SOUTH ETOBICOKE BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH
City Bonez – Cat Marchese
Scrolling through Instagram we instantly fell in love with Cat’s artwork (you can have a look for yourself right here), taking historical bricks and reviving them with her camera. We were lucky enough to score one of her Mimico prints and interview Cat about the process and how she got started.
Hi Cat, how did you get started creating such unique images?
I’ve always been fascinated by feral environments, dilapidated structures and buildings, anything that’s historically rich yet suffering from environmental OR intentional neglect. Curiously I would ask myself, what was the place? Which purpose did it serve? Who was there, when, and why? And most importantly, why is it in the state it’s in?
My fascination with historical brick collecting began when I stumbled upon a unique looking, very old brick about 4 years ago along the shorelines of Lake Ontario. I brought the brick home and researched it online to see if I could find out more about it. My obsession for finding more stamped bricks sort of took off from there and my collection is now 300+ historical bricks.
I started Citybonez™ during Covid, a name that represents the mud bones of our city, bricks and building blocks that have built our collective societal architecture. Essentially, I wanted to revive history with my camera, taking what was once manufactured decades ago through laborious means and bring back to life and light these chunks of history through photography, creating high-resolution prints.
Were you always an artist?
Yes, I’ve been creative in one way or another my entire life. Mostly musically, writing and collaborating with other likeminded musicians. I’m a drummer, and have been playing drums for 25+ years.
Where do you source the bricks?
I take crazy long walks around the city, it’s how I process ideas and really capture the buzz of what’s happening around us at street level. During my walks, I’ll come across demolitions, re-structures, tear downs, etc. and quite literally (not easily) will approach the premises and see what types of brick I can find. I also have some friends that are masons and sometimes they’ll come across some great pieces and will pass them along to me.
Do you restore them before photographing the pieces?
It depends. I have bricks that I don’t want to scrub clean, the stories in the creases and crevices are fascinating to me and translate well photographically. I do sometimes soap and scrub the bricks clean though, it depends on the look I’m after.
Can you find any of your creations in a retail store or online for instant purchase or is each item custom made?
I do have my website www.citybonez.com which is set up for instant online print purchases. I also have I a few pieces available at Dimensions Custom Framing & Gallery in Toronto. Custom pieces can also be made to order. I generally get people contacting me through Instagram (or my website) with queries and requests.
Are your pieces limited edition?
Yes they are. My smaller pieces (i.e. 7×5, 11×6, 12×12) are open edition but larger, more rare pieces are all limited editions.
Any big projects or shows you are excited about and can share details?
YES absolutely!! I will be doing the Artist Project April 21 – 24th. I’m also in a show titled “VIEWFIND(H)ER at Art Gallery of Mississauga, a show in partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival which begins April 26th and I’ll have a few pieces for sale at the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Art Sale April 28 – May 1st. I’m sure other shows and events will pop up down the road.
When you are not working, what do you like to do?
I actually have a social media biz where I manage a boutique number of small local businesses so that takes up some of my time. I also continue to drum, which is an incredible stress releaser.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! We look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future. For anyone looking to order their own personalized custom creation, you can contact Cat here:
You can see her amazing work on Instagram Citybonez