The Proust Questionnaire: Joseph Tisiga

The Proust Questionnaire started as a Late Victorian parlour game, aimed at revealing key aspects of a person’s character. While still in his teens, author Marcel Proust answered a similar series of questions with such enthusiasm that, when the manuscript containing his original answers was discovered in 1924, his name became permanently associated with this type of informal interview. This is a modified version of the original questionnaire.



Joseph Tisiga. © Joseph Tisiga

Born in Edmonton in 1984, Joseph Tisiga is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose work is firmly rooted in painting and drawing but also incorporates performance, photography, sculpture and installation. He has exhibited across Canada, including the Yukon Art Centre, Diaz Contemporary and the Audain Art Museum, and was a finalist in the RBC painting competition in 2009 and longlisted in the 2011 Sobey Art Award. His work is currently on view in the National Gallery of Canada’s exhibition Àbadakone | Continuous Fire | Feu continuel. A member of the Kaska Dena Nation, he lives and works in Whitehorse, Yukon.


Your earliest memory of art: 
My mom teaching my brother and I how to sew and make beach bags out of old towels​.

When did you know this would become your vocation: 
Still not sure art is my vocation, but it’s a good way to spend time.

Your greatest influence: 
Boredom, banality, blindspots and injustice​.

Occupation you would have chosen other than art: 
Spatially inept architect.

Favourite pastime: 
Making broad assumptions about the future​. 

Favourite artist: 

Favourite writer and musician:

Favourite colour, flower and bird:
Forest in direct light; Kinnikinnick; problem-birds because they don’t know as much as they want us to believe.

Favourite food and drink:
Hamburger and coffee cream.

Favourite smell and sound:
Celery and the high pitch throat mucus makes when I’m nervously talking through salivation.

Favourite object:
Hot air balloon.

Favourite environment or landscape: 
Any body of water I can float in and look at the sky. 

Favourite weather or season:
The sweet spot between summer and fall when it’s nice enough for warmish swimming and cool enough for a sweater.​ 

Favourite expression, catchphrase, proverb or word:
The masters tools will never dismantle the masters house. I have no idea where it originated but remember the person who told me about i​t.

Pet peeve:
Bodily deterioration.

Best quality:

Worst flaw:

Your definition of happiness:
Biting my son’s belly while he laughs like crazy.

Ideal place to live:
Anywhere with my son and community

A recurring dream:
It’s too long to explain, but involves Steve Martin as his character in Roxanne steering a gondola with me and two kids in an underground river cavern toward a cliff that he pushes us off of …

One wish:
Own a house with an entire three story wall that opens up. Or clean drinking water for everyone that needs to drink water …

Aspirations before you die:

To me art is (in five words or less):
Something to think about or do.



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