Addicts

We revel in our addictions
Let them saturate our macro cultural communications
The language of the elixer slips into our minds with every prick, sip, toke and tab.
Coursing through the veins of the connections we build.
Method of control, or lack there of.
Playing with chaos, they are an indecernable part of the stories we tell one another.
From mind to mind.
Sit still.
This won't hurt a bit.

FullSizeRender 23.jpg

Rebellion

To stay sane
in such chaos
seems to be
an act of insanity
in itself

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 7 - Melanie Furtado

A post class snap of Melanie and her students.

Melanie's studio is located a short walk from Chinatown in an older brick building. The elevator is rickety and the hallways are lined with a spattering of trinkets expressing quirks of the folks that inhabit each individual apartment.
Hers is a true studio, white walls lined with shelves that hold her latest molds and creations along with the work of her diligent and delightful students. There is a shelf that stretches 3/4 of the way to the ceiling, separating the entry way/kitchen area from the workshop where she guides the hands and minds of many. The environment is cleanly but welcoming, boasting hand made modeling stands and a rotating platform that was constructed for her by a skillful and gracious student. There is a lot of love and hard work that has gone into that space.

This is how I know her. A warm and kindly teacher, a respected Artist, and a great conversationalist. She is strong and carries herself with calm confidence. Something that I feel is required when your art form is one of physically moving large amounts of materiel in a precise manor.
I can see why students keep coming back. Her stability and pleasant demeanor make for a comfortable environment perfect for the growth of learning a new artistic practice or refining one's skills.
I've only ever experienced her when modeling for classes and workshops. Her teaching method is patient but direct. She finds the perfect balance between sharing her passion within the structure of steady learning, and laughing at herself in delightful humanity. She upholds a strong respect for her models and (in my experience) is very conscious of making sure everyone is comfortable.  It shows that she takes great care of her surroundings and it seems to be important that the space in which she shares her passions is an accurate reflection of her personality. Functional but warm.
Though she would sometimes fumble her tools and I would find ways to bug her for the odd grammatical error, her artwork was always inspirational. She would fly through a 4 hour session, finding time to tend to questions from each individual and managing to build a breathtaking sculpture, beautifully unrefined and intriguing in its honesty.
I would often watch her as she would step back and forth, eyes darting from a section of me to the clay and back again, feet usually tapping to the comfortable grooves she almost always had playing quietly in the background. Her focus never failed to entertain me and I loved how her expression would change so drastically. When in conversation her eyes would be bright and smiling, but once she got to work, there was an unmistakable intensity about her gaze. It's as if you could actually see her mind dissecting and analyzing each individual section of her work.  And yet she would answer all of the curious inquiries that bubbled up from me with ease, all the while constructing a surprisingly accurate image from what was once a lump of grey.

The pictures seen here are examples of her finished work, which I don't think I have ever really seen before. Everything I witnessed was raw and yet incredible.

If you ever feel like learning a thing or two and getting your tactile on, I highly suggest taking a class from her and absorbing some of her wisdom. She has a vast respect for the greats that came before her, an ability to bring comfort to the sometimes prickly process of learning new things, and will most definitely lead you to a more creative place.

Here is your chance to get to know her a little better.

 

1. When did you first start to explore sculpting? Was it something you liked right away or did you grow into it?

Well, I made little animals out of mud in my backyard as a kid, but it wasn't until art school that I even really thought about sculpture. The physicality of the clay appealed to me, and felt very natural.

2. What other art forms do you enjoy, what draws you to them and how often do you get the chance to move those muscles?

I enjoy drawing, writing, movement practices and music. Drawing is a part of my regular art practice and the others are very ancillary. I often just enjoy them vicariously through the excellent work of others.

3. Are there any life lessons that sculpting has taught you?

Sculpture as an art really taught me the power of focus and dedicated practice. The most important thing is to show up. This developed a very strong core of confidence in the power of the process and letting yourself trust it.

Sculpture and art education as a career choice has taught me many lessons- from business skills like marketing and time management, to interpersonal and leadership skills. I was a very shy and introverted youth, but now I can pass as pretty outgoing.  

4. What does an average morning look like for you?

I try to maintain an early schedule. 3 days a week I hit the gym, and the other days I let the morning dictate what is needed. This always involves plenty of coffee.

5. Do you feel like there is a general message that your work is trying to get across/celebrate or does each piece say something different from the rest?

I try to let the body speak through its shapes, gesture and mood.

6. When you are in your creative space, your zone, at your most focused and productive, what does that look like for you? (Speaking on a large or small scale.)

For creation in the studio, its usually when I begin a new work that I feel the most energy. Often times this is with a model there, which always presents something completely new and the advantage of a time limit which helps to dispel any distracting thoughts. My favorite process at the moment is short 1 hour gesture studies in clay at a small scale (12"). It gives an incredible energy.

7. What is the most interesting situation or life circumstance that sculpting has lead you into?

It's liberating to have art as a way of life. For the past couple years this has allowed me to design my own sculpture programs, organize group sculpture trips to Italy, and spend time in Paris museums studying the masters. It also bring you in contact with other artists around the globe, which is always interesting!

8. How do you feel your work has evolved over the past 5 years? Do you like your previously completed pieces?

One always hopes they are improving, or at least developing. There is some early work that makes me cringe a bit, but then others that surprise me by still holding my interest. I enjoy a piece the most while it is in process. It's hard to be objective about your own work.

9. What benefit does teaching bring you and where does it effect you negatively?

It's created a wonderful community of people interested in sculpture. I love being able to provide a space for people to come and experience a different way of thinking. They also teach me so much, and bring alot of humor and joy into the studio.

From a career point of view, it is hard to have the time and energy for 7 classes a week and creating your own work. It is a juggling act.


10. What would you say is your best and worse piece of Art that you've made?

The worst is the one that I never made, and the best is the one I am just starting.


Bonus Question - What music/band has tickled your eardrums lately?

Lately I've been listing to instrumental music. Film scores, electronic mixes, etc.

For more information on her and her classes, or for more examples of her work go to her website at:
http://www.melaniefurtado.com/

Many thanks to Melanie for letting me poke at her brain and putting up with my questions during classes. You're a rad human being.

Filtered Expressions - A Poetry Kind Of Day

This is where the wind blows hard
Where the music of the traffic is always humming
Finding solace amidst the drumming
Takes a special kind of numb

This is where time slows down
Natures orchestra is perpetually in tune
Winding lines of Wiccan spines
Stormy nights of splendor


-M
 

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 6 - Blue Moon Marquee

Photo Creadit - Barclay Afia

***
Whilst reading this, please click here to fill your to the brim with all that is right in the world. Specifically "Shading Tree"
***

If there is one thing that keeps me going, it is romantic notions. This life can be so looming, mechanical, scrutinized and picked apart. Circumstances are known to take us down a few pegs and by God we do a good amount of that to ourselves. But my belief is that we need the passionate and tenderhearted to fill this world with tales and times unknown. With song and laughter, honesty and renewal.

If your soul is in malaise, these guys are the medicine you require.

Blue Moon Marquee is a mysterious and magical mixture comprised of Alexander Wesley Cardinal and Jasmine Colette. Two kind, wandering spirits that seem as though they were ripped from another time.
The moment I first heard their music was just about a year ago when they were playing here on Vancouver Island, their now home, at a little festival in Duncan. I didn't have any expectations, really. I was going to see my Partners friends play live, seemed like it might be a good time.

I highly under-estimated the experience.

Seeing these two play live is a must. There is this strange energy that dances around them, teasing and taunting with mystery. It comes from their stomps, howls, and belting of hearty music for the bones but what makes me all the more curious is how they conduct themselves between songs. They aren't your typical performers. Though their genuine hearts shine though their music, you get the most raw glimpse of it when they speak. The honesty that they give to all interactions, on stage and off, is most refreshing, and quite endearing, I might add.

I like to think that the combination of Al's chewed up and gritty vocals, and Jazz's slinky bass lines are the nicotine kick that sinks the hook into the heart, while their strange and enticing lyrics lull the mind into a nomadic landscape. The ache in Al's voice was the first thing I was struck by. To this day, I hear almost a mystic quality in how he sings that peaks my curiosity. It tells of many stories, layers of heart-ache and sooty treasures. The sounds of a life well lived. And though Al's voice may be the flow of good drink and wisps of smoke in the air, it's Jazz's infectious energy and fast flying fingers that puts the spark back into weary bones. Watching her work her magic is an incredible sight to see. She gracefully snakes along the bass with such ease, keeping time and causing a ruckus.

The two of them together are a enticing balance of chemistry and wonder. Since the first time I saw them, I have had the pleasure of not only seeing them accompanied by three other musicians at the fantastic Herman's Jazz Club, but I've also gotten a sneak peek into their personal jam space. With colourful rugs layering the ground beneath them, an entanglement of chords leading to various beautiful instruments and artwork hugging the walls, they are the living embodiment of their music.  A rustic journey into a land where simple descriptions just won't do it justice.

Growing up with Jazz and Blues swirling around me constantly, listening to the music that they make feels like a completion. It pulls me back into the place and time where the depths of my creativity were formed. It brings on a feeling of "finally". The first sip of a cool drink, the last piece of a puzzle, the long awaited embrace. It's as though my ears crave the mix of vagrant adventure, sultry tone and down home good times.

"Cards on the floor
wine's on the table.
The note on the door
reads "Cain and Abel's"?
Signed by the watchman and the bandoleer,
caught in the snare of a fowler."

Photo credit - Zach Hoskin

 1.  Describe the moment you first saw one another and how you felt in your first interaction.

It was Spring. Alexander was in the basement of a mutual friend's, a layer that I lovingly called The Dick Den. There was a party happening. Al was situated in the kitchen, tripping out on the floor. I flew in the door, sweaty from a bike ride, dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage. Our grins met and I felt like a baby that had a taste of her first ice cream cone.  

 

2. How do you feel your sound has evolved since you first started? 

After 4 years of living, working & creating on the road together, all the intricacies of life morph into sound. Our 'gypsy blues' style is an amalgamation of influence, experience & inspiration we have soaked up and absorbed throughout our travels.  

Also, we have played more than a couple hundred shows together...a great songwriter/performer once told me

"The first 200 shows as a band don't count, it's after that that it all gets real."

 

3. Is there any regularity to the song writing process?

Not so much. We try to have a writing apparatus close by at all times and write as much and as often as we can.

 Photo Credit - Zach Hoskin

Photo Credit - Zach Hoskin

4. How does the album "Gypsy Blues" feel different from your other albums?

Less soft, more grit, not so squishy. 
 

5. What do you feel is your most raw (or vulnerable, cracked open) song and how does it feel to play it in front of people?

Either 'Gypsy's Life' or 'Stumblin Fool'

It feels like wind, fire, water and dirt moving through my soul.
 

6. Realistically where do you see yourselves in 5 years?/What would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to your music careers?

Playing music all over the world, & celebrating Bernie Sanders' second run in office as commander-in-chief by dancing naked all day to Danzig.
The greatest thing? To tour as a quintet with Tom Waits, Wynton Marsalis, & Moe Tucker doing castle concerts all over eastern Europe. 
 

7. What feeling, place, or mindset do you draw from most often when you play?

It's always changing - depends on the day, town, venue, mood. Often I like to imagine one of my many musical heroes - Ray Charles, Hank Williams, Memphis Minnie, Patti Smith, Django, Louis Armstrong.... sitting in the corner at the show. That always helps me sit up a little straighter. 
 

8. How does your romantic relationship play into your music making and performing?

It plays. 
 

Taken in their little space on the Island, surrounded in the lush forest and wilderness galore.
(Thanks again guys for letting us peep on your magic making)

9. If you had been born as animals, what would you be? And do you think you still would have crossed paths?

I believe we would both be birds. Or whales. 

Probably birds. And yes, we would be best pals. 
 

10. What is the story of your morning today? The events, feelings, thoughts and interactions?

My morning glory story today is I am lying in bed after a late night of music & stories with good friends down the hill. Our four legged feline, Ella, is a purr machine by my feet. I am sipping dandelion root tea, the sky is white, & Debussy is serenading us.
 

11. What happens when we die? 

All our greatest dreams come true
 

12. What is one thing outside of music that nurtures your creativity? (/has the greatest effect on your music making)

Reading poetry and watching films
 

13. If you had to pick another career, what would you be doing? /Would you continue to stay within the realm of music?

Helicopter pilot, professional skateboarder or farmer/beekeeper. 

I don't think I could ever be without the realm.


Without a doubt, Al and Jazz are two of the most genuine people I have had the pleasure of meeting. If you get the chance to see them in the flesh, take it. Show them a little love and they'll pour it right back on you.

***

Blue Moon Marquee just put out their new album "Gypsy Blues" which features the artwork of the original Curious Questions Artist, Donovan "Duppy Doctor" Rose on the cover.

You can pick up a copy here.
And be sure to check out their website, as well as send them a line on facebook and click that little thumbs up for all of the grit and magic they share! (They also have instagram for all your pictorial needs. Join them as they traverse the globe on their Summer tourings!)

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 5 - Zach Hoskin

This was bound to happen, but it took quite some time.
For those of you who aren't aware, Zach Hoskin and I spend a large amount of our lives around each other, topics like these are often a large part of our conversations. They are subjects we both wrestle with and explore on a daily basis. So as you can imagine, it was quite the challenge to find some questions I haven't previously asked at some point or another.
But thankfully, personal experience and relation to art and creative path is no less than a vast subject.

I originally knew him as a Photographer. We met through Harcourt House, where he was employed and I was modeling/running yoga classes. After we had gone on a few photo walks and he had graciously captured a yoga event I was co-instructing, we decided to trade free yoga classes for shared time at the studio he was renting. It was there that I reconnected with painting after a year and a half of letting it slip (which I am eternally grateful for). It was also there that I was lucky enough to bare witness to the spectrum of imagination that his mind contains, as we would often spend hours together, headphones on, lost in our own little worlds while mixing colours and splattering paint.

I find it ever so interesting to talk of Zach an his work, as I am not only an Artist myself but I am an intimate observer, admirer and subject. As a live model it has been an honor to be showcased in the exploration of his creativity and I take a lot of pride in seeing my face and body speckled throughout his work.

Zach Hoskin is a creative force. He is a Maker, an annalist and an appreciator of the societal underbelly. 

Watching this man doing what he loves to do is a visual delight. There is a loose fluidity to his body movements and an intensity to his facial expressions, his eyes scan constantly, always analyzing, searching, absorbing. He pours over the details, coming in close, eyes darting back and forth, stepping back, head cocked to one side, always observing, always trying to see more.

The studio is usually a mess of placed papers, sample buckets of house paint, brushes, found objects and recently completed work. Yolandi, our cat, is usually putzing around and making herself comfortable on any small canvas within reach. There are boxes of paper for the prints he sells at the market stacked under the desk, a few scattered reference pictures and a cutting mat atop a drafting table he uses for prep and illustrations. There has been many a night where I have seen him hunched over with the clip on desk lamp flooding the corner of the studio with light as he pours over his latest idea. The closet is a slew of art books, tools, clothes, wire, sandpaper and rulers. His guitar sits by the window offering a welcome melodic distraction for when music beckons and art is overwhelming. On the top level of a tall metal shelf sits a mannequin head donning black tumor like goggles and dangling black cancerous earrings. This is the environment that holds gadgets he uses to aid in his flitting attention. Generally the room resembles a beautiful wreckage. Organized chaos. Just the way he likes it and what I see as a morsel of insight into his meandering mind.

One of the biggest things I admire is his dedication to preparation.  He will painstakingly take hours to lay down the initial sketch, or mix his desired colors, find the right frame, or scrape miscellaneous crust off of a wood board. The dedication he puts into his pieces shows what I see as a distilled effort towards quality and personal truth. Obviously, this exercise in patience doesn't just stop at preparation, it is the life blood that flows throughout the pumping heart of his process.
Of all the mediums he uses, I find the most entertainment in watching him paint. His long arms swing, branch like, as he hovers over his creation which is usually placed on the picnic table-cloth thrown down as a protector for the wooden studio floor, among a tangling of mediums and tools. Brush strokes ranging from broad and sweeping to intricate and frantic with eyes wide as he devours the image that forms in front of him. Pacing from one angle to the other, he moves with the image, as the image requires.

Zach seems to possess an insatiable compulsion for growth, a demand for something more than what was previously done. It seems as though the bewitching mixture of curiosity and boredom gives him an intense focus and primal appetite for forming something new.
Watching his creativity evolve has been profoundly inspiring. He has given me an immeasurable appreciation for the creative life, the value of art and of course, many new perspectives. I know this is extremely biased but I foresee a beautifully bizarre and bright future for him and his creative output. With his strength of drive and comforting humility, his work will only become more delightfully strange.

And now, I'll let his words do the rest of the talking.

Describe your perfect day.

Oh, that’s impossible! That’s like asking to pick a favourite song, it all changes with a breeze… My “perfect” can be filled up with all sorts of different things, i.e. aimless walking, painting, hanging with Momma Ocean, great coffee (but I’ll take mediocre), aimed walking, sex, thinking, real conversations, staring out a window, cooking, psychedelics in nature, changing things, playing with my cat, writing. But for a perfect day, scheduled activities should be kept to a minimum. I tend to get overwhelmed easily, and I get weird if I have to stick to a strict time-line. So, I guess to answer your question… my perfect day would involve doing whatever I feel like doing, whenever I feel like doing it, depending on what I’m feeling, and if I feel like doing it.


How do you see your creative process changing in the next year?

I have no idea, that’s part of the appeal of the process. Expectations seem to ruin everything, so trying to predict what direction that process will take is probably pointless at best, and self-defeating at worst. Hopefully I stumble upon something that I didn't see before, it grabs hold of my attention for awhile and we'll see where it goes from there.
 

When do you experience the most fluid mind/body connection?

When I’m walking. I can get into this really great grounded disconnect between thought and mental consequence. Ideas come and go freely with no weight or baggage attached to them. Sanity in motion. Each thought tends to get the proper amount of time. There’s something about rhythmic movement that creates a soft, safe playpen for the brain to jump and roll around in.
 

How do you nurture your creativity?

I try to put my focused thought on everything but creativity. Lots of things require dedicated focus, but I'm not sure creativity is one of them. It’s in there somewhere, and it wants to come out and smear it’s greasy mitts all over everything, it just gets scared by all of the other shit that gets in the way sometimes. So I guess the nurturing comes with consistent attempts to stay engaged and interested and curious in hopes of knocking the clutter down so there is space for the creativity to hang. Try to make him feel welcome, wanted, and loved.
 

What is the smallest (or a small) change that you would like to make to your creative process?

Oh, that’s a great question... It seems like once I can identify changes I want to make, they seem really big… But in fear of avoiding and/or sidetracking all of your questions entirely, I’ll say working on taking things from an “almost finished” state, to an “actually finished” state. It’s small because I feel that the act of starting something is still the most important and enjoyable thing for me. But I have a tendency to take work to the 90% completion stage, where I have most of the problems solved and know how the finished product will look. Then I get bored and seem to turn into a magpie and abandon the project completely due to the bright, possibly shiny things I think I might see just down the way.
 

What music/band is guaranteed to cheer you up?

Emotional guarantees are never a sure thing, but Aesop Rock has consistently provided me with that juice to feel connected and motivated. His cadence strings together moments and ideas and complex concepts, and spins them into a feeling. He's got a uniquely jaded social awareness, an ability to connect, and a healthy dose of introspective “fuck you”. In 3 minutes, he paints a beautifully intimate, surrealist world of words that you can only almost comprehend, but still make perfect sense out of. Abstract expression at it’s finest!
 

How much trust do you place in your inner compass?

On good days, the proper amount. On bad days, either too much or not enough.

To be honest, I don’t know if I have much faith in the idea of an inner compass, or I’m still learning how to define what that actually is. By definition, the inner compass concept means that there is a spiritual, guiding constant; a “True North” of sorts. I don’t really believe that’s the case. I think that on the most basic level, we’re motivated and directed by a series of wants and needs. The needs are just that; necessity. And we don’t get to determine what those are, we are only required to pursue and fulfill them.  The wants are defined by a whole bunch of human elements that make-up the wonderfully beautiful, and staggeringly heartbreaking components of human existence, i.e. emotional baggage, ego, logic and rationale, Doritos, jealousy, lust, love, bio-chemical turbulence, bad TV shows, and new leather purses. I think I’m getting better at identifying and defining the needs vs. the wants when making decisions, but to pretend that I’ve figured out everything that makes that little compass needle spin and swirl seems knowingly foolish… To wrap that mess up, I wouldn’t move to the woods armed only with a hatchet and my inner compass.
 

Describe the art you are most drawn to?

Controlled chaos. I tend to like art that has a genuine rawness and reflection of reality to it. I like weird, dark shit. I like feeling uncomfortable and curious. I love seeing the imperfections of the human hand. I think there is heaps of confidence in letting that exist, and I deeply respect that. I like when there is room for accidents to happen and to become a piece of the story. I like seeing layers and visual process. I like seeing the evolution of a piece. I like art that feels like it came from a conversation between the artist, the medium, and the idea. They each have their own language, and they are sort of grunting and pointing and playing charades with each other, making a mess, shaping their thoughts, communicating, trying to get their message heard, but still listening. I like art that looks like that.
 

What is one piece of work that your most proud of? 

I feel more pride in the process and progressions of doing work, rather than individual pieces. In the little improvements, the problem solving, new secrets, losing track of time, staying curious, staying fed. Pride isn’t something that I really experience with an individual piece. By the time a it's done, I’ve spent so much critical time with it that I’m all objective and analytical and fairly removed from the whole thing. It’s just done, and I get tunnel vision on the weak spots, focusing on the places I need to work my chops up. There is very little mystery or abstraction or interpretation left for me in my own work, and that’s where the beauty of art is experienced, and beauty is something to be proud of.
 

What is the essential message you are putting out with your creativity?

I don't know. I’m in no place to be telling people what they should or shouldn’t be paying attention to. I’m a curious human that is far too sensitive and likes to poke at things. Creativity lets me explore and release more. I like doing it, and the philosophy of it makes sense to me. So I do it. Whatever message people take from that is the proper one.



If you would like to view or purchase any of Zach's work or contact him for a commission, his website is www.zachhoskin.com
You can also connect with him over Facebook and instagram
He really is a lovely person and won't bite, so if you're interested in a commission or to order something specific, send him a line.
I promise you will be glad you did.

 

Filtered Expressions - Modern Day Miss Manhattan - Story of a Live Model

Imagine, you're in a room full of people, eyes glinting, they are all staring at you. Periodically glancing down and then right back up, studying you, every line, every curve, colour and contrast. There are lights above you shining down, they are warming your skin, and you realize... you aren't wearing any clothes.

The beautiful buzzing atmosphere of a momentary break in the Saturday Morning Figure Session at UVIC.

"to be naked is to be deprived of clothes, and implies embarrassment and shame, while a nude, as a work of art, has no such connotations."
- Kenneth Clark

The human body is immeasurably beautiful and coincidentally one of the hardest things to recreate. One slight change of angle, movement of a limb, shifting of weight and the picture becomes something entirely different.
The first accounts of a Live Model are in ancient Greece where the Gods and Goddesses would be imagined and recreated. Phyrne was a famous courtesan and was the model for the first entirely nude sculpture. Everything else before her was clothed or strategically draped. There was a distinguishable difference in how these models were depicted then, the most common and obvious was the lack of body hair. Apparently the Divine lack the ability to grow such things. It wasn't until much later that a more realistic viewpoint would be taken on the human body.
Nudity in art disappeared for a while and didn't make a resurgence until the Renaissance, but even then it was primarily men who were modeling for male Artists, at least academically. Mistresses and Courtesans seem to always have captured the creative eye.
Only in the late 19th century were women allowed to be a professional model for schools.
Much has changed.

  Audry Munson  (Miss Manhattan), a live from the early 1900's, depicted in many of the statues in New York. Today is the anniversary of her death.

Audry Munson (Miss Manhattan), a live from the early 1900's, depicted in many of the statues in New York.
Today is the anniversary of her death.

I'm not sure what the exact reason was for my pursuit in becoming a Live Model was but I know it was coming from an incredibly genuine place.
At the time, my good friend had done it at a studio that I was familiar with and suggested that if it's something I was interested in, I should give it a go.
My first session was an audition of sorts. Two moderators, experienced Artists, they had me model for them to see if I had the chops for it. A precautionary measure of sorts, as you can imagine, many people get nervous and drop out just before a paid session. Afterwards, they told me how a session usually goes and then gave me a few tips and pointers.
- Watch where lights are placed, imagine where it is hitting on your body, see it from the Artists perspective.
- Eat a moderate meal beforehand, staying still on an empty stomach isn't enjoyable.
- Keep your eyes locked on one spot to keep a steadier pose.
- Classes usually start with gestures (short held poses) and potentially go to 2, 5, 10 and 20min or sometimes a full 3 hours in one pose for sculpture or "long pose sessions".
That was 5 years ago.
It has since become something entirely set apart.
I see it as a passion of mine, a skill set, a job (in the best kind of way) but what I appreciate about it most is the collaboration aspect.
I have always loved creative collaborative energy. Whether it is just sharing space while each person is doing their own thing or working on a project with others, it gives me juice to connect on creative levels.
Modeling has also become a form of research for me. My curious nature has lead me to striking up passive conversation about goals and projects, all while I gather information and learn how to apply their skills to my practice.
I have since worked with some incredibly skilled Artists and it seems as though, as soon as they see the combination of my professionalism and creative eye, they become open to letting me be a bigger part of the process, of which I revel in. I am asked for my opinion on shape, colours, project direction. Something, one might say, borders on being a Muse rather than just a human form to replicate.
What has the heaviest effect on me is how celebrated the Live Model is. I suppose it comes with the fact that not everyone is willing to take their clothes off and be viewed by a number of people. (around 35 people being the largest group I've modeled for) That being said, there is also a deeper appreciation expressed for a "good model".
As I said, it is a skill set that comes with practice. There are things that one must be aware of, not only for personal comfort but for safety as well.
Some of the things that I have learned are as follows:
- What is the setup? Everyone in a circle around you will limit the available poses (for fear of being lewd)
- Be aware of how you feel that day. Circulation, hunger, and body aches will all dictate poses and duration.
- Keeping the rest of the body still and shifting weight slightly from one foot to the other and wiggling the toes can lengthen the duration of standing poses.
And that is just the body and environment. The other aspect of modeling is a relationship with the mind. Once the whole body image thing has become a thought of the past, there is the fact that you are to remain almost entirely still for anywhere between 2-4 hours at a time. Of course there are breaks and thoughts of what pose to do next but in between those spurts of action, there is a beautiful inaction. It usually starts with a thorough examination of the environment, which then leads into a meditation of sorts.
Early on in my journey, I was speaking to another Art Model and they said how they use that time to completely escape reality. To remove themselves from their body, almost an intensified daydream. Hearing that opened up a whole new realm of possibilities.
I am getting paid, so the guilty thought of "I should be working" cannot torment me and I am to be still so I am not distracted with fidgeting or "doing something", so this is a time where I am able to be immersed into my mental landscape.
I have used sessions to empty the clutter, to focus purely on my breath, to think about a personal dilemma, to understand myself better by letting my thoughts wander and then taking an objective view on where they land. Unless there is something pressing that I need to figure out, it ends up being a combination of all of the above.

A semi nude drawing by Gustav Klimt.

There is also a need for awareness of situations, especially with private sessions. There is a safety factor that is involved when meeting a new Artist. It is usually in their studio, whether rented or at their house and I always make sure to meet them first and check out the space. The most important thing is getting a read on them. A lot of it has to do with how much I respect their work but its mainly about how they treat me. I try to see past the first impression, take account of their small mannerisms. There is a necessary snap judge of character that happens and even if I put the utmost trust in my ability to do so, there needs to be an underlying strength involved as well. Trust in one's inner compass is all well and good but to be a Live Model is also to have the ability to say no and to ask questions.

For me, it all comes back to the appreciation of the human form. The fact that I am surrounded by people who love my body for all of its quirks and diverse lines gives me so much satisfaction and joy. I rest assured in the knowledge that as I age and my body changes, there will always be a welcomed place for it. No one cares if I gain weight, get stretch marks, have bruises, all and every insecurity I could ever dream of is viewed in awe in the eyes of an Artist. Quite simply, perfection is boring.

If modeling for a class is something you've considered, I would like to do what was once done for me and suggest you try it. Even just once. It is one of the most liberating and enjoyable things you can do for your psyche. Not only does it facilitate a new appreciation for your body but it also sheds light on how insignificant our insecurities are.
Because when it comes down to it, we're all just skin and bones, but the beauty of such things is breathtaking in every form.


Spread love,

M.


One of my favorite sketches of me by an Artist by the name of Bernie, who's last name I do not know. Done in Penticton, BC.

Filtered Expressions - Imperfection

I adore the imperfect hand. The scratchy line. The wobble of a voice. The vulnerability of the human spirit. 

There are few things that draw my eye more in an unexpecting moment than something slightly askew.  

It shows humanity, the beauty of effort, the day to day, little moments of life. Nature is only perfect because she is unapologetic of her perceived flaws.  

We like to give ouself the excuse of "it won't be good enough" to hold ourselves back. But diversity is what pushes our spirit beyond the mundane. Without imperfection, we would amount to nothing of greatness. Without the courage to embrace our curves and crosses, our scribbles and blotches, we are but cogs in the machine. 

 

Be brave.  

Make art.  

Spread love.  

image.jpg

M.  

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 4 - Abby Frank

I'm partially convinced that Abby Frank doesn't exist. It seems more logical that she is actually a Saturday Morning Cartoon character in the avatar of human skin wearing purple (or floral) Doc Martens and casting spells on her vintage shop mannequins and customers alike. Full of quiet surprises and delightful quips, even her name sounds as if she casually hopped out of the television screen one night and snuck off into the real world to go on adventures. She has this mystical quality and a sharp mind, which makes for a quick sense of humor to compliment her cool but bashful sweetness.
All of the above are strong components of her creativity, but her confidence is what shows up in her work the most. She doesn't hide her ability to genuinely be playful.
Especially when you take a look of the entire body of what she does. The mediums she gravitates to are on either end of the spectrum. On one hand she is using oil, the medium of the Renaissance, and on the other, she has doodles and digital drawings (a shining example of efficiency and technology in our modern world).
Through both mediums, she is unequivocally herself. Vibrant and soft, full of life and curiosity while maintaining grace and subtly.
If you take a look at her Digital Drawings page on her website, at first it might look like lighthearted exploration, testing the waters of the medium, but in many of the pictures, there is also treasure maps of her paintings. The oil paint shapes and veins that look so intertwined and life like are laid out in a beautifully a digital simple form. Those stylized shapes and textures make their way through all of her means of expression, Whether its peeking through in the texture she weaves into her paint, or on display in her illustrations. Not to mention her post it doodles, patches and character cards.

Personally, her paintings are what pull on me the most.
Do you ever hear a song and think " They get me. This person took my situation (heart, mind, ect) and captured it" That's how I feel about what she creates with paint. As if she has a microscope on what my insides look like and is somehow able to turn this aspect of me inside out and put it on a canvas. I often do work based off of what I see on the backs of my eyelids and her work looks awfully similar to my inward image. I see shapes and textures of biology and yet a link to something cosmic and fanciful.
Which is why I wanted to hear her words. A part of me could go on forever, diving into all the details of her work and personality that I delight in but instead I'll leave it at this.

Abby is an unapologetically strange and beautiful soul and I'm so glad she is open to sharing herself. So until you're meandering through the streets of Calgary and stumble across a vintage shop (I imagine she may be hiding among the fur coats wearing massive 70's sunglasses), her words will have to tide you over.

Enjoy.

1. What is art?
 If not life itself, art is a strategy of being! A result of processing and interpreting the world and our place in it. I guess it's also whatever you make it to be, sometimes I'll put a frame around a doodle that took me seconds to make and voila, a finished masterpiece!

2. What is the medium that you are most comfortable expressing yourself with?
Probably oil paint, because for me much of my inspiration comes from the paint itself, all the colors and textures, the possibilities! I don't require a plan or direction, largely in part because the oil takes forever to dry so instead of painting over what I'm not liking, I add to it, blend in a new color, or scrape it away. It's the perfect medium for someone who likes to change their mind, a lot. In terms of physical comfort though, drawing with my stylus and ipad has been a revelation, you can start over as many times as possible without wasting any paper! And you don't have to scan hard copies! It's the most wonderful thing, next to actual pen and paper of course..

Gandalf's Bequest
This one of Abby's favorites.

Abby Frank Original Patches

I did some lookin' to find a snippet of her world. This is where her and her super rad boyfriend once lived. The top photo I can only assume was on moving day, and there below is what once was her creation landscape.

3. Is there a phase or period of time in your life where you feel you were the most creative?
 I think I've always been pretty steadily creative, maybe more so back in the college art studio days, but I've never been more motivated than I am now in terms of thinking of new ways to adapt my paintings and drawings beyond hanging them on a wall. I have some big ideas and really fun projects to work on, and I can't think of a better time or place then where I am now to make it happen.

4. If you had to pick a blanket emotion or idea that you felt was the motivation behind the work you do, what would it be?
My work is inspired by nature -aquatic life, cells, insects, magical plants, microscopic worlds, cosmology...as well as stories, objects, characters and situations, and just things I find hilarious or interesting or beautiful. I guess you could say most of my art comes from a place of joy though, in most cases at least!


5. What does a regular morning look like for you?
It starts with a pretty drawn out routine of grooming, tea drinking, and a big breakfast. There is usually some kind of Netflix on in the background for comfort and entertainment reasons. I'll make a list or two. Then I walk to work, usually stopping in the park on the way to examine the frozen plants and watch the squirrels.

6. Describe your work space/studio environment.
When it's in full swing, it looks like a cross between a mad scientist's laboratory and a kindergarten classroom. Lots of scribbled notes, loose papers, pictures taped to the wall, stacks of books, various tiny knick knacks, crayons spilling out of places...when I have things in order tho it can really be quite organized and lovely. My boyfriend is a very patient person.

7. How does your creativity play into and effect your day to day life?
I work at a vintage shop so I spend a lot of time making displays and dressing mannequins. It's a kind of set design, making scenes and changing the environment or mood with objects and clothing. I also love all of the eccentric characters that come into the shop regularly, and am actually working on a series of illustrations based on them right now!

8. If you had to be a mythical creature, what would you be and why?
Fairy was my first thought, for obvious reasons, but after some serious deliberation I decided that if I "had" to be mythical creature it would be a Phoenix. They just always seem to glide in when you least expect it but when you need them most. They are bright and colorful and powerful but underestimated and quiet in many ways, an interesting contradiction. Not to mention the whole healing tears, Harry Potter, rebirth thing.. Sold!

9. What has been your biggest struggle as an Artist?
It's definitely a challenge for me to focus on one project at a time, if I don't set up some kind of system to work within I'll just stay in the idea phase and take forever to finish. I also struggle with being my own manager, I'm like the chillest boss ever, and that doesn't always get results!

10. Do you have goals or ideas as to where you would like to be creatively in the future? /How do you see yourself evolving?
I want to collaborate with artists, designers, entrepreneurs, musicians, etc. to help produce work that is multifaceted and interdisciplinary. To make amazing things and never stop! I would love to see my paintings and drawings adapted into textiles, wall murals, sculpture, animation, you name it.


 Bonus Question!
 What band/musician are you really digging right now?

I'm pretty stoked on Missy Elliot right now, she's back!

Deep Sea Sanctuary

Voldemort's Holiday

Seen here is her image of beauty that she sent upon my request, with the caption "it's a picture of 1950's novelty salt and pepper shakers that the ladies from the vintage shop bought from an estate sale. A family of adorable mini ceramics figures? That just about does it for me. I of course bought the feet with the red polish for a Christmas gift exchange present :) yes, it was very hard not to keep them for myself. "
 

If you are wanting to purchase any of her work, her email is abbyfrank208@gmail.com
For daily doodles and illustrations, check out her tumblr and instagram.
Otherwise, do give your eyes the pleasure of seeing her work on her website www.abbyfrank.com and hopefully up on your walls.
Thank you to Abby for putting your enchanted mind out into the world for us to revel in. I'm so genuinely excited to see what you have brewing.

Spread love,

Meri

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 3 - Courtney Chetwynd

Let me just begin by saying that this was an especially enjoyable interaction for me. I am mainly doing this project for my own benefit and I am sharing it in hopes of inspiring and connecting with others. Well, this brought a large amount of beneficial information and creative juice my way, and I hope do it does the same for you.

*

I was sitting in my tent in the Bastion Square Market here in Victoria when I spotted a lovely lady and her Gentleman, make their way towards me.
She was drawn to my work and we got to talking of our mutual love of contour lines and geographical inspirations. They were only on the Island for a short time. Originally from the North West Territories, I'm pretty sure they were headed home within the next day or two.
She kindly bought a shelf that I had just finished painting with the promise of granting me a picture of it in her home (which she quickly followed through on) and with the trading of business cards and a warm fair well, she was off, swallowed by the ocean mist on that drizzly Summer day.
Afterwards, I explored her website and learned that we are much more connected than I had first thought.
Her work whispers to me in the most delightful ways and, as you soon shall see, her words are just as satisfying.
In her Bio, it says "Her work focuses upon themes and metaphors of the body, space, and relationships by integrating Northern concepts and materials in a poetic and psychologically charged manner." Which I feel, is a beautifully accurate general description.
But what I see, is the amount of thought she endlessly pours into her creations. Everything is reflective, symbolic, riddled with metaphors and dreamy realities. She takes concepts and ideas and brings them to life by putting them in these simple yet elegant material forms, projected, constructed, and hung with delicate purpose. The dedication she has to her craft is blatantly obvious. She has an understanding of what it means to be a highly creative individual, both the positive and negative effects of such, and seems to be so patient with her creative process. Which is shown clearly in her work. I can't imagine the tedious hours she has spent, not only physically building but processing the layers of her creations. All the way from the creative mental spark, to meticulously finding materials, to chewing and digesting the construction process (as well as potential travel and placement) and finally putting it all in place. Not to mention the constant amount of self motivation it takes for any Artist to push through when it comes to being deeply involved and reliant on your work (financially but more so for sanity).
I am drawn to the lightness of her presentation. It has this curious mystique, yet it exposes depth. Her ability to show the purpose and effect of connection, storytelling and of the relationship between land and human as well as the intrinsic interdependence of two.
Though the pictures she has on her website look magical to say the least, I have a feeling that the true majesty of her work can only be experienced through immediate interaction. Which I hope I have the pleasure of being able to do someday.
Until then, her words will have to do.

Enjoy.

1. What are your values as an Artist?

-Put my soul in what I do.
-To maintain a genuine curiosity about everything and everyone
-To continue nurturing healthy passions and obsessions. Artists need to be extremely obsessive people (who else can be locked away in a room combing lint for 50+hours, you need to be fixated on expressing an idea)
- Treat nothing I make as too precious. My work is often ephemeral from found and disintegrating materials, and I’ve come to think of this as sort of a spiritual practice that helps teach me to not to hold on to things too tightly or too long. I think a lot of artists can get stuck. It’s easy to do if you receive a lot of great feedback or validation about a piece…well, this can be a self-fulfilling trap whereby you get stuck either making the same shit, or having this ghost of your last grand piece looming over your head and haunting and freezing you from progressing.
-Everything you make it not going to be good. Just keep creating.
-Consider the moral codes of the environment you are working in and your practice. Just because you are an artist you aren’t exempt from ethical relationship.
-Consider the impact of your creations on the earth. As artists we are responsible for creating more stuff in the world. I often tend to practice this performance of rescue in my work, just using cast off materials people consider garbage or detritus and give them a new life.
-Find meaning and pleasure in what you do (or else how do you figure others will). I think that authenticity shows you the work.
-Make work that is honest.
-Always try to push a few underlying meanings within the work but leave openings and mysteries. Listen and allow it and others to teach you new meanings about your work.
-Work hard. No one is pushing you as an artist, you have to find that drive within. As an artist you have to work to seek opportunities, put yourself out there, take risks, find ways to pursue your art while surviving, write and speak about your work in a variety of ways (its challenginging to articulate your ideas to people in a way that will excite them and that they can understand when it is merely an idea not yet in physical form)... let alone even conceptualizing and creating the work! There will be times you doubt yourself and what you do. I think that the notion of artists as lazy is bullshit. It’s a really hard job, but I couldn’t imagine not doing it.

 

Image borrowed from her Quallunaat series. I just find it a striking representation of her beauty and the environment she calls home.

 

Image from her (Stolons) installation.

 

(Stolons)

(Stolons)


2. What draws you to doing Installation?
and
3. Do you feel Installation is something you can learn and practice, or is it more so a way of thinking?

- I’ve always been very tactile and enjoyed sculpting. I’ve been trained in photography, drawing, and sculpture, so I have always been pretty all over the map and drawn to mixed media processes. I like working in fragments and then enjoy the process of putting them together. Layers can be read separately or melded together to form new interpretations. I am trying to push myself to do more direct performance work within my installation. I have noticed that this element always persists in my work, more and more frequently. I also find installation work a great challenge - it’s not just the object or 2nd or 3rd dimension, it is a consideration of space, the lighting, and the more esoteric things like overall the feel, energy, and atmosphere an environment can evoke, the potential to envelop…it’s how the work is positioned in space, and trying to anticipate how the viewers bodies might move in the space and through your work. Much of the making happens in the specific space for me. It can be really frustrating at times - I have had many mini-melt downs installing for an exhibition and things don’t quite translate as you have planned or imagined, so you have to be really adaptable and flexible as an installation artist - its a balance between pushing your own ideas and will, and collaboration with the environment and it’s limitations.


5. Is there something that you can depend on to always inspire you?

- I have learned to trust and depend on following my own rhythms. I work when I am inspired and allow myself to go for a walk and to pull back when I need to. Materials inspire me, whether its a walk in the bush, a garage dump, or a hardware store. Also traveling always inspires me - basically anything that takes you out of your familiar patterns and environment.


6. Do you believe in mistakes?

- Simply, no.

4.What do you see when you dream?

- Worlds and spaces that I want to make real.

7. What piece of work are you most proud of thus far?

- Anything that I was able to and will in the future bring from an idea to form. It’s like alchemy to be an artist when you think about it… working to create reality - conjuring the imaginary into a reality. I guess that means I am always dreaming


9. What has been your greatest creative struggle?

- There are two big ones so far that come to mind. 1. deprogramming from a formal art education, and it’s funny that I am currently working to complete my PhD, but that this was the thing helped me to make a real return my practice. You have to learn and then un-learn. and 2. was learning to be with my vulnerability and be ok with it. Really it’s against everything that we are taught, but I can’t understand how one can make work otherwise. I’ve come to know that the more personal something is, the more it is universal it becomes.


10. When were you the happiest with your work and why?

- When I am in the process of making, when I create unselfconsciously, lose track of time,  and when I am installing. Really, it’s the being in that flow. The process. The ritual. The practice of it that I enjoy the most.
 

Something of beauty in her day. "..a quick snap where I noticed a reflection through my studio window, caused by the sun setting (at 3pm!), creeping towards the near 24hour winter darkness we experience here in the North."

Bonus Question!
Musican/band that you have been digging lately.

- This week I have been listening to FKA Twigs a lot

You can find her website here, I highly suggest diving into it and seeing more of her work.
I want to genuinely thank Courtney for putting up with my emails and laying herself out so honestly for us to breathe in.

And thank you to all who take interest in this little endeavor of mine. I so appreciate and revel in the attention.

Until next time,
spread so much love.

Meri

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 2 - Mike Haisell

Being a Live Model has allowed me to make connections and develop relationships with the most interesting and incredible people, this would be one of them.
I met Mike when I answered an ad he had up this last Summer as I was settling in here on the Island and since then we have been working together, about once a week or so. We have almost finished a full body sculpture and he is currently in the process of doing a bust of me. (Which is pretty strange to see a life size 3D version of your face taking shape in front of you. This is my first bust, obviously.)
I had never worked for a Sculptor before, you wouldn't think it would be much different from the average drawing class, but there is so much more of an immediate connection that goes on within the 4hr time frame of working with only one person, and on one pose.
His studio, which is an experience in itself, is semi sectioned off into two parts. Upon entering, the two glass doors on the opposite side of the room are what caught my eye first, they showcase his beautiful backyard, which has provided me much entertainment in our sessions, watching the war for walnuts between the crows, squirrels and Geosepi the one handed raccoon.
The right hand side of the studio is lined with shelves boasting sculptures of gorgeous women, showcasing them in their raw beauty.  Some of them his creations, some of them from other Artists that he takes inspiration from. Pictures of a few important people (his lovely wife and kids as well as his Sculpting Guru) are scattered amongst the clay women, all clear indications of where he finds his fuel. The kiln is tucked neatly beside the door of which you enter the room from and on the left side is a barrage of tools and machinery he uses for the variety of projects he has on the go. He was once a carpenter, which is so apparent in his creation of stands and easels. He is one of those people who seemingly can make something of nothing. I have witnessed him rework tools, build props and create accessories for aiding in his work. There's nothing he can't find a way to create.

Mike has a feverish curiosity that keeps him tirelessly researching and experimenting.
One of the perks of modeling for these interesting Artist folks is that I get to pick their brains, with Mike, it's pretty easy to get information. He has a passion for Art that he excitedly shares, be it drawing techniques, portraiture, or Sculptors from the history books, he is constantly learning.
Which is obvious by the size of his reference book collection.

With the amount of time we have spent conversing on the ridiculously wide variety of topics, there is much more I could say of this curious human, but I'll let his words speak for themselves.

Enjoy.
 

1. What specifically attracts you to sculpture?
I think I like how a sculpture is a total cohesive piece of art. No one part can stand alone without relating to something else. Ultimately the piece has no better parts or viewpoints, it is all equally important, just as every part of a canvas is equally important but sculpture is in three dimensions.
I like how light can play upon the surfaces and allows us to interpret the form for what it is. I like how it is tactile and can be experienced with more than just the eyes.
I feel connected to the sculpture of the past through my experience as a child living in Europe and visiting the museums there. Building a figure is the only way I know to really know the forms and their particular beauty in my soul.

2. What are your values as an Artist?
Maybe the values of myself as an artist? Yes, Leave no stone unturned when it comes to the path of discovery. Sort of like Durer, who seamed to be looking for the ultimate proportions of the body. I don't mean I'm obsessed with that but I am obsessed with the goal of competency and having control of my abilities and my confidence with the figure.
I promise myself to keep trying, and always be willing to change anything as a part of the process. At the same time I enjoy it all and when I don't I stop.

3. What was the most inspiring thing someone has ever told you?
We are accountable for what happens to us in our life. Somehow, we had a part in it so I don't feel I got the short end of the stick for what happened. That means I am the master of my life. I make the changes that I see that will help me, and I don't wait for someone else to do it for me.

4. Which of the four elements represents you the most?
Probably fire. I have a lust for life, I affect people around me with my attitude.
I like the colors of fire, the intensity and even the sound.
 

This is what once was a hunk of clay, turned semi face shaped, turned almost complete bust that we are working on. "We" being a loose term, he does 99% of the work.

 
 
 

Where I watch the animal battles that are persistently fought.

 

One of this many tools of the trade.

 

5. What part of the day are you the most creative?
I can work all night. Hours can turn to minuets, it's strange.
I once woke up on the floor with my sculpture beside me.
All times of the day are really fine but there are often interruptions during the day.

6. Is there much of a difference between the art that you enjoy and the art you create?
Almost every time I see my paintings I hate them. I would like to be painting like Pino or Schmid.
I enjoy large sculpture of the nude like the mannerists, Giambologna, Bernini. I guess the difference is in scale and materials. I intend to add more expression to my figure's face and body.

7. How do you see your work evolving in the near future?
Like the last question, I want to work larger and larger. I am becoming more aware of composition and adding other elements to the figure. I also intend to use some more color rather than leaving everything in the raw, fired clay.
I will be doing more oil painting of the figure as well as sculpture. 

8. What is the primary emotion that you are expressing in your work?
I am in awe of the human figure. Is that an emotion? I am so inspired from life, I am happy.
What would Michelangelo answer this? He loved the figure and he brought it to life.
It is a process. Sometimes I like to express a sexual feeling or image. I want to portray how beautiful a woman looks to me.

9. If you had to create in one medium other than clay, what would it be?
I would like to create figures in oil paint. I have done this to some degree already.
I would also like to cast a figure in bronze. It is so permanent.

10. What is art to you?
It's funny how that is so hard to answer. To me an artist is competent like a trades person because they are able to handle materials and methods. An artist can take ingredients, mix everything together and produce something readable.
The process of painting or sculpture is very messy but the outcome is not. The artist knows how to put only what he wants to appear on the finished piece. The artist must be able to separate his process from the finished work so it turns out the way it was intended. That takes organization and skill. Maybe that is what an artist is, no what art is though.
Art is the outcome of all that. That is making art. But what is art? Art is that idea that stayed there through the whole process. Art is whatever speaks to the artist, motivates the artist. To me.....Right," to me"? Art to me, is embellishment of life. What adds to life. Life for some could be so simple and dogmatic that art could seem unnecessary. But even in the simple life of the Shakers, their furniture is very beautiful. Man cannot help himself from creating art. It makes us feel good. The Shakers could have used broom handles for chair legs but they didn't. They chose to add curves and tapers instead. All through history it is the same, artisans beautifying the their corner of the world in their profession. Art is everywhere. I'm taking about visual art. So I guess what I'm saying is art has to be aesthetically pleasing to me. Many will disagree. To me at some point the art movement went away from this. That's probably why I hate most "art" I see in galleries today. Antique furniture and art will never die. Where will the art of today be in one hundred years?

Bonus Question:

What musician/band are you really enjoying at this time. (Or is there one that you've just recently discovered?

The Tallest Man on Earth, Sufjan Stephans.



If you or someone you know is interested in the sculpting process, seeing his work in person or if you have a desire to purchase one of his incredible pieces, you can contact him at islandartist1@shaw.ca

Spread love,

Meri

As I have done with every Curious Questions recipient, I asked Mike to take a picture of something of beauty that he witnessed in his day.
He sent me this.
Turns out I had taken a picture of the very same sunset before I had gotten his email. Go figure.
 

Filtered Expressions - Curious Questions Part 1 - Duppy Doctor

This whole thing starts off with a friend of mine whom I've only recently had the pleasure of getting to know. My very first introduction to him was by his website that boasts pictures of the forest lined Oceanside, quite telling of the environment he obviously loves.
There is something mystical about Donovan Rose, and it seems as though he likes to keep it that way.
He has a subtly playful nature, a well dressed rebel in love with the wilderness.
I was surprised to see quite a classic style to his work, and yet (especially in person) his paintings carry a freshness to them. He takes advantage of how juicy and vibrant the oil medium can be, each shape holding its own spectrum with pride.
All this wrapped up with the bow of his words, laid out with comfortable grace, inspiring in their simplicity, he captures these glimmering moments with what seems like such ease. Some utterly romantic, some plain observances of the world around him.

Here are some words from him, enjoy.

1. Who (or what) is Duppy Doctor
Duppy Doctor is the unfortunate title of my married online personas, one who seeks healing and one who hopes to provide medication through written and painted images.
 

2. Do you or have you ever written letters to people?
Yes, many letters, I just received a letter about birds. I am working on a reply that I hope to return within the next month.
 

3. What is your spirit animal?
Probably an animal cracker
 

4. If you had to create in only one other medium than oil, what would it be?
Butter.
 

5. How much of your work is premeditated and how much is process driven?
I think premeditation is the driving process.
 

6. What is Art to you at this point in your life? (and has your definition evolved over time?)
Maybe Art is a mindset, based on observation, I don't think that you even need to create anything, just watching can be an artistic activity. The art of the invisible creation. some of us just have the need or desire to share in one way or another so we physically create images and experiences. I hope for constant evolution in definition and practice and understanding.

 

7. When and why did you start selling your work?
I made my first sale in high school to my sister and her husband, i think it was their idea, then I lived in Vancouver for a while and I was trading art for bottles of wine and bits of cash here and there which evolved into selling more out of necessity to support my living habit. I'm still into trading art for wine if its a nice looking bottle.
 

8. Who is your favorite poet?
I don't read much poetry, I get a lot of text messages that are great poems in their own way... My brother is a surrealist romantic, he's my favorite poet.
 

9. Describe your dreams. (Like, when you fall asleep, not your future dreams)
Very active, sometimes lucid and surprising. I dream about buildings a lot.
 

10. Describe the last day that comes to mind where you were really happy.
Any day that starts without alarm clocks.

 

Bonus Question, who are you listening to/really enjoying right now?

I listen to Blue Moon Marquee as much as possible, preferably live.

The image below is, by request, something of beauty that he witnessed around the day he so graciously answered my curiosities.
 

don.jpg

(Pictured above are his two lady crushes, Barclay and Benga)


Many thanks to Donny who let me poke at his brain. You're a delightfully interesting dude.

Check out his website here and send some good heart waves his way.


Till next time.
M.

Blood Collaboration

Guess who popped by for a quickie visit?
My little Red Panda sister!

Whenever we can afford some time together, it usually revolves in some way around creating. We try for bigger pieces but can't always swing it, in the meantime, sketches and doodles are a good fallback.

I have so much respect for her style and form. She takes images that I've seen in my dream and subconscious many many times before and lays them out in reality in a way I could never imagine. She seems to have a clarity about her work, a spontanious freedom. Though I know she puts thought into everything she does, it looks effortless, especially when you are lucky enough to see her at work. She dives into whatever she's creating. Balls out, feeling every bit of it in the most natural way.
I've taken a lot of inspiration from her, she has subtly stretched my artistic boundaries in more ways than she knows.

This is obviously not the most telling example of our work but it's still sprinkled with our little bits of shared personality.

Love you Nom.

M.

Coming Soon: Filtered Expressions - A Series Of Curious Questions


Most people that have a deeper relationship with me, know that I am a fiercely curious individual. (sometimes to a fault) I have built the majority of my intimate friendships with people on the basis of asking questions, some random, some off beat, some deeply personal, all coming from a genuine desire for understanding. For my own mental processing, I try and use the information to find connection and contrast. I tend to learn from being perplexed by the diversities that I am lucky enough to experience.

But I'm also bewildered by the fact that there is no way to consciously perceive exactly what another human is experiencing while maintaining one's own mental state is frustratingly exciting to me. The only way that I am capable of achieving any understanding of it is by asking as many (and as potent of) questions as possible, so that I am able to dissect their filtered expression.

Those two words. Filtered expression, the digestion of information then flooded back out through the pathways of our senses in order to expel what we have processed. That is Art.

Now to the point.

In my love of picking peoples brains, I have come up with the idea to interview Artists that I come across. This is an evolving project. Something I plan on tweaking and morphing while maintaining the vein of curiosity. For now, I am focusing on Visual Artists that I have in some way had some sort of contact or relationship with. If I see them at a gallery, cafe or am told about them through a friend, they very well may be on the list. For now I've chosen them based on the interest that I have in their work. (If I find it odd or pleasing, ect.)
But who knows what this will grow into. Maybe nothing. But maybe it will be a lovely thread to stitch together a community of people, making the creative mind a more tangible and understandable thing.

So, here goes.

M.


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Look for the first Filtered Expression post in the next few days!
And if you have anyone you'd like to recommend, let me know! Tell me of your relationship with them and why you think they'd be a curious fit!
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Face From the Deep

A picture that has now gone to the abyss.
I was messing around with some leftover paint late at night and this came out.

And now it's gone.


x
M.

Sketches from the World

My joy is painting. When I can move colors and create shapes from the abstraction of blending and layering, I feel the most movement. I feel myself processing emotions, I can think clearly when I paint. It seems to bind the mind body process for me.
However, when I draw, unless it's just scribbling, I think. It is a challenge for me to form full lines, to create boarders and edges. At times I get caught up in the doodling mind numbing aspect of it but I enjoy the learning curve it brings.

I wasn't about to take all my paints and supplies with me to South America. So I took a little sketch book and a pencil and forced myself to be without the comfort of color and acrylic.

This is some of what came from it.

xx
M