Posts in Design

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.


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.


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.



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.

linseed2_905 2

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.


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.

Ecotone 2013 – Tonight!

ecotoneWhere: Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Avenue, Kelowna)
When: Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 – 4 PM—2AM
How Much: $10 Students / $15 General / $5 Kids & Alternator Members. All proceeds towards artists making this event possible through the Okanagan Greens Society.
For: Everyone

The annual, local, underground creative gathering known as Ecotone is happening again!

Conduit Collective has once again partnered with the Okanagan Greens Society in creative collaboration with the pan Okanagan creative community to showcase over 100 emerging and established artists, featuring, installation art, sculpture, performance art, activism, gardening, crafts, musical performances, poetry and spoken word.

This is the 6th festival the Conduit Collective has organized, and was created for the purpose of bringing together the gifts, ideas, and talents of established and emerging creative tribes in the Okanagan. For up to date scheduling of performance and artists roster please visit

“This festival helps support the local arts community, and enables innovation to occur and be recognized. The past six years have been very enlightening as to seeing the support within this community that rarely has the opportunity to gather on mass like this, and we are excited for the experience again this year.” says festival organizer, Gabe Cipes.

Music performances will include Wild Son, Killer Panda, Kinshira and Rumpus Room. There will be original art work on display all around the centre by a number of artists including Kristoff Steinruck, Jordan and David Doody, Meghan Wise, Ullus Collective and Rena Warren just to name a few. The corridors will be filled with tables featuring local crafters wares and activists including Curio Designs, Green City Acres, Green Peace, Scribbled Sun, and many, many more.

This event is designed to harness the diversity of creativity in our community and is not to be missed!

Conduit would like to recognize the support of the Okanagan Greens Society, “Working together in our community for a healthy environment, happy people and a sustainable local economy.” For more information and a full list of contributors, visit the event Facebook page.

Life Is Worth Living

Believe That Life Is Worth Living

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

William James (1842—1910)

Photo by oldchildmedia from the I Love the Okanagan flickr group.

Sarah Maloney: Collapse


Visitors to Sarah Maloney: Collapse will likely have first impressions of loveliness and calm, and may enjoy the aesthetic qualities of the artist’s fabric patterns, textures, and the visual surprise of bronze tulips sprouting from an antique divan. Audiences may smile at the innocent, whimsical cavorting of the paired tulips featured in Maloney’s six embroideries. The pieces’ sheer beauty encourages us to let down our guard and consider the deeper implications of Maloney’s art and thought.

Halifax-based artist Sarah Maloney explores the notion of the traditional domestic sphere of women, and the Victorian pastime/skill of embroidery, as well as the female connection to flowers through this body of work. The centerpiece of the installation will be a real chaise lounge which Maloney terms a fainting couch. A cluster of bronze tulips are sprouting from the innards of this piece of furniture, their heads bowed modestly. As well, six wall pieces that are embroidered depictions of pairs of tulips will be on view.

Maloney holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) and an MFA from the University of Windsor, in Ontario. She has been teaching studio classes at NSCAD since 2002.

The show is accompanied by a black-and-white catalogue with curatorial text written by Kelowna Art Gallery Curator, Liz Wylie.

An opening reception to celebrate this exhibition will be held on Friday, January 25, 2013, from 7 to 9 pm, at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Sarah Maloney will be in attendance to deliver an artist’s talk at 7 pm.

Additionally, a ‘Lightning Talks’ event featuring six artists including Sarah Maloney is organized for Saturday, January 26, 2013, from 1 to 3 pm, at the Kelowna Art Gallery. The topic for discussion is issues facing artists working outside of major urban centres of cultural production. This event is free to attend and open to the public.

Sarah Maloney: Collapse will be on view from January 26 to March 31, 2013 at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street in downtown Kelowna. For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online.

Warehouse Gallery


Stacey & Steve Huculiak are pleased to announce the opening of Warehouse Gallery at 1292 Ellis Street in Kelowna B.C. As Kelowna’s newest gallery, Steve & Stacey aspire to have a pivotal role in supporting emerging, mid-career, and established Okanagan artists by sharing their work with you, the viewers and collectors.

Warehouse Gallery has created a progressive business model that allows the artist’s represented in the gallery to have a greater role in how the gallery operates. The whole group and not just the owners make the decisions such as; events, marketing and which new artists join the gallery. The result is a very fluid business and moves in step with the greater arts context and community.

Warehouse Gallery will have monthly shows and openings featuring local talent. Stacey who previously owned and operated Tweaked and Yummy Vintage Apparel (at the same location) established a strong place in the local arts and cultural district of Kelowna and garnered favour through hosting memorable and varied shows. Building on that momentum, they ask you join them January 18, 2013 @ 6pm – 8pm for the next opening for artists Wendy Porter and Liz Dumontet.

Liz Dumontet was born in Penticton British Columbia and was raised in Kelowna British Columbia. She graduated from Kelowna Secondary School in 2008 with a french immersion dogwood, and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Liz Dumontet and Dylan Ranney co-own Tandem Studios, an artist studio dedicated to their collaborative art practice. It is through Tandem Studios that they paint murals in the Okanagan. From Tandem Studios, they hope to also produce animation, sculpture, books, illustration, and computer design work. From 2011-2012, Tandem Studios has produced seven large-scale murals, six of which are outdoors. From her solo body of work, Liz has worked in portrait painting, abstract painting, animation, video, installation, and illustration. In 2010-2011, Liz Dumontet worked in 3D game design, and in 2012, was teaching beginner art lessons for children and adults alike. Liz is currently working on her sixth painting series and illustrating a children’s book. With a few solo projects on the horizon and many prospective projects for Tandem Studios, she is quickly building up a repertoire of work and has a portfolio to show for it. For CV and visuals of Liz Dumontet’s work, visit her website or the Tandem Studios Website.

Wendy Porter, an established Okanagan artist, has also just joined Warehouse Gallery. Wendy has been painting for over thirty years and is known for her colourful beach and winter scenes within British Columbia. She was on the Board of Emily Carr College of Art & Design in Vancouver, BC for seven years, has taught art classes through the Kelowna Art Gallery, and been on the Acquisition Committee for the Gallery. Wendy is a storyteller, recording “our time”, through paint on canvas. Wendy has been involved in many individual and group exhibitions within public and private galleries, and her work is part of many local and international public & private collections. She is renowned for a summer painting series for the Hotel Eldorado, a winter series for Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort, and a Swiftsure Sailing Race series in Victoria. Wendy’s work is presently exhibiting through the Whistler Arts Council’s Millenium Place Scotia Creek Gallery in Whistler, BC. This January, the Warehouse Gallery in Kelowna will feature her latest winter series inspired while Whistler was preparing to host the Winter Olympics. The work expresses our Canadian engagement with winter and all its beauty. More information on Wendy can be found on her website.

Bear Skies

Winter brings the best skies…

Fashionate: Saying Farewell to 2012 – Top 10 Trends

The world of fashion does not end at shoes and the clothes we wear on our backs. Fashion spills over into hair trends, technology trends and even lifestyle trends. As the year comes to a close I have narrowed down my favourite trends of 2012.

2012 was a great year for fashion evolution from the hair we wear to the gadgets we love to carry. As we ring in 2013 we take a look back at the memorable looks and styles that defined our year.

10. Chelsea Boots: Every single girl I know has a variation of the Chelsea boot. Whether they are new and fresh, suede, or worn in for years these  boots are the ultimate wardrobe staple this year.


9. Boyfriend blouse: Another must have item. Over-sized with leggings, tucked in, or studded out. This was an ultimate trend setter by the celebrities this year!

8. Ombre Hair: A slow start for this trend in Kelowna but Ombre hair has ended 2012 strong. Dramatic or subtle this is a great technique for our long haired bellas, easily transformed into 2013.


7. Top Knot: The most effortless, yet stylish hair-do of the year. Girls with long or medium hair have been rocking this style out all year whether you are hitting the best new years party in town with a perfectly coiffed top bun, or you are running errands with a pile on top of your head this is one of my absolute favourite looks this year!

6. Colored Denim: This denim trend has quickly become a wardrobe staple. Dress your jeans up or down with your favourite chelsea boots, or studded pumps these have joined the legging family and won’t be leaving our closets for years to come, for both men AND women!

colored denim

5. Men’s Sleek Haircuts: Undercut and slicked back has made a comeback in a very modern way. We LOVE these cuts on men. Each and every guy can pull this cut off in different variations. This is a cut that will spill over into 2013 for sure!

4. Studs/Spikes: This was a slightly more bold trend this year that didn’t catch on in a big way in Kelowna. I love the studded accents on a structured boyfriend blazer or spiked leather heels.

3. Skulls: Happy skulls, angry skulls, big or small, anything skull goes this year!


2. Instagram: Since it’s purchase by social networking giant Facebook, Instagram really exploded this year. Individuals can express themselves through snapshots of their lives. This social tool has shaped the world of fashion, technology, food and entertainment! (@NikkiMPid and @awesomeokanagan just in case you were wondering!)

1. Oxblood Red: This is the new black. Love this colour on anybody!!

See you all in 2013, Stay tuned for my trend report early January!! Xo- Nikki

Wild Heart

We make assumptions based on what we see on the surface, will we ever know our true Wild Heart?

Awesome Okanagan is thrilled to be working with fresh, local salon Loyal Hair Therapy to present “Wild Heart,” a 2012 Fall/Winter Fashion Show with heart. Including a local clothing store like Man + Woman and supporting a local charity like H.O.P.E. Outreach is a no-brainer when showing off what the Okanagan has to offer. Come early for the Jail Bird Art Show (which will still be hanging during the event) and stick around for all the excitement when we mix a touch of 1960’s class (think Twiggy, Mad Men, Bridget Bardot) with the primal energy within us all (you like leaves, antlers and real twigs, right?).

If you missed our last party you won’t want to miss this one! Save the date, November 16, 2012.

Where: Habitat (248 Leon Avenue, Kelowna)
When: Friday, November 16th – 8:00 PM
How Much: $10
Tickets: Leo’s Video (2680 Pandosy St), Mosaic Books (411 Bernard Avenue) & Loyal Hair Therapy (102-2106 Harvey Avenue).
For: 19+