Eastside Culture Crawl Highlights 2014 – Day 1
The Eastside Culture Crawl has been a regular event for me over the past several years. However this year I decided to make a concerted effort to get to know more artists and their processes. I had so much fun meeting everyone and taking photos that I wanted to share my weekend of exploring. There were many other artists that I didn’t get a chance to visit. With some, I got so sidetracked talking that I forgot to take pictures.
Nevertheless, I was primed to go after hearing the inspiring artist talk at Hot Art Wet City last week. I researched and mapped out my route as best as I could knowing that I only had Saturday and part of Sunday free. It would be impossible without referring to the Eastside Culture Crawl website to decide where to go. I knew that the only way I could squeeze in my long list of studios was to go by bike. I was prepared for the weather with my rain gear and rubber boots but luckily I was met only by sunshine.
I started my day at the Hamilton Bank Building at the bottom of Victoria and Powell Street. Here I visited Lori Sokoluk. Her studio is cozy, but large windows and the high ceilings makes it feel fairly roomy. She plans her space well and I am amazed at how much her cupboard can hold. This is one of her latest paintings. Close up you can see paint mixed with textured mediums such as fine glass beads. I’m now thinking about experimenting more with some of these textured mediums.
On the second floor, I came across Andrea Armstrong. I’m usually not drawn to portraiture but Andrea’s paintings really made me linger. I’ve always admired oil painters and the richness that oil paint creates. I particularly like how many of the faces are cropped while others are positioned off centre and surrounded by lots of dark negative space. It’s like when you get a just a glimpse of a person, it leaves you wanting a little more. Her portraits felt contemporary yet gave a slight nod to the old world. Having an interest in urban photography, I naturally liked her small paintings of street scenes in the neighbourhood. Her studio space also reflects the charm of her paintings even down to her studio door. I want a door like this…isn’t this what all the movie stars have?
Next stop was Portside Studios on Mclean Drive at Powell Street. I was amazed by Connie Sabo‘s work last year and she still continues to impress me this year. Twisting newspaper together she creates a kind of rope, which when woven all together forms a newspaper net. She then uses this to create incredible installations. Large pine cones are deconstructed to form installations and even pine needles are displayed as a beautiful still life. She is able to translate her sculptural work into 2D forms through paper drawings and wood etchings. It makes me wonder if I could interpret my 2D work into more of a 3D form.
I went over to Razstone Studios to visit Melanie Ellery. She was one of the artists I exhibited with at The Drift when I showed my work for the very first time. I think showing next to her really elevated my own painting. She works very spontaneously and is always starting with vibrant colours. To get the right balance of shapes and colours, she goes back and forth adding and removing paint from the canvas. You can’t help but feel her energy in her bold brushstrokes and her astute sense of colour.
Since I was near Octopus Studios, I decided to quickly peruse the space. Suzy Arbour is another oil painter who creates richly detailed cityscapes. She makes our city look very dreamy at night. I forgot to take photos but you can check out her work here.
I then sped over to Railway Street to see painter Galen Felde. Her paintings feel ethereal yet still hold so much depth and richness. She has been able to skillfully translate her oil painting experience into acrylic painting. Through using multiple transparent washes she is able to mimic the feel of oils. I like how her paintings incorporate blurred silhouettes but still appear somewhat recognizable. I have an affinity for her muted colour palette as I tend to use muted tones also.
Feeling pressed for time, I then ventured over to the Strathcona neighbourhood. By this time in the day, I realized that I my lost my map with all my notes and now had to go by memory. Arnt Arntzen and Valerie Arntzen was my first stop. Arnt’s studio was the inspiration for series of paintings I created last year which you can see here. I got too caught up in looking at all of Arnt’s beautiful pieces and day dreaming about working in his studio to take photos. On the other side is Valerie’s and Sharon Petty‘s studio space. By chance I also got to be in a group show with both Sharon and Valerie at the Cultch last year. Both Sharon and Valerie take photos of the non-typical things of urban life that I tend to like such as graffiti covered walls and gritty textures of city streets. Valerie also has a knack for finding these unique materials and combining found objects into incredible assemblage pieces! This is one of my favorite pieces (pictured on far right). It was sold which meant I could stop thinking about ways to persuade my husband that we needed this for our house.
My last stop on Saturday was Propellor Studio. This studio was a showstopper. I met Pam, Toby and Nik who all work collaboratively. I was intrigued by how each member is able to contribute to each project and it made me think if I could try to do some art collaborations of my own. I wished I had taken more photos (actually that goes for everyone I visited). Not only do they design and make beautiful lighting but they truly are sculptures. In particular I was taken with their mini sculpted mountain ranges. In all their pieces, I could see how their background in sculpture influences their design. Also being a fan of biking, I was excited to learn that they were the masterminds behind the Velocity exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver a few years back.
Feeling tired yet inspired, I biked home with art dancing around in my head and thought about who else I would be visiting tomorrow….
* * See here for Day 2 Highlights * *
NOTE: Since this post was written some artists have moved locations so please confirm with the Culture Crawl website