In this continuing series, I am showcasing some of the talented artists who have crossed my path these past few months and years. Their work ranges from photography to performance to something in between. This week, we focus on multimedia artist Terrance Houle. Known for bending perceptions of stereotype, culture and race, Terrance infuses his work with a natural and welcoming sense of humour, poking fun at both “Native” and “White” culture, challenging preconceptions even as he breaks them down.
1. Why/when did you decide to become an artist?
I decided to become an artist back in high school. The year was 1992 and I was sitting in Art class realizing how much I hated school. In those days I wasn’t interested in a lot of what school had to offer me. I hated the curriculum, I hated the establishment. I loved skateboarding, art, music and learning about things I wanted to learn. So around that time I was into punk rock and political art-making. I was making silkscreens and collage. I was really into printmaking. I never thought I would actually be an artist.
2. Any advice to those thinking about taking the plunge?
Well, for me, I look back at my experience and think that I am really happy I went to post-secondary school. I learned tons when I was studying for my degree(a lot of diverse cultural learning not just western culture). I studied Fiber and Textiles and that really opened my eyes to different forms of art-making. I say keep an open mind and find the things that interest you! And make your mark – don’t be afraid to push yourself and your ideas.
3. Anything else you want to talk about, Terrance?
Do you have another interesting question?
4. Sure! Do you have any “words to live by”?
When the tough gets going punch it in the face…ha
Terrance Houle is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary media artist and a member of the Blood Tribe. Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, he has traveled to reservations throughout Canada and the United States to participating in Powwow dancing and other native ceremonies. Terrance began his art career at the Alberta College of Art & Design in 1995. After a 2-year hiatus, he returned to his studies in 2000. In 2003 he graduated with a BFA in Fibre. He has developed an extensive portfolio that ranges from painting to drawing, video/film, mixed media, New Media, performance and installation. His works have been shown in Calgary, Vancouver, also Toronto and internationally in France, Switzerland, Australia and Warwickshire, England.
Terrance was also a part of Diplomatic Immunities for Alberta Theater Projects 2006 Playrites Festival, making a leap into the Theatre world through a contemporary play by Mammalian Diving Reflex Theatre Company. Terrance has also had numerous screenings of his short video and film works in particular at Toronto’s 2004/05 ImagineNATIVE Film Festival winner of 2004 Best Experimental Film and 2004/2005 ImagiNation Film Festival in Vancouver including the Calgary International Film Festival 2004/05. Terrance’s work has been discussed in Alberta Views, New Tribe, Aboriginal Times, Artlink (Australia) and ArtReview (England/New York). In the fall 2003 Terrance participated a Thematic Residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. The Residency focused on 34 indigenous people working on issues of colonization and communion. Artist came from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States. Currently Terrance has worked as a mentor with youth through Metis Calgary Family Services, teaching video production and Art. He also maintains his Full time art practice in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. art website: