Dream Home Audiowalk was a wonderful success, thanks to all the community members who came out to experience and support the project.
Dream Home is a site-specific audiowalk which explores the loss, longing, and hope of leaving behind a home. Audience members listening to MP3 players are guided one at a time through the Branscombe House and yard, pausing to hear memories unfold in each room. The recorded stories of Richmond community members with diverse experiences of leaving behind their own homes, from immigration to travel to homelessness and housing instability, are interwoven into the piece. This intimate and haunting experience attempts to honour and share the memories left behind in every vacated home, as well as invite audience members to join as witness to my own goodbye gesture to Branscombe House after a year long residency.
This project wraps up the third and final stage of my residency, which has focused on the universal but personal experience of moving away from a home.
We had a wonderful final hands-on art workshop at Branscombe House yesterday!
Each participant created a lovely lantern. We drew graphic images and layered translucent paper to create these luminous artworks. After the workshop, participants took home their lanterns to brighten their front porches and windows, adding a glow of warmth and welcome to our neighbourhoods.
As always I was inspired by the creative interpretations that each artist brought to their work, adding unique touches and innovative experiments to the process.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for Perfect Strangers at Richmond Culture Days this weekend!
Part walking tour, part platonic blind date, and part social experiment, Perfect Strangers is a delightfully quirky way to meet new people. Participants are paired up and embark on a walk in the neighbourhood, navigating together through a curated journey of questions, conversations, games, and challenges. Perfect Strangers is a one-of-a-kind experience that invites consideration of how we perceive strangers in the world around us and the potential for curiosity, creativity, and empathy to spark between people who might not otherwise meet.
I was excited to bring a more experimental project to Branscombe House, and it was great to see so many participants willing to engage and connect with each other. Created in collaboration with June Fukumura, Cindy Mochizuki, Sophia Wolfe, & Daniel O’Shea, this was out first public showing of the project and we are excited to continue its development.
This project concludes the second phase of my residency, which has focused on themes of connection, and disconnection between neighbours and community members, investigating how we can use art and creativity to bridge gaps to create positive interactions.
Thank you to all artists who came out on this rainy afternoon to create postcards! We had such a fabulous turn out that we were running out of places at the table!
At this workshop we created unique postcards to send to our loved ones. We used images of Richmond as art materials to make beautiful collages that illustrate this place we call home, to send to dear ones near and far. As usual, I was impressed and inspired by the diversity and creativity of each art work which was produced. Many participants let their imagination run wild and created fantastical and funny collages:
The "Harpy Queen of Richmond":
This postcard features a unique unfolding flap feature:
The combination of photos of a familiar landscape and bold graphic graphic collage elements was very striking.
We had postage stamps on hand so the postcards could be mailed! I myself LOVE receiving snail mail, so I'm excited to think about all the lucky recipients of the these postcards. Finding a beautiful, handmade work of art in the mailbox is sure to brighten anyone's day. Mailing the postcards extends the reach of this project around the world.
Many participants created personalize postcards with specific recipients in mind:
This postcard is on its way to the artist's grandparents in Australia, inviting them to visit Garry Point Park:
Of course I loved this one:
We had a wonderful workshop yesterday at Richmond Art Gallery. Inspired by the gallery's current exhibition, Home Made Home by Germaine Koh, we created accordion folding zines about what home means to each of us.
Through mixed media and collage we expressed our own unique interpretations of home. We had a great turn out of enthusiastic artists!
I loved seeing how participants immediately began thinking outside the box, creating zines with 3-D pop up features:
This brilliant artist figured out how to join pages to create a giant zine!
Many participants used found imagery to create personal symbols for family members, meaningful places, and memories that connect to their experience of home:
I also brought along my collection of zines by many different artists for participants to browse and get inspired. Many people had never heard of a zine before and loved the diversity of amazing zines in my little library!
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.