Archive for the “Other Artists” Category

My dad, who is much of the inspiration and source for my artistic talent, passed away last month after living with Hepatitis C for 15 years. I am currently compiling an online retrospective on his art.

He was a large inspiration to my own work. Dad was born in Toronto, Ontario and was abandoned by his mother in a back yard, at only a few months old. Dad’s birth certificate describes his mother as “Indian Canadian.” Dad was of Ojibway descent. A foster child in the Catholic children’s aid society, dad moved through many homes throughout his childhood. Even still, dad’s talent was noticed at at early age and he was even asked to do a fairly large commission at the age of 12. Dad went to Ontario College of Art in the 70’s. He loved to work in chalk pastels. Dad struggled with drug addiction from an early age and I think that this competed with his ambitions and in many ways hindered him. Still, dad was a troubled soul and fought darkness that most of us never experience. I think that he did good with what he was given.

Like I said, he was an inspiration to me. I’m going to miss him. But I am glad that we got to spend the time that we did together. And we even made a mends of sorts in the last few years. One of my most favorite memories was when we had an exhibit together at The Old Ranger Station in Telkwa. The Ranger Station is now gone, and so too is dad; but I can hold on to the memory that will last forever.

We also had other memories. I remember the time, soon after the Station exhibit, when we decided to go painting along the riverside in Topley. Dad wanted to sketch the Bulkley, where it comes through Topley. I remember saying that the bugs were probably fierce and that we should probably use a tent or something. So, I brought a tent, but he refused to use it with me. We were out there for over 2 hours and he was quite eaten alive; but I think that he got a better sketch than I did. Something that he probably realized, and though it may seem obvious, is that an artist draws/paints/expresses what they see. So, my painting looked like it had been skewed and darkened through the lens of a bug net, while his sketch looked crisp. My wife, Amy, always says that my sketches look like they are drawn by someone who is near sighted, and she’s right–my near sightedness comes out in my sketches. My dad did get many bug bites that day, but he brought home a more true representation of the landscape. I don’t know what happened to that sketch of his (below is my painting), and I kind of wish that I had traded him for one of my own, but again we still have the memory and that’s what matters.

My dad told me once that presentation is the most important part of the art process. I think that dad used this knowledge to keep people away as much as he did attract them. I think of how he kept his house on the day when we went to go clean it out. Dad had some nice things, but I think he know that some of the people who he associated with would steal from him if they knew the value of these objects, so he made them look shabby so that only he would know the true value.

This speaks to me as a bit of a life lesson. The treasures in this world are buried in the dirt.

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I have a thing about being in public spaces just to hear people talk. It is the next best thing to conversation when you can’t find a friend to talk with and when you really, really need one. Sometimes–actually always–God ordains something or someone to happen. What better day than on earth day that God should send me Peter and Paul, messengers of the Gospel to the world?

I was playing chess when another chess fan came up and asked me if I wanted to strike up a game. Peter turned out to be a magician, yes a magician, from St John’s, NB. He knows a lot about philosophy, ideas and even computer theory. We had a grand old time playing chess, talking deep and laughing it up. Peter introduced me to his friend, Paul, who like me, is a visual artist but from George. Paul is also Ojibway, like my dad.

Peter mentioned that he loves art. And the first artist that he mentioned? Escher!

Peter also mentioned that he was going to Haida Gwaii.

Peter finished off the afternoon with a bagel photo op (for a contest), and a series of magic tricks, including this amazing trick that involved a twisting fork with only one hand–yes, a normal fork…yes, only one hand…

God sent some friends when I needed them. Yes, it was quite unorthodoxically, yet characteristically God at work!

Please check out Peter’s blog at www.abramagic.ca and Paul’s blog at www.torarrow.com

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Opening night of "First: an Exhibit of First Nations Art from Around BC"

Opening night of the First exhibit was a considerable success. Meeting with other artists in the area was a bonus, and it was humbling to be shown alongside artists such as Robert Davidson.

It will be exhibiting for the next two months at the gallery. Check out the gallery website for more details.

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I am looking forward to exhibiting in the Two Rivers Gallery, in Prince George, as part of the exhibit, First.

I have submitted two pieces, one of which has never been shown in public.

This exhibit marks a bit of an emotional milestone for me because it is the same gallery where I fell in love with art as an adult. This was back in 2003 when I was introduced to the gallery. I was going to college in Kamloops, and seeing a girl from PG. I was introduced to concepts such as negative space and expression. It was a medium where I could connect with like minded people. I was hooked.

I had the opportunity, recently, to discuss this milestone with the gallery tech at Two Rivers and he told me that he was pleased, because if “art can’t inspire on a different level than TV or other media, then what is the point of art?”

Two Rivers Gallery is no slouch as far as galleries in the area go. It has exhibited works from artists such as Andy Warhol and Ted Harrison. I am going to be exhibiting alongside Robert Davidson in this particular show.

It gives me goosebumps that I have been given the opportunity to celebrate what would seem like a new milestone in my art career at a location where my art career was born.

Opening night is at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 12th at the gallery.

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Merry Christmas everyone.  Thank you for making this such a good year.  I am looking forward to new art and adventure in the new year.

Here’s a thought to leave you with.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

Peace!

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I have been teaching a basic drawing workshop over the past four weeks at the Houston (BC) public library using the concepts taught in Betty Edwards’ book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. In this book, Betty explains that sometimes seeing and talking are two totally different things. As an example of this, try naming out loud the actual colors from the list below without saying the names of the colors.

If you are like most people, you probably had difficulty naming the actual color. The reason for this is because the part of your brain that gives names to colors is different than the part of your brain that perceives colors, and the part of your brain that gives names is usually more dominant.

Anyways, going on the theory that drawing is mostly a right-brained activity, students can more effectively learn how to discern and improve their drawing ability. It has been a fun course, with a good set of students and I have learned a lot.

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Butterfly Silkscreen Print

At long last, the silkscreen butterfly prints are “off the press.”  These prints are based upon an original that sold within two days of completion in Febrauary.  I thought that I had a good thing at the time and a teacher recommended that I make prints out of these.  That was about six months ago now and the prints will soon be ready to sell.  If you are not familiar with the process, silkscreen printing is a method of printing where each separate color is placed individually onto each print, for all the prints in the edition.  And unlike giclee (computer) prints, the end result looks very much like an original and the quality is quite evident.  I had a printer out of Comox complete my prints.  Andy MacDougall has done prints for artists such as Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Davidson, too, I believe, and has been in the business for decades.

The story behind this particular print is as follows:

“Years ago, I was told by some friends that in Tsimshian culture, the butterfly crest has a special meaning and is usually reserved for those who are not Tsimshian by blood—outsiders. The interlocking nature of the butterfly motifs on this painting suggests teamwork and co-operation—each one respecting each other’s borders and not going outside or falling short of their appointment. The repeating geometry within the design also suggests that it can be extended infinitely. Thus, it is universal that for harmony to be maintained between differing peoples, respect is mandatory.”

Please contact me at nigel@nigelfoxart.com to place an order.

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