Tom Bagley and Geneva Haley

Best for Last Artist Profiles

Something I've observed (and heard others observe as well) is that an artists' work often reflects their personality. If the artist is funny and clever so is their artwork, same if they are serious and brooding, or wild and crazy, etc. I doubt this is universally true but I've seen it enough to be a reasonably supported hypothesis in many cases. For this artist profile I wanted to test the theory. As an added wrinkle both Tom and Geneva are excellent musicians as well so I thought I would see if this was true with their music too.

For over 25 years Tom Bagley has lived an admirable double creative life as an illustrator known for his oftentimes horror inspired alternative comic book style illustrations. At the same time he is also known by others as his alter ego, Jackson Phibes of the horror inspired Canadian Horrorock band Forbidden Dimension. Obviously in content and interests his audio and visual arts are mirror images, with a gleeful interest in the gritty and macabre. When looking at the way he draws I feel like his wonderfully jaggedly inked line work combined with darkly lurid colours are consistent with the vinegary personae Tom projects. I've always felt that Tom's illustration was way ahead of it's time, or maybe just timeless. It feels just as new to me as the first time I saw it in CJSW's Vox way back when.

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Geneva Haley's discography begins a little bit more recently, by a few decades, as does her visual arts. Her band, We Knew, describe themselves as serpentine shadow rock. Which does have an affinity in tone and style to Geneva's intriguing and stylish artwork – plus the image included in the Best for Last exhibition has a serpent! As to how her creative voice reflects her personality? It is open to interpretation, which is reflective of her being in the enviable position of just starting on her creative road trip. Day by day it will become clearer and clearer, and it's cool that she has already developed such powerful tools to express herself and her art with both accomplished music and pictures.

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Mike Kerr