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To and From the City of Angels

Where palm trees lined the streets...

So I just got back from a short work/vacation trip to Los Angeles.  Needless to say, it was a much needed trip and getaway, as it’s been just a tad dreary and gray in Vancouver this summer (although there is blue sky outside right now…but I’m busy updating my blog!).

I went down to LA to visit friends but also to put work into the Chain Letter exhibition.  Let’s just say it was a little bit of madness.  I arrived at the gallery for set up only to have to wait three hours to “install” my work.  By the time I was at the front of the line, we were number 855…or something along those lines.  Here’s an article I found about the exhibition, described as “Artmageddon” on the LA Weekly website.

1 hour into the 3 hour line up

I exhibited a small piece (so many people brought gigantic sculptures!) titled 200 Wishes.  It was essentially a stack of 200 postcards that I had created the image for and printed, stacked neatly on a wooden block.  A bit of a departure from some of my other work, perhaps, but still dealing with ideas of nostalgia and love.  I’ll write a bit more on this piece in a follow up blog post to come later this week, but in a meantime, here’s a picture of the piece:

200 Wishes (Photo credit: Simon M. Benedict)

All in all, it was a fun experience.  The exhibition looked great as a whole…more of an art piece by the curators than by the thousand or so artists, as it was hard to see many peoples’ works as there just wasn’t enough space to walk in the galleries.  I also got to visit the MOCA and LACMA, and it was nice to be able to submerse myself in art and then go to the beach and back and forth for a few days.  Fun!

Now for a little LA photo diary:

Root beer float on a hot day. Yum!
Basking in the sun at the LACMA
Rodin's sculptures didn't look so pained in the LA sunshine next to a busy road...
People swimming by the Santa Monica Pier
Looking off the Santa Monica Pier onto a crowded beach
My friend Nathan Lam Vuong's stylish sock & shoe style...

Check out Lam’s work here.

And my other friend Simon M. Benedict's sockless shoe style...

Check out Simon’s work here.

Back to life, back to reality…

So the last week or so has been busy with the ending of my Banff residency and readjusting to life back in Vancouver.  I won’t be back in the studio until next week but I’m raring to go with lots of ideas brewing in my head.  Banff definitely gave me a creative boost, and I can’t wait to start working in the studio again.

Open Studios at Banff

The last few days of Banff was a write-off, work-wise, as I had to get everything shipped back to Vancouver.  Because I was working in oils, the last week of work at the residency was spent creating pencil sketches, as I needed my oil paintings to dry in time for shipping.  There’s something really great about being able to just work with pencil…it’s something that I miss doing and am really happy that I’ve started taking up again.

The drawings I did in the last week (detailed photos below)

The residency culminated with open studios on February 18th, and here are some photos of all of the work that I created during my residency, laid out in my studio space.  It was great to be able to see what everyone had been working on over the 7 weeks we were at the Banff Centre.

My oil paintings in order of progression (L to R)
A series of screen prints I made...
A smaller screen print - "The Dance (Steps 1-5)", 15 x 20 in.
A larger version of "The Dance", Steps 1 - 5 as separate prints
"The Dance (Step 4)" - screenprint, 22 x 30 in.

These are the pencil sketches I created in the last week.  Over 3 days, I made these pencil portraits on gessoed MDF of everyone on the Love residency, plus a couple of members from the 2012 residency, which was taking place at the same time, but who I had hung out with a lot and basically were part of my Banff residency experience.  Each portrait measures 6 x 8 in. and has the person’s name on the top and the words “we could be lovers” at the bottom.  I’m really happy with how these turned out.  I intend to photograph them now that I’m back home and send a print to each person.  As much as this residency was about making art and developing my work, the thing I took most from this experience was the friends that I made and this work was meant to reflect that.

"we could be lovers"
"we could be lovers" - detail, in alphabetical order
"we could be lovers" - detail, in alphabetical order
"we could be lovers" - detail, in alphabetical order

It’s going to definitely take some time to get back into things here in Vancouver.  I already miss everyone a lot, but good things are on the horizon.  I’ll be adding better photos of everything to my website soon.  These are just meant to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to for the last 2 months…!

The Painted Lovers – Part II

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

Here are some photos of the painted lovers, completed.

The piece measures 30″ x 15″ x 1.5″

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Banff: Love + Revolution 2011

Last night, the artists from the Love residency got together for a project that I started a week ago.  Basically, we were writing a Harlequin Romance novel, Exquisite Corpse style, where each person wrote one chapter and passed it onto the next person, only revealing one chapter at a time.  The big reveal was last night, when we all read our chapters out loud.  It was hilarious and fun, and I’m so glad that we all worked on this together.  I’m planning on putting the chapters together as a zine  for everyone that took part, and it will serve as a fun reminder of our time here at Banff, which is quickly coming to a close.  I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it.

We each had to read our own chapters...I was the first to go.

There are some photos on our Tumblr blog for those interested.  The link is here.

Misadventures on Ice!

So this past week has been a very busy week here in Banff.  There was a lot going on, with studio visits, artist talks, and injured knees…

At Lake Louise last weekend

Last weekend, the Banff Centre organized a little day trip to Lake Louise to see the Ice Festival.  We were going to go see magical ice sculptures, an ice castle and go ice skating.  Albeit these are subtle differences, what we got was ice sculptures based on the theme of magic, a wall of ice that was castle like and a bumpy lake rink.

I think I was expecting some impressive sculptures after seeing pictures of the huge ice festival in Harbin:

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, image courtesy of DailyMail.co.uk

This is what I got instead…

Ice Castle at Lake Louise

The theme of the festival was magic…so there were ice sculptures from around the world based on their individual interpretations of magic.  Unfortunately, this meant that there were a lot of dragons and large breasted women carved in ice.  Just imagine a tacky tattoo brought to life through ice!

This ice dragon had a busty woman in its tail. Enough said.

All in all, I would have to give the prize to this magical bunny for overall originality…

The Magical Bunny!

Now the highlight of the day was supposed to be ice skating.  I’ve never skated on a lake before, so I guess I didn’t know what to expect.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so bumpy and choppy…

Skating on Lake Louise

I figured skated as a child, but well…I’m not a child anymore and I’m taller and heavier than I used to be, so when I fell…I fell hard onto my poor knee.  So it was an ice skating FAIL for me.  I ended up in the hospital back at Banff to get my knee checked out, just to be safe.  After some x-rays, I found out I had sprained my knee and there were tiny tears in the ligament.  So basically I have to take it easy for the next few weeks of my stay in Banff…

This looks worse than it was...

Now I have to thank my fellow resident artists who went out of their way to help me.  I posted this last weekend on the Banff Love Tumblr blog, but I want to extend that thanks again as I was really moved by how kind and helpful my new friends were.

Much love and thanks to my Lovers Karin, Kirsten, & Sarah and to my honorary Lovers Simon & Wally. (Click on the links to check out their art! Not only are they super friends, they are extremely talented artists as well!)

Lucky me.

***

New photos will be coming soon of work that I’m doing in the studio…

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