Artspots

An art installation the size of a dollhouse? 14 years ago, Artspots visited Montreal's Shie Kasai

From animation to comics, the artist now writes a graphic novel about raising a kid in Montreal.

From animation to comics, the artist now writes a graphic novel about raising a kid in Montreal

From animation to comics, the artist now writes a graphic novel about raising a kid in Montreal. 0:39

Name: Shie Kasai

Hometown: Sapporo, Japan

Lives and works: Montreal

Artspots appearance: 2003

The story: When Artspots visited Shie Kasai, she had recently finished her MFA in sculpture at Concordia University. In the episode, she's working on "Another Ordinary Afternoon," an animated film she shot on a set built from cheap and cheerful household supplies, things like cardboard and rainbow-coloured popsicle sticks.

As Kasai tells CBC Arts, the original idea for the film was to build a "site-specific installation piece within a tiny hermetic space." That idea ultimately evolved into the stop-motion animation project that's previewed on the episode.

As she says in the clip: "It's sort of a story where it describes how the clouds are made and how they're displayed in the sky like we see every day. The way I deliver sculpture is through creating installation and animation."

Shie Kasai in a scene from her 2003 episode of Artspots. (CBC)

The last time she saw her Artspots episode:

"More than 10 years? The links to the video clips have been broken for many years and I haven't seen them since. I'd feel embarrassed to see myself being so young."

Memories from the shoot:

"When the director came to 'my studio' to shoot the video, it was at my crappy old apartment in Little Italy in Montreal."

"I'm not too sure what her impression was, or if she ever wondered why the CBC sent her there."

That 'crappy old apartment' played an important role in her artwork, though:

"The sounds appearing in this work were sampled from where the set was, in and around my old apartment/studio. Even though it was very old and crappy, I loved it there and I'm glad to have made a work which sort of is a reflection of the place."

"Certainly you would not know any of this just by watching this video work, but it gives me a nostalgic feeling about the time I spent there."

What she's working on now:

"Since I had a kid in 2010, basically my art practice was forced to pause some time and change a bit. It's hard enough to manage my day job and family time — I find it's impossible to add an art practice on top it. I'm coming to terms with this reality that life after having a baby is nothing like the life before."

"Since 2012 I've been working on a comic project about raising my daughter and a life of being a parent. I upload a page every week on my website and now it's at the page 189. I'm hoping to find a publisher and make my work into a physical book one day."

Attends-moi! is Shie Kasai's graphic novel about life as a parent in Montreal. It's written in Japanese, but she posts English translations on her Facebook. (Facebook/@ShieKasaiArt)

Read her graphic novel "Attends-moi!" on Facebook.

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