Love Art in Calgary: Clean Clothes Collide with Creativity

FFWD recently covered an interview with Gerrit Rysdyk, owner of Lux Laundromat, down on  14th Street.  Metro also covered a story, here.  I so enjoyed reading Gerrit’s story, one of transformation and creation! Gerrit is a man with a vision.

Above all, Gerrit Rysdyk has high regard for his business…the fact is, he has ‘cleaned up’ the laundromat so that as you enter, you feel a peacefulness, a huge respect and a sense of care.  He described the laundromat as providing the following services.

“Lux Laundromat is a full service coin laundry located in the downtown Calgary. There are 14 single load washers,6 double load washers 5 of which are super high effciency and one triple load for king size comforters and quilts. The hours are 8 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week. Last load is 9 PM. Attendant on hand at all times.”

P1140723 - Copy P1140737 - Copy P1140741 - Copy LuxYesterday’s Love Art in Calgary tour began with coffee cake and coffee at the laundromat, where a recent art opening was enjoyed, featuring Super dark & spooky: So bright and magical!, a mixed media collection by artists SPIVAK and Melinda Topilko of Girl Gang Dance Party.

While SPIVAK’s electronic footprint is sparse, I am including here, a bit of a biography found on the Phantom Wing website for Melinda Topilko.

My transdisciplinary practice includes drawings, mixed media work, photographs and curatorial collages – using techniques typically defined as “crafty.” Of particular interest to me is the examination of feminism, and the relationship between gender roles and interpretations of the “masculine” and “feminine” in visual culture. Much of my raw material is collected meticulously from thrift stores, specifically domestic objects and images from the 1940s to the 1970s, particularly those associated with women. The juxtaposition of images, objects and texts play with perception and expectation that is intended as humorous, but also has a deeper theoretical basis. A key element of my practice is a social one – interactions not only between the viewers and the work, but also the resulting dialogues.

Melinda graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2012, and is currently working on a second iteration of the exhibition F*** Yeah, I’m a Feminist, and developing Hop on the Magic Art Bus, a travelling (sic) art space.”

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Gerrit also pulled out some works produced by Lisa Cuffley as well as Lady Cox The Factory.

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P1140743 - Copy P1140745 - CopyAlso, from the back office area, Gerrit shared with us a photograph taken of the laundromat in its early days…something found tucked behind machinery and discovered through the clean-up and renovation process.  Beau Lark, who studied at ACAD is presently a Berlin photographer.  Quite a unique glimpse into the history of the laundromat!


P1140754 P1140757The space provides for a ‘zen-like’ experience…warm light baths the work space and art invigorates the walls.

P1140762 P1140759It gave me a warm feeling as I noticed a few Gorilla House hearts stuck onto a couple of counter tops.

P1140756 P1140755 P1140736 - CopyThank you for your hospitality, Gerrit, and we wish you much good fortune with this venture.  I hope that my readers, when possible, will enjoy the services of the Lux Laundromat and take a wander in at your leisure to enjoy the art. Celebrating this tour, along with me and our fearless leader, Wendy Lees; Yves, Lauraine, Sally, Cindy, Steve, Geoff and Larry.

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