Exhibitionists·Video

Get ready for your heart to burst: This father and daughter are the loveliest artist duo

Linsey Levendall was already making tons of work before his daughter Talulah was born. But, as he explains, she changed everything.

'Talulah has changed the way I view life, and I don't take that really lightly'

(CBC Arts)

When you ask him about growing up as a person of colour in South Africa during apartheid, Linsey Levendall gets noticeably uncomfortable.

"I prefer to focus on my life in Canada," he says. Canada, specifically a small town called Melfort in northern Saskatchewan, introduced Levendall and his wife to long, cold and dark winters — a season that initially accelerated Levendall's plunge into depression. Back then, his incredibly detailed work was very stream-of-consciousness, and what it revealed was often despondent and uncomfortable.

All of that began to change dramatically when Levendall's daughter Talulah was born.

"The first time I held my daughter, I felt unspeakable love. I know how it sounds, but...I didn't understand love like that before. And suddenly I began to understand colour."

Watch the video:

Linsey Levendall was already making tons of work before his daughter Talulah was born. But, as he explains, she changed everything. Filmmaker: Jeremy Ratzlaff 4:15

Levendall had never formally studied colour and had never thought much about using it in his work. But as fatherhood introduced unspeakable mystery into his world, colour began to appear more and more on his canvases. And it didn't take long before Talulah became not only an indirect influence on Levendall's work, but also his working partner.

In this video, Levendall explains the artistic and emotional journey his daughter has taken him and his work on. "For me, the aspect of collaboration was just a natural progression," he says. "It was just myself and my daughter killing time, sitting and drawing. But what I found was that I was really interested in the way that she was making certain marks. There were certain kind of strokes — the way she held the pencil, she was achieving different kind of ways of creating purely uninhibited. I just couldn't understand how she was doing these kind of things, so I started paying a little bit more attention to this process."

(CBC Arts)

These days, a large part of father and daughter's days are spent side by side, trading pencils, paintbrushes and markers, working together on the same large canvas. And often, it can be hard to tell where Levendall's part ends and Talulah's begins. 

"I think it was a great life lesson, not to be too caught up and precious about every single thing...it's actually nice to give yourself over to something that's unknown." 

Follow Linsey Levendall here.

(Linsey Levendall)
(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)

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About the Author

Jeremy is a self-taught filmmaker living in rural Saskatchewan, somehow still finding opportunities to tell creative stories with a camera. He can be found at jeremyratzlaff.com.