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10 Years of Artist’s Block

Each issue, we ask an artist to create a block using the medium and approach of their choice. For the 10 years Block has been in production, we’ve accumulated a total of 25 artist-created blocks of every kind and variety — some refined, a few perplexing, many sheer delights.

Cityscape by Camille Jodoin-Eng

Photo by Dexter Forbes–Wavelens Media

10 Years of Artist’s Block - FeaturedImage_Cityscape-by-Camille-Jodoin-Eng

ON THE COVER: Artist Camille Jodoin-Eng contributed our 10th anniversary Artist’s Block. Cityscape is made of two-way mirror, wood, papier mâché and melted glass. Jodoin-Eng chose to photograph the work outside to contrast with the block’s surreal contents.

There was our inaugural block (Issue 2, 2013) by Sara Cwynar, a clear acrylic cube loaded with tropical fruits. Jennifer Murphy’s block (Issue 4, 2014) was an entire ecosystem — of birds, cocooning moths, grasshoppers and spiders — living in delicate harmony. Contrast that with Naomi Yasui’s clay block (Issue 14, 2017) emerging from a bucket of silty water or Dean Drever’s perfect cube constructed of one-eighth-inch birch dowels (Issue 17, 2018). And then there was Katie Bethune-Leamen’s so-called cuddly cube (Issue 16, 2018) featuring ceramic arms embracing a hunk of nubbly bits.

“I think a good block is identifiable as a work by that artist and shows what is unique about their practice,” says Catherine Dean, Block’s long-standing photo and illustration editor. Dean has been key to casting a wide net and sourcing contributors, from Cwynar back in 2013 to the present day. “It helps to have an example by a well-respected artist when you’re asking other artists to contribute,” says Dean when asked how Cwynar’s block set the stage. “It shows that artists can work in their own style and that the block form is the only constraint.”

For Dean, choosing a favourite from the catalogue is a harder task, “especially since there’s so much variety,” she says. “We’ve been fortunate to work with so many incredible artists over the years, and every block is unique and surprising,” a decade-long testament to the creative mind and spirit and the capacity to take a simple assignment and turn out something entirely original.

“That’s the best part,” she says. “Artists see things in ways you can’t anticipate.”

ISSUE 1 – The Missing Block

As noted in our 10 x 10 (p. 11), Block’s very first issue featured a different, more difficult, ask. Artist’s Block, as we know and love it, arrived in Issue 2, inspired by the block symbol at the end of every story.

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 3_Block-art-by-James-Nizam-featured-in-Issue-3

ISSUE 3 – James Nizam

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 4_Block-art-by- Jennifer-Murphy-featured-in-Issue-4

ISSUE 4 – Jennifer Murphy

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 2_Block-art-by-Sara-Cwynar-featured-in-Issue-2

ISSUE 2 – Sara Cwynar

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 5_Block-art-by-Orest-Tataryn-featured-in-Issue-5

ISSUE 5 – Orest Tataryn

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 6_Block-art-by-Ciara-Phelan-featured-in-Issue-6

ISSUE 6 – Ciara Phelan

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 7_Block-art-by-Chrissie-Macdonald-featured-in-Issue-7

ISSUE 7 – Chrissie Macdonald

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 8_Block-art-by-Tammi-Campbell-featured-in-Issue-8

ISSUE 8 – Tammi Campbell

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 9_Block-art-by-Jimmy-Limit-featured-in-Issue-9

ISSUE 9 – Jimmy Limit

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 10_Block-art-by-Vanessa-Maltese-featured-in-Issue-10

ISSUE 10 – Vanessa Maltese

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 11_Block-art-by-Dorian-Fitzgerald-featured-in-Issue-11

ISSUE 11 – Dorian FitzGerald

Did You Know?

While Dorian FitzGerald’s block appears minimal —even ascetic — the Toronto-born artist is better known for his “monumental paintings of materially excessive situations.”

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 12_Block-art-by-Jaime-Angelopoulos-featured-in-Issue-12

ISSUE 12 – Jaime Angelopoulos

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 13_Block-art-by-Jeremy-Laing-featured-in-Issue-13

ISSUE 13 – Jeremy Laing

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 15_Block-art-by-Dean-Baldwin-featured-in-Issue-15

ISSUE 15 – Dean Baldwin

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 14_Block-art-by-Naomi-Yasui-featured-in-Issue-14

ISSUE 14 – Naomi Yasui

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 16_Block-art-by-Katie-Bethune-Leamen-featured-in-Issue-16

ISSUE 16 – Katie Bethune-Leamen

Did You Know?

Dean Baldwin’s block looks good enough to sip. The installation artist has historically created works that are part art, part life and part bar, asking viewers to inhabit, query and imbibe.

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 17_Block-art-by-Dean-Drever-featured-in-Issue-17

ISSUE 17 – Dean Drever

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 18_Block-art-by-Celia-Perrin-Sidarous-featured-in-Issue-18

ISSUE 18 – Celia Perrin Sidarous

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 19_Block-art-by-JONAH-SAMSON-featured-in-Issue-19

ISSUE 19 – Jonah Samson

Did You Know?

Montreal-based Celia Perrin Sidarous’s artistic practice is all about creating assemblages. So, too, is her Artist’s Block, an arrangement of eucalyptus within glazed stoneware, set against blue silk.

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 20_Block-art-by-ALEX-MCLEOD-featured-in-Issue-20

ISSUE 20 – Alex McLeod

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 21_Block-art-by-Laurie-Kang-featured-in-Issue-21

ISSUE 21 – Laurie Kang

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 22_Block-art-by-Winnie-Truong-featured-in-Issue-22

ISSUE 22 – Winnie Truong

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 23_Block-art-by-Shaheer-Zazai-featured-in-Issue-23

ISSUE 23 – Shaheer Zazai

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 25_Block-art-by-Karen-Kraven-featured-in-Issue-25

ISSUE 25 – Karen Kraven

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 26_Block-art-by-Kelly-Jazvac-featured-in-Issue-26

ISSUE 26 – Kelly Jazvac

10 Years of Artist’s Block - 24_Block-art-by-Michelle-Ashurov-featured-in-Issue-24

ISSUE 24 – Michelle Ashurov

Did You Know?

Michelle Ashurov of Reverie Deli is a graphic designer turned cake artist. Her contribution to our canon was the magazine’s first and only truly edible block.

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