like that where yer from? I guess you could call it Elsewheres English; like how they speak in those places between the big dots on the map.


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Jay's website.