New Work: Pillowbrain


Pillowbrain (2014). Paper mache, plaster, cotton, stuffing.  15” x 14” x 8”.

This work is part of Melancholia, the new series I am working on.  Pillowbrain depicts a feeling I associate with depression- the feeling that my brain is full of fluff, and is about as conductive to coherent thought. Despite lacking an actual face, I think the work is quite expressive, as you can adjust the pillow quite easily to convey different emotions through body language.



New Work: Column

Jennifer Akkermans_Column_1

Column (2014). MDF, paint, apoxie sculpt, silk fibres. 13” x 5 ½” x 5 ½”.

This work is part of Melancholia, the new series I am working on.  Column expresses the futility of feeling trapped (when really, all you probably need is someone’s help).  This work was really hard to photograph, especially down inside the column, so I’ve included a photo with the figure outside of it, just for documentation’s sake.

Jennifer Akkermans_Column_2


Jennifer Akkermans_Column_detail

New Work: Inner Theatre

Inner Theatre

Inner Theatre (2014). MDF, polymer clay, plexiglass, paint, music box and custom electronics.  17” x 13” x 7”.  

This work is part of Melancholia, the new series I am working on.  Inner Theatre uses a music box and custom electronics to recreate a feeling which I associate with my experience with depression.  The hand with spiral motif symbolizes a personal journey.

Jennifer Akkermans_Inner Theatre_2

Inner Theatre


Inner Theatre, A mechanical sculpture by Jennifer Akkermans. from Jennifer Akkermans on Vimeo.

New Work: Journal Panels

Journal Panels

I’ve finally gotten around to editing some of the documentation images of work I made and documented during my time at the Gushul last month.  Here are some images of some of the journal panels I did.  More images in my portfolio.

Listen to Your Soul for Direction

History of the Troubled Mind

Use the Good Dishes

Stand Out

I have more work that I finished at the Gushul, more photos to come.

Journal Panels Statement 

I’ve been keeping written and visual journals since Mrs. Henley set us the assignment in her grade two class in 1992.  I don’t know if she realized the impact this would have on my life.  I was eight.

My journals have been my constant companion in my life, confidant through it all.  I could chart out my life by them, an archive of my triumphs, hopes and dreams, and lessons learned.

My journal process involves a lot of collage, collecting of images, text, random bits, song lyrics, and personal memories.  I don’t plan the images out before they happen.  Working on multiple panels or pages at a time, I choose things impulsively, instinctively, without thinking too much about it.  I choose whatever resonates with me at the time for whatever reason, sometimes coordinating by color or theme. Often things that seem completely random gather themselves together to form a color scheme or theme that I might not have come up with on my own.  I paint, collage, stamp with my hand carved linoleum stamps, write and doodle all over them, suspending conscious thought, in an attempt to allow something of my subconscious to shine through.  In a sense, this is my own personal kind of meditation, a compulsion that allows me to relax and process things in my own way.

The work in this series is an attempt to share my journals and the process with a wider audience.  They are at once public and personal, although hopefully not too cryptic.  This particular set acts as a series of pep talks to myself, things I’d like to remember to do, to live my life to the fullest and not worry too much.  I hope that others might find something useful in them as well.

See more here.

Daily Overhead Shots from the Gushul

Every day I was there, I took a photo of the studio from the little window in the extra bedroom at the Gushul Studio.  It functions as an interesting diary of my time there.  I did miss a few days at the beginning, and a couple days when I wasn’t there.



























New Work In Progress

Inner Theatre_in progress

I’ve been working on some other things in the last few days, sculpture with some electronics. Part of my plan for this residency is to finish up some work I’d just started, and to make more. I’ve finished up a couple of things, and hope to get the documentation photos I took today edited and up soon. This is a work in progress shot, although the work depicted is finished now, and working as it should be! I feel like I accomplished something tangible today! 🙂

(Did I mention the light in here is amazing? I wish I could always use this space for documentation.)

Documenting / Morning Photographs

Jennifer Akkermans_Personal Journey_2014_web

I’ve been working on a few things, such as making these journal “paintings,” all of which are in varying stages of completion. I have realized that I am a documenter by nature, always keeping journals, photographing things, describing processes.  This residency is no different.  Every morning, when I get up, I grab the camera off of the dresser in the other bedroom, and take a photo of the studio down through the window.  Maybe when I’m finished, I will make a little gif movie.  I did miss a few days in the beginning, before the project occurred to me.









You may notice that the March 7th and March 8th photos are really similar – I went to Red Deer on the 7th for my opening, and then returned on the 8th (and photographed when I returned), so there was not much work happening in between.

Now, back to work.

Gushul 2.0 – Back in the Pass!


So I’m here!  Have been for a few days now, actually.  It’s pretty great.  Nice and quiet, I’ve just been doing my thing.  Such a contrast from Puppet Camp, the polar opposite, actually, but really lovely in another way.  I’m also surprised how much different this is than when I was here with Latifa– it’s a calm energy, as opposed to a slightly nervous dealing-with-another-(lovely)-person-I-just-met vibe.  The fact that it’s winter probably affects that too- so far, it’s been really cold, really snowy, really melty (as in, mini avalanches scaring the crap out of me as they slide off the roof/window), and really nice for about ten minutes.

After calling AMA to get my car started because of the cold on Saturday (what would I do without them?), I drove out to the Pass, unpacked most of the car, and got set up in the studio.  Since then, I’ve just been doing my thing, listening to music and making things.  The only time I’ve really left the studio was to get some basic groceries.  There are lots of things to do here (especially in the summer), and I really love the area, but it’s been cold, and since I’ve been here many times before, I don’t feel compelled to go exploring.  I’m happy just to get to work.

I’ve been getting up quite early – 7:30ish – to work, as I discovered on day one that the light is much different in March than it is in September, when I was here last.  During the day, the studio is absolutely wonderful with all the natural light.  When the sun goes down, however, it seems all the light from other sources gets sucked right out that giant window into the night.  You can probably see the studio from space, but I can’t choose colours after 7:00.

It is, however, setting me on a decent working schedule.  I’m feeling productive.

Gushul Residency 2.0

Anyway.  I am quite enjoying being by myself here, just doing my thing.  I have always been more than comfortable being on my own, and as long as I don’t see any signs of depression showing up (which I doubt I will), all is good.  I do have a couple of trips home planned – well, to Red Deer for commitments to my show at the Harris-Warke Gallery, but as Calgary is on the way, I will stop in to sleep – but I am more than happy to just hang out here.  A good friend of mine is coming to visit for the last weekend of the month, and while I am really looking forward to that, her arrival will mean my time here is coming to a close.  I am open to other visitors – should you happen to be in the area, just knock!

Also, if anyone is interested, my opening at Harris-Warke is this Friday, 6-8 PM.  Address is 4924 Ross Street, Red Deer, and the gallery is on the top floor of the Sunworks store.


Burmis tree anaglyph_web

So, if you’ve been following me on Facebook at all, you might know that one of my goals this year was to get more rejection letters than last year, which I passed in early summer- June-ish.  Currently, I’m at more than 30 rejections, and until last week, ZERO acceptances.  I have two exhibitions coming up this year, but knew of both before January.  I haven’t posted many details about them yet, because I don’t like to post too much about any new projects until they’re confirmed, so as not to jinx them.  When I hit 30 rejections, without any acceptances, I decided that it was time to stop counting, as it was starting to undermine my confidence.

Anyway, my acceptance- I’ll be going back to the Gushul Studio in March!  I’m really looking forward to going back there, and wish I could leave next week!  I feel like I need the time to really focus on developing some new work.  I am finding that really difficult here in Calgary, working full time hours- by the time I get home from work, eat and maybe check my email, it’s almost 7:00, which means I’ll get two to 2 1/2 hours a night to work on my own stuff, if I’m lucky.  I am trying to get as much time in as I can, but it’s definitely a challenge to develop any momentum, making work, stepping back to contemplate it, adjusting, remaking. You know, the process.

Anyway, I’ll be going back to the Gushul Studio in March.  You might remember I was there before, in September of 2011, collaborating with a complete-stranger-turned-good-friend, Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed.  We were paired together, to work together, and through our experience made this piece, which we called Ephemeral Home.  While I wanted to go back together at some point, Latifa is not able to join me, as she is currently in England, pursuing a Master’s Degree in herbal medicine.  (Way to go, Latifa!)

My intention while I’m there is to really focus on two things: making work, and listening to myself.  I am going without a concrete plan, other than just to make things, and am really curious to see what happens.  I am intending to bring all kinds of materials, tools and supplies, whatever I can manage to fit into the Cruiser.  I will have no distractions there, no friends, no tv, no day job, so I’m hoping I will come out of it with some new-found wisdom.  We’ll see.

And, it’s one of my favorite places in the world.  And, the trains!!