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Interview with Edmonton Artist Marty Johnson

By Monika Blichar

It’s exciting to expand Art World Expo. Our latest project in Edmonton is only adding fuel to the fire for making this event stand out from the crowd. Today, I caught up with Edmonton based artist Marty Johnson for MJ Designs to ask about his work and what we can expect from him at our March 16 event in Edmonton!

1-When did you start making art?

Art has always been a part of my life as a creative outlet and a way of procrastinating from things I should have been doing as a child. I chose a profession in massage therapy as I ventured into the ‘real world’ out of school. It wasn’t until a decade later that I felt I had learned what I needed in terms of self motivation to be able to create on a schedule. It was about that time when I started focusing on my art more. I had met some like minded people that wanted to create as well. This and with my training in massage therapy I started to put my creative abilities and comfortableness with bodies together. This was a challenge in the beginning.  These open minded friends helped me venture into body painting. I now have such a wide variety of artistic mediums that I like to work with. Challenging myself to step out of my box has become a way of life with my art. And I love each new challenge as I succeed and fail because that is what growth is.

2-Your project for Canada’s 150th Birthday was amazing! What inspired you to use body paint in this project?

This project was a team effort between myself, a wonderful Photographer Christine Young and a creative Hair stylist Hollie George. Hollie first proposed the idea of a group body paint project. Us 3 met for a creative meeting about ideas and quickly developed into this amazing Canadian Body Paint artwork. As a team we narrowed down what aspects to show for each province. We know there are many beautiful and wonderful things each province has to show but we chose specific aspects that impacted us.

This was a 2 year long project and I specifically wanted to challenge myself more than I had in the past. I wanted artistic poses instead of painting just backs of people. I also decided to include a sunset, daylight and night scenes highlighting different aspects of Canada,  like the beautiful aurora borealis in the northern provinces and territories. As you look at this piece keep in mind that we did not paint each province in sequence. For example BC was painted almost a year apart from AB.

We couldn’t have been happier to complete it on our Nation’s 150th birthday year.

3-What is your favourite medium to work with?

At present I have enjoyed acrylic paint the most but I have not ventured into oils or water colours. Sculpting I have enjoyed sand, snow, ice and foam.

I am a person that loves to try new mediums based on the creative job presented to me. If you ask me the same question next year it may be completely different and that’s what I love about art, we are our only limitation.

4-What kinds of work will you have at the Edmonton Art World Expo? Will you have any show specials?

I will be bringing three different series with me. The Canada Body Paint images of course. A must see! The other two, you’ll have to come check out for yourself. I’ll have originals, prints as well as some products with my art on them so there will be something for anyone.

5-Where would you like to see your business in 5 years?

Hmmmm…business and art, what an odd mix. At present I am guest curating a project with the art gallery in my home town. I continue to have doors open up to me that I never even knew existed. It will be a wonderful time these next five years. I love competing. I love creating custom artworks for people. And I love working on my own projects. I believe I am at a cusp of discovery within myself and the direction I am headed. My direction has been more custom work for individuals but I will be creating works of art based more on what moves me. I believe the next five years will have two paths; moving emotional artwork and products as well as competing in more renowned competitions.

6-What advice would you give to emerging artists?

Simply I suggest to try and fail, but try again. Creativity is always a learning process so don’t be afraid to fail. Some of my best lessons I have learned from not succeeding.  Do not ever think you can’t learn more and from many professionals in different fields. Be open to any lesson that is being presented because they are everywhere.

Learn more about Marty on his website and make sure to get your tickets to the event! http://www.mjdesignsart.com/

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MAB Ventures Inc.-An Arts & Entertainment Agency, 1335 Pemberton Avenue, North Vancouver BC 

Art World Expo Christmas Fair! 

Tomorrow we invite you all to our Christmas Fair at 4015 Fraser Street in Vancouver, BC. 

Over 50 participating Artisans, vendors, and designers who are selling a variety of goods and services! Art, fashion, jewellery, home decor, knitting, make up, skin care, health and wellness, desserts, and so much more! Finish all your shopping, support local and even enjoy lunch with us! Best part is that we invite all ages and it’s free to attend! We have 100 swag bags for the first 100 people too-great items inside include essential oil from SPOIL YOURSELF, Art by Elizabeth Hill, a copy of Fresh Magazine, one free art class at MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery and an It Works drink sample to keep you healthy!


Learn more on our Facebook event page Here

Our event auction, Christmas earrings and coffee sales are supporting two causes. The first is to help fund our new creative arts and wellness centre opening in North Vancouver in the Spring. The second is to support a member of our Art World community with cancer. Please be sure to buy a coffee, bid on items in the auction and purchase a pair of these earrings by Monika Colmorgen for $7! ​if you can’t make it and you’d like a pair of these earrings, please email us at artists@theartworldexpo.com or call 6049996177. 

Final Call for our Art World Expo Christmas Fair Vendors! 

Are you an artisan or independent rep looking for a holiday event to participate in this year? Look no further and join our exciting Christmas Fair this year! 


We have a limited number of tables left for vendors at our Christmas Fair on December 16! Submit your registration today here: https://theartworldexpo.com/exhibitor-information/ Questions? Call Monika Blichar 6049996177 

We love to small businesses and Artisans and our Christmas Fair will be no exception to sharing the love for all things unique and local this December! 


Thank you to Two of Hearts boutique in Kits for donating $5-$25 gift cards to spend in store! Lots of raffle prizes every 30 minutes! 

Preview products, join the convo and connect with participants on our Official Facebook Event Page

When you attend this COMPLIMENTARY ENTRY EVENT, you’ll find: 
-Over 50 vendor tables including art, jewellery, fashion, hand knit goods, make up, skin care, chocolate, baked goods, kids accessories, essential oils, dog accessories, home decor, and health and wellness products and services and much more! Everything you need in one venue to complete your holiday shopping and networking! Ask our vendors about collaborations, participating in your events or if you’re a gallery or boutique owner, come browse to see if you could work with one of our Artisans in 2018! 


-Fashion Shows by John Pfaff, Carolyn Bruce Steampunk Jewellery, and West Coast Hatters on models provided by award winning female body builder fitness models from Team Fitness! Yes! Exciting! 


-Cheeses Crust Food Truck-Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Drinks! Really good sandwiches! 


-Raffles every 30 minutes-Prizes from local vendors and of course, many of our sponsors from Art World Expo! Tickets sold on site! 

-First 100 people through the doors receive a complimentary goody bag! No purchase necessary! Just be one of the first 100 people at 11:00am sharp! 

-Face Painting for kids and adults by award winning body painter and visual artist Francoise Boise ($10/person) She’s amazing! Don’t worry, she will do Holiday themed paints too! 


-Silent Auction Benefiting Make and Break Arts Foundation-all proceeds support independent Artisans and Arts Programs and Exhibitions in BC. It’s a win win! (Huge line up of awesome stuff to bid on-great for holiday gift ideas and of course-gifts for ourselves!) 

-Arts & Crafts Station for Kids-leave them at the craft station and go shop and mingle! We have you covered! 

-Finally, when you’re all done, take a photo at our photo booth with visitors from the North Pole! Capture a memory and celebrate Christmas 2017 with us! 

Current vendors: 

Monika Blichar

Art by Edy

Carolyn Bruce Designs – Steampunk Jewelry**FASHION SHOW**

West Coast Hatters**FASHION SHOW**

John Pfaff Art & Fashion**FASHION SHOW**

Fashion Show models sponsored by Team Fitness-Award Winning Female Body Builders from BC! 

LumberJax Custom Wooden Jewelry 

Karolyn’s Tupperware

Inner Harmonious Peace

Kathline Essential Oils Accessories

Jennifer Haase, Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant

SPOIL YOURSELF, Cristina De Vellis

Jessica’s Homemade Alfajores-Baked Goods

Fifth Avenue Collection by Pardeep

Younique, Amanda Cherewick

The Sweet Doodle

Whisk Premium Matcha

Copper Paw Designs

Coastal Storm Gallery

Dagmar Doubkova Herbal Life

Bodacious Butterflies

Scentsy Kristi Weaver

SweetLegs Vancouver with Julia

Love Eco Jewels

Spain Gourmet Canada

Radiant Life Hoops & Styles 

Petite Hippo

Earth Meets Spirit

Boise Art Works-Face Painting for Kids On Site $10/each

Deanna ArtFORMS

Diamond Movement

Andrea Renée Blackett MONAT

Diva’s Niche

All Day Shine by Julie SeneGence Independent Distributor # 384814

Crafts By Julia

Bryce Musil Azrael’s Forge Gems and Fine Jewelry

Taylore Mcmanne Jewellery
 

Being a Pirate and a Gypsy

By Monika Blichar 

When it comes to daydreaming and thinking up creative ideas, most artists can say that deep down, that’s all they ever really want to do. Being an artist is often like being a pirate and a gypsy; searching for that golden idea while striving to keep it secret until it is time to unveil. 

I caught up with Paula Godden owner and designer at The Pirate and the Gypsy and asked her to give us a few insights into her world of wonder. 


1-A lot of your inspiration to create a company came from your travels as a young girl. Do you have a favourite place that you have visited? 
Jerusalem, a place so rich in history and culture. As a young girl, I was wide eyed with wonder walking through the streets of the old city, visiting historic churches and sites, places I had heard about in stories and later read about in books. The lush greenery of the Mount of Olives, the beautiful beaches, floating on the Dead Sea, touching the spot where the Star of Bethlehem landed when it fell from the sky. The market places were always so filled with color and the hustle of merchants with their beautiful art work and jewelry. It was magical, like fantasy had come to life, especially after watching movies like Indiana Jones which romanticized the Middle East with all its natural treasures and mysteries. My imagination ran wild and it was at that time my writings and drawings really began to develop.

2-Is anyone else in your family creative? 
Yes, I have a lot of creative family members but the person that stands out the most for me is my Father, he was an amazing artist. I remember when I was little I would watch him, I was mesmerized by his drawings. I would constantly be bugging him to draw things for me and then as I got older he was the one I would go to when I wasn’t sure on how to draw something. He really helped me develop and hone my artistic skills.
3-Your work is made from many natural materials and stones. What is your favourite material to work with? 
I love working with all metals and stones but if I had to choose one of each I would have to say that copper and Larimar are my favourites. Some think of copper as a “poor man’s” metal, a dirty metal, but its not. Copper is such a wonderful easy metal to work with and has amazing healing and conductive properties. It has the ability enhance the properties of all other metals and stones that are in contact with it. Copper also has such a rich, vibrant colour it reminds me of the sun setting on the water; those deep reddy orange hues shimmering on the waves of the ocean. Turquoise is usually the favourite for natural blue stones, but Larimar has my heart. It reminds me of horizon where the ocean meets the sky, blue seas and white pillowy clouds. As you can probably tell I have my head in the clouds and my heart at the ocean.

4-What’s the most memorable design you have created? 
I’d have to choose the custom engagement/wedding ring remake I recently did. Working with a customer to bring their vision, their story to life was an amazing experience for me. This was definitely a challenging piece for me to do. I took on the project not just because of the story behind it, but for the opportunity to push my boundaries of creativity and increase my skill level. This customer hadn’t worn her wedding ring set for 15 years, saying the setting was too high and that it would get caught on things and scratch her children when carrying them. She gave me her vision and trusted me to take it and put my own creative twist on it and after 15 years she is now able to wear the expression of love and her family on her finger once again. The joy I experienced when I saw her face as she put her new ring on for the first time was overwhelming and I was even more moved but the testimonial she posted on my website. The process I went through on this custom piece brought my skill set to a whole new level and confirmed my love for the process of discovery, design and creation, this is why I hand pick all of my materials. My husband and I believe that in every piece of wood, glass, metal and stone there is a story and it is our joy to translate that story into the unique piece of art it becomes.

5-Where would you like to see your business and collection be in 5 years? 
I see my husband and I doing this full time. The Pirate & The Gypsy will have moved out of our home studio into a small local store front in New Westminster on Front Street with personal studio space for the two of us. Our online store will have expanded and flourished, going from a largely local audience to more expanded national audience. I see us growing and evolving. As the business grows so will our skills and possibly our creative direction. The Pirate & The Gypsy has grown so much in the past year with the addition of my husband’s woodworking and stained glass art. I am blessed to have him with me along for the ride, to be able to share our ideas, methods, and dreams for the future. I see some stained glass pendant collaborations in the future and maybe even some wood and metal pieces. In 5 years we will still be sailing the seas of our imaginations and creating form the heart. We want to create a culture where people come to us from all over the world when they want unique custom designed pieces that tell a story or that celebrate their life and their journey.  

6-Will you have any specials for Art World Expo attendees this year?
I have a few surprises up my sleeve for Expo attendees. I will be debuting a new limited edition collection at a special Art World Expo pricing. We will be giving away a complementary gift to the first 25 customers who visit our booth and while they are there they can enter our draw to win one of our necklaces.


For more information, be sure to visit The Pirate & The Gypsy Facebook Page

Lumberjax Custom Wooden Jewelry

by Monika Blichar
This year, we are pleased to be exploring the theme of “Eco-Sustainability” within the theme of the 8th annual Art World Expo in Vancouver. Noting all that is happening in the world environmentally and politically, it is excellent to see artists and designers being sustainable in their production of unique accessories and art work. A new-comer to Art World Expo but a past guest, we welcome Volkert Bobeldijk for Lumberjax Custom Wooden Jewelry to our annual event and showcase. Volkert has truly done something unique while thinking of nature and the ecosystem. We caught up with Volkert about his work and the upcoming event-be sure to check out his Facebook page at the end also!
1-When did you start making jewellery?
I started to make jewelry about four three years ago after my wife asked me to make a ring. Her diamond clasp would get caught on the linens at the hospital where she works and a wood ring could just be worn for work. Then her colleagues and friends started asking me to make them one which helped me to move forward in my woodworking.
2-What inspired you to start incorporating natural elements into your designs?
Being that I have been carving spoons for longer then the Jewelry making, I took to wooden jewelry quite easily. I have always had the love of wood and creating with wood my entire life but this has opened up my creative side. It also gives me the ability to use woodworking as therapy.
3-What has been the most exciting aspect of launching your own company?
The most exciting part of starting my own company is the ability it has given me to spend more time with my family. I went from a high stress, long hours and away from the house type of job to working a part-time job and working my business. This gave me the pleasure of being around my children and spending the quality time with my wife.
4-How have you transformed as an artist since you began?
Since I have started I have had the amazing pleasure of meeting more artisans and creative people that inspire me to grow and be who I really am. My transformation began when I saw the people who stop by my booth look in awe at the creations I have made for them. It gave me more drive to further my company and start making more products to suit all types of styles.
5-What do you aspire to do in the next five years?
I wood love to see my company grow to a point of not needing to have a part-time job. This way I will be able to take care of my family full time and become more self sufficient. To work my passion and spend the upmost quality time with family and friends is my goal that I will achieve.
6-What kinds (if any) specials or promotions will you have at Art World Expo 2018?
At this art show I will be giving Wooden keychains designed to put essential oils on to each client that purchases from my table. In addition, I may come up with a draw to win a wooden earrings and necklace/pendant set.
To learn more about Lumberjax, visit their Facebook Page.

Founder Monika Blichar-Solo Show June 30, 2017

All artists have their thing.
Picasso had his funny people. Dali had his crazy ideas. Monet had his garden.

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Monika Blichar has many things and not just one. A leader on the Vancouver Art Scene since 2009, she has been working with vigor to create community through art by way of events, classes, workshops, art tours and her own work.

Since 2009, she has produced Art World Expo successfuly seven times at Science World in Vancouver and Hard Rock in Toronto. She has taught thousands of students via MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery including adults and kids. For kids who haven’t been able to pay, she also set up a foundation where funds are raised to help give opportunities to kids who wouldn’t normally be able to join in. The foundation also supports Art World Expo and hundreds of artists annually gain a platform to show and sell work, auction off their pieces and for artists in need, the foundation pulls together resources to support them during times of difficulty. She has also founded local and international art retreats in British Columbia and Europe and has taken amateur and experienced artists to places like Paris, Bergerac, the Dordogne River, Amsterdam, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Warsaw. In addition to all of this, she creates her own work. 

On Friday, June 30, you are cordially invited to step into the world of Monika Blichar. Attendees can view and purchase paintings, prints, photography, jewellery and accessories by Monika. (Prices range from $10-$5,000.00) This will be Monika’s first official Solo Show where she will share works created over the last 20 years-some never before seen pencil drawings, sketches, and paintings. Further, the solo show will kick off a year long exhibition nationally and abroad at partner locations. If you’ve always wanted a Blichar piece or are looking for unique gift ideas, be sure to swing by on Friday evening.

In addition to Monika’s work, guests will also have the opporutnity to purchase works from local artisans featured at Art World Expo and at the gallery on an ongoing basis including Art by Edy, Carolyn Bruce Designs, West Coast Hatters, Coastal Storm Gallery, Deanna ArtForms, Danielle Rondeau, K-OME, Chelsea Sinclare, Art by Elizabeth Hill, Mojan Nejati, Bellessence Cosmetics, The Copper Kat, OddMint Designs, and Slate Jewelry.

For more information and to see a preview of the works avaialable, be sure to visit the Facebook Event Page HERE

Feature AWE Artist at MAB Art Studio-Marilyn McKee

by Monika Blichar, Owner and Producer Art World Expo

I first met Marilyn Mckee in 2010 when producing the first of a series of events; now known as Art World Expo produced in Vancouver and Toronto. Drawn to her talent in jewellery making back then, I knew that she was a treasure and kept my eyes on her.  I think back to all those phone calls I made to check in over the years and wonder at how she could stand me asking about her art and progress. I wasn’t a customer after all; just an agent and promoter keeping tabs on her. Through my eyes, I knew that she was something special.  I am really pleased that I kept in touch as today, she is the first feature artist of 2016 in my studio and gallery in North Vancouver.

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If you haven’t met Marilyn, I will tell you that behind the stunning pieces is a truly wonderful woman who is not only a talented artist but an accomplished professional, mother and community member. Marilyn McKee is a member of the Tsit Gitanee (Eagle) clan of the Haida Nation, whose roots are from the islands of Haida Gwaii; world famous for its natural beauty and talented artists. Aside from creating, Marilyn is an active mother and grandmother and contributes to the community regularly. She is currently the President of Raycam Community Centre; the only community center in the Lower Mainland to offer free programs for kids and adults. She has been with the organization for over 10 years and has done everything from leading art projects to sewing 50 Halloween costumes.

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Since a child, Marilyn has always had an artistic ability. Even when asking her about her work and photographing her for this article, her childlike joy and wonder shine through in her smile and in the way she talks about her work. She is at ease with her imagination and an innocence about her talent has stayed within her spirit. She is inspired by traditional stories and moulds them into her art with a modern twist, incorporating Celtic design, Fairies and mermaids amongst more traditional Northwest Coast elements. Her most popular are the Fairies; which are breathtaking in both jewellery and paintings to say the least.

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As an artist myself, I feel privileged to have seen her art evolve into an array of beautiful works ranging from jewellery, drums, and paintings. I look forward to sharing our space with her essence this month; not only because of the beauty of the works but also to see an another artist’s work through my eyes and through those of our visitors.

Unafraid and experimental with her work, MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery is pleased to have Marilyn McKee as the January 2016 feature artist. Her use of many unconventional methods in her artwork result in a fresh look at the knowledge and richness her Haida culture.

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For more information, please visit Mab Art Studio 

All pieces featured are listed in the Facebook.

 

Thank you to our sponsors BLUSH Vancouver Magzine and Twin Peaks Construction.

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Free Spirit & Whimsy An Interview with Cyrena Jean Riches of Gypsy Jean Jewellery

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By Alyssa Laube

About: Cyrena, owner of Gypsy Jean Jewellery, lives in the Greater Vancouver area with her husband Rob, young son Carson, and cocker spaniel Eddie. She has been making jewellery since childhood and launched her brand, Gypsy Jean, about three years ago.

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Can you explain the name of your company, Gypsy Jean?

 

It was a nickname I was given way back when I tried my hand at tarot card readings! My Irish gran was Jean, and my mom and I share the middle name Jean, so it’s definitely a tribute to the women that have inspired my creativity and jewellery making.

You first started making jewellery when you were a child. Can you recount how that began?

I was first introduced to jewellery craft at summer camp when I learned how to make friendship bracelets. It evolved from there when my mom bought me some tools, wire and beads. I started selling them on my street corner just so I could go buy more supplies! Also, I’ve always been a bit of a wondering soul, and my first designs were inspired by my set of aura rocks.

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How did your grandmother influence you?

With a walk-in closet packed full of colourful outfits and tiny shoes, my Irish gran (Jean) talked to me about my dreams and my future Prince Charming while she let me play in that little girl’s fashion wonderland! She had new accessories for every single dress! Actually, both of my grandmothers were also artistic and crafty. They inspire me to follow my dreams and heart every day.

Can you explain how Bohemian style is a part of your work?

Free spirit and whimsy inspire my unique designs. I like to use eye-catching charms and gemstones that are thoughtfully put together, but with no rules! I just go with what I love and hope that others will love it too.

Where do you find your materials?

Everywhere and anywhere! I can’t use just one supplier because part of the fun is the hunt, and it gives each piece it’s own story. From taking apart and up-cycling pieces of vintage jewellery, to online finds and boutique treasures, I want my jewellery to make you feel good!

What is your favourite type of jewellery to make?

Because i’ve worked in many different styles and mediums, I go through stages. Right now, i’m loving my “convertible necklaces” featuring colourful semi-precious stones, charms and Swarovski crystals. They are one-of-a-kind and can be worn as a bracelet or necklace. Actually, every piece I make is my favourite until I make the next…Then it’s my new favourite!

On your website, you’ve said that you’re inspired by your travels. Where have you travelled that has inspired you artistically?

I have been across the United States and to England, Ireland, and Scotland! I have watched glass beads being made beside a canal in Venice and an old woman hand beading intricately (and at record speed) on the streets of Mexico! Finally, being a tourist in my own beautiful city inspires me every day.

At Gypsy Jean, you pride yourself on being unique. What is it about your jewellery that is so different?

I want to keep my jewellery one-of-a-kind, versatile and good quality, but also at affordable price points. I also like to make pieces that you can wear in different ways. If you can’t can’t have fun with your accessories, what’s the point, right? When you love what you’re wearing, you feel good, and that gives us confidence. Overall, I love to make women feel confident and happy!

Take a closer look at Gypsy Jean Jewellery at:
http://www.gypsyjean.com/

 

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Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor Twin Peaks!

www.twinpeaksconstruction.com 

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