Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sketches of an Invalid

Travis has ruptured a ligament in his hind leg. He won't be able to go for walks at the park or beach for the next few months, which will probably lead to one depressed dog. Poor guy. He's been hopping back and forth around the living room moaning. Watching him makes me so sad. Since he hasn't been moving around too much I thought I'd do a few quick sketches of him resting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Western Front's 38th Annual Gala Dinner and Art Auction

The Western Front
is an artist-run-centre in Vancouver that provides a venue for various local and international artists to showcase experimental, performance, and media art forms. This organization is not just relegated to being an exhibition space, but it functions as a space for international artist residencies, supports multi-disciplinary formats, and publishes Front arts journal. It's pretty much a really cool and important institution within Vancouver's arts and culture scene.

The Western Front will be hosting it's 38th Annual Gala Dinner and Arts Auction on March 12th this year! For those of you who are not doing much on that fair March evening, you should definitely go and support our beloved Western Front and BC arts!

I will be contributing to the Front's art auction with my piece Ghost Mountain. It's an original drawing, acrylic medium and ink on archival paper, 13"x11". It will be framed and it is personally one of my favourite drawings, but it's time to find a home for it. Perhaps even your home.

Western Front Society
303 East 8th Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy happy Valentine's

Valentine's day was probably a bit more meaningful to me as a kid than any other time in my life. I wasn't much of a romantic as a kid and I'm still not so much these days. I remember Valentine's day as being a day of collective effort in the classroom and promoting the warm and fuzzies. Cookie decorating and sweets abounds. A real day for people like me to indulge my sweet tooth.

I was forbidden to ever buy a card as a kid. My Dad would ensure all cards that we gave to people were hand-made. The day before Valentine's Day, our dining room table turned into a conveyor belt and I was the machine, churning out Valentine's cards by the box full. My Dad would cut the card paper to size for me and I would pull out my coloured pencils and draw away. My mind was always racing, coming up with new motifs for each card, personalized for each kid in my class as well as the teacher and teacher's assistant. By the end of the night the tabletop was littered with pencil shavings and 30 or so hand-drawn cards. We would look at the list of kids in my class after the card-athon, just to double check that I had not forgotten anyone (I have a good memory for people, so this never happened). This went on from the age of 5-10, until my Dad decided one year to introduce potato stamps!

After a day of fun heart-filled activities, I would take my Valentine's mailbox home and take a look at all the cards I had received. I used this as an opportunity to analyze the printing of my class mates and silently criticize the poor judgment of spacing between letters and words. Even though I worked really hard, I never compared my efforts with others. I was just happy I got the job done. I didn't favour the homemade over the store bought. I sort of liked the Ninja Turtle (the cute bubble-faced ones, not the mean looking ones with no eyes) and Garfield cards. Who wouldn't?

The other day I was assisting an art class full of kids who had to design Valentine's cards on Photoshop. We first talked about what "love" meant. Overall everyone agreed that it's awesome to give and receive love amongst family and pets. One kid made puking noises and refused to say "love" because he associated it with gross love- adult love. While everyone was creating happy bees with hearts, he opted for drawing a snake with an evil grin. I can understand this sentiment. Love can be nice when you're older and ready to understand it, but it gets gross when a day is manufactured to exploit that meaning. Being a kid on Valentine's Day is the best. Growing up, I associated it with accepting and celebrating appreciation for other people. There was nothing more satisfying than getting a card from a classmate you didn't get along with. I was reminded that people were still capable of being okay. Even if their Mom or Dad made them do it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Marsh King's Daughter's Black Thumb

There's no place like home -especially when you are welcomed back with an exhibition space! The kind folks at Little Mountain Gallery contacted me a few months ago about a homecoming show, while I was still living in London. It was extra incentive to get a coherent body of work together to show friends and family upon my return to the beloved land of mountains, sea, and trees.

Lots of lovely people popped into the opening. It was nice catching up with friends and family. I'm not the chattiest person in the world, so having selected works on display allows me a chance to share what I've been doing for the past two years without exhausting myself by having to repeat my stories of the mundane. No one wants to hear how many cups of tea I drank nor how much Marmite I consumed.

I have an intuitive understanding of how my works relate regardless of aesthetic variation, so having to articulate it through a written statement usually becomes an endurance test. It's pretty much about wetlands, death, unpleasantness and absurdity.

I've had a few people ask about the title, BLACK THUMB. I wanted something punchy and dark, but was very aware of how I didn't want it mistaken for some happenin', dub-step, love-out, post-goth Shoreditch/ East Van night at the discotheque (yes, my online persona is that of a ramblin' hag). I was thinking very hard about this.

In the past few months I revisited the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, something I had not done since I was very young. His storytelling and the imagery he conjures up has always made complete sense to me. I won't get into the severity of my fondness for his tales right now, but I considered titling my show, Seeking Advice From the Marsh King's Daughter- which is what I was literally doing. I was reading The Marsh King's Daughter over and over and taking notes on words or short phrases that popped. I took a break to read John Water's autobiography, Shock Value: A Tasteful Boook about Bad Taste. In one part of the book he referred to one of his parents as having quite the green thumb, while he admitted to having a "black thumb." It stuck for a few weeks, so I ran with it. I feel that term adequately describes my observations of how most people relate to the Earth at this point and time.

Do please come and take a peek. There's a bit more that is not pictured here!

Show is up until February 7th 2011.
Open early afternoon til 5 most days.

Little Mountain Gallery
195 EAST 26th AVENUE
V5V 2G8