Terry O'Neill

Big Art Projects

Sometimes you just want to make a Gesamtkunstwerk — a total work of art. Together with artist Tara Cooper we make everything-but-the-kitchen-sink art installations.

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The work is tactile, mostly handmade with an emphasis on craft. Like all my work, our projects are based in creative non-fiction—meaning we get out there in the field and do serious research into stories. We take these stories and translate them using video, sound, ceramics, fabrics, and prints into something new.


The Redpath Museum, 2018-

The Redpath Museum on McGill’s campus is the oldest museum of natural history in Canada. I met the director of the museum, Dr. Hans Larsson on a dinosaur dig while filming Follow the Bones. Hans was leading a group of students from McGill and was eager to share his experiences as someone who works in the field and an in the lab. His enthusiasm is infectious and he invited us to spend a month at
the Redpath Museum in March 2018. We had full-access to the collection. We interviewed the curators and staff, and filmed the collection. In June 2018, we embarked on a field trip to shoot Hans and his team in Dinosaur Provincial Park. The material will be crafted into a hybrid art/documentary film that will be screened at the museum in the summer of 2020


The Tall Tales of Mill Street, 2017-2019

It’s DONE & installed! We won a competition to design a public art piece for the Mill Street Station for The Region of Waterloo's LRT. We gathered stories from the neighbourhood—a local faith healer from the 19th century, stories of celebration at the local Oktoberfest hall, along with symbols and icons such as sausages from the old Schneider's meat packing plant, tasty pretzels, and the lucky rabbits that populate the site. The work is a brightly-coloured, giant laser-cut steel sign that will greet patrons as they enter the station.


The Brain is wider than the Sky, 2018

Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery

In the winter of 2018, my partner Tara Cooper was asked to participate in a group show curated by Crystal Mowry. Crystal’s kind of a big deal, and one of our favourite curators, so the heat was on—Tara didn’t want to disappoint. My role was less of a collaborator and more of a true artist assistant—helping Tara realize her vision. The whole show was a knockout, featuring artists Hyang Cho, Meg Harder, Žana Kozomora, Amanda Rhodenizer, Aislinn Thomas. We’re think we did Crystal proud!

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