Studio Activities April-July 2007

I’ve had a busy few months since my last studio update so it’s high time I did more than repost articles that I’ve written for the CARFAC newsletter. This post summarizes my recent art activities since my last activity report in March, in no particular order. I’ll write individual posts about specific projects either as I have time or upon request. As you’ll soon find out, it’s been somewhat bipolar: up and down, with very little in between. Luckily everything averages out to a positive state of mind for me.

Continue reading

Posted in Art

Creative Connections Panel in Saskatoon

This article was originally published in the July-August 2007 issue of the CARFAC Saskatchewan Visual Artists newsletter under the title “Creative Connections: Mapping Culture and Identity in Saskatoon.” Please note that I’ve added new information that I received after the article was published.

Creative Connections: Mapping Culture and Identity in Saskatoon was a panel presentation given in Saskatoon on June 1, 2007. It was part of the Canadian Cartographic Association’s annual conference which itself was part of the University of Saskatchewan’s Congress 2007. According to the promotional literature, “Creative Connections is one component of the Cultural Capitals Program. Its purpose is to promote Saskatoon’s potential as a creative city and to foster the conditions necessary for creativity to thrive. The project is a partnership among the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the City of Saskatoon, and the University of Saskatchewan.”

The panel consisted of four presenters: Greg Baeker is an urban development consultant, Bill Holden and Nancy Bellegarde work for the City of Saskatoon Planning Department, and Elise Pietroniro is affiliated with University of Saskatchewan GIServices, a provider of mapping and consulting services.
Given this context, the session was fairly data- and tech-heavy and made me wonder if I could write about the project in a way that was of interest to visual artists. In fact, when I first heard about the panel and looked at the list of speakers, I wondered how much of the presentation would be of interest to the cultural sector in general. However, even though the people involved seem to have very little to do with the arts, I found that the project does create optimism for the future of cultural activity in Saskatoon.

Continue reading

Harsh Commentary on Arts Advocacy in Saskatchewan

This post is a series of outtakes and rants that I wrote in tandem with my article “SAA focuses on funding cuts to the arts: Meeting comes up short on strategy” in May 2007 for the June 2007 issue of the CARFAC Saskatchewan Visual Artists newsletter. I had gone to the meeting organized by the SAA (Saskatchewan Arts Alliance) on assignment from my editor, to report on the outcome of the plan “to develop a strategy for improving the dismal state of provincial funding for artists, arts organizations, cultural industries and heritage.” Thinking about the meeting and what was discussed caused me no end of irritation for two weeks, until I finally decided to write everything down. Then I edited. Below is the stuff that didn’t make it past my politeness filters, in all its pugilistic glory. The article that I submitted to my editor is posted here. You might want to read it first, for reference.

I didn’t see the discussion as having been terribly effective in achieving the stated goals of the meeting. It was more of a bitch-and-brainstorm session than a constructive strategic meeting. As such I have no concrete strategy to report on because none was decided upon.

In my opinion the SAA needs to develop a set of desired outcomes rather than spend energy on reactive strategies to the chronic underfunding of the sector. In this way the desired outcomes will drive the strategy. At the meeting I talked about finding champions within government who could carry our torch without dropping it, of developing a culture of conspicuous consumerism of arts and culture as has been done in Britain, of adopting strategies from other sectors where lobbying is successful, of the uphill battle in trying to gain credibility in a demographic which is suspicious of “high culture” to begin with: peasants and protestants.

Continue reading

Arts Alliance Complains About Funding, Discusses Options

This article originally appeared in the CARFAC Saskatchewan Newsletter in June 2007. It was titled “SAA focuses on funding cuts to the arts: Meeting comes up short on strategy”, and billed as “commentary by Ed Pas.” The headline was assigned by my editor and to my mind is a bit inaccurate. But it’s difficult to encapsulate everything I cover in my rant/report so I’m willing to cut him some slack.

On May 1 the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance (SAA) hosted a general meeting of the arts community at The Refinery in Saskatoon. The SAA is a non-profit coalition of arts organizations whose mandate includes advocating on issues such as public funding of the arts, freedom of expression and artists’ working conditions.

The meeting was held in “response to the inadequate and demoralizing allocation for the arts in the [March 2007] provincial budget.” The goal of the meeting was “to develop a strategy for improving the dismal state of provincial funding for artists, arts organizations, cultural industries and heritage.” (Note that in the context of this article, I’ll use the terms “arts” and “artist” broadly to include visual, literary, performing, and media arts.)

Continue reading

JackPine Press Chapbook Project With Lia Pas

Lia and I have had our proposal to create a chapbook accepted by Saskatoon-based JackPine Press. We’ve been sitting on this information for a few weeks now, and have already told a number of people about it in person, but due to overwork and a certain amount of inertia hadn’t gotten around to announcing it on either of our blogs. Here’s the scoop.

The working title of the book is Cryptic Species, and will consist of Lia’s1 poems and my drawings. Thematically, we plan to integrate the anatomical- and body-centric themes of Lia’s recent work with some of my drawings that have a macabre and less metaphysically-serene quality than the work most people usually expect from me. That’s right: dark, moody, and a bit clinical.

Continue reading

Posted in Art

Art Conservation: Supplementary Material

This post contains supplementary material and/or clippings from my article about permanence of artists materials, published in the May 2007 issue of the CARFAC Saskatchewan Visual Artists Newsletter. That post can be found here: http://edpas.net/303/. I was originally planning to include information about conservation issues with digital printmaking, but that will have to wait for a future post.

Continue reading

Conservation of Artists Materials: Workshop Notes and Impressions

This article originally appeared in the CARFAC Saskatchewan Newsletter in May 2007.

I attended the Permanence of Artists’ Materials: Paintings and Works of Art on Paper workshop presented by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) in Saskatoon in March. The workshop was given by two CCI conservators: Debra Daly Hartin, a specialist in paintings, and Sherry Guild, whose expertise is with works on paper. The CCI is an agency of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and was created to promote the proper care and preservation of Canada’s cultural heritage and to advance the practice, science, and technology of conservation.

Continue reading

Debut at Darrell Bell Gallery

Since January I’ve been dropping hints and/or telling people that Saskatoon’s Darrell Bell Gallery had agreed to represent me. But I hadn’t wanted to make an official announcement until there was something to show for it. Now, after what seems like months of preparation, my work is finally on display.

Continue reading

Posted in Art

John Scalzi on Escaping Poverty

John Scalzi is a best-selling science fiction writer, who has an excellent blog that I’ve been following for a few years. Many months ago he wrote a piece called “Being Poor”. I just checked his site to discover that he wrote it in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In any case, this week he’s doing his annual “Reader Request Week,” where rather than writing whatever he feels like writing, he writes on a topic that his readers request. Today’s post is a response to the question “What advice would you give to someone who wants to help folks who are poor (either specific individuals they know, or poor people in their community in general) become not-poor?”

While this topic isn’t specifically directed towards artists, I did find that there were many resonances with what I perceive to be success factors in a creative career.

Continue reading