From Ontario Hall to the Union walls

artist in profile

Justin Steinburg and Mary McDonald’s show human condition is open until April 25.
Justin Steinburg and Mary McDonald’s show human condition is open until April 25.
Photo: 
Photo: 

Justin Steinburg

1. Who are you?

My name is Justin.

2. What do you do?

I try to create art that makes me happy and lets me make sense of what I’m thinking.

3. Where can people find you?

Usually in Ontario Hall the curvy step building on University Ave. The one that’s known for taking convocation pictures on. I always wonder if people taking pictures on the steps knew that if they stepped inside the building, they would see tangible creativity and be blown away by a side of Queen’s University that is barely recognized by people outside of the Art Department. It’s so much more than pretty architecture.

4. What inspires you?

I can be inspired by an oil stain on a sidewalk or a Jackson Pollock painting. Most of the time it’s the people in my program. I’m blown away by what artists come up with—how they are able to articulate it.

5. What do you hope your work inspires?

I hope my work inspires people to see others and others’ ideas as extremely important. Our ideas and feelings are what make us who we are. My goal was trying to visualize people’s feelings, emotions and thoughts alongside my own, without acting or imposing my own ideas onto theirs. If I inspire just one person I will be happy.

6. How would you describe your art to someone who’s never seen it?

Colourful.

7. What’s the nicest and worst thing someone has said to you about your work?

Worst: “I could do that.” Nicest: “You have been able to show me how my mind works.” I do not mean to be selfish but not everyone will love what you make, but if you are making it for you then who cares if they love it?

8. What are your current obsessions?

Colour. Light. People and emotions. Contemporary Art. Thermochromatic Ink.

Paint brushes.

9. When someone says Kingston, you say:

It’s between Ottawa and Toronto.

10. What are you working on now?

If I knew what I was working on, I’d probably be working on it.

Mary McDonald

1. Who are you?

I’m Arthur, King of the Britons.

2. What do you do?

Mostly I gather up lots of cast-off stuff and wait for the moment when an idea conjures itself up in my fevered brain. Using just the right combination of things, I assemble them according to some ancient mode, unknown to myself. I also like to drink champagne when there is a special something to celebrate.

3. Where can people find you?

Currently, I’m mostly in Ontario Hall amongst my class and surrounded by all my stuff. I live just outside of Bloomfield which is pretty sweet. You might find me at Stanner’s Vineyard, my family’s winery in Hillier, Prince Edward County.

4. What inspires you?

To be truthful, most everything inspires me. I’m quite easy to amuse and please, though I do have high-ish standards in wine (and beer, when it comes to that, which I hope it will). I delight in seeing babies and doggies (I do, really, though this sounds as though I’m being sarcastic). My children bring forth a lot of good feelings and ideas. Being alive to see the clouds and trees and birds buildings and everything, that inspires me. I’m complexly simple.

5. What do you hope your work inspires?

That the viewer will see something in it that makes them think about what makes them inspired or happy or sad or angry. I hope that it allows folks to see the world and take it all in with an uncluttered perspective.

6. How would you describe your art to someone who’s never seen it?

Mostly, quiet. Maybe busy sometimes. Very engaged with materials. Often meant to be entered. No shortage of interpretation possibilities.

7. What’s the nicest and worst thing someone has said to you about your work?

The nicest? That it is spiritual. The worst? I’m not sure anyone has said so but the worst would be someone not seeing anything in it; that is, refusing to open up to engagement with something in my work, the materials, why they are combined as they are, et cetera. 

8. What are your current obsessions?

Beau’s Lugtread—no. I’m perpetually obsessed with re-using things.  Lately it’s been mattresses but, really, it’s kind of like when you are moving house and you need boxes. One ends up seeing boxes all over the place and saying to oneself, “Ooh, that’s a nice one. And with a good lid”. I’m obsessed with whatever it is I’m working with. I’m always on a keen lookout for stuff on the side of the road, left out for takers or the garbage truck, to tell the truth. I love string. I have decided to actively resist the hoarding gene. I do know that I can drive my family nuts with some of the stuff I pick up. Just don’t ask about the rabbit, ok?

9. When someone says Kingston, you say:

A lovely city by the waters. Kind of white but with the possibility to discover many little gems. Excellent view of lightning storms.

10. What are you working on now?

More found object works. I love the layered history embedded in used/old/found objects. I’m preparing for our Year-end show “Once more, with feeling” which is our thesis presentation on Sat., April 24 at 7 p.m. It is all about that right now. Then it is on to the next step.
human condition is showing in the Union Gallery’s Mainspace until April 25 with a reception April 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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