Gentrification in any fast-growing urban center is a notion to be reckoned with. Some of my readers will have noticed that there have not been any recent Gorilla House LIVE ART posts. I have to tell you, on the wheelings-and-dealings behind the decisions/negotiations/done deals, I have no insights. I only know the outcome and how the outcome impacts many. I especially know how this ‘move’ impacts me.
The short-of-it is that Gorilla House, the building AND the community, was over run by development and its central and convenient location is being transformed into a sushi restaurant. Yes, indeedy, another Calgary restaurant!
From what I can tell, the inaugural battle was held on July 17, 2012. Its archive can be viewed on YouTube and its impact will be felt for years to come, at least in the sense that the Gorilla House experience was transformative for individuals, whether they were/are artists or observers. It was just a really nice shift. The experience was NOT pure-perfection, but it was inspiring.
I remember well before July 17, Gorilla House founder, Rich Theroux was bandying back and forth with me in various message boxes about his vision for live art battles. I would have to say that I didn’t initially understand his concept, but I WAS supportive and excited for him in regards to his vision. His enthusiasm was incredible and he was completely accepting of my wait-and-see attitude and I hope that he knew always that I had his back. I consider it an honour that he respected my thoughts and feedback as he moved through this process.
Let me introduce you to Rich. He is an artist, teacher and friend. He had a vision and it was the Gorilla House. Like a mat, it was pulled out from under him. Now there are ‘rumblings’ of a shift. In the meantime, a network of new artists and friends are also shifting. It will be interesting to see what happens.
I considered introducing my readers to the personalities that came into play during the experience that was Gorilla House LIVE ART…but then there were too many to write about and I wouldn’t want to leave a single person out. We grew to love one another by sharing this really unique experience. Art bound us, but oh, it was so much more. I would never have met such a caring bunch of people had I not spent time creating two-hour paintings for such a sustained period of time. I often wondered how I would have met these people had it not been for ‘the house’. There were people from every ‘walk’ of life, each a treasure, each a teacher, each a creative and each a friend.
I’m going to especially miss this lady, Jennifer Stinson. She is pretty much the kindest person you could ever run into. If I could, I parked my easel up against her lawn chair. Of the lawn chair and this photograph, she writes.
“This was the very first night that I came to Gorilla House, Aug 22, 2012. I can’t believe there was a photo of it. Yes Kath, it started out in a GH Red Dot album!
After this I began bringing a camp chair to sit on. Eventually, Rich offered my chair a home in the vault so I wasn’t hauling it back and forth weekly. Eventually this chair disintegrated from use… so this week Rich sent me home with three replacements. Gorilla House was like that. Anything good you brought, you took back threefold.”
I wish Jenn many blessings and can never truly tell her what her friendship has meant to me.
People came and went, some for a very short blip of time and others for the long haul. It didn’t matter which. Each individual was a part of what made it gel and caused me to return again and again. There are people who will remain forever-friends and I am grateful for each of you.
Because of Wednesday painting, I created all of these paintings and more. Over a year, I found the ‘gorilla’ in myself.
The original video was filmed By: Vincent Varga and Andy Szarka
Edited By: Vincent Varga