Toronto-based Daryl Vocat likes to subvert familiar images in his found-work-based print projects.
Case in point: His series called Perfectly Normal, currently on display in the main exhibition space in the SNAP Gallery, is based on hyper-familiar illustrations plucked from old Boy Scout manuals.
The subversion comes when the 26-year-old former Scout juxtaposes these innocuous, yet still culturally loaded drawings with more graphic images relating to sexuality and gay stereotypes. "It's a pretty universal subject matter in one way. I'm looking back when I was younger and trying to figure out my sexuality and how that was all wrapped up with these other issues that came with being a Scout, like the idea of brotherhood and how to become a man," says the Saskatchewan-born artist of his brightly-coloured, deeply engaging body of work.
"These were issues that were not easily talked about, but they were happening. I remember looking up words like 'gay' in the dictionary and wondering what it means and asking myself if that was what I was," he says. "These images I'm using are very much about how we talk in code about sexuality around young people."
While the exhibit as a whole is thematically lighter-than-not with a definite kitschy edge to it, some of the pieces are quite dark and explore issues like violence and suicide as pertaining to gay youth.
"I wanted to look back at these issues, but not romanticize them."
"Despite my own fond memories of childhood and time spent in the Scouts, I realized that there is a darker side, too, and wanted to address that as well. Ironically enough, it's the dark images that get the most feedback and sell the best."
On display in the SNAP Gallery foyer is another artist by the name of Daryl who also has a fondness for found images and blurring artistic lines.
Edmonton-based Daryl Rydman's most recent body of work