Chris Ironside is a Toronto-based artist working in drawing and photography. He is interested in representations of masculine ideals and identity through performance, documentation and the staged image. His work has been exhibited throughout North America and has appeared in several publications, including a set of commissioned drawings for Headmaster Magazine and a featured article on his photographic series, Mr. Long Weekend, in Issue 114 of C Magazine. He currently teaches photography in the School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM) at the University of Guelph where he is the recipient of the 2012-2013 College of Arts Sessional Teaching Excellence Award.
We had the honour to chat with Ironside to get to know more about the artist.
What would be your theme song and why?
I love the idea of a theme song and I think everyone should have one. My current theme song would be Amanda Lepore’s “My Hair Looks Fierce” – for obvious reasons.
If you could eat, pray, love your life where would you go and why?
New York City. When I was younger my first introduction to New York was through the television show Fame. I was in love with the series and I wanted to go to the High School of Performing Arts when I was old enough. That dream was never realized, but nowadays I do get to New York several times a year. I love the energy of the city and the creative inspiration that comes from being there as the city has a real sense of being so immediately alive all of the time. And then there are the people who I find to be interesting, stylish and attractive.
What is your secret obsession?
If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret. To be honest though, I am great at keeping other people’s secrets, but I have a hard time keeping my own especially when I am really excited about something or someone. That being the case, my current not-so-secret obsessions are Andrew Christian underwear (the Almost Naked collection), Justin Vivian Bond (because JVB is everything) and Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks in 2016 (I have been waiting 25 years to see Laura Palmer, again).
Who was the last person to make you smile?
My partner, Noah, who eight and a half years into our relationship still knows how to make me smile no matter what my mood!
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I am not sure of the exact moment because for a long time it was a toss up between being an artist and moving to New York to act on daytime television. However, long before Cindy Sherman went through her clown phase, I went through one of my own. The summer that I was four years old I drew a lot of pictures of clowns and sold them in a “gallery” I set-up in the back shed of my grandparents’ cottage. At the time, my drawings were selling for ten cents a “masterpiece” to my parents, grandparents and great aunts. Looking back now, I would say that was a good indication that I wanted to be an artist.