Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 9, 2013

I know. I know.  You didn’t see me there!  But, I was!  I ran over to Home Depot to get my board at 6:15…I got it on half price because I convinced the lady at the check out that it was the only one in the bin like it and, “Look!  It has this flaw on the back!”  No problem…$4.30.  Awesome!

My wonderful cousin was in town…I pulled my paints out and started my work at 7:00 sharp.  I thought about all my Gorilla House peeps and the huge energy that one feels as the artists get started and the audience has stepped in for the first time.  We turned on some Gretchen Peters music and Margy set up her panel on the feast table across from me.  It was just a terrifically magical time.  In the middle of my painting frenzy, my cousin dearest poured me a bubbly ice water, something we both enjoy on our relax times together.

I have no idea the concepts of ‘The House’…I was continuing on with my series of Studio Chiefs, this one Chief Eagle Calf of the Blackfoot Confederacy.  I liked how the wood panel informed the piece.  I worked until 9:30 and then stopped, knowing that down town, the auction had begun.  It was a glorious night of painting.  This one will be up for auction next week at GH.  This evening proved that you can take the artist out of the Gorilla House, but you can’t take the Gorilla out of the artist!

I found this descriptor on the back of a photograph of Chief Eagle Calf, also known as John Ground, on the back of an old photograph that was sold on E Bay.  I feel sad about the sort of spectacle that is intended by this description.  I honour this great man with my prayer blessings.

Chief Eagle Calf 3Chief Eagle Calf was also present with three other chiefs at the home of Robert E. Lee.  Here, the four chiefs signed their names with pictographs.  The following information has been collected from here.

 

A contingent of Blackfeet leaders from Glacier National Park, likely in Washington on tribal business visited the Confederate veterans home in Richmond on May 19, 1914. All have signed the book with their pictograph as follows:

 

CHIEF EAGLE CALF Also known as John Ground. (CHIEF)
MEDICINE OWL (JOSEPH MEDICINE OWL was born in 1888)
TWO GUNS WHITE CALF (CHIEF)

 

Two Guns White Calf (1872-1934), a Blackfoot chief, is best remembered as a model for the “Buffalo Nickel.” The face which appears on the nickel was actually a composite image made from the likenesses of three Native Americans, including Two Guns. Designed by James Earle Fraser, the coin was first issued in 1913. Two Guns always maintained that he was indeed the sole model for the image on the coin and gained celebrity for this association. He was, for many years, the public face of Northern Pacific Railroad, whose advertisements billed him as the model for the coin, and a major attraction for the tourists who visited Glacier National Park. 

Chief Eagle Calf 2Chief Eagle Calf 5If you are interested in this piece, please come down to the Gorilla House next Wednesday when I will be painting LIVE.

P1130334 P1130335 P1130336 I am grateful for the support and love of my family.

A contingent of Blackfeet leaders from Glacier National Park, likely in Washington on tribal business visited the Confederate veterans home in Richmond on May 19, 1914. All have signed the book with their pictograph as follows:
CHIEF EAGLE CALF Also known as John Ground. (CHIEF)
MEDICINE OWL (JOSEPH MEDICINE OWL was born in 1888)
TWO GUNS WHITE CALF (CHIEF)
Two Guns White Calf (1872-1934), a Blackfoot chief, is best remembered as a model for the “Buffalo Nickel.” The face which appears on the nickel was actually a composite image made from the likenessesof three Native Americans, including Two Guns. Designed by James EarleFraser, the coin was first issued in 1913. Two Guns always maintained that he was indeed the sole model for the image on the coin and gained celebrity for this association. He was, for many years, the public face of Northern Pacific Railroad, whose advertisements billed him asthe model for the coin, and a major attraction for the tourists who visited Glacier National Park.

– See more at: http://www.civilwarfamily.us/2013/01/four-blackfeet-chiefs-vists-the-robert-e-lee-soldiers-home.html#sthash.xBjpwdE9.dpuf

A contingent of Blackfeet leaders from Glacier National Park, likely in Washington on tribal business visited the Confederate veterans home in Richmond on May 19, 1914. All have signed the book with their pictograph as follows:
CHIEF EAGLE CALF Also known as John Ground. (CHIEF)
MEDICINE OWL (JOSEPH MEDICINE OWL was born in 1888)
TWO GUNS WHITE CALF (CHIEF)
Two Guns White Calf (1872-1934), a Blackfoot chief, is best remembered as a model for the “Buffalo Nickel.” The face which appears on the nickel was actually a composite image made from the likenessesof three Native Americans, including Two Guns. Designed by James EarleFraser, the coin was first issued in 1913. Two Guns always maintained that he was indeed the sole model for the image on the coin and gained celebrity for this association. He was, for many years, the public face of Northern Pacific Railroad, whose advertisements billed him asthe model for the coin, and a major attraction for the tourists who visited Glacier National Park.

– See more at: http://www.civilwarfamily.us/2013/01/four-blackfeet-chiefs-vists-the-robert-e-lee-soldiers-home.html#sthash.xBjpwdE9.dpuf

Gorilla House LIVE ART: April 17, 2013

Bruce demonstrated how to do an image transfer some months back and my cousin, Margy, has been using these techniques successfully out in the studio for several of her amazing collage pieces. Last night,  I really wanted to deal with the Trans Canada Highway in some subtle way.  Since coming home from Ontario, I’ve been thinking about the extent of the highway that has become so familiar to me.  An asphalt thread, it is all that separates me from these important family members.  I decided, before even driving to the Gorilla House, to adhere my mirrored image of the map onto my board…that, along with the colour test sheet that popped out at the beginning of my print job.

One of the concepts of the night was Cruelty and Beauty.  I was thinking about the painful experience of separation and the cruel reality of physical distance (This might be an emotional distance in the case of not being able to reach into the heart of someone you love.  It might be the seeming impossibility of attaining a career goal.) ; on the flip side, the awesome experience of knowing love for those who are not physically present…how beautiful is that love…how powerful.

Ravens are dealt with in art works right across Canada.   They are icons of a changing culture across regions.  I was introduced to Prince Edward Island artist, Karen Gallant, on my ancestral search in North Rustico two summers ago.  The raven appears both as a central subject and as a supporting detail in much of her work.

Artist: Karen Gallant Prince Edward Island

Artist: Karen Gallant Prince Edward Island

Amy Switzer, North Bay, Ontario artist, exhibits with my grade nine art teacher, David Carlin and masterfully creates mixed media sculpture, often with the raven and other birds as her subjects.

Amy Switzer: Untitled (Standing Bird 3), 2008, ceramic, steel and graphite, 14 x 6 x 18 inches

Amy Switzer: Untitled (Standing Bird 3), 2008, ceramic, steel and graphite, 14 x 6 x 18 inches

installboothAnd while I am whizzing across Canada, it’s imperative that I represent an image from the west coast, known for the historical reference of the raven used in First Nations masks, totems and art for generations.

Traditional and so absolutely beautiful…

“An elegant hand-carved and painted bass wood West Coast Native Canadian “raven rattle” by Gerry Dudoward, a Native Canadian artist known for his West-Coast style carvings. The body, painted in greed,  red, white, and black, is carved in the shape of a wingless raven, with West Coast geometric motifs painted along the body, with a small carved man sitting backwards on the raven’s back.
1.6″ x 1.4″ — 4 x 3.5 cm” SIC

Raven Rattle by GERRY DUDOWARD

Raven Rattle by GERRY DUDOWARD

Emily Carr’s observations of the lush coast and her observation of totems had a profound impact on the conversation about Canadian art and Appropriation.  “Canadian Expressionist Painter, 1871-1945 Canadian painter and writer. She studied art from 1891 to 1894 at the California School of Design in San Francisco. She lived in England from 1899 to 1904, studying at the Westminster School of Art in 1899, and settled in Vancouver on her return. Her stay in Paris in 1910-11, during which she had a painting shown at the Salon d’Automne in 1911, proved far more influential on her art, familiarizing her with Impressionism, with Post-Impressionism and with Fauvism.”

Big Raven 1931 Oil on canvas 87.3×114.4cm Vancouver Art Gallery

Emily Carr

Emily Carr

Here, W. Allan Hancock’s wildlife paintings represent the contemporary approach to ooooober realism.

Ravens of Klemtu by W. Allan Hancock

Ravens of Klemtu by W. Allan Hancock

This is my own two-hour painting resulting from last nights Art Battle. I am grateful to Emily, Grace and Alex for purchasing the piece at auction and to all my friends for their warm welcome home.

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Emily, Alex and Grace

Emily, Alex and Grace

Gorilla House LIVE ART: December 5, 2012

I knew there was going to be a twist to this evening of painting, for a few reasons.  Our MCs were going to be three of the ladies (three muses) who have consistently supported the Gorilla House over the last several months.  I also knew that my friend Rylan was going to visit the House for the first time.  The themes for the night had been pre-selected and so we were able to consider subject matter in advance.  The topics were 1. Epiphany 2. Xanadu and 3. Kubla Khan

In my mind, the painting that came to life in my head would not be something that I could sell or market, but it was something I wanted to try to paint.  Based on some of my reading, I wished to explore what makes for an Epiphany.  In the end, I’ve decided that epiphanies (magic) comes from observing, and I mean REALLY observing,  ‘the ordinary’.  To experience an epiphany is a gift.  It is a gift from the self to the self.  It is the Divine within us.  The poem I chose to exemplify this concept was written by American Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser.  And it is called Epiphany.

From the Poetry Foundation.

An Epiphany

By Ted Kooser

I have seen the Brown Recluse Spider
run with a net in her hand, or rather,
what resembled a net, what resembled
a hand. She ran down the gleaming white floor
of the bathtub, trailing a frail swirl
of hair, and in it the hull of a beetle
lay woven. The hair was my wife’s,
long and dark, a few loose strands, a curl
she might idly have turned on a finger,
she might idly have twisted, speaking to me,
and the legs of the beetle were broken.

“For the french philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas, epiphany or a manifestation of the divine is seen in another’s face.” 

I painted my face-to-face.  Thank you to Belinda who generously purchased this piece at auction. “I Am Talking to Myself Again.”  And I’m proud of daughter Cayley for making art in the battle and selling her piece at auction.  Desere’s daughter, Amélie, also painted for the first time in an art battle.  So…that was double-fun!

Desere Amelie

Here, a selection of my random photos from the evening including Gorilla House schematics and Bruce’s demonstration of image transfers.  More to follow as people post.

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From Wikipedia…

Kubla Khan is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in 1816. According to Coleridge’s Preface to Kubla Khan, the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream after reading a work describing Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China Kublai Khan.[1] Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed according to its original 200–300 line plan as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. He left it unpublished and kept it for private readings for his friends until 1816 when, on the prompting by George Gordon Byron, it was published.

These are the lines and the analysis that most struck me.

The subsequent passage refers to unnamed witnesses who may also hear this, and thereby share in the narrator’s vision of a replicated, ethereal, Xanadu. Harold Bloom suggests that the power of the poetic imagination, stronger than nature or art, fills the narrator and grants him the ability to share this vision with others through his poetry. The narrator would thereby be elevated to an awesome, almost mythical status, as one who has experienced an Edenic paradise available only to those who have similarly mastered these creative powers:[57]

And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise. (lines 48–54)

The Video Comes out for Battle Eleven! Gorilla House LIVE ART!

I dunno when these guys get these videos together, but the Gorillas wait, with great excitement for their publication each week.  I’d like to thank the featured musicians, Rich Theroux and especially, Aaron McCullough of Red Dot Photography who always has the presence of mind to wander about and collect miles of imagery.  I love this place.  I love the people.  This place has become a blessing-place.

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(Thanks to Terry Storey who is patiently waiting for the return of his memory stick.  I didn’t realize that all of his 11th Battle photos were on this stick!  YIKES!)

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. Elmore Leonard

Gorilla House LIVE ART: August 29, 2012

Victoria, pure awesomeness in this video!  Thanks for capturing the Magic! A terrific article about the Gorilla House LIVE BATTLES featured in  BEATROUTE this week!

My write-up about the creation of this collage can be found here.

Summer Comes to Endings: Gorilla House Magic

Aaron McCullough
Red Dot Photography

…provided the next couple of photographs from LIVE ART August 22, 2012 at the Gorilla House.  You can’t tell I’m having fun! (nah!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012…a particularly awesome evening at the Gorilla House.  LIVE ART included the appearance of my own daughter and two of her dancing friends.  It added yet another dimension to a consistently amazing experience.  Thank you, Vincent.  It was wonderful getting to know you over this summer’s painting.  Rich and the Gorilla House have brought many very cool people together.  Sometimes I wonder if our lives would have intersected otherwise.  For you and your talents, I’m grateful.  Enjoy this Vincent Varga/Rich Theroux video happening!

Gorilla House LIVE ART: August 15, 2012

Thanks to Rich Theroux for realizing his vision! Photo credit to Doug Wong.

Photo courtesy of Doug Wong

Great fun, collaboration and creative energy was exerted in another action-packed art battle at the Gorilla House.  I was pleased to meet another blogging-artist in the mix and think that Belinda creates intensely coloured and dynamically patterned works. (she also takes amazing archives and I appreciate her loan of a photograph)  Welcome to the battles, girlie!

Belinda, Courtesy of Calgary’s Doug Wong

The three concepts of the evening were 1. science and progress 2. she left me for another and 3. angels.  As I began to ruminate about the first topic,  pattern came to mind.  I think that what we have discovered as scientists and engineers has much to do about the discovery of patterns…I assembled bits of cast off pattern pieces that I inherited from my seamstress-mother and applied them to the surface of my panel.

Photo Credit: Doug Wong

This base informed the remainder of the piece….as I contemplated lost love, my mother, progression through life, of any sort and finally, in the literal sense, an angel.  I stylized her to a great extent.  I think that the part of the process I most-questioned was my colour palette.  I suppose it felt ‘cotton candy’ for me.  It was a tad too sweet for my liking.  I am very grateful to Laurane who generously purchased this piece at auction.  I also thank my mother who seemed to be informing this piece.  The only text I wrote in gold metallic pen was, “Your love was enough.”

Photo courtesy of Belinda.

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