Creator Profile: Phoebe Todd-Parrish, printmaker, etc

I met Phoebe Todd-Parrish when I was struggling through my last year of university, any semblance of Niceness totally I don’t know (or remember) how we became friends. In my favourite class, she strolled in with long, red as fuck hair and a really Canadian-sounding voice. A couple years later, we moved into a Dundas West crack den above Black Cat Artspace. I took a photo of her in front of the gallery on her way to her first court date (traffic ticket on her bike) and often heard buzzing from the tattoo gun she used on people in the sun room sure to detach from the building one day. We moved out four months later because of a bedbug infestation. Earlier in 2016, we spent $200 each to be directly in front of Gwen Stefani. I think it was the third time I had ever seen Phoebe cry.

Now, Phoebe is pursuing her Masters degree in Printmaking at the University of Alberta taking really nice photos of the stuff she’s doing (@flycatcherpress) – and that is apparently ALWAYS. Phoebe is always doing some shit. That’s why I chose her to be our first profiled artist; Phoebe is never boring.

The progression of a couch she re-upholstered with her sweet design. She took these, and this.


Instagram: @flycatcherpress

Who are you and where are you from?
My name is feeble (autocorrect – really Phoebe). She hails from the town of Schompton (Schomberg, hour north of Toronto). If you’re not from around here, I’ll probably just say “Newmarket,” but really that’s not even close. Yes we had a barn in our yard. No I was not a farmer.

If you had stayed in Schomberg...
I’d have a child who was like eight by now.

Are you loving Alberta?
DUH YEAH ‘BERTA BUDZ 4 LYFE. Okay, well actually: yes, Alberta is a cool place for nature and trees and stuff. Edmonton is a bit of a flop of a city in some ways, but in certain parts it’s really beautiful (River Valley) and the university beats the shit out of York [editor’s note: York University, where we are both from don’t talk shit] in the aesthetically pleasing category. Plus, the printmaking program is the one to beat and is filled with amazing faculty and students (rah-rah!).

Is Edmonton art very different from Toronto art?
I don’t know about the actual “art” or “Art” being totally different really. However, I would say that the “art scene” is quite different. In Toronto there are a lot more people (obviously) and I would say a much bigger and more condensed group of artist types. In Edmonton it’s a little sparser and spread out. The city is designed for cars, not people, there really aren’t “art districts” or kind of little gallery treasure maps to follow so it makes it harder, for instance, to go to a bunch of galleries in one day or even a few openings in a night – that just doesn’t exist here – yet. In Edmonton, the community is pretty small which is nice, but also different. Of course, artists from here travel to other places for shows, conferences, residencies, etcetera so there is some exchange that way but I think as the years go on Edmonton has a pretty high potential to offer artists (young and old) new opportunities. I could see it being a kind of Hamilton-esque situation????

Who and what has influenced your current style?
I read this review about Edward Gorey (whose art I have always admired) that described his work as “whimsical and macabre” and that really resonated with me. That’s what I aspire my work to be. I am inspired by lots of artists and art and day-to-day stuff. To drop some names, I really love the art of Marcel Dzama (from Winnipeg!!), Henry Darger, Kiki Smith, Jeannie Thib along with lots of illustrators that I grew up reading/seeing like Ronald Searle and Maurice Sendak. I also love some older types of book illustration like Aubrey Beardsley (pre-art-nouveau) and the great William Blake.

What are your essential art tools? I’ll never figure out how to word this question better.
Favourite pencils that my printmaking peer, Katie, got me onto is the beautiful Blackwing pencil (all hardnesses). And I do love me some nice black fine-tipped pens!!! For print making, lots of things that are sharp and pointy, or heavy enough to make funny imprints.

What’s your morning routine?
Wake up early before my alarm goes off. Tea TEA TEA (coffee later). Eat large-flake oats (laugh at the French translation for some reason “gros flocons” gets me every time) with walnuts and banana and nutella (gross I know) while watching a thing on the computer. Go to the studio in dark because Edmonton’s eternal darkness (can’t wait for dead of summer).

Is there a book that changed your world-view?
Hm maybe not my world view but top three head-space changers were probably (in chronological order):  Outside Over There (Maurice Sendak, Childhood), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers, grade 11), The Red Notebook (Paul Auster, late into my undergrad).

What do you do when you’re not making art?
Stare. I do a lot of staring. Also trying to think about not making art. Travelling and staring (and occasionally listening- listening is good too).

Where can we find you?
Sitting under my desk avoiding Real Life. Trolling kijiji ads. Knee-deep in misprints, adjusting the pressure on the press and cursing my pathetically low-protein diet and lack of muscular strength.


Phoebe's art on a t-shirt.