Yuriko Iga

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      THE ARTIST: Yuriko Iga

      THE LOWDOWN: Iga is best known as curator/janitor of Blim, an experimental art space downtown. Her current work explores the range of effects that can be obtained through screen-printing. Inspired by "blim blim", her childhood fantasy world, Iga's mixed-media wall sculptures feature imaginative animal characters with names like Bobo, Rocko, Lucky, and Sanchez.

      COORDINATES: Blim (600í‚ ­23 West Pender Street, www.blim.ca/) holds screen-printing workshops every Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Special events most weekends; submissions accepted.

      PROCESS-ORIENTED: Iga's collection of small stuffed animals provides the basis for much of her recent work. She photographs the toys--gathered from shops in Chinatown--and transfers these images onto screens. Consistently measuring 18" x 20", the mixed-media pieces are almost vulgar in their excessive layering of incongruous material to create what Iga calls maximalist painting. The artist haphazardly combines screen ink, spray paint, rubber-paint dots, and coloured wax to create garish tableaux in honour of her make-believe animal friends. Influenced by '80s design in her use of colour, especially hot pink, Iga merges fashion and youthful fantasy, provoking comparisons of the two as similar protective mechanisms. Her interest in fashion has also led her to make one-off clothing/art pieces bearing some of the motifs used in her paintings.

      WHAT IT ALL MEANS: "I'm always steering away from conventional forms of art practice," Iga says at Blim. "If I'm going to make anything, the process is really important, and I usually don't do it more than once or twice. I was doing a few shows with tile work and people began to know me as 'the tile artist', and that's when you know it's time to change your medium. With Blim, I'm into facilitating pretty much anything, from performance art through to design."