This week we’re sharing our conversation with Great Art for Great Lakes Mississauga artist, Vanessa Logan. Here’s what Vanessa had to say about Great Art for Great Lakes, what it means to be a great lakes community and how what it was like to work with the community to create Mi Lake.
Mi Lake was created by Vanessa Logan, together with residents of Mississauga. The community shared photos and drawings of Lake Ontario which Vanessa then transferred onto pieces of sea glass. For the final piece, Vanessa assembled the sea glass photo artifacts into Mi Lake–a triptych of three tall, rectangular columns in shades of aquamarine, blue, green and white, mimicking the water of Lake Ontario.
GAGL: Who is Vanessa Logan? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a GTA native and soon-to-be mom. I love antiques and vintage ephemera – any item that can tell a story about its previous life. The thrill of the hunt while antiquing makes it one of my favourite things to do. Finding inspiration from found objects and rescuing beautiful artifacts that are being under appreciated really makes me tick.
I studied New Media and interactive art at Ryerson University. My full-time job for the past ten years involves creating interactive play experiences for preschoolers. It’s a lot of fun and there’s never a dull day when you’re dealing with kids that age!
“Public art should really reflect its surroundings in both the community and the environment. By involving those who will eventually be enjoying the artwork, they are able to come away with a sense of ownership—which in turn strengthens their connection to the art.”
GAGL: What made you interested in the Great Art for Great Lakes proposal?
My interest was first piqued when I saw that Mississauga’s final artwork would live in the Small Arms Building. I’ve been following the progress to convert the building into an arts hub, and as a Lakeview resident I had wanted to find a way to be involved. I feel very privileged to live so close to Lake Ontario. It provides such a beautiful escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of life. Having the opportunity to create an art piece as a ‘love letter’ to this great resource we all enjoy really appealed to me. I was also very excited by the idea of collecting content from the community, and coming up with a creative way to arrange, display, and magnify their submissions was a really fun challenge.
“It was really important to me to make sure that we had a submission medium where even the youngest visitors could participate.”
GAGL: What makes a Great Lakes Community?
I think a lot of it comes from the wealth of public shared space along the waterfront. When you walk along any of Mississauga’s lakeside parks they’re packed on weekends with families barbecuing, dogs playing fetch in the water, and kayakers out on the lake. People really appreciate the beauty, and how special it is to have the lake as a great focal point in their community.
“Being involved in projects like Great Art For Great Lakes can inspire and foster confidence in those who become involved.”
GAGL: Any favourite moments in creating Mi Lake Mosaics?
Interacting with the public and guiding them through the submission process at the Mississauga Waterfront Festival was definitely the project highlight for me. People of all ages were eager to submit images of Lake Ontario. Kids were especially interested in drawing their favourite lake memories and their drawings are so colourful and vibrant! It was really important to me to make sure that we had a submission medium where even the youngest visitors could participate.
GAGL: Why do you think community-engaged public art benefits communities?
Public art should really reflect its surroundings in both the community and the environment. By involving those who will eventually be enjoying the artwork, they are able to come away with a sense of ownership—which in turn strengthens their connection to the art. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce community members who aren’t necessarily familiar with art production to new ways to be creative. Being involved in projects like Great Art For Great Lakes can inspire and foster confidence in those who become involved.
GAGL: What are the other types of art that make up your body of work?
My previous work pulls heavily from vintage imagery. I’ve worked mostly with slide film as my medium, creating sculptures and collages. I love its natural colour tones and luminosity. I’m a big sentimentalist. I’ve kept all of the slides from my family as I’ve inherited them (which doesn’t bode well for storage space in my basement), but gives me tons of great imagery to draw on.
GAGL: If there were not any constraints, what would your dream project be?
I have a real passion for interactive installations. I would love to create an immersive environment with electronic elements that affect your surroundings. For example – an environment that could feel like you’re in a historical setting, but that had sensors to trigger reactions to your movements.
MI LAKE IS ON DISPLAY AT THE PORT CREDIT LIBRARY. VISITING IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! TAKE A SELFIE AND DON’T FORGET TO TAG @GREATNESSGLP ON FACEBOOK OR @CALLOFGREATNESS ON IG.