Down the Rabbit Hole She Goes! This is How it Began

This morning, I sat with coffee.  Soon after, I told Max that I’d get dressed for a walk.  And, this is what happened.  (The LOOK ON HIS FACE!)

While I was downstairs, digging out the next pair of track pants, I tucked away a Christmas box in the closet and came upon my sketchbook…1968-1972.  Oh my goodness!  I propped myself up on my bed and took a look and all sorts of memories came up.  For one, at some point, my sister signed every one of my drawings.  She was just a wee little girl and she must have held me in some sort of esteem…or, the drawings.  As I think about my former Junior High art students, I think these sketches are very rudimentary.  There’s nothing at all impressive about them.  What’s with the solid contour lines?  They look like colouring book drawings.  Hmmm….f

I wrote little poems along the way…sentimental poems…what were they about?  I guess I’ve always been a dreamer.  Sketches and thoughts from 52 years ago…

So my trip down the rabbit hole began.  And Max, patiently waited.


Weekend Blessing #1: Performance Art

Photo Credit: Aran Wilkinson-Blanc

My daughter, Cayley, and her friend, Crystal, performed a magical piece at the Untitled Arts Society on Friday night.  Fortunate were those who had opportunity to attend the performance, in addition to taking in the visual art exhibit because it was so fleeting and yet so intense.  I’m very proud of my daughter for this collaboration.  It was courageous.

As six inches of my daughter’s hair was cut off toward the conclusion of the performance, the audience members gasped in unison.  It was a stunning moment, leaving some observers quietly emotional and shocked…others, uttering their amazement in a whole number of ways.

The images, on their own, may not convey the narrative or the emotion expressed and the drawings and sculptural pieces that remain feel to be a mere residue to the experience.

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Following the performance piece, the Haggard Beat performed in gallery and so there was an extension of magical energy and we all celebrated with great conversation and excellent music.

Hot Dang’ Darling by Haggard Beat

Hot Dang’ Darling

Graham Krenz

I met the young artist, Graham Krenz, at the Gorilla House LIVE ART battles last week.  I had been admiring his work in a downstairs studio space for a couple of months, but had never met him.  Given my own exploration of endangered species and my longing to paint and talk about an eventual ‘complete’ Covenant Series, his work spoke to me on a more intimate level.


It is not an unusual thing for me to drive out of the suburbs and find a rabbit, lifeless on the side of a road…or the blue-black incandescent feathers of a magpie juxtaposed with the brilliant white of its lifeless body.  I’ve thought often about the proximity of human kind to animals and our encroachment on their spaces.  Graham’s work speaks of this in a powerfully sad way.

I think that submersing biblical text into my artwork causes people to read scripture.  Graham’s work creates a more ‘in the face’ statement by depicting the lifeless figures of these beautiful creatures on the surface of his work.  The viewer is compelled to ‘feel’ something about the subject matter.

In his own words about his art…

“I have, for the past year, spent almost every day in Calgary’s expansive
suburbs. Their scale and uniformity are staggering- but they are not islands.
There is a constant influx of wild and semi-tame fauna living out private lives in
every possible vacant space between homes. Many have been displaced and
many creatures have long since left the Calgary area, but some have stayed,
and many have carved out a niche that has allowed them to succeed and thrive.
Despite this superficially easy life, many die alone in fields or beside roads due
to human intervention or negligence.

There is always the argument that our effect is simply an indirect
consequence of our pursuit of comfort and happiness. That argument implies
we are accidentally constructing these vast tracts of stucco and concrete, and I
reject it entirely. We are directly responsible for an entire co-dependent
ecosystem of waste, scavenging and opportunism. A vacant lot does not revert
to nature. The layers of soil have been excavated and disturbed, the long grass
is choked with plastic bags and the dirt itself is polluted with shards of glass and
junk. It is a new ecosystem defined by the city surrounding it.

However, I haven’t noticed any profound physical suffering in the animals
I’ve encountered. I see coyotes so fat they barely bother to run away, and deer
cheerfully lounging on faux-stone front patios, safe from the comically well-fed
coyotes. They are as addicted to our food and comfort as we are.

I draw these suburban creatures after their death, whatever the cause. I
use ground chalk, marble dust, and water as my primary media and the work is
applied to supports salvaged from the never-ending conveyor belt of furniture
moving through our bedroom communities. Most of what we consider stylish
and comfortable today will not be recycled, and will surely end up buried
beneath our homes in the future. This is our suburban legacy: Animals addicted
to calories and humans addicted to furniture. Here they are, together at last.”

Gorilla House LIVE ART

This morning I wrote a quick post about an event I attended at the John Snow House.  Some other remarkable stuff is happening in ‘our town’!  Art is coming to life!  That’s right!  LIVE ART!

Rich Theroux, along with some like-minded artist-friends have seen a vision come into being this summer,  the Gorilla House!  I think that ‘what it is’ seems to be evolving and based on this recent video of last week’s event, people are lovin’ it!  The concept is that ‘the process’ of making art is honoured as much as the ‘art’…a notion that any artist will speak about, if you happen to back one into a corner and chat for a short while.

Art battles are waged based on themes selected from wee boxes at the beginning of the evening.  People mingle…observers become participants in the process and at the conclusion, a relaxed and informal auction is held.  Great things are happening in our arts community!  Congratulations, Rich!  Thank you for bringing something ‘magical’ to Calgary!

The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them. Jeff Jarvis