Artistic Trio finds beauty in the strange and grotesque

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From creating surreal paintings to an ABC book of mythical creatures, and a soon to be graphic novel, the Ink Smashed Artists are a unique collaborative group of artists based in Calgary.

The trio is made up of locally raised artists Joel Monea, Mark Eadie and Helen Young. Together they combine their distinctive styles into a seamless piece of art, almost as if it is art Mad Libs.

Young said it is their individuality that allows them to do what they do, and collaborate so flawlessly.

"The three of us have our strengths. There are a lot of times where we don't know how to complete something or where to go next, so we will pass it on to the next person. Which is kind of a relief," Young said.

The other members, Mark Eadie and Joel Monea, have been friends since elementary school, and they have been drawing together for just as long. What started out with drawing comic books for fun turned into a passion for both of them.picture1-editedJoel Monea, Mark Eadie and Helen Young’s reaction to being published in Wax Poetry and Art Magazine

Photo courtesy of Ink Smashed Artists

Eadie met Young later, during their time at Alberta College of Art and Design. The two were studying the art of printmaking, and Eadie saw a lot of potential in her work and invited her out to his weekly drink-and-draws at The Drum & Monkey pub with Monea. This was ultimately the birthplace of Ink Smashed Artists.

Monea said the response to their work has been more than positive, and while people find their work zany and interesting, audiences find it to be well executed for three people collaborating.

The best part about collaborating with each other, Young said, is that it adds that level of fun and freshness back into creating art.

While the group has fun together, they are working hard to make art the main focus of their lives. Ink Smashed Artists have self-funded all of their projects, including a self-published illustrated book entitled Creatures, and the artists are currently working on a graphic novel.

"A 7 volume graphic novel could take years to complete, but we're aiming to have the first volume done by next year!" Young said.

Eadie said that even though their art — which could be described as obscure, grotesque and carnival-styled — may be over the top in some cases, they said that's even better for them because it's something new in the Calgary art scene.

"We just like to have fun with stuff we like, to take our ideas and see how far we can push them, Eadie said. "There really is no subject matter or zaniness that we are not willing to take on."

Produced by Caitlin Clow and Victoria Pizzaro

 

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