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.



Target Reader for book: Art & Money?

Art Money Julia Trops Kelowna Canadian Artist

I was asked the other day, who is the artist who should read Art & Money?

Well, I answered, that’s a tricky question.  There is no one group who “should” read it, whether beginning, mid or late career.  I believe that we can all benefit from many streams of information, and that having read something is superior to not having read it.

The book talks about a lot of areas, and would be good for those who are beginning, as it gathers the information that I wish I knew about when I was first starting out.

This book would have a long shelf life because there are a great many things in the book that take years to develop, and by this I mean items on the cv, and renewed perspective on the biography, as time goes by, and you are active in your career and your community.

The book touches on the media, and how I believe they are interested in their community too, in helping it grow, and expand.  It touches on the city – or at least my city – on how those in the cultural departments are interested in helping their city grow, and how the artist can be and is a valuable resource. It describes ways that you as an artist, or a believer in culture, can encourage this kind of investment of your city. This book would help the patron understand what goes on behind the easel.

The book also describes how the beginning, mid or late career artist can interact with charities, giving a number of points of view to do with supporting non profits.  The charities would benefit from reading this information to see how they could change or adapt their policies to be more artist friendly. The patrons who frequent charities would benefit because they, as patrons, are interested in the success of their charity, and I believe they wish to see everyone successful. This book would help the patron or supporter understand what goes on behind the easel, and how they could help.

Am I an expert? No, I don’t say that I am.  I am just an interested party, and believe in the growth for the good of all. I care enough to say something, and I care enough to believe that artists can take control of their career. This book is for those who believe in culture, who believe in their community.

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.

An unexpected pilgrimage to the self

I was very lucky to be chosen to attend Can Serrat just outside of Barcelona Spain. I highly recommend it to any artist who would like to be immersed in a life from 100 years ago. Both residencies that I went to involved highly spiritual influences, though I dislike to use spiritual, it is the only way to describe it. Mont Serrat is the mountain that dominates the area, and being from the Rockies, I was thinking, oh, another mountain.

How wrong I was.

There was a magic, a being-ness about that mountain; it would not be ignored. The days that I found myself wandering about, I inevitably ended up at its base. One day, a few of us decided to climb to the monastery, and I am glad I did. The trek up felt like a pilgrimage, and took about 3 hours. It felt like it was straight up, but you know, there was something that happened to me that day. I arrived at the monastery, ended up in the cathedral of the black virgin, touched her for hope of enlightenment. I fancy she did speak to me on some level, I am still not sure what the message was, but I felt/feel different and I believe this has come through in my work.

I am finding that the work coming out right now, is all to do with transient nature of existence. Skies change and evolve and blossom. Outside of the studio, I spent much time on my own, absorbing the culture, the surroundings, and the flavours of the people in the area. The food was amazing of course – it is Catalunya after all. I found the people to be very friendly and pleasant. I made the effort to communicate with them in Spanish, and there were times when I am sure I was confusing my French and my Italian. One time, the book shop lady responded to me in Italian, because she thought that is where I was from! So maybe my Italian was not so bad after all. With the help of my trusty little dictionary, I made out okay. I made up words, I am sure, and my pronunciation was horrible probably, but I felt that they appreciated my effort to live within their country and their comfort zones. I really enjoyed being out of mine.

Much of the work you see from these residencies are because of this fresh perspective. There were no boxes where I was, I was free to roam the earth and I did.

Kelowna Capital News – Free (for a price): Artists talk the poverty of poor fundraising design in Kelowna

Free (for a price): Artists talk the poverty of poor fundraising design in Kelowna

By Jennifer Smith – Kelowna Capital News
Published: November 09, 2012 1:00 AM
Updated: November 09, 2012 1:15 PM

When Craig Cardiff arrives to play the Streaming Café this weekend, there won’t be a tour bus in sight.
He flies to do his tours, small stints he books in areas across the continent and Europe where he’s sparked demand for his music.
As an independent singer/songwriter, he plays, packages, sells and markets his music, and talks to his fans via social media on the side.

Along the way, he’s become a media go-to for perspective on so-called free music.

Rather than lamenting download-happy scalpers, his philosophy is to encourage the world to share his art and “support it if you like it,” suggesting the only caveat be those who opt to pay send their dollars the artist’s way, rather than let iTunes skim its profits off the top.

“Things have changed. Just as bowling alleys and horseshoe manufacturers had to roll with the times, this is how things are and it’s exciting,” he said, in a telephone interview from his Ontario home.

To his mind, he is “open-sourcing the problem of touring.” What he loses in sales, he makes up for in requests to play.

It’s a small business model for the music industry. While the bigger acts might want artists to quit giving product away without a price, there’s nothing wrong with a medium-income earning musician opting to trade direct profit for the notoriety and the touring dollars it will bring in his view.

“I think it’s a mistake to apply the big model into an independent artist’s career and then be disappointed when it doesn’t work. There’s no shame in running a great small business as an independent artist,” he said.

“Music is one of the magical things still left in the world. It’s the best non-medical medication we have for each other to help fall in love or get through hard times. To limit access to it based on the fact someone doesn’t have $10 at the time feels silly to me.”

Whenever someone tells him they’ll download his music later because they don’t have any cash on them, he hands over an album, asking the fan to send along the funds. About 85 per cent pay up.

“Once people know your story and can connect the dots on how you make a living, it’s rare they won’t step up to pay,” he said.

This is what Kelowna’s Tim Fehr is banking on.

Over the last two months, he’s given away an estimated $10,000 of his work for free.

His entire collection of CDs is walking out the door without profit in the hopes that it will build his name and yield a few gigs.

“This is off the side of my desk. I’m not a formal master of fine arts, I’m just the master of my own destiny, I guess,” said the landscaper by day, artist by night.

“If I give it out, then there’s more of a chance for everyone to enjoy it.”

On Saturdays, Fehr sells heirloom tomato varietals at the farmers’ market and at night he plays gigs from Vancouver to Calgary, occasionally hanging with the Alternator Centre for the Arts crowd, cartooning images for his albums and videoing his dance parties.

“Being a young artist in Kelowna, there’s not a lot of ways to make money,” he said.

“I figure, if we give it away, then if you like it, you could donate. And if you don’t, you don’t have to.

“There’s not a lot of money in CDs now anyway.”

But the theory begs the question, what if the exposure doesn’t pay off? With freebies flooding the market, is it possible to earn a living directly off an artistic product? It’s a question that has the arts community preparing for battle as several artists resent being asked to give away art in exchange for publicity.

The Kelowna General Hospital Foundation recently released its call to artists for their Have a Heart Radiothon, asking that anyone interested in having their work juried for the chance to have their art used as that year’s thank you gift for the Foundation, submit a matted, framed piece of art, free of charge.

“A print (of the winning selection) is then provided to those who choose to donate (to KGHF) monthly and the piece of art is hung in the hospital,” said Doug Rankmore, KGHF chief executive officer.

“The artist is provided with a full value tax receipt for the value of the work, matting and framing.”
Rankmore said the foundation has received about 15 submissions per year in the first two years.

He believes the idea to conduct a juried show came out of the arts community itself, although he’s aware there are mixed feelings about it and has heard opposition to the matting and framing requirement.

“Because it’s juried, the standard expectation is that the work be presented matted and framed.

“It’s certainly not an expectation that now we be responsible for those costs…We’re providing an opportunity for exposure,” he said.

Distinguished Canadian painter Rod Charlesworth and watercolorist Bill Litman sit on the jury. But local figurative artist Julia Trops is still incensed with the call.

Trops says she went to the foundation to express her concerns, but received no response. (For the record, Rankmore said he had not been contacted.)

So she took her battle to Facebook to try and put the breaks on a system that, in her view, demands far too much of small-town arts communities.

From shows like this Radiothon to the non-stop requests for silent auction donations, Trops says she’s easily donated more than $50,000 worth of “free” art in the last decade; and she can ill afford to do it.

Looking at the average income of the non-profit directors making the requests and the total value of the dollars donated, all she can do is shake her head when the free art queries come rolling in.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” she said. “No more calls to artists for free art. The best way you can promote my work is by word of mouth. Buy it, hang it on your wall, tell your friends about it; but don’t ask for it for free.”

These calls to artists are damaging on multiple levels, in her view. First, it asks an artist who has not built a big name to give away needed income. Then, it asks that the artist pay to do so as the framing and matting costs are out of pocket expenses for the donor artist.

And with the plethora of requests, the mere existence of these fundraisers also undermines the market for artists’ work. Knowing that a given artist typically donates to a given show, patrons will often opt to wait for the auction and pick up a deal rather than take their business to the artist’s gallery and pay full price.

Trops believes fundraisers that generate $100,000 should be able to build paying for the items they auction off into an event budget.

When Michael Loewen served as executive director for the United Way, the organization heard similar grumblings and decided to act.

“It was actually Mel Kotler who brought us along this path,” said Loewen.

Kotler, who recently passed away, was a businessman and past chair of the United Way fundraising campaign in the Central Okanagan.

“Mel had heard that collectively our expectations of artists were getting a bit out of hand. We were asking them to donate art as if it was water. We were asking for their contributions, we weren’t thinking about what we were asking.”

Kotler realized the practice was diluting the market for art and decided it was time for a business approach.

The charity partnered with a framing gallery, which offered its services at a discount, and then started putting minimum prices on all silent auction items and sharing the cash proceeds with the artist.

“In effect, we functioned as a gallery for them,” said Loewen, noting they received so much more art the plan bolstered funds raised as well. “There aren’t too many artists in our community who are making too much money,” he added. “To ask them to be constantly donating their work for free is great acknowledgement, but not a great deal of appreciation.”

Trops has spoken with a number of local artists and all of them told her they will be boycotting the KGH Foundation’s request.

The calls for free art issue will be raised at the next Central Okanagan Arts Council meeting in effort to get a handle on the demands local artists are facing.

Local Instagram whizkid and longtime artist Carrie Harper couldn’t be happier. She reposted Trops’ open letter to her own Facebook account, saying it astounds her with its brilliance.

“People asking for donations always say, the exposure will be great for you,” she said. “But after a while you get tired of starving from what you do for a living.”

Harper says she no longer gives away original work as she doesn’t believe she’s ever received any benefit from donating, short of a thank you.

“It’s kind of ironic,” she said. “We’re probably one of the lowest paid sectors in our society, so a tax receipt, even when you get it, doesn’t real do you much good.
KGHF Art for Free

Comments by artists in the community: (available to be seen on the link above at the top of the page)

KGHF art for free comments by artists

Letter to the editor – Kelowna Capital News IHA, Parkade and the Cultural District

Right idea, wrong location for proposed building

Published: October 09, 2012 12:00 PM
Updated: October 09, 2012 12:48 PM

To the editor:
Last Wednesday evening, I was downtown at another meeting and heard that there was a presentation at City Hall (about a proposed parkade for a proposed Interior Health office building and expanding the existing Library Parkade).

I looked at the proposal and talked extensively with one of the real estate specialists.

I am writing this as an artist, and a long-term resident business person at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in the Cultural District for the last 10 years.

The placement of both the building and the parkade would be detrimental to the character and ambiance of the Cultural District.
By placing these two buildings in their current proposed locations tells me the city does not understand the vibrancy and life force of the Cultural District.

I see this as being a very shortsighted design, without regard to the future impact.

Ellis Street cannot take the traffic. The grassy area near the Library Parkade would disappear. This is parkland that is used for cultural activities.

In my discussion with the city employee that night, he said there would be parkland increased near the water.

I think that is wonderful but all the parkland should not be in the same spot. It is quite beautiful to be able to walk around downtown and come across green areas where one can sit and have lunch, watch a play or participate in a fair.

I agree that the downtown area needs parking. There must be areas that are outside the Cultural District where this can be facilitated.

People currently walk from as far away as Bernard Avenue to go to Kelowna Rockets hockey game (at Prospera Place), or to other events there.

I think the city employee’s excuse that people won’t walk from a parkade located near the Clement-Ellis-Sunset area, or even from the Leon-Lawrence area, is a thin one and unbelievable.

The city just turned down the Monaco development proposal, which was going to be placed right behind the Madison building, and yet it wants to have another building almost as high as the Monaco, right across the street?

The impact of this new building on the residents of the Madison, who are property owners and investors, will be very detrimental.
I am surprised the city is proposing this spot. Is it so people who work for the IHA can have a view of the water from their offices between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day?

In my opinion, it is admirable that the city wants to infuse the downtown with 1,000 extra people who will shop and work there.

But the reality of the situation is that they will go to work and then go home and are unlikely spend as much time as expected or hoped.

The proper thing to do would be to place the office building on Leon and Lawrence Avenues, and out of the Cultural District.

There has been discussion about cleaning up these two streets and it seems to me that having an office building there would accomplish that, while having more people work downtown.

Or why not St Paul Street where there are other medical-type buildings?

I could go on and list many other places. It just seems there are other solutions available.

If the IHA is just looking for extra office space, then perhaps it can look at developing the space right behind the one it is currently leasing up near Old Vernon Road.

Julia Trops,

Marilyn Monroe – the reality behind the fabrication

Marilyn Monroe

‘I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.’  Marilyn Monroe

I passed through the following link which gives 50 quotes from Marilyn Monroe. (The image above is also from that link.) I was surprised at her depth. How horrible is that to admit? I’ve never really watched her movies, even when I was younger, well – maybe that was because my family was more in to John Wayne and Orson Welles and Hitchcock. But I am curious to see her movies now and read her biography.

It is now 50 years since her death. I wonder how much the FBI will now release from their closed books. She was an icon for women, but what was her real impact? Sexuality, sensuality, identity, body image, intelligence, lack of intelligence, competition, I don’t know.  She certainly seems to me, to encompass the entire problem the woman of today is still facing – balancing the female identity in a male world. Credibility, understanding, acceptance of being a whole person. Only seeing her in movies, I was never motivated to learn much about her behind the scenes. Many of these quotes though show her as being very self aware and emotionally intelligent. Did she really play by her own rules in the man’s game?

Think I’m going to look for a good biography on her …. if you can suggest one, please comment, or send me a note.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

Colin, I’m not really a crazy koala bear lady, really ….

Barry, Barry quite koalantrary, how does your eucalyptus grow?
With river red gun, and tallow wood, and
Small leafed peppermint all in a bowl!


I really am not a crazy koala bear lady. Really.

It might have seemed that way though, recently at Comic-Con in San Diego. I had been looking forward to the autograph session with Colin Morgan and Katie McGrath from Merlin, for which I was so lucky to get tickets two days previously. I love the show, and to meet Colin and Katie was just over the top for me.

So, for the past six weeks, while I was in Italy, and again, in Comic-Con, I am doing the project with the Australian Koala Bear Hospital’s Barry the Koala Bear, titled “Where’s Barry”.  I take pictures of Barry in various poses and situations to help raise awareness for koala bears. I have been having so much fun, that I thought it would be great to get a pic of him with Colin who plays Merlin on the show. When I got there, I was told I could have either an autograph or a picture and I knew I had maybe twenty seconds if I had a horseshoe somewhere on my person ….

So when I am in front of Colin, who has beautiful blue eyes, and who was sitting beside Katie, who is so gorgeous in person, I blather on about the Koala Bears in Australia. Faintly I could hear someone say, “Ma’am, Ma’am” as I rush through to the end about Barry being an Emperor in Rome, and being shot out of a cannon and well would he mind if we took a picture too and by the way here is where he can see other pics of Barry as I smack my card on the table with web info on the Where’s Barry project.


Poor fellow. I am sure he must have thought I was nuts.

No, I’m just an artist.

And at the end of that autograph session, I felt that I fit right in at Comic-Con.

Colin Morgan, Barry and Julia Trops
Colin Morgan, Barry and Julia Trops

To see the rest of the Barry Pics, please click on this link, it will take you to my facebook album.

Edited August 5th. I’ve changed my mind. Yes, I am a crazy koala bear lady. I’m a crazy animal lady. I have 9 cats. I stick up for animal welfare. The Sled Dogs, remember them? I haven’t forgotten. It would make me the happiest if the world decided that – you know, animals shouldn’t be abused, or treated unfairly, or slaughtered the way they are, or kept in those horrible pens … that the people of the world realized that our actions, our humanity is a joke, when we don’t respect other life forms. Animals have souls, they have feelings, they have everything the same as you and me, except that their mode of communication is different – not non-existent. Are any of you aware of the plight of the koala bears, or of other species? Or are you happy in your complacence, your nintendo, your tv shows. Barry was a small thing, but I enjoyed it, and I felt that I was doing something. You know a bit more now too. What are you going to do about it?