Project Living in the Dash – Synopsis

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:

  1. 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
  2. Come to my gallery during Westside Culture Days and record your audio there in a private space.
  3. 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.
  4. Send me one of your diaries, letters you’ve never sent, or anything you want.
  5. You can include photographs or other visuals if you wish.
  6. 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.

Living in the Dash – Sharing the Story

Living in the dash sharing stories

Our life happens in the dash.

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.

Audio – Record your story – Save it to your desktop then send to me.

Written – Record your story

Part Two – What I Will Do and the Show

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty; to provide you with guidance and support; to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Author Unknown

Ryan Robson’s Lady-like exhibit at the College – my take

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:

and here:

and here on CBC is the interview with Ryan about the show (7 minutes long):

From the link:

“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.

But they didn’t.



Art and Money – dear to my heart

Art Money Julia Trops Kelowna Canadian Artist
Art Money Marketing Artist Julia Trops Kelowna Canadian
Art & Money by Julia Trops

In November of last year, I made the decision to write a book about Art and Money because I was asked so many times to do marketing seminars. When I was accepted to Can Serrat in Spain for April 2013, I also booked the month of May at our friend’s friend’s condo in Vinaros with this part of the Venus is Rising project in mind. During that month, before my husband arrived to do some touring, I worked on the book. It was bliss to just sit down and focus and get everything organized. It’s been three months longer than I anticipated, but the book is finally done.

So what is it about?  This is on the back cover:

This is not a book for those who like to fly by the seat of their pants.

This book will give you candid practical advice on what you need to do from a business perspective, to the art documents you require to manouevre around the art world, pricing your artwork, who are your cheerleaders, and what kind of requirements you should expect from dealing with charities as an art professional, who you might want to donate to and how, and consideration of who to stay away from, how to get involved with your local community, and create your own events.

Currently, it is self published, but if it works out, I’d love to have it published through a major printing house. Guess we’ll see. At least, for me, it was something I needed to do for myself, and it hopefully will fill a need in the community.

I will have the book in two formats – one printed, and the other electronic. Prices will be 15.00 plus tax and 5.00 plus tax.  If you are local, you do not need to pay for shipping, you can pick the book up from me, at a book signing.  I am told that it is the thing to do for a new book, so stay tuned for the dates.  Also the book will be available locally at Mosaic Books on Bernard.  This post here is for pre-ordering.  I expect that I will have the books here for mid September or perhaps before.

Every 2 days a dog is euthanized – Castanet article

Every 2 days a dog is euthanized
(Originally published here:
by Jennifer Zielinski – Story: 80676
Sep 20, 2012 / 5:00 am

A group of residents concerned with the practices inside the Animal Control Department at the Regional District Central Okanagan (RDCO) sat in on the district’s meeting Monday night.

Julia Trops accuses the RDCO of euthanizing 1,576 dogs over the past nine years, saying the information and background is all available in the district’s annual reports online. 

Trops says she tried to put in a delegation for the Monday meeting after hearing that a consultant would present a report on the Animal Control Department within the RDCO in October, as this would be the last time the district would address the issue.

”I was refused a delegation both for the RDCO and for the meeting in West Kelowna because I was told they were not accepting anymore animal control delegations from the public until after the review is done, and only if there is context for discussion.”

However, Trops and a few dog lovers attended the meeting anyway.

They did not address the board, but instead let giant posters speak for them.

”One sign said exactly what I had written, ‘1,576 dogs killed by RDCO, that’s a dog every two days for the past nine years’, and that information is accurate,” says Trops.

But Bruce Smith, communications officer for the RDCO, tells a different story. He says although that number is accurate, the situations regarding the euthanizations cannot be generalized.

Using the months from January to August of this year as an example, Bruce Smith says 67 dogs have been euthanized, and 57 of those were voluntarily surrendered by the owners.

”So that means their dog either bit someone or was aggressive, or dog control staff talked to them and they decided their dog should be euthanized. ”

Of the remaining 10 dogs euthanized this year, Smith says each one was evaluated and deemed unadoptable either because of health concerns or signs of aggression.

The 67 dogs euthanized by the RDCO represent just one sixth of the total dogs that were kenneled in the district’s care since January.

Since 2003, the percentage of dogs euthanized has decreased by 11 per cent. Down to or 213 dogs in 2012.

In all cases, the dogs are kept for 72 hours minimum in order to give enough time for animal control officers to track down the owner.

According to Smith, if no owner is found, an assessment is conducted by the animal control officers, and if the dog is adoptable, the SPCA is called in to give their own assessment.

”The SPCA determines if they can take the dog or give it to another shelter, which sometimes happens. Quite often, the Kelowna shelter is full, so we approach the Penticton shelter.


Never, under any circumstances, is a dog euthanized immediately based on breed, says Smith.

The RDCO policy states that the only time a dog is put down without an assessment or investigation is if the owner of the dog asks for their pet to be euthanized.

“That recent case involving the young boy who was bit by the pit bull, the owner voluntarily surrendered the dog to us without reporting the attack to us. But the owner voluntarily gave us the dog to put down knowing it was aggressive because it bit a boy,” says Smith.

Smith confirmed that the Animal Control Service Review is taking place. The Regional Board was concerned with the cost of dog control after the budget reached one million dollars for this year.

“(The Board) asked for an overall service review to find out how we can improve the service and how we can make it more effective for rate payers, as well as come up with recommendations and suggestions with how we can improve service.”

Currently, Animal Control is one of the largest sectors within the Regional District, with nine employees, the same as the finance department.

Another issue that was attempted to be brought up at the Regional District meeting on Monday night was that of Diesel the dog, a German shepherd mix, whose been on “death row” for the past year and a half.

The case is currently being appealed before a court and would not be discussed by any board members.

However, Diesel’s owner, Dave Smith, says he attended the meeting, as he is concerned that the Animal Control officers do not have adequate training and that there are not proper procedures in place, which worries Smith about his dog’s welfare.

“They didn’t respond to my counter offer (on Diesel), and even the judge said they are not equipped to be doing what they are doing in the pound, and it’s cruel.”

Both Smith and Trops say they hope the Animal Control Service Review will bring about accountability and improvements when the presentation is given in October. 

New work underway – Mother and Children

Got home this week from such an adventure over the past two months, and started work on this clay sculpture of a mother and her three children. Details and refinement will come after the clay becomes leather hard, and I can carve in to it.

Overall dimensions are about 13 inches x 4 inches x 4 inches. I am expecting the edition to be 25.


Mother and Children Clay to be cast as bronze
Mother and Children Clay to be cast as bronze
Mother and Children Clay to be cast as bronze
Mother and Children Clay to be cast as bronze

Mother and Children Clay to be cast as bronzeMother and Children Clay to be cast as bronze

I will be casting this one in bronze when I receive 5 paid orders. Contact me for details and timings.

Arrival at JFK Airport

I was doing all my own travel arrangements and working off of schedules months in advance, once I knew for sure I was going to Italy. I looked at each stop in the journey as stages, and once each was complete, I focused on the next. It sure helped me from being stressed.

I took Westjet from Kelowna to JFK, and they were great as always. Next time, I am going to buy the sandwich on board rather than buy one at the kiosk in Kelowna. I had a nice companion with me – Barry the Koala Bear who travels the world.

Arrival at JFK was interesting. Everyone at the airports seem so much nicer than I remember ten years ago. Is it because of 9/11? One lady on the bus thinks so. She told me that after 9/11 people went out of their way to talk to you.

The porters at the train and on the bus were friendly and very helpful. In this way I think the tourism industry has really improved. It was not about how much money they could get for a tip, in fact they did not seem to expect any tip at all.

Customs was great. They didn’t stamp my passport, instead they stamped my plane ticket. What?? I did get a pat down even though I wasn’t wearing anything different from my west jet Canadian departure flight.

The hotel I stayed at was not very far from the airport, and it was a bit older, but renovated. Would I stay there again? Probably not, but it was booked on points, so did not cost anything. It was musty and appeared to be clean, so that was good enough for a nights stay. If you do end up staying overnight at JFK, make sure restaurants are nearby or bring some food with you from the airport, as there was nothing within walking distance where I was (Best Western Kennedy).

All things considering, it was a very relaxed time and a nice prep after the stresses from what I was involved in, in Kelowna.

Dancing with Dragons

I dreamt of dragons last night.

Diving in to the water was the only way to make them vulnerable but the water top had a thick membrane that had to be broken through, then many layers of what appeared to be fibreglass before I could get to the actual water.  At first jumping on the membrane didn’t work, and I was being pursued. It was very frantic. I finally found a spot where I could get my heel in and I started peeling away. The dragon was not far behind but he to go through his own hole. I was submerged. I waited.

He came down in to the water and he looked for me.  I didn’t know what to do but from seeing Aaron play his game, I knew there were tools down here that I could use to my benefit. One was dust, one was a cap, and I had to find the mage jars.

I found the cap, I don’t remember where maybe it was floating like a jelly fish.  The cap I discovered had two effects. It turned the dragon, like dry ice, and it make him shrink.  I knew also that the acid of the dragon’s skin would have no effect on me in the water, so I grabbed on to him freely when he came to circle. He had no fire.  He was surprised by that. I had the element of surprise, and I grabbed on to him and shoved the cap over his muzzle.  His eyes opened wide, but he was helpless until he shook me off.  The dragon found his entrance and promised me he would return. 

I stayed underwater where I could breathe freely and swam around exploring.  I found a small door at the bottom of the ocean, near some shells, and I opened it.  Inside were seven hard, and instructions in French. The jars were dated 24 Septembre and there was a 31 Septembre. The instructions basically aid to fill all but one with something, and the one jar, labeled 24 September, the instructions were in bold about this jar, I was to put something else in it. The instructions said that what was put in this jar would be not detected by the enemy, whoever was the enemy, and if the jars were examined, this one would remain innocent and overlooked.  I left fairly quickly and could not read the instructions fully, as the dragon was returning, and I had to find the weapon.

I still had the cap, and I did not find another weapon. 

I chose to go out of the water back in to society, but the dragon was there in human form, and found me.  I still had the cap, and I put it on his head. He struck!  He had two friends with him, an older man, like a father, and a younger woman like a sister or wife.  The dragon became East Indian, and a prince.  The mother appeared, and not knowing who I was, and I was still with him, noted his smaller size. He disagreed, and she asked him to perform a stunt.  He could not do it, and then realized it must have been my cap.  By this time, I went around to the other two and pulled the cap over their heads until they became very small like 12 year olds.

I ran away and the dragon yelled after me that he would find me.  I knew I had to return to the water to find the dust that would enable me to fight while in the air, and those jars.  I remember now that the instructions said the jars would hold water from the ocean, and the dust, it must be the sand from the ocean, maybe that is the dust I needed. Both were plentiful and available for the taking.  From fighting the dragon in the air before I went in to the ocean, I knew it was very difficult, the element was the dragon’s not mine.  I needed some sort of advantage in the air, and the dust was it.

There was another part of the dream, to do with a few members of my museum board, but it is faint now. Bob and Laurie were there, they were going to be in trouble and needed my help, but at the same time, I needed theirs.

I think the preceding dream has to do with the work I am doing on “sisters”, this week’s project here in Otranto. The piercing of the water membrane had to be deliberate and forceful as well as the peeling of the layers until the water was revealed.  I am deliberately working through that in my work – finding the cap available just floating, and then, just now, I am realizing the sand was the magic dust, dried by the air, and so of both elements, and maybe that the water to put in the jar, these are all elements freely available under and in the ocean.

The dragon could represent the conscious mind, the ego perhaps, or an issue – no the air is the conscious mind, and the dragon I feel is the ego or an issue, or a challenge. The cap could imply a finishing, a topping,  a capping of the situation, maybe – that it gets smaller and smaller when the cap is applied, perhaps might work.  The dust is of the earth, practicality, analysis is an air element, but being down down  to earth and covering or sprinkling the dragon with the dust (water earth dried (fire) by air) means to apply a wholistic solution.

Before the dragon in the water episode happened in the dream, actually the reason it started is because I had to choose a video game, for whatever reason, and there was a reel that I could choose from. I didn’t really want to, I remember, but I had to. I’d seen Aaron play this game, and I had chosen it before I knew it, somehow I’d pressed the button.  When it started, I found myself in a changing scenery, first was a desert, and I knew I had to find water. The dragon found me, and there was some sort of battle do with the sky, or in the sky, and I was hurt, but I don’t remember the particulars, I just knew I had to find the water because it would also heal me.

The meaning of the jars and the reason for them being labeled to escape detection, I am not sure about, what is the significance of 24 September, why was there a 31 Septembre, why was it written in french (the language of sorcerers? I thought that was Latin), but the requirement to translate it, and that I had the tools to do so (I speak minimal french), was kinda like Alice in Wonderland.

If I remember anything else about the dream, I will write it, but the significance seemed pretty obvious. It was the first clear dream I have had since arriving here, clear enough that it could have happened yesterday.

Mother Earth Banner for Leon Avenue Kelowna BC

Mother Earth Banner for Leon Avenue Kelowna
Mother Earth Banner for Leon Avenue Kelowna

This artwork is approximately 55 inches high and 30 inches wide.  It is exterior latext paint on steel panel.

As with all my work, I paint first, and think/evaluate later.

Artist Statement for Mother Earth

With rainbow dreadlocks, a dress made of landscape, and the source of life running through her hands, she is surrounded by flowers that have dripped from her hair and taken substance where she kneels. She is kind, but strict. She is open minded, but has expectations. She is nurturing, but not suffocating. She welcomes you to participate in her creations, but asks for kindness in return.