A jailbird set free: an interview with Corie Waugh


Corie Waugh is by no means an average art student; she is a big city lioness trapped in a small town. She is charismatic, sarcastic, unpredictable and delightfully provocative. In September, she will be entering her final year at UBCO. For now, however, Corie is based out of Habitat, a venue in downtown Kelowna. Awarding Corie the first ever Jail Bird Artist Residency at Habitat was one of the most rewarding experiences of my young curatorial career. On June 29th, Corie’s masterpieces will be unveiled officially at the Jail Bird Art Show at Habitat.

Earlier this week, I ambushed Corie in her studio:


oook: Did you submit to Jail Bird because you wanted to or because I bullied you into it?


Corie: The first time you told me about it was in the fine arts building at UBCO and it sparked a little curiosity, but I got bullied from a lot of people. They were just like, “You need the space, and then you wouldn’t have to work in the house!”


So your roommates…


Well they already have a studio in our house, trying to start a tie-dye business. I liked the idea of having control over my own space, though, somewhere that I can be a part of the Kelowna art scene.


Funny you should say that- Habitat created the Jail Bird Residency/Art Show to bring the Kelowna visual art scene into a venue otherwise exclusive to musicians. It seems that we are both using each other for the same purpose. In the past, Kelowna has been notorious for not offering opportunities to young artists trying to display their work.


I’m lucky that things just usually happen for me. I was a little dick when I first got here. I worked a shitty job that worked us employees to the bone for minimum wage. I wasn’t too pleased about that, but other stuff started opening up for me. I became a regular at the Bean Scene and the Fed. I started to recognize people and get recognized. My second year in Kelowna was more of an introduction to the fine arts community, which you weren’t a part of because you were jet set somewhere-


Thanks for reminding me-


My entry into the visual art scene at UBCO was gradual. In second year, profs started calling me a ‘good painter.’ I hate the word ‘good.’ When I am critiquing someone’s work I say, “Oh, that’s good” when I am lying.



If you had stayed living in Toronto, you would have probably gone to OCAD. Whereas OCAD is specifically an art and design school, our art program at UBCO is associated with a university. Do you think that traditional academia and fine art belong in such close proximity?


I think the relationship between them on campus is bullshit. There is such a strong separation between us. 


True- it seems that the other faculties should either be willing to have more interaction with art students, or we should have our own campus. There is an uncomfortable tension at UBCO, but I am hoping that it is just university growing pains.


I actually deliberately bring friends from different faculties into the studios on campus to show them what I do. It is therapeutic for me to see someone experience my work who has little or no knowledge of visual arts. People think that art students just float down the halls singing, that we sleep in the hallways instead of going to class. Actually, I always see you sleeping!


Yeah, I love that green couch more than I love my own bed.


Exactly! We have a bad reputation, but really it is just bad stereotyping.

Tell me about your style.


I’ve never settled down with a certain style. I have a weird personality. I used to do a lot of art in conversation with people. I would walk around with a brush dipped in india ink  and paint to music or poetry or whatever.


The way I think about art process in general, is as one linear, wavering line. Your current wood grain series reflects that perfectly. It is very meditative. Whereas previous works were quite loud and cathartic, your new pieces seem to be channeling a certain zen.


Well I’ve actually always been more of a quiet listener. It wasn’t until recently that I became a loud mouth. Lately I feel like I am always talking. I hate it. 


You love it.


No! I always push myself into the spotlight, but I don’t necessarily like being there. I like being the person at the back of the classroom, swearing at something.  


Corie’s work will be on display during the Jail Bird Art Show, Friday June 29th at Habitat. Door at 8pm. $5 entry. 19+


2 Responses to “A jailbird set free: an interview with Corie Waugh”
  1. Allison Gold says:

    Your work is extrodinary Corie! You are such a talented Artist. Good luck with your show! Wish I was closer to come in person!

  2. Jodi Rose says:

    Cor, you continue to amaze me and I know I am one of the lucky few to have a Corie Waugh original (actually 2) on my wall at home. Good luck with your show and I wish I could be there.

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