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.
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!
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although horses are my favourite things to paint I do a lot of portraits of pets and people.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I always love to meet new artists and coordinating art shows in new cities is one way to meet a lot of artists across Canada. Today, I’ve interviewed Gayle Kohut from Didsbury, Alberta. She works in
acrylic, oils, gouache and watercolor. Her works features wildlife art, rural lifestyle and agriculture pieces. She demands attention to detail and the desire to create paintings that tell a story. Her works are sold internationally.
When did you start creating art and pursuing it as a career path?
I always have loved drawing and creating since a early age. Going to an evening art class was a treat when I was raising my family. It has taken 25 me years of art shows and sales to become known in the Art World.
What is it about creating that inspires you?
I love to tell the stories of LIFE. Whether it be wildlife, animals, nature people, or sports. My paintings show you something that you have never thought about. I farm together with my husband in the country east of Didsbury, Alberta Canada. I get most of my inspirations right in my backyard.
What are your favourite things to paint?
I love painting birds. The feathers are different on every bird. I am always changing my subject matter though. When you come to my booth at the Art World Expo in Edmonton, you will see the perfect painting made especially you for sure!
As far as a business owner of an arts company, what are your goals for your brand this year?
I have limited edition giclee prints of 50 of most of the originals. I have a brand new “Bottle Top” series that will be unveiled at the Edmonton show. I would like to have more passive income items also.
Will you have any show specials at this year’s Art World Expo in Edmonton?
I plan on having a lucky winner getting my door prize that will be in the Edmonton Art Expo. There could be specials at my booth too.
If you could do anything with your art business, no limits, what would it be?
My business is growing every year. More clients and teaching more classes, some private classes also. I would love to create even more and get more corporate customers.
Follow Gayle’s website for more information and be sure to get your tickets to the Edmonton Art World Expo today! www.gaylekohut
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!
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