Artist Feature

Charles Urgiles (He/They)

As a trans artist, I draw my inspiration from my personal experiences navigating identity and self-discovery. I find profound inspiration in the resilience, diversity, and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community, exploring themes of self-expression, acceptance, and the evolving understanding of one’s identity.

Ultimately, my work aims to create a space where stories are not only seen but celebrated.

You can follow Charles Urgiles on Instagram: @art.charlieurgiles

Jing Han Yang (they/them)

My name is Jing Han Yang and I am a multidisciplinary artist currently obtaining my MFA at Jingdezhen Ceramic University. I graduated recently from Sheridan College and the University of Toronto from the Art and Art History Program. My art is fundamentally about myself; about growing up within the Chinese diasporic community, being queer, and the banal pieces of my life. In my work, I like to put the material before the work, as I see the process of making my work just as important as the works themselves.

Growing up, I was very afraid of being the incorrect kind of ‘strange.’ I grew up moving around a lot, not understanding my own existence outside of the idea that I was a stranger to everyone around me. I just wanted to be strange, a nobody, not memorable. When I was older, I realized that I felt this way too about my sexuality and gender. I did not want to be defined and encapsulated. I wanted it to be known that I was strange, but I didn’t care for people trying to guess what I was. I ultimately realized that what I was looking for was the term ‘queer’ when addressing my sexuality and gender. Understanding that gender and thus sexuality and how it is perceived is based on social conditioning, my art attempts to address and contemplate seeing both with another lens. A piece that tries to quell my thoughts about these thoughts is Untitled (Masking and Presenting) from 2022. 

The work contemplates the stereotypical idea of masculinity and femininity. The softness and colour being stereotypically feminine, and its large size and phallic like appendages which are stereotypically masculine. I wanted it to be form hiding, so to hide myself fully. The form does not allow the average person to see the form under the soft sculpture, shielding them from judgment as to the gender of the wearer.

You can follow Jing Han Yang on Instagram: @j___h__y___

Untitled (Masking and Presenting), 2022, H5’10” x W2′ x L2′, various yarn and polyester fluff, photographed by John Armstrong.

Abigail Kohut (she/her)

Abigail Kohut (she/her) is a queer, disabled artist and craftswoman currently living in the Yukon, on the traditional territory of the Ta’an Kwätch’än Council and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Kohut has lived—and continues to travel—across Canada and parts of the USA, where she takes inspiration from the people and environment that surrounds her.

Kohut’s work is a blend of traditional and contemporary, picking up on themes of an auto-biographical nature, a contradictory practice, and a distorted sense of self-reality. While many might encounter, at one point or another, a strangeness in one’s own environment, Kohut often attempts to reconcile this through her art by creating her own version of reality. Her experience as a disabled, queer individual has often contributed to this feeling of out-of-place-ness, as she often masks to visually pass or “blend in” as what would be considered the conventional norm. In the same way, her addition of embroidery or overlapping pattern work in her pieces aim to blur the definitions of space and allow for the subject to hide. She makes work that is emotionally and physically demanding, despite her limitations and pain. And by producing work that speaks to a decorative and somewhat anonymous role, pushing the boundaries of what is typically sorted into specific roles of the man or woman—fine art and craft—she aims to produce art that is non-conforming, non-specific, all the while recycling old ideas and ideals. A recent graduate of the combined Art & Art History program at the University of Toronto and Sheridan College, Kohut is looking forward to expanding her artistry outside of the academic sphere. Between working on a variety of publications and curating art shows, to spending hours in the studio covered in paint and embroidery thread, she aspires to learn from experience and experimentation. Most recently, Kohut has been attempting to blur the lines between fine arts and traditional crafts through her personal research and somewhat contradictory artistic practice.

You can connect with Abigail Kohut on her website or follow her on Instagram: @akohut.paintdesign


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