Thursday, 24 October 2013

Clash of Art: The Hunger 8 and the October Studio Walkabout

     This coming weekend is filled with events. Two of them are Definitely Superior’s fundraising masterpiece, The Hunger and the other is the more refined non-Halloween October Studio Walkabout. Both are in their eighth year, both in the North Core and both requiring a bit of touring, although The Hunger, designed for more younger folk, might include more staggering.
    Thousands of attendees to last year’s one night Halloween event have spread the word. This year The Hunger is expected to break the four-thousand attendee mark.
    No doubt the number of people wearing traditional and wacky costume creations will also increase. To accommodate Hunger fans, there will be 52 bands and DJs, there will be more venues and more performances, and there will be more raffles and prizes, including “street prizes.”
     Within seven venues, multiple performances include: the Saharan Belly Dancers, an Asylum Side Show Cabaret, Hot as Hell Burlesque, Day of the Dead Go Go Dancers, fire manipulators, drag performances, contortionists video projections, light shows, a Rocky Horror tribute, necromancers, and much more, ending the night with a big DJ lineup for the massive dance party.
     For music, why not try some stoner sludge metal, or punk/ska, or jazz/groove/improv, or instrumental math, or old school hip hop/turntablism, or tribal/breaks/kamikazi/downtech, or psychobilly/punk/rockabilly?      
     The competing venues will also be tightly packed, likely with zombies, vampires, gaming characters, muppets, vixens, Greek Gods, inappropriately dressed nurses, superheroes, tramps, creeps, a man carrying his own severed head, fairy tale characters, creatures, clowns, angels, fairies, mobsters, and on and on. 
      The cover charge of $10.00 will get you into every event and every venue. The list of venues and acts can be found on the DEFSUP website: – click on "events." The Hunger begins at 8pm on Saturday, October 26. And a bit of advice: don't come late! Come early and see it all.
"Riley McManus" Riley McManus
    More for the adults among us is the October Walkabout Tour. An eclectic group of professional artists are showcasing their work over the weekend, offering the public the opportunity to meet them in their home and working environment. This group lives close enough together that the route is a manageable walk.
     Artists include John Books, who will feature his cast bronze figurative sculptures. Alison Kendall will have handmade books available, along with her etchings, which score a variety of materials including paper and deer hide. Sara Link is an internationally recognized potter and sculptor recently inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. James Woodbeck’s sculptures incorporate the experimental with the eclectic, so you may see fairies and gargoyles at play. The stoneware and porcelain pottery that Tim Alexander will have in his home was fired at his studio in Rossport where he has his two-chamber climbing wood kiln. Liz and Peter Powlowski of Strawberry Hill Pottery will have functional and decorative sculptural ceramics for sale in their home. They’ve been collaborating for over thirty years. Full disclosure, I am part of this group as well, showing with John Books. I have my books and some art for sale.
     Admission is free. Maps are available to download at, or to pick up at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Painted Turtle, Baggage Building at the waterfront and various locations in the Bay/Algoma neighbourhood. The Walkabout takes place this Friday from 6 to 9pm, Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and Sunday from 12 to 4pm.
     Riley McManus modeled for this image. She is on the far left with the party hat, and she plans to attend the Hunger 8!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Make Millions! Download the Artist's Guidebook Today!

    The forty-page Artist Guidebook (Download Here) produced by the Recreation and Culture Division of the City is suitable for study in high school and university. Art students can learn how to avoid some of the pitfalls of nasty experience in a real world where we all have to pay rent.
     Many artists have been made dumb and blind by ideology and stereotypes handed down from the 1700s when it became cache for artists to be intellectuals, gurus, and rebels, rather than community-minded craftspeople who were in tune with their culture and not searching for the TRUTH or expressing their emotions. They worked hard, learned hard, and often passed down secret skills from one generation of artists to the next.
     Not that you can’t or shouldn’t be a guru if you think you’re spiritually gifted, or that you shouldn’t express your emotions. Sharing our suffering and joy of life can benefit others, but even these emotional artists need to make money, and if they mistake art as currency in of itself, feeding their soul, they won’t make the effort to feed their bank account. And one day, if they don’t kill themselves (25% of poets commit suicide) they go back to school and learn something more practical.
     So hurray for this guidebook.
     The document is design friendly, which stretches it to forty pages, but it’s an easy and informative read. The artists whose knowledge is scattered throughout the guidebook are credited in the opening pages, with sample images of the public art they produced for the city in accordance with Thunder Bay’s public art program. The program is very progressive with the aim of beautifying the city and giving meaning to our community to make for a better city in which to live, attract tourists and attract new businesses.
     The guidebook gives a bit of history about the public art program, its aims, how it works, and offers artists the opportunity to stay informed whenever new competitions are announced.
     There is also great detail about how a competition works, portfolios, submissions, materials, how to budget, artist fees, the jury, the contract, insurance, how to work with subcontractors, maintenance, and more.
     On a personal note, from an artist who has a better than 50% success rate with grant applications, applying for your first juried competition or grant is the most time consuming and frustrating. However, it’s important to note, that if you keep EVERYTHING, including research, contact addresses, source materials, bios, letters of intent, references, curriculum vitae, etc. on your computer, the next time you apply the process will be much easier. My first application for a competition took me two solid weeks. When I didn’t get the commission I was upset. I thought I’d wasted my time. However, when I applied for a grant, rather than a competition, it took me only two days to get everything in order, because I had EVERYTHING on my computer.
     Competitions for some projects require lots of thought, models and research, so the time involved will always vary. But now when I apply for a grant, there is no frustration. This is also because I know what I like to do as an artist. I have my métier.
     In fact, applying for competitions and grants is a great way to get to know yourself, to know what you like and need to do as an artist. Competitions test your ability and focus your mind. It’s a great start for your journey as an artist, so it would do you a great benefit to read the guidebook and organize the material you need long before a competition is even announced. Note to teachers! This would be a great assignment. This process can also reveal the social relevance and traditional functions of art.
     To get a hard copy you can contact the Public Art Coordinator, Reana Mussato at