mgbrobertson

I met Bruce during my years painting LIVE at Calgary’s Gorilla House.  Bruce was a fixture there because he settled into a studio where, every Wednesday night, I would go and have a short gab and look at his work in progress.  I never left his space without a belly laugh, although sometimes I had to sort out the kind of humour that was forever-floating around his space.  More than not, I was laughing at things that weren’t funny…it was the delivery that was stellar.  I think that Bruce is a bit of a wordsmith.  He plays with words and as a result you are left, most of the time, not knowing what the heck he is saying.  He is laughing all the while.

An example would be found on the banner of his own website.  The guy was born in Jamaica.  Who knew?  And his introduction reads like this…

Large Up, Mawga Bwoy!

 

What did I tell you? Right?

I wrote a short post about him in 2013 because he was celebrating a solo show at Gorilla House.  There was something so special about those years…painting together, sharing in long conversations and celebrating art, but especially art-making.

In 2015, I purchased a little piece by Bruce out of his studio.  I had seen Bruce’s funtastical art going out the door every Wednesday night at auction, for as long as I could remember, but the opportunity to bid and win hadn’t happened for me.  I loved this whimsical little piece, Think Outside the Fish.

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Do you know what you discover when someone is super funny?  You discover that maybe they’re a little shy…just like you are.  I think that’s the way with Bruce Robertson.  Over time, I’ve learned that I’m an introvert who is functioning as an extrovert…does that make sense?  I think that Bruce is just that way…however, we haven’t ever spoken about it, mostly because we’re feeling the same way. lol  But…none of that matters.  Let’s get on with the story.

This guy was born.

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To this family.

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And…it had come time to think about my Grandson’s first Christmas.  I’ve always been a collector of art and I wanted to set this young man on the path of also being a collector.  I thought if I was to commission an artist, who would it be?  Well…in pondering that magical world of the womb and the discoveries to be had once leaving that nest, I very much thought about a song that I enjoyed as I considered my first-born, Little Seahorse by Bruce Cockburn.

As well, Erin and Doug had made a playlist for Erin’s birthing day and in the collection was the Beatle’s tune, An Octopus’s Garden.  Second to that, in my Grandson’s first eight months, he has wound down for sleep time, reading the story, Raffi’s Baby Beluga, illustrated beautifully by Ashley Wolff.

Insert Music Here.

 

Putting all of this together, I wanted an artwork that reflected an undersea world that would include a portrait of my Grandson…something that would grow with him through every age…something that would be of modest size and might travel with him as his world becomes larger.

The artist for the job…Bruce Robertson!  I contacted Bruce, realizing full-well, that I knew very little about him, apart from the magical characters that he created in his work, his fearlessness and his inclusion of text.  I messaged him via his Instagram account, mgbrobertson.

HE SAID HE’D DO IT!  YEAH!!

We met in a grocery store parking lot…we exchanged hugs and I realized how perfect this man was.  I’m so excited that he helped make the magic for our sweetheart’s first Christmas.  I’m hoping that one day Bruce will take my grandson mountain biking (Who better to teach him about the trails?)…it would be such a fantastic manifestation of magic!  We’ll see how it all plays out.

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I’ve ripped off a screen shot of Bruce’s website’s ABOUT section.  I hope that if my readers need something amazing done…website? painting? collage? or if you want to discuss some other creative project, you will be in touch with him!  Bruce’s late interests are in 3D modelling and animation. A combination of software is used: After Effects, Photoshop, Blender 3D, Maxon Cinema 4D Lite, etc. Self-taught in Blender 3D and Cinema 4D Lite by taking online courses at uDemy.com.

Bruce has a child-like disposition and is trapped in a man’s body. Bruce can do awesome skids on his mountain bike. https://www.instagram.com/mgbrobertson/

Another good friend of ours, Red Dot’s photographer, Aaron McCullough, did the photograph.

Bruce home page website

Thank you, Bruce for being such a wonderful part of Christmas 2017!

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Phantom Wing

Phones were busy at cSPACE last night, snappin’ pictures  of pretty much everything!  I’m feeling as though the internet is already swamped with images of the fantastical Phantom Wing, but who cares…here are a few more!

P1130047I go to these things alone…I know…it’s pathetic…but I’m really the driver of my own ship these days and find that my sails take me into the most magical places.  Sometimes my voice collides with another voice…sometimes not…it’s all fairly wonderful.  I DO thank the two gentlemen who seemed to have some interesting interactions with me about various spaces when we bumped into one another…and thank you for grabbing a photo of me at the wings!

P1130097 P1130098By the way, I’ve recently started a writing residency with the CPL, delivered by Barb Howard (I was intrigued by one of her published titles…Embedded on the Home Front : Where Military and Civilian Lives Converge) and have learned from one of the library books being passed about, on the topic of learning to be a writer, that a writing ‘rule’ is to avoid using adjectives.  My eyes were opened!  I am a freak who uses MANY adjectives.  Try to overlook them.

A few reactions around the various Phantom Wing exhibits…

I thought about education a lot….the ways that we have educated children over time.  Sorry for all of the dot dot dots…I just seem to NOT be able to write sentences right now.  My thoughts are disjointed.  Perhaps it is because I sat in a dentist’s chair for five hours on Monday, just to have my face go numb today…off I go again in an hour to have him ‘take a look’.  Sigh and back to the subject…

P1130072 P1130077 I felt sad for all of the dumb work sheets. (I never used the things…but see them used to this day by some.)

P1130073 P1130074 P1130075I felt sad for the controlling approach to almost everything.  But, let us remember that ALL of those teachers were being controlled at the very same time as you wee chickens were.  (Yes, I am a teacher.)

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Teacher's Rules in Sarah Birch, Michael Oxman, and Sara Peppinck's room

Teacher’s Rules in Sarah Birch, Michael Oxman, and Sara Peppinck’s room

I thought about how redundant things must seem/be sometimes in schools.

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Cliques are destructive.  I believe in being a person ‘on the fringe’.

I didn’t ‘belong’ to the girls’ group in school…any school…so, in the second floor bathrooms, where Melinda Topilko and Lindsay Joy had prepared for a Girl Gang Dance Party, re-inventing the all-lady bathroom space as a vehicle for girl talk in all its many forms, I felt very uncomfortable.  I exited as soon as there was talk about writing down your confessions…assuming that you did mean things in school.  Ah, but I remember being ‘the nice girl’.

P1130119 P1130120Because of my preoccupation with feeding and watching birds these days, the Winged Apocalypse piece left the deepest impression with me.  I mean, things have gotten so bad that I’ve actually visited my neighbour and talked to her reasonably about the cat Bylaw because she has a mouse/bird-tossing-cat that she watches each morning while drinking back her coffee and smoking her cigarette. In summary, this particular installation was meaningful.

Blue Jay at my Feeder Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Blue Jay at my Feeder Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

One Sparrow Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

One Sparrow Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

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Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Winged Apocalypse (Jack Bride, Chris Zajko, and Jayda Karsten)

Some of what I saw and experienced just gave me a good feeling…re-purposing materials, the inventiveness and genius of people and their facility to expand upon their initial concepts into creativity. Some of the work was thought-provoking around many different topics…construction, architecture, reuse, resources, friendship, community.

Part of a glowing room of installations by the Prototype Lab collective — with Dana Schloss at PHANTOM WING: a predemolition project at King Edward School.

Part of a glowing room of installations by the Prototype Lab collective: a pre-demolition project at King Edward School.

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A performance by Sarah Smalik, Sara Tilley, and Jamie Tea inside their Gut-workshipping installation.

A performance by Sarah Smalik, Sara Tilley, and Jamie Tea inside their Gut-workshipping installation.

Suzen Green and Yvonne Mullock's "Politergeist" installation

Suzen Green and Yvonne Mullock’s “Politergeist” installation

Artist: Svea Ferguson

Artist: Svea Ferguson

Viewers in Jennifer Crighton's scary fairy tales installation.

Viewers in Jennifer Crighton’s scary fairy tales installation.

Part of the Waterways installation by Alia Shahab, Ivan Ostapenko, and Lane Shordee, in collaboration with Antyx Youth :a predemolition project at King Edward School.

Part of the Waterways installation by Alia Shahab, Ivan Ostapenko, and Lane Shordee, in collaboration with Antyx Youth :a predemolition project at King Edward School.

The Bells built a bell-installation. Leslie and Chris Bell collected over 50 fire bells over the past few years. The couple  re-purposed the fire bells to create a (relatively) zen, hand-powered sound installation.  The evening at Phantom Wing was spectacular.

A Surprise Purchase at Auction!

The art that practically creates itself in two hours at the Gorilla House is always very surprising.  Last evening I found myself purchasing a self portrait ‘for a song’ and snapped a quick photograph of the artist and his piece before he left the front.  From a distance I so admired the way the piece had been created in relief…two separate planes.  I didn’t care about the seeming fragility of the piece, what the media was, just simply held a curiosity about its construction.

It turns out the piece was created by musician, Clay O’Flanagan, member of the band, Barley Hepcats.  How cool is that?

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Demolition Art House

Demolition Art House.

Place

It’s an awesome thing when projects such as this take place in the City of Calgary.  I was pleased when this led me to an exploration of this blog.  It doesn’t matter the distance that separates us, artists share a common vision of the world; reactions to space/place, response to a vast number and combination of media,  and the making of individual or collective meaning.  I think all art is narrative.

Stuff That Inspires