Saturday, November 30, 2013

Janet Strayer: Eastside (Vancouver) Culture Crawl Report

photo of Janet Strayer by JK
Thanks to all who came to visit at this year's lively and festive Eastside Culture Crawl in Vancouver. Three days of art, art, art!

Very different from the pace and setting I love at Saturna, but also a welcome experience each year. This is my third year as an artist participant.

Our studio at 1000  Parker Street (#202) contains five painters and has become a lovely showplace. Three other  studio-mates and painters participated in this year's Crawl: Meredith Aitken, Debbie Bakos, and Katerine Gordon.

This year, over 400 artists were part of the Crawl in Vancouver. We and the community meet, greet, and enjoy the too-muchness of it all! An interview I gave to a camera man covering the event for City TV was the last coherent event I recall. The rest, except for some striking conversations and people, is a bit of a blur right now. But I'm still standing in his photo, propped against a studio wall showing my newest paintings.

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Inter-Island Culture Shock: It's a Good Thing

View from inside boat
Galiano  and Saturna are two small islands in the Salish Sea. They are part of a beautiful archipelago called the Gulf Islands (in Canada) and the San Juans (in the US).  Sitting nicely across from Vancouver, BC, regularly scheduled daily ferries take you to these wonder spots. Day trips from island to island, though, are not so easy -- unless you have a hardy boat: some of the water passages are tricky. 

around Galiano dock
I live on Saturna and I'm a painter, as you may know from earlier posts. Each island here is different from the others. But I guess they all share something of an "island culture". One way I glimpse this culture-shift in myself  (I spend half the week on-island and half in Vancouver) is as easy as looking in the mirror. I look different once my feet hit island ground. My face broadens, my eyes deepen, my feet tread differently. 

Janet Strayer & Jack Campbell
Not surprisingly, these islands call to creative artists of all sorts. They're magical in nature, filled with sea and sky and trees and creatures, with breathing room for inspiration, and isolated enough to let one listen to, and do, what creatively is called for.

Although each island has a "culture", planned inter-island cultural events aren't common.  So I want to celebrate one on Galiano that features several Saturna painters and fabric artists.
Insight Gallery entryway

With the help of a small grant, a group of us were picked up by boat at the Saturna dock on a gorgeous day and sped off royally to Galiano (half hour away). Similar arrangements had been made to transport a group of visitors from other nearby islands.  

Saturna artists were escorted from the dock via a cute little bus that took  us to the Insight Gallery, built for showing art in this lovely setting and run by Tish Saunders. We were made so welcome, with food and wine and great company.

It was amazing to see how beautifully the show of paintings and fabric art had been displayed. The setting was just right. And the poetry reading  added another art form to the visual. You can follow more about this show, running all September, on the ArtSaturna website.

The opening party was yesterday, and what a treat it was. People flocked in all afternoon. They were interested and interesting, including a large contingent of fellow artists of all persuasions. 

It was terrific to hear all the laudatory comments and insights. I think all the participating artists shared my enthusiasm. Why curb it?  I want personally to thank several people, all new to me, in whose glowing remarks I still bask. How generous of you.

Lest you think only the big city artists do it, several island-dwelling artists I met told me their works sell out yearly on island! So, maybe "making it" as an artist doesn't  have to go the big city route. I'm no expert on this, but I know there are many out there who may be. What do you think?

Today's Thought

How can you not have an adventure when you live on an island?
-- Janet

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Saturday November 30 from 4-6 at Saturna Cafe:  opening for "Home & Away", a show of 2013 linocuts.

by Karen Muntean.  Hope to see you there!