painter

Ryan McGee-Weird Art & Lowbrow Charm

by Monika Blichar

I have long admired artists who push boundaries and when selecting artists to participate in our events, I always strive to reach artists who are different, fresh and new in their work. When I came across Ryan McGee’s work, I noticed something ‘je ne sais’ quoi about it. It’s dark but delightful. It’s strange and sublime. He examines life through a distorted lens. I loved it the moment I saw it and knew that we had to feature him in our Toronto event on November 17. I caught up with Ryan to ask him about his art. Enjoy!

 

1-When did you start making art?

I can’t pin point exactly when I started making art, for me it was something that just had to happen, I always had a need to express myself visually. When I was younger this took the form of drawing on walls and filling up sketchbooks with crude doodles. It wasn’t until my time in College that I started to really to think critically about what my art was, and what I wanted to put out into the world.

2-What inspires you to create?

I have always had a very strong interest in the weird, and this fuels me in everything I create. I pull from everything that strikes a cord with me on a personal level, and things that capture the underground culture I love. I often find myself collecting outdated horror and sci-fi comics, saving images of early surfer, and hot rod culture, and tuning in to a new band that connect with me. All of these elements get archived in somewhat of a nexus of inspiration for me to draw from.


3-How do you think art can change society?

I believe that art is extensive, and reaches just about everyone through various outlets. In my case I always wanted to create art but I never truly felt comfortable in the fine art culture, so I sought out sub art groups to get into. I think that’s the truly amazing thing about art is that there really is something out there for everyone to connect with. There will always be a steady flow of talented people who want to create, and express themselves. As long as art continues to have various outlets for these people to grow creatively then there will always be potential to change society by pushing new ideas, and concepts through their works.

4-Do you try to convey messages through your illustrations?

There is a certain charm I believe in lowbrow art, and this is something a try and capture in my pieces. I like to play with the imagination of the viewer through my strange, and sometimes-goofy pieces, I think this connects with the onlooker reminding them that art can fun. If my work has any type of message I would say it’s for people to take a step back, and not take themselves so seriously.


5-Where do you see yourself in your art business in the next five years?

I would love to have really established myself at least within the Toronto art community in the coming years. My dream would be to sustain myself entirely on my art, and that is something that I am really working on accomplishing. I think it is important especially for artists to set goals set for themselves and their art, and to always be striving to grow creatively, and professionally.

6-What kinds of works will you have for sale at Art World Toronto? Will you be offering attendees any show specials?

I will have a variety of pieces available for sale at Art World Toronto from patches to stickers to prints. In terms of special offers I really value meeting, and networking with new people at these events. Chances are if you come and say hi you’ll end up with a discount on some pieces, or maybe some stickers for free.

To order tickets to the Toronto Art World Expo, please visit This Link

Advertisements

Surrealism with Angela Latchkey

by Monika Blichar

Entering into a new world for me is what art is all about-especially when you enter the world of Angela Latchkey. She captures exactly what art for me truly means: possibility, imagination and magic. Her work inspires the grandeur of life and the realization that anything is possible when we allow our mind to play within our imagination. It is truly magical.

When_We_Are_Asleep_high_res

“I’ve dedicated my life to exploring different ways of existing through travel, study, and in depth contemplation about the world around me. I’m a kind of philosopher and my philosophy is laid down in layers of paint, to be seen, not read or heard.

I bring forward images that allow for contemplation, inspiration and happiness, since these are the things I value. My work allows you to look deeper and to FEEL deeper beyond the everyday.

It is my sincere wish that you enjoy yourself while browsing my life work.”

Angela Latchkey, Surreal Artist

For more information about Angela, please visit: https://www.angelalatchkey.com/

 

Ofer Samra-Actor Turned Painter

Ofer_Samra7

I believe Art is about being open and allowing life ideas, color, nature, people etc. to go in. Together, with the Artist’s passion, interests, feelings and point of view, a unique personal art is created.


about

“Since early age I was watching people, animals, nature. I was very curious and interested. Always asked about the nature of behavior.


Born in Israel, moved to the states in mid-eighties, Ofer pursued acting ( Role of “Yusef” in “True Lies”). ”It was there in acting classes where we talked about painters”. That’s when the “Art” seed was planted.

“With painting, I’ve learned to express body, mind and spirit. After studying work by Caravaggio, Egon Schiele, Magritte and Picasso I found figurative work as the main tunnel to express life, passion, emotion, strength and character”.

Ofer’s most recent Art Exhibit was on May 14, 2015, at QART.COM Gallery in Marina Del Rey, California. The Exhibit included a large variety of Ofer’s latest work.

Calming Chaos – An Interview with Painter Graham McKenzie

Calming Chaos

– An Interview with Painter Graham McKenzie

by Alyssa Laube

Graham_Dec 13_33_TN  Graham_July 14_18_TN

About: Graham McKenzie is an easy-going and honest person who draws his artistic inspiration from nature. Most of his work is based off of hikes in the Fraser Valley, so British Columbians can visit the scene of Graham’s paintings! He finds joy in escaping the man-made world and immersing himself in the magical, sporadic qualities of the natural world. With his paintings, he invites the viewer to experience it with him.

Graham_Dec 13_36_TN

Your interest in art started with wax crayons. When did you pick one up for the first time?    Is there a reason why you loved it so much?  

When young, we all pick up wax crayons. I remember my first real art lesson was given to me by my mother. While visiting some friends and colouring with their child, I liked the way his colours looked compared to mine. I told my mother that I wanted crayons like his. She simply said, “Don`t push down so hard.”

Art left your life for a while. Do you know why that happened, and what inspired you to get back into it?          

I don`t think I lost interest in art, it just faded away for a while. I started having dreams which rekindled it, and soon started to push a pencil around.

How did working with your drafting board help you develop as an artist?                   

An artist, no matter what their skill level is, needs a work place; a place where you can return to your work and not have to clear up because it’s dinner or bed time.

How has your art evolved over time?      

I really believe that practice makes you better. The more you paint, draw, or scribble, the faster your fingers and brain learn to communicate. I feel that my paintings have evolved over the last couple of years because I’ve made an effort to make painting more than just a hobby. I have always been a detail-oriented person and have been working creating more depth in my work.

Your desire to paint nature and landscapes started after you began to hike in the Fraser Valley. What is it about this place that inspires you?

Even as a child, I spent a lot of time in the woods playing and making forts. Walking into the forest really excites me! I love the green of B.C.. The way the moss grows and hangs from the trees creates a magical wonderland.

What are some of your other favourite places to paint?      

I don`t know if I have a favourite place to paint but I really like the Cultus Lake area and Lindeman Lake as well.

Why do you love to paint nature, rather than anything else?        

I work in the aerospace industry, where everything is measured down to the one-hundred thousandth of an inch. Everything is very controlled. Now, with nature, everything is beautifully random and free. It`s that freedom that allows a person’s mind to wander, paint a branch or throw some leaves here and there to suit your mind’s eye.

What does creating art do for you?              

Sometimes, when painting, you get into this zone where things are flowing. It`s almost like meditation. You’re thinking about what you’re painting, your day, the people in your life, listening to music, or sometimes all of them at once. It sounds busy and crowded but your mind just wanders. Then you look up at the clock and 3-4 hours have flown by.

How would you like to challenge yourself in the future?

I feel like I`m just getting started in my painting career, so I definitely want to put more effort in and be more disciplined. Large canvases are intimidating, so I think I have to tackle some of those as well. I’ve been fortunate in that I have met a lot of helpful and unselfish people over the last couple of years who’ve been very supportive. I want to continue to support others that I meet and pay it forward, as they say. B.C. has a great artistic community and I’m grateful that I’m starting to mix in.

grahammckenzie

 

The Dreamer An Interview with Hajni Yosifov

By Alyssa Laube

hajni1  hajni3 hajni4

About: For Transylvanian painter and poet, Hajni Yosifov, art is all about self-discovery. Her paintings (“painted diaries/journals”, or “dreamscapes”, as she calls them) use bold colours and heavy texture to evoke emotions of love, wonder, and struggle. Despite starting out her artistic career as a jewellery designer, Hajni has found her true passion in painting, and will be exhibiting at this year’s Expo.

When you mention the “idea of existing” as a key concept in your work, what do you mean?

My artistic journey is more than seeking; it’s a chance to go on, deeply and permanently, into the idea of existing. Art is how I record life.

hajni5
The way that you’ve described your work on your page is quite poetic. Do you write poetry?

The dance between words and pictures is unlike anything else. Nothing compares with the discovery of your own verse, and some of my paintings gives my mind the power of words. “The Dreamer” is my self portrait in words.

hajni2
Which artists inspire you?

There are many inspiring artists, but none touches my heart and soul like Emily Carr.

How did growing up in Transylvania (and then moving to Canada) influence you?

When I came in Canada in 1990, the course of my life changed. My first show happened to be at Hamilton Art Gallery, where I met the gallery Director, Ted Pietrzak. His encouragement and guidance led me to the most rewarding journey as an artist. That was the beginning.

How did you get started in jewellery design?

At the end of the high school I decided to become a jeweller. It was a fascinating process between melting gold and polishing the final piece. The finished piece always became someone’s treasure.

How did you discover that painting was your true passion?

Painting must be my true passion, because I paint after working at my job, even if I don’t have a showing or commissioned piece. I’m painting when I’m hopeful or hopeless.

Would you describe your work as abstract and why/why not?

I don’t consider my art abstract because abstract art seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colours and textures without representing an external reality. I call mine “dreamscapes”, because when I paint, my intention is to touch an emotional chord with such intensity that I can’t distinguish if it’s pain or happiness.

How do you like to use colour and texture in your art?

My inspiration comes from a thought, building textures and bright colours, and then balancing with soft pastel.

You’ve participated in over 190 exhibitions. Is there one, or a few, that stand out in your memory and why?

After over 240 exhibitions, each of them is important. I had so many amazing moments and met so many people that inspired me.

How do you think that your work reflects the “awakening of life”?

I’m collecting bits of nature, human forms, and sparkles of light and putting them back into my artwork romantically. The awakening of life is an endless wonder.

How have you found your “new self” through your art?

I’m an artist; this is what I do. My art is the bridge between me and the world.

Why is creating art important to you?

My art gives me the courage to be vulnerable, and to be myself.

What will you be showing at the Expo?

At the Art World Expo, I’m showing my recent work. As a collection, each painting orchestrates the mood and story behind it. The theme, ”Shades of Love”, echoes through each of them.
You can see or purchase Hajni’s work at this year’s Expo, or:
http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/h/hajni/.

You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

twinpeaksconstruction

Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor Twin Peaks Construction!

www.twinpeaksconstruction.com 

Life and Loss

Life and Loss

An Interview with Uma Sharda

 

by Alyssa Laube

umaheadshot

About: Uma Sharda is a “design specialist in product packaging and labeling”, painter, and overall creator! Raised by Hindu parents, there are spiritual themes to her recent work as well as those focusing on femininity.

umaunborn1
Your “Unborn Series” features images of “babies, hearts, wombs, blood and bone.” Could you explain the meaning behind it?

 

When I think about the unborn, I think of a fetus and womb. The colours, textures and various visuals of bone and blood is fascinating. I think of miscarriages, abortions, life not yet breathing and the heartache and anxiety that can occur in the time of pregnancy. I wanted to distort the simple shape of the heart and use the womb, rib cage and pelvis to depict the twisted feelings of love and loss. I wanted to explore the concept of life incased in bone, muscle and tissue – not knowing the outer world of air and earth. I explore infertility, femininity and whether motherhood is an essential role in a woman’s life.

 

How did your studies in art history impact you?

 

It is great knowing how art developed with human evolution. Not only do I appreciate the complex and various ways we can visually express ourselves, but also the ability to add and extend that knowledge. Personally, art history allows me to explore movements and recognize the visual documentation of how we live, think and understand our reality at any given time. Reading about artists who were exploring similar challenges as I am is fantastic. Seeing their successes and strategies for overcoming them is even more incredible!

 

How was training at Emily Carr in graphic design different?

The culture and way of teaching at Emily Carr is unique; I haven’t met any art or design students from other institutions that have described the same experiences. I learned to be resourceful and ruthless with refining the best idea out of many. My fellow students had diverse backgrounds and we were able to provide many perspectives that challenged and opened each others minds. I learned to define how I get creative ideas, what creativity is, and how others access it.

Does your culture and/or heritage impact your life? How so, particularly in British Columbia?

Of course. Your identity is the lens with which you view life, and I want to be true to myself. I acknowledge the privilege of having Hindu parents and look into what I have learned from the valuable culture they raised me in. I continue to find ways to express being Hindu and born/raised in northern B.C.. A small town like Kitimat was uniquely multicultural with over 20 different languages spoken in a population of 12000.

To expand on the previous question, could you briefly describe your “Lotus Series” and how Hinduism is integrated into your work?

The lotus is a symbol for calm and peace. This was seen in paintings with goddesses holding a lotus in their hand and gods meditating on the flowers in the lake, representing peaceful, not chaotic, minds. Since the lotus rests on the surface of the lake, but has roots below and flowers above, I think of it as an umbilical cord from earth to sky. In my paintings, I take it further: from water to stars. But there are other ways I use Hinduism in my work. The “holy trinity” describes how life is experienced with Shiva the destroyer, Vishnu the preserver and Brahma the creator. The Shiva dancer manipulated time and space and was part of the natural motion of the world. I didn’t want to paint the specific gods and goddesses, but I love the dancer as the force that moves us all through time and space, so I took the positions from Classical Indian dance (Bharatham). Also, I incorporate the “om” sign to provoke a feeling of peace. I currently have my Lotus Moon Dancer series artwork on display at the Naam Restaurant from Jan 20-Mar 3.

What’s your favourite quote and why?

“Do or do not there is no try.” Not every action will show success but every action snowballs into another. This momentum ensures success. When I think I’m trying, I know I’m worrying, and I have to stop myself and say, “Keep it simple – Do or do not.” Failure doesn’t matter.

umanaam2

Uma Sharda     

cell: 778.893.6144   email: message_uma@yahoo.ca

www.umasharda.com

Uma’s work is currently on display at The Naam Restaurant in Kits. (January 2015-March 2015) Visit The Naam on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NAAMRestaurant  

Emerging Painter Margaret Kitchen Joins The Show!

IMG_0509IMG_1249

About: Margaret Kitchen, new to Vancouver and the art scene, creates beautiful paintings of landscapes and other scenes. She works in a school teaching special needs children, and practices as an artist in her spare time.

 IMG_2067

This is your first time at the Art World Expo. Is there anything particular you’re looking forward to?

I’m very nervous and excited just to experience it and be there to see other artists.

How were you introduced to art?

Growing up, my Mom was always creative. Not in painting, but in things like beautiful knitting and needlepoint. We would come home from dances and she would have entire outfits she’d made ready for us! Also, about 5 years ago I was looking at paintings a lot and thinking, “I want to do that.” I wanted to explore something different. Reading Drawing from the Right Side of Your Brain explained that everybody can draw and not to be afraid to make mistakes and to fail. It just sort of said, “Where are the rules? Anyone can do it.” Art is an outlet. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

How were you influenced as an artist by your heritage or home town?

Okanagan landscape is so inspiring. You go hiking or to lakes and just think, “I wish I could paint this.” It’s just so beautiful. There were great local artists and galleries, so it was really just a part of the community.

Who was your main inspiration growing up and how has it changed from then?

My Mother, because it was always important for her to be creative with her hands and to completely immerse herself.

How would you describe your style?

I love using oil paint. I love art to look like art. I really like artists like Robert Bateman. Lots of paint, thick, color, so I guess I would call my style impressionistic.

What do you consider your “big break”?

I am really glad that I met Monika. I started her art class and she and I really hit it off. Pretty much, she said “who cares! Do it and have fun,” and here I am.

How have you developed as an artist, both professionally and personally?

Personally, it’s opened up a whole new world of creativity to me. The whole journey of it has been fantastic; meeting all of these great people and producing artwork that I like. I love that now I can paint a picture and give it to someone.

What was an artwork that had a lasting effect on you? How so?

I’m so amazed all the time at the level of creativity and artistry just here in North Vancouver, just the local art that I see around. I also went to the Vancouver Art Gallery and saw Metis which blew my mind, and last winter I saw some Emily Carr which I love.

What is your favorite art gallery or event in Vancouver?

I love the art crawls. They have one in North Vancouver and one in East Vancouver.

What type of environment do you prefer to work in (i.e.: a studio, home, etc.)?

I like to be by myself sometimes but I also like to be in a studio where there are people I can bounce things off of and ask, “What do you think? What do you see?” I like to get advice, too.

Where do you get inspiration for your art?

My daughter, the landscape, other art.

What was the first piece of art you sold?

Well, I don’t sell my art! My mother in-law asked me to paint a picture of the Capilano River. It was the first painting that I thought “I like this,” and I kept it, but painted her a couple more and gave them to her. I think that if I didn’t get so attached to my paintings, I could sell them. They’re like my babies!

Is there a main theme or message to your art? If so, what is it?

It is more of pure expressionism for me.

What is your favorite (and least favorite) thing about being an artist?

My favorite thing is that it’s a way of being creative and expressing yourself – that feeling of the great escape. It’s like meditation. I haven’t found anything negative about it yet!

Did you always want to be an artist? If not, what did you want to be and  when/why did you change your mind?

I never saw myself as an artist. I wish that I had tapped into this side of myself when I was younger would have loved to be a dancer, but during the time that I was growing up, it was never something I could imagine doing. Over the last 25 or 30 years I’d squelched that side of myself. Before my work as a Teacher, I was a Dental Assistant and would wear a different sweater every day. I’ve always liked to be creative and express myself but never thought it was something I could do. I think that if I had grown up in a different time or family I would have explored it a lot earlier.

Do you currently have a favorite artist?

Yes! He has a studio in West Vancouver. Yates. He does all sorts of West Coast landscapes with nice palette and color.

Describe the Vancouver art scene in three words

I don’t really know it that well, but I would say there are a lot of different kinds of art so versatile, exciting, and welcoming. All of the people that I’ve met have been very positive.