This is what I took from the Whyte Ave ArtWalk this past weekend.
Two kids in tow, I started with a promise. For every artist I stopped to talk to, I would give the kids $1 in treats at the end of our trek. At the start this applied only to artists I already knew. We modded the rules quickly to include conversations of 5 mintues or longer with new connections.
By 5 PM, I was buying the kids supper. It was well worth it. I collected many conversations, and formiddable stack of business cards too.
Schellenberg is a painter, and the first stop on our trip. Back when we are bright eyed and bushy-tailed. Long before we melt into incoherent mumbles. I haven’t seen Camerin’s art before, and as we are just getting started, I don’t make a long stop at his tent. But his colourful drip paintings do catch my eye. Perhaps especially because they seem to be melting in the hot sun. He also has some iconic ‘Zifferelli-era-Jesus’ paintings in two-tone.
I muster up an anwkward introduction. I owe Camerin thanks for priming the pump for many more conversations ahead.
Find Camerin Schellenberg’s work on Instagram as camerinschellenberg
Janet Sutanto Fine Art
Sutanto’s abstracts catch our attention with their deep textures, bright colours and flecks of gold paint spattered throughout. My daughter Lucie eyes some favourites. I grab a card, say hello, then thank you, then move on, fully aware we have a long way to go.
Find Janet Sutanto on Facebook at facebook.com/janetsutanto
I move in towards this tent recognizing the name from social media. Crystal is a faithful follower of Bleeding Heart’s social channels. It is great to meet some of these online friends in the real (and overheated) world. Crystal’s work is quite beautiful, and my daughter is hoping for a surprise purchase of a horse print that doesn't happen. Not yet, at least. Come present time, I’ve got at least one gift on the list now. Lucie is right to like these prints. Driedger is skilled at drawing, and has developed great technique in transferring those images to blocks of wood. Sometimes leaving them monochrome. Sometimes painting them in colours. Sometimes carving the wood itself and painting that.
I chat with Crystal for a bit, and she asks about a figure drawing class that it turns out we don’t actually have. But maybe we should?
She tells me about a mural project that never came to be, but did turn out in an intricate, beautiful drawing. I take the drawing home on one of her free postcards. I’m a sucker for the free postcards.
I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.
Find Crystal Driedger’s work online at www.crystaldreidger.com.
Marcie's booth is the coolest we've visited so far. And I mean that literally. She's somewhat in the shade.
Of course the art is pretty great, too. But I know this already. We've shown her work. I have a piece in my basement. So really, I'm here to say hi to good friends from the neighbourhood.
Still, I cannot help but notice the flurry of creativity spilling from Marcie's booth. Different styles and explorations abound. She's always up to something, that Marcie Rohr.
Find out what Marcie is up to online at marcierohr.com
MacMillan paints vivid, overlapping, organic shapes. The kaleidoscopic ovals draw us in. I’m curious how she’s got this opacity to work. Choices between muted canvas pieces and glossy pieces. We chat for a bit about what she paints and how she paints it. I soon learn that Meghan is another one of our Bleeding Heart online community. A frequent retweeter in-fact (thanks for that Meghan)!
I take her card, which is a tasteful little number putting her work all across the front.
Find Meghan MacMillan’s work online at meghanmacmillan.ca
I don’t recognize Chelsea’s work at first but then I notice the name ‘Gallery Garage’ and realize I’ve seen her booth more than once before at other arts events. She’s been at this for quite some time.
Chelsea’s work is mostly abstract, exploring a variety of different techniques. I notice one piece with fine lines and on closer inspection realize they are Pollack-eque splatters. Tar medium of some sort, Chelsea informs me. I learn a lot as she walks us through some of her techniques. It’s a good chat and I leave with one more card in hand, and one more dollar owed to the kiddos.
Find Chelsea Davis’ art on her website at gallarygarage.ca
Our first stop on the wonderfully curated Comix Alley (why not the Comic Strip?) Emily Chu does work in my favourite style. Retro graphic illustrations hang on the walls and I’m amazed to find that most of them contain a lot of hand painting. Emily likes to use her hands to keep these images rough in all the right ways, she tells me. Alive. Organic. Not machine made. To my mind, she is striking the perfect balance. Apparently others think so too, as she illustrates regularly for publications like Avenue Magazine.
I mention a possible collaboration with Chu and she seems intrigued, so we shall see what comes of that. At least I haven’t forgotten.
You can find Emily Chu’s work at heyemilychu.com
Perry Parker’s youthful enthusiasm for his craft is contagious. We chat about comics and graphic novels and he tells me how pleased he is to hear that my kids have discovered graphic novels at their school library. He tells me about the advocacy work of local Happy Harbour Comics. He has drawings for sale at a ridiculous $5 price and in what is the most regretful moment of the day, I don’t walk away with one in hand. But I do get at least one piece of original art from Parker. His business card is hand-made right there on the spot.
Find Perry Parker’s work on Instagram at p.r.parker
I have a Jason Blower print in my home. It is Edmonton’s river valley in fall - at it’s colourful best. It is painted in Blower’s retro graphic style (did I mention that I love that style)? I see Blower often, so I feel alright letting him know I cannot stop to talk this time, as it will cost me. He’s in the middle of a conversation anyways, so I’m sure it’s for the best.
Find Jason’s wonderful Edmonton activity book at helloyeg.com
Here we stop for a great conversation. Unfortunately for my kids, that also means long. I think they’re into though. Sotiropolous is a great story teller. Her work seems ripped from the pages of a Lemony Snicket novel. Little curiosity cabinets and creatures preserved in apocothery jars. Bones. Teeth. Secret societies of collectors. It’s fun, fascinating stuff.
I mention that this would all make a great book, and I’m apparently not the first to think so.
I have some items I think I need to lend Angie because she’d love to look through them - like my book of illustrated education posters from Deyrolle in Paris. Turns out this may not be so difficult, as Angie Sotiropolous lives just blocks from our house!
I walk away with 2 cards in hand and an idea percolating for the future ...
Find the mysterious world of Angie Sotiropolous at angiesot.com
The illustrative style of Pergentile draws us in once more. I’m particular pulled by two pieces of subverted advertising. One is a collection of words jammed into the instantly recognizable Absolute Vodka bottle. I like an artist with a sense of humour.
A visit to his booth leaves me more curious than anything, as I feel my kids getting rightfully ansy with my recent string of chatter. So I don’t stop to talk. I take a card and move on.
The card tells me that Thomas Pergantile creates art at www.brokenlightart.com. It’s a pretty great moniker that gets me wondering.
The reverse of the card simply informs me that “Tank Girl Was Right”.
We are now melting. Mere puddles with eyeballs on the pavement. But I recognize an old friend and we have to stop this one more time.
Stephanie Medford has creating and art community for a long while in Edmonton. Recently she’s moved away from her Edmonton-themed lino-print postcard towards - lo and behold - mysterious biological works in apocothery jars! Hearts, even. I’m thinking we need of these for our space before long.
Stephanie is looking to lead more arts workshops, and I let her know we are looking to host more arts workshops, so my hope is that I’ll be seeing Stephanie again soon. And hope you’ll join us.
Before we leave I want to sign up for Stephanie Medford's mailing list. The first field says ‘Name’ and my brain is so beyond gone that I write the name of her new artistic endeavour, Everyday Artistry, where my own name belongs. Yep. Day over. We need that dinner now.
Follow Stephanie’s new adventures at StephanieMedford.com
After a short break the kids and I will take in the sand sculptures of Sand on Whyte and the street art of the Aerosol Arena, ending a near perfect day of ArtWalking.
I never did make it good friends like Jared Robinson, Lori Youngman and Giselle Denis. But when you live in a city with more artist friends than you can say hello to in an afternoon, who can complain?
Did you make it to Artwalk?
Share your highlights in the comments below.