December 20, 2017

Happy Holidays!

With 2 solo exhibitions, another amazing experience at the Artist Project in Toronto, our move to Japan and my first group exhibition here, 2017 has been a year filled with art and adventure!

Moving to Japan has been an amazing experience so far, I am continuously inspired by all the beauty around me! I have had a chance to try my hand at various Japanese painting techniques and materials and experience many aspects of traditional Japanese culture. Learning the language has been challenging and a little frustrating at times but also very rewarding when you finally manage to ask for something in a store :)

It has taken me some time to get my new studio in working order and I am still finding the balance between studying for my Japanese classes, exploring and creating but I have 5 new pieces in the works right now so new things are coming soon so keep an eye on my website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram).

For those of you interested I still have some pieces available for sale on my website and Saachi Art and I do take commissions on occasion. If you're in Toronto or Montréal, I am working with two wonderful galleries who would be happy to assist you in finding your perfect piece. In Toronto you can visit Latitude 44 Gallery located on 2900 Dundas st. West in the Junction area and in Montréal you can find my work at Viva Vida Art Gallery located on 278 Lakeshore drive in Pointe Claire.

I would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and an art filled and creative 2018! 
良いお年を! (Happy New Year!)

November 05, 2017

Set up and ready to go!

It is time for the Foreign Artists Exhibition 32!!! Yesterday I got to set up my space and tomorrow morning at 10am the exhibition will finally open to the public! The exhibition space is located on the 4th floor of the Nagoya International Centre, there is not entry fee so just take the elevator up to the fourth floor to come and see some amazing art! I will be there every day until 7pm (except for Sunday when the exhibition closes at 5pm). Looking forward to seeing you there!

October 29, 2017

Foreign Artists Exhibition 2017

From November 7-12 my work will be part of the 32nd Foreign Artists Exhibition (FAE32), organized by the Central Japan International Society (CJIS), with the generous support of Nagoya International Center (NIC). This exhibition encourages dialogue and the exchange of ideas among the citizens of Nagoya and foreign artists living in the Chubu Region of Japan. 

The 32nd Foreign Artists Exhibition will be held from Tuesday, 7 November to Sunday, 12 November. Painters, potters, photographers, sculptors, printers, and other fine artists will display their original artworks in the well-appointed 4th floor Exhibition Room at Nagoya International Center (NIC). The exhibition will be open to the public, free, from 10 am to 7 pm daily except the last day (Sun.) which will end at 5:00 pm.

Right now I am working on something special for this upcoming exhibition! I am exited for this awesome opportunity to share my work with the amazing people here in Nagoya. I will be on location during opening hours to answer your questions and I am looking forward to sharing art and stories with new friends!

October 17, 2017

About perished printers and paper problems...

Moving to Japan has been wonderful, inspiring and amazing but, as an artist, it also comes with a unique set of challenges. The biggest being the hunt for the right materials. My amazing hubby had already located some amazing art supply stores with great assortments of acrylic paints and mediums by a variety of Japanese, European and North American brands. Granted, the sizes of the bottles are definitely smaller then I'm used to but I can get the stuff that I need. They also have a decent supply of cradled wood panels available, the sizes are somewhat different they measure in centimetres after all, but they have a good variety and the largest is compatible to 36"x48", a size that I like to work in. On a side note, this is probably the largest size that I would be able to fit into my Japanese sized studio anyway ;)

I am going to be part of a group exhibition for foreign artists here in Nagoya early November (more on that in my next post) and I thought it would be nice to have a 'Nagoya' piece to display. So I created a 36"x24" composition, prepared a panel and then I ran into problems.

As may or may not know, in order to transfer my many photographs to my panels I use a technique called image transfer, a technique where acrylic medium picks up the ink from a laser print after which the paper is taken away which leaves you with a clear acrylic sheet called a gel skin. Because my pieces are quite large, I like to print on 11"x17" or A3 sized paper. In Canada I had a large format inkjet photo printer, I would print my images and bring them to a copy shop to have them copied on a particular type of paper by a laser printer.

Here in Japan I was going to do the same, but then my trusty large size inkjet printer died :( Instead of buying a new large size inkjet printer my husband suggested investing in a large size laser printer instead so I could skip the step of copying my photographs and make my process more efficient. of course I happily agreed with his suggestion :D

After the new printer arrived, and we politely convinced it to speak English instead of Japanese, it was time to get to work. Having figured out the printer part, it turned out, was only half of the challenge. For the transfers to come out perfectly I need a specific type of paper and that's where the real challenge started. Event though a paper looks and feels the same, doesn't mean it will actually work the same.

I scoured the city with my little foldable shopping trolly and found a whopping 7 types of paper to try. Then I spent a day conducting paper tests and I am happy to announce that I found my paper! After my experiences with papers in the past it should not have come as a surprise that the paper coming form Kinkos is the one, it beat Canon, Epson and several Japanese brands by miles. Unfortunately they only sell it in individual sheets so I guess I'll be the weirdo who comes in to buy empty sheets of paper but hey, which cares, I found the perfect paper, work in my new studio can finally start in earnest :D

October 01, 2017

About packaging, pottery and paints...

I am finally back to working in my studio, my first official task was packing up a painting for shipping to a new collector which made getting back to work extra special :)

It is funny how it always seems to take at least 3-4 months to get back into things after moving. I am still trying to find the right balance between studying for my Japanese classes, exploring Japanese culture and techniques and spending time in my studio. But with a group exhibition here in Nagoya coming up in November getting back to creating art is high on the to do list. Especially since I know that finding al the right materials and services is going to require some extra time and patience for the first couple of pieces.

Thanks to my amazing hubby I've been able to find quite a few good art supply stores, I'm still having difficulty finding some of the supplies I'm used to working with but between these stores and the internet I should be able to find most things. I am very excited to try some Japanese brands as well, I bought some acrylics the other day that I am eager to try!

Another thing thats high on my to do list is trying out as many Japanese art techniques as possible, I've already done some calligraphy and I have another class coming up later this month. A couple of weeks ago I got to get my hands dirty behind a classic Japanese pottery wheel and I can confirm that they do indeed turn in the opposite direction. I am also looking into trying out Yamato-e painting and I'm looking forward to finding a Sumie class.

And of course I  have done lots of exploring with my camera so as has become sort of a habit, I will leave you with some more of Japans awesome :)

September 19, 2017

About boxed, balance and beautiful things

Tigger enjoying some sunshine in the tatami room before the house was taken over by 388 boxes...

Wow, I didn't realize it had been this long since my last post! We have been slowly adjusting to life here in Nagoya. Two weeks ago our boat shipment arrived, this meant that our tiny Japanese home was flooded with 388 boxes delivered in four separate trucks by 12 impeccably dressed Japanese movers. I have to say that I was really impressed with the movers here in Japan, there were exactly on time, covered every single surface in the house with bubble wrap and blankets, were really polite and courteous and they handled out things with great care and efficiency, oh and they were finished at 2pm! The minimal effort and carelessness of the movers we dealt with in Montréal was seriously sad and almost laughable in comparison.

For a little while the house was a little full, 388 boxed can be a bit overwhelming in a Japanese home, but after two weeks of hard work everything has found its place and our home feels like home again :) Both my studio and office are up and running, I'm actually typing this blogpost sitting behind my own desk in my own desk chair! If you had seen this room a week ago you would understand why that feels like a huge accomplishment ;)

 Hubby built me some lovely new shelves to hold my paints <3

In between all the boxed and the craziness I did get to enjoy some Japanese culture. A couple of weeks ago I attended an awesome pottery demonstration by this amazing Japanese pottery artist, his name is Kato Heroshige and his family has been making pottery for hundreds of years. 

Last week I finally had a chance to try my hand at some Japanese Calligraphy which was quite challenging. I learned how to write the word 'Artist' in Kanji. Japanese calligraphy is all about balance and harmony, every stroke of the brush needs to be just so. Usually I'm quite comfortable with a brush in my hands but here I'm really starting from scratch, I even have to relearn how to hold the damn thing :D It was tons of fun though! I met some awesome new people and I love working with ink so I'll definitely be taking additional classes!

I'm also still working hard at learning the Japanese language, which is a slow and difficult process but I can now sort of kind of order something at a restaurant which feels like a huge accomplishment. 

I'm slowly getting into a new rhythm of life here in Japan and I definitely want to return to my studio soon although I do have a few technical things to figure out before I can start creating again.

I will leave you with some more Japanese awesome...

 Yes, this sign actually says "Welcome to in the woods hair myth Ricky" 

August 07, 2017

Konnichiwa from Nagoya!


I have been  living in Nagoya, Japan for about a month and a half now and it is awesome! The people are super polite and friendly, everything is neat and clean, the food is amazing and there's art everywhere! I've been walking around with my camera exploring my new city and come across so many little statues and art installations, they're just everywhere in his city.

It is the height of summer right now so both temperatures and humidity are skyrocketing but that doesn't keep the Japanese from partying. The summer seating is filled with all kinds of local festivals, so far we've seen Geisha dances, 5 m tall paper lanterns that were carried by a single person, boats decorated with hundreds of paper lanterns, many different floats and huge fireworks shows (as in 2 hours long!) I will attach some pictures and video's to the bottom of this post.

All our stuff is still on a boat, it's a long way from Montréal to Nagoya, so my new studio space is quite empty right now. If everything goes according to plan everything should arrive by the end of September and I can't wait! There's so much inspiration here in Japan!

But, while I'm waiting for my easel and paints to arrive I'm not idly sitting by. I'm doing tons of exploring and collecting many, many photographs of the amazing architecture and quirky urban icons here in Japan and I've started my Japanese classes, which is quite challenging and time consuming. It is definitely going to take some time to get a grip on this complicated language. I'm totally aware that I'm never going to fluent but since the majority of Japanese people do not speak a word of English, anything I learn is going to be helpful. Knowing the kanji for beef, pork and chicken is already saving me tons of time in the local supermarket :)

I'll try to write some more regular updates on this blog but adjusting to a new country and culture can be time consuming and exhausting so it might take some time for me to get back to my regular schedule of weekly blog posts. In the mean time you can stay up to date on my adventures here in Japan by following me on Facebook and Instagram, where I post more regularly.