Thank you so much to all of the incredible artists who came to the Neighbourhood Love Notes Workshop! I was amazed and inspired by the creativity, humour, and compassion brought to each art piece.
At this workshop, we learned guerilla art techniques to create a mischievous love note to post in our neighbourhoods. Like random acts of kindness, guerilla art interventions have the potential to create magical exchanges between strangers, connect us to our communities, and make our neighbourhoods more interesting and lovely places to live. Many of the love notes had tear away tags at the bottom, like this encouraging poster:
Some offered sweet and simple messages:
Many participants blew me away with their out of the box thinking, like these origami Free Birds:
And this free music! "Take a Tune":
This beautiful poster offers secret fortunes to predict its reader's destiny:
Free Everything, and Free Flip Flips!:
Free Dogs, including my favourite, "Banana Dog":
And this delightfully interactive high five!:
And these are just a few examples! Some participants were overflowing with ideas and made more than five love notes each! I love to think about all of these creations being posted on telephone poles and community bulletin boards, adding a dash of mystery and delight to many stranger's days!
Last night was Richmond Advocacy and Support Committee Public Forum. This event created a space for lived experience experts to speak out through story telling, poetry, music, drama, and art on issues that affect them daily. I've been working with the committee for the past few months to create a visual art installation that explores participant's experiences of housing and homelessness.
With disposable film cameras participants documented their first-hand contact with homelessness, poverty, and unstable living situations. We then combined the photos with text generated by the group, and worked together to build a delicate house shaped structure with walls of suspended images.
In this way, participant’s artwork was combined to form an installation which visitors could not only view but also enter, evoking the impression of an ephemeral and unsubstantial shelter.
It was such a delight to work with this group and see all their creativity presented last night. I'm so proud of everyone involved and honoured to have been a part of it.
Thank you so much everyone who joined us at today's Gifts for Neighbours workshop! What a lovely group of creative folks.
We designed and created our own stamps to decorate bags with vibrant patterns. Once the bags were stamped, filled with treats, and labelled, participants took them home to give to a neighbour, friend, or community member. In this way the effects of the workshop will spread outwards, building positive interactions between neighbours, sparking moments of delight, and inviting us to investigate how we can use creativity and playfulness to connect with our community.
Many beautiful patterns were created. I loved watching each art piece grow more and more colourful and layered.
Some stamps were bold simple shapes, other were detailed and delicate.
One efficient participant made a beautiful stamp from other people's tiny scraps!:
And this clever artist figured out how to create stamps with multiple parts, allowing images with multiple colours!:
We had lots of treats on hand to fill up our bags.
I wonder who all the lucky recipients will be?
Wow! We had such an incredible weekend presenting You Are Here at Doors Open Richmond with over 200 visitors to the house!
We displayed the beautiful collaborative art projects created by community members at the last four workshops, including Paper Neighbourhood, a collection of sculptural homes created using mixed media and collage. To create this piece community members delved into their imaginations to build fantastical dream homes, homes remembered from the past, and homes hoped for in the future. Combined, these homes make a delicate and surreal paper neighbourhood.
Archival Photo Shadowboxes: To create Archival Photo Shadowboxes, community members combined photos from the Richmond City Archives with text, ephemera, and found objects to create thought provoking assemblages, each containing it's own story and link to the past of this place.
Altered Map Garland: Altered Map Garland uses maps as a canvas to explore personal interpretations of the local landscape. Community members used printmaking, drawing, painting, and stamping to add symbols, text, and imagery to maps of Richmond, Vancouver, and other parts of the Lower Mainland. We also had an atlas on hand so people could select maps from elsewhere in the world: places we come from, have visited, of have significance to each of us.
And Artist Walking Map: a collaborative portrait of the neighbourhood's meaningful minutiae. Community members went for "artist walks" in the yard or surrounding area, slowing down to notice and sketch overlooked details of the landscape. A balloon caught in a tree, an initial written in the sidewalk, a hummingbird overhead: looking through the eyes of an artist the ordinary becomes captivating, worthy of documentation and celebration.
I also presented my project Walking Atlas. Walking Atlas is an interactive installation of handmade maps, each one representing a different perspective of the same local landscape.
These maps document the process of arrival in a new home and neighbourhood, using personal mapmaking to capture fleeting and often overlooked details of Steveston.
Redrawing the world through a lens of curiosity and wonder, maps include the locations of Steveston’s bird’s nests, where to find the neighbourhood’s most exceptional lawn ornaments, and a commemorative map of last winter's snowmen. Visitors to the installation were invited to take copies of the maps with them to use as navigational guides to re-imagine familiar places.
Walking Atlas documents and celebrates the inconspicuous minutia of Steveston and encourages participants to explore their neighbourhood through a fun, unique and thought-provoking lens.
I was thrilled by visitor's response to You Are Here. Community members who had participated in workshops were proud and excited to see their artwork publicly exhibited. Some people had never been to the house before and were interested to learn about upcoming workshops they could attend. Many folks took maps with them and were excited to check out their unconventional local landmarks.
Photos by Liam O'Brien.
We had a perfect sunny day today for the Artist Walking Workshop! Visitors set out on "artist walks" in the yard and surrounding neighbourhood, slowing down to notice and sketch overlooked details of the landscape.
An unusually shaped tree, a face drawn in the sidewalk cement, a tiny orange flag: once we start looking with the eyes of an artist the ordinary becomes captivating, worthy of documentation and celebration.
Participants were invited to slow down and use all their senses to look at the world with fresh eyes.
Back at the house we added colour and detail to our drawings.
Then we compiled them to create a collaborative map of the neighbourhood's meaningful minutiae.
Every artist brought their own unique perspective to the project. I loved seeing what each person noticed and documented!
This collaborative map will be exhibited at You Are Here during Doors Open Richmond. Visit the upcoming events page for more info!
On Saturday, I met up with a wonderful group of community members from Richmond Poverty Response Committee to do some field work for our upcoming public forum presentation. Over the last few months we've been meeting regularly to work on this presentation, using poetry, song, public speaking, and other creative mediums to express the experience of facing poverty and housing instability in Richmond.
One element of the presentation will be an installation of photos taken by community members with disposable cameras which explore their lived experiences surrounding themes of home and belonging. Stay tuned for more information on this important upcoming event!
We had another wonderful workshop last weekend with great attendance and plenty of enthusiasm. For the Archival Photo Shadowbox Workshop we used photos from the Richmond Archives as art materials to create thought provoking shadowboxes, each containing it's own story and link to the past of this place.
We had lots of archival photos on hand for participants to choose from. We also had two special guests in attendance: Christine, a volunteer from the Friends of the Richmond Archives, and Lori, an artist from Artists Rendering Tales Collective shared their resources and knowledge about Richmond's history, helping workshop participants learn about the backstories of the photos.
We used found objects and paper ephemera to build worlds around our photos.
I loved watching layers of imagery and meaning being created around each photo.
One workshop participant was inspired by a photo of a group of Indigenous fishermen. She used images of plants to indicate traditional net making materials:
Another participant had cherry blossoms on her mind, and was inspired by a family photo with a background of flowers:
This shadowbox represents the participant's appreciation for Steveston's diverse cultures:
Every single shadowbox engaged with local history in its own unique way:
A little found poetry is always a good idea:
Now that I am (mostly) through the walking of creating Walking Atlas, I am moving on to the mapping itself. Walking Atlas will be an interactive installation with handmade maps offered to participants to use as unexpected navigational guides to a familiar landscape. It is also a documentation of my own process of arrival as I explore and learn about this place that is my new home.
Here are a few sketches, corners, notes and snippets from my unconventional cartographic progress.
What a fabulous workshop! We had a great turn out on this sunny afternoon and lots of wonderful work was created. For the Altered Map project, we worked with maps as a canvas to explore what this landscape means to each of us. We used printmaking, drawing, painting, and stamping to add symbols, text, and imagery to maps of Richmond, Vancouver, and other parts of the Lower Mainland.
We also had an atlas on hand so people could select maps from elsewhere in the world. This was a great conversation starter for stories about places we come from, have visited, of have significance to each of us.
As usual, I was so inspired by the enthusiasm, creativity, and diverse approaches everyone brought to their work!
.One innovative participant even used his teabag as an art material.
Younger visitors are always intrigued by the record player!
Always nice to have a little positive feedback: