The concept for this website and venture (ARTrophy) began when I was still in prison. (That’s right, prison…if this is news to you and comes as a surprise, then keep following along as there are many more surprises in store) During our visits, Kupu and I would talk about LAP (life after prison) and how we could move forward. We didn’t know when that would be or what it would look like but the idea of taking some time to dream about a future driven by our passions served as a great escape, no pun intended. It also helped us get through some long dismal days when the situation seemed hopeless.
One of our great passions was traveling to parts unknown and immersing ourselves in new cultures. Ironically, this is sort of how we ended up in the situation where I (Bhuddi) ended up ‘locked up abroad’. Despite the craziness, we didn’t want one horrible situation to ruin all the fun we had up until that point.
During our previous travels, we took a lot of photos and thought it might be fun to share some of our experiences through images we captured. We also wanted to look back at all the positive experiences we were fortunate enough to have had and show gratitude for them. So we decided to set up an Instagram account. Kupu would put images on an SD card and smuggle them into the prison. I would style and edit the images while Kupu wrote a poetic description for each image. It was a collective creation done in separate spaces. If you want to know how I was able to post something from prison, well that is another story for another time.
We woke up the next morning and the lovely weather from the previous day had disappeared. Here is the first lesson we re-learned, weather in Canada is unpredictable and can turn on a dime. By the time we made it to Moose Jaw, we had to give up our campsite for a hotel room in order to dry out our gear. The second lesson noted; sleeping in the car is only an option when there is nothing else inside the car. When you are traveling across the country that typically isn’t the case. So a Super 8 along the TransCanada was our choice. It was ideally located right next to the statue of a massive Moose.
When I was younger and could drive I wanted to road trip across Canada to photograph statues of large things. If you are from Canada you may know what I mean, there is the previously mentioned Moose, a Canadian goose in Kenora, a nickel in Sudbury, an Easter Egg in Vegreville, a giant dump truck in Sparwood. You get the idea. I wanted to title the book Big Things Small Places. If you have any other examples please leave a comment so I can add to this by no means exhaustive list.
Have I mentioned yet that I can’t see well enough to drive so all the driving was up to Kupu? I was in charge of music and balanced coffee consumption. It was a new car to us, and we didn’t want to get it all messy with crunchy snacks so we opted for cereal snacks. We did try to choose some childhood favourites keeping in mind the sugar content. So Corn Pops, Golden Grahams, and Oat Squares were on the menu. Third lesson; Fruit Loops and Captain Crunch have way too much sugar. I know you only live once and prison didn’t kill me so what’s a little extra sugar? However, being on a sugar high while traveling across the Prairies quickly gives one the shakes. So balancing sugar intake with strong coffee was key. Even though there are 4286 Tim Horton’s in Canada – the distance between them varies greatly! So sometimes we were more concerned about our next coffee stop than gassing up the SUV.