Artist Headshot: Darren Rigo

Darren Rigo

Toronto, ON

Darren Rigo was born and raised in rural southern Ontario. The relationship he has formed with the local landscape heavily informs his work. Now living in downtown Toronto as a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, he regularly returns to the local, natural landscape to photograph and collaborate with the land that means so much to him. His images are an attempt to beautify what we normally view as ordinary while they dissect the ways we are connected to nature.


Most of the time we take the world, and our place in it, for granted. The man-made, everyday objects photographed in Displacement reveal a present but often ignored, whimsical beauty.  Photographing each subject among nature allows us to appreciate them, without their manufactured connotations. With our perception open, we can let them become part of the organic landscape; as if it were a more appropriate place for them.

The materials I have decided to work with include balloons, tinfoil, sparklers, vinyl tablecloths, smoke bombs, crêpe streamers, and Christmas bulbs. All of these materials are very cheap, most of them are available at the dollar store, and all of them have been mass-produced. They are materials that nearly everyone has used or played with at some point in their life. This means that everyone viewing these works brings their own experiences with the material to their interpretation and animation of each photograph.

Each photo allows us to revisit its subject in a new light. We notice how stretched latex can illuminate in sunlight, how Christmas bulbs bob and collect on the surface of a pond, and how smoke becomes worked into form by the wind. Once our perception of a material has changed it will never be the same again, and there will be a desire to discover similar, unnoticed qualities in other materials from our everyday lives.

The availability and affordability of the materials used, combined with the commonplace landscapes, allows each situation to appear as though is has occurred naturally and could be easily reproduced by anyone. This challenges the notion that whimsy and intrigue are only accessible through a high amount of production. All that is needed is an open mind.

Finally, the interaction of object with landscape in these works can also be read as a narrative. The situation imposes the viewer to question how and why there is a balloon floating through a forest: has it blown here from a far off birthday picnic? Is it landing on the ground after a week long, helium filled trip? Has the artist just placed it here in the middle of the forest? Is it not a balloon at all, but something that grew in the woods? Can there be no human presence here? The answer to all of these is, yes.


2010: BFA, Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto Major: Photography

Solo Exhibitions

Domestic Wilderness, Atelier 688, Toronto (upcoming)

Displacement; Red, Yellow, Blue, Atelier 688, Toronto
Darren Rigo: Displacement (CONTACT Photo Festival), Tourism Toronto, Toronto

Selected Group Exhibitions

We Are Wild, Xpace, Toronto
OCAD Photo Thesis Show, Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto
2010 Retro Show, Great Hall Gallery, Toronto
Best of TOAE, First Canadian Place Gallery, Toronto

Magnetic North, OCAD Student Gallery, Toronto
Build Upon, Board of Directors, Toronto
Close Distance, Harbourfront Centre Gallery, Toronto
Bring to Light, Steam Whistle Gallery, Toronto
Strangers and Duets, Minnow and Bass Gallery, Toronto
14th Annual Figure Show, Great Hall Gallery, Toronto


Silent Dialogue, Transit Space, Toronto
Diamonds Are Forever, Minnow and Bass Gallery, co-curated with Nathan Cyprys, Toronto


Flash Forward 2010, Magenta Publishing, Toronto (upcoming)
Artist Interview, Rebel Magazine, California
“Best of College Photography”, Photographer’s FORUM, Santa Barbara
“Unless You Will”, Photography Journal, Victoria, Australia

“Featured Artist”, Illiterate Magazine Online, Denver
“Portfolios to Look For”, Photo Ed, Toronto
Ruby Mag, Buenos Aires

Scholarships, Awards, and Grants

Photo Faculty and Friends Award (OCAD)
Queen Competition, 1st Place, (The Artist Project Toronto)
Untapped Emerging Artist Competition Winner

Art of the Barrel Production Grant, in collaboration with Winnie Truong
Best Photographic Portrait Award (Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition)
Mark McCain Award (OCAD)
Scotiabank Scholarship for the Magnum Workshop Toronto at CONTACT


Hudson Kruse
Blake Law Firm
Private Collections

Other Professional Activities and Affiliations

Gallery 44 Member

Art With Heart Auction, Casey House Benefit
Art of the Barrel, Casey House Benefit
The Next Big Thing, OCAD Student Gallery, Toronto

Photorama 2009, Gallery TPW, Toronto
30th Anniversary Show, Gallery 44, Toronto

EYE BUY Darren Rigo...