WayHome Artist Q&A: Where Art & Music Collide

WayHome Artist

Three artists give us insight into their custom WayHome installations.

TOPSHOP and TOPMAN, the sponsors of this past weekend’s WayHome music festival in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, are diving into a new collaboration. Working with influencer artists who created four installations reflecting four seasonal trends, the brands were proud to introduce an immersive experience that helped festival attendees see themselves in a different light.

We spoke to three of the artists to get their perspective on how music influences their work, and their wardrobe, as well as where they drew inspiration from for each room they created.

(For festival fashion inspiration, click here.)

Wayhome artists Hudson's Bay The Point

Kastor & Pollux, a Toronto-based interdisciplinary agency that specializes in creating unique, custom content, and consists of Dani Roche and Dani Reynolds, among a roster of other talents. The duo created two rooms for WayHome (both images above).

For the Modern Romance themed room, where did you pull inspiration? Are there any designers that work with florals, ruffles etc., that you looked to?

Dani Reynolds: When brainstorming the look/feel for this room we immediately thought of the scene in “Garden State” when Zach Braff is wearing a shirt that blends into the living room wallpaper. Dolce and Gabbana are always a point of inspiration for dark florals. Their Fall Winter 2017 runway collection was no exception.

For Wear How You Feel, where did you inspiration come from? How did it feel, as someone running your own business, to take on a theme of female empowerment?

Dani Roche: In our current sociopolitical climate, it is important to create a discourse about participation, and question what it really means to be an active member of our communities. As a business owner, I run into a lot of challenges, many of which are deeply rooted in gender, and the notion that I need to “prove” myself as someone who is strong and capable in a boardroom and beyond. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of pushback for posting selfies and tying my image to my work. Thus, I spent many years thinking that the use of my image might compromise my work, or the way my work was perceived.

Now, I have grown to understand that my body isn’t a hindrance, nor does it give me a “shortcut” to opportunity or success. As a young woman, I am fighting against so many things already. I am unwilling to accept the accusation that my image hinders the validity of my work and capabilities.

Because there’s so much patriarchal history to challenge and overwrite, differentiating ourselves as “girl” bosses vs. just regular “bosses” has become commonplace. Generally, I find comfort in solidarity, but I recognize there’s so much that needs to be done for progress and change. My work with Kastor & Pollux is rewarding because I can acutely apply these thought processes and experiences to tangible output that showcase the breadth and depth of our work and our capabilities not only as artists and designers, but also as strategic thinkers and entrepreneurs.

Why did you start with a white canvas?

Dani Roche: A room is an inherently physical space and posters are flat objects that come secondary. By minimizing the design of the room, we were able to reallocate the focus and priority on the actual poster designs and the way that they inform the room.

We wanted to create a very blank—almost sterile—space inspired by an art gallery. However, unlike a gallery (which welcomes spectators but disallows engagement), the Wear How You Feel room uses scale and texture to envelope an audience, welcoming participation.

Were there any challenges working within the room’s parametres that you weren’t expecting? And if so, how did you address them?

Dani Reynolds: We really wanted to focus on creating a room that could engage visitors and offer multiple elements to photograph or be photographed with. Originally the plan was to have the furniture hanging from the ceiling. This left us with an empty floor and eliminated the interactive feel of the room. A large portion of our work is digital and lives online on platforms like apps and blogs. Naturally, these formats allow accessibility by allowing anyone to interact with our work via likes, comments, shares, etc. For this project we learned to approach “accessibility” from a new, tangible, perspective.

I also wanted a fountain in the gallery room, but alas, safety regulations.

Why did you sign onto this project? What did you love about creating these installations?

Dani Roche: Having the opportunity to bring Kastor & Pollux’s work to physical spaces is always exciting for me, even though manipulating my understanding of design to manifest in real life instead of on-screen is sometimes challenging. Because I come from a graphic design background, so much of my output for the past 10 years has been digital—though the process often starts on paper.

I’m keen to continue to use an intersection of mediums to inform Kastor & Pollux’s work and thought process, and obviously collaborating with Dani Reynolds is always such a joy!

Which musicians are you most looking forward to seeing at WayHome?

Dani Roche: I’ve seen Solange once and that wasn’t enough—I can’t wait to see her again. Other than that, Frank Ocean (of course), and The Shins (nostalgia!)

Dani Reynolds: Agreed to all of the above, plus Schoolboy Q because he brings the vibes, Andy Shauf because his music makes you feel, and Daniel Caesar (swoon) (heart eye emoji).

Will the work on your installations influence how you dress for the weekend?

Dani Roche: I tend to wear a lot of black clothing, which is impractical for a scorching hot festival (lol) and not fun enough for the rooms Kastor & Pollux designed. I’ve chosen some great pieces from TOPSHOP that I’m looking forward to styling—lighter, more playful, and more romantic.

Dani Reynolds: Absolutely! Super stoked to rock this dark floral modern romance-esque onesie. The plan is to blend into the room, Zach Braff style 🙂

Wayhome artists Hudson's Bay The Point

Jason Voltaire, hailing from Montreal, is a multidisciplinary artist who uses motion graphic design and 3D animation to create his work (image above).

Why do you think ’90s hip-hop is having a resurgence in fashion today? 

Music and fashion function in cyclical trends. Hip-hop has seen a resurgence in sound design from ’90s sonic aesthetics, and that seems to parallel in fashion as well. Relaxed fits with loose cuts and mix of pastels with deep saturated colours. You’ll definitely catch me on a similar tip with my own fits this weekend.

How does music of that era inform your work? 

I was such a huge consumer of MuchMusic as a child and was enthralled by music videos, especially those produced and aired during that era. Seeing these records performed and intercut with post-production effects and colour keying is what I’ve heavily taken in within my own work.

In what ways will you be bringing this era into your activation? Can you speak to the different mediums that you’ll be using?

Reaching back to initial emotional affect in the hardware techniques is where I like to start, and then bring it up to speed with today. I’m working with 3D animation software, an analog video mixer and circuit bent analog video processor. From there, I can re-scan to blow it up into higher resolutions.

Were there any challenges working within the room’s parametres that you weren’t expecting? And if so, how did you address them? 

I got in contact with the creative agency through TOPMAN. They proposed the room’s dimensions, we ironed out the design and any lighting issues to set the tone right. Analog video technology is such a relic in comparison to All-HD-Everything, but I still serve a bit of use for it in video sampling in my day to day. Even the phone apps that attempt to synthesize it just don’t do it for me. There’s just something very haptic about hot phosphors on a CRT monitor that satisfy the eye.

Which musicians are you most looking forward to seeing at WayHome? 

Without a doubt, I am very excited to see Frank Ocean perform on Sunday. He gets it. Very curious to see Justice’s stage design as well. For sure making sure to catch Danny Brown, Solange and School Boy Q—it’s been great to watch them developed from small to huge artists over time. Death From Above 1979 will be a nice post-’90s throwback to catch too.


Photography by David Pike.