Finding art in community

Artist in Profile

Local artist Rebecca Soudant, who works in a variety of media and often collaborates, poses with her latest piece, a metal sculpture titled A Knowledge Tree: Nature’s Own Story.
Local artist Rebecca Soudant, who works in a variety of media and often collaborates, poses with her latest piece, a metal sculpture titled A Knowledge Tree: Nature’s Own Story.
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Who: Rebecca Soudant
Medium: “Whatever suits the message.”
Where to find her: The Artel
Where you may have seen her work: The Artel tenants exhibits, “What are you hopen for?” at Ban Righ, The Sandra Whitton Gallery, or the Modern Fuel Gallery group exhibition “Throwing Tomatoes at the Sky.”

What medium do you work with?

Whether it be clothing or paintings, a children’s book, a bicycle and a neon sign, a sculpture in metal, I think the message is more important. And I like working in clothes because it’s a very popular medium, everyone can relate to it. Everybody needs clothing. And it’s fashionable. If I can get the message across better in one medium than the other then I’ll work in that medium and learn how to deal with it, learn how to work with it, learn what techniques need to be learned in order to make it successful.

What drew you to this method of expression?

I’m always collaborating with people, it wouldn’t be fair to say it’s just me. I’m sometimes working in mediums that are not my expertise, so I’m always working collaboratively.

What inspires you?

Politics. Things that come out in the news and I feel that are important to cover. For instance, with the “Revision” project, I found these Indian woodblocks from the Indian Removal Act by President Johnson, that is what later became the “Trail of Tears”. These maps outline the different reservations that became areas that were settled [by Native Americans]. I covered a wedding dress with these maps because it embodies Western culture in a way, then I silkscreened Harper’s news of “We Are Sorry” to white satin, making it into a native style dress.

Who inspires you?

Everybody. From my high school teachers to George Lovell, who was a professor at Queen’s. He allowed me to complete a number of paintings to get my point across instead of completing a 10 page essay. It was an artistic statement. That was pretty inspiring, because he is a professor of Central American and South American geography, and that’s pretty political, and I delved right in. Also, my students at school, they’re pretty inspiring, they keep my whole head moving in terms of art. It’s pretty neat. Community inspires me too. I’ve lived in smaller towns and it wasn’t very good for me. Kingston is very inspiring for me. I think that’s pretty huge. I don’t think I could create without all these neat people around.

What subject matter do you like to portray?

The news. I like to change the context of the news. Change it from what it is on the news-stand and remove it from its context so people read it again but differently. I use pop culture and I utilize its effectiveness and its immediacy and its impact.

Why is art important to you?

I think it’s the way I can most easily, and maybe most effectively, communicate. There are some pretty important messages to get out there, and because I work collaboratively, it’s not just me. So I can hear someone else’s message and say that’s neat and then get it across in art mediums. Art is just a way of life for me.

What has being an artist taught you?

Art is an alternative, a more open minded medium to conventional learning, in which people can communicate and learn. But an alternate medium, not a less important medium.

—Taylor Burns

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