Posts in Art

Spotted! Under the Sea at Don’t Look Down

The Following

Don't Look Down

Was Spotted

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Depending on the time of day and year I’ve been known to wander Kelowna’s back alley’s to get places quicker, or just with a different perspective. Finding great pieces of graffiti like this is exactly why.

Studio ONE11 Zine Launch Party

Article Submitted by Pablo Tsolo / Submit Your Own Article

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The COLLABORATORS OF STUDIO ONE11 have been instrumental in the birth of Kelowna’s very own zine scene. December last year, while everyone and their mom was waiting for the world to end, the good folks over at Studio One11 were busy putting together Kelowna’s first End of the World Zine Fair. It was an exciting event with zines contributed from various countries. I stocked up on some soon-to-be bunker reading material. I was satisfied that if everything came to an end; at least it was with a bang over at Milkcrate Records.

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A few nights ago at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, on a weekday we’ve come to know as Thursday; Studio ONE11 was focused on a bang of a bigger kind. It was the launch of the Evolution Issue. The new zine is filled with everything from mammoths and smoking monkeys to anatomical drawings and lonely pathogens. There’s even a creepy Darwin in sunglasses watching over his lot of genetically modified creatures.

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What I especially noticed on the display desk that night was the separate zine projects some of the members had worked on. Lucas Glenn’s work is full of rhetorical quips which are as thought-provoking as they are playful. While Jeff Ellom’s collage images turn upside down any sense of familiarity the viewer may begin to feel. His found text and image arrangements reveal a developed understanding of the power of juxtaposition.

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Joshua Khutney and I organized everyone in the group for pictures. We used an old Polaroid camera with practically extinct film. Almost all the pictures all came out terribly underexposed. Josh left me at the Alternator Gallery to rush home to grab his Nikon. I guess this is evolution. Meanwhile Brit and I continued a conversation we were having on the alternative development of Polaroid film. She shared some enlightening methods on ways in which to mess around with the film using scratching and warm water. Despite the night’s analog setback, I felt a renewed enthusiasm to experiment later with these new techniques.

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Josh made it back just before the event was ending. We retook the group shots digitally. There was still a lot of energy and laughs even though the event was winding down. Everyone who left ended up helping take down Corie Waugh’s Cardboard Fox installation which was being shown again in the Alternator Gallery.

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Over the past months it’s been very rewarding to observe how the individual artists uniquely interpret the theme of each issue. So far Studio ONE11 has had six releases: One11, True/False, Money, Playground Politics, Heartbreak, and Evolution. Despite the different techniques each artist may explore (such as text, collage, illustration or photography); a candid style of social commentary consistently runs through. Brit, Jeff, Lucas, Corie, and the newest member, Tayelor Martin are sure to continue ONE11’s notable tongue-in-cheek approach for many issues to come.

Okanagan Arts Awards 2013

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Last night I attended the prestigious Okanagan Arts Awards at the Kelowna Community Theatre; the Okanagan’s version of the Hollywood red carpet event. Forget about the Oscars; the true achievements and people we should be celebrating, are right here in our community. The doors to the event opened at 6pm, giving the guests and nominees an hour to mill around the lobby mingling over complimentary wine and appetizers provided by Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Chef Michael Lyon. At 7pm everybody filed into the theatre for the awards ceremony hosted by CBC’s Gillianne Richards & Chris Walker.

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Ten large glass sculpture awards, created by Lake Country artist Bruce Taiji entitled, “Okanagan Refractured”, were given out in 10 categories. A link to the complete list of nominees can be found at the bottom of this article. There were 44 nominees in total. The winners of each category were:

David Mcilvride, from Kelowna, in Media Arts

Craig Thompson, from Kelowna, in Music

Sterling Haynes, from Westbank, in Literary Arts

Vicki View, from Kelowna, in Dance

Crystal Kay Przybille, from Kelowna, in Visual Arts

Trevor Butler, from Kelowna, in Design

Matt Brown, from Vernon, in Theatre

Robert MacDonald, from Kelowna, for Supporter of the Arts

Michelle Loughery, from Vernon, for Arts Educator

Creator’s Arts Centre, from Kelowna, for Central Okanagan Foundation Arts Association Award

Robert Dow Reid, from Kelowna, for Lifetime Achievement Award

The award presentations were interspersed with performances including dance, music, theatre, acrobatics, opera, and literary reading. The official after show after party was held at Hanna’s Lounge and Grill on the waterfront. The party was exclusive to Okanagan Arts Awards Show ticket holders and included free snack platters and live music.

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View the 2013 nominees here.

Festival in a Box

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Is nothing happening at your favorite venues? Do you take walks through public parks by yourself and sit down on their benches just because there’s nothing better to do? Why not make the party happen where you are by livening up those desolate parks and distinguish them from the solemn cemeteries across the street? This is exactly what local artist Corie Waugh did this Saturday at Knowles Heritage Park on the corner of Bernard and Ethel. What started out as a course project suddenly grew into something much more ambitious and involved.

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An experiment in the use of public space and community, the event involved what could be described as a portable venue. Unpacked from the back of her vehicle and set up by hand was the shell of a shelter that would soon be transformed into a vibrant hub for all kinds of creativity and talent. What was this foldable haven you may be wondering? It was a cardboard “house” complete with a door and a window. The ceiling consisted of a tarp that was set up during the short hail and rain that befell the party twice that day, and though the weather may have dampened the cardboard it did not dampen the spirits of the attendees.

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The interior walls of the structure were decorated with art pieces submitted by a dozen artists, sound equipment was set up on one side, and a piece of cardboard lying on the grass acted as the stage. When the sun was shining and the hail had ceased the rooftop was simply retracted to create that sensation of being at an open air performance while simultaneously being indoors.

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Performances were all voluntary, put on in a sort of open mic fashion. There were almost a dozen of them ranging across many varied disciplines. A performance art piece put on outside of the box (figuratively and literally) by performance artists Scott Mendonca and Kevin Jesuino (award nominee at the Okanagan Arts Awards being held March 2nd) involved them walking conspicuously around the park while having a conversation over cell phones.  At the end it was revealed to the somewhat bemused onlookers that the performance was in fact a critique on private conversations in public spaces. Acts inside the box (literally, not figuratively) involved many musical and spoken word performances.

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The parks tenebrous silence was lifted with zesty music put on by:

  • Liam Park
  • Jeff Ellum
  • Joshua Theobold
  • Sami Al-Khalili
  • Andrew Edwards
  • Colin Shand

Intoxicating spoken word performed by:

  • Nathan Hare
  • Nygel Metcalfe
  • Minka Wolanski
  • Cherie Hanson

And delicate visual morsels provided by:

  • Jeff Ellum
  • Heather Leier
  • Hanss Lujan
  • Julia Prudhomme
  • Anthony Ross
  • Jena Stillwell
  • Kristoff Steinruk
  • Dean Krawchuk
  • Abbey Cipes
  • Kelsi Barkved
  • Sylvia Miranda
  • Corie Waugh

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The line-up was all local and can be found around town being active in their pursuits at places like the Rotary Center for the Arts and events such as Inspired Word Café (which I intend to cover in the future!).

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If you’re wondering how you missed such an interesting convention it’s because it was not widely advertised except mostly through word of mouth. Hopefully this article will motivate you to get more involved in your local art community or start making some waves yourself. Next time you feel like complaining that “nothing ever happens around here”, just remember to think outside the box!

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Thomas Kjorven’s 24 Weeks

I’m sitting, freezing, in my office upstairs at Habitat with friend and local musician Thomas Kjorven. Thomas is wearing a toque and neither of us take our jackets off – I’ve gotten used to wearing mine throughout the work day. We only just got an HVAC installed (it’s not turned on yet) and we have no insulation. In the Winter it regularly hovers around 0º; in the Summer it can get up to the mid 30’s. It’s hard to say which is worse and I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem Fire & Ice. We huddle around the space heater I keep under my desk. It’s working as hard as it can to heat us up, though my office is one of three without a true ceiling so much of the heat dissipates into the building. I like to pretend we’re around a campfire; one hand is clutching Kjorven’s latest EP, 24 weeks, the other pouring us each a mug of Chai Baba‘s Candied Almond Tea.

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I’m trying to remember the last time Thomas and I chatted. We crossed paths at a concert a couple weeks ago but it’s probably been since Keloha in July since we actually discussed anything in-depth. Today’s topic is his very personal EP and the journey his family has been on since we last spoke. Incidentally it was around late-June that Thomas’ last album came out. It wasn’t uncommon for him to be constantly releasing new material so, to me at least, it feels like it’s been a lot longer since then. Sometimes it just takes that kind of inspiration you can’t ignore. Since he turned his garage into a studio, Thomas finds he’s always working on stuff, especially recently.

“My wife had our first son, extremely premature at 24 weeks,” Kjorven explains, “they say the chance of life is very slim, and some doctors won’t even ethically resuscitate a baby before then. So we were 24 and 6 days, that’s how close we were.” It only took 5 minutes from when they realized his wife Shar was going into labour before their son Ruel popped out, weighing only 1.5 lbs. For those unfamiliar with the process of birthing, I took 23 1/2 hours of labour and weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. Granted I took a little longer than most babies and tried to kill both my mom and me in the process — a fact she’s keen to remind me of whenever I act like an ass — but that still gives you a point of reference.

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Thomas continues, “The BC Children’s team came down immediately from Vancouver and flew him in an incubator down to the children’s hospital. It was a really scary time, we didn’t know what was going to happen but we knew we were on a road.” Thomas’ voice begins to tremble slightly. I can see it in his eyes, how fresh all of this is still in his mind and it’s not surprising really. I followed the progress on Facebook, but hearing it in real life it’s more poignant. My eyes water throughout the interview.

“Every day was a battle. Every day you’d come into the INCU and it looks like some sorta sci-fi movie. There’s rows and rows of incubators of all these little babies, and each incubator has assigned a nurse that’s on it 24 hours. It’s incredible what they do there.” Kjorven goes on to describe all the tubes, ventilators and IVs attached to his tiny baby boy. Often days would be one step forward, two steps back. “We were just so amazed with the BC Children’s team… …the decisions they have to make on a daily basis.”

Baby Ruel is now home after 150 days in the hospital. All the while Ruel and Shar were in Vancouver, Thomas was commuting back and forth on a weekly basis. He would come home every Sunday night, work during the week, drive back to Van every Friday. It was during these week nights that Thomas was writing and recording 24 weeks, perhaps hoping to bring about a catharsis. “I would be home alone, kind of trying to work through this in my mind, waiting on the phone calls. The only way I know how to like, get my emotions out there was to write. So I’d go into the studio with my headphones on and that would be my therapy.”

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This album was a very different exploration for Kjorven who normally likes to keep his lyrics open-concept, allowing multiple interpretations to each song, making each song personal for who was listening to it. With 24 weeks, Thomas bares his heart and soul on each track, but also found new inspiration to draw parallels and paint metaphors in a way he never had before. What we get out of it is an intimate, chronological play-by-play of the Kjorven’s journey.

The first track, ‘Change,’ was written when Thomas and Shar first discovered she was pregnant. The song chronicles the shift in his psyche, realizing he’s about to become a father and all that comes with it. ‘Fast Forward’ is when Ruel was admitted to the hospital shortly after birth. ‘Beautiful Hell’ weaves between the day-to-day highs and lows. Daily setbacks interspersed with forward momentum created a bittersweet dichotomy for Kjorven. ‘Orange’ conveys a level of impatience with the process. Driving between Kelowna and Vancouver, Thomas watched the leaves closely. “I knew this wouldn’t be all resolved until at least Winter time. So I’d be looking in the green trees. I’d be looking for signs of fall, little bits of orange and yellow.” ‘Breathe’ is a man’s plea with machines hooked up to his only child’s lungs (Ruel spent most of his time with machines breathing for him) while ‘Look How Far You’ve Come’ is a celebration, bringing the whole family home for the first time.

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It was during this process that I learned something new about Thomas. He hated being away from his boy so he would find himself sitting next the incubator for hours at a time. It was during this that Thomas started sketching again for the first time in years, making a hobby out of little Monster-of-the-Day portraits. At the time, these scenes were merely a way to pass the time but eventually Kjorven found great reception when posting them on Facebook and is looking to transfer some to posters, canvas and tee shirts. “Me and my wife really want to give back to BC Children’s. They really saved our boy’s life and we feel so in debt to them.”

Rather than simply write a check to the hospital, Thomas wants to take his platform as an artist to raise awareness around these real-life heroes. 24 weeks is available online on Thomas’s website as choose-your-price, with full proceeds going to the BC Children’s Hospital, same goes for the hard copy of the album, and all the prints of the monsters he will be making.

You can grab a Monster-of-the-Day print and/or a hard copy of 24 Weeks on March 16th when Thomas Kjorven performs at the Jail Bird Art Show 3, a night of local art at Habitat. Along with copies of his album and Monster-of-the-Day prints, you will be able to make a donation to the BC Children’s hospital. There will also be artwork for sale by Alexandra Tremblay, Habitat’s current artist in residence. Come out to support a great cause and get to know Thomas a little bit more.

Cream 8 Year: Brazilian Carnival

CREAM Hair & Makeup Lounge celebrated their 8th year in the Okanagan on January 19th at Habitat in Kelowna. This year saw them inspired by the Brazilian Carnival, an annual festival traditionally marking the beginning of Lent (it’s actually happening right now!). The CREAM Team took the colour, costumes, excitement and fun of Brazilian Carnival and brought it to the Okanagan for a night of dancing, and we can never say no to a dance party.

Music by DOM, his song Jesus (VACATIONER Remix).

These People Are A-OK: Alexandra Tremblay

Alexandra Tremblay is a mixed media artist who has been living in Kelowna for the past 2 years.

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What drew you to start working with felts?
The thought of working with raw fibers and building a fabric that could be used for so many purposes, such as clothing, bags pillows and creations on canvasses inspired me, from the ground up.

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Did you grow up around artists?
I do come from a family of artists, my Mother is a mixed-media artist and was an art teacher for 15 years, Father a photographer, Step-Dad a wood turner/carver, Brother a graphic designer and a nice history of artists… Grandmother and others, it’s in my blood.

Which artists have inspired you or which would you say are your personal favorite?
I love a variety of artists… from Van Goh to Dali, Picasso, Alex Grey… the classics.

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Why did you move to Kelowna?
I got my diploma in fiber arts from the Kootenay School of arts in Nelson and thought that Kelowna would be more into the arts because of its size.

What’s your favorite drink?
A nice cold pint of Honey Sleeman’s sounds pretty good to me.

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You work with a variety of mediums – which are the hardest to work with and why?
Felting has sooo many steps, its quite the process… laying and building the fibers… working with boiling water; lots of physical work. It takes a lot of time and it changes a lot through the process so it can be a little surprise, the outcome.

Also it is very delicate for a long time until it becomes an actual fabric.

How does your artwork make you feel?
It drives me completely wild… like a mad woman… but it also seems to be one of the only things that keeps me balanced. I put all my fears, pains, dreams passions, visions from within my being and it transcends and explodes leaving me full, empty, ecstatic, crazed, strong. It can bring me such a joie de vivre… but it must be shared as it’s too much energy for me to keep around. I must share the beauty and the intensity with others.

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What do you want others to feel when they view your artwork?
I want to inspire others… its fantasy, to find their story within, to travel, to be in awe, to feel lost and confused maybe… to make people feel.

These People Are A-OK: Topher Edwards

I recently tracked down graphic artist Topher Edwards, a talented pixel-pusher I’ve known of (thanks to mutual friends at Mosaic Books) for a couple years. As is often the case with the internets, I soon realized I knew his work before I knew him personally (Topher, I even have one of your PMA Podcast images in my inspiration folder, so there). His is the kind of work I would expect to see on Grain Edit or some equally incredible blog. It’s tight. So tight that I’m practically foaming-at-the-mouth-excited to be able to pick his brain and share this interview with you.

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When did you first catch the design bug?
Around grade 6, back when the internet took 24 hours to download a single song, I was learning HTML and building websites to host my growing collection of skateboarding videos. It must have started around then. (I was much better at HTML in grade 6 then than I am now, unfortunately.) When I went in to high school I stopped coding and got into music, so I was learning Pro Tools instead but ended up going to school for coding in a roundabout way. It was there I learned about Shepard Fairey and Obey who ultimately inspired me to do graphic design. I saw the fun in it; making art with propose and message became an important tool to spread my own views, ideas and creativity whether it’s on the street, on paper or on the web.

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How long have you been doing it for now?
I started school in 2007 with no real skills other than bad Photoshop filters. Graduated in 2009 and have been working as a full time designer since then.

What’s your relationship to the Okanagan?
I moved to the Okanagan immediately after graduating and landed my first paid design gig in the Okanagan.

What types of local business have you worked with?
A month after moving to Kelowna, I was offered a full time design position at Vital Waters after meeting the owner at a print shop I was working at. After a few months I was offered a job at Think Marketing where I worked with all kinds of local businesses like, Lake City Casinos, PlayGolf Kelowna, BOSS Manufacturing, K963 and many others.

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What inspires your work?
I am a vintage and retro enthusiast. I love neon lights, hand-painted signs and the simplicity of a time I wasn’t even alive in. I see the world as a busy, complicated place with too much visual information overloading us in our day-to-day. I like to take a step back and keep things simple. Classic is classic for a reason; it’s simple, it’s strong, it has staying power. I want to design with staying power that generally means cutting back on the hokey shit like drop shadows, glows, and make it ‘pop’ mentality. I see good design as the strong, silent type that becomes a pleasant addition to our environment rather than and intrusive, attention grabber. When I see it working – it inspires me to work harder to be better at just that.

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You recently moved to Vancouver but are still working on projects in the Okanagan. What are some of these and what are you doing for them?
Though I am juggling a few big design jobs right now, Okanagan Home Magazine took me on as Creative Director last year allowing me to work with all the advertisers in the magazine. In a way, I am working with 50+ Okanagan businesses at any given time now on ads for the magazine as well as the editorial layouts.

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Do you have any favourite Okanagan musicians/designers?
I’m a huge fan of Jon-Rae Fletcher and loved his music long before I even moved to the Okanagan. As far as designers, I really respect the work of Tara Simpson, a freelancer and friend in Kelowna. We worked together at Think and find her professional style truly inspiring. I also worked alongside Sean Shepard who pushed my abilities outside of the walls I usually put up. He puts a lot of personality and brilliance into his work – also great at spinning vinyl while we’re talking about musicians.