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PECULIARBLISS

ISSUE 5 / PROCESS / INDIGO


PeculiarBliss.com is a stream of doodles and images, featuring creative, original works from sketchbooks and other mediums into one location, with the hope to inspire continued creative thinking. PeculiarBliss Magazine is the quarterly continuation of this effort. This issues theme: “Process� Cover Photo: INDIGO

PROCESS - VAUGHN FENDER

P E C U L I A R B L I S S ISS U E FIVE


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PROCESS - James O’connell


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RUBICS - Ben Davies


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PROCESS - Chelsey Scheffe


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Process Balloon - Karen Kramer


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I CAT THINK - Camille Dagal & Brent Lim


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PROCESS - Abe Honest


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process - Josh Lafayette


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Dreaming Process - Donya Todd


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Guest House - Gina Furnari


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Process Head -Eleazer Ang


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Progression of “Sleep” - Cloudery


PREVIEW introducing

INDIGO

Consider the hot spots of street art and then consider Vancouver. A bit unexpected as a street art venue, Vancouver is redefining its visual culture with the aid of dancer-turnedartist, Indigo. Her stencils are detailed– constructed with traditional methods rather than modern technology. The multiple gradients lend themselves to the often emotional and melancholic subjects, and compliment the (often) natural surfaces that become their home. The unexpected placement brings new narratives to street art. Walking through a park, a paper owl adorns a nearby tree. It’s as if the forest became a coloring book, and the paper owls are the only parts not filled in. Amongst weathered driftwood on a pebbly beach, a grayscale face mystically blends with the scene. Be it a lover’s tale of tragedy or a contemporary Lady of the Lake, Indigo has found her niche.  interview BY : SHANNON DUGGAN

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PHOTO BY Fred Fraser


“Kiki 3” • Spray paint on courtyard wall, Vitry-sur-seine, France 2010

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Photo by Kriebel

PREVIEW: INDIGO


my whole life was all of a sudden on fast forward, and I have just been running to catch up. Can you tell us about your move from a having 9 to 5 to becoming a full-time artist? I used to work in a medical research office. I answered phones and took care of appointments and grant applications and travel for scientists, students and post-docs. I booked meeting rooms and ordered office supplies. I ordered extra pens for myself, the nice expensive kind. I used the photocopier and the color printer for non work-related things. I spent a lot of time looking at art online, and filed things in piles on my desk. I did that for about five years after I graduated from university ; four years part time while pursuing a dance career, and the last year full time. That last year almost killed me. In August of 2009, I got invited to do a residency in Moscow with a group of artists from Tacheles Berlin. I tried to take a leave of absence, but was denied, so I quit. I booked a one way flight overseas, with a stop in NYC to paint at Underbelly and at a festival out in Bushwick. Then Paris, and after that I really didn’t know what would happen as I wasn’t able to get a visa for Moscow in time. So I just kinda went with it, spent a couple weeks in France, Berlin, then a bit of time in London and Amsterdam, running out of money a few times before coming home. I went back to work again over the holidays and two weeks of that was enough to confirm that my initial decision to quit was the right one. I spent the next 12 months living mostly on coffee and cigarettes. I was late with rent more often than not, choosing art supplies over food, working around the clock on deadlines for exhibits, projects and commissions, and making impractical decisions to travel and paint on a nonexistent budget. I spent most of my nights sleeping on my studio couch until a couple months ago, when I decided that I might as well just move in,

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PHOTO BY S. Rahman and H. Bahra


so now I have my bed and all my clothes and books here, which is nice. I have no heat and no kitchen, but I’ve gotten used to being cold all the time and I never cook anyway. The rats don’t come into my bedroom very often —they mostly hang out at the front of the building near my workspace — and the roaches have pretty much all gone away because of the cold. I promise I am not as much of a walking cliche as all of that sounds. How did your friends and family react to your new direction? They have all been really supportive, although at times worried about my lack of food or sleep. I’ve been really grateful for everyone’s help this past year. How have opportunities unfolded since going full-time? I think the best way I can describe it was that my whole life was all of a sudden on fast forward, and I have just been running to catch up. I’ve been given some really amazing opportunities in the past year, at home and abroad – projects that have really challenged me as an artist and as a person. I’ve been able to work with artists who I look up to, and had so many learning experiences along the way. I think the hardest lesson that I learned last year (a lesson that I am still learning) is how to say no to things. It’s so hard to say no when things come up and it’s something I’m really interested in, but really I maybe don’t have the time or the energy or the budget for it, my instinct is always to say yes, and sort out the details later. But going forward I am trying to be more selective about the projects that I take on, the exhibit invitations that I accept, the commitments that I make–so that I can give more of myself to each one, instead of trying to do it all and feeling spread too thin. One of the opportunities that has recently come my way has brought me back to a day job again, but one that is pretty much the ideal job for me at this point in my life and my career. About two months ago, I took a job with Becker Galleries as their Managing Director. It was almost as scary going back to being gainfully employed as it was to leave

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my last job. Almost, but not quite. The prospect of having a regular pay cheque seems pretty awesome after a year of just scraping by. To be able to work in my field, with an organization that I care about, surrounded by art all day, learning the ins and outs of operating a commercial gallery, it couldn’t be better. I want to have my own gallery one day, so this is invaluable experience. I had already established a relationship with the gallery as a curator, so it was a relatively smooth transition to make. It’s been a challenge to adjust to balancing a full time job with full time art, but I’m getting used to it now. Having more structure and less time actually makes me a lot more productive when I’m in the studio, because really I have no choice but to stay on task. You do a lot of portraits that reflect a deep emotion or a fluid movement, can you tell us a bit about how you approach your subject matter? Movement and emotion are two of the most inspiring things for me as an artist. I’m usually more interested in capturing a feeling or a mood than I am with making a strong statement in any new project or body of work. Sometimes that feeling comes from within, sometimes from my surroundings, usually some combination of the two. I tend to be drawn towards the melancholy in all aspects of my creative practice, and in other artists’ work as well. Things that hold some sadness or darkness tend to resonate more. As for the subjects themselves, it depends on the project, but I seem to be painting a lot of children and women these days. I think I’m drawn to individuals from whom I get a sense of both vulnerability and strength. My interest in movement really stems from my dance training. Both of my parents were dancers, and I started training as soon as I could walk, with formal training beginning at age 4, continuing through a BFA degree in contemporary dance to 4 years after graduating spent working as a choreographer, performer and instructor in Canada and the states. Working with the body is such an integral part of my identity that it has to come out somewhere in my visual art.


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“Train 1979” • Spray paint and acrylic on canvas, 2010


Can you describe your process for a creating a piece? It really depends on the medium. With my most recent ongoing series, “Other People’s Memories,” I have been sourcing vintage wooden boxes and found photos from flea markets, along with other old things that appeal to my sensibilities— bits of machinery, jewelry, old books and letters. Lately I’ve been coming home with a lot of religious iconography, even though I’m not religious at all. A lot of the time I feel like a particular item or photo has just been waiting for me to cross its path, and then it comes home to live with me for a while until the right moment comes to use it. The act of collecting has always been important for me. When I was a kid, I collected coins, rocks, little miniature figurines, and other random stuff. That impulse is influencing my work now more than ever. During this process, things get sorted and resorted and eventually some combination of photo and surface seems like a good fit and I’ll make a painting. I’ve been getting more and more interested in different ways of including the collected objects in the work, and have some ideas for gallery installations and assemblage pieces – kind of like the one on the cover of this issue. That was my first exploration into including found objects within the finished product.

“Someday these will be the old days “ Acrylic, graphite and ink on vintage wood box, 2010

As a self-proclaimed “big process person,” can you reveal what processes you’ve watched other artists take on that have had an impact on your process? Every time I get to watch someone work, or talk to them about why and how they do what they do, I feel like my brain acts like a sponge, soaking it all up. It all has an impact, and whether I am conscious of it or not, everything comes back out in the work somehow. Can you describe the art scene in Vancouver and how your approach fits in? In many ways Vancouver has a really vibrant arts community. There are tons of talented and creative people here making really interesting work. It’s a bit of a different dynamic to other major centres—there’s very little work going up in the street, commissioned or not. It’s a city that is geared more towards contemporary fine art than urban art. I hate that term, but really there isn’t a better one that I can think of. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different. It’s interesting, being someone

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“A collector of small stones and other precious things” Acrylic, graphite and ink on vintage tobacco box, 2010

PREVIEW: INDIGO


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whose work tends to be somewhere in the grey area between the two. I think that there is tons of potential for interesting collaborations or projects that don’t necessarily fit neatly under either umbrella. If there was one major thing I would change about this city, it would be to encourage people to work together more, to get out of their own little bubbles and be more open to exploring what else is going on around them as individuals and on the whole. This city tends to be really insular, and if I can help to change that, I’ll be really happy. Other than that, I try not to worry too much about fitting in anywhere, I just go with what feels right and see where it takes me.

Can you tell us about the show you just curated? Unintended Calculations was a project featuring Augustine Kofie, Jerry Inscoe, Remi/Rough and Scott Sueme in a group exhibit at Becker Galleries and two mural installations at Moda Hotel. It wasn’t my first time curating an exhibit or mural, but it was definitely the biggest project I’ve put together, and the first time I haven’t also been involved as an artist. We had everyone in town for the first week of March– three and a half days spent painting two, four storey walls in the heart of downtown Vancouver, followed by the gallery openings and after party that weekend. The show will be up till the 26th, and the murals will be up permanently.

How do you feel about taking on more responsibility in coordinating the street art scene in Vancouver? Well, it kind of goes along with what I was saying before –I’ve been presented with a great opportunity to make things happen here by acting as a connector for people within the city and around the world. I’ve been really lucky to be able to travel and meet so many amazing artists, and a lot of the time I’m their first point of contact in Vancouver or even in Canada. I’m starting to build up a network of artists, galleries and arts organizations, businesses and funders here at home that can facilitate some pretty amazing things– if we all work together. It’s funny, on my first trip to Europe, I was bitching about how nothing cool ever happened in Vancouver, about how it was really difficult to get walls for murals, and how seldom we got international street artists coming through town to leave their mark . The person I was talking to just looked at me and said “well, why don’t you make it happen then?” At the time I kind of just shrugged it off, but fast forward a year and a half and I’ve found myself in the position to do just that. And it’s a really exciting place to be. I feel like I have the ability to give a lot back to my community, to give back to my network, and to show the city how much potential there is for growth and positive change. Its kind of scary, thinking about how the next couple of years might pan out – but scary in a good, excited, wonder-what’s-coming-next kinda way.

This was the first time that a street art project of this scale has happened in Vancouver, and for me it really felt like the first step in the right direction in terms of proving that these kinds of things are totally do-able, when you get the right group of people all working together for the same goal. We’ve had tons of positive feedback, locally and internationally, and I’m really looking forward to doing it again. This city needs more color, and I really want to help facilitate that. Tell us about some of the artist who were featured? Are they all local? All four artists come from a shared graffiti background, and have found their own paths from working with more traditional letterforms into exploring abstraction, both on and off the street. Augustine Kofie is from LA, Jerry Inscoe is from Portland, Remi/Rough is from London and Scott Sueme is from Vancouver. They all have very different methods and aesthetics to their work, and are as intriguing in their points of similarity as they are in their differences. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with–the work that they produced on both murals and at the gallery surpassed all my greatest expectations. It’s very rare that you put four artists together on a wall and have the finished product looking as cohesive as it did . Both walls showcase their individual talents while also working really well as a whole. I think that sometimes abstraction can be intimidating for many audiences – especially those without

PREVIEW: INDIGO


much experience or education in the arts– and that the combination of these artists’ work made it possible for viewers to come away feeling like they found something in the show that spoke to them on some level. As a curator, it’s been hugely satisfying to see this through from start to finish. I knew that it was going to be awesome but didn’t realize just how awesome it would be. And I can’t take credit for that–the artists did the work, I just put the framework together to help make it happen.

What new challenges have presented themselves while in the role of curator? It’s been a huge learning experience from start to finish. I had a bit of an idea about what it would take to pull something together but then the project got so much bigger than I expected and every part of it was so much more involved than I realized. But if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it right. It was juggling all the little details that was the hardest thing. Being in charge of things is so satisfying, but so hard–especially when trying to juggle my own artistic process at the same time. Next time I decide to do a big huge project like this I’m hiring a couple of interns. Having worked on walls and in nature, can you share with us how viewing your work and other artists work in a public space affected you? I really enjoy seeing people interact with their environment on multiple levels, whether as an artist creating something in a public space, or watching reactions of passersby to the finished product or work in progress, or talking to passersby as I am painting, discussing what I’m doing and why. I think that street art affords us the opportunity to reconnect to our environment, whether that is within a city or outside its limits. I think that in this day and age, any chance we can get to expand our perceptions outside our individual and collective bubbles is hugely important.

“Weighted, I remain” (detail) • Oil on canvas, 2010

You seem to always enjoy group projects. How do processes intermingle in collaborative works? I think it’s a really humbling process. You come to it with a base of ideas to build on and expectations of where it’s going to end up, and you have to be really open to those initial ideas and expectations changing. It really forces you to let go of your ego as an individual and embrace something that’s more fluid – problem solving as you go – allowing the project to evolve while finding ways to stay true to the overall concept. I really enjoy working with others as everyone has their own strengths and insights to bring to the work. It’s always a learning experience for all involved.

PREVIEW: INDIGO


“Jennifer” (detail) • Spray paint and latex on canvas, 2010

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“Moka Only” • Spray paint on wall, Vitry-sur-seine, France 2010

PREVIEW: INDIGO


“Tara” (detail) • Acrylic and latex on wall, Ayden Gallery installation, 2010

“Paint Your Faith” (detail) • Spray paint and latex on wall, Vancouver, CA 2010

“Alena 2” • Spray paint on paper, wheat pasted to driftwood, Tower Beach, Vancouver, CA 2010 22

PREVIEW: INDIGO


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“Dandelion” • Spray paint on paper, wheatpasted to wall, Tower Beach, Vancouver, CA 2010


What has been your favorite collaboration so far? I can’t pick just one. They’ve all been great in their own way. You started the New Year with a post on your blog dedicated to memories and nostalgia. The old surfaces seem to ignite your style; your modern aesthetic is intensified by a melancholy, antique surface. When creating, does the narrative transform as organically as the art does? Narrative is always something that tends to develop along the way, without too much premeditation. More often than not I tend to go with what feels right at any given time, for a piece or a body of work, and leave meaning and narrative as open-ended as possible – for myself and for the viewer. Do you have advice for artists starting out on their own? Everyone has to find their own path, there’s no right way to do this. It’s a combination of taking the advice of others, and discovering your own way. Working as hard as you possibly can, all the time. As you begin to meld your artistic talents in dance, the visual arts, and so forth—where have you found new areas of intrigue? Well, my main interests right now are in painting, writing, dance and photography, but am getting really interested in moving pictures too –video and film. I am most interested in the places where these disparate interests overlap, the moments where I can find room for dialogue, interaction and new ways of approaching each discipline. I think what’s been most exciting for me as a creative being is the realization that there is no need to limit myself; that every mode of creation is a relevant path of inquiry, and that it all comes from and feeds back to the same source. It just opens up a whole new realm of possibility, for my solo work and in collaboration with other artists of all genres. How do you see this developing? Life is long, and I plan on being a maker of things– all kinds of things–until the very end (and hopefully afterwards). Right now I have a lot of ideas for different things that will exist as separate entities from each other–I’m working on a short dance film, and a manuscript for a book of poetry. I have a million and one

ideas for different art projects bouncing around in my skull and am never without my camera. But I think that eventually I will find more ways of combining all of these interests into a more cohesive practice, spending bigger chunks of time working on larger projects that encompass multiple disciplines. I think collaboration will always be a big part of my existence–bringing people together to create something out of shared interests, something greater than any one of us could have done on our own. What’s next? I’m going to be in Cape Town, South Africa for all of April, doing a residency with A Word of Art. While I am there I will be creating work for an exhibition and painting a bunch of walls with my friend David Shillinglaw, an artist from London who will be in residence at the same time. At the end of the month, we’re all going to Afrikaburn to set up a big art installation and spend a week painting out in the middle of the Karoo desert. After that, I’m spending a couple weeks traveling around a bit in South Africa and Mozambique, shooting part of a documentary with Six Oranges, a film company from London. Then I have a week in the UK – going to a paint jam up in Blackpool–before I come back home and get started on prep work for projects here over the summer. END

PHOTO BY Kris Krug

visit INDIGO’s website for more info www.indigosadventures.wordpress.com


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let my flame go - Kyle Mosher


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PROCESS - Dawn Welch


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Fail and Rally - Joshua Elliott Long


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BIRTH - Sabreen Aziz


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PROCESS - Melanie Chadwick


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PROCESS - Sarah Dennis


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GEO - Rui do Rosario Ribeiro


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PROCESS - Holly Lawton


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process -Eliane Mancera


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process - Parvinder S. Sondhi


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Cow to Cone - Carys Tait


P E C ULIA RB LIS S IS SUE FIV E PeculiarBliss Magazine is a quarterly publication. To contribute to the magazine or website, email us: pbsubmissions@gmail.com

Editor / Designer Vaughn Fender www.vaughnfender.com www.twitter.com/vaughnfender

Associate Editor Hannah Fichandler

Writer Shannon Duggan www.twitter.com/sduggs

Contributors INDIGO www.flickr.com/photos/indigoindigo www.indigosadventures.wordpress.com www.cargoh.com/store/indigo www.twitter.com/indi_gone

Donya Todd www.donyatodd.co.uk

Sarah Dennis www.sarah-dennis.co.uk

Gina Furnari www.ginafurnari.virb.com

Rui do Rosario Ribeiro www.cofseeing.com

James Oconnell www.james-oconnell.com

Eleazer Ang www.flickr.com/photos/eleism

Holly Lawton www.hollylawton.com

Ben Davies www.bendaviesdesign.com

Cloudery www.somethingcloudery.com

Eliane Mancera www.elylu.com

Chelsey Scheffe www.chelseyscheffe.com

Kyle Mosher www.kylemosher.com

Parvinder S. Sondhi www.absolutekreative.com

Karen Kramer www.karenckramer.com

Dawn Welch www.flickr.com/photos/dawnlovetodraw

Carys Tait www.carys-ink.com

Camille Dagal and Brent Lim www.camilledagal.blogspot.com www.brentlim.tumblr.com

Joshua Elliott Long www.joshuaelliottlong.com

Razvan Anghelache www.behance.net/vomitto

Sabreen Aziz www.sabreenaziz.posterous.com

Pip Craighead www.cargocollective.com/pipcraighead

Melanie Chadwick www.melaniechadwick.com

Chris Piascik www.chrispiascik.com

Abe Honest www.flickr.com/photos/abehonest Josh Lafayette www.joshlafayette.com

ISSUE 5 - Q1 - 2011


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Creative Process - Razvan Anghelache


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Process - Pip Craighead


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Process - CHRIS PIASCIK


We are now accepting submissions for the theme:

“PASTIME”

Submission Deadline

06.24.11

Content: We are open to all mediums —doodles, photography, digital, paintings, collages etc. All work should be sent by email, please submit work to pbsubmissions@gmail.com with the title of the current theme. Guidelines: 1. Dimensions: 10 x 10 Inches 2. P lease create your work high res and provide a copy @ 100 dpi. 3. P rovide your contact info with all submissions. 4. O nly send work you want to have considered for publication.

PHOTO BY FRED FRASER

P E C U LI A R B LI S S . C O M


PeculiarBliss Magazine - Issue Five