I had to stop writing comics for my community newsletter earlier this year because it's just gotten way too busy around here. And, I was having a hard time finding thrilling new stories every month (not due to a lack of thrilling things in the hood... more due to my lack of time to track the stories down). Anyway, this month I was thinking so much about a certain back-to-school story that I asked the newsletter team if I could write a comic strip about it. They ran it and here it is.
This story isn't specific to Ramsay (although there certainly seem to be a lot of youthful hipster couples in my neighbourhood these days!). It's my message to all Calgarians who have children attending school: Get involved! School council is just one way. What are you doing? And if you have any great ideas, feel free to send them along. I have a feeling this school-themed comic strip might turn into a monthly thing... if I can come up with enough material. Somehow I have a feeling that won't be a problem... !
Tonight is the Inglewood Night Market, brought to you once again by that superior team of local creative types, find it. And - the weather forecast is stormy. Why does this seem to happen to us every time? I had to write this little comic strip about how ridiculous this is getting.
To see some photos of our volunteers (most of whom have braved the elements on numerous occasions to make this super cool event happen), take a look here. Don't let the pictures fool you. I chose the sunniest pictures to trick people into thinking that coming out to volunteer for us would be a warm walk in the park. In fact, it is a really great event with wonderful people, but let's just face it, you're going to get rained on, hailed on, swept away by a windstorm, or something like that, at least once. So why pretend otherwise? Hence this little comic strip so that folks will find out the real truth about volunteering at the Night Market.
If this tale of adventure whets your appetite for danger and excitement, feel free to show up early (say anytime starting around 3 PM) and lend a hand to the volunteers who are getting things set up. Chances are they may need extra bodies to keep the tents from blowing away. Chocolate is always good too. Or better yet, send them a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and check to see if you can help out. The more umbrellas, the merrier.
In case you're wondering, the market is still on - rain or shine! So be brave! Come out. We'll see you there!
By the way - I put an asterisk next to "derring-do" because I thought I'd write a little explanation at the bottom for folks who aren't familiar with that quaintest of terms. But I forgot, so those of you who don't know what derring-do means will just have to come down to the market and find out!
A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Guilbert of Avenue Magazine. I really liked discovering his enthusiasm for the wide range of creative happenings that are going on around this town. I'm afraid I talked his ear off a bit about all the stuff that I am excited about in my neck of the woods (there is just so much... don't get me started! But do check out the upcoming Inglewood Night Market on Friday, July 10th!).
We also talked about graphic recording, with the idea that readers of Avenue Magazine might be interested to find out more about this cool and strange job description that has somehow ended up being mine. I wasn't exactly sure what the outcome of our conversation would look like, so imagine my surprise when I heard that it showed up in this month's edition of Avenue. (Thanks, Andrew!!)
Hence my attempt to actually put a few new pictures up on this site, in case readers actually head over here to take a look at what this is all about. You can find out more about graphic recording here. This blog is the place I try to post pictures of whatever I'm currently working on or wondering about. In 2015, I've been fortunate to have had so many opportunities to work on cool projects, that there's been very little time for me to post anything. So here's a "catch-up" post with pictures from a few recent projects, to give you some idea of what graphic recording is all about - at least in my version of this practice. If you'd like to learn about this from the official source, I'd recommend checking out the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. They are holding their annual conference in Austin, Texas, in about a week! I won't be able to make it there this time around, but check it out - there might still be room for you there!
The copyright for all of the pictures of the work I did for the organizations mentioned below, is owned by the organizations (as listed in the section titles). That's how it works: after I draw it at your event, it is now yours to keep! Thanks to all of these organizations for allowing me the permission to use the images here, in order to let some of those Avenue readers have a glimpse of some local graphic recording.
And apologies that these online images are really too small to do justice to the detail in the original images. You can also take a look at my photo gallery, in which there are a few more close-ups from past projects.
Green Line Southeast Transitway "Transit Oriented Development" Charrette
You can learn more about this totally exciting urban initiative here. Suffice to say this was one of the most fun - and challenging - projects I've worked on. Each of the pictures below is actually about 32x40" and was drawn in real time at sessions that were about three hours long. I coloured them in afterwards. Stay tuned for more pictures from the next charrette, which are still at the printers'!
Lewis Farms Facility & Park, Edmonton
I drew these pictures at an enormous public engagement event in Edmonton a couple of months back. Now I am excited to see what happens with all these great suggestions from future users of this facility!
Campus Calgary/Open Minds
I loved collaborating with Campus Calgary/Open Minds, an organization that brings local students into real-life "classrooms" such as City Hall, the Zoo, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Canada Olympic Park and other cool places. This picture shows the pencils that always seem to end up in my hair clip. I've done it for years and now I can't stop.
Federation of Calgary Communities "Beyond the Four Walls" Conference
Some people don't realize how important volunteer organizations like Community Associations can be. This group is doing amazing stuff to support CAs, and wants to spread the word! I hope this picture will help to communicate that. You can learn more about the FCC here (on their quite lovely website).
IAFNA 2014 Conference
I had a lot of fun working in Banff at the annual conference of the International Association of Facilitators (North America). I am not a facilitator, but in this line of work, I am always crossing paths with event facilitators. This is a pretty fascinating line of work, too. Diane MacDonald of Diane MacDonald & Associates Inc. invited me to partner with her for a workshop at the conference, and here's one of the things that came out of that!
Alberta Museums Association
The AMA, based in Edmonton, hosted a really interesting and thought-provoking summit on the subject of making museums more relevant and accessible to Albertans - or really, coming up with ways to let Albertans find out more about how amazing, relevant and accessible our museums already are!
Andrew Sibbald School
And this list wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention Andrew Sibbald Elementary School in Lake Bonavista. Its whole community welcomed me as a very new artist in residence and worked with me from January till June 2015 to help come up with ways we could use graphic recording as a tool to capture what learning looks like. I think we ended up with some good results. Here's a graphic recording that reflects what some of the teachers had to say about what makes their school special. Thanks, Andrew Sibbald!!
I wanted to show some examples of mural painting I have done, so I thought I'd post a few pictures here. Most of these murals were painted over ten years ago - since having kids, I haven't been doing as much of this kind of work. It is fun to look back and see all these different projects now.
This first one shows a large exterior mural I painted for Boardwalk Equities Inc. back in 1999. It is four storeys high and was completed in my free time over the course of a summer. It was the first time I'd done anything like this, and I wish I had had a bit more time to plan a better picture... there are quite a few things I would have done differently about the painting itself! However, it was a learning experience and at least the bright colours have stood the test of time. It's still up there now, all these years later.
I like painting the sky. Here is a mosaic sky mural I painted on a vaulted stairwell ceiling in Strathmore, Alberta, about ten years ago.
It's a long story, but I also painted a mural in the lobby of the Plaza Theatre in Calgary's Kensington neighbourhood. I never go to the movies anymore, so I haven't been back there in a long time. I wonder if it's still there? Here's the only picture I seem to have of it - a work in progress shot featuring my painting apprentice on the job. She painted the two outside panels and I painted the centre one.
I've also painted quite a few murals in private homes. Here are two (subjects chosen by my creative clients)
On the left, one of four exterior panels on the Lake Bonavista Rec Centre in Calgary. This one was my favourite of the four. I had fun painting those panels in a studio I rented in ArtPoint Gallery & Studios a long time back.
As for the monster truck mural - it is not exactly what I think of as "high art," but this little boy was just so happy.
I'm just going to post a few pictures of a utility box I painted back in 2012, to show some folks an example of a comic-strip alphabet mural. These pictures are of a painted utility box on Elbow Drive in Calgary. Each of the panels is pretty small (a few inches in width/height), so there isn't room for more than a single phrase and image. Bigger panels would allow for a bit more than this.
I took some notes during Stephanie Chan's panel on "Women Into Comics." It was a pretty engaged audience... and the discussion took a whole bunch of unexpected turns.
It was great to hear from Stephanie, as well as other panels Brittney Leblanc, Mary Arroz, Kara Swanson and Erin Millar. Hope this isn't too small to read! The whole image is here, followed by some closer-ups which I hope are not too small to read.
I am so NOT ready for this year's Expo. Somehow two kids and a full time job got in the way of things this year. But, I'm here! We'll just make things up as we go along. For now, here's what I've got:
1. A new compilation of comics about life in my neighbourhood - Ramsay. Special for the Expo! Come take a look, local comics fans (and fans of local comics)! This is the cover:
And, well, I do have a couple of other things up my sleeve, but I think that will have to wait. Sleep is more important right now! See you soon!
A quick update! Things are always busy around here these days and I just don't have as much time to post things on this blog. The good news is, I have been working on so many cool projects, so one of these days if I ever have the chance, there will be some really fun pictures to look at here. Meanwhile, I just thought I'd post this one short series of pictures about... you guessed it, my neighbourhood, Ramsay.
The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo is coming up soon (April 16 - 19th)! I will be there (in Artist Alley), and I have been putting together a little book of the comics I drew about Ramsay for my community newsletter over the past three years. You can see those here. But I also included a few new things, too.
For example - the drawings I'm posting here were part of a project I worked on a couple of months ago. Swerve Magazine published a few artistic maps of Calgary neighbourhoods, and my contribution was a Ramsay map. These extra drawings were meant as "pop-ups" that you could see when you clicked on the map. Enjoy!
Right at this minute, the third annual Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions is happening in Calgary!
I can't make it this year, but I just remembered that I wrote a blog post about last year's lunch... and then got busy and forgot to post it.
So here it is - a retrospective on last year's event. I am quite sure that what's happening at this year's lunch is equally inspiring for all the attendees. Hopefully I will make it there next time!
Now, back to work...
Last Year's Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions 2014
I was delighted to attend the second annual Mayor's Lunch for Arts Champions last week.
This celebration of the arts in Calgary happened for the first time in February 2013 (I went with the find it team - some amazing volunteers from Inglewood & Ramsay who are currently hard at work getting ready for the 2014 Inglewood Night Markets). Here's my post about last year's Lunch.
The Mayor's Lunch happens at the BMO Centre on the Calgary Stampede grounds. Before the lunch began, everyone mingled around in the lobby enjoying performances by a bunch of youthful Calgary artists.
When we went in for lunch, I recognized the numbers on the tables - as well as the handwritten name tags - as the work of Calgary artist Kirsten Horel. I love her lettering!
Dave Kelly was the MC...
Here's what I learned about Edward, who was also at my table:
One of today's featured Immigrants of Distinction Award finalists was Edward Perez Beltran. He was nominated for the Arts and Culture award.
Edward grew up in Valle De Santiago, located in Central Mexico.
As a child, Edward’s love of sculpture began after seeing his eldest brother playing with modeling clay, which he naturally began playing with as well. With community support, Edward gravitated towards sculpture as not just a hobby, but as a potential career. Upon finishing high school Edward travelled to Salamanca Guanajuato to study the traditional method for sculpting in wax. He was soon making a living as a wax sculptor.
In December 2011, Edward arrived in Calgary where his wife and sculpting partner, Danira Miralda, was waiting for him. At present Edward is working on a body of work that he intends to exhibit here in Calgary. It consists of nine sculptures of which five have already been completed. The work is called Dinamica Perfecta.
Calgary graphic recorder. I like local stories. I write comics when I have free time.
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