Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas

Photos by George Pimentel

From 3:30 - 5:30 October 25th, 9 Designers' Collections were shown via individual videos. Once was not enough to absorb the clothing, the background, the music, the story, and so each was repeated at least 3 times to get the complete picture. Even then, we wanted more. 

You can also watch the shows here!

Star attractions included: Carleton Jones (USA), Dnezil Mapfumo (UK), Diana Rikasari (Indonesia),  Feelomena (Italy), Glaze Kohl (Japan), Hamon (Jaan), Lola Faturotiloves (USA), Ozlana (Australia_ and Rebeca Rebeca (Norway).

It is really worthwhile to look everyone up and see the array of talent and accomplishment on the International scene. You can also connect up to follow and/or to purchase what you might not find in local stores. I have chosen to highlight the 3 videos/collections that are my favourites. As you do your own research of the 9, make your choices and shout them out on social media and on their sites. Everyone deserves to be in the spotlight! More at: Vanfashionweek.com and Vanfashionweek Instagram  and Van Fashion Week Facebook.

Diana Rikasari, from Indonesia put together 13 looks, so colourful, so visual, so streetwear and so unique! During COVID 19, she was at home and recycled everything there to make her designs. She is a Writer, Blogger, Public Speaker, Designer and a top Fashion Influencer. She wants you to look beneath perceptions. For example, maybe the number 13 is bad luck, but she made 13 beautiful pieces, so finds the good in as much as she can and encourages everyone to do the same. Loved the green coat with pink collar and lapels, in fact I am a fan of her shorts, jackets, coats and dress/coat combinations. Marilyn R.Wilson has an extensive write up and interview with Diana here and you can find Diana on Instagram here.

Glaze Kohl by Designer, Michiko Ueda from Japan, is a beautifully detailed, vintage to modern collection. Stripes, silky fabrics, layers, complexity of design, SUGOI! Elegant fit, perfect accessories: seamed stockings, subtle but sparkling earrings, bracelets, belts, and yes, vintage shoes! There was black and white, deep blue, pops of yellow, but the whole presentation was a statement of the best of the past brought to now. I loved the delicate blouses, each with different sleeves....striped shorts were flattering, as was every other outfit. Fabrics are made in Japan and Michiko has many years as a Buyer and Vintage Store Owner, both of which are reflected here. Glaze Kohl was launched in 2018 but it is that Classic that you have seen over many years. WOW. Once again, please read Marilyn's interview at here Find Glaze Kohl on Instagram here.

Lola Faturoti of Lola Faturotiloves came to the USA via Nigeria, and London and finally landed in NYC. She left home early to follow her dreams and to be free and is now teaching other women to do the same through her Lola Love Cargo Brand. Of African heritage, she designed a dress to celebrate Obama's election. The design was based on Kente Cloth Designs from the Ashante Tribe in Ghana. Her collection is so full of vibrant colours. As she says, "Colour is how the soul knows it's in the presence of beauty." Her video featured outfits in a series of 3, each shot, and all against a fabulous mural. Dare to be different; dare to be bold. See it all on her website here and instagram here.

I missed my camera and being near the runway watching and sharing reactions to the collections. These videos, though, are so professional and most get you dancing! Technology, GRR but GREAT!

Thanks again to Kate Mullen, Public Relations and Media Manager vanfashionweek.com.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Written by Colleen Tsoukalas

Photos by George Pimentel

This season, we watched Vancouver Fashion Week, online, October 24th and 25th, from 3:30-5:30. We knew it was coming, and after lots of street fashion photography heads up, the schedule was up! The introduction featured a behind the scenes look at hair and make-up and runway previews. Catchy and quick, it invited watchers directly into an efficient schedule of seven designers: Marisa P. Clark, FAUN, Jordan Kendrick, JK Designs, Libere, Naked, Sabina Low: Sabina Low Official, Jae Smane; Jaesmane, John Pfaff; Skip Floa. Designers presented a video and then their runway collection, with a 15 minute interval between shows. 

I found the Vancouver Fashion Week Designer write-ups informative and the videos showed the range of each collection. Without these, the runways would only be part of the whole story of the inspiration, cultural background, training and focus of Designers and their work. Even more background for the shows, is provided by writer, Marilyn R. Wilson as she interviewed many. I look forward, too, to the analyses of Andrew Jackson. Both of them, as Media, attended the taping of the shows, Oct. 24th, in an almost empty, carefully socially distanced space. So thanks to them for always being there. I miss their voices and all of the other conversations that happen during Fashion Week as we knew it over so many seasons.

Here are my impressions of the shows. I encourage you to look at the websites and instagram for more details and purchase information. I saw a lot of red and orange and can see myself in one of each. Lots of interesting jackets, tees and hoodies. Braids, studs, cutouts, patches, straps, streetwear, workwear, informal and formal. Colour and energy, what more?

First up was Faun Studio by Calgary based Marisa P. Clark. Fresh, sunny yellows and bright whites, masks matched the outfits, silky material made casual, ready to wear, look luxurious. A variety of pants and a stunning jumpsuit were favourites. Loved the fit and elegance of this collection. Marissa's mom, a seamstress in Viet Nam, taught her to sew early. She retains her connection to Viet Nam by partnering with a Production Company there, to ensure sustainable fabric and practice. 

JK Designs by Jordan Kenrick was prefaced with a fantastic video. Lively, fast paced and great music! The jewel tones, especially dark pink colours were favourites. I liked the jumpsuit and a white, off the shoulder dress. This is a made to measure collection and the fit of each piece attests to that. Pacific Northwest Luxury, imagine. Much needed during this time of at home casual. More at 

Jae Esmane of Jaesmane is from the Philippines but Vancouver based, now and a Grad of VCAD, here, 2017. A classically trained pattern drafter, he is interested in shape and form. But he takes his inspiration from everything: Art, Architecture, History, Techno Culture and more. Designing for men and women, his matched shirt and short sets are cool as are his dresses and scarves. Loved the asymmetric dress with cutout detail and the orange vinyl ruffle dress. Great colour and style. 

Vancouver based Designer Rain Secil Turhan is the Designer of Naked, a collection reflecting the search for inner balance and acceptance and the push for self expression. It is a statement collection with its black studs and vinyl. Though the videos music was quiet, this is not a quiet collection with its strong blacks, transparent vinyl and powerful reds. It is layers: masked, skin and blood, protected but pulsing. I liked the reds, best. This is a collection of hand made sustainable pieces that come directly from her to you. Rain grew up in Turkey and Canada, which brings language and journey, fitting in yet expressing creative individuality, all to the common mix that is Fashion. 

Sabina Low is a 17 year old Vancouver Designer who showed her first public collection. Designed and produced here, this collection is colourful and young. I loved the orange sundress with belts as straps. The fabrics are silky and luxurious looking. I like the white, off the shoulder dress as well as a long, hooded blue one. For next Spring and Summer, you will want this line.

Libere Official features street style clothing for men and women. I liked the hoodies, cargo pants with straps, and the wide variety of jackets. Arty T-shirts catch the eye. The brand inspiration: LIBERE =REBORN (LOTUS) in black and white pattern on tops and pants, was really different. Saw some bags and would have liked to have seen a group of them on the runway to be picked up and carried on the walk back. 

John Pfaff''s Collection, Skip Floa has a wonderful variety of jackets, especially! I liked the black with coloured panels and a longer one, worn over pants. Many of the outfits featured patches of different colours. Skip means, literally to skip along, like kids do, and the models seemed to impart this feeling as they walked the runway. Floa means love of animals and John supports many charities for them. Miss Teen Canada 2020, Keena Klee and Miss Canada 2020, Bremiella de Gusman looked fantastic in their dresses, one an orange dress with floral panels and the other in orange and yellow. Bri Lina Shuang Zheng and Myriam Callot also brought the designs to life. Sunshine and new looks for these times.

Thanks again Vancouver Fashion Week for bringing the shows back, safely and with lots of  Design! Thanks Kate Mullen, Public Relations and Media Manager, VFW!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Written by Treasure Seeker Colleen

My days during COVID 19, seem to revolve around escape; I escaped to events like Art Vancouver, Art Downtown, and Vancouver Mural Fest, this summer, and now. As I visit a friend in South Granville, I walk to Granville Island to the new bookstore, Upstart & Crow, where I bought two books. whose titles: "The Midnight Library" and "The Glass Hotel" are places I have enjoyed escaping into. Imagine visiting a library where you could choose books that take you to lives you might have lived. And, if I were visiting the remote, rainy dark forests of Vancouver Island, especially around Port Hardy, I would be very intrigued by a sparkling Glass Hotel, accessible by boat only, and a destination for the rich. I know you are going to ask me where Fashion comes into my reading. I always imagine what the characters look like and what they are wearing. Because Vancouver Fashion Week has provided so many opportunities to see the work of local and international Designers, I remember the sets and runway shows and imagine how these might bring a book to a stage or movie. Having been so fortunate to bring Student Designers/Illustrators to Vancouver Fashion Week, keeps me thinking about new fashion perspectives for now and for the future. Here are Student Illustrators at VFW, not so long ago here.

Matt Haig, an award winning British author, introduces Nora Seed, who has great potential but has realized none of it and now, contemplating the end to a life of regret and unfulfilling routines, has a chance to look at how paths she now regrets not taking, might not have worked out as perfectly as she imagined. Although she wants her guide, a librarian from her high school days, to help her choose the book of her best life, she has to make the choice to make the life she really wants. For me, this was a longer read, one that took the same kind of persistence that watching the movie "Groundhog Day", took. I can easily envision Fashion Program students at any one of our wonderful fashion schools, taking on illustrations and outfits for each of Nora's incarnations: Olympic Swimmer, lead singer in a rock band, and many other ideal lives, none of which are her ideal until she chooses her own way to live her best life. I can imagine how they would bring fresh ideas to dressing the librarian, too, being mindful of stereotyping the job of librarian and her age. Our iconic Vancouver Public Library main branch would be the perfect setting for magic and transformation. I think Carolyn Bruce could easily design some symbolic book jackets and book marks and her steampunk/skull jewelry, especially brooches, and necklaces might enhance the magic and mystery of the characters and the setting. Here is Carolyn Bruce's staging and jewelry on stage.  Matt Haig's writing takes readers to new places.  So the subtitle on the cover page: One library. Infinite Lives, sums this one up, nicely. In 2020, there is a way out. More at www.matthaig.com

Emily St. John is Canadian and her latest, The Glass Hotel, is situated on Vancouver Island, and also in Toronto,  and NYC, although the lead character, a wealthy New York Investment Businessman and hotel owner, Jonathan Alkaitis, works and has multiple residences all over the world. He is a confident, charmer, who offers Vincent, a beautiful bartender, a chance to join him in a life free of ever worrying about money, again. But there are hints of trouble from the beginning. Vincent, whose favourite quote, etched by her into a window of her high school, is: "Sweep me up!" And she is swept into Jonathan's Gatsby like world, where he never takes responsibility for the financial destruction of everyone's lives. A second quote, sketched by her older brother, another lost soul,  on the lobby window of the hotel, "Why don't you swallow broken glass", is intended for Jonathan, but of course, he doesn't see it and avoids the threat. As St. John describes: "He carried himself with the tedious confidence of all people with money, that breezy assumption that no serious harm could come to him." So this is a story of being vulnerable, for many reasons: death of a parent, divorce, abandonment, poverty, to list a few reasons, and consequently being swept up and into addiction, ambition, greed, irresponsibility, and poor choices. One story becomes many lives that go well for a while and then end in catastrophe. And not only that, but there are ghosts and the dead are always there. They appear on the dance floor, on a ship, in a jail cell, a dreadful reminder of bad deeds done. In the end, the hotel is still there, empty except for the caretaker who will never trust another human again, and just wants to look after the glass hotel. This is another complex read, one that made me ask if there was any hope for any of the characters.  However, there is retribution and that counts for something. Great writing and I would visit that hotel; imagine a glass and cedar monument to brighten, "...the forest outside (that) seemed mostly dark, the shadows dense and freighted with menace." We have so many special, local Designers who could easily dress and stage a show of "The Glass Hotel". As I was reading, I thought of Shelley Klassen and her store, Blushing Boutique, as a setting for Vincent's shopping on 5th Avenue, NYC. Giovanna Ricci's elegant designs would be great for Vincent's work at the exclusive hotel, and for her daily shopping expeditions with other rich friends, and Sam Stringer's evening dresses, maybe some green/blue translucent fabrics for that sea (swept away) connection or gold, for the story of money. For the ghosts, well, Evan Clayton could certainly create vivid, dynamic designs and sets that would compel one to look and remember and be afraid, be very afraid. After all, ghosts do haunt for a reason. 

Two award winners and days of escape from here to there! A reminder that Fashion is the vision that brings story to life.

Monday, September 7, 2020

I met Tracy at VALT, a few years ago at Vancouver's VALT 2016 and was delighted to reconnect with her, through Fashion Splash at the beginning of 2020. Dianna and I went to Victoria to follow the steps in creating this show, and shared the initial photography sessions on Clothes Line Finds. Tracy is a creative and unique Designer. I have to thank Marilyn R Wilson for her leadership in the COVID 19 Interviews and highlighting the ongoing accomplishments of our creative community. Thanks to Tracy Yerrell for her wonderful, thoughtful contribution.

1. Please tell us about your art/design/business, length of time, goals...

I’m Tracy Yerrell, founder, owner, and operator of Bat Fish Studio since its beginnings in 2011.

I have been a professional designer for all of my working life, with my first big job working on Expo '86 and designing the visuals for the Vintage car Show in BC Place. I had my own design business in Vancouver where my clients included UBC Alumni and Burnaby Arts Council. Inspiria Design Group was very involved with raising money for the 'Shadbolt Centre for the Arts' designing many of the events and auctions used to raise awareness. I also branded the Vancouver Maritime Museum with the logo that they use to date. Relocating to Vancouver Island for family reasons, I was hired by the Victoria Conservatory of Music to rebrand them and take care of their marketing, I then ended up as the Marketing Specialist at Saanich City Hall overseeing all advertising and marketing for four community centers. But I was frustrated in my efforts to do something that really made a difference. I left my last job seeking something more and when inspired by the birth of my new granddaughter, I created a line of children's clothing called Baby Boss Rules in 2011.

While selling at local markets on and around Vancouver Island, I had repeated requests to create a adult line of clothing using the same edgy, steampunk inspired aesthetics. But now with this new member of the family it seemed all the more important to go on to create a line of clothing and products that would address the way we deal with our textile waste. When I realized that over 85 pounds per person, per year, ends up in a landfill, I was horrified. This sparked a commitment and determination to make a difference.

I knew if individuals nurtured a connection with pieces in their wardrobe, they would be less likely to just cast them aside. I wanted to challenge people's perception of how fabrics can be used and reused. Just because it was created as a pair of curtains doesn't mean it can't be re-envisioned into a beautiful summer dress. Those incredible hand embroidered tablecloths our grandmothers took hours to complete, can now live on as stunning boho gypsy tops. I wanted to think outside the box by creating sustainable products but also by inspiring individuals to think about the clothes they choose to wear. Clothes are an extension of who we are and what we believe. Additionally, I included my original artwork by using the silk screened images as a way of altering existing outfits, creating an emotional connection, resulting in giving the garment a whole new lease on life.

So it has become my goal as an eco designer to create sustainable fashion by working with up-cycled, repurposed and reclaimed textiles. By using innovative design, unconventional materials such as bicycle tires and inner tubes, found objects, upholstery fabrics, seat-belts, and of course reclaimed textiles, the products go on to become wearable art.

Over time, I’ve developed 6 lines using waste as a creative source:

Bat-Fish Originals – These are pieces of clothing that are made from scratch using reclaimed textiles and repurposed fabrics i.e., bed linen, table clothes, curtains, dead stock, tapestry over cuts, fabric used in set design of local theatre productions or movie sets. They are cut from pattern pieces and sewn together to create a finished garment, and they even contain my screened artwork.

The Fused Line – These pieces are made by using already existing garments that have been altered or edited including my silk screened images and/or other forms of embellishment to create a new envisioned piece, giving it a whole new lease on life.

Molly Lee Vintage – Sourced vintage pieces, laundered, repaired, and restored to the original state. Rediscovering and wearing vintage clothing is a great way to keep them from ending up in the landfill. This line is named after my late mother who was a fashion designer in London in the late 1940's and early 1950's

Bat-Fish Accessories – This is a line of pieces that have be made from reclaimed and repurposed textiles and include belts, backpacks, fascinators, small silk screened drawstring bags, toques, and eye masks.

Tube*Bella - (beautiful tube in Italian) – This is a line of jewellery that is made from the inner tubes of bicycles tires and found objects. It includes earrings, pendants and green goddess chokers (statement pieces).

Baby Boss Rules – My first line of clothing for children and babies. I have been focusing on the adult lines over the past years, but I really want to revive this label and have it available from Bat-Fish Studio soon. Stay tuned.

2. How did you reach people before Covid19

Before Covid19, Bat-Fish Studio was a regular fixture at local Vancouver Island markets and events. I was a designer involved in taking part in fashion shows; I presented information sessions on up-cycling and repurposing textiles. I also conducted workshops and instigated and participated in regular pop up shops around Victoria.

3. How has Covid19 affected you and your staff/fellow artists

When Covid 19 first hit home at the beginning of March I stared in disbelief at my Facebook feed and email as all the markets I had booked into throughout 2020 were cancelled. At first, I really thought it was something temporary and we would be back to 'normal' perhaps by July? August? Those are some of my best months for summer markets. But as time passed and it became more and more clear that this was a long term situation that would affect every aspect of how I do business.

My interaction with customers is a fairly personal one with them trying on clothing and jewellery in a fairly small changing room, while I talk to them about fast fashion, textile waste etc, etc. With the cancellation of planned events and the resulting isolation Covid19 created, there were no more public venues to meet and interact with people and form connections. Without these personal relationships, there was not an opportunity to share the concept or products that Bat-Fish Studio produces.

As a result, Covid 19 has caused me to completely rethink about how to communicate and reach my market as well as to further hone in on what I want to achieve.

I’ve had to rely more upon the written word instead of conversations with people in the community. Opportunities have presented themselves to reach more people via the internet as well as the opportunity to provide personal shopping with a very customer oriented approach.

4. What strategies are you using to reach people now? new projects... websites....

I had to dig deep and take the time to rethink and reevaluate how I could keep my business going. I have been busy developing a lot of new strategies. I’m especially excited for my studio redesign. Instead of a working studio, I’m also incorporating space for personal shopping (including a nice changing room) as well as an improved space for hosting small workshops.

It has forced me to focus on having my website as a hub, for all things Bat-Fish. I had been thinking of taking it to a brick and mortar store at one point, after all, the pop up shops had always done well. But this is all about getting everything online in one place and sharing all sides of what Bat-Fish Studio does. By the end of the year, I plan to have a wonderful new website. It’s taking a bit of time, but I want to ensure that it tells the whole story, while profiling the wide variety of sustainable fashion created using reclaimed materials. But it's also important to include the ideology that is Bat-Fish Studio. And further down the road I plan to write a sustainable fashion blog. I’m also using Facebook to create more of a connection with clients by sharing works in progress, last week I demonstrated me silk screening.

So I'm taking this opportunity to really put time and thought into how to connect with my customers but also to educate myself on what is going on throughout the world in the Fashion Industry. I took a 6 week online course, 'Fashions’ Future and the Sustainable Development Goals created by Fashion Revolution. It was a great chance to add to my knowledge; connect with like-minded people, and be inspired.

5. Do you have a favourite quote, book, work of art, mentor, role model that moves you forward.

Hm, I love quotes. I’m always finding quotes that speak to me and inspire me. These are a few of my favourites:

C.S. Lewis - “you are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream”.

I love the simplicity and truth of this.

Scott Belsky - “nothing extraordinary is achieved by ordinary means”.

In order to make change in our society, we have to encourage individuals to think outside the box and to see textiles in a new light. To see the possibilities of a couch cushion as a purse; or a tablecloth as a dress, with fabrics having a sustainable future instead of being a disposable single-use item. Textiles can morph into many creations which are both useful and beautiful instead of ending up in the landfill.

“Magic is that little extra special quality in all of us that comes out when we just challenge ourselves a little more.” - Dan Scanlon

This reminds me that society's behaviour with fast fashion can be changed to create a better world by believing that if everyone takes small actions, together we can effect big change. And, isn’t that magic!

There is a slew of designers I find inspiring: Alexander McQueen, Betsy Johnson, Christian Siriano; environmentalist Greta Thunberg; scientist David Suzuki; ethical fashion designer and co-founder of Fashion Revolution, Orsola de Castro; podcaster of Wardrobe Crisis, and former Vogue sustainability editor, Claire Press; as well as Daniel Silverstein of Zero Waste Daniel, a designer from New York who uses offcuts from the fashion industry.

I find inspiration in so many places: blogs, podcasts, books, architecture, other designers, environmentalists, the textures in nature, and in the wide variety of fabrics and textiles that exist.

My mother, also a designer, has always been a role model, not only as an artist but in following your heart by being true to yourself. In addition she encouraged my creativity as a child as I brought home endless scraps and found objects of so called garbage that I thought were treasure and I would set about to transforming them into new creations! I have always been profoundly inspired by unconventional found objects and the potential to use them in unorthodox ways.

6. Next steps

I think I’ve already mentioned the changes I’m working on. Otherwise, I just hope to inspire more people to rethink how they can reuse textiles in their life and to create a better world through sustainable fashion.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tracy.yerrell.5

Facebook: www.instagram.com/batfishstudio

Monday, August 31, 2020

 Jennifer Angers Daerendinger is a Gallery Owner and Artist, previously based in Vancouver, but now based in Sarnia, Ontario. Not only did she have a gallery in Vancouver,  but she took her Art to many charity events including Little Black Dress Gala. I first met Jennifer at ROAM Gallery, in Vancouver and then met her again at the Little Black Dress Gala and Art Vancouver. Jennifer is featured in our 2017 Little Black Dress Gala post here and the last Art Vancouver event here

In addition to her fantastic gallery in Sarnia and contributions to traveling art exhibitions, Jennifer also features new Artists with daily horoscopes as a way to draw intention to Art. I always look forward to these! 

Some of her Artists recently were part of Art Vancouver, Art Downtown, so timing is perfect for an interview! I asked her to tell us more about ROAM and what she is doing to keep her Artists in the spotlight, during COVID 19. She continues to bring Art to us in Vancouver, as well as in Sarnia.

Thanks to Marilyn R. Wilson for the Covid 19 interview idea! 

Jennifer, Colleen, and Keiko

From a 2015 Roam Event in Vancouver

From a 2015 Roam Event in Vancouver

At the recent Art Vancouver event - Roam gallery Artist Roman Rozumnyi

At the recent Art Vancouver event - Roam gallery Artist Iris Mes Low

Please tell us about your business: length of time; audience; main goals?

I opened Roam Gallery in November of 2013 as a brick & mortar gallery in City Square Shopping Centre in Vancouver. At that time I only had a Facebook page and by 2015 I had a website up and running. My audience is everyone who loves art and my clientele includes both artists and art lovers. To be honest, I saw a whole lot of artists who were really very good but who were unable to find a place in galleries alongside the more established artists, so my goal became to bring exposure to these unknown talents by providing a professional environment where they and an art-appreciating public could connect. 

How did you work with people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?

So because my gallery went online in 2018, when I moved from Vancouver to Sarnia, it’s been pretty much business as usual. The only thing that has been difficult has been the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and shipping because artists have had challenges getting what they need in order to create. That has slowed sales somewhat but I’m confident that as the country begins to return to a more normal business flow, things will return to the previous more consistent sales model.  Besides which, prior to the pandemic, because Shawn Bergman chose Roam as the official gallery of Canuck the Crow, we had gained a worldwide audience that continues to visit the virtual Canuck exhibition on our site. 

How has social isolation affected your business and you and your staff/artists?

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working remotely from my home office for many years, so isolation is nothing new to me; besides which, technology allows me to be in constant contact with artists and buyers alike and through social media, I have been able to create safe spaces for the artists to show their work. When the world first went into lockdown, I wasn’t going out as much so I had the time to get even more creative with how I promote the artists. That has opened up new avenues for exposing their work to potential buyers, for example, anyone in the Sarnia area can stop-in to Dog Eat Dog in Mitton Village or to Urban Escape Inc. downtown to see original work by some of Roam Gallery’s artists. 

What are some of your strategies to reach your audience at this time?

Maintaining a constant and consistent presence on Instagram and Facebook continues to be integral to keeping the artwork out there for prospective buyers to see. I often get told that FB is passé and Instagram is for the “young and beautiful” so both platforms reach different audiences which alone might not be as affective, but in concert together provides great exposure. Both serve well to direct everyone to our website and because that website is maintained so effectively, there are always new artists and new art to reward the visitors!

Do you have a motto, mantra, role model, mentor, work of art, something that keeps you moving forward during COVID-19?

Life is hard. You have to keep moving through it. I have nothing but empathy for what many people are going through with this pandemic, so the artists and I have worked hard to put something positive out there for others to enjoy and that began with the “Have a Heart” show where all work was priced at $125. The intent was to give others something to smile at that was also more budget-friendly for anyone going through tough times. To coin a phrase - “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

Read more on Jennifer's Facebook page or her website here!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

I first met Laura Noonan and Tara Mary Paget at an exhibit of their photographs of people and places on the Eastside of Vancouver. She and Tara are partners in MeetMeAtTheLamp(p)ost. I share an Irish name, Colleen, and a bit of Irish family heritage and when I see them, I think about a visit, some day. Although I have seen Tara at the Massybooks exhibit, I see Laura more, now, through her work with Art!Vancouver. She has taught me how to take a selfie and how to do more on Instagram, toured me through Art Exhibits, visited me BWSS_MSC, My Sister's Closet Thrift Boutique, to pick up an outfit for the real Kentucky Derby, shared her exhibit Art!Vancouver and has invited me to watch her paint Art!Vancouver at Cathedral Square, Fridays 11-2, throughout the summer. So busy, so energetic and enthusiastic, she took the time to tell us more about MeetMeAtTheLamp(p)ost and how finding magic in the small things, the every day world around us, is so important right now. Thank you Laura Noonan and Tara Mary Paget and, as always, to MarilynR.Wilson, who led the way for the COVID 19 Interviews. See all interviews here.

Meet me at the Lamp(p)ost

1. Tell us more about your business and how long you have been working at it. Goals, audience, events, etc.

Meet me at the Lamp(p)ost is a visual art collaborative established here in Vancouver, in 2016, by Irish-born, Canadian residents Laura Noonan and Tara Mary Paget. The premise of our work is focused on the idea of contentment in self and place. We aim to highlight the beauty in the mundane and splendor of everyday life. Our work is concentrated in the present and committed to challenging the status quo. We are guided by notions of gratitude and questioning as a means of capturing stillness in a world full of transient moments.

The body of work we have presented since 2016 reflects a lens-based exploration of the landscape, people and architecture that make up East Vancouver. East Vancouver breathes creativity and acts as an illuminative backdrop for self expression and contemplation.

Our work is currently on display at Bean Around the World on Granville and 14th and we will be exhibiting at Art Downtown, Lot 19, in association with the Vancouver Visual Art Foundation on August 12, 2020.

2. How did you reach your audience before covid 19? 3.What are you doing now to reach
them during this time of social isolation?

Since the beginning, Meet me at the Lamp(p)ost has endeavored to separate itself from virtual platforms of presentation. Our online presence has always been significantly minimal, and we have tried to steer away from virtual engagements with our audience. Our focus instead has been directed at physical connection and experience. COVID-19 has given birth to a whole new genre and era of social, and by extension, artistic interaction. In many ways we could view this as a negative reckoning so to speak but we don’t. We are accustomed to standing in opposition to ‘e-interaction’ and have always advocated for the attainment of a tangible and quantifiable truth. A truth that can only be found by way of human connection. Fighting against the status quo is something we are very familiar with. As society submerges itself deeper into the depths of the world wide web, Meet me at the Lamp(p)ost can be found swimming in double time towards land. We will never compromise the weight and importance we place on physical connection and until such time that we are in a position to interact with and present to our community again, we will continue to study, continue to self reflect and continue to grow.

4. How has COVID 19 affected you and your colleagues/friends/work group?

It’s interesting because despite the distress COVID-19 dispensed i.e. exhibition cancellations paired with the inability to interact in and with our community, it presented an opportunity to really reflect and root ourselves in our present moment. It allowed us the opportunity to realign our feelings and attitude towards the things we are thankful for and the way in which we assign a hierarchy to our priorities. This in essence is the mandate Meet me at the Lamp(p)ost champions – the banality of everyday life and the wonder that can be realised in the simple things, the little things. The onset of COVID-19 meant that we had no other choice but to find joy in our present self and place and this is
the feeling we wish to conjure in each and every person that stumbles upon or engages with Meet me at the Lamp(p)ost.

5. What moves you forward? Do you have a mantra, model, book, photo, country?? something that motivates you? Next Projects?

We are very excited to be working on a brand-new body of work, centred on the human brain, its mechanisms, and our never-ending pursuit of identity as visceral and functioning members of society. We aim to delve into both the conscious and unconscious realms of the mind to ultimately arrive at an understanding of self. Our directive around the promotion of contentment in self and place translates and applies itself to this project tenfold. Our aim is to elevate our exploration of thoughts around contentment in self and place by focusing directly on the human psyche. COVID-willing, we hope to be in a position to present this work in a physical sphere in 2021.

Email: meetmeatthelamppost@gmail.com

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