We recently caught up with Calgary’s own, Jane Trash too see how she’s been keeping busy. From establishing exciting community initiatives like the “pay-what-you-want” thrift shop Good Neighbour and the Calgary Community Fridge to creating amazing puppets, animations, screen printing, sculpture and her collaborative project (with @ThatMawf) Gaptoothsweatsuit, Megan is a creative and inspiring force in YYC.
Hey Megan, how has life in Calgary been over the last year and a half? What are you looking forward to now that things are getting back to “normal”?
Uhhh, totally chill. You? Haha.
It’s been the weirdest. Not great times out there! However, while I feel it couldn’t be farther from normal, I am grateful to be a creative person in times of uncertainty. Life got real scary, real fast and having an outlet for artistic anxiety madness kept me on track. I’m so happy to be able to slowly see friends and family again. I am most looking forward to getting back to seeing live music!
Can you tell us about your art practice, what are some of your recent projects, and what are you working on currently?
I am a visual artist who primarily works with print, video and puppet fabrication. I just completed an 8-minute animation for Sled Island titled TV Rash. I also share a company specializing in print and art documentation with Stephen Harper called Gaptooth Sweatsuit. We love to collaborate with other artists to create limited-edition merchandise runs or help them publish Books. We just did a small sweatshirt run with Mark Clintberg and published an excellent book for Casey Fleischacker. It’s been pretty busy, so it would be nice to slow it down and just work on a few projects with Stephen that we have had on the back burner for a while. No spoilers but think big, canvas and vinyl.
Where do you find inspiration? And how do you overcome creative blocks?
I’m never bored, and I can’t sit still or focus on just one practice. So I’m constantly switching back and forth between drawing, painting, printing, sculpting and sewing. If I feel blocked on one, I just pick up the next. I’m usually creating work about societal issues, drug abuse, depression, just real feel-good content! So it’s less inspiring and more just enraging me enough that I have to create work about it. The upside is, there is never a shortage of things to be upset about!
Who are some artists, bands, or creative folks in Calgary that you are excited about lately?
The best thing to come out of covid in the city, for me, is Penguin Bowl, and I don’t even skate. There’s something so magical about making shit happen for yourself and your community and not leaning on big business to make your idea of a cultured space come true. You don't get to complain if you don’t do the work. I am hopeful when I see the youth coming together and creating a safe and inclusive space for people to get wild and support one another. Of course, the chance of someone shutting you down and discouraging your ideas is a genuine possibility. But no real change is easy, and it's always worth the effort.
You’ve recently been involved in a couple of community initiatives, Calgary Community Fridge and Good Neighbour, how did these projects come to be and how has the response been?
I think months locked in the house at the beginning of the lockdown and just doom scrolling for days on end was bumming us all out. I had seen that friends had started a community fridge in Toronto, and I wanted to do something similar here. I am lucky to know generous and compassionate people who felt the same. It quickly turned into the fridge project. Garnering attention from friends and other creatives in the city, we met a whole different team of volunteers who wanted to participate. After about a year of running the fridge and listening to the community members who frequented the space, we realized we could fill other gaps in the system. No one in Calgary had tried a free store yet, and it seemed like the best possible progression for our project. It has been wildly successful and uplifting. We have seen several fridges pop up in Calgary, Kelowna and Vancouver since we started, and that is amazing. The Calgary Community Fridge and Good Neighbour are based on a Mutual Aid model. That is so important. It continues to demonstrate to people that they can truly be the change they want to see in their communities.
What’s one movie you recommend everyone should watch this holiday season?
Holiday season? Don’t care! Christmas movies are the worst! I always hated when there were reruns of sitcoms or cartoons that I love on TV, and it was the Christmas episode. Like, no, thank you. So, how about the Sound of Music? It is legit my favourite movie, and track 5 is a banger. It’s called Confidence, and let me tell you, if you need some, this jam will get you up. Julie Andrews forever.
What pair of Docs are you wearing and why did you pick this pair?
Right away, I knew I wanted to get Beanmash to draw on them, so they had to be white. What could be more stylish than a white platform Chelsea Boot? I love Beanmash. He’s the best. I was so stoked that he drew all over these and made them rad. Collaboration is my happy space, and Daniel and I have helped each other on various projects in the past.
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share or any shout-outs?
I just inherited my Aunt’s Stainglass setup, so I’m looking forward to digging into that with my sweet friend Jenny. Shout out to Ninetimes for paying my bills and Stephen Harper for being my favourite person in the whole world.