Author: monikablichar

Monika Anna Blichar was born in Latina, Italy in July, 1982. After immigrating to Canada in the early 1980’s, the family lived in Red Deer, where they bore a second daughter, and then moved west to B.C. in 1996. Monika has completed a B.A. in English and French from the University of Victoria and has also obtained a teaching credential with the B.C. College of Teachers. Primarily self taught, she has also studied art at Camosun College where she learnt various techniques and strategies in creating contemporary pieces. She continues to pursue creative projects and is exploring various professional opportunities in the arts which include body painting and events coordination. Her interests include the Humanities, writing, traveling, and being outdoors. Art has played a significant part of Monika’s life and continues to be an expression of her flowing imagination, appreciation for beauty, and a reflection of seeing beyond the obvious. Monika is currently living and working in Vancouver, B.C. She is the owner of MAB Ventures Inc., An Arts & Entertainment Agency, and is President of Make and Break Arts Foundation. Her notable projects and initiatives include founding Art World Expo, Diamond Dolls Women's Networking Group, MAB Arts Studio & Boutique Gallery and THE FAB Art Program.

Gravel Shows Fan Art at Art World Expo Edmonton

by Monika Blichar

I found Eric on Instagram and reached out to ask him if he was interested in participate in the Art World Expo in Edmonton. I loved his fan art work and thought he make a nice addition to the event since our show themes this year are “Celebrating Cinema!” The power of social media is so amazing these days! I caught up with Eric and asked him about his work, inspiration and what he would do if he had an unlimited bank account…his answer to that question is awesome!

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What inspires you to make art? 
I’ve always had deep love and appreciation for drawing. But what really motivates me to continue creating art is seeing how people react to it in such a positive way. Whether it’s the excitement that someone gets when seeing a character that we share a love for in my fan art, seeing themselves drawn as one of their favourite characters, or something else! It’s immensely motivating!
When did you know you wanted to pursue your art as a business?
 
I’ve always drawn for fun, but when I started to see that other people get pleasure from it as well (and are willing to pay money for it) I realized that it’s something that I could actually turn into a business. It started with selling my own comic books and drawings in Elementary school and evolved into what it is now!
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We met via social media. How does social media help you market your art products today versus what artists had to do say 10 or 20 years ago to “get out there?”
 
I’d say a strong social media presence is a key element to any successful business. It was more or less the same 20 years ago, though the avenues may have been a little different then. Instead of marketing through selling commissions through eBay, DeviantArt and DigitalWebbing, I can now save time making posts, and reach a much wider audience, through the likes of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
 
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’ll have a new fan art print for sale this weekend of a certain Marvel superhero that’s graced the theaters recently. Available in 3 different sizes! Every purchase at Art World Expo will also earn you an entry to win a portrait sketch of yourself (or someone you know) drawn as a favourite character!
 
Your IG profile says that you create “Fan Art and other Nerdy Goodness.” Can you elaborate on what Fan Art is and why it’s cool to be a nerd? We love art nerds in particular!  
 
Fan Art is artwork that is created as an expression of love for a certain franchise, usually found in pop culture but not necessarily. It’s about expressing a love for something you get pleasure from, and sharing it with others who might also share in that same love.
I think being a nerd is about having a deep love for any specific thing, wether it be art, pop culture, music, or sports nerds. In the wake of the internet and expos like this one, people are more capable now more than ever of realizing that they’re actually a part of a much bigger community of obsessed fans than they ever thought possible.
Just for fun, if you woke up and suddenly had access to an unlimited bank account, what would you tomorrow?
 
I’ve just recently gotten engaged with a truly amazing woman, and we’ll soon be moving into what might as well be our dream home with our two awesome boys (possession date on April 25!). On top of that, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I get to do what I love for a living! I can honestly say life is pretty perfect right now and no amount of money could make any of that better than it already is!
👨🎨
To learn more about Eric’s work, be sure to visit him tonight at the show and connect with him on social media!
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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.

Emerging Transformed-Ania Telfer at AWE Edmonton

By Monika Blichar

Standing in front of a piece and contemplating what a work’s meaning has inspired people from all walks of life. Curiosity, wonder and a sense of timelessness occur when we encounter such works which also force the viewer to be present in a world where we are often bombarded with message of being the exact opposite. Edmonton artist Ania Telfer does exactly this-on purpose she forces her audience into a world of grandeur and style that is unique and has us wanting more. I caught up with her today to learn more about her process and what inspires her to create.

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What inspires you to make art?

Art can rescue the world. Our world is in desperate need of healing and I feel very passionately about the intersection of creativity, spirituality and healing. I work intuitively, paying attention to my inspirations and feelings. The colour, texture, movement, shape, words, style and tone combinations I choose are intuitively intentional to create a feeling of joy in my heart. I believe that one of the roles of art is to create a feeling of awe. As the artist, I feel awe when I look at my completed pieces, and I hope that the viewer can feel awe while standing in their presence. I believe that art is a gift from the Creator for our healing and this internal feeling of awe cannot be accessed but through art. When we are uplifted by awe and feel reverence and joy in our heart, we activate our healing potential. As a person who has experienced trauma, I know first-hand the healing power of creative energy. I have studied art therapy and am convinced of the power of art to heal.

Several years ago I had a dream about a very large artist figure. Through Jungian therapy, I was encouraged to develop my art more. I created a series of digital photos about my frustrations stemming from not being able to engage in art as much as I wanted, due to demands of raising a young family. This series is available for viewing on my photography website: www.aniarchy.com under galleries, “Artist As Mother”. This got the creative energy flowing and it hasn’t stopped since!

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When did you start painting and how has your worked evolved since you started?

Art has always been vital for me. One of my earliest memories is colouring on the floor in a sun splashed kitchen as a young girl. I took art through high school and completed one year in university at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where I studied photography. I graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a degree in Communications and a minor in Photo. For many years, my main profession was in photography, and I exhibited my photos in some group shows and one solo show in 2007. Although I painted from time to time, it wasn’t until a few years ago, I became more interested in painting for my mental health, and joined Art Mentorship Society of Alberta, an organization which promotes mental wellness through arts. A year ago, I fully embraced my artist self and I began painting seriously on large canvases. Since then, I have received a grant from the Edmonton Arts Council, and have had my work in several shows.
I am a mixed-media abstract and figurative artist. I am inspired by the dynamics of aesthetic extremes and how they transition smoothly between each other, creating harmony. I am inspired by the spontaneity which can be created when working intuitively with the canvas, materials and environment, combined with the structure of a purely rational, analytic and cognitive approach. Most often my works are done on canvas; however, I paint on paper and murals as well. I use liquid and heavy body acrylic paints, oil pastels, pencils, paint markers, dripped wax, and other marking tools in my works. My work retains layers thus creating texture and characterization that add visual appeal to the final piece.

As for the artistic merit side of my work, since receiving a grant from the Edmonton Arts Council, I have been able to afford a studio. I have seen the quality of my pieces grow quickly in a studio space; I am able to concentrate on the rational study of the abstract and create a higher quality of visual design; I am actively pushing myself and seeking inspiration to develop myself further as an abstract painter. Specifically, there are more dynamics in my pieces such as those listed above, adding greater aesthetic value to the work. These pieces can be viewed on my artist site: www.aniatelfer.com

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We met via social media. 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?”

Social media is wonderful. It’s an amazing tool for connection. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s when the digital age was nascent, all communications were done by phone and letter writing. I have more ability now to connect o people all over the world. I follow artists in Japan, Russia, Europe and South America. And I am followed by others in international areas. We can find mutual inspiration in our creativity like this. I can’t imagine trying to market my art without social media.

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This will be your first Art World Expo . Will you have any never before seen work or show specials for our event on April 12?

Yes, I will have several new and colourful pieces which have never been shown! My work is a playground and when viewed in person, due to the grandeur of the canvas, the viewer really feels like she is stepping into a colourful wonderland. I encourage you to come and visit! I will also be running an Instagram contest, and there will be a canvas given away for one winner! Make sure to give me your emails, so I can send you a special post-show promo for an original painting!

Your IG profile says that “Art can rescue the world.” Can you elaborate?

As mentioned above, art can rescue the world…. Arts allow us to consider on an intuitive level, uniting the body, mind, intellect, spirit and emotions in a process which reveals deeper levels of who we are (Paintner); we engage with our whole selves and, by definition, enter a spiritual state. When we allow creative energy to flow through us, we emerge transformed. This transformation affects us individually, but also collectively. “[E]very part of the universe is connected with every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit of no imbalance, nor any slackening whatever” (‘Abdu’l-Baha). Working with creative energy is healing and when one is healed, we are all healed.

Our world is very left brain centered, the arts access the right brain, thus creating further integration which creates higher cognitive capacities, more fulfilling relationships and a more authentic expression of self. All of these elements combine foster more stable social systems geared towards empathy and care for the environments and people around us. When we do not engage in creativity, we become divorced from our spirits. Sadly, we see this internal divorce in the world today: war, corruption, over emphasis on materialism, greed and power struggles. I believe that creating art can rescue our world from these negative patterns and systems. For myself, when I am away from my art for too long my life becomes a “dutiful martyrdom (Allen), I feel like a robot, a walking dead. Creativity is as natural as breathing, but as a society we have moved away from our nature in this regard, and we have become a culture of consumers. We need more spaces for creativity and we need artists who are able to inspire others to be bold and creative. My paintings are created with intention to heal and grow through the Creative Source, the pieces act as ambassadors for healing in the world and when the viewers connect with me, either in person, through social media or artist statements, I further convey to them the healing power of the artistic process.

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

I would pay off our house and lines of credit, buy two Arabian horses, a Groenendal dog, a home in the countryside, with a stable and art studio connected to the main home. My dream is to have a Dutch door to the living area, where the horse can poke his head through and be a part of our family. I’d leave our family enough of a budget line for our necessary living expenses, allowing my husband to take some time off from full time work to concentrate on his own spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health; I already feel like I have had lots of time to develop my health in these areas, but he’s been working to support the family and hasn’t had that time. This would also free us to devote our time deepen our marriage and to raising our children in the best way to foster their capacities for service to the world of humanity. I would take our family on a trip to someplace hot with an ocean.
I am anxiously concerned for the traumas in our world today. In Canada, we are so fortunate to live in a country with good infrastructure, health care, peace and free education. After meeting our financial necessities, I would donate to several charities which I currently support, such as the Baha’i Fund, UNICEF, Food for Children, World Wildlife Fund, Halo Trust Fund and I would start up my own organization promoting healing, connection, community building and wellness through arts.

 

Ania belongs in the realm of abstraction and spirit. Time spent pursing art is time spent in worship. She is passionate about the intersection between creativity, healing and spirituality and believes that when we engage creatively, we heal ourselves and by extension, the world. Ania has lived in diverse places, such as India, Israel, Switzerland, France and Korea, as well as many provinces in Canada. She speaks five languages and is a first generation Canadian. Ania finds spiritual inspiration in the Baha’i Faith and believes that truth is found in all faiths, so she samples truth as she finds it. Ania has a gypsy soul which is most at home wayfaring the landscapes of creativity, while painting, musing out the window, spending time in nature, practising yoga, drinking sweet and strong, milky chai, communing with the Creator, hanging out with animals, or nurturing children. Horses and dogs are her favourite animals. Her favourite colour is whatever is on the end of her brush at the time.
Follow Ania on Instagram @aniatelfer or Facebook Ania Telfer Artist

Blobfish Apocalypse at Art World Expo Edmonton

by Monika Blichar
Do you ever think about the Apocalypse? I try not to but after meeting Blobfish Apocalypse, I can’t stop! Don’t worry, it’s a good thing! Blobfish is a unique artist and maker who will be at the Art World Expo in Edmonton on April 12, 2019! You’ll never think of the Apocalypse again after you read this interview!
What inspires you to make art? 
Everything inspires me whether its music, film, nature, other art & artists. Art is also an outlet for me & a form of therapy. It’s helped me get a lot out whether its joy, anger, sadness, anxiety. Art has gotten me through a lot of hard times & taken me on a path of self-discovery for me & helped me learn a bit more about myself.
When did you know you wanted to pursue your art as a career? 
I live for art. My whole family is pretty creative so art has always been a daily activity in the household. Whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was “an artist”.
You make a lot of different things! Tell us about the character that you have created which also stems as your brand name, Blobfish Apocalypse. 
I’ve always been fond of coming up with fun little characters to draw & there was one in particular that had been
around for a while. His name was “Percy,” based on a guinea pig with a big personality who became one of those funny characters I’d draw everywhere. Percy was a family inside joke but one day online I stumbled upon a picture of the blobfish. I was instantly smitten, the blobfish looked very similar to my character Percy & thus I began drawing blobfish in my style. Finding the blobfish for me was like discovering unicorns were real. I began researching more into what this blobfish was & turns out they’re an endangered deep sea fish off the coast of Australia . What little information I could found on this obscure creature & my love for them grew to the point where I decided with my sister that we should spread awareness to help bring these ugly, but endearing creatures out from the cold, dark bottom of the ocean to the light of the world. We didn’t want to just make a ripple, we wanted to go all out & make a huge splash so why not bring on the apocalypse, the Blobfish Apocalypse. The fun art & products this company focuses on creating is to make people of all ages smile.
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? 
Yes! Some new products will only be available at the event. I will also be posting a special “code word” online that anyone can bring to my table for some free art! There will also be a chance to enter a draw to win a blobfish bundle pack which will the winner will be announced a week after the Art World Expo.
Just for fun, if you woke up and suddenly had access to an unlimited bank account, what would you tomorrow?
Spend a few months to travel to visit family/friends then when I get back I’d buy an art studio with unlimited  art supplies, along with a 3D printer & a pony.
Be sure to get your ticket to the 2nd annual Art World Expo Edmonton-it’s right around the corner! You can also check out Blobfish on ETSY.

 

Bodhi Inscape Strives to be Enlightened Within at Art World Expo Edmonton

by Monika Blichar

Do creative people come from creative families? If our parents are creative, do we naturally become more creative?  Bodhi Inscape is the brainchild of Tamara Konopelky whose family is full of artists and creators. I caught up with her today and I think coming from a family of creators, she might just be uber creative because of this. She is not only an artist but a meditation coach, and owns a construction and landscape company too. What can’t she do?

What inspired you to start making art?
Creativity runs in my family. My grandma was often creating various art projects with random materials. She once made a beautiful centerpiece with an old boot that my uncle left behind, some dried wild flowers, cattails & some pussywillows.
My mom does 3D wall art, repurposes old furniture and she dabbles in quilting.
My Dad makes furniture from antlers and tree branches, he welded a bouquet of flowers for my daughter using bolts and rebar and he gets pretty crafty with his antler Christmas trees with wrench and tool ornaments.
I suppose I’d have to say that I have always been exposed to people creating something extraordinary from something otherwise ordinary. Design and new ideas are in a way, ingrained deep into my mind.
Is there a special meaning behind your business name? 
The name ‘Bodhi Inscape’ came from:
Bodhi: The name of tree that Buddha found enlightenment under.
Inscape: We all try to ‘escape’ from our lives, when what we really need is to Inscape. 
 
I am also a meditation coach and I thought that name would be fitting for both art & meditation.
You produce a variety of works. What do you like to create the most?
I do tend to jump from art type to art type. It really depends on what inspires me at the time. I would have to say favorite is making the Grounding Lamps. My kids and I travel all over Canada gathering materials, driftwood & crystals. The amount of time, thought and the story behind each piece really make them very personal.
This is your first time in an Art World Expo event. What would you like guests to know most about you and your works? 
That’s a tricky question. I’d have to say that when someone buys one of our pieces they can be sure that what they are buying is a story. Each one of our electricity burned peices and lamps are very unique. Our products cannot be reproduced or duplicated so the peice that you buy will literally be one of a kind.
About me? Well I’m a mom with 2 (usually) wonderful children, I own a landscape construction company; Green Thumb Landscaping Inc. I’m a meditation coach and an artist. I’m always looking for some kind of adventure and if you can’t find me…I’m usually in the trees somewhere exploring.
Will you have any show specials or never before seen work at this event?
Yes I will have a draw for a lightning burned peice of sorts. I haven’t quite decided on which peice just yet… let’s call it a show surprise. 😉
Just for fun. What is your favourite travel destination you have visited so far? 
There are so many great places here in Canada that I would call my favorite because of the crystals we can find there. But my favorite ‘destination’ place would probably be Cuba. The people are so kind, the beaches are beautiful and there are tiny geckos running around everywhere. It was heaven!
View more of her work at the Art World Expo on April 12-get your tickets here! Be sure to check out the Etsy Store too!

Ma and Pa WoodArt in Edmonton’s Art World Expo!

by Monika Blichar

Being self taught and starting a business is never easy but there are many people who do this. One of those is Ma and Pa WoodArt who will be joining us at our show on April 12 at the Muttart. I caught up to the duo today and wanted to learn more about what inspires the duo to follow their passion and what they do.

What inspired you to start your business? 

Terry is self taught from a young age and has always loved working with wood.


You make a variety of items. Do you have one in particular that is your personal favourite in your line?  

Although Terry makes different items, his favourite is the scroll saw art.

 

Are you currently selling in any locations in Edmonton or beyond? Where can people purchase your works?

Ma and Pa WoodArt products can be found at the St. Albert Farmers Market and 124 Grand Market.

This is your first time in an Art World Expo event. What would you like guests to know most about you and your craft?

Terry creates items that are one of a kind and uses the natural beauty of the wood as a decorative item or for practical use.

 

Will you have any show specials or never before seen work at this event? 

We have 5 unique scroll saw art items that are one of a kind and limited.

 

Just for fun! If you won the lottery tomorrow and was awarded a million dollars, what would you do?

If we won a million dollars, we would love to travel more!

Ma and Pa WoodArt was created to offer unique and innovative designs in cutting boards / serving platters / home decor.  Experience a delicious and appetizing moment when presenting your edibles on these beautiful works of art.  Our unique WoodArt is made to be a decorative item or for practical use.  Display these items as art on the wall or use it as a serving tray or charcuterie board while entertaining.

To see more, visit their FACEBOOK PAGE or INSTGRAM! Be sure to get your tickets to the show today and find the owners of Ma and Pa WoodArt Corinne & Terry Olinek at the event! April 12, 2019 at the Muttart Conservatory.

Horse Jockey Turns Pro-Painter and Joins Art World Expo Edmonton!

by Monika

I grew up in Alberta and our friends had horses. I spent lots of weekends at their farm riding and just loved it. One of the great joys of my life has always been animals, one day I hope to have a horse of my own but until then, I will settle for admiring works like those of Craig Wonnacott Fine Art who has been painting only a short while professionally but whose work is magnetic and pays tribute so well to horses in particular. I caught up with him to learn a little about his inspiration and his background. To my surprise, he was a professional horse jockey for 15 years and he grew up in Zimbabwe! Artists like Craig have the most interesting stories! Enjoy his interview and be sure to come and meet him at the Art World Expo in Edmonton happening on April 12 at the Muttart Conservatory.

What inspired you to start painting?  

Ever since I can remember I have been creative and artistic, I have been drawing and making things all my life. I only really started painting at the beginning of 2018 . I mostly paint with acrylic.

You paint a lot of horses. Do you have your own horses or animals that inspire your work?  

When I was 15 years old I had the choice of an artistic career or to become a professional jockey , I chose the later and joined the Jockey Academy in Zimbabwe which is where I  grew up. I never gave up on my art.

What do you like to paint the most? 

I always said that when I retire from racing I would work as an artist. Horse racing took me around the world and for the next 35 years of racing I had time to really study the animal that would become my favorite topic to paint.

This is your first time in an Art World Expo event. What would you like guests to know most about you and your works? 

Although horses are my favourite things to paint I do a lot of portraits of pets and people.

Will you have any show specials or never before seen work at this event?

I like painting abstracts when I need to loosen up a little, it gives me the freedom to just paint without rules.

Just for fun. If you woke up tomorrow with access to a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Although I am from Zimbabwe, if I could fly anywhere in the world it would be Costa Rica. One day I’m going to move there and paint horses on the beach for as long can. I need to sell a lot paintings in order to do so.

If you would like to learn more about Craig, be sure to visit his website and be sure to get your ticket to the 2nd annual Art World Expo in Edmonton.

Edmonton’s Kaborette ya nèré Showcases Unique Fashions at Art World Expo Edmonton

by Monika Blichar

Like most little girls, I dreamed of lovely clothes and used to play dress up with my friends. The hours we would spend trying on clothes, playing dress up and finding unique things from our treasure chests to pair together are a fond memory from my childhood. As I got older, this love of unique designs and accessories moved me to follow local artists and designers like Alethe Kabore for Kaborette ya nèré . I caught up with Alethe today to learn more about what inspires her as a fashion designer based in Edmonton, Alberta.

What inspired you to start designing clothing? 

I grew up around beautiful vibrant wax prints and a community of women that loved to dress up. I started giving pointers to tailors on what styles I wanted when getting outfit tailored. After moving to Canada from Burkina Faso, I missed being able to readily access affordable tailors and wear my usual colorful and warm weather outfits. I gradually started learning how to sew and started designing clothes that mixed various fabrics to give me the finish I wanted with the comfort that is adequate to the various Canadian seasons. You can say my inspiration started by trying to wear outfits that were not available in Canada and grew to trying to offer the same access to a wider audience.

Your work is colorful, vibrant and unique. What is your inspiration behind this season’s designs?  

I choose most of the colors and designs based on how the fabrics appeal to me. Sometimes you see a fabric and you just have to make something out of it or it inspires the style you need to bring to life. Even though it is cold or winter, I believe we can and ought to wear colorful and vibrant clothes. Seasons can definitely affect our choice of colors but it should not limit us to grey and black.

You create a variety of fashion. What do you like to design the most? 

I enjoy seeing more than one fabric mixed together to yield an elegant and slick finish. Being able to design, a piece that is fresh, elegant and unique is what I love designing the most. Dressing women of various body shapes is the most exciting!

This is your first time in an Art World Expo event. What would you like guests to know most about you and your clothing line? 

This approach of design, work with unique prints is quite new to most people in Canada. Although inspired by beautiful African prints it also incorporates lots of fabric usually found in current fashion. This is meant for all and everyone that wishes to dress elegantly and with unique pieces. Do not be shy and try one of our piece be it an accessory or a full outfit, you will love it.

Will you have any show specials or never before seen work at this event?

I will have a special gift certificate that the guests can enter to win. They can then have the pleasure to choose what to spend it on, as it would be too restrictive to choose one item for the winner.

Just for fun. If you woke up tomorrow with access to an unlimited bank account with funds just for you to spend, what would you do?

I would definitely expand my business, have a physical store, work space, start a partnership with locally hand woven, die, and tie fabric producers back in Burkina Faso and Africa in general so I can infuse some investment on the continent while exporting the expertise and beautiful prints to the rest of the world.

 

Join us for the Edmonton Art World Expo and get your tickets here to support this local designer. A portion of all ticket sales will go back to this artist. Be sure to check out the Etsy shop too! 

Kaborette ya nèré is a fashion business that is striving to offer modern ready to wear and African infused attire to the Afro-Canadian community across Canada while working to carve a space in the fashion world for African prints. The business specializes in incorporating traditional woven material from West Africa, vibrant African prints commonly known as “Ankara” with European fabric in its stylish designs. Kaborette ya nèré offers clothes, and clothing accessories and is based here in Edmonton.

The founder and in-house designer of Kaborette ya nèré is Alèthe Kaboré. Born and raised in Burkina Faso, she moved to Edmonton to pursue her studies and could not leave behind her love for African prints and fashion. Alèthe has always had an eye for colors and forms and has a keen interest in fashion design. She is a self-taught designer and seamstress with still a lot to learn and as much to contribute to the fashion world. Her dream is to increase the use of African prints and material in modern wear in Canadian fashion and internationally. Alèthe is looking forward to showcasing her creations and dressing you too!

Mel’s Big Art: Big Ideas, Big Vision and Big Ingenuity

by Monika Blichar

Mel’s Big Art is just that. It’s filled with big ideas, big vision and big ingenuity. Her work shows a dedication to a unique craft while also experimenting with pop culture and ideals. From skateboards to traditional wall art pieces, Melanie Schoenberger is definitely one artist to follow over the next few years. Her work is intriguing, interesting and definitely makes a great addition to any art collector’s home or office. I caught up with Mel today and here’s what she had to say about her work, the upcoming Art World Expo in Edmonton and what she would do with an unlimited bank account.

You participated in the Art World Expo Edmonton last year in our very first year in Alberta. What have you been up to since then artistically?

In the past year I have focused on participating in more Artisan Markets, Gallery showings, expanding my creativity thru different pieces. Branding myself more thru social media.

You work in a very unique and rare medium. What inspired you to start working in wood burning? 

My background is painting and drawing, I made myself a bedframe and I wanted to decorate it, I wanted to do something completely different that I’ve never seen before so I decided to burn designs into it. I love working with all the flaws and flow of the grain. I have recently started to add colour into my pieces which has been really fun. Thu the year I have found that my love of art comes thru when working with this medium.

You are a very versatile artist when it comes to creating. What is your favourite subject matter?  

I enjoy challenging myself with taking on a variety of subjects. I’ve been getting more comfortable with stretching my boundaries and experimenting with the use of colours. I’d have to say that my favourite subject is nature/sea life. I find that every project I work it becomes something more that I didn’t expect.

 

As an artist and business owner, what are some of your greatest goals for your career this year?

 
My biggest goal this year is to continue to get more exposure for my Art and business.


Will you have show specials or never before seen work at this year’s Art World Expo in Edmonton? 

I’ll be selling limited edition prints and my newest works as I’m constantly working on new pieces. I will be possibly auctioning off one of my skateboards?

Just for fun! If you woke up tomorrow with access to an unlimited amount of money, what would you do? 

So much…. Take care of my family, I would travel the world, put money towards environmental/animal causes. Live somewhere with an ocean view, have a big Art Studio and continue creating.

To support Mel’s Big Art, you can purchase tickets for Art World Expo Edmonton happening April 12 through her link here. You can also follow her work and journey by joining her on https://www.instagram.com/melsbigart/ or https://www.facebook.com/mschoenberger3

The Allure of Creating Something from Nothing- An Interview with Tanya Verquin

by Monika Blichar

The idea of creating something from nothing goes back to as long as humans have been on this earth. When we have needed chairs, we thought and then brought them into existence. Same goes for clothes, cars, phones, and our modern day luxuries that allow us such freedoms to follow our dreams. Tanya Verquin from Brule, Alberta does this in a magical way from her secluded studio in the small town of Brule, Alberta. She brings paintings to life from her ideas as many other artists do today and reminds us that we all have the power many of us .  Read today’s interview with Tanya about her insights as an artist, what she will have at our show in Edmonton on April 12 and how you can get a almond milk café latté with coconut whip!

When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?

 

I’ve always had the privilege of being exposed to art and was encouraged creatively in general. Having an artist mom was helpful in that department! Although there is not a defining moment when I decided that I wanted to be an artist, I feel my whole life up to this point has been a lovely, windy road leading me to the easel. My past is made up of colorful experiences in the arts, from after-school painting lessons, to competitive figure skating, to helping on our family’s farm with baking and cooking, and so on…The act of creating something from nothing has always been, and continues to be, alluring to me, so I really am a true artist and crafter at heart.  Now, as a mother of two amazing girls, and having the privilege of living nestled next to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, I am continuously being invited to explore my creative and artistic expression with so much opportunity to be inspired! Painting is the most common method I use to express that!

 

Tell us about the city you are from.

I live in the small hamlet of Brule in Alberta, Canada, along with my husband and our two daughters.  There’s one road in and it’s the same road out!  Although Brule is small, there’s no lack of life- there’s beautiful evergreen forests, mountain tops, the sound of the Athabasca River, song birds, and friendly neighbors! Oddly enough, there happens to be a number of artists here in Brule! It must be that fantastic, inspirational scenery! The nearest large city is Edmonton, a 3-hour drive east.  Our children go to school in Hinton, just a 20-minute drive away.

What inspires you when you create new work?

Nature is what inspires me to paint. I get excited for the challenge to re-create onto my watercolor paper – with the most realism as possible – the little hummingbird that I see whiz by my kitchen window or the robin that is waiting for the worm, the pink peonies in our garden. If I don’t have a camera with me in the moment to capture my painting subject, I source local photographers’ photos for references.

This is your first time in an Art World Expo show. What do you want our followers and guests to know about  you and your work the most?

 

I’m excited to debut as an Art World Expo first-timer! This show gives me the opportunity for big-city exposure from all your wonderful art followers and guests! I believe that being inspired is an important component to a meaningful life, and I am lucky enough to feel inspired almost everyday, thanks to nature and the everyday experiences it offers me and my lovely family. It’s my desire and intention that through my watercolor paintings, others can also find a spark of inspiration.

Will you have any Art World Expo show specials or never before seen works in your exhibition space at the Muttart Conservatory?

 

Yes! For the first time, I am offering Limited Edition prints – and only on a select few of my original works! These limited editions are completely ready to frame! The beautiful cold press watercolor print packages each come archivally mounted on single conservation grade 4-ply matting, include acid-free foam core backing, and are safely tucked away into a clear resealable bag.

 

If suddenly you had an unlimited bank account and you could do anything, what would you do today?

I’d hire a local contractor to renovate our home so that it could accommodate a large group of people comfortably for painting and wellness retreats!! Want to know more?! I’d offer watercolor painting art lessons in the sunroom, calming yoga flows in the garden, grounding meditations among the trees, and unbelievably delicious whole foods to keep my guests feeling amazing! All wrapped up into one never-gonna-forget painting and wellness mountain experience! My renovated home would of course boast a stunning commercial grade kitchen, and include that all-star player, the cappuccino maker! May I offer anyone an almond milk café latté with coconut whip while you paint?

 

About Tanya:

 

Best known for her avian watercolor subjects, Tanya turns to nature for her painting inspiration. “People are most commonly surprised to discover that my paintings are watercolor” she says.  Tanya uses a specific technique of layering transparent watercolor pigments to create a depth of detail not typically seen in watercolors. This method allows her to capture the realism and vibrancy in her artwork that she strives for. Tanya’s interest in painting was cultivated as a child by watching her mother paint scenes of their farm, cattle, and equine subjects. To develop her skills, she received after school art lessons throughout grade school, but it wasn’t until recent years that her interest and love for painting budded once again, when she and her family moved to the mountains. “There’s something beautiful to see everyday, whether it’s a sweet little hummingbird at our feeder or a foggy mountain valley. Illustrating the wonderful things around me is a true privilege.”

 

Tanya’s artwork hangs in homes and businesses throughout Canada, as her talent is quickly gaining popularity. Locally, her paintings are on display in Hinton’s favorite coffee shop, The Old Grind. Tanya lives in Brule, Alberta with her husband and their two girls, a beautiful hamlet flanked by the Rocky Mountains and the Athabasca River.To view Tanya’s paintings, purchase a painting or for commission please visit Tanya’s website here: http://tanyaverquin.ca