Intuition

Painted in Waterlogue
Cap

I just wrote a complete blog post and deleted it. I am caught in that strange place of wanting to write and not wanting to share. I am in that place of solitude where I feel a change coming on.  To help facilitate this I joined a meditation challenge that encourages me to sit in silence twice a day. I am journaling the changes I notice. So far after 3 days (officially) and 5 days, because I stated earlier than the group, I am less inclined to write but I have a strong desire to draw.

As a kid, I would sit at my desk and draw for hours. I am intentionally bringing that practice back and to see what happens. I am looking for something and I think I just need to follow my intuition.

 

Edmonton Tourist: South East Public Art

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One of my favourite things about Vancouver after the Ocean and the Mountains is the abundance of public art. You can find it on most street corners downtown and always in pubic parks. My favourite piece is the A-maze-ing Laughter found at English Bay. Visiting Vancouver turned me on to public art in a way I never noticed in Edmonton.

Some people I know usually talk about art in terms of its stupidity or waste of money. Someone always has an opinion on how to spend tax dollars better. I think public art is culturally important. It helps identifies us as a people who recognize the value arts brings into a community. No doubt art is subjective. You either love it or hate it but its intent is to make you feel and start a conversation.

In 1991, Edmonton passed a policy called Percent for Art. Currently, Edmonton allocates 1% of the qualifying construction budget of any publicly accessible municipal project (% project) for the procurement of art to be publicly displayed. The Edmonton Arts Council is the steward of this program. I never thought of Edmonton as a city invested in the arts, I looked at the public art in Edmonton as an element of design – not a city being deliberate in supporting the arts. Then I stumbled upon THIS WEBSITE. It is an online gallery of all the public art in Edmonton.

It was as if I woke up.

That meant the giant shoes at the Southgate LRT were deliberately put there as public art. The Talus Dome, arguably Edmonton’s most controversial art installation is also a part of this program.  “Before the Quesnell bridge was constructed, talus forms of earth occurred naturally along the river valley. The artwork reminds us of the landscape that has been altered by the bridge, a rigid, controlled construction that meets our need to traverse the obstacle of the river. It refers to the coexistence of the man-made and the natural.”  Okay – so there is significance to the sculpture. It was all coming together for me.

As I scrolled through the City of Edmonton Public Art Gallery, I decided to tour my ‘hood and check out the different pieces of public art. I am guilty of travelling to the river valley far too often to explore Edmonton and I never looked at my neighbourhood as a place to tour. I made a list of the public art pieces in my neighbourhood and spent an afternoon exploring. My East-West grid was 17 street – 91 street. My North-South grid was Whitemud Freeway to Ellerslie Road.

Landscape Series 1 by Erin Ross was my first stop. This installation is located at Mill Woods Park on the northside of the building by the football field. All prairie paintings that showcase Alberta skies.

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Next stop was Mill Woods Public Library for three separate installations.

Jordie Bonet’s Untitled. 10 panels each weighing over 2000lbs. Can you imagine the undertaking it took to install this piece? It was originally located at the Cenntenial Library before it became the Stanley Milner. This is located in the fiction section on the east side of the library.

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This next piece, Phantasien by Tim Edler and Jan Edler is inspired by The Neverending Story. It is a study room clad in mirror with coloured lights. Its kind of trippy and students were studying in it. But I can see the appeal of being in there. Art can be functional too.

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Upstairs in the Mill Woods Senior Centre is Milled Wood by Destiny Swiderski.

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After leaving the Library, I travelled a block away to the South Division Police Station to see the nine canvasses of Encompass by Allen Ball.

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Then off to Ivor Dent Sports Field to see Inspiral Arches from one of my favourite artists, Dylan Toymaker. If you have been to Victoria Oval or the Flying Canoe Festival and have seen the light installations, then you are already familiar with Toymaker’s work.

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It was time to go closer to home and visit the Meadows. The Meadows Recreation Centre and Public Library also has a couple installations. My favourite is Wheatfield with Crows by Konstantin Dimopoulos. I love how it sways in the breeze just like wheatfields.

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Inside the library was Sculpture in Landscapes by Cliff Eyland. Catalogue card-sized landscapes. This was a cool choice for the library.

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And finally, Parade 1 by Gabe Wong (Parade two is aquatic animals located at Lewis Transit Centre) located on the west side of the Meadows Transit Centre. The ladybug is my favourite.

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Wandering around my neighbourhood gave me a better appreciation for where I live and the fact that we have art accessible to everyone thrills me. I wonder who notices it? Let me know your favourite Edmonton Piece – maybe I will visit it next!

Ghosts of Days Past

When I was a kid, my dad was an Education student at the University of Alberta. We often went to meet him after class or walk around Campus while he dropped of papers or popped into the library. It has always been a favourite haunt of mine. When I attended my classes here, I would often eat my meals on the quad or lean up against a tree and just take in my surroundings. I often would plan and set goals for my future and imagine where I might be 10 or 20 years from that point.

Not one of those goals ever came true.

Yet, thinking about how the place made me feel as a kid and then as an adult, not much has changed.

I work on the outer rim of campus. I try to go for a run through there to renew my juice every now and then. As soon as I do, I am instantly transport to being a kid and running around Convocation Hall or the Turtle with my little brother. Mom and Dad would stroll at a leisurely pace as Mike and I raced around and climbed rocks or stone stairs for fun.

This week I had the opportunity to go for a run with my Captain. I had not brought Cap to the fairy ground of my youth, so I figured it was a great day to do so.

We started at our home base – RunClub and left the car keys in the basket. I led Captain West down 87th Ave.

It was reminded of the Universiad Games when they built the student housing and then past the Timmons Centre for the Arts. None of which was around when I attended my Anthropology classes. I showed Cap the Quad and my favourite spot between the Arts Building and the Business Building. There is a little dry creek bed with a pond at the base. It is surrounded by benches and an eclectic mix of architecture.

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We paused for a moment to take in the surroundings and I remembered running up and down the steps of the Arts building as a kid. Its amazing how memories can just flash back into your brain after decades of not recalling them.

We headed North towards the river and past the Turtle – or rather the Tory Lecture Theatre. I often use this great website to interpret the U of A lingo that evades people who are new or never attended Campus. I was likely 24 before I realized the Turtle was actually the Tory Building.

We stumbled upon the Geoscience Garden, which is a Rock Museum/garden allocated at North Campus.

Captain enjoy this part of the run most.

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There were Geese nesting here which I thought was an odd place for them, so I gave them a wide berth and led Captain far away from where they were perched.

After passing the Faculty Club, I ran through the sciences and saw the Nanotech building for the first time. Strange how I come through here all the time and notice something new.

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We ran over to Assiniboine Hall and checked out the Tulips and Hares.

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The very next day would see 5″ of snow dump on these pour petals.

I marvelled at the artwork on the sides of Civil Engineering, something I had not remembered seeing before.

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It was here that Captain watched a fox saunter around the buildings. He didn’t growl or attempt to go chase him, but gave a respectful distance. It always amazes me at the variety of wildlife found on the edge of the river valley.

The last big stop we made was at the back of the Education Building, I remembering coming to some lectures here I was 4 and again when I was 19.

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I reflected on how different my life turned out than what I expected or planned. I am not a teacher, well, I am not a teacher of children. I suppose we are all teachers in some capacity. I am a runner and work in that industry. Never in my wildest dreams or fantasies would I think I would move into that direction.

Me, the girl who used her brain and not her physical being. Now both are so important to my daily routine. Working on the edge of campus makes me long to go back to school. But for now, I am content to just run the paths and visit the ghosts of my past.

Divine inspiration leads to the creation of Tao of Muppet

I am not a fan of restored artwork. Art is not meant to last a million years. It is a commentary of that moment in time. That does not mean I think it is disposable, I think it should be look upon as a cultural statement to where we were as a society when it was created. Think of it as Urban Art. Take a look at this Raphael restoration:

Seriously? The worst of it is, it no longer has the artist’s original brush strokes. To me it is no different from plagiarism except the restoration artist doesn’t claim the work to be their own, only it now has become a very expensive “paint by numbers” project. What is up with the halo? It doesn’t even have the sparkles the original piece did.

The Renaissance was all about halos. Obviously people were super pius at that time, except Leonardo. He obviously was a rebel and unenlightened because his works of art didn’t have halos around the heads of everyone. In fact none of the Teenaged Mutant Ninja turtles were pius. Michelangelo was really a sculptor, but his paintings were not to bad either. I stood under the Sistine Chapel and noticed those images were void of halos. Raphael was usually void of halos, but not always. He obviously wanted to fit in with the pius dudes but felt pressure to be REAL. Donatello was a sculptor, hard to sculpt transparent images. If he had, I would have been REALLY impressed! So really, these fella’s were the Urban Artists of their time with Mike being a Graffiti artist. Leo did his share of graffiti. The dude painted a dinner ad and it covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.

 

Not unlike This gem installed in a London restaurant. The art is entitled Cock and Bull:I can HEAR my grandpa Dan saying “Oh pheww that really stinks” But a thousand years from now, people will see the restored version and think WOW those kids in the 2010’s really knew their art! This is how I imagine the updated restored version will look:

See how it looks nothing like the original? This is my issue with restored masterpieces. Works of art that are created are full of inspiration, restoring them (I don’t mean cleaning them, but painting over or touch ups) changes the artist’s original intent. No one can experience the same motivation or inspiration for creating the original artwork. It is just never the same. Let it fade into obscurity. The new artists are the genius’ of yesterday. The future will tell the story of the masterpieces of our time because obviously we cannot see it in the present. Except for this artist who restored the 120-year-old fresco, Ecce Homo by Elijah Garcia Martinez. It is very clear to me she was filled with divine inspiration and created this masterpiece over top of the original:

It is clear to me that Jim Henson appeared to her and told her to paint the Tao of Muppets

The Art of Neon: CarsLand Radiator Springs

I have always been a fan of neon signs and art. Years ago, there was a child in my class whose dad was a neon sign creator. I was fascinated by the process and he invited to me to his shop to see the production of a new sign. He would also repair neon signs. I was amazed at the process! Not only must an artist be creative, they are glass blowers, chemists and electrical engineers. Here is a detailed About Page that goes through the process and the gases you combine with neon and mercury to create different colours.

This past week I made my way to Disneyland Resort in California to celebrate a friends birthday (her 40th – shhhh). Although I went under the pretence for her birthday, I was really interested in CarsLand, the Radiator Springs from Pixar’s Cars movie. It was like being in the movie. The detail was unbelievable! The purpose of my trip was to explore Radiator Springs at night time because the Imaginears used neon signage to make the place shine at night, just like in the movie. It truly became a different place.

John Lasseter sent his Imaginears across the United States to get a feel for how route 66 use to be. They came back armed with ideas from quirky to beautiful to down right amazing. Wondering down route 66 at night was akin to looking at Christmas lights. The colour and sparkle was a sight to behold! I spent 2 or my 3 nights exploring Radiator Springs and taking in the breath taking beauty of neon. Knowing the labor intensive methods and the craftmanship involved makes these signs into works of art. Stunning!

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