In February 2018 RE-create graduated its first Artist in Residence, Tanner Ward.
Tanner assisted with studio times, RE-create projects and lead workshops over the past year in the midst of working on a personal art exhibition that marked his 5 years at RE-create. On February 9th 2018, we gathered on the 4th floor of the Hamilton Public Library for Tanner’s show opening and gazed upon regal, spooky, portraits.
Tanner is known for making spooky creatures that encapsulate something significant in his life, and this time the creatures resembled some aspect of his time at RE-create. Here is a poem and the write-up that Tanner wrote for his show.
“RE-create has painted a portrait of me
Made up of shades I couldn’t see
Shaped and molded me”
“This poem is a reflection of how I feel shaped by RE-create Outreach Art Studio. This art show is a visual representation of how I felt on the inside during my time as a youth and as the current Artist in Residence at RE-create. I learnt that all the ugly isn’t that ugly after all. RE-create Outreach Art Studio has helped me grow and helped me see all the good and worth that I have, that I wasn’t able to see before. This show pays homage to my 5 years spent in the RE-create community.”
Tanner’s friends, family and RE-create community gathered, shared chocolate, cheese and Fresca and listened to Tanner speak about his artwork—something that he was nervous to do, but seemed so natural once he began to speak.
Each monster he created sat in a vintage gold frame, and seemed to have an air of regality that few scary creatures can manage to pull off. Tanner shared that each monster represented something that he learned at RE-create. One monster, Arthur, represented Tanner finding his voice at RE-create as it had its jaws wide open. The next monster held books and represented the knowledge and skills that he gained while at the studio, and the third was covered in eyes to represent what he had seen in his time at the studio and how he was able to see himself differently.
Tanner now refers to this triplet of monsters as his “kids” because he spent so much time with them over the past year, and has given them strong personality characteristics. Tanner recalls being visited by these characters in his dreams at the height of exhibition anxiety and creativity crunch-time.
It is an exciting thing for RE-create to be saying goodbye to their first Artist in Residence as this has been of dream of RE-create’s for the past 3 years. RE-create will dearly miss the wonderful human that Tanner is, but we know that we will see him and his art around Hamilton art crawls for years to come and hope to have him back as a mentor and workshop leader for the youth at the studio.