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Canadian Artist of the Week
LOOK AT THIS: The Tiny Figures And Big Worlds Of Graeme Patterson
June 14, 2014
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Puppet Collective

LOOK AT THIS is a weekly series featuring the work of Canadian artists, designers and creators of all sorts.

Name: Graeme Patterson

Born: Saskatoon, 1980

Lives and works: Sackville, NB

His work: Graeme Patterson works in miniatures, creating tiny figures that he uses to explore much bigger themes and stories. "Since I was a child I have been building complex environments for my action figures and stop-motion puppets with the intent of developing narratives," he told "Through this process I feel I have created a language for working with miniatures that I have grown extremely attached to." For Puppet Collective (above, left), he created a series of puppets and offered them for sale with an ingenious condition: "if purchased the collector must send a full body picture of themselves so I can create a puppet of their likeness to replace the puppet acquired." What started as a collection of little oddball characters soon become a series about Canada's art collectors.

Of male bonding: Patterson's most ambitious project to date is Secret Citadel, which is currently touring the country. The semi-autobiographical work explores the ups and downs of a male friendship through a series of installations — like a secret workshop concealed in a mountain attached to a suburban home — as well as animations featuring a pair of anthropomorphic characters standing in for the two friends. "The cougar is based on the mascot from my high-school experience and the bison was influenced by my affinity for the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bills," Patterson told "As 'Secret Citadel' evolved into a larger body of work I realized that these mascots could become the avatars that represented the history of my male friendship." You can get a sense of the tone of Secret Citadel in this trailer:

Another Canadian artist he admires: "Over the past few years I have become more familiar with the work of fellow Sackvillian Jerry Ropson. The witty sense of humour in his unique brand of storytelling and obsessive object making has been a constant inspiration for me."

Patterson was recently shortlisted for the 2014 Sobey Art Award. His work can be seen later this month as part of the group survey Oh, Canada at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown.


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