Posted tagged ‘design’

By All Means Create

August 14, 2014

We’ve all had it, that voice that says we can’t do something, or that we can’t do it well enough, or we don’t have the time. Perhaps we need to listen to Van Gogh who said “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” The staff at Opus Art Supplies has made a video illustrating this quote. It was a nice little reminder for me this morning and thus I wanted to share it.

Risk The Highest Step in the World

October 17, 2013

Ghost River Theatre’s David van Belle and Eric Rose have created a production that asks “What happens when you take a risk? What makes you take that first step from an unimaginable height? ”  “The Highest Step in the World” is a one man show (David van Belle, who does a great job) with 2 men behind the scenes who make him fly. Based on Joseph Kittinger’s record breaking jump from a weather balloon in 1960, the play also includes the story of Vesna Vulovic, an airline stewardess who survived a fall out of a bombed plane, and the mythological characters of Daedalus and Icarus.

Sometimes people take risks and fail. On my way to the theatre I was driving around a tight curve to get onto the Queensborough Bridge. Traffic slowed and I eventually had to pass a semi-trailer truck lying on its side on top of the cement road dividers.  The driver had obviously taken the curve at too high a speed and tipped over. Some of its wheels were still spinning. Emergency vehicles hadn’t arrived yet. When I returned across the bridge in the late afternoon after my theatre experience, I saw the truck being hauled away, the cab horribly crushed. I don’t know whether the driver survived. We take risks in our vehicles every day, and often don’t think about it.

Then there are the risks we do think about, like jumping out of a tree when we’re little, or creating a new piece of art. It can be as small as deciding to use a different colour palette when redesigning your living room, or as large as taking the steps to walk on the moon. Taking risks can be scary, but without it life can be boring. Without risks we would never have new inventions, or art pieces. We might never get married, or travel to a different country. I’ve always been a cautious person, but I do take some risks, and maybe it’s time to take a few more.

For you, why not take a risk in theatre and go see “The Highest Step in the World” on now until October 26, 2013, in Richmond’s Gateway Theatre. Here’s the trailer:

 

How to View The Show at Emily Carr

May 17, 2013

With over 300 Design, Media, and Visual Arts graduates this year, Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s grad exhibition offers something for everyone. I walked through the rooms for 2 hours on Monday but was disappointed with the first few rooms thinking that after 4 years of study shouldn’t there be some art that displays a little more skill and thought? But then I started finding a few artworks that made me laugh, or appreciate their technique, or think about their message.

Parcel #1357 by Shannon McKirgan

Parcel #1357 by Shannon McKirgan

There will be as many opinions about an art show as there are people who walk through it. Art is personal. What you like another person may hate. Some people like posters of puppies in their living room. Others would faint at that idea and thus spend hours at auctions trying to find the right Miro print to match their decor. I forget which artist said it, perhaps it was Christian Boltanski when he had a show at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but I remember this idea and use it whenever I view art: the artist said “I don’t care whether they love my art or hate my art, just as long as they have some kind of reaction. If they feel nothing then my art has failed.”

The next step would be to ask yourself why you love it, or hate it, or are indifferent to it. Art is a form of communication. So what is it saying to you? Sometimes the answer doesn’t come right away. I like Shannon McKirgan’s “Parcel #1357”, but I still am not sure why. It’s not a style that I normally pick out. The subject is a little depressing – a lone box of a building. For now I think it’s just the quality of her brushstrokes and the positive versus negative space, as well as the framing presentation.

Cachalot and Gray by Fiona Hawkes

Cachalot and Gray by Fiona Hawkes

With the whale close ups in charcoal by Fiona Hawkes I immediately knew I liked them because I appreciate the skill in her realistic drawings. I draw realistically, and thus whenever I see other artworks in this style I am drawn (ha!) to them.

Throwing by Nolan Drew

Throwing by Nolan Drew

Then there was the mini installation “Throwing” by Nolan Drew. It immediately put a smile to my face because as much as I love working on a wheel, it’s not easy to make a bowl or vase or anything round, and Nolan’s piece reminded me of that frustration. There have been times when it collapses, or flies off. I still remember the expression of surprise on one of my student’s faces when she had her clay go whizzing off the wheel and splat onto the classroom wall.

You have this weekend to catch “The Show”, which ends May 19th. There is also an online catalogue at ECUAD’s website. http://theshow2013.ecuad.ca/  Hope you find something you love or hate.

How to Draw from a Poor Photograph

January 4, 2013
"Riley and CJ" by Tiana Kaczor, Fall 2012, pastel and conte.

“Riley and CJ” by Tiana Kaczor, Fall 2012, pastel and conte.     Click on images to view larger.

I had a commission that was a Christmas present, so could not post it online until after the holiday. I am now at liberty to share this work with you.

“Riley and CJ” posed a problem for me as I usually work from photographs that show enough detail so that I can create quite a realistic art piece. However the photo that was provided to me was very pixelated. I am not an artist who usually draws from my imagination, except in my private sketchbook, so I would not want to take artistic licence with this commission and just “make up” the details. Instead I decided to try a different style, working like the Impressionists with dots and dashes of colour, and a different medium, chosing pastels and conte. The client agreed to my style change and I set off to create a realistic drawing of a pixelated photo.

Tiana's process of drawing Riley from photo and photocopy.

Tiana’s process of drawing Riley from photo and photocopy.

“Work with what you’ve got.” is a rule I follow a lot in my artmaking. Whether it’s taking whatever materials I can find to make an assemblage instead of buying special sculpture supplies, or using the qualities of a photograph to determine the detail and style of the image when put into a different medium like paint or pastel. Kind of a bit like that saying “When the world gives you lemons make lemonade,” isn’t it?

The Value of Tiana’s Terracotta Warrior

May 14, 2012

Here are some facts about my process for painting my Terracotta Warrior “Wu Chang”.

I spent at least 135 hours painting the sculpture. There were days I’m sure when I was so tired I forgot to record the hours in my sketchbook. So, it might have even been 150+ hours of painting.

I spent approximately 10 hours of prep which included accepting the delivery, moving the sculpture upstairs and down, sanding and washing, and painting the 2 coats of gesso.

I spent about 6 hours at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Richmond Brighouse libraries doing research.

I spent an unknown number of hours reading, discussing, searching the internet, sketching and planning, and being interviewed for promotion in the local media (Thank you, Richmond News).

Grand total is a minimum of 175 hours.

I got paid $1000, and I bought my own supplies. This means I made about $5.71 an hour before expenses. Of course my labour is a donation to the BC Lions Society, but I think it’s important for those bidding on the sculpture this Fall to know what would be a good starting bid. If I base my pay scale on what I make as a teacher then the warrior should be sold for no less than $5075.00  ($29 per hour x 175). And this doesn’t even take into consideration the cost the sponsor (City of Richmond) put out to make the fibreglass sculpture and all the time and effort the BC Lions Society put into organizing this fundraising event.

Sketchbook Map of Back Textile Patterns

Sketchbook Map of Back Textile Patterns. click on image for bigger view.

Finished back of Wu Chang in Tiana's studio.

Finished back of Wu Chang in Tiana’s studio.

 

Terracotta Warrior Painting Process

March 26, 2012
Tiana Paints "Wu Chang's" Head

Tiana Paints "Wu Chang's" Head

I’m in the home stretch, but probably have a good week more of painting until my warrior, Wu Chang, is finished. Like the eagle I did with James Whiteside Elementary a couple years ago this sculpture is also going to be very colourful and detailed. Why do I do this to myself? Such a lot of work. But so far those that have taken a sneak peak in my studio have raved about my collage of patterns on Wu. It’s like he has travelled through time to show us a collection of designs from over 2000 years of Chinese history.

Make Your Own Book With Blurb

July 18, 2011

I recently created a book to celebrate my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary.  You can view “Lorraine and Richard, Looking Back at 50” here:

My first intention was to make a scrapbook of photos, but then in dawned on me that a more polished production would be achieved if I used the online service Blurb. This wonderful tool lets anyone upload their own photos and text into a variety of templates. Then the company produces the book in any quantity you desire, and ships it out to you for a reasonable cost. You can keep the book private, or share it with others and offer it for sale. No longer must one wait for a publishing company to accept your manuscript, you can take the plunge yourself. Have a look at Blurb.com for inspiration for everything from artist portfolios, to wedding albums, to storybooks.