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January 25, 2022

Meet the three ArtStarts Ignites Artists-in-Residence

A collage featuring three ArtStarts Ignites residency artists

[Image Description: The three ArtStarts Ignites artists. From left to right: Caroline MacCaull lying in a field and looking at the camera through the grass, photo by Emilie Grace Photography; Sarah U 余衍晴, stretching one arm in a dynamic pose against a brick wall with graffiti on it; a headshot of Paige Smith standing by a beach, photo by Devan Scott.]

ArtStarts is ringing in the new year by welcoming three artists-in-residence: Sarah U 余衍晴, Paige Smith, and Caroline MacCaull! Over the next three months these dynamic artists will be expanding their artistic practice and portfolio as a part of our early-career residency program, ArtStarts Ignites.

During their time with ArtStarts, Sarah, Paige, and Caroline will each be working towards an artistic project of their own design, with many opportunities for professional development and growth along the way. You can also expect to see them facilitating episodes of our weekly family programming, ArtStarts Explores!

We reached out to each artist to find out more about their practice and what they hope to learn during their residency with ArtStarts.

ArtStarts: What is your practice?

Sarah U 余衍晴: I work in the media of movement, filmmaking (videography and editing), and installation. I have been experimenting with digital media complemented by my extensive movement background in the past two years. I believe in the mightiness of the body, and that power can be magnified exponentially with knowledge and incorporation from other art forms.

Paige Smith: I am an experimental filmmaker and visual artist, and my work uses reflexive techniques to investigate the viewers' perceptions and interactions with art. My approach stems from my experiences as a neurodivergent person whose struggles to communicate through written and spoken language pushed me to find alternative ways of articulation. Working primarily in video, photography, mixed-media, and installation, I disassemble my chosen medium to its fundamental components, making bare its mechanisms and artistic techniques. Playing with the viewers' potential assumptions, my work reveals the lack of an objective point-of-view within lens-based art.

Caroline MacCaull: My artistic practice is very interdisciplinary - I work with many different media including: video editing and recording; contemporary dance and movement; sound design; projection design and new media; interactive technology; AI generated images and 360 video/VR/XR. I typically work by amalgamating these different mediums to explore and rediscover how they can cohesively coalesce, depending on what I am trying to accomplish. I am very curious about using technology in ways it was not created for, and how we can find interesting pipelines between different types of technology to create something new.

ArtStarts: What is your project?

Sarah U 余衍晴: My project will investigate how the glorification of overstimulation and overconsumption will shape and transform our bodies 300 years from now. This project will implement artificial intelligence as a creative tool and centre on speed, dynamism, and restlessness of the modern body.

Paige Smith: I want to pursue a photography series I’ve been developing around resource extraction and transportation, and how this relates to what is made visible and invisible during a climate crisis. As an artist living and working on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam Nations, I strive to create artwork that recognizes the land I live upon and addresses the climate crisis we are facing both locally and globally. When I walk out my West-End apartment door and take a stroll to the ocean I am confronted by multiple large shipping containers in the Burrard Inlet which, no matter the time of day or year, are constantly present, always hovering yet unreachable. With global resource transportation being one of the largest sources of carbon emissions, these vessels I see everyday symbolize the ever looping climate crisis as we look towards our future horizons.

Caroline MacCaull: During this residency I am excited to have the time and space to develop and further my technical capabilities with no pressure for a final product. This will allow me to dive further into exploring and developing my skill sets, particularly with Blender, Unity, and the integration of 3D models into VR settings.

Paige Smith, an Artstarts Ignites artist in residence, stands in a field while looking through the viewfinder of a camera

[Image description: Paige Smith working on an outdoor film set. Photo by Devan Scott.]

ArtStarts: What do you hope to learn during your residency at ArtStarts?

Sarah U 余衍晴: I want to continue emerging as a multi-faceted artist, to build a relationship with my audiences, and be a leader in community-engaged projects. As the work progresses, I hope I can contribute to connecting people with art, and also raise more interest and support towards the arts. I am very excited to teach workshops and share the process of my creation. To conclude, my biggest hope for this residency project is to have the time and resources to produce a piece of work that speaks truth about my artistic philosophy and skills to the best of my ability at the moment.

Paige Smith: I would like to use this time and space to expand my artistic knowledge and skills related to photography techniques, and learn more about how my artmaking can connect and relate with youth audiences. I am very inspired by youth and their intuitive understanding of the world. I think children and youth understand the world in a unique way, and I would love to further explore this viewpoint in my artmaking. I also would love to take this opportunity to collaborate with other artists and creatives through ArtStarts.

ArtStarts: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Sarah U 余衍晴: I draw inspiration from the human experience. The two driving principles of my creative process are honesty and perspective. I only create work based on ideas, things, and people that I have seen, touched, experienced, and felt deeply about personally because that is the most genuine and honest perspective I can offer to my audiences. I try to offer perspective in my work that encourages people to see and think differently about the world differently. I often hope my work can bring light to underrepresented groups and voices. I believe art is more than entertainment and it has the power to provoke thoughts, reignite imaginations and ambitions.

Paige Smith: Taking inspiration from photographer Trevor Paglen’s ‘Limit Telephotography’ series, I am aiming to photograph the limitations of one’s own vision in regards to how resource extraction and transportation are interlinked with environmental collapse. I will address this subject through photographing these looming vessels and attempting to reveal what hides behind the horizon: the origins of these vessels, what goods they carry, the hands that created those objects, and so on. Through this residency I hope to explore new photographic techniques that can express these vision limitations.

Caroline MacCaull: My inspiration for my work often comes from aspects of my life that bring me joy. These could be mundane or spectacular moments, giving weight and importance to the everyday human experience. Spirituality is something that always has an underlying theme in my work, and I often find myself looking beyond this physical plane to inspire my thoughts and invite others to question or reimagine what they think they know, and what they may not be able to see.

ArtStarts: Where can people learn more about your work or connect with you online?

Sarah U 余衍晴: You can find me on instagram @sarahuu__ and my website

Page Smith: At or on Instagram and Twitter @paigesmithfilm. ​​

Caroline MacCaull: On Instagram @carolinemaccaull or my website,

The ArtStarts Ignites program provides resources and opportunities to early-career artists looking to develop their skills in digital curation, online program facilitation, and designing artistic works and experiences for young audiences. We are thrilled to have these three on board and can’t wait to see their work over the next few months.

Want to take part in a future residency? Sign up for our Artist Newsletter to be the first to learn about opportunities like ArtStarts Ignites.

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