a chat with editor-in-chief: tiana dueck

letter from the editor

Hello world,
I’m overjoyed to introduce you to the first issue of Volvox Vault. The Identity issue is vibrating with harmonic creative energies. I was lucky when a rush of inspiration hit me to start this project when COVID-19 sadly made its way to Canada. Like many of us, I’m spending a lot of time alone. Reflecting on who I am now at the unripe age of 22 and who I want to become. I’ve been doing a lot of quiet manifesting, following my passions, and finding ways to stay balanced. I found that while being alone is just dandy, lovely people are truly what make life worth living. Having a sense of community nourishes our lives. So I present Volvox Vault, a sanctuary for creatives to come and reflect on their practices, befriend a talented community, and share guidance. Through our website, quarterly magazines, and other endeavours, we will bring creatives together. The principles of Volvox Vault are heavily inspired by the law of attraction. We ask, who are you truly in relation to who you are allowing yourself to be? In what ways are you distracted from the vibrational core of your being? And might you find the space and time to rediscover your self/source, create something based on your pure desire to make, and share it with the Volvox Vault community? If you’re into the law of attraction, you’ll understand when I say that we are all about being “in the vortex”. Further, while I was learning to code in university, I found that computational art was somehow exceedingly natural. When you think computationally, especially while coding behaviours, you realize that these fundamental instructions are at the base of everything. You don’t have to be an expert to code a colony of ants, or even a small ecosystem of fish. It’s oddly meditative. Great generative artists understand the natural instructions that are present in real ecosystems, and are fluent in languages that allow them to virtually replicate and alter them. The results are magical; they are wizards. With that understanding, I realized that this is true for many types of artists. To me, great artists are genuine and look to the natural for inspiration. It is not fulfilling to create based on what is trending, what’s truly rewarding is pursuing art which is honest to ourselves. Truthful, like the beauty of forests, oceans, animals, and the sky. Something that Mother Nature herself would be proud of. Projects motivated by the self, not by outside pressures. Those are the kinds of projects we host at Volvox Vault. You might be wondering “What the hell is a Volvox?” Volvox is a type of algae which forms curious spherical colonies of tens of thousands of cells. Born into colonies, and mothering colonies, the Volvox in a sense is a colony. Volvox represents that we as individuals would be practically nothing without our united communities. We’re all products of them! I am inspired by creative communities like Special Fish, The Creative Independent, Daisie, and Are.na. They all serve great purposes as creative platforms. Yet, I saw a need for a new community while looking around at my friends, and the creatives near and far from me. There is always room for more collaboration. We need to unite more fluidly somehow. So here we are, coming together for the first time. Thank you for supporting this little baby project & enjoy Identity...

tiana dueck - editor in chief

a minute with max

how i found creativity in self isolation

“Have you been more creative now since quarantine started?”
Many artistic and creative types have heard this question over the last few months. My answer has always been affirmative, citing the extra time gave my mind access to new creative realms. My thought process was if I could verbalize creative success, it would manifest itself into existence. The truth of the matter was I had hit my first ever creative block. Whenever I would sit down to draw or write nothing came to mind. Even if I could scrounge up something it felt hallow and not representative of my ability. It was as though the river of my creativity had gone totally dry. This was quite difficult for me to stomach since creative production had been a large part of my artistic identity. A few years prior, I had bought into the idea that I had to always be producing. I would often tell myself “you’re only as good as your last drawing” in the name of motivation. For a long time, this worked, but during this period of self-isolation it was hard to motivate myself in that manner. In the past when I wanted to tap into creative realms, I would intentionally self-isolate and then see what I had come up with once I emerged. I figured that now since self-isolation was being imposed on me it would be the same thing, but it was not. Being forced to shelter in place made me interpret that I was forced to do artwork as well.

I would see a lot of things online that would also reinforce this idea. I had encountered countless posts and articles that were calls to action for artists. I would see lines like “We need art now more than ever” and “How art can aid us in self-isolation.” I was subconsciously interpreting all this external pressure and internalizing it. It added into the pressure I put on myself by associating creative production with a part of my identity. The result was a feeling that my creativity was totally stifled.

It was only when I realized that this pandemic had put us all under extreme circumstances, thus making all previous modes of operating null and void. I had come to understand that it was fine to let go of old standards. The second realization that helped my creativity was altering the internal monologue towards my work. Once I relaxed about my rate of production, I also realized that I did not need to go over the top to motivate myself. I have had creative lulls before, and yet I always managed to come back and produce art. I realized this was because no matter what I was doing art was also happening within me. I could go for a walk, watch standup all day, or read a book; all were building my creativity. All the things I was doing outside of art were operating within me on a subconscious level and adding to my creative reserves. This reshaping of my artistic identity meant that there was no such thing as “a waste of time.”

The third and final realization related to this external pressure. I had fallen into the trap of articles that put the onus on artists to “save” the public from their quarantine blues or boredom. The only responsibility artists have is to themselves and their wellbeing, especially in times like these. It made no sense to measure myself up against the arbitrary standard of the internet hivemind.

Once I had worked through all these things and internalized them, I was able to harness my creativity once more.

daniel maluka

quarantine dreams part 1-9

piece. (peace) - - - website exclusive

The storm marries nicely with our familiar pools.
An overflow –
Occurs Though –
I misplaced my lifejacket for this and wore weights as my shoes.

To go with the tide does not mean I know the depths.
And, most often what is on the surface is not securely kept.

Maybe the question more so is,
What will it take for me to jump in?
A lesson of drowning in my own waters
Before I even know how to swim.

My Spirit is wandering –
To mapped unfamiliarity.
An uncertainty –
Poses an illusion of no choice in the matter making me feel coy.
Though, these are prison bars of my thinking I must resist to employ.

And break out –
Synergize what is polarized.
And make a real effort to see –
Myself bare, gritty, and honestly.

If I could travel back in time I would say to myself:
!!!!Go!!!! –
Where your art and your heart are appreciated.
Not necessarily by others… But by YOU.
Because sometimes it is yourself that is
Hardest to stay with in the same room.

In this motion, you will become the tree,
Fully expressing your soliloquy,
Standing your ground on nobody else’s lease…

Then I would remind myself of that line before,
Where the familiar pool married the storm.
Speak now or forever hold your peace.
Sometimes I think we bind ourselves to things,
Without ever thinking about our piece. (peace).

em biggs

winged aphid morphs

in closing

Thank you for supporting the first issue of Volvox Vault. We have poured our hearts and souls into this project, and we hope you have felt it. There is much more to come from us, so we hope to see you again in the next issue and on our website.

We acknowledge that the summer of 2020 has been a confrontational one. A much needed passion for change and justice has been ignited, and we stand with those fighting for their rights since colonization began and into the future. There is a lot of work to be done, we must continue to raise our voices, support each other, and demand justice. Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. Trans lives matter. Visit http://volvoxvault.com/justice.html for various resources.

Velvetyne Type Foundry Fonts: Happy Times at the IKOB New Game Plus Edition by Lucas Le Bihan & Trickster by Jean-Baptiste Morizot

justice tiana dueck

featured artists

Tiana Dueck, Andrei Pora, Beatrice Douaihy, Daniel Maluka, Emily Biggs, Rae Bundy, Hannah Polinski, The Digital Cowboy, Arianna Cancian, Brooke Hess, Daniel Barrios, Deanna Armenti, Frijke Coumans, Maxwell Matchim, Paige Walker, Shane Brennan