Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Art of Procrastination....

This is what remains of the huge building that burnt down earlier this year on my street, 
the fire was massive & ate up half our block.

I am presently procrastinating with getting moving on editing my stopmotion animations; I have a small amount of work to do on the stopmotion for Flying Down Thunder & Rise Ashen, "Listen" (it didn't get accepted to the film festivals, boo but I was having computer problems that day and got it in a few hours late so I don't know if that had anything to do with it), I discovered my hand flashes in & out of one frame, so I need to fix that otherwise I can release it. I have some other older projects to wrap up editing but need to focus on these new projects cause one of them I am on a deadline for (I need deadlines I have come to realize). 
Film trucks are leaving again, not this parking lot but the other one behind 
where I am taking this photo from, they keep using as the base camp 
for all the film shoots in our neighborhood which this year is way more then normal. 
Every couple weeks we have had a different film shoot happening here. 
This film is called "The Race".


Art store mural, this is new.
So, of course, I went for a walk in my neighborhood & took photos, for exercise (and to help my food digest). I bought raw chocolate, coconut milk, almond butter & crackers from the grocery store. Now I am editing my photos from the walk'about for my blog (here)... ahem... 

Errrrr... Working, you said? ... Ummm... Yes, I am working on stopmotion animation. In a minute, that is. I really should get my ass in gear; I have so much fun making the stopmotion, but the post processing, computer time is my least favorite part of the process, though the finished product would be my true favorite part, of course I would  be redundant. Oye... Ode to the battle of conquering mountain me.
Book Store on the way to the grocery store.

Lordy... My courtyard still smells like skunk and pot, right now the combined scent is wafting into my office. It's been days since the skunk sprayed (and people do smoke pot in front of the hostel next door). Where are the incense? 



Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com

Saturday Night Pub Drawing Session

Kebeko playing at Brewtopia on Friday.
So on friday, I met a lovely woman when I was at Brewtopia, a 71 year old who looked more like late fifties with a beautiful presence. Her and I noticed each other as soon as I walked in, don't know why, just sometimes like that, instinct. She told me later it was my necklace that caught her eye, for me I think it was just simply her presence because, unlike most 71 year olds, she had a very timeless style of dressing that felt very young but not in the sense of "trying", rather, just being. She made 71 look fun, and she was super present, just enjoying the music. But you know how it is with some older people; for those who are refusing to confirm to the society norms of their age & want to still be young at heart, some come across as trying too hard, but this lady was just being real, you could see it in her body language & her style of dress. People like her remind me that old age doesn't have to suck. 

So anyways, she really took a shine to what I was doing. Everywhere I go to do these pub drawing sessions, people super love it, they can be really shy, but they get very curious to watch the process unfold and super appreciative. Which for me feels really good, people enjoy it as a part of their experience of watching the live band and instead of me being by myself at home drawing (I get way more attention drawing at the pubs then I do if I am drawing at a coffee shop) where alot my art is collecting dust (getting into the galleries isn't easy for a lot of reasons, plus I need frames for my work if I want to hang the new pen & inks etc). I feel that art & music should go together. 

So anyways, this older lady on friday, she would come pop over every half hour or so; she was there for both sets of the band; when I do these sessions, I sip my stout as long as possible & usually draw at least three hours; gets me out of the house. I find with regards to this medium that I produce alot more & remain way more focused then I do at home; something about the over stimulation of the environment that would normally make me edgy, I pour this into my art, but also live music for me is like food for the soul. Art is also a great bridge to communicate with people; I just sit there and do my thing & the world comes to me.

I learned that the 71 year old woman was now a semi-retired school teacher, she was still teaching but just mornings. She focused on kindergarten and Grade 1. She was from Australia originally but spent most of her life in Canada. I don't remember what subject she said she used to teach, she had recently decided to switch to phys-ed, which for that age range is mostly dance & music, amongst some sports. I was surprised, but she said she loves this change because it helps her keep active physically, which of course helps her own health. She said in Australia, when you are trained as a school teacher, regardless of what subjects you specialize in, everyone is trained to be able to teach phys-ed, I was surprised to hear this (I have school teachers in my extended & immediate family). Her husband was a journalist & amongst the serious subjects, he used to write an art's column for one of the big papers in Montreal for approx. 3 years (she didn't say which decade, only referenced that it was a long time ago). As a result they were always going to art galleries & exhibition openings, often the pre-public events which meant they had first pick of all the art, including before the museum curators (she mentioned who it was at that time, she knew all the people in the fine art & commercial art industry). She knew things have changed for artists today, for example, it's now become the norm that galleries survive by renting the wall space to the artist, which I think is wrong, but that's another subject I don't wish to talk about or I will start venting. 

So at the end of the night, after having been watching me draw as much as watching the band play, she came over when she was leaving and put something into my hands but kept my hands held shut, she didn't want me to see what she had put in my hands.  She told me that she wanted to give me a gift of money, that while she said "This doesn't do your art justice, I can't afford to contribute what I feel it's worth, but this is a little something to help..." She explained that she really wants to see me succeed & knows how hard it is to make it as an artist so she wanted to make a donation towards my over all living expenses so that I can keep pursuing my work, with a huge emphasize on repeatedly telling me how talented I am & she really believes that I need to keep doing what I am doing. Super gratitude beyond words, kindness of strangers never ceases to blow my mind (something I learned alot about when I used to hitch hike). So this is what allowed me to go out last night to do another pub drawing session. 

Last night I went to the Irish Embassy, I had checked out Grumpy's first, there was a dark haired bearded fellow singing & playing the guitar with a fellow on one of those wooden drum box thingies that you sit on to play; they had talent but I wasn't feeling the vibe. He was singing a song (original material) that was talking something about "the devil within". When the bartender told me that they had no more Guinness, I decided I needed to go somewhere else. Which is how I ended up at the Irish Embassy cause after checking out the other places (I was looking for live music), I decided I was more in the mood for the old 60's & 70's rock'n'roll that the cover band was playing at the Embassy (I considered going for the Irish music at Hurley's or I could have gone with a punk band upstairs, then of course the same band from the night before was at Brewtopia). I have been there before but it's not my favorite pub, I used to go there for the Irish Chamber of Commerce social meetings (networking thing) as well as they used to host one of the Irish Sessions that Belfast Andi runs. So anyways, when I first walked in the band was playing "Miss you" by Rolling Stones; during their second  set, (lord the music the pub played between sets was horrible, I left the pub plus the waitress never came to take my order after being there a half hour so I was really annoyed but after wandering around a bit I ended up going back there; I really wanted to draw somewhere not at home), at the moment I was thinking, "Come on, play some songs I love.", they then went into The Doors, followed by Creedence Clearwater Revival "Born on the Bayou", which is awesome since I been playing that particular song rather obsessively over the last several days. Their last song of the night was another CCR song, "Have you ever seen the rain.". 

I had an awesome response from the people hanging out at the pub to my artwork, I had perched myself at a tall table with a stool in such a way to be open & welcoming to those around as I wanted to encourage people to watch the process. I was giving away artcards to anyone who came over curious about what I was doing. Like the night before, I had a few "fans" who kept popping by all night. One girl was so thrilled with what I was doing that when she saw I had finished my drink & wasn't ordering another one, she bought me a pint of Guinness, I was super grateful, and she took my old glass away to boot; so I gave her a thank-you kiss on the cheek (the French thing with the kiss kiss means you can do this and it's not weird LOL) and one of the artcards. The last song of the night (radio at that point) was "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees but I totally misheard the lyrics and thought they were singing "cheer up sleepy dreamer" LOL. Auditory processing disorder means I hear all kinds of interesting things that aren't what was said (or sung, as the case may be). 
End of the night, I had borrowed Ziggy's Ipad to see what it's like to use. 

Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Owls & Music

Two dudes dressed as female super heroes, they were hilarious & dancing quite outrageously.... 



Tonight I went to Brewtopia for a pint... When I left the house, I left with the intention to go find somewhere with live music to sit and draw to, which is one of my favorite things to do. Art & music should go together in my opinion.

I might say more later, but due to the time of morning it is & how packed my next week is, I have decided that tonight, I am going to allow my photos to speak for themselves instead of writing a proper blog posting.

However, I will say this, the band was very talented & upbeat, doing a mixture of originals & covers. I would describe them as Jimi Hendrix meets Brazil; they are called Kebeko, and apparently they are playing again tomorrow night (I am not going but certainly they were fun).








Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com

Friday, August 29, 2014

Time Without Age, Across Centuries.... "Kieres"

Aurelie modeled for me as a body double last night, though we decided in the end she was really just a second character; for another project (secret) that I have been working on for the last several weeks. I am actually simultaneously working on 3 stopmotion animations right now, while trying to get caught up on editing work as well as dealing with regular promotion of my work as an artist & the business side of all that (services).

Tonight, Aurelie (Projet Aeolia) & I began shooting her stop-motion animation for "Kieres". We are really pleased with the work, so beautiful. The song "Kieres" is in Spanish, but we decided to include English translations in a poetic presentation so that we can make the stopmotion animation & the song more accessible to a larger audience outside of the context of those who understand Spanish. We went tonight to the dollar store to find props, specifically we needed butterflies (they used to carry these beautiful feather butterflies that I have only one left from) but couldn't find what we ideally wanted (went to 2 dollar stores) either for style or color so we had to choose from what was available, which that combined with what I already had at home, we ended up being very happy with the results we got.



The translation is roughly;

"If you want, we will cross the centuries/time without age, if you want, we will cross the immensity/space of closely together, I will draw the colour of my love on your soul, I will let you hear the butterfly that is flirting together, to put my hand on yours, to cross our fingers, that you think that mine are yours, sharing our body melted, it inspires me the perfume of your aura, do you feel how my heart is fighting inside my rib cage; Do you want this?"


Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Teaser

I am really excited about this stopmotion animation I am working on. In the meantime, I just did another shoot tonight for the same project, and I am doing a middle of the night shoot with another model (third model meant to be a body double) for the same project tonight.

 So here's another teaser from last week's shoot!




Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adventures at the Tam Tams



 Anyone who's been to Montreal, knows that we are famous for an event everyone calls "The Tam Tams" at "the mountain". Mont-Royal Mountain, though compared to what I was used to in BC, while it is in reality just a very old mountain, hence it's small size, the fact that you can walk over it in a relatively short period of time is indicative that it's more like what we call a hill in BC, but Quebecors are really defensive that it is a real mountain.


Anyways, the tam-tams remind me of Wreck Beach back in Vancouver only with clothes on (Wreck is a nudist beach). Basically the Tam Tam's are like a free-form festival with a market place for arts, crafts & often hand made clothing.
The henna has glitter on it that I apply while it's wet.

The drummers all congregate around the giant statue, and by the Gizebo you find the psytrance DJ's (at the end there is a fire jam involving both poi, staff & fire eaters/breathers). Over to the right & above of the statue, there is a field where all the circus performers & yoga practitioners go to train, and above them is where all the medieval & fantasy fighters have "wars" with fake swords (all ages, including some very serious & very intense older men fully decked out).


It's really quite something. Every sunday I go and I offer a roaming henna service. Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com




"Badass Faerie of Rock & Roll"

We were joking around.... When my model looked at me right after I had been using the glitter, my face was covered & she was laughing, because of a few factors, she suddenly declared I was like the rock'n'roller of the art world, then changed that to, "Wait! You are a rock'n'roller of the faerie world!" and then she elaborated (clearly sleep dep was kicking in LOL) with, "Wait! We both are the rock'n'rollers of the faerie world!!!"; which is what lead to this miniature photoshoot in the middle of the stop-motion animation shoot. 
I am working on three new different stop-motion animation, collaborative, ongoing photoshoots right now, while also thinking about the editing on old projects I have to complete (they are almost finished, bit of this is A.D.D.). I have realized that I love producing the material alot more then I love editing it (ok, editing can be a bit of a drag but once I am finished editing then it is very exciting, I push myself through the post production by remembering how good it will feel to have a finish product). I am not saying too  much about any of these new projects until they are done but two are with local musicians; one being for Projet ├ćolia and the other for Kyra Shaughnessy .
Aftermath
I made friends with a young woman who was here visiting from the French region of Switzerland, she came from a very tiny village (an actual village that is thousands of years old, which I find interesting); she originally approached me because she wished to learn how to do henna. But quickly we became friends. I found it interesting to learn that when she left her village, the 20 minute drive it used to take to get to the nearest city she thought was a very long time to spend in a car travelling anywhere but since spending four months in Canada and experiencing how we live, how far cities & towns are spread from each other, or even how long it takes to get from one end of Montreal to the other (as cities in the world at large goes, this is not really that big; I was stunned when I saw first hand how big Hong-Kong was for example; it's all relative); now she is going back to her village with a very new perspective on everything. She said now the idea of travelling to the countries around her country seems very close; she has the travel bug now. 



I really enjoyed talking with her, we took her out to the woods at one point and she asked me about the 1st Nations People in Canada because she said that she noticed this was a taboo subject that no one would talk about to her and she felt it was very hypocritical since she noticed that people didn't have a problem using 1st Nations People as a selling feature to tourists. So we talked for two  hours on this subject and I told her about the residential schools & other important subjects. She said that she didn't understand why the native languages as well as the real history, the genocides et cetera were not talked about or taught in school; she felt that it was wrong because everyone talks about the Holocaust & what happened with Hitler & the Jewish but no one talks about what happened to the native people. She was horrified when she learned about what happened. I have done alot of research on again off again, took a few anthropology classes related to the subject, and I was part of an experimental social studies class in high school that focused on 1st Nations history; this in addition to growing up surrounded by several large reservations (age 10-19) & other cultures but we were living close to the Cold Water Reserve. She also did not understand why the Quebec people were worried about language loss when they were making no effort to learn the local 1st Nations languages or culture; she commented about why are the local languages not taught in the public school systems. My response was that this has been my thinking since I was a teenager, I never understood why we don't teach the local languages and that there is no import placed upon Canadians to learn the 1st Nations languages and culture.

We talked about how you go to India & even though it was colonized, it's very obvious that the dominant culture is still Indian (even if there was a certain amount of cultural exchange or assimilation, depending on your perspective) but yet here in Canada, you don't see the influence of Native culture on mainstream society or mainstream culture, and this is wrong that it is hidden, taboo. She pointed out that so many cities & towns names are in the local languages (such as Kelowna means Bear). I have tried to bring up these types of subjects with white Canadians to just initiate dialogue, get people thinking and people automatically get defensive and annoyed with me for bringing it up, they dont' understand why we should be talking about these subjects. I found it refreshing that an outsider from Europe saw the problem, saw the issue, saw why we need to be talking about it, and embracing the 1st Nations people, start honoring them. 
Kyra Shaughnessy - Singer Songwriter

So since I had such a strong synergy with my Swiss friend (she has gone back home now), I needed to reshoot one section (not the whole thing, only a certain portion) of one of the stopmotion shoots from the week before but I needed a body double since my original model was not available to reshoot that particular scene. Lucky for me my young friend had time & patience. As she said, "It's never a good idea to frustrate the artist." I thought this was very funny. Our shoot took 18 hours, she allowed me to be very nit-picky with details, which was really awesome. Of course I wanted to do more details & make it even more fine art but I needed to be realistic to my model's energy levels (as well as my own). We had alot of fun together, as our teaser photos from that project make clear.

Be sure to check out my new website at: www.aprilanna.com

Studio Cat - The Sphynx