I had one of my busiest years ever in 2020. The Covid19 pandemic challenged all of us to stay close to home. We tried to celebrate with a “global retreat”. At the same time, I want to acknowledge the tremendous personal sacrifices made by healthcare workers and other essential services. They have kept our country running at great personal peril. It has been a time of worldwide tragedy and loss.
PUBLIC ART PROJECTS
Despite the restrictions, I completed two 4-year-long public art projects. All at once, I was juggling numerous balls in the form of different art mediums. Those mediums range from my regular painting practice to ceramic mosaic fabrication to hand-painted glass fabrication, digital photography, architectural lighting design, website design, video documentation, computer programming, colouring book pages design, and a proposal for a sky-based performance piece. I also learned new skills in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and new software for my own artworks database. All of this hopefully expanded a few of my brain cells.
Pathway Software Solutions, based in Calgary, designed a new website for me in May 2020. It was a massive job for me to re-populate it with higher resolution images and complete all written descriptions. Phew!
I started “The Mandala Project” with a friend. We are colouring mandalas using felt pens on paper. I am sending them to various friends who I think could use a boost in their lives. These are people who have gone through tremendous hardships during the past year, including losing loved ones. We have sent out 20 framed mandalas so far. The mandalas are meant as a kind of spiritual hug to provide inner strength and inspiration to move forward.
DIFFERENT MEDIUMS IN ONE DAY
Often, I deal with various art mediums on the same day, such as: applying acrylic gel medium layers to my large canvases, approving architectural drawings, consulting with a lighting designer, editing images in Photoshop and writing proposals for new work.
I imagine all this would be like flying a helicopter, which I hear involves your entire body – arms and legs moving at different speeds and directions. The action is kind of like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, times ten.
I have also managed a large budget for my public art project at Chester subway station in Toronto. The three different components – mosaic, art glass, and lighting – shifted in size and cost several times over the past four years.
I had a solo exhibition at Nicholas Metivier Gallery in September featuring 20 new paintings created in 2020. This show led to a commission for a large diptych for a private client.
On top of all of this, my Vice President of Operations, Gina Pineda, helps me digitize all of my artworks in My-Art Collection software. We have catalogued over 500 pieces so far of my paintings on board or canvas. These are works I have either sold or still own in my studio. We have not started an inventory of works on paper or my installations yet. The project also involves sorting through hundreds of slides.
Simultaneously, I am always searching for and answering calls for submissions for new public art projects, including collecting images and writing artists’ statements.