Posted tagged ‘ideas’

Nick Bantock’s “The Trickster’s Hat”

May 20, 2014
The Tricksters Hat by Nick Bantock

The Tricksters Hat by Nick Bantock

“The Trickster’s Hat, A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity” by Nick Bantock, was given to me recently as a birthday present. In the early nineties I was all excited about Bantock’s first huge success “Griffin and Sabine” which reflected my own love of collage, letters, found objects, and small art such as postage stamps. Then I “grew up” and life got in the way of creativity and play. I’ve become more concerned about a regular paycheque and paying the bills than I am about playing with my art materials. Where did I loose my path? I still create, but something is missing.

Even just having this book put into my hands has suddenly sparked my brain into creative drive. Like Julia Cameron’s best selling “The Artist’s Way”, which got me out of a creative and personal bump in my road a few years back, I hope “The Trickster’s Hat” will guide me down an artistic highway for some fun adventures.

<p><a href=”″>Nick Bantock, Author & Artist</a> from <a href=”″>Jenn Strom</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Listen to “Monk Soup”

February 28, 2013
Monk Soup cover art by T Kaczor

Monk Soup cover art by T Kaczor

Feeling cold during these last days of winter? Rain getting you down? Have a listen to Monk Soup, my most recent (complete) song. “Soup” because it sounds like the rain pelting your window, and the sucking mud on your boots as you trudge through the wild trails. “Monk”, well because of the bells, what else? Or maybe it’s because I feel like I’m stuck inside, contemplating life, on these dark days, and praying for the spring sun to arrive. What do you think?

Click here for a link to the song on Reverbnation

Tiana and Warriors on SHAW TVs go! Vancouver

October 12, 2012

Stephen Miller and I were interviewed for “go! Vancouver” the morning of the BC Lions Society’s Terracotta Warrior Banquet and Auction. You can find the segment at the 3:55 mark in the video, after the yoga studio segment. I’m always surprised how long it takes to shoot a TV show or film. In this case I was there for over an hour, getting wired up, walking through different shots, and answering the questions. Thank you to Mana Mansour and her videographer for making this a fun experience.

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.

Improvisation vs. Memorization

July 2, 2010

I had the pleasure last weekend to play the piano for a wedding reception at the Point Gray Golf and Country Club. I chose to play whatever came into my head, instead of planning it out ahead of time, or practicing some classic or pop pieces.  Over the years I have found this is what works best for me. I’ve never found memorization easy, whether it’s music, or History dates, or French verbs. If possible I like to create in the moment. For last Saturday it was judging the feeling in the room and playing to suit the scene, taking suggestions from listeners, and livening things up a bit when I felt the need for a little fun.

Why then, when improvisation is so fun, and can yield such fantastic creations, do I tend to shy away from it when I post songs publicly? Is there an unwritten law that states all published songs must be worked on for hours and polished to perfection? No, not that I know of.  When I had my week of reading deprivation I wrote a song in one hour. It was pretty good. But instead of posting that experiment I went and added to it. Now over a month later I still don’t consider it finished. When is a creation done? Probably never. But we must decide when to stop working with it and move on to our next art piece.

Instead of memorization I prefer themes. Take an idea, an emotion, and play to that instead of writing a song and playing the exact notes every time.  I like the excitement of improvisation. This week I recorded another improvisation. It took me by surprise one night. My brain was tired from writing art proposals and I didn’t want to think anymore, so I sat down at the piano and let my intellectual brain rest and got into my emotional creative side. I promise not to overwork it. It will be posted soon.

To Be More Creative Try Not Reading

May 14, 2010

I’m 3/4 through a week of reading deprivation. According to Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way reading can often clog or block your own creative output. Stop reading and what else is there to do but listen to your own thoughts and create new art, inventions, philosophies….

Have you ever tried to function in our society without reading? It’s not easy, and I haven’t been 100% successful this week. I have slipped by checking email a few times (I need to for jobs that come up), reading a couple paragraphs of my bike’s manual, reading descriptions at the Emily Carr University grad show, and oddly enough when I see the newspaper my parents read sitting on the table I catch myself reading a couple headlines. It’s like a person trying to quite smoking but taking a couple drags off their friend’s cigarette.

Self imposed no reading has made me realize how frustrating it must be for people who can’t read at all, like my father who suffered a stroke and lost his ability to read and write. It has been easy to take a break from reading novels or the newspaper or online articles, but there are other things in life that require reading such as recipies, instructions, explanations, that if we weren’t able to read it would be difficult to function.

I look forward to getting back to reading next week. However I think I will cut back on some of the newspaper and online articles that really don’t contribute to my well being or creative output. What do you think? Have you ever tried not reading for awhile? I would love to hear your ideas. Please take a minute and send me a comment. Oh, and have I been more creative this week? Yes! More drawing, more music, more gardening, and more cooking.

It Starts With A Pencil – Mail Art ATCs

January 13, 2010
It Starts With A Pencil ATC by Kathy and Tiana

It Starts With A Pencil ATC by Kathy and Tiana

Last month I was given the chance to complete an ATC “Jam”. Misti Ko’s latest mailart project has her sending out a series of ATC “jams” – artist trading cards that she has started and then asks other artists to complete and send them back to her. “Jam” cards are something like the visual equivalent to a musical jam.
All the cards she sends out for this project will start in roughly the same way, with a pencil. Where they go from there is out of her control.

Kathy turned the pencil print into a hedgehog drawing. I contemplated a few ideas and then settled on making it a giant hedgehog along Vancouver’s English Bay. I drew from a photo of a peace march I was on in the 80s.

Get in touch with Misti if you would like to play.  ko (dot) misti (at) gmail (dot) com  And have a look at her website for more examples:

New Song “Tangled Garden” from Tiana

January 3, 2010
Cover photo by Tiana Kaczor for song "Tangled Garden"

Cover art by Tiana Kaczor for song "Tangled Garden"

“Tangled Garden” is Tiana’s New Year’s present to you. You can download it for free on her Reverbnation site.

Last fall I wrote several piano compositions. It seemed that every time I sat down at my acoustic piano a new melody came up and I had to run upstairs to my studio, turn on my computer,  hit record, and then try to play the melody again on my keyboard. I feel many can stand on their own as solo piano pieces, but I also wanted to see what I could do with adding a little orchestration. It is an improvisation, a musical idea. The vision I got while playing it was of a garden, tangled and overgrown, waiting to be tended and loved.

The photo I’ve used for the cover art is from when I was in Bella Bella. This was a lovely walk in the forest near a salmon stream, that unfortunately had a lot of garbage dumped in one spot.

Tiana’s Copies of Student Drawings

March 30, 2009
The drawings on paper are by students at James Whiteside Elementary. The painted copies are by Tiana

The drawings on paper are by students at James Whiteside Elementary. The painted copies are by Tiana

Today I finished painting the feathers onto the eagle, all 302 of them! Now I am outlining in brown with gold highlights, and the whole eagle will be done by the end of the week. The BC Lions Society will then collect it from James Whiteside Elementary, put a protective coating on it, and return it to the school for the official unveiling on April 30.

Some people who have seen the eagle in progress think that the students are painting directly on the eagle. But no, I am the only one who has done the painting. It has been a fabulous exercise in painting techniques, as I have tried to replicate the style of a few hundred children, from age 5 to 12.

It is kind of sad that my time working at the school is coming to an end. It has been a joy having the students and staff come by every day to watch my progress, try to find their feather ideas, and give me words of encouragement.