Leanne Dunic might be a multi-disciplinary artist, but she admits that it's not always easy having a resume that reads musician/writer/visual artist/curator.
"I don't think it's for everyone," she says. "For many years I was told to pick one thing and stick with that. That is good advice for some people ... If they want to live a creative life that's exploratory and full of learning—any artist's life is full of learning—but I feel I'm really learning so much all the time, so that suits me."
While her focus has been primarily on writing and music recently, Dunic can't help but filter the world through an artist's lens. Even as a storeowner, she saw her daily tasks as creative endeavours.
"Before I was a writer I used to own a clothing store," she says. "That was similar in a way that it let me be creative in so many capacities; curating items in the store, relationships with my staff, marketing, expansions of stores. I like to be creative in whatever capacity I can."
These days Dunic is likely best known as the frontwoman in the Vancouver-based cinematic rock band, The Deep Cove. Last November, the group released its debut album, To Love the Coming End of the World, along with a companion book called To Love the Coming End (which, interestingly, was published as a poetry book by Dunic's Canadian publisher and released as fiction by her American publisher).
The record serves as a soundtrack to the book (Dunic penned both), but they were created simultaneously and organically evolved as complements to each other.
"If you're really keen you can see the secret links between the two," she adds. "It wasn't a total conscious thing when I was doing it at the time. I didn't realize they would be companion pieces. It was a realization at the end of the process."
Her thesis project for the University of British Columbia's MFA program was a little more deliberate. "I just finished recording an album for my thesis based on a story," she says. "It's about two unnamed characters—a male and a female—who have an unconventional relationship and talk about art and creation. The songs on this album more intentionally complement the stories than on my previous project. It's pretty clear how the songs connect to the story and the story to the songs."
To that end, Dunic is sharing some of her lessons learned as both a songwriter and performer in two sessions at the Writers Adventure Camp in Whistler on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9.
The first session is called Performance for Writers, which will help writers learn how to read their work for an audience, while the second, The Poetry of Song, will demonstrate how writers can use songwriting tools to dig deeper into their subconscious "to create lyrics that speak to deeper truths (without drug use)," jokes the workshop's description.
"To be honest, I think it's hard for people to get interested in this sometimes because they feel they need to be a musician to write songs," Dunic says. "But I don't think that's the case. I make this class ... a very accessible experience for people."
Finally, adventure campers and the public alike can watch Dunic and one other member of The Deep Cove perform at the Writers Camp Cabaret at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Saturday at 7 p.m.
This, however, isn't Dunic's first time performing in Whistler. Last October, with her band in tow, she performed at the Whistler Writers Festival, which was just one of several writers' fest gigs.
"It's really refreshing," she says of the unusual venue. "I think my band finds it refreshing. They love it. They want to do it all the time. Because I incorporate reading in the music, it's a fun performance. It's just a different way of performing and a different way of thinking about music and writing."
For tickets to the workshops or the cabaret, visit thepointartists.com.