Note from the Artist

Thanks for coming to my site.

Unless my SEO is way better than it has any business being, you’re probably here because you know me through my main project, the Canadian goth/glam band Double Eyelid.

While I’ve been a musician since I was a small child, in 1998 I took what turned out to be a 10-year foray into the visual arts via photography. I was living in Kingston, at the end of an undergrad degree in music and was somewhat burnt out on it. I’d been playing with several bands but none of them were going anywhere. During a freak event – an ice storm on a scale that had never been seen before – I went out with a 35mm camera to take pictures. When I got the prints back, I was inspired by the geometric patterns I was seeing in the branches. The images were striking by themselves, but I wanted to make something more of them, and over time developed a physical cutting and pasting technique that transformed them into mandalas. Call it analogue image manipulation – Photoshop before Photoshop.

I did multiple bodies of work in this vein that were shown in galleries in my then-home of Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Around 2001 I decided that I needed to learn how to make the prints themselves, which gradually pulled me away from the photo-mandalas and into more darkroom-based manipulation. I began to work with layering negatives so that each print was a fusion of different moments; images that looked ‘real’ but could never exist.

In late 2003 I went to Seoul, Korea to work as an English teacher. I was determined to keep up my photography, but had a hard time finding colour darkrooms to print in. By 2005 I’d set up a show in a fairly prominent gallery in Seoul based on the strength of my previous work … but had nowhere to print in the way that I knew how. With the help of a good friend I was eventually able to find a black and white darkroom, though … with a very friendly owner who spoke English well – and an in-house bar! Shooting with the idea that I would be printing in black and white was brand-new to me, and the way that I was able to get my head around this was to shoot material that was black and white in the first place. I took a piece of white board, then went out to shoot shadows of whatever was inspiring me – black on white. This series brought my work full circle in a sense, as the image manipulation was now happening before the shot was even taken. I showed this work in Seoul in a split exhibition with my partner, the conceptual artist Elizabeth Fearon, and again in Toronto on our return in 2007.

Late in 2007, some personal circumstances led me to a point of crisis and I realized I had music that I absolutely needed to write. Double Eyelid was formed about a year after that, and while I did have what turned out to be my last photo exhibit in 2009, I had by then moved away from visual art and back to forms of expression that were more familiar to me.

After years of not really thinking about the work I made during this time, I came across a bunch of documentation of it on an old hard drive. It was better than I remembered it being, so I started posting it on social media. The response was positive, and so I’ve made this site so that others can have the opportunity to enjoy it.

Ian Revell
November 22, 2022