Big Rock Candy Mountain is an artist-run flavor incubator and taste-making think-tank between Hannah Jickling, Helen Reed, a variety of guest artists, and elementary school students. We produce edible editions, workshops, and installations with a focus on sensory experience. In Big Rock Candy Mountain, the school becomes a candy factory, where artists and children work together to critically riff on the cultural industries that address young people, and to create new tastes on our own terms.
Big Rock Candy Mountain takes its name from the popular folk song that has been rewritten countless times to reflect changing comic utopia. Big Rock Candy Mountain is where we can hear a “buzzin’ of the bees in the peppermint trees, ’round the soda water fountains.” It strives to be a post-proportionate world where adults, authority and rationality no longer define the rules and limits of what is possible.
From 2015 – 2018, Big Rock Candy Mountain was hosted at Queen Alexandra Elementary School in East Vancouver, with the insight, vision and support of of Other Sights for Artists Projects. Queen Alex is located on the unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples – xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. Currently (2019 – ongoing), Big Rock Candy Mountain is working on a project with the Mitchell Art Gallery, the Edmonton Arts Council and John A McDougall School in Edmonton/Treaty 6 Territory.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the BC Arts Council Youth Engagement Program, the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver Public Art Program, Queen Alexandra Elementary School, the Mitchell Art Gallery, the Edmonton Arts Council and John A. McDougall Elementary School.
The website was designed and assembled by Chris Lee and Seungyong Moon.
Hannah Jickling & Helen Reed, Artists
Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed have been collaborating since 2006. Their projects take shape as public installations, social situations and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter and artists’ multiples. They have facilitated many collaborative research projects with children, most notably Big Rock Candy Mountain (2015–). Helen and Hannah have exhibited and performed internationally, with both individual and collaborative work appearing in such venues as: The Portland Art Museum (OR), The Dunlop Art Gallery (SK), Smack Mellon (NY), Doris McCarthy Gallery (ON), The Yukon Arts Centre Gallery (YT), YYZ Artists’ Outlet (ON), Carleton University Art Gallery (ON), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (NS), Bästa Biennalen (SE), The Vancouver Art Gallery (BC), The Power Plant (ON) and Flat Time House’s first issue of NOIT (UK). Jickling and Reed are recipients of numerous awards including the 2017 Mayor’s Arts Award for Public Art (City of Vancouver) and a 2018 VIVA Award (Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts). They are grateful to live and work within xʷməθkʷəy̍əm, Skwxwú7mesh and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ territories.
Vanessa Kwan, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, Producer/Curator (Vancouver)
Vanessa Kwan is a Vancouver-based artist, writer and curator. As an artist, her work has involved the production of work in public space, and she has developed a practice that is often collaborative, site-specific and interdisciplinary. Recent projects include a large-scale permanent public artwork called Geyser for Hillcrest Park (with Erica Stocking), Sad Sack, a series of public events and collaborations on the subject of melancholy, and This Creeping Root, a moonlight garden. She is a founding member of the performance collective Norma, who were honoured with a City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Public Art in 2011. As performance curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery, she produced FUSE, the gallery’s premiere performance event, from 2008 – 14. She currently works as Curator of Community Engagement with grunt gallery, where she produces socially-engaged work and special projects, and as Producer/ Curator with Other Sights for Artists Projects, an organization that commissions temporary artworks for the public realm.
Chris Lee, Designer (Toronto/New York)
Chris Lee is a graphic designer and educator based Buﬀalo, NY, and Toronto, CA. He is a graduate of OCADU (Toronto) and the Sandberg Instituut (Amsterdam), and has worked for The Walrus Magazine, cmagazine, Metahaven and Bruce Mau Design. He was also the designer and an editorial board member of the journal Scapegoat: Architecture/Landscape/Political Economy. Chris’ research explores graphic design’s entanglement with power, standards and legitimacy. He has contributed projects and writing to the Decolonising Design, Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, The Copyist, Graphic, Volume, and Counter Signals and has facilitated workshops in the US, Canada, Scotland, the Netherlands and Croatia. He has lectured at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, ArtEZ, The Sandberg Instituut, The Design Academy Eindhoven, and OCADU. Chris is an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo SUNY, a member of the programming committee of Gendai Gallery. He is design research fellow of Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (2017/18), participant of the fifth edition of the Summer University of the Bibliothèque Kandinsky at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. cairolexicon.com
Kylie Joe, Project Assistant (Vancouver)
Kylie Joe is a First Nations interdisciplinary artist born in Chilliwack BC. She recently graduated with a BFA from Emily Carr University in 2017 with a major in photography and a minor in social practice and community engagement. Her work deals with big issues on a smaller and more attainable scale so as to grant access to a wider audience whether it’s a visual art piece or a community or socially engaged piece. Joe has had works in the Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver Art/Book Fair, and Vancouver Folk Music Festival and in collaboration with ECUAD and the Vancouver School Board she has assisted in creating after school art programs for elementary schools. Currently she is volunteering at grunt gallery where she works within the archives while also providing assistance to other workers when needed.
Terry-Dayne Beasley, Project Assistant (Vancouver)
Terry-Dayne is a Vancouver based artist working primarily with image making and performative sculpture. His main mediums are film production and installation. His works concern how humans interact with their built environments and nature. Terry-Dayne utilizes sculpture to illustrate how humans adapt to their surroundings, be it the city or nature. In his most recent works he has been interested in antagonizing the notion of location and space as depicted within photographs. Terry-Dayne completed his BFA at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2017.
Gina Pasaran, Project Assistant (Edmonton)
Gina Pasaran is an emerging artist in the Edmonton, Alberta area working in photography, video, printmaking, and intermedia sculptural mediums. Gina is a Mexican Canadian artist interested in the social aspects of art, relationships, collaboration, and research into self identity. She has completed a Fine Art Diploma from Macewan University and is in her final year of a Fine Arts Bachelor in Intermedia and Printmaking from the University of Alberta. Gina works with youth and children currently as a Program Facilitator with Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton. She has created art programming and art exhibitions for kids which allows her to bring a sense of playfulness and creativity within an education setting. Gina has volunteered in Edmonton based galleries like the Mitchell Art Gallery of Macewan, and artist run centre Latitude 53.
Special guests and project contributors: Cole Pauls, Holly Schmidt, Zoë Chan, Cease Wyss, Amy Nugent, Kathrin Wallace, Terrance Houle, Pablo de Ocampo, Ron Tran, Elizabeth Milton and Phranc.
Emily Carr student contributors Spring 2017: Lydia Bao, Dong Ding, Celina Hui, Ruby Liu, Vivian Ngo, Brianne Siu, Kylie Joe, Eve Lansink, Madison Mayhew, Grace Noh, Sam Taylor, Melanie Whorton and Willy Zhuang.
Emily Carr student contributors Fall 2017: Heena Chung, Martina Eckert, Ashley Gendron, Klara Kirsch, Esther Lovell, Yan Wan, Kerem Dogurga, Maya Gauvin, Taja Jinnah, Marija Kanavin, Michelle Ma, Ning Niu, Michael Peter and Yang Yu.