Eastside Culture Crawl Highlights – Day 2
Armed with a new map, I continued my Saturday Eastside Culture Crawl tour into Sunday afternoon. My first stop was paper artist Rachael Ashe. She had transformed her home into a paper art haven where her walls and shelves were lined with drawings and intricate paper cuts. I had first known about Rachael through her altered books but I can see that her work has grown exponentially with paper cutting. She described it as being much like drawing with her knife. Having returned to drawing and doodling myself, I could see how making repetitive patterns can be very meditative as you fall into a sort of rhythm. I am amazed that she can envision these patterns and cut them all out freehand. Hearing a little more of her process on a podcast with Kim Werker also made me appreciate her work more. Some of my favourites are her layered paper cut pieces as well as her designs in laser cut wood.
On the next street over was the studio of Jeremie Laguette. His studio caught my eye last night and I wished I had taken the time to stop. I found out that he makes lighted wood signs that showcase typography. He has managed to squeeze in a cozy workshop in his home for both sign making and furniture building! His signs are so fun. They have a vintage feel yet still look very modern. I think if you had one of his signs, it would make you want to host more parties often.
My third stop was the Mergatroid building. I bee-lined for the Red Door Studio where I found artist Jon Shaw. About a year ago, I had seen Jon do a demonstration at Opus which kicked off some drawing experiments within my painting. In hearing his recent artist talk at Hot Art Wet City, it made me appreciate his interest in the urban environment. There is so much texture in alleyways which most people would overlook but this is what he highlights using colour and bold line work. It makes you think twice about our city surroundings.
I wandered over to see Christina Norberg, who was demonstrating wool felting. It was interesting to learn a little about the tools she uses and the effort it takes for to create her whimsical “feltanicals”. I was looking forward to seeing her felt mobiles but as they were so popular they disappeared quickly! Many of her drawings from her daily drawing project were on display. In following her drawing journey, I ventured into yet another experiment with expressive drawing. She has been able to translate her drawings into the form of mixed media sculptures as well as into textile design. It was incredible to see the breadth of mediums that she applies in her work.
Upstairs in the loft area was Lisa Ochowycz, an inspiring artist that I initially met at another Opus Demo. It was fascinating to learn her research and painting process. Her work tends to transport me to another place and it could be because she often references some of her travel experiences. The latest series on paper is inspired by music. I particularly like her gestural mark making mixing graphite with some brushwork. Although these pieces appear more subtle than her paintings, they still have a strong presence.
Across the hall was painter M.A.Tateishi. Being in her spacious studio, her 48″ x 48″ sized paintings look like a really reasonable size. Scanning her work I could see layers of brightly colored paper intermingling with pools of paint and resin on her panels. Here I thought I used a lot of layers in my own painting but Mary Anne pastes together about 15 layers of paper! She then tears away portions of it to reveal the multiple paper layers underneath. She keeps the torn remnants to use in other paintings.
Ceramic artist Jacqueline Robins was my next on my list to visit. I have several of her pieces as I am a fan of map and bike motifs. I particularly liked her use of embossed text in her ceramics and with some hits of colour among her primarily black and white palette. She is now branching into leather work which I am so curious to see.
I then walked over to Parker Street Studios. Here I was taken by work of painter Fiona Ackerman. I had seen her work in a gallery setting before but I really appreciated the opportunity to see it in her studio and to talk to her in person. I was fascinated at her capability to paint on large expanses of unstretched canvas so that the size of the canvas wouldn’t limit her painting. Only afterwards does she decide on how large the final piece will be and has this portion stretched onto a frame. Though her work on paper is smaller, it still carries over that same quality of painting freely on large canvas. She is also able to just as skillfully paint in oil as she does with acrylic.
On the same floor was artist Carole Sinclair. I first met Carole when I showed with her in the MIXX exhibit this past June. She has a good eye for collage and my favourite is her series of using torn pieces of found posters. Although collage may appear simple, she takes a lot of time to plan it out.
My last stop of the day was the William Clark Studios to visit Jill Pilon. I first came across Jill’s work many years ago and her style immediately got my attention. When I saw her work, it sparked in me excitement about painting which I thought I had lost. It inspired me to consider trying mixed media work and eventually led me to take some continuing studies courses at Emily Carr. Jill’s sensibility in choosing a medley of vintage ephemera, text and image transfers makes for striking combinations. Her latest series incorporates more handwritten text in which her paintings appear like visual diaries. I never get tired of text in paintings.
Lastly, I don’t know why I am pleasantly surprised but every artist I met was so kind and down to earth. I really did feel lucky that I got to see and learn just a little bit more about their process. I am still riding the inspirational high from all the creative talent I saw!
* * See here for Day 1 Highlights of the Culture Crawl * *
NOTE: Since this post was written, some artists have moved and/or not participating in the Culture Crawl so please confirm with the Culture Crawl website.