This is an anonymous public participation project.
I am calling this project Living in the Dash. This project for an exhibition, is ultimately about sharing, growth, compassion and understanding. This is a project that surrounds people and their lives, people sharing their story.
They can talk about it, they can write it. They can tell their story as they lived it, or as they wish to have lived it. It can be as long or short as they wish. It can be a person’s entire life, or it can be what happened yesterday. Any names will be changed to protect privacy.
This is about trust and integrity and I can promise to protect yours with mine.
To participate you can:
Send me a letter with your story. No return address as I will not be responding to Venus is Rising Box 32093 2151 Louie Drive Westbank BC V4T 3G2
Come to my gallery during Westside Culture Days and record your audio there in a private space.
Record an audio at home and during Westside Culture Days, drop that audio disk in my drop box at Julia Trops Gallery Westbank Shopping Centre. Outside of Westside Culture Days you can drop it at Westbank Blenz or send to the post box address above.
Send me one of your diaries, letters you’ve never sent, or anything you want.
You can include photographs or other visuals if you wish.
There is no sensorship. If you sent it, it means it is important to you and will be honoured.
It is entirely up to you.
The result of this process I hope will be a healing one, for you, for me and ultimately for our community and our lives. I hope you participate.
The last few months have been taken up with Westside Culture Days, as well as work for Comic-Con and Gallery Odin. What is Westside Culture Days do you ask? Well, sit right down and I am happy to tell you!
Westside Culture Days came about because I am a big believer in community and I have been trying to think of a way to get artists and businesses to work together under one umbrella. In my book Art & Money, I talk about the benefits of businesses and artists working together. In the spring, my friend and fellow artist Vera Peltonen posted up a poster for an event she was involved in in Michigan.
I was immediately captivated by the possibilities here. The complaints normally heard on this side of the lake is that it is so spread out being about 20 square km, there are so many strip malls, so many business, so many failing because of the high cost of rent. Artists and creatives have no recourse for renting because of that rent and are pretty much invisible. Not only that but there are two governments on this side, both the Westbank First Nation (WFN) and District of West Kelowna (DWK) who don’t really get along. People live on WFN land and work on DWK land, and vice versa.
I thought wouldn’t it be great if this type of event could happen on this side of the lake? Wouldn’t it be great for the artists and cultural entities work together with businesses to go beyond the governmental problems? So it got me thinking …. Culture Days is coming up in September, it is May …. there is tons of time.
I approached my friend Melissa Brown who owns the Blenz here on the Westside. We talked about it, and she said that even if it just happens in her coffee shop, she is happy to participate. Then I went to talk to my friend Tracy Satin who is the Cultural Manager for the Westbank First Nation Sncəwips Heritage Museum. She was excited for the possibilities too. So we all made a plan. I went and talked to Bob Kusch with DWK who supported the idea, as well as Karen from Greater Westside Board of Trade. Tracy assigned Coralee Miller within the WFN Sncəwips Heritage Museum to work specifically on this project. Melissa talked to her many customers, also local business people, who got excited and many were able to grasp the vision and the passion.
Now, our locations for Westside Culture Days are WFN Sncəwips Heritage Museum, Westbank Shopping Centre, Dogwood Nursery, Main Street Westbank, Snya?tan Shopping Centre, Okanagan Landing Shopping Centre, Volcanic Winery, and more being added as businesses hear about it and artists talk about it. The landlord for Westbank Shopping Centre gave all the empty spaces and the use of the parking lots for free, we just have to get insurance for those three days to be able to use the empty spaces. I hope other landlords join in on that principle! Way to support your tenants Bentall-Kennedy!
We called it Westside Culture Days so that there is no differentiation between governments of WFN and DWK but included Westbank and West Kelowna as entities. We are a community and that is the focus. Below is a snapshot from the Westside Culture Days website, but you will probably hear more about this as time goes on. Small updates not yet published on that website are the inclusion of the Food Bank and the local Hockey teams.
The first press article… don’t you just love that sublimal and serendipitous ad … “Just got better” at the bottom?
Culture Days is a cross Canada cultural fair on Sep 26, 27 & 28. http://www.culturedays.ca. This event encourages creatives of all types and the public to interact in various ways some of them inventive and unusual. If you can think it, you can do it!
The Westside is a mix of very impersonal strip malls with many businesses scattered throughout the area and many spaces are empty. For this one weekend it could be very exciting to see the businesses cross the line of culture to participate in a very active way on this weekend. Some already are involved, and this could be a way for them to highlight it in a very visible way.
FOSTER appreciation and support of the artistic and cultural life that is lived, created and expressed across the country in urban, suburban and rural areas alike;
PROMOTE direct interaction between creators and citizens, as a key to increasing understanding and appreciation of art and culture; and
AFFIRM that every citizen is the guardian of the cultural life of his or her community.
Culture Days believes that every individual — regardless of age, location or experience — has the right to access and participate actively in arts and culture.
Culture Days also believes that the arts and cultural sector makes a vital contribution to the economic and social development of Canada and contributes to the overall health of the country.
People who had never participated in the arts before found it exciting and rewarding, finding a side of themselves they did not think existed. To us, that is what Culture Days is all about.
-Pam MacKenzie, Consolidated Artist Group of 7s (North Bay, ON)
It is the journey between birth and death. It is the “and”. It is everything we experience for good or ill. It is what determines our beliefs and interactions. It is the pause between the start and the stop. It is what happens between each breath.
This is a project for an exhibition, ultimately about sharing, growth, compassion and understanding.
As a part time job, I transcribe statements for a public service agency. People telling their stories and besides the person in that agency, I am the first witness to their experience. As I listen to these people, describing their trust, their betrayals, their cynicism, their strength, their hopelessness, I think because I listen with compassion and empathy, some healing has occurred in my own life.
The one thing I can tell you for sure is never listen to anyone who says “oh get over it” or “stop living in the past”. Those kinds of statements are insensitive and ignorant. They indicate a lack of understanding of you and your experiences. Don’t listen to them.
This is a project that surrounds people and their lives. People sharing their story. You can tell whatever story you want. All anonymous. You can talk about it, you can write it. You can tell your story as you lived it, or as you wish to have lived it. It’s not all about the bad stuff you did, or such, it is whatever you want to talk about. Your biography, your hurts, your joys, whatever. It is open to your interpretation. It can be as long as you wish or as short as you wish. It can be your entire life, or it can be what happened yesterday. Whatever is important to you.
I tend to work in series and projects almost like writing paragraphs that create chapters that creates a book. This particular series of works has to do with some soul searching, planting seeds, growing within and going beyond boundaries, and of course, the process of self-discovery. I feel these works are gentler than my past bold bright colours and to me, I can almost hear water lapping at the shore on a calm day. Each one has it’s own message, it’s own story to tell. I’ve labeled them as I see them but it is very possible when you look, you will see your own. I believe that what we see is a projection of what is inside, so please don’t let my titles hold you back.
All of these mixed media works started out from a life drawing in charcoal and progressed through acrylic to oil and throughout, some graphite. There was no direct expectation of expressing a specific thought, they evolved as they wished with me acting as conductor. Where I directed the flow was in the formal elements only.
If you would like to see the rest of the collection please visit www.juliatropsart.com. They are located in the Painting/Mixed Media section of the gallery. To purchase one of these works, please contact me. 20% of the purchase price will be donated to Canadian Blood Services. Below are a glimpse of works available at the Blood Donor Clinic. You may go and see them in person if you wish.
I am once again making an appearance at Opus on Saturday March 22, 10 to noon. This time I will be discussing gold leafing and mixed media. The Opus staff did a far better job of doing the write up, so I will just copy and paste what they have on their website.
Date: Saturday March 22 2014, 10 to noon
Note – March 5, 2014: This demonstration is now full and no further registration will be taken. Thank you for your interest!
Gold Leafing can add a unique and engaging element to mixed media works. Julia will be demonstrating the water gilding gold leafing process on both paper and wood panel, getting them ready as surfaces on which to paint and draw.
Using a variety of art materials, from pens and markers to acrylic and oil paints and mediums, Julia will demonstrate each step of the mixed media process through a number of works in progress.
Space is limited to 30 attendees and registration is required.
Recently, a number of people asked me to comment on Ryan Robson’s “Lady-Like” exhibit and what happened in those subsequent weeks. I’ve taken some time to think about the events and the subject and for what it is worth, here are my thoughts.
If you aren’t familiar with it, the story is documented here:
“After receiving a number of concerns, we thought the time frame for this exhibit maybe should be left at two weeks. During that time almost all of our college community would have had time to experience the art,” Lister says.
So here are the facts as I see them:
Ryan Robson is a local Vernon artist.
Gallery Vertigo, an artist run gallery, has an agreement with the Kalamalka Okanagan College satellite campus in Vernon to have artworks on display for one month, so by my math, that is four weeks.
There was no financial cost to display the art.
Robson creates sincere and genuine works with the intention of helping herself, and helping others by opening a dialogue on a very distressing and confrontational subject.
The artworks are on display for a very, very short period of time (days?) before complaints come in to the Okanagan College administrators.
The artworks are no longer able to be up for the agreed amount time with the administrator citing the “complaints”.
Based on the actions of the administrators of Kalamalka – Okanagan College, my take is the following:
The Okanagan College failed in its role as a centre for expanded learning.
They don’t understand the value of art as a vehicle for education and understanding, compassion and empathy.
They see art as “conditional” rather than a “necessary”.
They should have stood up to the complainers and stood up for the art.
I believe that as long as the art is landscapes and flowers and fairies or objective abstracts then art is welcome on their walls.
Ryan Robson is a local artist.
Local artists are not taken seriously or their genuine work is seen as valid.
If this was an outside exhibit that they had to pay to display then the artworks would have been up for the agreed amount of time.
The College had an opportunity to expand consciousness and understanding of such a highly charged area of human life, and I am certain sexual molestation happens to more children and people than we know. I am sure they could have taken advantage of this artist’s sharing by having her come and speak to the psychology classes, or other subjects they teach. Speaking from the experience of someone who is coming to terms with my own identity and exploring the same in my work, the actions of the College are reprehensible considering that this area purports itself to be so culturally aware.
Instead, they shut her down and gave the message “we don’t want to see that”, or “we don’t care about what you went through, it isn’t valid art”. Regardless of what was said, actions speak louder than words, and that was the message, very clear to all. And again, I think it is because she was a local artist. If this was an artist from Toronto, or Vancouver, or if they had to pay for the exhibit, then this outcome would be very different.
Too bad the College succumbed to squeaky wheels and whiners instead of telling them to stuff it. They could have made themselves the example of strength and leadership by standing up for the principle and needs of art.
I’m a fan of Comic Con. I like to get my geek on, and when I was growing up, I’d draw mermaids and angels and all those sorts of things that young girl artists do, when they aren’t doodling about their latest crush. I had a lot of crushes, and a lot of mermaids.
The first time we attended Comic Con, in 2013, we had such a blast! I had no idea there was even an art show, but you know, it should have dawned on me as Comic Con came in to existence because of comics, and comics are art. Having just returned from old and elegant Italy in 2012, and going straight to a popular culture event was the epitomy of visual extremity. I loved every second of it.
When I saw that there was an art show there, I thought I’d like to try it out too. It’s a different subject matter for me, and I knew it would be a challenge, but what the heck, right? Most of my drawings were based on old masters, and had to do with the Game of Thrones, Westeros, or dragons (I’m an Anne McCaffrey Pern fan, as well.)
So I applied and was accepted. It was fun, and maybe I’ll do it again next year.
Earlier this month, my web service provider GoDaddy rearranged a few things for me, and while everything is running much smoother, I have some work to do to get it all up and running as it should. The transition was kind to Livessence, which is now completed, and thanks to Postie, it gets its updates with the emails that go out to the members.
The Okanagan Erotic Art Show is next on the list. I expect it to be up and on its way in about a week or two. In the meantime, I’d like to share what I am contemplating the theme will be for 2014. Steamy, a play on the idea of the beautiful Wellness Spa Resort at Sparkling Hill, and a steampunk influence, is what I am leaning toward. You all know I have some sort of byline so that the artist does not feel restricted in their creative process. Once that is finalized, I will post it all on the Erotic Show website.
I am looking for jurors for the show, so if you have any ideas, do send them along! The process for the jurying will be the same as last year: blind (no names), image + title + artist statement. Yes = 1 point, No = 0 points, and Maybe = .5 point. Artworks with 2 points are automatically in.
I am also looking for sponsors for any amount. If you would like to be involved in any way, let me know!
If you have any questions, I’ll see what I can do to answer them. I expect the Call to Artists to come out Nov/Dec timeframe. Some small changes have been incorporated, and as you know every year I try to make the show better. We had a fabulous year this year, so the challenge has been set before me.
After so many years on Ruby Lane, I have opened up my own art gallery online at http://www.juliatropsart.com. It’s really new, less than a month old, and the works from the residencies in Italy and Spain are available here. Because I am so prolific, it did not make financial sense to keep paying the fees on Ruby Lane, but I will keep that art gallery open for a little while longer, probably til the end of the year, or to mid 2014.
During the transition, send me a note if you are looking for a specific artwork and can not find it.
Payment can still be done the regular way, online through paypal or if you want to call me with payment information, I am set up for that as well. Any questions, by all means, let me know.