My art-making is a composite of video, performance, audio recording, drawing and the written word. These distinctive elements converge in  the creation of episodic short films, pseudo-political cartoons, installations and publications that explore notions of self-help, anxiety management, the subject of addiction (both substance and societal) and the current trend and call for “self-care”. 

A keen interest in the late 80’s/early 1990’s proliferation of self-help culture has led me to develop a constellation of characters I perform and bring to life for camera. Each character, whether an amateur-for-television life coach, or an oxycodone addicted Toronto socialite, are struggling with life, searching for their authentic selves and ultimately seeking redemption through new age practices and visual-making.  I enjoy synthesizing fictional and autobiographical content that creates a grey space between the genuine and the satirical. Within this liminal space exists confessional intimacies and distancing devices orchestrated by a “theatre of therapies”.

I am interested in the idea of art production as an activity practiced by my world of characters, who may find solace in the visual act as a therapeutic quality in their narrative.  This idea stems back to a grade school exercise I was assigned to “draw how I feel” – an idea both liberating and vague. I recall asking myself in my public school classroom:  “Is this a serious exercise?”  I have discovered that once I properly tap into the question and ambivalence of this visceral memory, a cul-de-sac into my studio practice is established.

Evan Tyler 

(2018)


Key ideas: 

conflation of self help with institutionalization of artistic practice through contemporary careerism

drugs as personal failing and rejection of institutional approval