by Grady Mitchell | ”Light is the most important thing,” says Jennilee Marigomen. “Light is everything.” The Vancouver photographer has masterful control over that most ethereal substance. She combines her deft hand for light with a love of colour and coy dashes of humour to create work that celebrates the routine miracles of everyday life. She’s happiest, she says, when she finds “something that shouldn’t really be there.”
The core of the humour in Jennilee’s work revolves around the often clumsy interaction of manmade objects with nature, something especially abundant in a city like Vancouver. “Nature always finds its way.” Another key feature of her work is Vancouver’s unique light. “It’s actually more the lack of light,” she says. The familiar overcast of the city’s misty winters create a soft, diffused tone. The short days and capricious weather are both a gift and a curse. It makes light difficult to catch, but also precious. “You feel like this is a really special thing happening.”
Jennilee has collected one of her most beautiful series, Window Seat, into a book that will be released on September 26th at Make Gallery. The photos were taken on a trip through Mexico, a place with very different light. Its intensity and heat were a challenge, but one she embraced. The light is more direct, the colours more vibrant, but the images still bear Jennilee’s meditative and revelatory approach.
The title, in a direct sense, refers to the book’s opening photo of an airplane window rimed with frost, but it also embodies the way Jennilee works. Shot in the coastal towns of Sayulita and San Francisco, Jennilee operates as an observer, not an active participant. It’s as if she quickly came across these scenes, snapped a photo, and just as quickly vanished without a trace, content with the record of a brief moment that will never come again. You can grab the book for $35 at Make Gallery on September 26, and see more of Jennilee’s work on her website.
(via) Fall officially arrives tomorrow. If you want to understand the chemistry behind the imminent turning of Vancouver’s leaves, study this handy chart by Compound Interest. Short version: “Leaves are green because of chlorophyll, yellow because of a combination of carotenoids and flavonoids, red because of carotenoids combined with anthocyanins, and orange when only carotenoids are present. The chart is presented with detailed explanations of each of the different pigments.” The more you know…
The GOODS from The Biltmore Cabaret
Vancouver, BC | The Kopecky Family Band isn’t a family in the traditional sense – rather than being bound by blood and heritage, this band of six young musicians is connected by circumstance, miles on the odometer, and the songs they have crafted over the years. It is the Kopecky Family Band’s music that has brought them widespread attention and critical acclaim – the New York Times giving the recommendation that “If You Like Fleetwood Mac, Try the Kopecky Family Band”. (This is a great reminder to both check out KFB and give Rumours a spin on the turntable tonight).
Original founding member Kelsey Kopecky is also bringing something non-traditional on tour with the band – her love of yoga. Vancouver has (of course) been selected as a city to be a part of “Yopecky,” Kelsey’s pre-show, mixed level vinyasa yoga class! Just bring a mat and a spirit of adventure for some heart opening and movement. Kopecky Family Band and guest Avid Dancer play the Biltmore Cabaret Friday September 26 – advance tickets available online, at Red Cat, Zulu Records & the Biltmore. Learn more about the Biltmore after the jump… Read more
Local writer Stevie Wilson, the very same who pens the popular DIG IT and YOU SHOULD KNOW columns on Scout, has been busy contributing to a new book of local history called Vancouver Confidential. It’s a “collaboration of artists and writers who plumb the shadows of civic memory looking for the stories that don’t fit into mainstream narratives …. [shining] a light on the lives of Vancouverites that have for so long been ignored.” Within its pages, you’ll read…
Tom Carter on Vancouver’s Entertainment Czars, Aaron Chapman on Vancouver’s WWII Towers and our “Fear of the Outside World”; Jesse Donaldson explores the case of the Lovers’ Lane Marauder, James Johnstone revisits old Strathcona through the eyes of long-time resident Lucille Mars; Lani Russwurm investigates the “Red Shadows” and the 1930s communist scare with a spy’s eye view of Vancouver; Eve Lazarus probes the 1928 Lennie Commission into police corruption and all of its ensuing ramifications; Diane Purvey addresses the strange case of Viola Woolridge and how the mores and legal system of 1947 resulted in Viola (or at least her character) being put on trial for her own murder; Catherine Rose takes us back to the Dirty ’30s and shines a light on the “unholy trinity” of Police Chief John Cameron and gangsters Joe Celona and Shue Moy; Rosanne Sia looks at a 1931 Pender Street café murder/suicide that resulted in a ban on the hiring of white waitresses in Chinatown restaurants; Jason Vanderhill reveals the little-known story of Joseph Kennedy Ltd. and the liquor interest in 1920s Vancouver; Stevie Wilson on the staggering unemployment, relief camps, and Hobo Jungles of 1931; Will Woods on Mayor Gerry McGeer’s transformation from iron moulder and labour activist to controversial mayor and reader of the Riot Act; Terry Watada on Etsuji Morii, the “Al Capone of the Japanese community,” and the Black Dragon Society of Japantown, and John Belshaw pays tribute to early Vancouver street photography and the work of James Crookall.
Vancouver Confidential was made available at bookstores on Monday, September 15th. The official launch goes down at 6pm this Sunday, September 21st at the Emerald Supper Club in Chinatown.
The GOODS from Cavalier
Vancouver, BC | Ready or not, Fall is here! Sapphires are the birthstone for September as well as the traditional gift for 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. While blue is the gemstone’s traditional colour, they also come in stunning hues of pink, yellow, orange, purple, and even green. So if you’re in the market for a memorable gift, or just want to treat yourself to a fall statement piece, stop on by Cavalier to check out offerings from our handcrafted, ethically sourced sapphire collections. We are also featuring an exclusive Foe and Dear Sapphire Collection. Featuring rough blue sapphire gemstones set in 14K gold fill. Not only is each piece affordable, they are also unique and handcrafted by Vancouver’s own Katherine Huie. Read more
The GOODS from Rowan Sky
Vancouver, BC | We’re looking for a fashion savvy part-time sales associate who is detail-focused and passionate about footwear, bags, and jewelry. The successful candidate will be a self-starter who is motivated to achieve sales goals and has the capacity to work one on one and successfully in a team. Dedication to being on time and working efficiently are musts, as is computer experience (Mac OS, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and the ability to further our social media presence. You will also need to climb ladders and lift up to 25lbs. Extra languages spoken will be helpful. We can offer proper training to excel within our company and in the fashion business, sales incentives after probation period, employee discounts on all merchandise, and education on maintaining our blog and website. Pay negotiable based on experience. Send resumes to info [at] rowansky.com. Read more
The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is holding it’s annual Midcentury Modern Residential House Tour this weekend. Participants get to tour the interiors of five “significant” West Coast Regional Style Modernist homes in Vancouver. Architecture wonks will appreciate that this year’s tour includes homes by architects such as Ned Pratt and Barry Downs, plus there’s a Duncan McNab home with landscaping by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. Expect a post-tour reception at Vancouver Maritime Museum where tour participants will be invited to listen to Professor Sherry McKay talk about the history of Modernism in Vancouver over refreshments. A little bit of post-and-beam appreciation, a little bit of wine and cheese – sounds like an exceedingly civilized Saturday!
Saturday, September 20th | 1-5pm | Various locations | $85 | TICKETS & DETAILS
by Grady Mitchell | Ed Spence is an analog artist for the digital age, a specialist who takes existing images and pixelates them by hand. His process starts by cutting out a section of an existing image, then slicing that into individual pixels. Next he rearranges those pixels by colour or pattern, and finally he inserts the newly-reorganized section back into the image. The new piece contains untouched stretches of the original artwork interrupted by cascading wave-like gradients, complex geometric patterns, or buzzing static clouds of colour. The pieces are jarringly beautiful: quaint, antiquated images that appear hacked.
Raised in Salmon Arm, Ed studied fine arts at UBCO, focusing on video and sculpture. His education solidified a fascination with materials, the different ways they can be combined to create art. His pixellation series is a way of breaking down an image to study its parts. “Dissecting the material of the image makes you think about the illusion of pictorial space,” Ed says. “It really is a planar, flat medium. But once you cut into it, it becomes three dimensional again. You’re reminded that it always has been a three dimensional image: there’s ink on paper, the light reflecting, the illusion that these are colours.”
Ed’s fascination with fractal patterns started young, instilled by his dad, who would spend hours typing code into the earliest home computers, then have the machine visualize it into spiralling digital patterns. Now Ed is doing essentially the same thing, minus the machinery. “I found that really intriguing, that interplay between math, science, and art.”
Once removed, he says, the pixels no long mean what they did as part of the whole. “Every little piece becomes an entity on its own, you start thinking about the component parts of the picture. How all of those small parts coalesce into a harmonic image.”
In the beginning, Ed sought out a specific style of imagery to rework. He wanted soft, warm images, the kind that fill vintage magazines and travel brochures. “The era that they were from was nostalgic,” he says. “There was something to do with that combination of the futurism infused into these antiquated images that you’d see at your grandmother’s house.”
These days he wants to create an entire image from start to finish, and work in more modern colour palettes. His new work begins with crumpled reflective sheets of paper, which he blasts with coloured lights and photographs, so the vibrant tones get grabbed and warped by the many folds and facets. He then prints those images, slices and pixelates them. The process is the same as his earlier work, but the images are much different: whereas the older images are soft and warm, these new ones feature synthetic colour bursts and unpredictable shapes.
Next Ed plans to apply his pixillation to the human form through a collaborative project with his wife, Julie Chapple, a choreographer and artist. He’s begun work on wearable sculptures (you’ll see him working on a prototype in the images below) which dancers will wear in a performance choreographed by Julie. To see more of Ed’s work, visit his site here.
Tell me about yourselves and your respective roles in your company? Kelly and I formed Falken Reynolds two years ago. We’ve been partners in life for almost nine years now and it was always part of the plan to work together. We both transitioned to being professional designers after having fairly colourful career paths. Kelly was a sailor in the Canadian Navy, a cop in the VPD, a flight attendant, and a hotel manager before making the shift almost ten years ago. I grew up spending summers on horse ranches in Texas and Arizona; studied finance and psychology; taught business at a university in Lithuania; and had an international marketing job before starting design school in Barcelona.
While one of us takes the lead on each project we rely heavily on each other for input, especially during the early conceptual phases. We share the same perspectives on design – that spaces should be relevant to both the people using them as well as the space’s context; that style is deeply personal and subjective and our role is to create a space that reflects what makes each client unique; and that design is constantly evolving and reacting to culture, which is why we travel to Milan each year for iSaloni, the most important event on the contemporary design calendar.
You work and live in Gastown. Why? We moved to Gastown eight years ago because we both craved the authenticity that comes from so many segments of society rubbing shoulders everyday. There is a freedom that comes from the diversity here. [It] stimulates creativity, collaboration, encouragement – all the ingredients that give entrepreneurs the support they need to be successful. Neighbourhoods and cities that aspire for too much homogeny can stifle creativity and draw a person’s focus more towards fitting in than finding their own way. So much of this atmosphere in Gastown stems from the architecture and urban planning of densely packed low-rise buildings with a mix of residential and commercial use. The streets are active and familiar because so many people live and work here – it feels really intimate and neighbourly because people are out and about doing their thing.
You’ve taken a role as an IDSWest ambassador. How has the experience been? Talking about design is pretty natural for us so taking on the role of ambassadors has been a great fit. After ten years, IDSwest has become the anchor event for a month of design activities in Vancouver. When we travel to Milan one of the things that is so inspiring is the critical mass of people (350,000 this year) who are talking about how design impacts our lives – and that same energy is alive in Vancouver over the month of September. Craftsmen and manufacturers are all showing their latest designs and products and from that collective showing we can see the trend line of how society will be living in the years to come. Design fairs are a bit like seeing into the future, just like fashion weeks are – eventually all the custom, high end design trickles down to price points that are more affordable and available. The most exciting thing about IDSwest is bringing so many creative minds under one roof – over the years we have met countless people who we end up working with. There has been a real shift to designers being more open and collaborative (helped by a relatively strong economy and the internet) that we are starting to see how much more we can do when we work together.
We’re designing Shed, the central bar for IDSwest, presented by Caesarstone, and we are working with some of Vancouver’s best design companies to bring it together: Benson, Inform Interiors, And Light, Object Outdoors, Synlawn and Moosehead Contracting. Our taking off point for the concept was a garden party in an abandoned west coast back yard. A lot of the materials that will be used for Shed will be repurposed in the restaurant we’re designing in Chinatown, Sai Woo. It’s true to our perspective on being “green” – build with better quality materials that last longer and can be reused and recycled.
We have a few other things going in the show this year too – we’re designing a couture chair we’ve named Dauphine, for William Switzer, which will be exhibited along with six other chairs designed by leading interior designers. We’re exploring youthful west coast luxury – if Marie Antoinette moved to Gastown this would be her chair… We’re also speaking on the Gray Conversation stage about our career transition to design, as well as sharing our story of being shortlisted for two categories for Western Living’s Designers of the Year.
Who is currently inspiring you in your neighbourhood? We’re lucky to call a lot of our Gastown neighbours and colleagues our friends – so many great people giving 110% everyday and having success in Vancouver as well as an international stage. Their vision and determination for their own businesses has collectively elevated the neighbourhood and gained international recognition as one of the best spots to live and work. We know how lucky we are to be here and experience this moment. There are too many people to name everyone but here are a few that really stand out:
Niels and Nancy Bendtsen from Inform were pioneers in Gastown and have been so supportive to us and so many emerging designers – we have watched them in action in Milan where they are just as comfortable and recognized as they are in Vancouver.
The crew from Roden Gray has been on the cutting edge of mens fashion. Rob Lo is always working on a new and exciting project – we are always inspired by how they run their business and Rob has become a great friend.
The same goes for Jonathon from Litchfield, Paul from L’Abattoir and the crew at Timbertrain – They all work so hard at being excellent at what they do and it shows in the success they have with their business.
When Michael and Charlie from Bailey Nelson approached us to work on their Canadian flagship shop we jumped at the opportunity because we could all see the potential for the rather derelict site on the corner of Cambie and Cordova. They were able to see past the decades of decay and the crumbling building and then trust us to turn it into something fresh and welcoming. We are super happy with the result and hope it inspires other entrepreneurs to set up shop in the neighbourhood.
Name three of your favourite architectural or design landmarks that your neighbourhood offers? The digital photo of the Gastown Riot by Stan Douglas [Abbott & Cordova]. The roof at Inform Interiors – it’s a private gem and one of the best examples of how to keep the heritage of a building on the street and redevelop it for contemporary use. Maple Tree Square – there is so much potential with this space. Even though there have been many failed attempts at improving it, the bones of the square are intact. When the city takes another crack at improving it we’d love to part of imagining how to make it a better public gathering place.
The GOODS from The Acorn
Vancouver, BC | The Acorn Artist Series shines a light on artists in Vancouver whose work we admire greatly and wish to proliferate in our own humble way. Each month we make a new artist postcard that gets handed out to our guests who are free to frame it, mail it, or fold it into an airplane and surprise their neighbour. This month, we’re featuring Elizabeth Zvonar. In her dreams, her website has had over 1 million views. True story: rich and famous people have told her that they should have bought her work after they had already purchased another artist’s work. She also knows high people in places. A quick Q & A with her (and more) after the jump… Read more
(via) This timelapse showcasing California was filmed over a four year period by Hal Bergman.
“California is the most populated state in the United States, and the third largest. It’s almost double the size of the United Kingdom and slightly larger than Japan. If it was it’s own independent country (as it was briefly for a few weeks in 1846), it would have the 8th largest economy in the world by GDP. It contains the highest summit and the lowest desert in the Contiguous United States (and the second-lowest point in the world), both of which are in the same county. It’s most known for movies, technology, wine, and national parks, but also grows more than a third of the vegetables consumed in the US, two-thirds of the fruits and nuts, and an unknown but presumably huge percentage of marijuana. It contains every major climatological biome except tundra. More important than those facts, to me, is that I was born and spent most of my life here.”
Locations include (in alphabetical order) Alabama Hills, Big Sur, Bombay Beach, Death Valley National Park, Gilroy, Inyo National Forest, Jenner, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Mono Lake South Tufa Reserve, Mount Shasta, Napa, Onyx, Owens Lake, Salinas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, Sequoia National Forest, Venice, Weldon, and Yosemite National Park.
by Grady Mitchell | In anticipation of the Interior Design Show West coming up September 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Center, we met with Nancy Bendtsen from Inform Interiors to discuss the importance of design in everyday life.
Nancy’s husband, Niels, launched Inform half a century ago when he was just 19. At that time the Pacific Northwest was an epicentre for progressive design. Originally the store sold the handiwork of Niel’s father, who at 12 was pulled from school to apprentice as a Danish cabinet maker. Gradually Niels added other brands and designers, and now Inform, with its twin Gastown locations, is a touchstone of home design in Vancouver.
Like Niels, Nancy is genetically predisposed to be a design lover. When Allan Fleming updated the CN logo in 1960 – a long-overdue revamp that Marshall McLuhan declared iconic – Nancy’s mother found the sleek new lettering so alluring that she packed a young Nancy and herself into the car, drove to the nearest station, and took the shortest possible round trip, just to be on a train featuring the polished logo.
Later Nancy studied architecture at L’ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the University of Toronto. Architecture, she says, is less about schematics and flair than it is a general education. “You think over a lot of big things. It was more overall thinking; about humanity, about how people live.”
The things Nancy deems important are often small details that others overlook. “Everything you touch,” she says. “Door handles, cutlery.” Rather than a Dwell-ready house packed with curated spaces, it’s important to slowly collect pieces you truly enjoy, on both an aesthetic and functional level. “You don’t have to have a lot of stuff,” Nancy says, “just stuff you really love.”
As far as IDS West’s imminence is concerned, Nancy is excited for London-based lighting designer Michael Anastassiades, whose work she describes as “very architectural, geometric.” Rub shoulders with Nancy, Michael, and a host of other design aficionados at the Vancouver Conference Center from September 25-28 for IDS West.
by Rebecca Slaven | Cycling to Victoria is perfect for a long weekend and even better if you’re able to take a day off and avoid the ferry crowds. The route from Swartz Bay to Victoria is (almost) completely flat and mostly shaded, which makes it a great ride even during the final hot days of summer.
You can either take public transit or cycle to Tsawwassen. Each method has its disadvantages. The route to Tsawwassen is not the prettiest or the most straightforward. However, public transit brings with it a risk of delay. To take public transit, hop on the Canada Line to Bridgeport, and then take bus #620. Each bus has two racks for bikes, so cross your fingers that you’ll be first in line because the #620 only leaves once every 40 minutes.
You’re best off following a Map My Ride route or checking out HUB because I’ve gotten temporarily lost every time I’ve ridden to Tsawwassen. Whichever route you follow, you’ll have to take the George Massey bike shuttle, which is free and large enough that I’ve never seen it fill up past capacity. The waiting area simply has a bench and a small sign and so it’s easy to miss. The driver is very nice about being waved down by latecomers. Nevertheless, check the schedule carefully before leaving and try to get there early because there are large gaps between shuttle times, with not a lot to do in the area.
Once at the ferry terminal, you’ll be directed up to the front and loaded on after the big trucks and before the cars. The ferries have one or two bike racks and when those are full, cyclists simply lock their tires to their frames and prop bikes against the side of the ship.
When you’ve arrived at Swartz Bay, follow the cycling signs off the ferry to the Lochside Trail, which is fairly straightforward the whole way. There’s one point early on at which it looks like you may need to go on a bridge to cross the road but continue on the flat path to the left, instead. The only bridges you should be crossing are the wooden ones close to the city.
If you have time for a break on your route, stop at Sea Cider. The tasting room has a gorgeous view and the ciders are excellent. The completely vegetarian food from Re-bar makes for a perfect end to a long ride and their cookbook is definitely worth picking up while you’re there.
When heading back to Swartz Bay, stop at Fol Epi and pick up a sandwich to take on the ferry. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this place until my last visit to Victoria. I’ve missed out on so many delicious macarons! Happy late summer cycling…
Rebecca Slaven is a librarian, writer, and cyclist. Her subject specialities include law, beauty, and croquet. Her format specialty is the how-to guide. She mostly rides her bike to work but has cycled as far as San Francisco. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
The next Pecha Kucha Night goes down September 18th as part of Vancouver Design Week. As you can see from the bill above, there are some great folks in the line up from diverse design slants and backgrounds. It should be fascinating, and a sell-out, so pounce on a pair of tickets while they’re still available. Bonus: the musical guest for is Jody Glenham.