Vancity screening ‘On Corporate Graffiti’

On Thursday, August 30, the Vancouver Public Space Network is presenting an awesome collection of short films about public art, advertising, city hacking and other urban public space issues. Not to ruin the surprise or anything, but one of those short films is my documentary On Corporate Graffiti!

Artist prOphecy sun keeps a recording studio in her pocket

You might think it takes a lot of equipment to record and edit vocals, instrumental tracks, field recordings and music videos for half a dozen different bands. But for one Vancouver performance artist with a penchant for singing on her bike, all it takes is an iPhone.

Prophecy Sun is a singer, dancer and creator whose curiosity keeps her moving. “For me it comes down to accessibility,” she says of her pocket-sized piece of gear. “First and foremost, it’s so immediate. I don’t have to worry about getting someone else involved, I can just press record and start doing it.”

Red Gate petitions to rent city-owned building

Since the Red Gate artist studio was shut down in October 2011, former manager Jim Carrico has been busy looking for another affordable haven for artists.

“I’ve been riding my bike around, putting the word out,” Carrico explains, estimating that he’s researched between 20 and 30 new locations. “The main thing we’re looking for is studio space, rehearsal space, production space—a place where people can afford to make art.”

“Affordable” is not an easy thing to come by in Vancouver, says Carrico, but at 281 Industrial Avenue, the price was just right: $8,500 per month.

Damian Moppett’s lessons in art history

On the floor of the cavernous exhibition space in Bob Rennie’s private Chinatown gallery, Vancouver-based visual artist Damian Moppett is assembling his latest work.

Red aluminum pipes and plates lie arranged in rows, while cables hang from the gallery’s 12-metre ceiling.

The massive site-specific piece makes a nod to art history — a hallmark of Moppett’s work.

Arts event crawls east

It’s studio-hopping season again. For three days, the Eastside Culture Crawl will see hundreds of local artists open their creative spaces to the public.

Each year the Crawl, which kicks off tomorrow, serves as a snapshot of East Vancouver’s arts community. And while that community continues to find creative ways to thrive, there are a few changes afoot.

Red Gate locks up for good

After a long struggle to meet City demands, the Red Gate artist space on West Hastings Street has been shut down permanently.

Over the last four months, members of the creative hub have laboured to address safety concerns raised by the City of Vancouver. But after failing to submit a full plan for development, the group of filmmakers, painters, musicians and visual artists have been pushed out.

Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Like everyone with a laptop or a smart phone, bits and pieces of artist Kate Steciw’s life are stored away on hard drives. But unlike the rest of us—who may spend hours clicking through Tumblr and Facebook photos without much thought—Steciw is acutely fascinated by the use of screens to access images and memories.

“Looking at my old jpegs on my camera phone, I really began thinking about the way that the digital photo is ubiquitous in our lives,” says Steciw, reached at her Brooklyn studio. “These images on cameras and computers are at once so much a part of us, and yet they never really find their way into the actual world.”

red gate 'order to vacate' stands

Red Alert

Just over a month after the New Pornographers headlined a free concert in Stanley Park celebrating Vancouver’s 125th birthday, the band’s recording studio and rehearsal space—located on the third floor of the Red Gate—has packed up permanently.

“We’re almost entirely moved out, sadly, but we’ve been there over six years,” says John Collins, bassist and multi-instrumentalist for the New Pornographers. “When Jim [Carrico] found the place we were the first people to get in there—before there was any electricity or water.”

Artist Fiel dos Santos welds arms into art

VIDEO: Arms into Art

At the world-renowned artist studio Núcleo de Arte in Maputo, Mozambican artist Fiel dos Santos recalls a childhood robbed by military struggle.

“I grew up in civil war,” says Santos, who was 5 years old when his country became embroiled in a conflict that would last 16 years. “In my area the rebels were coming two times a week, every month, every day — but I’m here.”

Sleepless in Salmo

Contrary to what you may or may not have been told, Shambhala Music Festival is not held in outer space. But considering its remoteness, heart-stopping volume and 10,000 sparkle-encrusted attendees, it may as well be.

It’s a place where crystal healings and beatboxing tournaments happen in confusingly close proximity; where entire rivers are inexplicably dyed fluorescent green; and where motorized couches pass as entirely reasonable means of transport. Hosted on a 500-acre cattle ranch near Salmo, B.C. — about an eight-hour drive from Vancouver — Shambhala is a dance party destination for those craving spooky encounters of an electronic kind . . .

REVIEW: Rob Pruitt – Pop Touched Me

Pop Touched Me is a self-conscious reflection upon artist Rob Pruitt’s implausible journey through fame and failure. From gallery-hosted flea markets to 101 test-driven art ideas, it seems oddly fitting that Pruitt’s playful and often participatory exhibitions have been immortalized in glossy coffee table reading. Now celebrated for painting shimmering panda bears, Pruitt was once excommunicated from New York’s art scene for a supposed racist homage to black American culture. (Evidently he and partner-in-crime Jack Early were terrible rappers) . . .

Animal   Instincts

They say grass is always greener on the other side. But for Swedish-born illustrator Daniel Egnéus—having already absorbed the beauty of London, Prague, Berlin, and Rome—the prettiest pastures exist in his dreams. “I always prefer to draw places and things I can’t go geographically,” he says, reached at his century-old home in Milan, Italy. “You have to draw them to imagine them—and then you can maybe feel a little bit safer, when you fantasize.” . . .

Sham­bhala: the electro festival that never sleeps

Shambhala is arguably Canada’s best-kept party secret.

Nestled in the heart of the Kootenay mountains, the electronica festival brings together some of the world’s most innovative bands and DJs for five days of legendary audio/visual entertainment. Heart-stopping, brain-fracturing beats were broken down in dizzying excess as 10,000 wandering souls engaged in enough sleepless, drug-induced mayhem to make Keith Richards blush.

Art and Anarchy

There are many reasons to hate on the Olympics. Housing promises have been abandoned, the cost of living is rising, and millions of city dollars are being wasted—all for the sake of the 2010 Games.

So, if you like art, and want yet another reason to shake a fist at that hideous tooth-shaped Olympic countdown clock, mark your calendars for Friday, March 13. The unlucky night marks the beginning of an underground anti-Olympic art show called Art and Anarchy.

Whale Calling

The Olympics are coming and not even a $478 million in debt is going to stop it. So, to celebrate the impending 2010 Games, the folks at VANOC have arranged a 50-day cultural festival. Yes, the 2009 Cultural Olympiad is upon us.

With over 400 events scheduled from February 1 to March 21 (85 per cent of which are Canadian) this enormous arts expo promises to showcase a whole bunch of super-talented Canucks. Among the ranks of this year’s Cultural Olympians is a young Vancouver band by the name of Said the Whale. On March 6, the upbeat indie five-piece will play the Biltmore Cabaret along with Montreal-based Karkwa and Lucie Idlout from Nunavut . . .

Eastside crawling with culture

When Robert Pickton first made headlines, Jane Wolsak was in court, drawing a solemn expression on the now-convicted serial killer’s face.

Wolsak is a courtroom illustrator and an accomplished still life painter. This weekend, the Eastside Culture Crawl will offer a rare window into the world of working artists like Wolsak. She is just one personality among hundreds of talented artists featured in this year’s festival beginning Friday.

REVIEW: Art Deco Jewelry by Laurence Mouille­farine and Évelyne Possémé

The year is 1925. Times are good, skirts are short, and Parisian aesthetes are rocking bling so extravagant it would make Lil Wayne blush.

This is the heyday of Art Deco. With an ample appreciation for geometric shapes, editors Laurence Mouillefarine and Évelyne Possémé attempt to explain why so many Hollywood stars and fashionistas traded their traditional diamonds and gold for chunky onyx and platinum. The book also offers insights as to why the movement’s excesses eventually spelled doom for jewelry hucksters when the twenties suddenly stopped roaring.