Today our Montreal Maker series continues, our opportunity to introduce you to some of the people who make our city such a creative nexus and exciting place to live and work. It also gives us the chance to show you how our Sienna Maker Jacket integrates into a variety of creative practices, and today our focus is on a gifted artist at work in their studio.
Corri-Lynn Tetz is a painter and a long-time friend. Over the years we have spent a lot of time laughing, talking and dancing together (especially whenever this song comes on). The loveliest thing about being friends with someone you admire is getting to watch them grow and evolve. When we first met she was living the typical Montreal life, which is to say working a million side hustles while also nurturing an art practice and occasionally moonlighting as a vocalist with a lot of local bands. After finishing her Masters of Fine Arts degree a few years ago, she’s been able to focus on painting full time (thanks in no small part to the number of grants and fellowships available to Canadian artists) and her work is a constant source of inspiration. From my perspective, the Female Gaze is ever-present in her work. She subverts and reinterprets representations of women and has a profound sense of colour and composition; I find I’m frequently stopped in my tracks by a juxtaposition of colour I haven’t seen before. One of my favourite activities on Instagram is clocking the progress she’s making on various pieces, seeing the underlayer slowly merge into the final piece, vibrant and alive.
We crashed Corri’s studio one Sunday afternoon to capture her at work. For Corri’s custom Sienna jacket, we went with a sturdy cotton twill from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. This is the “Gray” Ventana Twill, which has a greenish undertone that seemed to magically coordinate with all the pieces she’s currently working on.
Let’s meet Corri!
Can you tell us about your art (medium, concept etc)?
My paintings are all done in oil. They are figurative and deal mainly with female representation. I use found photos as the starting point – most recently it’s been using vintage pornography. I’m interested in the ways the image and meaning changes as I transform them into paintings.
What do you listen to while you’re working? Does anything in particular help stimulate you to make better work?
I listen to podcasts and music while I’m working. My favousrite podcasts this last year: Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Keep It!, On Being and Dolly Parton’s America. Music varies and I repeat albums a lot. This summer there was a lot of Sandy Denny/ Fairport Convention and Aldous Harding.
How do you make time for your practice?
It’s become necessary for me to go to my studio as much as I can. Sometimes I have to say no to things. It’s to the point now that if I don’t go for a few days I start to get anxious.
Do you have any creative rituals?
My creative ritual is tidying my studio. It gets me warmed up to work. If my studio mate is around, he makes a pot of tea in the afternoon, that’s a nice pause in the day.
How do you get out of a creative slump?
I just keep making paintings, even if they fail. Waiting for inspiration doesn’t work. Taking the time to be alone, healthy and in nature are becoming more and more essential. I spent a month at the Banff Center this summer, working by myself and going on hikes. It was the most productive month of my life.
How has your art practice evolved over time? Has growing older impacted how you make art and see the world?
Oh god, so much. My Mom has a painting of mine from my first years of art school that if I wasn’t so mortified I would show you. I cringe every time I see it. As far as aging, I am very aware right now of what it means to be a woman in her 40’s both in and out of the art world. That’s a massive discussion.
How has living in Montreal and Canada, in general, informed your art practice?
Living in Montreal has meant cheap studio and apartment rent (although that’s changing…) It’s afforded me the time and space to develop a studio practice and build a career. Living in Canada has meant I have access to grants, which has been transformative.
When do you feel most creative?
For me it’s when I do the first layer of a new painting. It’s a little burst of concentrated energy. It’s always the exciting part, finding out how an image is going to take shape.
Thank you to Corri for letting us crash her studio! I’m hoping the next time I come for a visit her maker jacket will be covered in oil paint 😉 Be sure to check out her website to see all of her work (some of my favourites: here, here, and here) and follow her along on instagram if you’d like to keep in touch.