Candace Bell : I’m a Toronto artist, living and creating in the west end of the city. I played out my childhood in Northern Ontario and Newfoundland; growing up with a strong connection to nature has influenced me, and therefore my artwork, deeply. www.madrabbitart.com
What’s your favorite thing to do when you are alone?
Sing. Loudly. It’s such a brave, joyful, and freeing act. I find it very therapeutic. It’s a great way to move stuck energy.
What's the last great book you read?
The last one I read that really got my eyes twinkling was Pedro Paramo, by Juan Rulfo. I love the casualness with which over half of the characters happen to be dead. The style is so authentically Mexican. But of all that I’ve read in the last year, The Second Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling) has probably stuck with me the most. It’s rare that a book makes me cry, and this one got me good. But no cheating – you have to read The Jungle Book (the first one) before getting to the second one!
What super power do you want to have?
Usually I say that I wish I could drink (and retain) the contents of books – as if reading by speedy osmosis. But if I really could have a super power, I think I’d like to be some sort of dream master: to be able to lucid dream as often and for as long as I’d like. With conscious control in the dream world, one can do anything: I could shape shift into any animal, fly, breathe under water, travel time, visit any person I can think of (real or imaginary, alive or dead), explore my inner world and heal myself… I could do it all! And then wake up well rested and make art about it.
Do you have a motto or creed that as an artist you live by?
Some I’ve collected along the way: Permission to play. Loosen up. Let yourself be a vessel. Make time for it. My most successful and sought after course of action is to work myself up into a state of vibrating madness and see what explodes out of me. I need to remind myself: this is worthwhile; you’re allowed to prioritize doing this more. I don’t invite myself to play openly often enough that I fall into that dizzying state nearly as often as I would like, but when I arrive there, it is pure magic.
How do you come up with ideas?
They’re just bopping about in the air everywhere; being open to them is all it takes for them to come flooding in. I find that the more excited about life I am feeling, the more the ideas all want to pile on. Good energy attracts good energy.
How do you usually get inspired again after working on a big project/painting?
I have a lot of different interests, and I tend to cycle through them. If I finish a big art project, then I usually have to cycle through phases of writing words, writing music, sewing, and playing in the kitchen lots, before I’m ready to return to visual art with full enthusiasm. Each takes its own amount of time, and when I’ve moved on to the next, I’ve moved on, whether I’ve completed anything tangible or not. My inspiration just bounces around and I need to do my best to keep up.
Do you collect things?
Do unfinished projects count? I definitely collect those, but not on purpose.