Photography courtesy of Rebecca Blissett
Tobias Wong was a star in New York City, but he always remained close to his family, friends and his roots in Canada and especially Vancouver, where I had moved to several months before he died. In January of 2010, I had shown some of his work and curated a lecture of his in Toronto and was shocked and saddened at the loss of him; a colleague I had great fondness and respect for.
The idea for a show in Vancouver manifested in the months that followed. I felt strongly that attention was better directed toward his ideas and influence instead of his too early end. It seemed fitting that I was living out west at the time, and had the resources to make an exhibit happen. The city where he was born and raised, his family and friends and Tobi himself deserved a celebratory homecoming for his work that had made an indelible impression on the worlds of art and design. I set out to accomplish this with the utmost respect for Tobi's tight-knit community and am so grateful for their support (which in the end, was not only a buoying source of energy, but also integral to the exhibition itself).
I came at the show from a perspective of curatorial lightness, meaning the vision was already there (the work speaks strongly for itself), all I had to do was to make space for the community to relay the context; each piece on exhibit is accompanied by a short blurb of commentary from a friend, collaborator or curator. My intention with this show was to create the ultimate Tobias Wong project: an inspiration machine that would take his ideas up and out, inspiring others to see their surroundings as ingredients for making art... that art is everywhere and we can all use it to say something.