A few years ago, I realized that I qualified as having social anxiety disorder—a common anxiety that can manifest as a difficulty holding eye contact with people, behaving at parties, making phone calls, and a wide range of ways we generally navigate through of social spaces. Different than shyness or introversion, social anxiety can affect people who have a strong desire to perform on stage. It can therefore manifest itself as a desire to be private and public at the same time.
As I learned about this condition, it dawned on me that the last two decades of my artistic practice has focused on social anxiety in some way. Much of my visual art is interested in creating burdens upon and obstacles in between a performer and his/her capacity to connect with an audience, to simultaneously connected to and disconnect from people. I have also explored things like public signage can influence and direct different kinds of urban and natural space; I have a fascination with crows and their inability to be categorized as either solitary or communal animals. I write songs and tell stories about anxiety, social awkwardness; I search for echoes of these themes in folk tale and mythology.
My arts practice is largely rooted in Hamilton Ontario, where I live with my family. I have exhibited throughout Canada and sporadically in the U.S., both individually and as part of the artist collective TH&B. I performs under the pseudonym ‘tiny bill cody’ and have released collections of original songwriting over the last two decades. My work has been repeatedly supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Hamilton Region Arts Council.