DCMA site of book launch by local artist Gail Prussky

November 15, 2016   ·   0 Comments

The Dufferin County Museum and Archives played host Saturday, to the launch of local artist Gail Prussky’s first book, Broken Balloons. Published by Exile Editions Limited, of Holstein Ontario, the book is a collection of short stories and poems, illustrated by Gail’s drawings and paintings.

The work has come about through a series of strange occurrences and collaborations, that have culminated in a wonderfully eclectic and unique collection of artwork and written word.

It all started when Gail, an admitted introvert, found herself seated next to a complete stranger at the wedding of her good friend David Cronenberg’s daughter, Caitlin. The two began a lengthy conversation about horses and horse racing that led to Gail suggesting she send him some of her drawings. The complete stranger was none other than Barry Callaghan, well-known author, poet and publisher and the son of Morley Callaghan, another of Canada’s better known literati.

Thus began what became a three-year journey to the launch party for Broken Balloons.

But the uniqueness and eclecticism does not begin or end there. Prior to moving to 25 acres in north Mono with her husband Alan and her two Great Danes, Ella and Satchmo, Gail spent 10 years working in Toronto as a hard-drug addiction therapist. Drawing became a release from her traumatic experience in drug counselling, although she had always drawn, even as a child.

Originally, the book was to be a collection of writings from other authors, illustrated by Gail’s drawings, but then, having always wanted to write, Gail decided to create all the book’s art, written and visual. The result is a soul-searching and mind-expanding journey into the minds of perhaps not only the author, but perhaps others she has encountered along the way.

As Barry guided the editing of the book, others came to add tone to the project. David Cronenberg composed an intriguing and humorous forward and Orangeville’s own Jeff Rollings provided an afterword. In all, they proved the perfect foil for the imagination and talent of Gail Prussky.

Gail’s visual art comes entirely from her imagination. Strange creatures emerge from the primordial ooze, while others appear more as bizarre insects from another world. She does not plan or plot out her art, but  simply sits down and starts to create, often adding captions or short descriptions, to the end results. Her drawings are crafted in mere minutes – perhaps 20 at the outside. Nevertheless, they are complete works, finished in every way and totally captivating.

Her written work is as uniquely demonstrative as the visual, whether it is a short descriptive beneath on of her characters or a complete short story. It will first take you in one direction and then suddenly, you arrive somewhere completely different. Not at all where you expected to be.

Broken Balloons is wonderful first book, but more importantly it is a captivating and entrancing work that will fascinate the reader for much longer than it takes to read it.

To see more of Gail’s art and thoughts, follow her on Facebook.


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