Jillian McDonald got into horror movies later in life, but after working on video art pieces on Billy Bob Thornton and Brad Pitt, she turned her attention to zombies, just before the undead became “big.” She plays with the narrative expectations of horror movies, either delaying, refusing, confusing, or inverting cliches.
Her current touring video installation Valley of the Deer comes from her extended stay at Glenfiddich’s art residency program. (Yes, the distillery!) and features figures wearing animal masks looming menacingly in the misty, mystical landscape. Currently at SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery, this three monitor, 48 minute piece is odd and hypnotic. It is accompanied in the gallery by her drawings of the film’s characters. And by using the Layar app, at various locations around the gallery and certain locations in Santa Barbara, you can see the characters waiting for you in augmented reality.
Valley of the Deer’s origins
The best length for video art
Working with the Layar app
The non-influence of You’re Next
The influence of Scottish legends
Justin Bieber, and the cutlure of awareness
Narrative structure of post-’80s horror
Growing up in Edmonton and living in Winnipeg
Winnipeg’s Gothic sensibility
Reading Stephen King novels as a kid
A very scary-sounding babysitter job
Turning to art in high school
How storage space can determine the art you make
One of her early New York works involving clothing
Her “zombie makeup” piece
Why zombies are the most horrific mythology
“Field of the Dead” and “The Scream” and “Zombie Loop”
Slow zombies > fast zombies
Horror movies in the cinema vs at home
The Walking Dead comic vs. TV show
Future work, turning away from monsters
The Blair Witch Project
Primal horror in the woods and her live performance in Sweden
Lilith Performance Studio
Haunted houses and paying to be kidnapped
Dressing up as a zombie
Would she ever make a feature
The Wicker Man
A Field in England
Night of the Living Dead
Children of the Corn
The Blair Witch Project
Ms. McDonald was in Santa Barbara briefly to install and attend the premiere, and thanks to the Atkinson’s Sarah Cunningham for setting up this interview. Being a horror film fan and a filmmaker, I had a great amount of fun in this interview.
Outside of Santa Barbara, the show is also on view right now at Montreal’s Centre Clark through Feb 21, 2015. It will also be touring to Air Circulation in Buffalo, NY May 16 – June 22 and Waterloo, Ontario later in the year.
Her website is here
Subscribers to the podcast now receive my weekly newsletter “Friday Document Dump” (guess when it comes out!) where I provide 10 links to things I found interesting this week, from essays to artist portfolios, videos and more. Look for it!!
If you can’t see the embedded podcast above, here are other ways to listen:
Subscribe to our show on iTunes. Please take a moment to like us on iTunes and rate us!!!
Or for non-iTunes people out there, subscribe to our RSS Feed
Lastly, our theme tune is brought to you by Raw Vegan.