Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Perfect Day for Steel Bananas: An Interview with Karen Correia Da Silva

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A Perfect Day for Steel Bananas: An Interview with Karen Correia Da Silva

Karen Correia Da Silva started Steel Bananas in mid 2008 with some friends and photographers and designers and has since taken the online zine to a variety of innovative precedents. In addition to monthly updates and a reading series, the zine produced (along with Tightrope Books) a literary anthology and is regularly hosting side projects and other eclectic online arts projects.

In addition to grad school and running Steel Bananas, Da Silva has been the book designer for Tightrope Books since the summer of 2009. As Steel Bananas celebrates its 2nd anniversary and Tightrope gets ready to unveil their fall 2010 catalogue, we caught up with Karen to discuss her busy creative life.

The Steel Bananas Second Anniversary Party is at Sneaky Dee's on October 1st.

OBT:

So you've been designing book covers for Tightrope for a year now. How do you keep things fresh, and what goes into your design methods?

KCDS:

At Tightrope, we work closely with the authors through all aspects of their book, so design is no different. The process is centred on the manuscript's vision and the author's vision for the totality of their book. Of course, the designer and author don't have all of the say, seeing as the LPG consults with us on design. It's an interesting juggle between what the author wants, what the publisher wants and where my personal taste leads me.

OBT:

Steel Bananas is already two years old, and you've done a lot in that time. What do you do to keep things fresh and what are some plans for the future?

KCDS:

Yeah, it grew so fast! We've been trying to keep things new and fresh by throwing events and offering different in-the-flesh art happenings, including a new salon series, live music shows and ephemeral performance art pieces on the streets of Toronto. For the future, we're working on branching out to artists in other Canadian cities (Edmonton, Montreal and Windsor are in the works right now) to connect with the performance art and music enlivening their artistic communities, and we're releasing a yearly themed print magazine showcasing the brilliant art and design emerging from Canada's independent young artists.

OBT:

You are guest poetry editor for the next issue of The Incongruous Quarterly and you decided to ask people for collages. What about collages in this instant world of text and downloads fascinates you, and who are some pioneers of the medium that you think people should study?

KCDS:

Collage is an interesting form because of its vast array of practical applications in both poetry and visual art. Especially in poetry, the idea of mixing, mashing and juxtaposing original or found texts really tickles me, considering it's often an interesting way to explore the sense-making process, and to happen upon spontaneous turns of phrase or prosaic oddities. As a creative process, it truly gives insight into the writer/maker, considering it lays bare the ways in which the artist makes a whole of disjointed pieces. A few brilliant heavyweights: Tristan Tzara, Brion Gysin, Kurt Schwitters and Richard Rauschenberg.

OBT:

What are you working on these days?

KCDS:

Well, other than working on MA and teaching/researching at Ryerson, I'm working on a series of realist oil paintings of scenes from D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love. As a lover of absurdity and collage, it has been a great experience for me to revisit my roots in classical realism.

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