Interview with Alex Link

 Dr. Alex Link is an instructor at ACAD and the Chair of Critical and Creative Studies. His main focus are on both the analysis, approved and history of comics and the graphic novel.  His list of selected works are listed on the ACAD website and his Academia page.
I had the pleasure of being in a couple of his classes, what is ed most recently being ENGL 333.

SY: How did you get into studying the Graphic Novel as an Academic subject?
AL: “I never really had much of an interest in them until I started teaching at ACAD. Before that, audiologist I was a teaching assistant for a single course in comics, but otherwise had read very little in the field.  When I came to work at the College, it made sense to me that students at an art and design school might have an interest in them. It’s sometimes a challenge to get students to see the way in which the contents of an English course can inform their studio practice, and comics seemed like a reasonable medium by which we could meet in the middle.”
SY: What would be the best Graphic Novel for an emerging artist/writer to have in their library?
AL: “I think the best way to answer this question is to say they should have as many and as much of a variety as possible. Exposure to as wide a range as you can access can only help you expand your visual, formal, and narrative vocabulary.”
SY: Do you have a particular favourite Graphic Novel? If so which one? If not, why?
AL: “I have lots of favourites. It’s difficult to choose just one, though lately I’d have to say I’m especially interested in Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines. It’s thoughtful, emotionally affecting, and visually rich.  It thinks very carefully about the status of animals in the world, and does so in a manner that draws very heavily on print and collage to make a perpetually surprising story.  It’s ambitious, too: the author’s been creating strips around this story-world since he was six year old, which is why it’s title is so curious and also why he works on simple letter-six paper, since that’s what they had in his house; furthermore, he pretty much plans to work on the narrative for the rest of his life, since he has another 13 volumes of it (probably around 4-5000 pages worth) he wants to write.  The author has recently decided to make it available for free here: http://www.geneva-street.com/duncanthewonderdog. I have favourite comic strips too, particularly George Herriman’s Krazy Kat and just about anything by Ben Katchor, including his graphic novel The Cardboard Valise. It’s a really long list of favourites, in the end. I’m a glutton”

Thank you Alex for taking the time to answer, and thank you for the link to Duncan the Wonder Dog. I will be reading further
~Sara Y

Jacquard Images – Daniel Lévesque

Dick pics 2: electric boogaloo

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Much Neglected Posts

Here’s some progress images from thumbnail, resuscitation to close to being weavable file and a bonus Vsevolod (Svetlana’s younger but not youngest brother)

Since I’m still having trouble getting the words out to explain my characters, I will give you all name explanations
Daniel Lévesque – It’s an inside joke to myself. Literally named after my grade 7 teacher who would pronounce “Daniel” as it is in French and said Daniel kid would have a hissy fit every time because “it’s a girl’s name”. His name is supposed to be the French pronunciation, which I frequently get wrong.

Both him and Svetlana are couple, which is why I planned on two Jacquard panels.

I’ll be posting a few storyboard test things, but I hope to do more storyboards in the future to explain my characters better than I can by talking about them.

 

~Sara Y

Jacquard Images – Svetlana Igorevna Druzhnikova

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progress of Sveta

I might use a modified version of Daniel’s background for her . She will be approximately the same dimensions of 20″ x 66″ and will be woven with the same wool, look that being the Aubusson house tapestry wool.

I’ll see If I can get her weaving finished in the time I have left

(Her first name is based from an artist, pilule Svetlana Valueva, who’s work I loved in high school, and her patronymic is based from Igor Stravinsky, one of my favourite composers)

~Sara Y

Review of Leah Decter’s Here…is the place where you are, Trespass/es piece

Leah Decter discusses in her body of work Here… is the place where you are, youth health the conceptual thinking behind four of her works. Decter explores the human relationship to place, using personal memories, lineage, and iconography she focuses heavily on social and political topics. Decter combines the mediums of video and textiles to educate the viewer through narrative. Her making of the quilt reflects her thought process and the editing of the video projection gives insight into her technique.

Her piece Trespass/es provokes a question relevant to my personal practice; How can one communicate a textile concept using video in a practical display?

Decters piece, Trespass/es, implicated both video and textile installment. Her focus on community also tied into her ideas of place being defined as a result of human history. She describes the projected video and quilt as a ‘dialog of centuries’, making connections to run off threads as a form of lineage. The constituent pieces of this installation are interdependent, in that one cannot exist without the other to be successful.

A free PDF file can be found here: Decter, Leah. “Here… is the place where you are.” Digital Commons at University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Google Scholar. N.p., 2006. Web. 01 Dec. 2016  https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=Here%E2%80%A6is+the+place+where+you+are+Leah+Decter&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5

-Kristen-

 

3 question interview with Architecture student Fearghus Heatley

Fearghus Heatley matriculated at the University of Ulster, sildenafil Belfast, ophthalmologist Northern Ireland in 2005, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 2008. During his studies he explored various building concepts, designs and construction techniques.

KR: During your study at the University of Ulster did your tutors encourage the idea of sustainable living, such as the burgeoning ‘Solar Survival’ movement in Taos New Mexico?

FH: In short, no. The emphasis was very much on using conventional methods of building, in both the commercial and residential sectors. The topic of sustainable living was encouraged as an idea when it was brought up, but it was definitely not the focal point it ought to have been. I remember that we had to be aware of sustainability as though it were some abstract concept that we needed to read about and memorise for an exam, when in fact it should have been the driving force behind every idea we critiqued. I read about Michael Reynolds and his efforts to radically change the world of architecture with his Earthship model for the future, but my tutors redirected my attention back to the plugged-in, monotone contemporary designs of standard housing. Sustainability was a word we knew the definition of, but we were not encouraged to explore what it really means.

KR: Can you please describe one of your assignments that would be relevant from an art perspective?

FH: Shown is a concept for an AISC (All Ireland Shared Campus) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The brief was to create a multi-purpose facility for Irish emigrants in Amsterdam. It was to be an educational campus and incorporate art exhibition spaces, scholars apartments as well as a large auditorium for artistic performances. The site was on a dock, so the challenge was to integrate this large building without it being too out of context. I proposed a free-floating platform that would act as a café/art gallery and could be driven around the dock like a ferry, picking up and dropping off patrons along the way.

Conceptually it was interesting to analyse a site that was in a different country. Not only the language barrier, but also different regulations applied, so the site analysis and contextual research alone took weeks before I put pencil to paper. The concept still had a long way to go, even at the time of presentation, but I learned a lot during the process.

Images provided courtesy of artist: Heatley, Fearghus. AISC (All Ireland Shared Campus). 2008. JPG

KR: How does the standard of building regulations differ in the past 10 years since you completed your degree? Have you noticed any changes in the system that are adapting to the changing economy?

FH: The simple answer here is; I don’t know. However the reason for my not knowing might shed some light on the second part of your question. I don’t know how the building regulations have changed in the last decade because I have not been in practice. I have never worked in an architect’s office, nor do I ever intend to. I learned much more about architecture post-graduation than I ever did during my studies. I realised that architecture, as it is now, has nothing whatsoever to do with humans. It is completely divorced from the Earth, which is why we need an electrical grid to have basic requirements such as water or heat. This is ridiculous, and is going to change within this decade.

When I graduated in 2008, the building industry in Ireland hit rock bottom, and so I travelled abroad rather than seeking employment in any convenient store. I quickly forgot about my adolescent aspirations of being an architect because I had no confidence in the current system, and so I have not kept up with changes to building regulations since that time. My degree is a relic of an education system that does not work because it is directed at making people dependant consumers, not free human beings. Education leads to employment, not enlightenment.

KR: If that is your perspective of the current system, then what are your intentions for the future? Can you use anything from your education, maybe in a personal ambition?

FH: I think the only rational thing to do is to go off-grid, in order to avoid becoming dependant on others to survive. So, yes, I have many transferable skills gained from university that I can apply to making that happen. Possessing skills in scaled drawings, being able to critically analyse design concepts, having basic knowledge of construction techniques and materials – these will all stand me in good stead when building my own home successfully.

 

Thank you Fearghus for your time in answering these questions and publication of your work.

 

-Kristen-

 

Navigating the Research Ethics Board Pt. 2

Haven’t read Pt. 1 yet? Click Here

On November 10th the REB reviewed my proposal and subsequently denied it, neurologist emailing me a list of 22 points that needed revision in my proposal before acceptance could be considered. After getting over my initial outrage, information pills Mackenzie and I went over the points and realized that there really wasn’t much to change, neurologist the REB just wanted certain points to be explicitly clear. At this point I am about to request more information on a few points, upon clarification I will hopefully proceed with tweaking my application so that I can actually embark on this project next semester. If you are considering a project that may require REB approval below is my list of recommendations to help you have the smoothest possible process:

  • Complete the REB Self Assessment Form
  • If you will need to do a full-blown REB proposal, go ahead and do CORE because you’ll have to do it anyway and it’s nice to get it out of the way early
  • At this point, since ACAD doesn’t have our own, take a look through Dalhousie University’s Researcher Checklist (linked above) as it is super helpful. Some of the things you will be asked to do seem mind-numbingly redundant, but it is important to be thorough and your future self with thank you, trust me.
  • When you write your submission be as thorough as possible in all areas, but especially around mitigating risks to participants, the REB will want to see this information all over the place in your submission (did I mention things getting redundant?)
  • If you need to create some sort of informed consent waiver or a waiver of any sort the readability should be between a Grade 8 and Grade 9 reading level. This one is particularly difficult given that you are used to writing at a University level. Since your participants may not have that reading level however, any forms and documents shared with participants need to be readable by a majority
  • Your informed consent document will also need to be abundantly clear on absolutely every point. You must leave nothing up for questioning, and yes it will be repetitive.
  • Be prepared to be disappointed. No seriously, prepare for your proposal to be rejected the first time. The REB exists to make sure your proposal is airtight and that any risks are mitigated, so the first time around you will probably be rejected and asked to submit more information. Speaking as someone who wasn’t really prepared for a refusal, it is a good thing to prepare for.
  • Don’t compromise your or the project’s integrity for the sake of getting approved. This sounds like a strange thing to advise people, but I mean it. The REB has asked that I include my personal phone number on certain documents and while I can understand why, this is not okay with me for a variety of reasons. Just like the REB has dealbreakers for approval, so should you. If the REB rejects your proposal and advises you to do things that you aren’t okay with doing, I would strongly recommend trying to find some middle ground and expressing to them what your dealbreakers are. As disappointing as it would be to not embark on a proposal, it is better in my estimation to not compromise yourself or your project because the REB wants you to do something that you are not comfortable with doing.

If you have any questions about this process or my proposal, let me know!

~Madison

Navigating the Research Ethics Board Pt. 1

As some of you know, stomach this semester I have been navigating ACAD’s fairly new Research Ethics Board and the process for submitting a project to them. The basis of my proposed work is to interview survivors of sexual violence and print their stories in small, hand-bound books. When I first embarked on this wild ride I had no idea how much work it would be. Let me tell you, it’s a lot. Here is a link to the REB Self Assessment Form, which is the first step in a submission to the REB. This is where you, your instructor and the head of the REB basically decide whether or not you need to do a full-on proposal to the board or not. Basically is your proposed project directly involves people or animals, you will likely have to do a full blown proposal to the whole board.

Something else I did was the Government of Canada’s Course on Research Ethics (CORE), which is an online ten-module course that gives an overview on how to conduct ethical and responsible research. The course is about 3 hours long, and definitely worth the time if you have any to spare (though if anyone goes on to do graduate degrees you will likely be required to go through it anyway). Overall this beginning process was helpful for me identifying problem areas with my proposed research and rectifying them. For example, confidentiality of participants and their information is absolutely paramount, especially around this subject matter. Mackenzie mentioned to me that were anyone, familiar with my work, to see me interviewing a participant they may guess as to what we are talking about, thus outting the interviewee as a survivor of sexual violence. Of course, this makes complete sense but I had not completely considered all the ways in which I will need to protect participants in my project. Having an individual go over absolutely every little detail of a proposed project is exactly the point of the REB, a fact which I am grateful for.

After this point things became a bit complex. Unlike many other post-secondary institutions, ACAD has not had a Research Ethics Board for decades, rather only a couple of years (chicken incident anyone?). Because our REB is relatively new and our population very small (the REB is not receiving hundreds of submissions thus forcing a streamlined process), there was a lot of waiting and a lot of re-doing the same information in a variety of different ways (so many emails). At this point ACAD does not have our own checklist of requirements for REB submissions, so I was given the Researcher Checklist from Dalhousie University and told to address from points 2.1 onward, which I then did.

Continued in Navigating the Research Ethics Board Pt. 2

~Madison

 

Shari Pierce

In coming back to doing work about sexual violence after a 2 year hiatus, viagra 40mg I had struggled to remember other artists working with this subject matter. Thank goodness for facebook, pfizer google and my wonderful peers (looking at you Sara Mason) I was introduced and re-introduced to several artists who are as inspired in this subject area as I am. It is my belief that successful activist art causes the viewer to feel its message viscerally, tablets in that Shari Pierce’s work is beyond successful. Pierce is a mixed-media and installation artist born in the USA, who has done work all over the world. The focus of her artistic practice is around women’s issues, often specifically related to sexual violence and domesticity.

Shari Pierce. Agraphobia: 300 Sex Offenders Within a 5 Mile Radius. 2011. Mixed media installation. http://www.sharipierce.com/sharipierceart/#/agraphobia300sexoffenders/
Shari Pierce. Agraphobia: 300 Sex Offenders Within a 5 Mile Radius. 2011. Mixed media installation. http://www.sharipierce.com/sharipierceart/#/agraphobia300sexoffenders/

In the work above, Pierce uses pictures of registered sex offenders to create a literal necklace of rapists. On one hand, this image is absolutely vile and completely revolting because who in their right mind would wear a necklace made up of pictures of rapists? However, for survivors of sexual violence this is daily life, there is rarely a single day that goes by where someone who inflicted sexual violence upon me isn’t figuratively standing over my shoulder. It is my belief that Shari Pierce’s necklaces perform the role of reminding the viewer that victims of sexual violence cannot walk away from their memories; a role which my own work also aims to play.

~Madison

Conversations surrounding Early Canadian Weaving

Are hand woven textile objects more than just a document of traditions born from the necessity of survival? How does hand weaving cloth still play a role in contemporary textiles? These questions pertain to my research this year. I have become very interested in the concept of origin and heirloom and how objects provide the importance of the handwoven coverlet as a crucial piece of the textile history of early Canada. Canadian textile Curator Dorothy K. Burnham provides us a foundation for defining the connective thread running from the importance of materials and culture in the past to the present. Immigration plays a key to the social, clinic economical development of cloth production in the home.

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Coverlet for the bed. North America: Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada. C. 1860. L 234 cm x W 184 cm. Cotton and wool. Hand woven, overshot, hand-sewn. From the Textile Museum of Canada Collection.
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Burnham, Dorothy K., Harold B. Burnham. Keep Me Warm One Night: Early handweaving in Eastern Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973. Print.
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Photograph from Keep Me Warm One Night Exhibition. Royal Ontario Museum. 1971. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

In art history my research into early Canadian handweaving lead me to this wonderful book called Keep Me Warm One Night. It goes into great technical detail about the handweaving and  the importance of the coverlet in Canadian homes. This textile object served as a functional item for warmth on the bed, which was thought to be “the center of the home” (Burnham and Burnham 141). Coverlets were also equally beautiful in their craftsmanship often using handspun and hand dyed wool yarns. This cherished textile within the home of so many early Canadian homes serves as a point of entry to investigate identity. This book has opened my eyes to a truly detailed and rich history of weaving in Canada. As I move forward with my work I continue to consider ‘home’ as a key to my own identity and influence in my handwoven work. 

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A way of living

As my work continues down the beaten track of sustainability, migraine I feel the need to emphasize the fact this is not merely a focus of education; this is in fact a shift in lifestyle. Since May 2016 I have been engaged in a voluntary project in Golden, BC.  Two people of my age are building what has become known as an Earthship.  The term was made known by Micheal Reynolds in the late sixties, as he designed and developed the concept of a completely sustainable home.  His reasoning was that animals can construct their own shelter, so why not humans?

The materials used to construct one of these eco-friendly abodes are readily available and largely as waste. Calgary city dump has over seven million tires alone, yet these discarded materials are the bricks of an earthship, packed with earth. Bottles, cans and scrap timber make an Earthship.

Owners Tanner Nicholson and Sam Macklon have made swift progress in the seven months I have known them. When we first arrived the home had been dug into the hillside, and the retaining tire-walls constructed, so our first job was to help pack between the tires with ‘cobbing’, or mud and straw. Each day thereafter was varied, with multiple projects going on putting this forty foot shelter together. And after two years since their beginning this dream, the house is livable. With help from eager backpackers, hitchhikers, and other curious ramblers they have made their house a home, using reclaimed material.

The feeling of working in an earthship, getting mud between my fingernails, shoveling sand, hammering siding is a step toward my own future.

 

– Kristen –

 

Luigi Bevilacqua Company

It amazes me what I can find online when I am supposed to be doing something that I don’t want to (i.e. writing my grad paper).  This morning I watched many, visit many, many weaving videos in Italian.  No, I don’t speak Italian but that didn’t stop me. Eventually I stumbled across a few videos with English subtitles. The two I am sharing are both about the Luigi Bevilacqua Company in Venice, Italy. Remarkably, the Bevilacqua family can trace their velvet weaving history back to the 1400’s. The equipment and workshop space is breathtaking.  If you feel the need to squander some of your time visit their website.  It includes videos, a catalogue of their fabrics and a blog.

To this day, the Luigi Bevilacqua Company weave their velvet, by hand, on Jacquard looms from the 19th century.  They create their patterns by hand and transfer the designs to punch cards!  Crazy.

kellie.

Embroidery on Plastic bags and Trash

Picking up the trash and making it new is Josh Blackwell’s niche, cure using the plastic bag for a canvas. He began this process seven years ago from a background of environmental conservation which led him to repurpose the discarded bags as art. Some of his Never Uses are representations of basket weaves and geometric shapes.

As we have become used to seeing grocery bags in their commonly accepted plastic form, help now witnessing their image used in a more traditional form is inspiring and interesting. However, the bags have been reused, but to what specific purpose other than art? Does it matter, when these too will merely accumulate?

 

 

 

Kirsty Whitlock began exploring machine stitching and embroidery during her final year of university.  Whitlock expressed that machine stitch worked for her as an effective drawing tool and efficient technique for mark making.  The artist chose subject matter that was not typically associated with embroidery to heighten awareness of waste materials that we use everyday.  In response to our throwaway culture Whitlock uses recycled and reclaimed materials.  Kirsty references current issues and communicates a strong social message by using discarded newspapers and bags.

 

Talking Trash Bags of Aggro Losses 2009

 

 

 

These artists have fueled my passion for exploring new ways of re-using single-use materials. Common everyday items that are often disposable after one use are easily accessed and present ample opportunity for exploration through craft.

Although in my Embroidered Hands (working title) series I do not directly sew into plastic, I ensure to incorporate it in a meaningful way.

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Top: Blackwell, Josh. “Never Uses, Plastic Baskets, Street Bags.” Josh Blackwell. Indexhibit, 2015. Web. 15 Oct. 2016. <http://www.joshblackwell.com/index.php?/projects/plastic-baskets/>.

Bottom: Sam. “Kirsty Whitlock Interview: Embroidery Transforms.” TextileArtist.org. N.p., 09 May 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. <http://www.textileartist.org/embroidery-transforms-kirsty-whitlock/>.

 

-Kristen-

Change of Colour

Plastic is a material consisting of a combination of synthetic organic compounds that can be formed into solid objects.  The word ‘plastic’ itself means soft, men’s health workable, this or flexible and so from a manufacturing perspective it is easy to understand how it has become one of the most commonly used materials. Besides being one of the most adaptable materials, with its low cost production and useful properties such as resistance to water, plastic can be made literally any colour we can think of.  As my embroidered hands series progresses I am changing the background fabric colour to an MX dyed cobalt blue to reflect the hue of a typical water bottle after it has been recycled several times. A transparent bottle becomes translucent over time, gradually fading to blue.  The cobalt blue is an exaggeration of that, so that the new white thread colour stands out and remains the focus of the piece.

– Kristen –

Surrealist Automatism Explorations

In attempt to push the concepts and approaches further in my larger scale pieces I tackled a couple smaller explorations. What has so far resulted are much more exciting new compositions and ideas for me.

Opposed to constructing the compositions I did some research in surrealist automatic drawings. What this meant for me is to allow the drawing to happen. By holding my pen loosely and closer to the end I allowed my mark making to react more freely on the paper.

 

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These focused less on filling up the surface on the cloth and instead making impressions in a certain location. Visual elements from nature were considered in the construction of the drawings and translation on to the cloth.

 

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Muted colours are used in the 3 completed embroideries as well as indigo dyed threads.

 

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The result from this experimentation has been very motivating for me to continue with this approach. The spontaneous solutions feel much more successful and gratifying than the compositions that are less intuitive. I am excited by the potential of this technique to affect my large scale pieces already in progress in a impromptu manner.

-julie

Are You Lost in the World like Me?

Yesterday in our Directed Studio class we were reviewing our artist statements and having a fairly good discussion about “our voice” as it pertains to “our work”.  Honestly, viagra dosage my voice can be a little meek, drug a little understated.  I have a hard time telling people why I do what I do and what it means. Generally, info it’s personal and I don’t want to talk about it. Actually, I do want to talk about it but it makes me feel a bit squirrely, I have a hard time keeping eye contact, I do weird things with my limbs, my thoughts get swirly, I ramble.  It’s easier to make “the thing” and leave it out “there” so I don’t have to talk about it with actual words.

I have been told so many times that you can’t tell people what they are seeing or tell them what they should be feeling when they experience your work. I took that to heart. I never speak for the collective, I speak of myself. Yesterday, a classmate and friend, said to me “Change some of your I’s and My’s for We’s and Our’s”. I found something powerful in that very simple correction.  Yes, our feelings and motivation for creating art are own but we do exist as part of a collective whole. When we put our work “out there” it is bound to connect to someone.

(Like how Moby, my friend Layne and I all connected today. Oh, and I’m totally the little bald kid in this video.)

kellie.

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