Tibi Tibi Neuspiel

Artist information

Tibi Tibi Neuspiel’s interest in making art began as an activity to fill the late night wanderings he went on while growing up in the suburbs of Ottawa, Canada. After a few years of painting on walls and freight trains, Neuspiel taught himself to paint in a more formal manner while living in Prague and Barcelona. Following his move to Toronto, Tibi Tibi developed an interest in sculpture while sneaking into the local art college to gain access to equipment. Tibi Tibi Neuspiel has exhibited his work and has had it featured in publications throughout North America and Europe.

Tanya Read

Message to Japan

Mr. Nobody sends a message to you of perseverance, hope and renewal.

Artist information

Tanya Read graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1995 and since then she has been active in the Toronto art community. She was an organizer and founder of the Impure artists collective in Toronto from 1994 – 1998. In 1999 Read and partner Scott Carruthers opened a storefront exhibition space called Fly Gallery in the Queen St. W. neighbourhood of Toronto. Fly Gallery closed in the fall of 2011 after 12 years.

Tanya created a character called Mr. Nobody in 1998 and since then her art practice has focused on projects featuring this character. Read has made super 8 animations, drawings, sculpture, silk screened t-shirts and video all featuring Mr. Nobody. Her work has received extensive critical acclaim including articles in The Globe and Mail, National Post, Canadian Art Magazine, Calgary Herald and Korea Times. She has exhibited work in Toronto, Calgary, Hamilton, Seoul, Korea and Japan. When not spending time with Mr. Nobody, Read enjoys the rock and roll life playing bass and singing in the band ‘Ethel and the Mermen’.

Mr. Nobody is a black and white anthropomorphic cartoon animal of questionable pedigree. The inspiration for this character comes from the Depression era cartoons of Max Fleischer (Betty Boop, etc.) and George Harriman (Krazy Kat). The drawing style of Mr. Nobody is a reference to the cast of characters that often appeared in animations of this era. Mr. Nobody is an attempt to embody the ambiguous and surreal quality of those cartoons. He is a Buster Keaton, a Charlie Chaplin, an average ‘Joe’ of our times, somewhat perplexed by the state of affairs in the world today.

Official Website: mr.nobody

smfoundation (Shinobu Akimoto & Matthew Evans)

Message to Japan

Dear friends, survivors, future gazers, forward thinkers

In the past year and half since the terrible disaster in Tohoku, we have followed, with special interest and sympathy, your struggle to regain some sense of normalcy and reclaim your lives from beneath such a catastrophe. We remain aware of your continuing challenges with adequate housing and infrastructure, your concerns about radiation, the economy and so on. We have been humbled by the stoicism and the tenacity exhibited in the face of such hardship, and are confident that of all the people on this earth, the Japanese have the spirit and ambition to use this tragedy as an opportunity to re-imagine a better and more sustainable future for us all.  Our thoughts are with you.

Lightbox to look at the Sun under the Sun powered by the Sun

Incredibly materialistic capitalist lifestyle founded on a culture innately socialist in its ideas and structure (Canadians could never imagine the choice of pens at any stationary store in Japan); standing as the only non-Christian G8 country (in fact there is no religion in any monotheistic sense), the pervasive fatalism that immediately contradict the equally common and strong sense of “self-responsibility”; sappy macho athletes (like soccer players!) publically sobbing over the lost game — Japan has an extremely unique and paradoxical way of being which we had always described simply “different” if not “weird”. Since the series of extreme events after 3/11/2011, we clearly see the potential that this unique nation shines a positive light over the path to a better place that all of us could follow.

Our work too has been conceived upon a mélange of all these thoughts and ideas — the abundance of cool gadgets and materials (and the price!) we so adore and that no one else offers, the redundancy and nonsense essential in any communication, an ancient reverence towards the Sun (nature) which persists to this day, worshiped almost unconsciously — and the “path”, the whole new path we, who happen to be the survivors must find, so not to waste the lives lost.

We have chosen to live as artists but do not particularly believe in the “power of art” to overcome problems we face in the world. All we know is that this is the way that suits us to communicate something, often about art itself, which is ultimately about something beyond art. Communication is everything, yet artists cannot really claim what we are doing is communicating anything. A lovely contradiction which reminds us of the “weird” being of Japan. It is in this spirit we have brought our work into this exhibition.

Artist information

smfoundation is Shinobu Akimoto and Matthew Evans who sometimes collaborate in the same apartment in Montreal, Canada, and other times across the Pacific. Akimoto has practiced art and life in canada since early 1990s and now divide her time between Japan and Canada; Evans is a Canadian artist currently based in Montreal. He lived in Japan between 2003 – 2008. For more information about
Shinobu Akimoto: www.shinobuakimoto.com
Matthew Evans: www.thepopmodule.com