Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report mid December 2015. With my duties and involvement as Chair of the Sukwtemsqilxw West Kelowna Arts Council (http://www.swac-arts.com) I made it a personal goal to read the report and to record my responses.

It’s not an easy report to read.

The content is disturbing, but it is important to bear witness to those who have lived and died as a result of Canada’s First Nation policies. That is all I will say, except that those who participated in the Commission’s research and final report, you have great strength,  humility and grace.

Http://juliatrops.livejournal.com/F882.html

As of this writing, I am approaching the “Calls to Action” and am eagerly anticipating and already considering ways that my community can aid in the healing of the relationships between First Nation and non First Nation peoples.

Westside Weekly – Culture Club – Newspaper Articles

In April, I started writing newspaper articles for the Westside Weekly once again, focused on the arts council and activities, events and partnerships between westside artists, community groups and businesses.

These seem to be received in a positive light. There is so much to write about, it’s hard to choose the subjects for each week. I’m working on keeping up to listing images of the articles on line, and if you would like a closer read of any of them, please send me a note. There is a gallery of newspaper article images below.

A big heartfelt thank you to Doyle Pontenteau, my editor (it’s so cool to say that!) for his guidance and insight into the newspaper and editorial industry.

Westside Culture Days

Westside Culture Days

I’ve been neglectful of my own art work because of my Westside Culture Days activities.

Here are the current press articles describing what we are doing on the West side of the bridge.

Current Westside Culture Days Press Articles, thank you to the support of the Westside Weekly!

August 10 2014

August 17 2014

August 24 2014

August 31 2014

September 8 2014

September 14 2014

There are two more articles, one I should be writing right now actually, as the due date is later today and the wrap up that will be hopefully published on Thursday Sep 25.

If you would like to see where everything is going on, check out the map page.  http://westsideculturedays.com/maps/

I hope the community comes out for that weekend.  There is a People’s Choice as well quite generously sponsored by Blenz and Opus, $200 cash and a $50 Blenz card, and a $100 gift card from Opus Arts and Framing.

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

Living in the Dash – Writing the Story

Part two:  What I will do

Writing the Story

I will transcribe your story and become your second witness. The recording, whether audio or written, is the first and the act of recording validates whatever it is you say.  When you record or write, consciously think about this as you go through the process.

If you choose to do an audio recording, I will be transcribing – writing the story for you.  Your name is not important unless you choose it to be, but your story is. I feel that there is healing in this process and there will be a healing and compassion in the process of my transcribing. There is healing in telling the story and healing in writing the story. When I do any transcribing, I always say a little prayer for each person regardless of what was done or received.

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

Written – Record your story

So how will the show look?

The show itself would look like this. Part one would be the visual: Everyone’s story, printed out, papers, 8 1/2 x 11 would cover the walls of the art gallery, all through the art gallery, everywhere. You wouldn’t be able to get away from it. All of your stories. All double spaced stories. Part two would be the recorded audio: Stories would be told on continuous loop, all stories one after the other, different people talking, in various places throughout the gallery. Part three would be recordable audio: There would be places for people to record their own stories if they have not already or to add if they already have. Part four would be tactile: there would be a place for them to write their own stories. Part five, and the most important: the people who come in to the gallery become the witnesses, the validations of all these stories. That validation creates connection, understanding, empathy and compassion. There might be a part six, which would be people in the gallery telling their stories in person.

I believe that there are many in the community who share the same experiences. Maybe in others seeing and hearing what is said, there will be healing in them too.

This is all anonymous. No identification.  You would need to give permission to have your stories used in a public setting, but this would be implied by the very fact of submitting it. I am thinking that a book could also come out of this, because there is something empowering by seeing your words in print. This I can tell you for sure.

It’s about healing, partnerships and compassion. We can do this together. I believe it is the only way.

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

Written – Record your story

Works on display and available for sale: Canadian Blood Donor Clinic

art mixed media painting female nude dancer julia trops

Planting Seeds – The Artworks – June/July

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.

mixed media art original painting female nude julia trops  mixed media original art painting julia trops  mixed media original painting female nude julia trops gratitude  mixed media original painting abstract female nude julia trops  mixed media abstract female nude original painting julia trops  mixed media abstract female nude original painting julia trops  abstract female nude dancer original mixed media painting julia trops  mixed media original painting abstract female nude back julia trops  art mixed media original abstract female nude dancer julia trops

 

 

Charcoal and Pastel Drawings – 2014

Charcoal Pastel Drawing

Some people are automatic writers; I’m an automatic drawer.  I respond with mark making, and it doesn’t always look like what I see.  I’ve had clients and friends telling me they see faces and people and angels in my work, and I never really looked until this weekend.  There’s quite a few in this one.  I’m not sure where they are coming from.  This is actually a female figurative nude based on magnificent model Donnalee, 12×16 watercolour paper.

Charcoal Pastel Drawing Julia Trops
Faces in the crowd Charcoal & Pastel by Julia Trops

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:

http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/240912791.html

and here:

http://infotel.ca/newsitem/Controversial-art-exhibit-stripped-from-Okanagan-College/IT7297

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

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/British+Columbia/ID/2430385542/

From the infotel.ca 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.