January 30th, 2011 | Comments Off on Karen’s Room at the Waldorf Hotel

Karen's Room-5

Karen's Room-6

Paul Wong has put together a site-specific installation/performance work in room 103 of the Waldorf Hotel. The room is covered floor to ceiling, windows, furniture, bathroom and all, in bedsheets collected for charities by an activist named Karen.

Karen is back at The Hotel from her most-recent goodwill missions around the globe. Karen will be back at it collecting and recycling the hotel sheets and linens and repurposing them for worthy causes. A well-meaning activist, Karen has contributed our used bedding to numerous charities in Vancouver and around the world, including the homeless, the destitute in the Downtown Eastside and Surrey, and to victims of natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.

Boris and I visited the site on Friday before (delicious) dinner downstairs at Nuba. I’d been curious to see this installation but after seeing it in person I’m not really sure how I feel about it.

Karen's Room-3

Karen's Room-4

I liked the aesthetics of the installation, with every surface of the room taken over by the sheets it became this wonderful cocooned space away from the noise of the rest of the hotel. The part I didn’t like was the video projection on the back wall showing the character of Karen going about her work and talking with visitors from what I guess was a previous performance. I felt it took away from the experience to watch her secondhand instead of interacting with Karen in person. But I guess it’s not possible for her to be on site all the time.

Karen's Room-2

Karen's Room

Go see it for yourself if you get the chance. Karen’s Room is open 5 to 9 pm, seven days a week, and will be on site at the Waldorf Hotel until Feb. 11, 2011.

Posted in art, Vancouver art
January 26th, 2011 | Comments Off on Collage: Birds and threads

There are a few things I’m trying to do at the moment in terms of new work:
1. Make time for experimentation with new ideas and materials
2. Create lower priced inventory
3. Repurpose leftover materials or objects from other projects.

These three goals came together with the collage I finished yesterday.


I started out wanting to make a collage using scraps of pages leftover from completed altered books and it evolved into a lovely finished piece with 3D objects, repurposed security envelopes, and part of a book cover cut from this altered book. I used the inside of a shallow wooden box as both canvas and frame.



Quite a few of these materials were items given to me by friends who no longer had a use for them. I’m really glad I could repurpose them into art.


Materials used: wooden box, partial book cover, scraps of book pages, security envelopes, wooden bobbins, silk thread, two paper birds, gesso, glue, and gel medium.

If you’re interested in this piece I’ve already listed it for sale in my Etsy shop. I’ve priced it in a slightly different way than the altered books because I view this as an experiment and want to keep this in an affordable price range.

Posted in art, collage
January 24th, 2011 | 8 Comments »

Even though one year flows into another with no real difference between them, at this time of year it always feels as if we’re about to start something new with the hope of life being better (or maybe just different) in the coming year. It’s a time of reflection on the previous twelve months, mostly focused on levels of happiness.

I’ve been feeling the need to take a step back and review all I’ve accomplished since deciding to pursue art full time in 2010. I don’t feel I can move forward properly without it. Sometimes I feel that I’ve done an incredible amount of work, and other times I feel I did very little. I’m hoping this blog post will document things realistically, as well as show what worked well and should do more of, and what I can safely never do again.

Week 52(B) - Looking toward the future

» Artwork:
I’m really happy with this area of my practice. I produced a healthy volume of new work over the course of 2010, including continuing with the explorations of altering books, and building on the portrait series of women begun in late 2009. I also forayed into large-scale installation work, which is something I’d like to do more of in future.

Artwork by the numbers:
– 16 individual altered books, framed and ready to hang
– 25 altered books as part of the Forgotten Knowledge series
– 1 large-scale paper tree
– 15 photographic portraits for the Imaginary Girl series
– 5 canvas prints of Imaginary girl portraits

2011 Artwork Goals:
– schedule more time for producing new work
– make experimentation and play a higher priority
– come up with one installation project
– explore creating street art
– produce lower priced inventory
– take on work commissioned by clients

» Exhibitions:
This is the area where I put most of my time and energy last year, and ended up participating in a ridiculous amount of shows because of it. Most of these shows were not career building in any way and had little value beyond an item fleshing out my CV. I confirmed that I need to move beyond showing in theatre lobbies, and be pickier about the group shows in which I take part in order to grow my career. There were a few exhibitions that were terrific for exposure and helped raise my previously non-existent profile in the arts community. The experience this past year taught me that exhibitions are not the more important thing I need to do with my work and in future I will do much less of them.

Exhibitions by the numbers:
– 3 solo shows of three different bodies of work
– 11 different group shows
– 2 juried exhibitions outside of Canada -> Portland, and the UK
– 2 firsts thanks to Container Art -> forays into both public art and installation work
– 1 multimedia collaboration with Resolve Design to create the Tree of [Un]common Knowledge
– 1st time taking part in the Eastside Culture Crawl

2011 Exhibition Goals:
– be more selective about exhibition opportunities
– show outside of Vancouver
– apply for artist residencies
– get paid to show my work

» Selling Work:
I gathered up all the numbers for the first time before I started writing this section and I’m actually surprised at how much work I sold last year. It was the most I’ve sold within the period of one year, which is a good sign. But in order for this career to be sustainable long-term I need to focus more on selling and diversify how and where I make my work available for sale. The bulk of this year’s sold work went to people from my immediate network which confirms what I’ve been told. Most of these sales occurred as a direct result of sharing my work through social media, and also through face-to-face interaction at the Eastside Culture Crawl. A small fraction of the sales came through my Etsy shop and most of these were to people outside of Canada.

Sold Work in 2010 by the numbers:
– 11 altered books
– 2 large metal prints
– 5 small metal prints
– 3 cradle frame collages
– 3 commissioned canvas prints
– 26 postcard sets
– 1 photographic print

2011 Artwork Selling Goals:
– Approach local shops about carrying my artwork
– Research on markets such as Portobello West, Granville Island, and Blim to see if they’re a good fit
– Develop better branding and strategy for selling work online through Cargoh or Etsy
– Research stock photography sites to sell my photo archive
– Participate in the Eastside Culture Crawl
– Increase number of sales from 2010

» Business Development
Business development is the area I find hardest to focus on because it doesn’t come naturally to me. It requires the ability to see the “big picture” and think beyond the fine details of making artwork. Thankfully the entrepreneurial spirit has taken hold and I invested time into laying the ground work for my business. I created an inventory spreadsheet to track information on the artwork I create, and it became an essential tool I often refer back to in many situations. I made use of Harvest to keep track of the time I spend making art, and also use it to create and send invoices. I began using measurable information (i.e. hours) to accurately price my work instead of roughly guessing as I embarrassingly have in the past. I also started using Mailchimp to send out a monthly newsletter and keep people up-to-date with what I’m up to.

Business Development by the numbers
– 45% increase in subscribers to my mailing list between April & December
– 1 dedicated studio space (my first ever!)
– 1 awesome inventory spreadsheet
– 12 newsletters sent out in 2010
– 500 business cards printed
– 1 article in the Georgia Straight promoting the Eastside Culture Crawl

2011 Business Development Goals
– Increase the number of subscribers to my mailing list
– Diversify how I sell my work
– Find and work with a business development mentor
– Develop more of a vertical inventory
– Figure out ways to produce products from my existing work
– Track the time I spend on administrative tasks
– Redo my website to better showcase my work and skills
– Increase exposure of my work online
– Teach workshops on altered books & social media for artists

» Miscellaneous Bits
Figuring out how to shape the artist career I want is an on-going process. I’m still fine-tuning a schedule that works best for me, while trying to get away from the 9 to 5 work day that seems to be deeply engrained. I often forget I have a FLEXIBLE schedule. It’s a constant fight for balance between pure creative time, administrative tasks, and business development but at least I’ve learned to keep art producing days completely free of other things.

I’m glad to finally know more people pursuing art as a full time career because it’s a great thing to have a network of like-minded peers to call upon for advice or just share experiences.

2011 Miscellaneous Goals (Without the numbers)
– Work with a more experienced artist as a mentor
– Meet with a group of fellow artists every two weeks
– Conduct a series of interviews with artists about their careers
– Find a flexible well-paying part-time job working with a creative company
– Find an affordable studio space outside the home
– Save money for new camera equipment
– Exercise every day, including walks and yoga