vancouver art

Soulshine Yoga and Jewelry at Art World Expo

Interview with Jennifer Wosk for Soulshine Yoga and Jewelry
by Monika Blichar
1.What inspired you to start a yoga and jewellery busi ness?

I started practicing and studying yoga before I started making jewellery, and I knew I wanted to be a yoga guide once I decided to take my first teacher training. Through the amazing people that I met in the yoga community and the healing that the practice brought to me, I started to tap into my creativity. My grandmother, Frances Switzer, is the original inspiration behind the jewellery side. She had her own jewellery collection, Frances Switzer Original’s, which she created from antique and unique beads and pendants she collected while traveling the world with my grandpa. My grandpa is an interior designer and had a local Vancouver, furniture manufacturing business for over 50 years, Willam Switzer and Associates.The creativity and love for beautiful things runs in my blood.

2. What does Soulshine mean to you?

To me, Soulshine is basically exactly what it sounds like. Bringing my inner light, beauty, and healing capabilities out to the world through my creativity and art, and by creating sacred space for people to tap into their intuition for what their body, mind and soul needs.


3. What has been a highlight of having a business?
I feel very grateful that I have this platform from which I can share what is in my heart and soul with others, when sometimes there are no words only art and energy that can portray these things.

4. A lot of your jewellery includes the use of natural stones and metal work with symbolism. How do you choose and do you have a favourite?

When creating my pieces, I usually go with my intuition. I try not to think too much, but choose beads and materials that feel right. My creations turn out beautifully and sometimes they surprise me, often the final product is very different from my original vision but I like to just go with the flow of creativity.

If I am creating a custom piece, I like to speak with the client before hand to learn about them, and find out what they are looking for from their special jewellery. Many people come to me with a healing energy that they would like their jewellery to exude for them. With that guidance, I can choose the beads and stones that have certain healing properties.

It is too hard to choose a favourite stone, they are all so beautiful and unique, and bring joy in different ways. I find that I am drawn to work with different materials or stones at certain times, and then I will be drawn to something else. It is all very intuitive.

5. Where do you see your work in 5 years?

I plan to continue to ride the flow of creativity throughout my lifetime. I am sure that as I change and grow, my style and creations will change and grow. I took an intro metal work course last year, and I would love to take more courses in various materials, and it that way my work will develop.

6. Will you have any specials for Art World Expo visitors?

I plan to have many new and exciting pieces for Art World Expo 2018!

 

Jennifer Wosk

Soulshine Yoga and Jewellery

Jennifer is a Jewellery Designer, Yogini, traveler, and Spiritual Wild Woman of the world, who has a thirst for knowledge of the healing arts and our connection to nature and the divine. She is passionate about creating beautiful pieces of art that both heal and bring beauty to the world and the wearer.

Soulshine Jewellery was originally inspired by Jennifer’s grandmother, Frances Switzer. Frances had a jewellery line, Frances Switzer Original’s which she created from antique beads and pendants that she collected on her world travels.  Frances was no longer able to continue her creative work and years later gifted her special collection to Jennifer.  Jennifer has had the joy and privilege to honor her grandmother by creating her own jewellery line with her unique style, and by adding to the collection through her travels around the globe. Jennifer loves to work with semi-precious stones, yarn, and beads made from various materials. When collecting beads, it is important to Jennifer to know where and how they are made. She also loves to learn about and share the unique healing qualities of the different semi-precious stones and crystals.

Jennifer is also a yoga and meditation guide, with a focus on the gentler practices like restorative yoga, guided meditation and breath work. She feels that it is important for yoga practitioners to tap into their intuition and practice in a way that suits their unique body, mind and spirit.

Jennifer also works in her family’s business, SwitzerCultCreative, a local Vancouver high-end home furnishings company, where they focus on quality, materials and helping artisans bring their art to the world.

You can find Soulshine Jewellery at www.soulshineyoga.ca and https://www.etsy.com/shop/SoulCollection, as well as various shops in Vancouver, BC.

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

Interview with Annsabelle Recitas Ramas

by Monika Blichar
This week, I catch up with Annsabelle Recitas Ramas. I always love to meet new artists and Annsabelle intrigues me not only because she is an interesting painter, but also because she brings to her work a passion and cultural background in which you can get lost. Her work is a sort of hidden gem in a vast sea and when you take time to look and appreciate it, the sea; with all its waves and motion, becomes still.
1-What inspires you in your art?

I call my collection of work inspiration for all.
Creativity comes from deep in our soul.
We all want to find purpose in life. Sometimes heavy thoughts are colours in my dreams. My greatest art is inspired at the latest hours of the day when my mind’s eye turns my hand into strokes of chaos. Yesterday’s paint strokes are sometimes dark, but I see bright colors through the shadows of my pain.

2-How did you start making art?
I began painting at a young age, but I stopped. I have always loved art. Art is my life. Recently, during a difficult period of my life, I started painting again. I used painting as an outlet for my emotions. I come alive through the spirits in my paintings. I’m loving painting and feeling alive again.

3-What have been some of your favourite pieces so far?
My favourite pieces are The Hidden Pain, The Waterfalls, Calgary Life, Storm in the Afternoon, Chaos 1, and Out of my Mind

4-You make a lot of abstract work. What do you feel makes a good abstract painting?

I create art with my heart and soul. I feel that, to make a good abstract paintings, people should be able to relate and react to it. The piece should speak to people and move them, emotionally. It should give them strength, allow them to explore their imagination, and create harmony and rhythm in their homes. I strive to create modern and exciting abstract art that inspires people.

5-Where do you want to see your business in five years?
I will be promoting my art and expanding in the Vancouver area. I dream of doing some international shows in New York City, Los Angeles, Arizona, Dubai, and my native Philippines.

6-Will you have any special offers for AWE 2017 guests?

Yes, we will have limited edition paintings, posters, and postcards on special prices for guests. We will also have a raffle prize draw for one of my limited edition prints, and one of my favourite paintings, “The Hidden Pain,” (pictured in this article) will be available in the AWE 2017 Silent Auction. Visit and chat with me at my display area!

Biography – Annsabelle

Annsabelle “Ann-ann” Ramas (b. Annsabelle Recitas Ramas on March 7, 1980) Is a Filipino-Canadian Abstract Artist. Her provocative, imaginative works recently landed her a feature in the prestigious lifestyle magazine, Jet Set.

Annsabelle’s art is rooted in her love of the splendours and senses of her land, the Philippines, and her struggles with – and courage to forge ahead from – personal experiences of heartache and pain. Her free strokes feature rich, colourful depth and unmistakable gravitas. Annsabelle is most in her element – brush in hand – painting her intricate feelings on a blank canvas.

Her collection of work is called Inspiration For All.  Believing that creativity comes from places deep in our soul, she hopes her art will help others find purpose and meaning in their life.

If the mundane doesn’t make sense to you, perhaps Annsabelle’s divine strokes of thoughts and dreams may speak to your soul.

Annsabelle’s greatest art is inspired at the latest hours of the day when her mind’s eye turns her hand into strokes of chaos. Yesterday’s paint strokes of dark days past are making way for bright future horizons.

To see more from Annsabelle, please visit her website http://annsabelle.com/ 

Interview with MJ Patterson-West Coast Hatters

by Monika Blichar

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1-When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

I never knew I wanted to be a designer, I always thought I wasn’t very creative until the passion for millinery entered my life. When I came to Vancouver from the UK eight years ago I started working for the hat store on Granville Island and felt shy selling hats as it was my first retail job. So I started cleaning and repairing hats as a way to keep in the background and fell in love with classic men’s hats, they are definitely my biggest passion. The lines, shapes and history sparked my interest and I undertook a short course to learn how to block hats traditionally.

2-What inspired you to become a hat designer?

After the millinery intro course I started looking at different styles and moved into free form hat making, this is more organic than blocking because its just me manipulating the felt or straw to create shapes, it’s like there is a hat inside the material waiting to come out. From here I started doing custom work and mixing free hand and traditional blocking techniques, I always custom free hand the crowns of the men’s hats I make. I also restore hats for people who have a well loved piece that needs cleaning and fixing up, I like the thought that I’m keeping a piece of history alive. I enjoy experimenting with new materials and pushing the boundaries of what is traditionally made using them. The feeling of completing a free-form crown that could never be made on a traditional block or draping fabrics to create organic headpieces that no-one else is making, that’s when I feel the buzz of actually creating something new. As an artisinal craft, millinery is little known and I love the idea that I am keeping a tradition alive.

3-What is your favourite material to work with?

Most definitely Abaca silk as its amazing to sculpt with, it’s a blend of silk and abaca fibre, which is banana palm fibre, you’ll see some pieces in my show.  I enjoy all of the mediums I work with and I like to try out new things (I knitted a top hat out of copper wire for a show a couple of years ago, I remember someone saying you couldn’t so I decided I would go ahead and give it a go!)

4-You have done quite a few shows and made hats and fascinators for events and galas. What would you tell an up and coming designer about the fashion industry and how to get noticed?

This is still quite new for me and I’m still working on trying to make people take notice, there’s always a lot of people who want something for nothing so you need to filter out what you want your business stance to be. Always wear a piece of your own work, I’m always wearing one of my hats, actually my husband is generally wearing one too! Its a hard industry to be noticed in, small designers generally don’t have a huge budget for marketing and events so it really is about getting out and being seen putting yourself out there. And don’t give up, your passion should always drive you, eventually if you shout loud enough people will hear.

5-Where do you see yourself in 5 years.

I want to have a store/ design studio in which people can have a hat made while they wait, it will also be a space to teach more people the craft. Eventually I want to have my hats sold all over Canada and America and have a reputation for excellence and innovation. I want to do more shows and become known as a Vancouver hat maker that makes amazing men’s hats and cool fascinators for hat connoisseurs.

6-This year, you are doing a hat show at the annual Art World Expo and you have been making pieces especially for this event. Can you describe a little of what guests can expect this year?

Expect to see a mixture of traditional pieces and free form sculptural head wear, some bold statement pieces and some more classic hats. You’ll have wait to see what the material wants to be.

About MJ

MJ immigrated from England nearly 8 years ago and found herself working in a hat store on Granville Island. She had no idea how to sell, so started watching how hats were cleaned and repaired. She caught the bug and started to research the whole process at home learning traditional techniques. She started making hats about 5 years ago again using traditional techniques. Her business has grown from there! She now has a studio on Commercial Drive and makes custom hats on original wooden blocks and also repairs vintage hats. She feels lucky enough to be one of those people who love their jobs! Visit her Facebook or Website

Interview with Shannon Ruth Dionne Photography

by Monika Blichar

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1-When did you start taking photos?

I have been fascinated with photography and cataloguing family photos since I was about 13.  I started taking and then also developing my own photos in the dark room when I was about 16.  Digital photography came around for me when at 23, and I’ve been wearing out my cameras every since.

2-Have you experimented with other mediums?

Absolutely, I am a Mixed Media & Multimedia Visual Artist.

3-What inspires you the most about being a photographer?

Immortally encapsulating fleeting moments that not only caught your eye and heart, but also captures a glimpse into the complicated soul of your subject.

4-What are your long term goals for your art career?

My long term art career goals balance creating, promoting, recharging and education.  Essentially sustainably expanding on my current body of work and continuing towards establishing myself as a Canadian Artist with longevity and a rounded, breadth of work in Fine Art and Photography.

5-What will you being showing and selling at Art World Expo this year?

I am currently exhibiting a retrospective.  A diverse collection of select works from my portfolio, reflecting on the past few years of continuous work.

 

Learn more about Shannon Ruth Dionne Photography on her website https://www.shannonruthdionne.com and be sure to connect with her on social media: Twitter, InstagramFacebook

 

Early Bird Tickets Close in 10 Days!

We are excited about our 6th annual event on Friday, May 13, 2016 at our beloved Science World. Join us for “Glamour Noir”, an evening of art, fashion and music. Dress code is RED, WHITE and BLACK.

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$25/TICKET UNTIL FEBRUARY 29, 2016

$50/TICKET MARCH 1, 2016

Special 6th Year Event Features:

100+ Artists!
Vendors: Painters, Photographers, Jewellery Designers and much more will be onsite showing and selling a collection of their best works. All original, all unique.

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Lala’s Art-Click on the Image to see more!

Catalog Launch: Fashion Show
Fashion show by Nancy Perreault, one of BC’s most interesting designers. Nancy has worked with hundreds of brands and is an expert designer whose experience ranges with work for brands such as the BC Lions, Bacardi, Coors, Kokanee as well as costumes for exclusive events such as the Vancouver Olympics. Please visit her website for more information: Nancy Perreault

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Food Vendors!
We are pleased to offer unique LOCAL BC foods by culinary experts. Savoury and sweet, treat yourself to experiencing some of the local foods that will be available at the event this year.
Elena Krasnova Patisserie and Hot Arusha will be just some of the fabulous foodies attending!
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Click on the images to learn more about Elena and Hot Arusha! 
World Famous Body Painting Competition!
Always a crowd favorite and not to be missed!

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Learn more about Little Monsters Studio by clicking on the photo!

Live Music & Performances
Kara Lockwood
The Strangest Days

Silent & Live Auction
Unique Pieces: Over 50 pieces of original art work from artists who are participating in our event!
Hotel Packages, Things to Do Around Town, Beauty Packages, Travel Excursions, Services from local businesses and much more! Live Auction will take place on main stage at 10:00PM from artists who will be live painting at the event. Watch as artists create their masterpieces and then bid on them after they are finished!

All proceeds from the live and silent auction benefit Make and Break Arts Foundation to support facility rentals for exhibitions, arts programs for children and adults, mentorship for youth employment programs and opportunities for local and international artist development.

Art World Expo | 604 999 6166 | artists@theartworldexpo.com |
http://www.theartworldexpo.com

The Great Idea: An Interview with Painter Leanna Litvinenko

An Art World Expo Spotlight

by Alyssa Laube

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Before her attendance at Emily Carr, Leanna Litvinenko’s artwork was all about realism. During her high school years, she spent her time copying photographs “and getting them to look as realistic as possible.” This natural inclination sprouted from the presence of Classical Realism throughout her childhood and resulted in a colourful collection of oil paintings featuring bold, detailed faces. In fact, this practice was what initially brought Litvinenko to Emily Carr. Yet, strangely enough, it is also where her art strayed from the concrete and into the abstract. After some personal reflection at the university, Litvinenko began to focus on “a great idea behind something” for the first time. Today, it is a part of her everyday work.

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“I was asked to question everything, including myself, my intentions, and whether my art has the ability to impact the world in any way,” said Leanna, about how Emily Carr inspired her current pieces. “I see a lot of parallels between the way I live my life and the way I handle my abstract paintings. In my current work, there are many layers. The process is quite chaotic but the result is harmonious, kind of like my personality. That brings me satisfaction because it confirms that I am staying true to myself and, therefore, am on the right track.”

While her time in school did push Livinenko to ask the bigger questions, travelling abroad greatly influenced her artistry as well. After visiting Northern India in 2013, she was “taken by the culture, the vastness of Himalayan mountains, and the freedom [she] felt.” In Europe, she studied the great works of the Renaissance and improved her understanding of human anatomy. New York’s Museum of Modern Art introduced her to abstract impressionism and sent her on a “learning frenzy” about the genre. Finally, growing up in Ukraine, specifically, left its impression on the artist with its vibrant culture. Specifically, Leanna adored Ukrain’s many street artists. “Those artists are who I looked up to growing up, and I am still in awe of their technical abilities.,” she happily recalled. “I could not find a way to express the impact it all had on my psyche with realistic paintings,” said Litvinenko, about her globetrotting. Thus, her abstract work was born.

The work itself is multi-media; the paintings are created using a combination of chalk pastels, ink, watercolour, spray paint, acrylic paint, and gels. In terms of process, Leanna likes to demonstrate her “great idea” of chance. The work revolves around “lucky mistakes” or, as put by Litvenenko, “unexpected turning points in the process, conceived by the paint itself, that take the work in a whole new direction.” She sees herself as nothing more than a “necessary active agent”, despite constructing everything from the canvas to the piece itself.

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“Normally, I begin the painting near the centre by drawing with pastels and mixing it with liquefied acrylic, followed by a spill of water. After, I spray the wet surface with spray paint. The chemical reaction between these two mediums creates an interesting design. I repeat those actions until I see something I like,” Litvenko explained, about her artistic process. “I can’t get too attached to anything I make in the process, as the next layer might cover it completely. If I get too attached to something in the piece, I treat is as a precious object and the painting stays incomplete. One of my professors told me, ‘Don’t be afraid to kill your babies’, referring to the destruction of unsuccessful creations that inhibit the ability to move forward. Now, I work by that mantra, and it has been a wonderful ride so far.”

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Leanna will be exhibiting at this years Art World Expo in Vancouver.

Buy tickets to the event here or visit Leanna’s site to learn more about her or purchase a piece.

 

The Beauty of Everyday Life – An Interview with Angela Weichel

By Alyssa Laube

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About: Angela Weichel is a local, self-taught artist based out of Langley,B.C..She is inspired by everyday subjects and colours that can come to life on a canvas, and her acrylic paintings include a variety of wild life, landscapes, still life, and portraits.

Can you tell the story of how you started out in art? 

I started painting as gifts for friends and family, until I received my first commission in June 2012. A family wanted to do a culture wall of eight paintings in their home to represent their adopted children and their heritage. Shortly afterwards, I entered into my first public art show and began showing my work. In February of 2014, I joined the Fort Langley Artists Group. This group has been an amazing way to meetand connect with other artists in mycommunity. We have a gallery in Fort Langley, BC at the Heritage CN Train Station. The next opening will be in May!

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How did you teach yourself how to paint and are you still teaching yourself today? 

My first time painting, my goal was to make my canvas look just like the photo I was referencing. I used to go from one side to the other to fill the space, which caused issues since I wasn’t creating any backgrounds or layering. I taught myself over time how to be patient and create a painting little by little without getting ahead of myself.  Hopefully I will always be learning and growing, as long as I have a brush in my hand!

What is it about painting birds that you enjoy? 

Birds seem to have so much personality. I love to focus in on them as the main subject, letting the background fall away. I also enjoy the fact that there are so many species to choose from and each has their own stunning feathers and colours.

What do you love about your hometown of Langley? How did it inspire you artistically?

I love that Langley is a “city meets country” kind of place. Wherever I drive, I can picture different spots along the way that would be great to paint. I’m particularly drawn to the sights off Glover Road, the quaint charm of Fort Langley, and pastoral colours set against the backdrop of the Coast Mountains.

When you paint a landscape, do the places always exist in reality, or are they often creations of your imagination?

They always exist in reality. My favourite landscape experience was during an early morning in August of 2013. I got out early to meet the sunrise behind a barn that I had noticed a few days earlier. I placed my easel on the field and painted the scene as quickly as I could before the sun crept up. It was a beautiful morning!

Can you explain what you mean by still life and why you are interested in it? 

Still Life painting is a work of art created from everyday objects. It can be fruit, flowers, a tea pot, or even a bottle of wine. It is totally up to the artist as to how they would like to interpret “still life.” I would love to paint more in this theme. It interests me because there are so many options and it is a great way to challenge myself.

Which artists or works of art inspire you? 

My first inspiration as a high school student was Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). I was taken by his still life paintings and the rough brush stokes that he used in his work.

Currently I am inspired by artists like Zaria Forman, and Carol Marine.I love to watch their hard work and the amazing pieces they produce.

How has having such a big family impacted you and your life? 

When I think of my family, I think of Sunday lunch after church. It’s a regular occurrence to see twenty people around the table laughing and sharing our weeks with one another. I have amazing parents who have guided me in my faith, and us siblings challenge each other for the better. But we’ve also had our share of trials: in 1996 we moved half-way across Canada with little more than faith that God would provide for us when we arrived in BC, and we’ve recently suffered a terrible loss to cancer. Our Sundays since then have changed, but we find newfound joy in all the nieces and nephews running around. Through everything, I love my family and thank God for every day I get with them.

What do you like about painting portraits, compared to you landscape and other works? 

Painting a portrait really challenges me to be patient with my work. Emotion is not something you can rush. Every face has a story – and I enjoy using my paint to re-create that story.

Can you recall any specific portraits that had a lasting effect on you? 

My brother (who is a photographer), was on a trip to the Philippines a few years back and he took a photo of a young girl. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to paint her. She was waiting for a bus that took inner-city children to a place where they received a bath and a fresh pair of clothes. I couldn’t get the look on her face out of my head. These are the types of portraits that I would love to paint more of.

Where can we find your work? 

Currently you can find my work on my websiteand on Facebook. Starting in May, I will also have work in the FLAGstop Gallery in Fort Langley. To find out more about these shows, you can visit http://www.fortlangleyartistsgroup.com!

You can also learn more about Angela at:

http://www.angelaweichel.com/

Become an Art World Expo Contributor!

ART WORLD EXPO CONTRIBUTOR PACKS are HERE! 


Support this amazing event by becoming a contributor! All contributors will not only be rewarded with some amazing deals and collectible prints, but they will also be recognized on our website SPONSORS section. Consider getting a contributor pack and supporting over 100 artists annually!

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INCLUDES: 
*Two Tickets to Art World Expo ($100 value)
*4 painting classes at MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery ($197 value)
*COLLECTIBLE 5TH ANNIVESARY LIMITED EDITION PRINT ($100 value)
*2 TICKETS TO THE FOOD LOUNGE ($40 Value)
*2 DRINK TICKETS INCLUDED ($12 Value)
*2 COASTAL IMAGINATION MASKS BY COASTAL STORM GALLERY ($40 value)
*ONE SIGNED “FAIRY TALE LIFE” ART PRINT BY FOUNDER AND OWNER OF ART WORLD EXPO
MONIKA BLICHAR ($100 value)
*ONLY 100 PRINTS WILL BE MADE OF BOTH AWE ANNIVERARY COLLECTIBLE PRINT & SPECIAL EDITION “FAIRY TALE LIFE” PRINT
*SWAG BAG REDEEMABLE AT THE DOOR! ($100 value)

VALUE:  $689

BE AN OFFICIAL CONTRIBUTOR TO ART WORLD EXPO’S 5TH ANNIVERSARY AND PURCHASE ALL THE ABOVE FOR:

$179.00+gst!

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Seventy Countries to Touch An Interview with Jan Kasparec

By Alyssa Laube

About: Jan Kasparec, born in the Czech Republic, has settled in Vancouver after several years of travelling and exploring the world’s cultures. The influences of his travels can be seen in the artist’s work, which is very diverse, ranging from paintings and drawings to photography and writing. This year, he will be exhibiting some of his artwork at the Art World Expo!

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You were born in the Czech Republic but moved to Vancouver. How did the two unique cultures effect you and your art?

I would say that my art is more affected by my inner journey rather than geographical location. Nevertheless, it’s not by chance that we call Europe the “old continent”. The art scene in Europe is an essential part of society, much more than in North America. Being immersed and educated in it from the age of 8 did make an impact on my artistic path. But Vancouver was love at first sight for me; a blind date that ended up in the best possible outcome: my new home. Just the feeling of living in a place I love puts my creativity on a very good frequency.

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You’ve also travelled many other places in your life, including France, Brazil, Australia, and many more! Can you explain the effects that your travels have had on you?

Travelling opened my heart and melted the mental preconceptions that our society is so good at building inside of us. I understood that we are all the same, good in our essence, and what keeps us separate is an illusion; a clever fear-fiction created by the ruling class. I also realized that my frustration or sadness over the largely unfulfilled potential of human society and destruction of this planet doesn’t help to resolve it. Meditation and unconditional love taught me that the only possible outward change comes from within. 70 countries later, I still feel like I am at the beginning of a long journey.

Which place sticks in your mind the most, or had the greatest impression on you?

There’s no place I’d rather be than here and now of course! But if I have to name a few milestones on my journey I would mention mother India, where I took 10 days of silent Vipassana meditation and experienced an inner insight. People of the mountain plateau of Tajikistan (Pamir) touched my heart deeply. Mongolia was where I first lived in the state of no-time, some might call it Satori. Those moments shape my life in this very moment. Once you know there’s only light, you can’t be fooled by darkness anymore, regardless how “real” it seems to be.

On that note, could you share one memory or anecdote from your life that stands out or effected you as an artist?

Once, I was drawing a receptionist in Vietnam who fell asleep, while one of the most beautiful women I ever dated was patiently waiting for me to finish. It was our first date and the portrait was no good. I was late and exhausted. I thought I would never see her again, but she was actually one of the rare souls that I fell crazily in love with. I always remember the sleeping receptionist with half-open mouth when I remember her.

You’ve painted quite a few images of Buddha. Why does Buddha inspire you to create art?

I’ve had visions of Buddha in my meditations. I knew I had to paint “him” (I perceive Buddha as a quality rather than a particular person). Since that day, I’ve painted quite a few, and new visions come in the moments of silence of my mind. They’re very different from the conventional depictions of Buddha, but it’s my most successful theme so far. I’ve sold all of them without ever having a second thought of sales to taint the painting process. I am not Buddhist per say, but Buddha is my everyday teacher, encouraging me to empty myself, let desires go, and see through my attachments. Every day I fail many times and every day I come back to it in a loving way. The journey is the destination.

How would you describe your studio, and what’s most important to you in a studio?

My studio is my sanctuary. Most important is the energy of peace and belonging. I’ve charged my studio with this energy by lots of interior modifications and countless meditations, yoga practices, sittings with crystals, dances… Almost everyone who comes to spend time here tells me how good they feel here without knowing why. It always makes me smile. I spend much more time here than at home, where I only go to sleep. I love my studio dearly, including the mice and winter chill!

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To see Jan’s studio yourself, you can visit: 

#1000-420 Parker Street Studios, East Vancouver.

What fascinates you about creating portraits?

What is most fascinating about people’s faces is the truth in their eyes. You can fake a pose on a photograph. I don’t think you can do that on a painted portrait. 

What was it that drew you to Canada?

I had just finished 17 months of globetrotting when I met a buddy, who I hadn’t seen in five years, in a pub in Prague. Another trip wasn’t something I was considering, so when he said, “Go check out Vancouver, man, you’ll love it!” I didn’t think much of it. Well, a couple of beers later, the idea became more attractive. I applied for a visa the same week and moved a few months later. In a broad sense, I was just supposed to be here. Why that is I don’t need to know, but beer was a rather painless accelerator.

What is your favourite part of Vancouver to photograph or paint?

Vancouver is a rare gem. I love seaside landscapes with snowy mountains looming in the background, industrial cranes somehow in harmony with their natural surroundings, railways and factories in North Vancouver, cargo trains in Strathcona surrounded by old graffiti’d warehouses, shabby buildings in Chinatown, waterfalls in Lynn Valley….I could go on for a while. This city has so much and I’ve still only seen so little of it!

Was the first time you bought oil paints at 24 your first true experience with art?

Yes, I first bought oil paints when I was 24 but I painted as soon as I learned how to hold a pastel (around the age of 2). The first true experience of art, if this can even be described by something so limiting as words, dates to early childhood. When you become blank and create out of pure joy, you are living a true experience of art. We are all creative by definition, and we are all true artists. Most forget along the way. I was fortunate enough to remember.

To learn more about Jan, and see some of his creations, visit:

http://painting.kasparec.com/