November 26, 2019
Behind the Scenes of a Concrete Idea
Yonge + St. Clair has been seeing a whole new cast of publicly accessible, art and design projects to meet the needs of a neighbourhood that’s been buzzing with a newfound taste for cultural, and economic innovations in recent months. Whether it’s the birdO + Slate 10-Storey Mural, the new Studio F Minus mirrored art installation, or the ongoing roster of programming that alternates every season, creators and collaborators have been central to realizing the growing identity of this community. We spoke with Rick Schutte and Jacqueline Vandervaart, the designers and creators of an uncanny collection of concrete installations titled, “Inside Out,” which brought visitors from around Toronto to the Delisle Parkette, as part of Yonge + St. Clair’s art festival. The installation transformed an outdoor park into a familiar slice of home life through Jacqueline and Rick’s creative direction.
How did you get into installation art, and did you always know you would both be creating art?
Jacqueline: I have always been very interested in art from a very young age. My grandfather was an architect and has always been a huge inspiration of mine. Through his story telling I fell in love with art and architecture and hoped to create works of my own. Through my studies at the University of Toronto in architecture and my visual studies minor my desire to create artwork was only intensified. This installation is thus a product of these influences.
Rick: After studying the history of modern art in my first year of architecture, I fell in love with art, in every medium. With my background in construction, I knew Jacqueline and I would make a great team in approaching this installation competition.
The use of familiar household items in a park completely changes the context of what the park looks and feels like – what was the thought process behind Inside Out when you knew you’d be working with the 17 Delisle Ave parkette space?
J+R: After discovering that our installation was to be installed at the 17 Delisle Ave parkette space Rick and I were thrilled. The space perfectly complimented the installation and fulfilled our vision more successfully than we could have imagined.
The thought process behind the organization of Inside out within the 17 Delisle Ave parkette space was motivated by the organization of a typical home. We placed the “front entry way” section of our installation (including a welcome mat and entry way table) where one would generally enter the parkette space. Following that leading inwards, a coat hanger and “shoe closet” space. We noticed that the parkette was naturally divided into three distinct section which we decided would represent the “rooms” of our installation. We decided that the centre section would house our “living room space” (including couch and tv) as this space typically sits at the centre of ones home. The “bedroom” and “bathroom” spaces were then placed on the two remaining sections chosen based on their ability to best compliment the pieces. Furthermore, the “kitchen” space was placed in between these section opposite to the “shoe closet” to create a general sense of balance. Finally, we installed a set of lights over each space to create both a sense of division and connectivity between spaces.
What other projects are you currently working on?
J: I am currently working/experimenting with many different artistic mediums. Besides designing installations I additionally create many painted, collage and sculptural works. I have additionally been exploring the fashion world and have begun designing clothing. Furthermore, I accept tattoo and logo design commissions that I create in my spare time.
R: My father owns a construction business, and I have been working alongside architects and engineers to produce technical drawings and renderings for his clients. In addition, we both design residential spaces such as detached and multi-unit housing. Through rendering, we are able to create realistic imagery and video walkthroughs of unrealized design projects for clients of Integro Studio.
Can you let us know what the process of creating concrete household items involves?
J+R: Among other things the process of creating concrete household items takes determination, patience and a lot of hard work. We used a variety of different construction techniques and different kinds of concrete in order to bring this project to life. These techniques include silicone and wood-frame molding, sculpting, and dipping/coating existing objects in concrete.
What are some things you hope people will take away when visiting, or remembering the Inside Out installation?
J+R: This work is designed to create an interactive experience that encourages playful exploration. This installation intends to act as a distraction/escape from the stresses of daily public/work environments and responsibilities, and function as a reminder of comfort, relaxation, and play. We hope that the Inside Out installation will transform peoples’ perceptions of what it means to experience public versus private spaces and encourage a reflection upon the ways in which one would interact with and feel in these distinctive environments.
If people want to contact you about projects, what’s the best way to reach out to you?
J+R: We had an amazing time working on this project, and we are very grateful for the opportunity the Yonge + St Clair BIA has given us to work in this community. We would love the opportunity to work on any other art, installation, or architecture projects that come our way. Our emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and 1RickSchutte@gmail.com. Instagram : @jacqueline_vandervaart, @integro_studio