Mark your calendar: Next Thursday from 3-5pm I will be one of many speakers at a children's book illustrator lecture at the Alberta College of Art & Design.
I met Laura Sand at the ACAD portfolio show in April. The presentation of her portfolio was very memorable and so I visited her portfolio site recently to see what she was up to. The video below is one that Laura made while still a student. Her concept was that she would "run to work" wherever an interview opportunity might present itself. Having quickly landed a job in a local advertising agency right out of school, she never needed to promote this project—but the quality of the video certainly demonstrates her skills and talent!
A row of houses in my neighbourhood is slated for demolition (seems to be a recurring theme) and a community of artists have transformed the buildings before they're torn down. We headed down to see Wreck City before this art installation project ends tonight.
Though it was certainly interesting to see something like this on mass scale and I can see how this was a fun project for lots of young artists to do whatever they wanted, it did feel a bit like a missed conceptual opportunity. Perhaps there could have been some way to comment intelligently on development (ie 'progress'), on respect for the past, on recycling and upcycling, on 'home-fullness' and homelessness... or the history of the houses? Who used to live there? How do they feel about their former homes being torn down? Where are they now?
Maybe I missed some of these concepts as I held tightly to Finley's hand in some potentially hazardous spaces (for a curious 3-year-old) and juggled my camera. I'm not sure. (There was a house with a lineup and controlled entry that intrigued me but we couldn't wait in line.) The overall experience left me melancholic.
A commenter on the Wreck City site wrote something that I agree with:
"As a neighbour, I am glad to see the demolisher (aka Developer) interested in some of the neighbourhood’s culture by supporting WRECK CITY, however, I find it a bit funny that we’re going to have this influx of art and culture just to have the culture entirely wiped out by a colossal condominium spanning an entire city block in the heart of this heritage community."
Last week, Erin and I had the opportunity to meet with the folks at the Esker Foundation. I had heard good things about this new gallery in Calgary's Inglewood community, but hadn't yet had the chance to visit. We were in awe of the fantastic architecture as soon as we entered the building's atrium and not prepared at how spacious and dramatic the fourth-floor Esker Foundation Gallery truly is.
From their website: "The Esker Foundation is the creation of local philanthropists and art patrons Jim and Susan Hill, and is the largest, privately funded, non-commercial gallery of its kind in Calgary. Esker is positioned as a cultural platform for innovative and exceptional temporary art exhibitions and educational events.
As the cornerstone of a new mixed use building in historic Inglewood, the Atlantic Avenue Art Block, the gallery features 15,000 square feet of environmentally controlled purpose built exhibition space designed by Kasian Architects and Interior Designers and operates within a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver accredited standards master plan created by Abugov Kaspar Architects."
Our meeting was within the suspended nest which was perhaps the most architecturally interesting place I've ever attended a meeting. Throughout the space there were great views of Calgary and the Inglewood neighbourhood. We also enjoyed the excellent exhibition of Landon Mackenzie's large scale paintings and smaller drawings.
Make a visit to the Esker top on your list next time you're in Inglewood... they're open every day except Monday and admission is completely free.
A wander over to Stash will be worth your while; as you can see, the place is full of beautiful vignettes, enticing yarns and a relaxed atmosphere. Stash offers various workshops from introductions to knitting and crochet to project-specific classes.
We Should Know Each Other made for a fun afternoon. Thank you to Erin and Eleanor for helping our visitors make buttons and beaded necklaces. I enjoyed taking some photos of the event, but more specifically how the former school is being transformed into an arts incubator space.
UPPERCASE shared classroom 309 with Gary McMillan, or rather "Maestro McMillan, Ouija Self-Portrait Mediator" aka painter with a very long paintbrush. (Or "finglonginator" if I may use a Futurama reference...)
My neighbour in Art Central, Axis Contemporary Art has an exhibition of Audrey Mabee's work on display until October 13. You may recall that Axis owner, Rob Mabee, was our Olympic correspondent this past summer. Audrey is his talented mother. If you're in Calgary, please make a point of stopping by to see this show. Both Beautiful Bitmaps and Audrey Mabee's work will be up for next week's First Thursday.
Below is a view of the upper level of Art Central with UPPERCASE and Axis side-by-side. There are some nice new chairs around the rail—a good place to sit with your laptop or book. Deville is just off to the left and has excellent coffee and lunches.
Kari Woo creates simply beautiful sterling silver jewellery such as the pendants shown here. Some whimsical, some graphical, her earrings and pendants are expertly crafted. For those of you in Calgary, you might remember Kari as one of the founders of Influx Jewellery Gallery, my neighbour in Art Central. Though Influx has a new owner (please visit Amanda at Influx for contemporary Canadian jewellery), Kari has moved to Canmore to raise her little boy and is still making work. Visit Kari's Etsy shop to peruse her wares.
There's an intriguing event happening this Saturday... Nuit Blanche Calgary:
Nuit Blanche has come to signify a late-night international contemporary arts festival appealing to diverse, adventurous audiences. Held worldwide since 1997 in Toronto, Paris, Halifax and other cities, Nuit Blanche festivals literally transform urban spaces into full-scale civic art galleries. Calgarians will extend the tradition of the Nuit Blanche festival by presenting socially engaged intimate encounters with live art that fuses the authentic with the fantasy of an island of understated spectacle. All performances are inclusive, playful and geared toward a mass, all-ages audience.
I'm particularly interested to see Caitlind Brown's Cloud installation. Made of over 5000 collected burnt out incandescent bulbs meshed on a chicken wire and steel structure, to be backlit Saturday night. Golden chains hang from the structure, inviting participant viewers to pull lights on and off. Caitlind's process photos are terrific; please enjoy a selection below and visit her project blog. Calgarians can head on over to Olympic Plaza Saturday night.
Here are shots from yesterday's Maker Faire in Calgary. From a two-year old's perspective, the silver tent was the best thing ever.
David Daley is a new neighbour in Art Central. He received a month-long St[art] residency courtesy of the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation and is painting in a studio in the lower level. I was immediately interested in knowing more about David's work since it combines signpainting, design ephemera and arresting colour combinations. Given the confident execution of his work, I was surprised to learn that David has only been painting for a year. His fine lines and meticulous work at first look to be silkscreened when in fact they are painted by hand with fine brushes.
For those of you not familiar with the Calgary Stampede, it is an annual exhibition and rodeo with midway rides, nightly fireworks and associated free pancake breakfasts scattered throughout the city (apparently there's an app for finding the breakfast nearest you). For ten days each summer, the city transforms into a strange cowboy and western set: hay bales are public seating, barnwood is tacked up on restaurant doorways, downtown office windows are painted with "yeehaws" and "howdy, partners". Not to mention the fashion: all shades of denim, bandanas, cowboy hats and boots (the more tassels, pattern and snaps the better)—it really aims to be the greatest outdoor show on earth. This year, the Stampede is marking its 100th year. I've lived in Calgary for 20 of them now, so I consider myself a proud Calgarian.
But Stampede is not quite my cup of tea... The Stampede is loud; I'm quiet. Beer tents and drinking is advertised as a featured activity; I don't drink. The midway offers bigger thrill rides; I have a weak stomach. Other than the fireworks and the photographic appeal of the midway at dusk, there's not a lot about Stampede that I can relate to.
I wonder what the early years of Stampede were like... I'd love to attend Stampede 1912 rather than 2012. Thanks to an exhibition in Art Central, I was able to a step back in time with the poster graphics of years gone by.
The exhibition is presented by AXIS Contemporary Art and Quintaro Graphic Reproduction and features digital poster reproductions on various substrates such as metal and rawhide. In addition to the typographic interest of the earliest posters, from a design standpoint it is interesting to see how versatile digital printing technology is. The show gave me lots of ideas of how I could reproduce graphic art and posters.
The posters will be on display until July 20th on the main level of Art Central, Calgary. (UPPERCASE's studio is on the upper level of Art Central.)
The most interesting combinations come from the most disparate elements. Like colours from across the wheel or music from around the globe. What about art, science and engineering? In September 2013 Beakerhead will combine these three disciplines. This movement will culminate in a five-day Calgary-wide
spectacle that will bring together artists and engineers to
build, engage, compete and exhibit interactive works of art, engineered
creativity and entertainment.
It still sounds a wee bit complicated doesn't it? Thankfully, the folks behind Beakerhead have been giving us a taste of what's to come. All around Calgary creatures have been emerging accompanied by drums, videographers and an active twitterfeed.
There's an odd little space in Calgary's EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts. It over looks one of the main meeting points in this complex of performance spaces and the administrative offices for many of Calgary's performing arts organizations. It is oddly like a crow's-nest on a tall ship and is called the Ledge Gallery.