Donation for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show

Donation to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association for 2710$ from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show, in memory of Tracie Ward.

I will post up / update this a bit later, but for now here is the photo:

Donation to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association for 2710$ from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show, in memory of Tracie Ward.
Donation to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association for 2710$ from the Okanagan Erotic Art Show, in memory of Tracie Ward.

This is a clean donation (ie not raised from any art auction) of cash to the Hospice Association. I donated a third of all the proceeds from the Opening Night Tickets to the Okanagan Erotic Art Show. It was a brilliant night, full of people who loved art, and who wanted to have fun.

Can Serrat Artist Residency


Since moving to Kelowna in 2002, Julia Trops has taught drawing, trained life drawing models, and was the sole founding organizer of the weekly Life Drawing sessions at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. These sessions began the development of the non profit life drawing group, incorporated two years later in 2005 as Livessence Society of Figurative Artists and Models. Heavily involved in the arts community, a Kelowna Museums board director for the past seven years, a founder of Okanagan Erotic Art Show, co-founder of Okanagan Arts Awards (as part of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan). Encouraging other artists to get their name in print, 2009 onwards, Julia has compiled the Okanagan Erotic Art Show Catalog and the Simplicity in Mind for Livessence. In 2011, Julia was shortlisted for the City of Kelowna’s Honour in the Arts.

Julia keeps pretty busy in her studio, having sold over 1000 works worldwide since 2004 and shows at Gallery Odin at Silver Star Mountain Ski Resort.

Julia Trops at Can Serrat
photo by Nancy Hendrickson

Statement: I came to Can Serrat without any constraints or preconceived ideas about the direction my work would take. I was looking forward to letting inspiration guide the expression. Montserrat became the primary source of ideas pertaining to place and identity.

Montserrat's Village Acrylic Painting on canvas, 80x40 Julia Trops

The mountain is ever changing. Standing tall in the landscape, unashamedly evolving, dissolving, renewing and creating, it is made of disparate materials, conglomerate rocks. It is a refuge and a home for many animals, including man. It reaches to the sky, tantalizing climbers. It´s a tower of babel, a place of many languages, all striving to be understood. Rock climbers and pilgrims alike find a sense of self within the landscape, one of the human spirit and the earth mother, an answer to “where am I, who am I,” and a sense of relevance to the world.

The colours, bold reds and blues are the same palette I am known for at home in Canada. Though until now my work has been dominated by the human form, here it is the naturally occurring figures in the mountain that inspire me. Having completed some works, and named them, it came as a surprise and yet not really a surprise, that the mountain peaks actually have names. There are “Monks”, “Angels”, and even “a Giant”.

Can Serrat artworks Julia Trops

My process is tactile. I paint with my hands, – I like the immediacy, the intimacy, the direct contact with paint, feeling it between my fingers, seeing each stroke on the canvas, shaping with light and colour. I layer colour upon colour, creating vibrations and relationships, some jarring and some in harmony, just like human interactions.

One day I was so full of the mountain, I had to recreate it in stones that I found along the path to Vinya Nova,(a beautiful restaurant snug at the base of the mountain). This piece is an assemblage of slate and quartzite mounted on tile from the nearby tile factory, which I also passed along the way. I called it Little Montserrat and is about 24 inches long by 8 inches high.

Little Montserrat Graphite and Slate mounted on Tile Julia Trops
Little Montserrat Graphite and Slate mounted on Tile

Like other mountain ranges, created from the clashing of tectonic plates, Montserrat symbolizes strength over adversity, the subconscious brought to the surface, the recognition of buried treasures, brought in to the warm friendship of the Catalan sun, shaped by the whipping criticism of the wind and the gentle pressing of falling rain.

For all the artwork from this residency, here is the album:

The journey continues.

Rome Day 3 – The Modern

Another walking day but this time focused towards the north western part of the city, near the Villa Borghese. I was unable to get tickets for the time I was there, so tried to get them on the internet the night before. That was unsuccessful, and the result was i went to visit the museum to purchase them in person. Apparently, you can only reserve in excess of two days in advance by phone. Because I did not want to put the call on my cell phone, I used the pay phone. Thank goodness as I was on hold for about five minutes. Ticket reservation obtained for July, I left and carried on to the Gallery of Modern Art not far away. I would go to this one again for sure. The glass floor in the entrance was mind blowing. So many amazing paintings of the 1800s and the sculpture of that time is fabulous and intricate, and just gorgeous. The urinal signed by R Mutt is also housed here amongst some other history making pieces. Unfortunately there was no catalog of works in English, so I do not have a copy.

Not far away in the park is the Art Gallery of Carlo Bilotti. It’s claim to fame is the de Chiricos. The guide book Frommers Italy 2012 did not say there was one Warhol, one Larry Rivers, one Dubuffet – I think if it had, I probably would not have gone. I like de Chiricos’ work but the others, I don’t know if I would make the effort. There was an artist in the lower gallery whose work was minimally interesting but I do not remember his name, and did not make the effort to try.

It was still fairly early so I took the metro from Flamino to Vittorio Emanuele and walked through the Piazza to Santa Maria Maggiore. Quite beautiful, the church. So much opulence, so much grandiosity. I understand that much of what the church did was good in that it has helped people to give more form and structure to their lives, but I do wonder how much of the money spent on buildings would have been better served in actually aiding the people, rather than being in judgement of them. So many confessionals line the inside of the building, so many people giving confessions. To be human is to “sin”, it is just a fact of life. If you didn’t sin, you wouldn’t be here, I don’t know, it just seems like confessing sins and seeking absolution is almost a denial of what it is to be human.

Barry had fun here.

Barry at Santa Maria Maggiore Rome Italy
Barry at Santa Maria Maggiore Rome Italy

The park was beautiful to walk in, and it was a very pleasant day. I am looking forward to coming back with my husband and visiting the Borghese, and the Etruscan museum. I think we will also go to the Modern once again.

Rome Day 2 – The Doria Pamphilj, the Pantheon and the Palazzo Altemps

Not yet acclimatized, I was up early, and the bed was horrid. I went and asked for a new room. The night held a lot of noise from the street, and I had the windows open not knowing that there was air conditioning in the room, or where the controls were. It just never entered in to my mind that there would be air conditioning. Anyway, I got a new room, and a topper on the bed, which helped considerably.

I bought a Roma Pass. Word of advice, don’t spend your money on one. It is good for only two visits to attractions, not three as described in other places. Don’t take the metro if you can avoid it (i.e. less than three stops). Why spend all the time traveling in the dark underground when you can walk around top side and see more?

I walked around Rome the first day planning on seeing gallerias within a specific area. It didn’t take as long to walk to where I was going, the Doria Pamphilj, so I arrived early. Looking at the map to see what else was in the area, and open, I went to the Pantheon. Amazing building, I am sure that it functioned as some sort of time piece, a reverse sun dial. The picture you see here is about 930 or so. The Doria Pamphilj was first on the list, (would not go again), the Palazza Altemps (would go again), and sites such as Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, del Popolo and the Barberini (would go again).

I loved seeing the depictions of the females in person. There is nothing to compare to seeing them in person.

From Palazzo Altemps
From Palazzo Altemps

I left the hotel at about 745 and returned at about 1630. The whole day was spent on foot.

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.

Should I name my artwork?

I used to be a proponent of leaving my artworks untitled – but now I think that is a big mistake, and an opportunity missed.

The philosophy of the un-named artwork being the undiscovered, unbiased potential available for each viewer does have merit. It does provide an open door for the person viewing the artwork to make their own judgements, their own opinions. It does detach the artist from the artwork, so that it can stand alone. It allows the viewer to focus on the surface, the methods of creation, the formal elements such as composition and rhythm. But after that, then what? Maybe that is enough?

Naming an artwork is a lot of work, on the part of the artist. It is a big responsibility and it requires the artist to be vulnerable.

Usually, people will see the artwork from far away, and be introduced to its colours, its composition, the vibe. Something will have caught their eye, and make them curious. After a person approaches an artwork, they will either look at it some more, walk closer, or walk farther to see it at a distance, or they might stoop to see the writing on the card. I like watching people to see what they do – it is a curiosity of mine, to consider if they are right brained or left brained. Right brained will like to explore the work first. Left brained people want the facts. Neither is wrong, it is just interesting to see the approaches.

I look at naming the artwork as an opportunity to provide a mini artist statement, a way for the person to connect to the artwork through words. The naming of an artwork provides a whole other dimension for the viewer, and sometimes even the artist, to explore. The consideration of the title requires the artist to look at their work and themselves. The title helps to consolidate their thoughts, or introduce new ones. Naming an artwork can be scarey, and it can be tremendous fun.

For the viewer, for those who have taken the time to wander through the artwork first, it gives them an idea of what the artist was thinking or feeling. For the left brain person, it gives them an additional fact about the painting that might not have been apparent. For each though, it gives them something else to think about.

Titles can indicate methods, or maybe it is part of a series, or an example of a smaller concept inside the whole. Maybe there is some other esoteric reason for the title. Maybe it was the music being listened to while it was created. Maybe the title is exactly what the artwork is “House on a Hill”. The title can be a strong indication, without expressly saying, what the philosophy of the artist is, it is implied with the structure of the words.

The whole reason for the existence of art is to express and communicate, isn’t it? It is for me. To communicate effectively, I think you have to try to reach more levels of understanding or awareness, unless your goal or your inclination is to be exclusionary, and only appeal to a select group of individuals. I remember when I was small, it was the fad for people to speak pig-latin, and only if you knew the format of pig-latin could you understand or speak it. How many people speak pig-latin today on a regular basis? Where is its longevity or the endurance? Fads come and go – do you want your work to have staying power, or are you content that people have forgotten it, when another Abstract Red #3 comes in? Will they remember yours?

Titles are hard work. But worth it. Think of the worlds you would be opening up for someone, and for yourself.

Little boxes….

Putting this year’s Erotic Art Show together, I have received a number of complaints, eyebrow raisings, and yes, a few congratulations on keeping the art scene in Kelowna interesting and on edge.  Never has the response toward an art show been on each side of the spectrum. I am still musing over why this is, and I have come to a few conclusions – you’d like me to share? Oh, how nice, I thought you’d never ask.

I think it has to do with the complacency of the Okanagan. The majority of artists are complacent here. We live in a nice spot, we have nice weather, the people are nice, not that much crime, you get the idea? Some are in danger of becoming so complacent that they have become unconscious – similar to the people of Spectre in Big Fish.

Well, people, wake up!

I hear: “My work  can only be shown in this type of venue, this sort of place, in this manner, by these people, by this organization, with this organization, as long as my other half approves” ….

Have you heard the song “Little Boxes”, the theme song for “Weeds”?

Let’s start with something specific: the venue. The biggest complaint has to do with the venue not being “valid”. Valid for what? Where is your free spirit and your imagination and your vision?  I think I have already explained the vision in terms of making the show a success by placing it in a venue that is subject related, and where the attendance will be focused. What exactly do you think goes on at the “Seattle Erotic Art Show”, or the Calgary “Taboo Naughty but Nice” show, which are attended by THOUSANDS of people? The people who are going to the Fantasy Show are actually interested in that subject matter! It is the ideal place for brides to have a shower, it is the ideal place for couples looking to push the envelope for their relationship, or maybe regain some of that magic. Lovely art that gives the bedroom that “special” feeling of warmth and invitingness. Sheets that are sublime, candles and scents that make the bathroom a new sensual place, and too short, lacy lingerie to take off ever so slowly with a caress that kindles that inner fire.

Some have said they don’t want their art next to “porn” stuff. Excuse me? What is porn stuff? “oh, you know, like toys and movies and such”. Exactly what do you think is going to happen? That Linda from Deep Throat is going to come along and swallow the gallery whole? The difference between porn and erotica is subjective yes, to varying degrees, and however, if you are one of these people who can’t handle looking at nude bodies in art, please do not visit the Sistine Chapel or any other churches in Europe. You might be in for a shock. Most artists, though, recognize and accept the validity of the erotic in art, and know the difference. If you don’t know, then overall, porn is external  – without positive supportive emotion – wham bam thank you ma’am, or masterbating as performance to an audience who really doesn’t give two shits and a holler about you (did you not question why masterbation is not an acceptable form of “expression”  for the erotic show?) …  and erotica involves the conscious decisions, the relationship, the sincerity, the interaction between two people, a supportive environment, an invitation to a dance.

This Xtream Fantasy Sex Show will be a sincere, safe and fun environment. It is your invitation to dance – you can decide yourself if you want to do the jitterbug, the waltz, or a jive (okay, showing my age.) It is up to you. The Fantasy Show will be providing you with a buffet, you can choose what to have yourself, and how daring you wish to be in the tastings. The question is, will you be brave? Or maybe your sex life is over. Maybe you have shut that part of you off – if so, not surprising you are somewhat unconscious –  but wouldn’t it be amazing to grab hold of it again, or is that too much effort? The art will be in its own Art Gallery area as it is its own identity. By saying the gallery will be swallowed up by the items next to it is just a little absurd, don’t you think?

Natasha has said “Your relationship isn’t sleazy and neither is this show.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Next, let’s address the place of “your” art amongst other erotica items – such as lingerie, sweet smelling stuff, and yes, sex toys. The overall goal of the Fantasy Show is to have all aspects of the human sexual personality represented, whether it be shoe fetishes, costume fetishes, tantra yoga or BDSM. Each of these are valid and sincere representations and manifestations of someone’s sexual experience, and to deny these is no different than to deny gay/lesbianism. To deny that other facets of our human erotic psyche and physical being exists is to stick your head in the ground and suffocate. In my opinion. And since I really do like you, I’d like it if you came up for air once in a while.

Now realize I am not asking you to participate in any of these events, but they do exist and they are valid.

To deny these sexual expressions, is the same principle as denying that landscapes can be art, or that fruit can be interesting. By drawing a line saying one is, and one is not, is exclusionism, … If you catch yourself saying “I’m not going to show my work in that venue” maybe ask yourself “why” and give yourself an honest answer. If you are okay with being exclusionary, well, sorry I can’t help you there, but I would question whether your art is conscious… or not.

Multi-artist studio gallery opens at the RCA

Studio 113 – A New Artist Cooperative opening Feb 2010

Okanagan, BC – Jan 1 2010 – A four artist studio gallery will open in early 2010 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Julia Trops, who was the sole occupant of Studio 113 for the last four years, has opened her space up to three artist friends Anjy Bonten, Rebekah Wilkinson and Trina Ganson.Trops explains, “My friends and I have been talking about a cooperative for over a year now, and as with all things, the timing needs to be right.”

She continues, “After graduating in 2001 from the University of Lethbridge BFA program, I’ve been in the RCA as a solo artist since it opened in 2002. I feel that it is time for me to move on in the sense of letting go of some of the art community interaction, and focusing more on my own work. I will still keep ties to the RCA, and I know this increase of artist density will help the RCA as well.”

Julia Trops

More Artists

“More artists will have the same opportunities I had, and this exposure will open the spectrum for cultural interest in a number of ways: it will cover a larger number of age groups as well as a wider variety of styles and disciplines. We will have a number of focused shows to further engage the community.”

Tracie Ward, Executive Director for the RCA: “This is a very exciting development, and the RCA will benefit from having increased usage.” It will continue to be a workspace, but the community interaction in terms of artist presence and instruction will be increased.

Angela Bonten

Angela Bonten
Angela Bonten
Angela Bonten is actively involved in the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan as the Director of the Artscape program. Bonten coordinates art exhibits for professional and emerging artists in various public venues in Kelowna such as Okanagan College’s new Centre for Learning, Kelowna Community Theatre and the 2nd floor Kelowna Library.

“My artistic career spans over 30 years. I am excited about the opportunity of sharing a working space with Julia, Rebekah and Trina,” Bonten says.  “Graduating from both a fibre art program and a visual art program, I have exhibited across Canada and have been included in many juried shows. As we are diverse artists it will be exciting to see how the creativity explodes as we become acutely aware of each others artistic endeavours.  As well as painting, this opportunity will allow me to further explore my paper making and fabric art and I expect to offer classes in this medium.”

Rebekah Wilkinson

Rebekah Wilkinson
Rebekah Wilkinson

Rebekah Wilkinson, an artist who holds a BFA from the University of Guelph, and who does work in charcoal and acrylic, is quite excited about undertaking this new adventure in the RCA. “I can’t wait to work with these ladies as together we have great energy. All of us are go-getters, and will be a terrific boost for the RCA by adding our various disciplines. I look forward to turning this energy into enormous success. It should be a ton of fun!”

“We will be having an opening for this new coop Studio 113 on Thursday, February 4 during the First Thursday event. But starting in January, the four of us will be rearranging and setting up our gallery/studio space in the RCA.”

Trina Ganson

Trina Ganson
Trina Ganson
Trina Ganson is a printmaker who specializes in lift prints, and monoprints, intaglio and other forms of etching.  Trina holds a BFA from the University of BC Okanagan and many in the art community will know her from her traditional day job with Opus Art Supplies. She has exhibited in various venues including with the Malaspina Printmakers Society, as well as SOPA here in Kelowna.

“We have a number of shows/exhibitions planned that would take us through 2010 and the main floor studio corridor will be dynamically activated. I am very excited about the possibilities presented by the RCA, and I love to teach Printmaking.”

Grand Opening, meet the artists

For more about these artists, please visit their websites, and come down for the Grand Opening on February 4th during the First Thursday 4-7 pm. An Angela Bonten artwork was chosen for the the cover of the James Avery CD “Textures Canadiana”. You can meet Anjy and see her work in conjunction with the Avery CD release concert on 23rd January at the Mary Irwin Theatre.

Websites: Julia Trops, Anjy Bonten, Rebekah Wilkinson, Trina Ganson.