Award Winning Photographer and Artist at Art World Expo Edmonton

By Monika Blichar

When we create, we often have no idea if anyone will be interested in our work. In fact, for most artists, when we are creating-we don’t think about the commercial aspect of buying, selling, promoting or marketing while we are in the zone. When our work does get noticed though, there is a rush of excitement and validation. I caught up with Fixated Art who has won multiple awards for her work. You can see her work at our show tonight in Edmonton.

What inspires you to make art?
I think my moods inspire or drive me more than anything. As one of many artists who struggle with mental health issues, my art is a way to express myself at the same time as I distract myself. I usually base my art on my photos, using them as inspiration for my paintings, and the colours on my silks. Some days I find colours and visual images call to me while other days I am more drawn to tactile experiences. There are days I see “slides of images” flash through my brain, and I am almost compelled to bring the work to life, so I try my best to create and get it out of my system.
The acrylic that will be donated to the silent auction, for example, is based on a photo I took of myself in my garden.

You make everything from tea pots to paintings to scarves. What do you like making the most?
I wish there was as simple answer to that, but it is very mood-motivated. On the days I paint silks…I like painting silks (though they are probably the most challenging because they are the least cooperative and most unpredictable to work with). I enjoy my acrylic works, but am only periodically inspired to paint. Akin to choosing a favourite child, this is a difficult question because I like them all for different reasons.

We met via a post a friend of mine shared which I saw and then contacted you to be part of the show which is a great example of the power of social media in today’s world. How does social media help you market your art products today versus what you had to do say 10 or 20 years ago to “get out there?”
I’m not sure I can really comment on 10-20 years ago since I wasn’t doing art to share at that time. Social media allows for a wide audience to see, and possibly fall in love with your work from a distance when used effectively. There is a delicate balance between too much and too little though – you don’t want people to unfollow or block you because of too many posts.

This will be your first Art World Expo event. Will you have any never before seen work or show specials for our event on April 12? 
I have a number of works that have not been at any events – hummingbird scarves, the espresso coffee set, the “tea for one” sets, along with a number of canvases that have recently been completed. One of the ones that will be on display for the first time is the “Peggy’s Cove Boats” and “Misty Morning Dinghy”

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You won an award for one of your photographs. Can you tell us about it?


I’ve actually won 7 different awards, locally, nationally and now internationally. My first winning photo competitions were in Parkland county (a large region surrounding the Edmonton area to the West of the city). I won first place (public choice voting) for 3 of the 4 seasons they ran the competition that year. (first and second place in one season). Voting was open the all 33000 residents of the county, and adjudicated by the county council.
Winning photos included:

Porcupine Freedom – this little porcupine was ill and took up residence on our doorstep. We took him into the WILDNORTH wildlife rehabilitation society, where he was cared for over several months. When he was well, he was released back onto our property. He immediately recognized his territory and was docile enough that I got some great shots of him. He had quite the following on FB for some time!
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Winter Sunrise – this spectacular winter sunrise was probably the coldest photo I have ever snapped – at -35C! The coil of barbed-wire hanging on the fencpost made a perfect frame for the rising sun that cold morning. The shot was worth the cold nose and fingers.
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Cute Lil’ Stinker – this little skunk was another of the wildlife releases from the WILDNORTH rehabilitation society. Many people don’t understand how crucial skunks are for the health of our ecosystem, so this little one was purposely orphaned, then taken to the wildlife rehab to “save”. When it was old enough to be released, the original landowners didn’t want it on their property, so I volunteered to release it into our area. I snapped the photo of her just after she was freed.
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Squirrel! – This little one was the keeper of our garden, and was quite territorial about the area, but eventually became accustomed to my camera, and would even pose sometimes. I was fortunate enough to have some great opportunities with this little squirrel.

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Stained Glass Dragon – This image of a variable darner fly, like all my photos, is not photoshopped. This once-in-a-lifetime shot was a runner up in the 75th anniversary photo competition for Nature Canada, and was selected from more than 13000 images. It was featured in the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, and graced the pages of their annual fundraiser calendar. The dragonfly’s faceted wings are reflecting the fuschia shirt of the photographer, her legs, the blue sky and green grass. If you look closely enough, you can also see the lens of my camera in many of the facets.

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Frosty Invitation – Each year, Strathcona County (just east of Edmonton) has an artwork acquisition program. Works from county residents hang in a gallery for a month, where the adjudicators select pieces to be purchased for display in the county. There is also a people’s choice award for a favourite piece. From more than 200 works, mine won the people’s choice.

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Frosty Sunset – And finally, the “big one.” Selected from more than 23000 international professional and amateur submissions, the Fosty Sunset was selected as one of the winning images in the 2018 National Wildlife Federation photo competition.

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Just for fun, if you woke up and suddenly had access to an unlimited bank account, what would you tomorrow?

This is an easy one. I love wildlife and nature, and deplore the loss of wildlands habitat in and around my area. I would, given an unlimited bank account, purchase as much land as possible and rewild it – making perfect habitat for native species of all sorts.

 

To learn more about and view works by Fixated Art, find her on Facebook or Instagram.

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