Gallery A

Interview with Art Lab Artist in Residence, Karolina Baker

September 13th, 2016

You can see Karolina Baker in the Art Lab September 21, 2016 – October 30, 2016. 

Reception: RMG Fridays, October 7, 7-10pm
Artist Talk: October 16, 1-3pm

Capturing Whitby sound, Tuesday 2pm.

Capturing Whitby sound, Tuesday 2pm.

RMG: Please tell us a little about yourself

Karolina: I was born and raised in Ottawa and moved to Toronto in the late 90s. I made my way to Whitby because my husband had a job at the Oshawa airport and I’ve been here since. I’ve always had an artistic current running through my life. I studied acting in Toronto for ten years while freelancing in the film production world. I’ve always maintained that accidentally walking into the 2001 Biennale in Venice, Italy was a true aha moment for me. I was there for a wedding and we had a few days to discover the islands. Unbeknown to me, a whole section of the city was mapped out into these massive art installations. To see art on such a large scale was mind blowing and extremely exciting because it felt like I found my kind. I know that sounds funny, but I really felt like I found a group of people, despite my lack of Italian, who spoke my language and understood the ideas in my head. Since then I knew I had to create my ideas. Now add in four kids and it is a bit more difficult to tap into my creative current! Right now my time is primarily taken up by my kids, but when inspiration and time collide, I am thrilled to make my ideas come to life.


RMG: Why did you apply to the Art Lab artist in residence program?

Karolina: My studio space is in my house and where ever I can make my ideas happen. The Art Lab residence program is a gem of an opportunity for me to approach it like a job, leave my house everyday and go to “work”. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so there are always things to do around here and I seldom allow myself to work on my art projects.


Screen capture of book trailer video shot for author Nerys Parry’s Man and Other Natural Disasters. Published by Enfield & Wizenty.

Screen capture of book trailer video shot for author Nerys Parry’s Man and Other Natural Disasters. Published by Enfield & Wizenty.

RMG: What will you be creating during your residency?  What can visitors expect to find in the Art Lab?

Karolina: I want to record sound and manipulate it. I’ve done audio for short videos I’ve shot, but I haven’t worked in sound alone.  I’d like to record sounds, manipulate them, loop them and amplify them. What sounds will people stay and listen to? I’ll have my laptop, speakers, a recorder and microphone. My initial proposal was to record my daily surroundings, but I would also like to record voices and items in the lab. Having said all that, it is a lab so maybe I will have to let go of my ideas and go down the rabbit hole. I will plug in my speaker into the common room across from the Art Lab and play my experiments. I will write my daily thoughts on the wall so people can follow my journey. I understand it will be hard for people to look in the window to “see” what I am doing, so I welcome any visitors into the lab, to listen and have a chat. We can always learn from each other and that is exactly what I want to do with the art lab; discover a new way to communicate my ideas.


RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has inspired your practice?

Karolina: I don’t text or use my cell phone (my husband would add here that it is because I usually don’t know where it is). I do not like anything to take me away from observing. I am a fierce observer of life around me: patterns, old things, kindness, quietness, order, underdogs, movement and colours.

Artist Janet Cardiff absolutely inspires me. I discovered her in 2001 and she has resonated with me since. I walked through one of her sound installations at the Power Plant in Toronto and visitors were sitting listening to her piece, crying, drawing, dancing, meditating. It was remarkable to see how moved people could be by someone’s idea. Douglas Coupland is another Canadian artist I love to follow. I love his artistic diversity. He writes, makes films, visual art, public art and observations. He uses anything he can to convey his idea and he’s an observer.



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