In less than a week, on May 31, one of the most anticipated and fun events will take place once again in Toronto: the annual fundraising Power Ball at the Power Plant Gallery. This year Power Ball XX: Carousal presented by Max Mara is going to be another large extravaganza! Ahead of the big party, FAJO chatted with Dominique Pétrin—one of the artists at the fundraiser—and discussed her style, collaboration with Banksy and how Instagrammable her art piece at the event is going to be.
When did you realize that you want to be an artist? What is your first memory doing art?
I never realized that I wanted to be an artist. I just like to do things and have fun, but I accomplish the task very seriously. I don’t associate art as a thing isolated in itself.
Every single daily gesture is filled with care and somehow is art. My first art piece was a series of puppets representing Lady Di and prince Charles at their wedding. A mad man puppet was trying to sabotage the wedding, but got caught and was put in jail. I stabbed my hand really badly trying to build the jail. Since then, I’m not really into police.
Can you name some of the classical painters who influenced you and your artistic style the most? Are there any countries / travel destinations that inspire you the most?
What inspired my work the most are the roman frescoes of Pompeii. Their inspiration still is highly present years later. There are definitely some influences from Bauhaus, Archizoom group and the Hairy Who collective from Chicago. As a kid, I was a huge fan of Keith Haring for the performative aspect of his work.
I’m inspired by Italian tiling patterns, ralli quilting forms and would dream to go one day to visit the Castello di Sammezzano in Italy.
You are one of the artists, who designed a room for the famous Walled Off hotel by Banksy. How did that happen and what was that experience like? Have you met the mysterious artist himself?
I received a phone call and that was it. This hotel is one of the most challenging and personal growth experiences I ever had. This project is completely crazy and offers such an in-depth perspective of what is happening in Palestine. It changed my way of making art.
Your room actually looks amazing. Would you consider to do more interior design?
I would actually love to make some more interior design. The grandiose nature of my work and the eccentricity of it would perfectly fit. I feel in my element negotiating with architecture, context and purpose of a space.
Considering a graphic style of your work and silk screens, have you thought of collaborating with any of the fashion brands or companies? I feel like your art objects would make really nice scarves and accessories.
I have been approached in the past by huge companies to collaborate. I just haven’t been approached yet by a fashion brand I was interested in. As I tell my friends: Beyoncé or nothing, which means I’m waiting for la crème de la crème. I just wait for an opportunity that would make sense as part of my art practice.
How would you describe your own personal style? Are you interested in fashion?
My personal style is kindergarten teacher in midlife crisis. A large part for my work includes fabric patterns and world ornament history. Of course, I adore fashion!
What are the biggest challenges for a female artist in Canada?
Let’s just say I operate as a woman in arts with a great deal of anger, laughter and, most of all, a sense of vocation. My work gets sometimes prejudiced as design or décor which is a form I deliberately chose as a main component of my art practice. I use colour, cheap materials, craft-based practices, collage, printmaking, which are associated historically with women’s craft and lower forms of art. I tend to be playful in messing up with the medium and challenging the audience’s perception of art.
What should we expect from you at the Power Ball XX: Carousal? Are you going to create a new artwork or present an existing one? How Instagrammable is it going to be?
I’m making an installation especially tailored for Power Ball. The context of that event was fantastic, because it allowed me to literally create a party installation. It’s a mise en abime of the Power Ball itself.
When I discussed it for the first time with the curator Nabila Abdel Nabi, I told her my intention was to create the most Instagrammable work possible. I can confirm that there will be a flood of Instagram selfies made in this installation. I really pushed buttons with this artwork and didn’t have any filter.
I wanted the content to be uninhibited, perhaps as well as the people who will attend this party. I would never have been able to create such work in any other context. The fact that the event is a party was liberating and allowed me to do some really critical work in a very light, kooky way.
View images from last year’s event in our 2017 article about Power Ball.