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 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?
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
Network, network, network! There isn’t a really great central focal point for us newbies to get to know each other; volunteer and visit shows to try to meet the right people to get your name out there!
Born in Red Deer, trained at ACAD in Calgary and living in Edmonton; an Alberta girl through-and-through. Currently working as Project Coordinator for a small Construction
A dreamer, a geek, a painter, and a drafter; a dabbler in photography. A lover of stairs,
sunsets, and sunrises; not only for their ability to paint the sky, but for the promise of
change – whether it’s moving from one level to the next or transitioning to or from the
magical night. The works are an attempt to capture the feeling of the moment of its
conception, to revisit something often overlooked.
In 2018 had pieces displayed and sold at the Nina Gallery on 118 Avenue, Art World Expo Edmonton and Vancouver, 2017 at RAW Artists showing at the Warehouse and in 2012 self-promoted show at Blue Café. Graduated as an Architectural Technician in 2017, and in 2004/5 spent a year learning to expand in Calgary at the Alberta College of Art and
Design, learning plenty from experienced artists and inexperienced alike.
Be sure to catch her at the show on April 12, 2019!
Did you know that ART WORLD EXPO 2019-Edmonton Official Page is coming up on March 15, 2019? This will be our second production in Edmonton with Art World and this year is set to be amazing! The talent in Alberta is amazing!
We have tickets available here: https://theartworldexpo.com/attend-event-3/
Vendor applications here:
Be an affiliate, sell tickets and make extra money! Sign up here: https://theartworldexpo.com/affiliate-sales-team/
In addition, if you are an Alberta business owner, we would love to get you involved as a sponsor! Auction item donation and sponsorship opportunities in exchange for marketing at the event or on social media are all options. Do you have a store in Edmonton, a business or a service you would like to promote to our guests, vendors and followers? Send us a message if you’re interested or if you have a recommendation of someone we should connect to! Check out: https://theartworldexpo.com/sponsorship/
by Monika Blichar
It’s always interesting to see new artists come to our Art World Expo family and when I saw Carrie Carbol-Ritcey work come through our submission, I was not only thrilled but really interested in what she is doing because she is really invested in her work and business. Not only is she a talented metalsmith, she is also teaching, exhibiting, partnering up with local merchants in her area and continually learning about her craft by pursuing higher education in her industry. She is really doing it all. I caught up with her today and here’s what she had to say about her work, inspiration and goals for her company Two Carrots Studio.
You are an accomplished designer and metalsmith. When did you know you wanted to pursue design as a career?
I’ve always been involved in the arts. Music, creative writing, mixed media collage, building, sewing, I am incredibly lucky to have a family that has always supported my artistic pursuits, whatever they might be. I had a conventional job for a long time, but my years in the corporate world left me wanting to do more. One silversmithing course led to another and another and I realized I had found my passion. My favourite line from my artist’s bio reads: I find silversmithing to be the perfect combination of right and left brain thinking: art and science, engineering and physics and just a little bit of alchemy that results in beautiful and accessible pieces of wearable art. That’s why I do what I do.
What inspires you when you create new pieces?
I always have a sketchbook with me, and have been known to rummage in my bag for something to sketch on while at the movie theatre! I find inspiration everywhere, in architecture, nature, books and music. My Stick Flower line was and is inspired by the
artwork of my youngest daughter. Kids draw the most fantastic things, in bold lines and vibrant colours. She’s been drawing amazing stick people lately, with impossibly long limbs and giant cartoon hands. I just love them, and one of them is going to have to become part of a piece soon. My oldest daughter is an artist, and I proudly frame and display her pieces around our house. I get inspiration from just watching her create, and I will support her Arts passion just like my parents did for me.
Do you have a favourite piece you have made?
Usually my newest piece is my favourite! I love to tell my customers that my rings all come in ‘not my size’ or I would have to keep them all!
I think my current favourite is the piece I made in a week long workshop at the Red Deer College Series Summer Arts program last year. ACAD’s Linda Chow was my instructor and I learned so much that week! The piece is a two sided pendant featuring a huge labradorite stone with a hand fabricated water lily and carved lily pads on the front and back of the piece. Linda taught us that ‘sculpture has no front or back’ and to reflect that in our work when creating a sculptural piece of jewelry.
Another favourite would be the copper poppies seen in my logo. Like a lot of my projects, these started out as a simple idea on paper, probably a bit out of my current skill set. I love a challenge, and making the poppies pushed me to learn several new techniques. The first set was a gift for my amazing mom. After that, I made several more sets and still carry them as part of my line.
You teach a variety of workshops in the area. Can you tell us more about any upcoming workshops you are hosting?
I am lucky to be part of the group of instructors at Bedrock Supply. I learned a lot of my skills in the Bedrock studio, and I am thrilled to be part of the teaching team. I have two classes left in my winter schedule. Both classes give students a chance to work with metals, learn about tools and gain some foundation techniques in metalsmithing. On March 22 I’m teaching a simple silver band ring class, and on April 2 I am teaching a roll printed earring class. I’ll have examples of both at the Art Expo show-come see me to learn more about the classes and the pieces we will be creating!
What are your goals for your business in the coming year?
I have a few things in the works. I just finished up a Valentine’s Day collaboration with the amazing local chocolatier Colleen Heidecker, and would love to do that again. I am working at making as much of the behind the scenes work as streamlined and automated as I can. The business of being a maker and an artist isn’t as fun as the creating!
There is nothing I would like more than to be a silversmith 100% of the time. Right now I’m balancing small scale production work with the creative pieces I love to do. Selling the ‘bread and butter’ pieces frees up time to create the really fun stuff, and also pays
the bills. Professionally I’m always looking to learn more about the craft. I’m headed back to Red Deer College Series Summer Arts in July. Being surrounded by artists and makers in the fantastic studio spaces at RDC is the best way to spend my summer vacation. In 2020 I plan to travel to Washington State to immerse myself in a week long workshop with one of my favourite silversmiths, Nicole Ringgold.
Will you have any show specials for Art World Expo guests at the show this year?
I just might! People will need to come see the Expo to find out!
Follow Two Carrots Studio on Social Media:
It’s that time of year again-call for vendors for multiple shows we produce is now open. Are you a painter, jewellery maker, designer or a local business who would like to be part of the Art World Expo family? We cordially invite you to apply to our 2018/2019 shows in Vancouver and Edmonton! Join our group of talented vendors while also joining a community of creatives who support one another throughout the year!
Art World Expo Christmas Fair
$60+gst / spot
December 15, 2018
Polish Friendship Society
4015 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC
Art World Expo Edmonton
$100+gst / spot
March 15, 2019
9626 – 96A Street, Edmonton, AB
Art World Expo Vancouver-MAIN EVENT
$500+gst / spot for vendors: artisan and business vendors
$100 +gst / body painting competitors
May 10, 2019
1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver, BC
Our Vancouver Event which is happening on May 10, 2019 is our 9th Annual Event and our largest event of the year.
The $500+gst vendor fee includes a 14-30 day gallery show at Monika’s Art Boutique store front location at 3063 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, BC.
ONGOING CALL FOR VENDORS ONE MONTH GALLERY SHOW AT MONIKA’S ART BOUTIQUE AT 3063 LONSDALE AVENUE, NORTH VANCOUVER
Includes one month store front rental and one evening gallery opening.
Cost for non-members: $750+gst
Cost for members who sign up for the Main Event in Vancouver: FREE
We invite you to have a look at the vendor registration form HERE. Should you have any questions, please call us at 604 999 6177 during business hours Monday-Friday 9:00am-4:00pm.
by Monika Blichar
Humble. Shy. Sweet. Thoughtful. Courteous. Generous. Hidden Gem.
When I think of Carolyn Bruce, these are the words that first come to my mind. She is not only a wonderful soul who beats to her own drum in the Vancouver arts scene, she is truly one of the nicest, most thoughtful and caring people you will meet. I remember when she first came to my old studio on Pemberton Avenue in North Vancouver in 2013 or so to show me her work to be juried for the Art World Expo. She lugged this big black trunk looking luggage case up the stairs and was so quiet and reserved. She was so still and her accent reminded me of a sweet aunt growing up-perhaps Mary Poppins kind of too. When she opened her case, I was stunned. (Literally, I think my jaw hit the floor with a thud as I set my gaze on her wondrous, magical and other-worldly creations.) I had to look back at her a few times because I couldn’t grasp that this sweet lady who was so polite and courteous could make these wild designs, over the top trinkets and fancy contraptions. It was like seeing the work of Mr. Hyde while Dr. Jekyll was presenting..not sure if that’s the right order for those guys, but I think you know what I mean!
Since then, I’ve grown fond of working with Carolyn. She is one of those rare people who is so generous with her time, resources and work it restores your faith back into humanity. Carolyn has participated in our event for four years now and each year, she supports our event by telling others to attend or participate, donating works to the auctions, baking cookies for volunteer meetings and even making dog treats for our dogs. She knows we are busy and doesn’t want to leave the dogs feeling unloved when we are crazy! It’s truly just amazing how much she thinks of others and making sure that everyone feels good in her presence.
One day Carolyn, I know you will be a big eclectic creative billionaire right up there with Louis Vuitton and Lady Gaga! You’re one person that I know truly deserves it not only because you’re ferociously creative (often lacking sleep making beautiful things for clients and shows) but also one genuine person in the Art World. Stay that way forever! XO
by Monika Blichar
1-When did you start making art?
I always liked to draw and paint since age 5. But I seriously got into art in 2013.
2-Do you remember the first time you had an exhibition? What was it like to unveil your work publicly for the first time?
The first art exhibition I went to was in Wainwright at the Wainwright art show back in 2013. I was really nervous I did not think anything of it but the response from the community blew me away. I almost sold out.
3-What kinds of things inspire you to make art?
Anything and everything. Sometimes it’s colours on furniture, shadows on walls, textures outside or the beautiful lady on the LRT staring out the window with the unique nose. It makes me want to capture that beauty and strength and put it on paper. I am highly influenced by social, racial, sexual injustices and much of my art reflects these themes.
4-Will you have any special pieces, sale items or exclusive Art World Expo offers at this year’s Art World Expo Edmonton at the Muttart on March 16?
I have two exclusive pieces from a collection that is incomplete and I have not released for sale quite yet. These two pieces are very special to me as these are where I pushed comfort zone as an artist. This eclectic style of art is where I really want to be in the future.
5-Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
I think by putting more time and effort into my business I can promote it to build a brand where quite a few people will know who I am and can easily access my work.
6-Just for fun: If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
I don’t think I want to. I am happy with where I am right now, but I guess I wouldn’t mind getting chased by dinosaurs.
To learn more about Shivee, visit her Facebook Page. Thank you Edmonton for a SOLD OUT event! See you on March 16 at the Muttart Conservatory.
Monika Blichar is an Entrepreneur and Artist. She is owner of Monika’s Art Boutique-Studio & Gallery in North Vancouver and producer of Art World Expo and Painting Dreams International Art Tours. She is always pushing boundaries as an artist and creative entrepreneur. Her love of the arts has been a part of her life since childhood.