Terry Pamplin

North Slave
14 Con Place Headspace Studio
14 Con Place Headspace Studio
Yellowknife, NT X1A 3K2

Artist Story

Art saved my life. Spiritually, it allows me to be very close and in touch with myself. It is quite an introspective journey to put something together that I will then outwardly display.

Since 2010, and a battle with cancer, my art has had a more direct view. Regardless of the piece itself, there has been more of an air of seriousness in it. The subject matter is not always reflective of that – I always say if you are not having fun doing art, then quit.

I work in different mediums and disciplines but mostly what I create are paintings. Nature is my church you could say, and found objects from it can lend themselves so well to art. I believe it is a good challenge to work on surfaces other than white prepared canvas. I often find quite a number of materials out on walks around my studio, Head Space Studio, nestled on the side of Tin Can Hill.

When I got off the plane from Toronto in 1981, I saw the tremendous horizon and the huge distances of the North; it was a revelation and good for my soul. Yellowknife has been very welcoming for artists; there is an encouragement among peers as we mentor each other.

The circle of interest to share contacts is amazing; the artists don’t have to worry about cornering a market and being secretive with their techniques. Here, everybody has a chance to create and present their art. 

Artist Bio: 

Style Heterogeneity; Artists who refuse to settle into a signature style (rut) Heterodox Painter; A painter who is contrary or different from acknowledged standard. When there is heterogeneity that cannot be explained, could it be the random effect, following a whim, being directed by an inner childlike flitting or an indecipherable divine direction? I was born in Ontario but grew up in Montreal where the lively french culture was like a window opening where I could see an expressive joy in life and happiness and sorrow. A quiet child I often found myself at odds with others, my art showed me how to relate to and figure out the contradictory and frustrating world around me. Art saved my life and revealed my heart to me and showed me the way. I moved to Yellowknife in 1981 to work in graphic arts and became the head of exhibit design at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in 1991. Around 1995 I realized that although my working life was full of creativity my own time, my personal life, my own art long ignored was eating away at me from the inside and causing my heart to ache. So I made a committed date with myself and strenuously defended it against others so that I could visit and spend time with my inner child who had been very lonely while I had been trying to grow up. I try to play in my studio daily,”I won’t say it’s a habit, but if I don’t I feel the withdrawal pains very quickly” I work in any and all mediums, which ever suits my purpose and I will try anything. I like to fool people and I use humor quite frequently to get my point across. I know I decided a long time ago that no one would tell me what to paint and that has freed me completely to do whatever I want. I am not interested in commercial “marketable” art, it’s a trite craft. I’m interested in advocacy and influencing and raising the public’s awareness through my work. And having fun, I mean after all if you are not doing art for fun then for Gods sake give it up. I try to touch people in their hearts as I reveal my heart to them. There are rules for art and if you don’t know them and you break them then you are making BAD ART. All art deserves exposure; bad art deserves to be exposed. So put out your best everytime, no cheating because other artists know and can see the difference. I have exhibited around the NWT, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and have shown my work many times in any available venue in Yellowknife. I have several pieces in the Yellowknife Heritage Art Collection and my paintings are in the homes and offices of many Yellowknifers and art collectors in Canada. I am a founding member of B.A.M. the borderless art movent. We are a group of painters and musicians who play original music and paint before live audiences. We have performed such pieces as Sled dog’s big adventure, Caribou boy, War, what is the cost? Peter and the Wolf and collaborated on stage at Folk on the Rocks. This spring we will be presenting an original new piece based on the Sedna stories. All the work I do feeds my soul and fills my heart and then satiated, I return to my studio to do it again and again and again. My studio is my play ground which you may visit anytime by appointment and view any number of works in progress, there is always something new in my art. I also show my work at Colin Dempsey’s 47thst. art gallery. After trying for many years I have found a gallery owner who is interested in my art and doesn’t ask me to paint another polar bear or a caribou landscape. I need to create something that cannot be resolved on a computer or under the influence of adobe phony shop. That’s just so much conceptualizing using some programmers skills and all you are doing is playing their computer games. My art requires the involvement of the body, I’m interested in things that are impossible to create without materiality and human sweat, that are not merely cerebral, things that leave pigment in the cracks of my skin and a fullness in my heart .

Last Updated: February 6, 2020

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