My face is a white canvas..

May 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

My face is a white canvas...

 

A combination of photography, painting, sculpture… Absolutely brilliant! Make sure you take a look!

Andy Alcala is the young and talented artist behind these fantastic works…

 

 

Artist of the Week – Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman

May 17, 2012 § 11 Comments

Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman

“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” Desmond Tutu, on ubuntu

Her eyes, even in the most dim conditions, seem to sparkle with an inner light. They dance, they laugh, they sing. She possesses one of those rare and pure gazes that has the ability of seeing right into a person. It is not invasive or unwelcome; you simply get the feeling that she wants to connect, to share stories and emotions, to bridge that part of all of us that keeps us apart: space.

The many years that Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman has spent in selfless service, being involved in missions from an early age in Asia and Europe, becoming an elementary teacher and  a professor, then using those skills as the president of a Christian humanitarian organization working in parts of Africa and the Caribbean to improve education for children, have served to shape both her and her outlook on life.

Some might argue that pulling away from those efforts, giving it all up to create art, well, it might seem a hair… selfish. Until, upon seeing her creations, you realize that she is undoubtedly doing the world a greater service by becoming an artist.

“My aim is to evoke universal emotions in the viewer that will encourage him or her to tap into the spirit of “Ubuntu”:  what it means to be truly human – “to be wrapped up in the bundle of life”,” she writes.  “I have become profoundly aware of how interconnected we are – with each other and with nature. Art is a vehicle through which I can explore and honour that.”

There is unquestionably in all of her artwork a touch of the whimsical, a hint of fancy. But when you actually look at her work, you will find countless other attributes that are nuanced and revealed with such subtlety and nobility, that you will wonder why it has taken Jennifer so long to share her inner-artist with us.

Her mixed-media pieces are liable to be made of nearly anything from metal and wood to glass and eggshells. The juxtaposition of these materials is equally as stunning as the work themselves: on the one hand there is a feeling of permanence, a sense of longevity and durability; yet, the organic materials incorporated flawlessly into the work reveal a fragility and offer the distinct impression that the function of everything on earth is ephemeral, merely awaiting its next stage where it will be re-purposed and given a new task.

Of all of her pieces, each one unique with no duplications, perhaps one of the most striking and powerful is that titled Offering. Made of river stones, burlap, concrete, branches, and metal it depicts a woman kneeling with her arms raised, hands in a gesture of giving, and face tilted toward the heavens. When looking at it, you’re struck by an overwhelming sense of power; there is no surrender in her offer, no weakness. The woman is offering herself, as she is – heart, body, mind, and soul – to a greater power, and in this way shows her vulnerability as well. There is no weakness, true, but in offering everything she has to give, there is without question a sense of vulnerability: what if her offering is refused?

       

Jennifer cast various pieces of herself for the project: hands, feet, face, torso, buttocks. And, while it was a very emotional piece to create due to its symbolic connections with the artist’s own beliefs, the sculpture itself maps out beautifully what it means to truly be a woman: strength and sacrifice.

And, what it takes to be human: courage and hope.

We can’t wait to see what Jennifer creates next. She has been recognized by the college not only for her exceptional work but also her consistently positive outlook on life, and will be the valedictorian for this year’s graduating class. Jennifer was also recently nominated for the BMO Student Art Competition and our fingers are crossed for her!

For more information about Jennifer Wilson-Bridgman, please contact her by email at jwilsonbridgman@sympatico.ca or by phone at 905-730-8839 . Her website will be coming soon!

picture of jennifer wilson-bridgman

Jen, doing teacher development training in Kenya, makes friends with a couple of “orphelines”…

Art & Spirituality – Guest Lecture

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

Abbess Khenmo Nyima Drolma will be offering an insightful slide lecture on the healing and dying rituals of diverse cultures, through their art.

The lecture will be held, Thurs May 17th, from 7pm – 9pm at Fleming College and is open to anyone free of charge.

For more information, please see the attached PDF file. Presentation – Artistic Doorways FINAL II

I Made It! Student Show ‘n Sale

April 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Did you miss out on this semester’s show?

Catch up on what you didn’t see by checking out these amazing pics!

Artist of the Week – Alec Morrison

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Alec Morrison

How do you define achievement?

Is it by grabbing the nearest yardstick? Collecting the most “Likes” on facebook? Perhaps graduating Magna cum laude from Harvard?

How about the moment when you actually hear someone else call you an artist? That is what it took for this week’s artist, Alec Morrison, to finally title himself “artist”.

Raised in the bilingual – English & French – and multi-cultural town of Haileybury, Morrison was introduced to both French-Canadian and Native American influences at a very young age. Born and raised in this picturesque area just north of the Temagami, he grew up with a profound appreciation for hand-made and hand-crafted goods.

His colourful musical career began early as well. From the tender age of seven he has played piano; a few years later, at age thirteen, he picked up his first guitar. His upbringing consisted primarily of Blues music, but with the advent of his budding guitar talents, his tastes shifted to punk bands like the Sex Pistols, NoFX, and Operation Ivy.

“Nowadays,” he admits, “I’ve moved into an extremely eclectic mix of stuff, and also Celtic rhythms.” As an afterthought he adds, “And also old country music.” He smiles at his own taste. (For a taste of his music, head here => http://itunes.apple.com/au/album/already-been-where-i-was-goin…/id442130024 )

The ushering-in of the new millenium not only marked an important calendar-change, but also a turning point for Morrison’s own path: he left high school to play in the punk band Bayl out of London, Ontario. When the band broke up, his itchy feet took him to the western reaches of the country where he spent nearly four years off and on, moving between Port Alberni, B.C. and Canmore, Banff, and Calgary, Alberta. “The mountains are beautiful,” recalls Morrison, “and the river water is a crazy hue of blue. [My] first time there, I kept looking over my shoulder to look at the view of the mountains. It was a great vibe.”

Unfortunately, during his adventures out West, Alec’s mental health broke down and he was diagnosed as bi-polar. Unstable for a long period of time, paranoid and delusional, it was some time before he got help. Admitted to the psychiatric ward, Morrison came to terms with his illness and was released, only to be institutionalized again several months later. He spent close to four years in and out of mental health care facilities as he grappled with his own demons.

“Manias are incredibly dangerous – if severe enough – it’s an incredibly complicated, and underrated, sometimes ignored, illness… I’ve gotten to a point where I can manage it, thankfully… and I can reflect on the experience, and create with that energy. But it’s a forever kind of thing, I have lots of people helping me.”

Morrison proudly shares that he’s been both healthy and stable now for seven years; a milestone for anyone who spent more than half that time in and out of hospitals.

But it wasn’t until after this point in Alec’s life that he developed an interest in visual art. During a search for an artist capable of drawing a loon for a tattoo, he came across renown Native Artist Hugh Mackenzie of Bear Island. During the five months of lessons, he learned a great variety of techniques from stencil to sponge, but most importantly he learned a great deal about life.

With a renewed passion in music and art, he started the band Crank Radio in 2005, which lasted up until 2009. His interest in blacksmithing grew out of his drive for self-sufficiency. Intent on pursuing a craft that he could work on during the day when not making music, Morrison was first intrigued by the concept that he could create his own tools with nothing but a hammer, tongs, anvil and forge fire. That Christmas, he asked for a couple of books on blacksmithing. The pages of these books did nothing but whet his whistle, and, rather than sating his curiosity, served only to pique it. “I got into the subject really deep. I found the science behind metallurgy fascinating and the method too…” he tells us. “A couple years after that, my dad told me that a course was being offered at Fleming, so I enrolled.”  Nearly through the course, he was forced to withdraw due to a health scare. “Unfortunately, my health wasn’t great, and I missed a lot of school; I might try it a second time in the future.” Lucky for us, he stayed in the program long enough to create some beautiful works of art.

This year, he has returned to the Haliburton School of The Arts and is hacking, pouring, carving, sanding, and molding his way through the Sculpture course. And enjoying every minute of it.

“It was only a couple of months ago that I realized I was an artist. I asked my girlfriend what she told people I did for a living, and she said “that you’re an artist”.” Calling himself an artist offers him the freedom to be his own boss and to constantly create whether writing poetry, sculpting in plaster, or shaping hot metal with a hammer…

His parting random fact was admitting that he wears kilts. “It’s a Scottish heritage thing, and if Ashley MacIsaac can get away with it, so can I. The way I see it is: if you can’t wear a kilt at a punk show in Canada, then the terrorists have already won.” He offers up a brief chuckle. But the kilt stays on…

Make sure you come to HSTA’s I Made It! Spring Show ‘n Sale. Alec has graciously offered to provide musical entertainment: Saturday, April 21st, 10am – 2pm at the Haliburton Campus.

To visit Alec Morrison’s own blog, go to www.morrisonalec.wordpress.com or to get in touch with him (he’s not without a sense of humour), send him an email at buymystuff@morrisonalec.ca

To view his mini-documentary titled “Already Been Where I Was Going”, filmed at the old North Bay Psychiatric Hospital, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vNRluaMOv0&feature=related

For more information on mental health, visit http://www.cmha.ca/bins/index.asp

If you liked Alec’s wonderful pieces, check out some of these other amazing sculptural artists: Brittney Howe, Sandra Dunn, Susan Watson Ellis

To learn more about any of the programs at the Haliburton School of The Arts, please go to www.hsta.ca

Book sculptor reaches new heights

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Book sculptor reaches new heights

Alicia Martin creates 3D book art engaging even non-readers with the printed word…

Get the “full story” here…

http://flavorwire.com/270701/enormous-sculptures-of-books-exploding-out-of-buildings

Artist of the Week – Brittney Howe

February 5, 2012 § 6 Comments

Brittney Howe

“I have always had a passion for horses and how they work: the muscle connecting to the ligaments, the ligaments to the bones. Creatures so strong yet so delicate, and yet they move with such grace. Power-driven hind quarters fuel their bodies with grace and finesse; they become like butter in your hands, all 1200 pounds melting together with you… When riding my horse, my heart is no longer following the rhythm of my body, but beats with his: we become one. Imagine the greatest moment of peace you’ve ever experienced, then, multiply that by a million, and you may begin to have a glimpse of the pure joy I receive from these majestic creatures.”

Originally from Delhi, Ontario, Brittney tells us she’d always had a gift for drawing. Intrigued after discussing various arts programs with a Rep from the Peterborough Campus, Brittney decided HSTA was the place for her. From the moment she set her steel-toe-booted foot on the concrete floor of the blacksmith shop, she knew exactly what she wanted in life: to be an artist.  Manipulating and forming metal utterly fascinated her, she says: “How it starts off hard, and once yellow-hot is malleable like clay; you’re able to do anything with it.” She realized that not only did she possess a gift for drawing, but also for 3-dimensional sculpture, in particular the noble equus. “Throughout this past year, I have been diligently studying the horse: uncovering every bone, exploring every muscle, revealing new forms to better express its complex anatomy,” explains Brittney. “My study has included multiple sketches and image transfers, and 3D sculptural creations of tile and clay.”

Being pushed out of her comfort zone, she says, was the best thing that ever happened to her. Exploring different materials, different mediums, allows her “free rein” over her creativity and boundless possibilities in her work. “Once I felt comfortable with my understanding of how the horse was made, I began to create sculptures of these magnificent creatures out of scrap metals such as brass, copper and mild steel. Just as my initial study of horses began, my works are finished in the same way: layer by layer, manipulating the various metals to lend shape and form..”

  After she has completed her Ceramics and Glassblowing courses next year, she plans on setting up her own mixed-media studio called “In His Image Creations Inc.”. Without jumping the gun, she reminds us that metal is where it all began. “Combining copper, brass and mild steel to create an abundance of colour fascinates me. To be able to fashion life from the various forms and shapes of scrap [metal] pieces… taking a bare substance, manipulating it with heat to mould and shape my work, and create life, gives me purpose.” But, glass and ceramics require heat as well – perhaps she’s on to something? We can only wait and wonder at what the promising Miss Howe can come up with next…

You can catch Brittney’s feature article in an upcoming issue of The Anvil’s Ring.

Brittney can be reached at 705-457-0207 or via email at bv.howe@hotmail.com

In process…a plastic world!

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

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VCAD student Kelsey, with her volunteer cast and fellow VCAD Megan, gets to work on her large sculptural installation pieces for the Visual and Creative Arts program. Her process involves wrapping people and objects in a layer of seran wrap and then packing tape overtop and then cutting off the pieces, creating large-3-d shells…slightly reminiscent of  shed snake skin. Amazing to watch her process from production to installation!

Walkabout at HSTA – July 28 2011

July 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

This week at Walkabout, we encountered musical instruments – ready for playing!-, chainsaw sculptures, printmaking, monoprints, bangles, bracelets and arm armour…it is truly incredible to see what a week can do, and what years can do – some projects have been built over years of attending HSTA courses – now that is artistic commitment!

Walkabout at HSTA July 21

July 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

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