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Register for Creative Workshops Sat. Nov. 18th, 2017

What is it?

The Corktown Community Creations Workshops are your opportunity to experiment with expressive arts therapy, basic jewelry composition, and fabric arts. Our intimate “hands on” art sessions are guided by our collaborative group of artists and designed for participants ages 8 and upwards. Each session is 2 hours long and consists of 3 – 40 minute workshops.

Who are the Collaborative Artists?

  • Georgia Fullerton- Full Fine Art
  • Erin Ademoglu – Twisted Metal In Motion
  • Sylvia Welsh – Collaboration Curators

What’s in it for you?

At completion of the 2 hour creative session each participants will take home:

  1. An expressive piece of personalized art on canvas paper or board. (40 minutes)
  2. A piece of convertible up-cycled jewelry. (40 minutes )
  3. An improvisational piece of fabric art . (40 minutes)

 How much does it cost?

Each session is $45.00 per participant, inclusive of all materials.

Cash payment accepted at the door.

When is it ?

Saturday, November,  18th, 2017

Session A: 11:00am – 1:00pm

Session B: 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Session C: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

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Application Submission Open until September , 2016

sewThe 2 Hands Create event curated market place is just  around the corner along with summer.

School is wrapping up and end of semester fashion shows, and exhibitions  are almost finished. So for all those procrastinators  and emerging artists we are thinking of you.

The application process will remain open  until September, 2016.

I know I won’t see any submissions for the energy harvesting dress that charges your phone , but  this is a great opportunity for all those emerging artists who are looking for inspiration and support to carry the them through the summer.

So all those emerging artists who are just wrapping up the school year, it’s your  chance to apply. We still have a few spaces to fill, so hurry.

There are three more weeks to get your shit together and apply.

Follow the link to apply 2 Hands Create !

Post Script: I attended Digifest at the Corus Queens Quay where I saw the prototype energy harvesting dress.

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Exploring Jean Michel Basquiat Art @ AGO

Elly, my 11 year old boy ” I’ve seen that guy’s work in the subway. I don’t like his art. It’s too hectic. I only like the stuff  that looks like a kid did it.”

 

Attracted by the slick subway marketing, I ventured to take in the visual and audio experience of the Basquiat: Now’s the Time exhibition at the AGO. I asked myself, why were Martin Luther King Jr’s words and voice  so prominent in the exhibition? Drugs and money figured extrusively in Jean Michel’s life. Why were his life struggles omitted from the exhibitions subjects  ? I struggled to connect the exhibition’s theme  to the chaotic cerebral spilling’s of  Basquiat’s art.

Money and drugs played a complex role in Basquiat’s existence. As a burgeoning young artist, Jean Michel was furnished with finances, materials, space and collectors. The dreams of every artist, right? Basquiat’s artistic independence soon tarnished as he struggled to quiet the thunder of his critical inner voice and failed to navigate the web of stimulants and his financial benefactors. Basquiat was a young artist living his  dreams. Dreams which materialized quickly and vaporized in a speed ball heartbeat.

Basquiat’s spirit was baptized in the fever of  New York in the 80’s, set against the backdrop of economic recession, materialism, consumerism and racial tensions. He was an experiential soul, seeking a path to celebrity status. Starting out as an anonymously famous graffiti scribe hanging in clubs and playing in bands. Basquiat eventually turned to the visual arts. His compositions contain automatic drawing elements of poetry, self portraits, personalized hieroglyphics, copyright signs, cartoon characters, crowns, jazz musicians & boxing sport hero’s, body parts, slave ships, money, “Krak “and heroin. Basquiat art was certainly a revelation of his psyche. His essential nature was tethered to his need for public expression and acceptance, but certainly not a statement of the American civil rights movement.

Raymond Saunders Portrait of Boxer Jack Jackson 1972

Basquiat’s paintings are vaguely reminiscent of Raymond Saunders Portrait of the Boxer Jack Jackson 1972

Excerpt taken from African-American artist Raymond Saunders, 1967 pamphlet Black is a Colour

Racial hang-ups are extraneous to art, no artist can afford to let them obscure what runs through all art—the living root and the ever-growing aesthetic record of human spiritual and intellectual experience. Can’t we get clear of these degrading limitations, and recognize the wider reality of art, where color is the means and not the end?

 

The link to Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement was a studious attempt, but too far a stretch for my mind. Jean’s Michel Basquiat’s pantheon of images were representations of the of music he listened to, men and women he admired, his life emotions and experiences. My 11 year knew nothing of Basquiat’s drug use or life challenges. Elly’s ” hectic “comment was an ironic yet accurate interpretation of Jean Michel’s artistic life and times. Elly’s critique was based purely in an extremely intuitive visual perception of the work, not so much in the academia.

Watch the Tamara Davis’ film “The Radiant Child” to explore Basquiat and his art further.

 

 

 

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Elusive Icons Black Fashion Dolls 1968-2013

The “Elusive Icons  Black Fashion Dolls 1968-2013” are on show at the Brockton Collective on Dufferin Street in Toronto February 6- 28th, 2014. The word elusive seemed strange to me as I consider the name of the exhibition. Then it clicked, the word elusive has many synonyms, but the one which best describes the black fashion dolls in this exhibition for me is “skillful at eluding capture.” Yes that is how I personally would describe a Black Fashion doll in my life. During my childhood I never had the pleasure of seeing, owning or lusting after a black fashion doll. Seeing all of those dolls perfectly lined up on their own constructed runways at the Elusive Icon Black exhibition, offered me some perspective to reflect on my beauty, colour and identity. The exhibition was a catalyst for collating fragmented memories in my mind of sewing clothing for my big white doll, trying to become a model, watching Julia on TV and coming of age as a Black woman.

Flashback to Manchester, England 1966, where my whole doll history consisted of one doll. I mean sure I would have taken a fashion Barbie if offered, but when I was 6 years old I shared a big white doll with my sister. The doll whose name I cannot remember, but it might have been Gracie, endured and suffered many indignities I inflicted upon her. She was often left her naked on the doorstep, I am pretty sure I wrote on her leg with a blue ball point pen and most certainly I cut her hair off until there was none. I often cried in regret and chastised myself in front of the doll. I never really gave much thought to the doll’s skin colour, she served my purposes. My sister and I were much more interested in dressing her up and posing her for tea parties. My mother was a seamstress by occupation. She designed and created clothing for us. She designed a yellow lace princess dress and tiara for me. I was the pretty and beautiful “coloured girl” when I won the  “All Saint’s Eve” costume contest in my dress. Our mother taught us to layout the pattern on newspaper and make dresses for our doll. Looking back in retrospect, my mother being very  practical and utilitarian had purchased the big doll  to use as a mannikin while teaching us how to sew. Barbie had nice clothes and accessories, but really it would have been tricky for us tto make a dress to fit that little body and skinny waist.

The first black fashion doll “Francie” appeared in America in 1967 and I feel pretty confident Mattel did not export her into Canada. I could be wrong and would appreciate a correction if one is necessary. In 1968, our family was one of two black families in Elliot Lake.The big white doll from England came with me. Here I received my first exposure to racial prejudice I quickly came to the realization that the colour of our skin  did matter. You see the white people in that town would bring fabric to our house and my mother would  design and sew  whatever they wanted. Those same people would not allow her buy real estate downtown to expand her business.The experience  through my mother eyes was just the beginning.

That spring as a bewildered 8 year old, I watched the assassination of Martin Luther King on the black and white TV. We moved to Toronto in 1968 and shopped at Honest Ed’s.  Ed had quite the toy section, but I never saw a black fashion doll there. No Black history month or African anything education going on in the Canadian  school system. I looked forward to watching Julia.  on TV. As an 8 year old I was peripherally aware of civil rights movement in America, but I had no idea that Black was the new colour in media, music, fashion and visual arts.

British fashion photographer Patrick Litchfield photographed Marsha Hunt naked, beautiful and black with a Afro hairstyle for the 1969 issue of Vogue. Marvin Gaye was at the top of the charts with “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”. James Brown recorded” “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”. Textile artist Jae Jarell,  a member of Afri-Cobra made “The Revolutionary Suit.” Model Naomi Sims was the first African American model to grace the cover of a magazine, Life Magazine in fact. On television, a widowed African American nurse was raising her son by herself on the weekly sitcom Julia. Mattel manufactured the Nurse Julia black fashion doll. Nurse Julia she was the first uniquely black head sculpt and all the Barbie’s clothes fit her. Prior to Julia, Francie, was just a black version of a white doll. Although Francie had the right tone, Julia carried the black facial features.

The observation and investigation into black fashion dolls has lead me to reflect upon my own perspectives of race, beauty and identity.  In  1977, I was 17. My sense of fashion was strong and my self confidence high. This self awareness accelerated my determined career chasing and propelled me to dream about becoming a model. I mean there was a black woman with her own TV show right? I worked to get a portfolio together and I entered contests. I always came away feeling that I was not beautiful enough to win. Only the white girls, I would never make the cut. Was it the freckles? I began to question my beauty and my colour. If I had seen a black fashion doll in the 70’s, she would have given me hope that I could have made it the fashion world.

My internal metamorphosis and solidification of my colour and personal beauty took hold when I started going to Jamaica with my girlfriend’s in the 80’s. I could see my beauty in the black people I was surrounded by. Jamaica has all kinds of mix-up business going on down there. Chinese mixed with Black mixed with Indian mixed with White, all colours and shades. My great grandparents on my father’s side came from India to Jamaica in the 1800’s and my mother was the  descendant of West African slaves and Scotsmen. I blame Scotsmen for the freckles. I could turn heads, Jamaican men and women called me “Browning” in a sexy come hither kinda way. I am always surprised when white people say “Your not really Black are you?” Let’s just say if you had to colour me in with crayons from the Crayola pack, you would choose beige with brown polka dots. My features and colour do not define me as a Black woman. I am a Black woman because of my heritage and my life experiences

Harris’s fashion doll collection represents women inclusive of all the colours of “black” on the spectrum. The exhibition catalogue depicts lavish scenarios where Harris has posed his handcrafted black fashion doll to accentuate her voluptuous Venus body.Frantz has taking the time to eliminate joints and has sculpted her 16 inch pliable silicon curvaceous body with very complex internal rod, spring and wire skeleton. He has created her smooth skin black as night and light as day. He has designed fetish heels, sewed wicked fancy pants and glamorous dresses in fine fabrics and coiffed her hair perfectly.  Frantz has created an evolution in his black fashion collectible doll and I think they are underpriced.  Observing the dolls reflected a visual representation of the various fashion stages of my life. The princess gown, big afro, the braids, the blond low afro, the hot pants, the maxi coat and the mini skirt. I did not need a black fashion doll, I am the black fashion doll in my life. The elusive icon is not so elusive after all, Harris has managed to capture her quite skillfully.

On a side note. I recommended that you take in Jamie Fox’s short film “And She Was My Eve. The film was created as part of the the Canon Imagination Project. Fox’s film is a great fantastical sci-fi extension and  pairing for this exhibition.

 

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Jamaica Can Become an Animation Hub If……

 ABC international reported “Jamaican and World Bank officials believe that the international animation industry can create thousands of jobs for young hopefuls in Jamaica, where the economy has sputtered for more than 30 years and good jobs are scarce. Because animation skills are transportable, they say capable individuals in Jamaica can serve international clients outsourcing work while also developing their own creative production. Read more at Toonboon blog 

Times are very rough in Jamaica, worse than any other time in it’s history  and writers, visual & performing artists suffer silently. Well not so silently, check out Toni Blair Jamaican performing artist emotional rant on You Tube. The economy of Jamaica has been stagnant for decades and the 2008 global financial meltdown has pushed arts and culture  further into the recesses of the Jamaican peoples minds. Neo-colonialist mentality and framework regarding education, absence of action by the government on the cultural front and an economy which is “bleeding on the curb”.  Jamaica must have a plan to develop, build,  support and encourage those who choose creativity as an occupation. The capable individuals must come through a reformed education system, where they are prepared to face the challenges of the information age or they will be on the periphery of the hub.

How will Jamaica become a centre for animation when a good percentage of children which leave school, are functional illiterates? Jamaica still suffers from the colonialist mentality around education, parents want their children to become doctors, lawyers or teachers. It is by exception that the average person encourages their child into the arts. Those who are encouraged into the arts are supported by parents who have the finances to pay fees at private schools. Contrary to what we would like to believe Jamaica is still stratified by race and class. Jamaica has not taken the time to weave arts in the psyche of the people and build a culture ready for the 21st century.

[quote by  = “Definition of Culture, UNESCO 2001″]”The set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs.” [/quote]

Arts and culture is used around the world to invest in people, build capacity and institute change. It is very difficult to find evidence of the basic arts and cultural building blocks in Jamaica, not even a smoking gun of government sponsorship, public art policies or new cultural museums or galleries. In fact the majority of private Kingston galleries have closed their doors, the latest victim being the Mutual Gallery. The only evidence I could find of  a government sponsored visual arts event, was About Face, an exhibition held in Germany in 1964.

The only affirmation of arts and cultural consideration is the plethora of symposiums, conferences and speeches hosted by “Ministers of Culture” from both political parties. Read Tamara Scott Williams article in the Jamaican gleaner to follow the trails and oodles of  commissions and ministries talking about building the arts and cultural sector to develop the economy of Jamaica. From my perspective there has been plenty of chat by both political parties, but certainly no movement towards a cultural  and information technology sector which could help prepare artists young and old to become members of a global animation economy .

To compete for animation jobs at the international level, a Jamaican artist requires income to obtain  the necesary tools to practice and become competent. About  $2000.00 CND worth of Apple products  and $3600.00CDN worth of animation software. Currently, I don’ t think you can purchase a Wacom digital drawing pad or it’s stylus on the island. Court’s furniture stores are the only stores in Jamaica which sells Apple products and the prices are double the amount you would pay in Canada.

By comparison lets take a look at average annual earnings of a Canadian visual artist, according to Stats Canada it is $14,000 per year. An artist living in Toronto can apply for arts grants at essentially three levels of government, not to mention participate in any number of private or government sponsored arts festivals. When times get  rough for artists in the Canadian economy, they can be eligible for social benefits such as unemployment insurance and welfare. The Canadian artists are hardly starving in  comparison to the Jamaican artist, who is missing the social and cultural safety  net to cocoon and buttress their growth and prosperity.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that Jamaica should aim for the sky, but Jamaica better have a new plan to get there. Listen to Ken Robinson answer the question “How do we educate our children to take their place in the economies of the 21st Century?” All countries around the world must look at how education framework must be reformed to support propelling our youth into the future.

An effective strategy is required to facilitate a shift in the way in which Jamaican people behave, think, interact with the arts, culture and education. The current education system has an emphasis on standardized testing and teacher centred instruction. Cultivating youth for the information age requires bold steps of governance and letting go of old concepts. To produce generations of animators, the model of education and learning would need to embrace creativity at a early age  and shift to collaborative student centred learning with information technology at their finger tips and foster the development of divergent thinking skills required to innovate.

[quote by=”Andrew Holness, Opposition Leader, Jamaica Labour Party” ]”There is so much being said about how we are going to grow the economy and get out of the economic doldrums in which we find ourselves. A large part of that growth equation is education. You may be able to solve some of the short-term problems by managing your fiscal account, by becoming more efficient in your bureaucracy and the administration of the country; but, the real long-term solution to growth is actually education.” Read more:[/quote]

If Jamaica is to become an animation hub, it will need to shift it’s focus to building it’s people through education, embracing the arts and preparing Jamaican people to meet the challenges of the information age and globalization.