Posts in Art

The Wild Oak: Nourish, Connect, Inspire

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A Mother, a Wife, a Creative Entrepreneur, a witch in the kitchen: Heidi Jordan is a woman stepping into her power, and the results are visible magic.

A simple memory fueled Jordan’s confidence. As an adult woman she felt disconnected from her passion, highly capable and full of enthusiasm, but her intuition continued to nudge her forwards. A flash to a memory long since stashed away reminded Jordan that she has always known what to do, and that she is now a grown-up, fueled to execute what her subconscious has been preparing her for. Let me introduce to you to Heidi Jordan, a Modern Career Woman & the brain behind your new favourite place to nourish, connect & inspire: The Wild Oak Café & Community Market in Armstrong.

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Design has played a large role in how you’ve approached your business, from your branding on your handmade business cards to the logo in the window, your eclectic furniture has been curated with a deliberate hand—what was your design process in this space?
When we started the space had low ceilings, florescent lighting, dark walls—it was a hairdresser’s shop. I kind of came into it with ideas of what to create, and a feeling to create, but didn’t know how to go about doing that. I am blessed to have a dad, a brother and a husband who are all carpenters. I was like okay, this is what I need to do, and they came in and did it. I would come along and embellish. I like to have the last word on design, but the collaborative nature of this project meant that the final outcome was something that I would have never come up with on my own, the Wild Oak is a true community effort!

Environment seems to be very important to you. What are some aspects which you keep in mind while creating a space?
I design a space based on the five senses. I recently worked at a Pilates studio, and noticed how atmosphere creates environment. This always rings true, and visually I need to be able to breath. White walls, high ceilings, keeping the space uncluttered—relaxed. Music is key for me, it’s always on, and if there’s silence in the air my staff is on it. They change the music, turn up the volume, a good vibe comes from good music. Gaz, my husband, is a musician. The soundtrack of our lives is very important.

How does it feel to own your own business?
I don’t even know yet. It feels (grabs face) sometimes unbelievable. Almost as if I’m playing house. I say to myself, “So how are you enjoying playing café?” (laughs). I Have to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m doing this. We dreamt of this for years. Often tried to do it, but it wasn’t the right time or the right place. This space came up for lease and they were on it. It’s a production. Start from square one, make your way through, finish one part of it, realize that you have jump into another. The business is ever growing, always expanding.

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Have you always seen yourself as a businesswoman?
Certainly wouldn’t say that I’ve always seen myself as a professional. Inside I feel like a little girl. When I’m walking around in my womanly body I feel like a little girl with loads of hopes and loads of dreams. I love to give myself a challenge and see it through to the end the best I possibly can. I see myself as a businesswoman for sure.

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These People Are A-OK: Kate Csak

Meet Habitat‘s fourth artist in residence, Kate Csak, a full time artist/illustrator who specializes in photo-realistic work in a range of subjects and mediums. Born in Calgary, Alberta, she lived and grew up always creating images, drawing her surroundings- people, animals, and still life. She is self taught, always experimenting with different mediums and techniques to achieve different results. Much of her inspiration comes from simple objects and things in nature.

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One of the pieces Csak has created for Habitat

“Art is my therapy. The drawing process and practice is a constant discovery, providing a place to explore and process my emotions and thoughts that arise from past, and present experiences. I choose to draw mostly people and animals because I experience life as one and can therefore connect intimately to my work. Their physical beauty symbolises the beauty and depth of emotion the souls on earth are capable of. After 10 years of part time practice, I now made the move to full time art making starting my artist career in 2013.”

I had a moment to chat with Kate about her inspirations and experiences:

What drew you to start creating art?
The enthusiasm started when my Mom first gave me a crayon. Drawing my favourite Disney characters was more important than math homework. My passion for visual exploration has motivated me to nurture my skills through consistent practice. I create art because…It feels good!

Did you grow up around Artists?
My Dad was creative, but my Mom wasn’t  No one ever taught me to draw and it was never encouraged, so when I drew, it just sorta happened. My parents deserve credit for where I am now, but I believe the inherent creative right brain is only part of it. It was my obsession with drawing and drive to practice that led me to improve over time.

Which artists have inspired you or which would you say are your personal favourite?
Surrealist artist Vladimir Kush
Fantasy artists Jim Warren and Josephine Wall
Realism artist Robert bateman

Why did you move to Kelowna?
I felt an intuitive nudge to step out of comfort zone and explore a new place and new people.
Mountains, lake, vegetables, fruit, sun, wine, art… I find Kelowna inspiring! So I moved here :)

What is your favourite drink?
Vanilla stoli and water splash of ginger ale
Grey goose and coconut water
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You work with a variety of mediums — which are the hardest to work with and why?
They all have their challenges, but since oil paintings requires very specific techniques, preparation process, and has an extremely slow drying time, there is no way to get a painting done in  few days, making this medium quite challenging. Also,  it’s very smelly, messy, stains and is hard to clean up…but with its flexibility, texture, and prestige value, is well work it!

How does your artwork make you feel?
Doing art rejuvenates and energizes my system as a whole, bringing me total satisfaction. incorporating my emotions into my drawings and paintings allows me to express what’s true. Creating art work from photographs brings a new degree of life to the subject, through richness and depth of colour overlooked by our minds eye. I feel like I’m attending to people and animals when I draw them, understanding them deeply more and more as I continue to draw them so up close and detailed.

What do you want others to feel when they view your artwork?
Since I like expressing emotions, I want others to feel what it is I’m feeling- appreciation, admiration and curiosity for all living walks of life. Combining realism with dynamic uses of colour I want to convey deeper emotions but in a way that resonates with the audience as being imaginative and truthful at the same time.

Stephen Foster: Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits

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Stephen Foster, Sioux Archer on His Knees – Item # 70305, 2011, back-lit film for lightbox

An exhibition of new work by Kelowna-based artist Stephen Foster featuring back-lit light boxes with photographs of toy figures will have visitors donning pairs of 3-D glasses as part of their viewing experience.

Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits is part of Foster’s on-going, multi-part investigation exploring depictions of indigenous people by American photographer, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952). The North American Indian, a multi-volume work that was published as a serial from 1907 to 1930 and contained about 2000 images, is considered to be Curtis’ magnum opus, and had a huge impact on popular images of Indianess in film and mainstream media throughout North America and Europe. As an artist of mixed European and Indigenous heritage, Stephen Foster works to deconstruct such images, and to place them in a more complex perspective. For this series of works, Re-Mediating Curtis: Toy Portraits Foster found and purchased a selection of plastic figurines that are manufactured in Germany. The toy figures have been influenced by early ethnography, such as the photographic works of Curtis. Foster has photographed them in 3-D format, linking them to popular culture, and nudging the viewer to consider the 3-D as a metaphor for seeing the “other” in a fuller context.

Stephen Foster holds an MFA from York University in Toronto and teaches at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan Campus. He works in video and new digital media and has exhibited widely.

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Okanagan Summer Festival Report

Here in the A-OK we love summer festival season and it’s just getting started! Line ups are being announced, tickets are on sale, and with all that commotion it felt like a great time to let you know about some of our highlight festivals and events that happen in the Okanagan. This list isn’t comprehensive but if your looking for an event worth going to here’s a starter list for you.

Not only that, but there’s a bit of a Giveaway at the end of this article for some lucky winner!

Parks Alive, Music in the Park, Lake Country Open Air Performances, etc:

July and August, Parks throughout the Okanagan! For any of those new to our region you really need to know about our free live music concerts in our various communities. Almost every community in the Okanagan hosts free community concerts in one of our parks.

Every evening throughout the summer there is a free concert somewhere. So get out there and discover some great live local entertainment. Call your local Parks and Recreation office for more information on free concerts in your community.

Funtastic: June 28th-30th, Vernon

Billed as “Canada’s Greatest Slo-Pitch Tournament & Music Festival” this is Vernon’s signature Festival. Headliners this year include: Honeymoon Suite, Sweet, and Aaron Pritchett.

More information after the jump.

Celebrate Canada Day Kelowna 2013: July 1st, Waterfront Park/Jim Stuart Park/Kerry Park, Kelowna

Join over 50,000 attendees celebrating Canada’s Birthday. Over 50+ activities and performances that are multi-generational and family- friendly.

The Hot and Dry Canadian Summer: July 4-6th, Kelowna

We’d be remiss not to post one of our own festivals on here. We’re working with BC brewery Cariboo Brewing the first weekend of July to celebrate our love of local music, too-hot days and festival-ready style. Featuring 10 local, up-and-coming musicians over 3 days we are chomping at the bite to get this party started!

Tickets available with bands or you can get a $30 weekend pass online.
More information here.

Keloha: July 5-7th: Waterfront Park, Kelowna

I recently interviewed the producer of this event. The full story can be read here.

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OSIF 5 Day Film Challenge 2013

The Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmaking (OSIF) is issuing a 5 Day Film Challenge. Contestants get a secret prop and line of dialogue then 5 days to write, shoot and edit their films. A special screening and awards event will be held with the best films winning over $1000 in cash and prizes!

Learn More at their website.

Carrie Harper: Selling Art with Instagram

Frithjof Petscheleit of Tweet4OK interviews local artist Carrie Harper about selling art about selling art with Instagram.

An Evening of Continuum

Continuum: Opening Night Gala of BFA Graduation Exhibition

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Here is a list of things that I did last night, in no particular order:

  • Ate butter tarts (3 in total)
  • Two stepped obnoxiously to some rad, local music
  • Felt small, humbled and awestruck by art

I’m uncertain as to which of the above three had the most profound and memorable effect on me. Though those butter tarts were pretty life changing (okay fine, I had four, that’s it), I must say, mingling with art connoisseurs, lovers, and artists of the graduating kind and the non-graduating kind, Continuum, the UBCO’s Opening Night Gala of BFA Graduation Exhibition is the cherry on top of my weekend in the same way that strawberries were the delectable garnish atop those tasty, creamy butter tart feast (I promise that will be the last time I talk about tarts in this post).

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A lot can happen in four years. Saturday April 20th was a manifestation of just that. A proclaimed rite of passage for Fine Arts students at UBCO, the Graduate exhibition showcases the creative work of BFA students, a show that previously has shown work that has went on to receive national critical acclaim.

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Spanning the first two floors of the Creative and Critical Studies Building, Kelsi and I waltzed through an intricate display of Graduate artwork, ranging from photography, ink, oil, acrylic, sculpture, mixed media, print, typography, and installations. Saturday’s exhibition also featured live performance from the first graduating class of UBCO’s Interdisciplinary Performance Program.

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Peering through the crowds, even an external third party, not accustomed to the arts scene, the work, time and effort involved in creating an embodiment of yourself, or something like it, could see the pride and love in the final products on display and the crowds admiring them.

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And that’s literally what Saturday’s Gala felt like: swimming in a sea of proud parents, family and friends. At eight, we all pressed to the walls and stairs as heads craned in an effort view the graduating artists receiving awards in recognition for their hard work and artistic endeavors (winners listed below!)

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Canwest Global Centre Graduating Prize:
Emilia Schmidt

DVC Purchase Awards:

  1. Nadine Bradshaw
  2. Sarah Franklin
  3. Jenna Stillwell
  4. Brit Bachmann

FCCS Visual Arts Prize:
Dylan Ranney

Creative Studies Dept. Award:
Corie Waugh

BMO Competition*:

  1. Brit Bachman
  2. Nadine Bardshaw
  3. Sarah Franklin

FCCS Dean’s Office Purchase Award:
Devon Kennedy

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She Says She Has Anxiety, They Say It’s Just A Phase

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It’s quarter to seven on a Friday. I sit listless in the passenger seat of my sisters 4 door sassy sedan, which we think in its past life was a basset hound; all stubbornness and no motivation. We clunk and sputter in silence to the Alternator Centre, where tonight, Pierre Leichner’s opening exhibition entitled “They Say She is Bipolar and He’s Got ADD: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Re-revised And Related Texts” opens to the public. It’s a mouthful to say, and I bet you all my pocket and couch change that you can’t say it five times fast, but we are both excited to attend, even though looking at the two of us, you wouldn’t be able to tell.

“How are you?” I ask Kelsi, my sister and co-contributor/photographer-extraordinaire/high-five expert. And while on this may seem a pretty simplistic, everyday run-of-the-mill question, so on-the-surface-mundane to the likes of something such as “pass the butter?”, to the two of us, it is a required question that is riddled with layers.

“I’m okay,” she says. They are two words, but they are deep and carry multiple and complex things. Much like the content that Leichner’s series of art sculpted from the DSM.

I don’t know anyone these days that isn’t touched by someone or some incident of mental health, though you really have to get to know a person, it seems, to find this out. Mental Illness carries a stigma that is literally like that large grey mammal with a trunk in the room; you know it’s there, you know it exists, but it’s swept under a living room rug along with dusty bunnies and spare bobby pins or pennies that you’re too lazy to pick up off the floor because it’s a subject that is touchy, taboo and just not talked about.

But why?

For my sister and I, mental illness is about as talked about as Justin Bieber’s relationship status between two LG’s. Kelsi has a Social Anxiety Disorder. It means she has an extremely difficult time in social situations, which often makes it tricky for her to leave the house, carry on a conventional minimum wage jobs that are in keeping with your early 20’s, and going to class at the college proves to be a constant, panic attack-y uphill struggle. So when I ask her how she is doing, I’m not just asking for shits and giggles. It’s a loaded question, and a necessity.

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Art has many functions, but for artist researcher, Pierre Leichner, it is a tool for change. Pierre has dedicated 30 years of his life to psychiatry, and spent the previous 10 attaining his BFA at Emily Carr, his MA at Concordia. He left his practice 3 years ago to work on an artistic expression that carries significant, social commentaries that cater to social justice issues. His exhibition is a compilation of various Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals (DSM) that seeks to create a commentary, a critique on the state of Mental Health these days that, he says, grew out of a dissatisfaction with the system itself.

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