“Bind Your Own WOO” at READ!

On May 9th WOO Publications is launching a “Bind Your Own WOO” magazine featuring Emily Carr Student’s spring submissions at READ bookstore. The “Bind Your Own WOO” issue embraces the true nature of the experimental magazine and promises to be a ‘tailor-made’ experience. At this event, readers who attend will be able to arrange and bind the pages of the issue exactly to their liking using a “Perfect Bind” method which will be set up and run by the WOO team. In addition to the finished personalized copy of the magazine, the first 80 issues will contain a limited edition print by Olga Abeleva.

Olga Abeleva, who will enter her third year at ECU as a general fine arts student, regards her ideas as translating into all mediums differently in relation to her art practice. “The specificity of each material changes the original concept in its own way.” Abeleva explains. “I think that the wonders of technology can never replace the human touch. Printmaking requires a fair bit of physical labour - you can see the imperfections of the hand in the final piece.” With Abeleva’s musings in mind, participants at the “Bind Your Own WOO” event can mix technology and tactility while enjoying an original afternoon producing their own publication. 

The War on Drugs: A Good Trip

Article/Photography by Kate Brooks-Heinimann

Saturday night’s gig at the Biltmore Cabaret featured the Philadelphia-based indie rock band The War On Drugs. Having never had the opportunity to see the band live before, let alone a show at the Biltmore, I have to say their show made for a lasting impression and a great introduction.

The Biltmore was chock full of fans, almost too packed. But what else can be expected at a sold out show? There was enough room for a few impromptu dance parties near the side-lines, but good luck at getting front and centre — people were squished like sardines. The sound travelled clearly throughout the venue, so those choosing to lay low and casually observe from the outskirts, easily heard it all.

A band that has constantly been on road and touring for two years, it is hard to believe Adam Granduciel, lead singer and guitarist, made time to record their third album ‘Lost in the Dream’. The set list at the Biltmore included all of the songs off the new album. Overall, the performance sounded like a psychedelic throw back to an 80‘s version of Bruce Springsteen. And their slower, more melodic tunes, such as ‘Suffering‘ and ‘The Haunting Idle‘ created a contemplative mellow atmosphere. There was no rowdiness and no drama. The atmosphere was positive, but after being bumped into more than just a few times, the “packed like sardines” analogy started to really take its toll.

More than once, the lead singer and guitarist, Adam Granduciel, engaged with the audience: “Any song requests?” He was also kind enough to dedicate a tune to the band touring with them, The White Laces. Overall, the show kept the audience fully engaged, happy and wanting more. To any Canadian fans living in Toronto: be sure to catch them next month before they leave North America and begin their European leg.

The War on Drugs played at the Biltmore Cabaret on Saturday March 29th, they will sit for an interview on CBC’s “Q” with Jian Ghomeshi on Tuesday the 15th of April, Listen to the interveiw here: http://www.cbc.ca/q/2014/04/15/tuesday-15-april/

Obzensions a Review

"Aisle 16" from the Artist’s Website

By Omar Linares

Pongsakorn Yanannissorn’s Obzensions meshes consumer culture with eastern Zen contemplation.  Through the extravagant aesthetics of cheap Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) his series animations portray consumerism, its mythology, and its particular eastern instance.

Original from Thailand and better known as ‘Ponpon,’ Pongsakorn Yanannissorn is a second year Interactive and Social Media Arts student (ISMA) with a portfolio centered on fashion photography; hence, his recent GIF animations mark a departure from the sleek style and subtle aesthetics predominant on his blog. Nonetheless, Obzensions follows the trends of Pongsakorn’s main interest in art and in particular interactive art; what then is a surprise are the explorations of the flamboyant commercial look of the GIF format and its mix with photography.

Two main issues influenced Pongsakorn’s choice of format. The first one is GIF’s flexibility, adaptability, and ease of use; traits for which it has been popular since its inception in 1987 and that, despite the limited 256 colors palette and 8 bit pixels, has allowed its animation in the web. Second, the content matter, for although the artist refers to the sleek animated photographs of cinemagraphs, developed by fashion photographer Jamie Beck and graphic designer Kevin Burg,[1] it was actually the cheap internet aesthetics of web banners what turned GIFs into an ideal vessel with which to equate consumerism with Zen.

“To be zen is to fall into an experience, to be surrounded by it without analyzing it,” he declares, “which I think is very similar to consumer culture.” Likewise, his artist statement at the Obzension’s website reads “Only the surface is left.  The very alluring surface.” [2] These are the surfaces of mass production packaging, neon signs, and “over-the-top colors” he often finds in Asian consumerism; features that are fearlessly adapted in Obzensions to female subjects that become things—“just like the advertisement signs of any other culture.” Thus, he emphasizes this point in works like “Aisle16” and “How to Cook an Instant Noodle,” where the female model becomes part of consumer culture, is “as important as the sliding packs, as fake as them.”

Ultimately this is what informs Pongsakorn’s aesthetics, where “the colors are as fake as possible.” It is the centrality of the concept what guides his current practice, since for him “the medium should lend itself to the concept.” This guideline compels Pongsakorn’s future projects into other directions, although he foresees further works around Asian culture and, if the case calls it, more GIFs. For now, we can grasp his unusual approach to digital media in Obzensions; as it meshes the medium with its message, and the act of looking at it with other forms of thought.

Websites for Visual Artists

Websites for Visual Artists

by Jessica Molčan


Gone are the days when it was thought tacky for an artist to have a website. Now it is expected that you have a website. Art world professionals now believe it is unacceptable to forage into the art world for gallery representation without one. A basic website is easy to put together and cheap to maintain. Aside from your studio, it’s the only place where you will have complete control over how people see your work. Take the opportunity to provide context for your work, presenting it the way you want it to be seen.

Since you don’t know who will come across and look at your website, you can’t tailor it the same way you would tailor a portfolio for specific grants, residencies, or galleries. Make sure that you are comfortable with the content choose to have an online presence to everyone and anyone. This means if the boss at your new day job looks at it, you won’t be embarrassed.

Before you design your site by yourself, with a friend’s help, or through a site builder, seriously consider your artwork. Think about colours and layouts that will be best suited to what you create as an artist. Don’t overshadow minimalistic abstract work with a complex and cluttered website. Feed your work with the design of your site. With that in mind, make sure your website is easy to navigate. Your site visitor should be focused on what they’re looking for on your website, not the difficulty they’re having finding it.

Try to keep your website about your work. Your homepage is your first impression, and should rarely include anything but your name and navigational buttons to the other sections of your site. You can also use your homepage to announce upcoming shows or press, but if you have a ton, it’s better to have a news section than clutter your home page. It may seem simple, but also make sure there is some way for people to contact you.

Be sure to curate your site the same way you would curate a studio visit or a show. Don’t post everything you’ve ever created. Also, consider how you want people to experience your work. One image at a time? Multiple shots? Current work and past work in separate sections? Take a look at other artist’s websites to guide you. Use low-res images (72-120 dpi) so that your site loads quickly, and it also thwarts people stealing your images for print. Remember to include the same information about your images as you do for a physical portfolio: title, year, medium, dimensions, edition (if applicable), and a brief description, if necessary. Do not include prices on your website - if you’re looking for a gallery, they prefer pricing to be collaborative. If you want to indicate that work is for sale, you can put, “contact me for price information”. Likewise, if it’s not for sale, you can indicate that with “NFS.”

Finally, keep your site up to date: your CV, images, press, shows, biography. If your site has out of date information, such as an “upcoming show” that happened months (or years) ago, it looks unprofessional and lazy. As a visual artist, you should keep commercial work (such as portrait commissions) off your portfolio site. If you have a day job where you create commercial artwork, create a separate site for that type of work. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I need to rework my website. Oops!

Keeping Creative Momentum after Graduation

By Jessica Molčan

As I’ve tackled university graduation once already, I distinctly remember the emotions surrounding it: stress, elation, exhaustion, happiness, and this shiny positive outlook that everything will work out ‘just right’ after walking up to that podium to receive my diploma. I also recall the disillusionment afterwards. Finding a job in my field was difficult with a focus in English Literature and Visual Art. Producing art was challenging without deadlines and professors holding me accountable to my production level or the pressure of starting graduate studies in the fall. I overcame a lot of these challenges, and I’d like to share my experience with you. Whether you’re heading into the work force or biding your time before graduate studies begin, here are some ways to keep your creative momentum after school ends.

Seek Out Opportunity

Opportunity doesn’t come knocking, and good things don’t happen to those who wait. You need to get out and find opportunities that speak to you. A way to give yourself a deadline is to look for open artist calls or juried shows for which you will have to submit recent work. Challenge yourself to create something new. If you’re a writer, keep an eye out for writers’ calls in art publications. Don’t expect opportunities to show up just because you’re talented—go find them.

Make A Schedule

If you want to make art, film, design, or writing your career, you should treat it as that: a career, or more simply put, a job. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be less passionate about your work, but showing up, acknowledging you may fail, and attempting to create something can help assist you find something new to be excited about. Creating a schedule will also help keep you accountable in creating new work.

Make What You Want to See

They say, “write what you know,” but author Austin Kleon begs to differ: “write the book you want to read”. This same advice can apply to other disciplines. Make the film you want to watch, design the product you want to use, create the painting you want to see, and write the book you want to read. Get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons.

Band Together

Find a group of peers that want to get together after graduation to help create a space for your work to evolve. One of the major events we take for granted as students are our critiques. It’s so rare that we get people together to give us critical feedback of our work. If you have a peer group that you can meet with once a month, not only will it give you the momentum to keep creating, but you’ll also glean valuable feedback on your work.

Hopefully some of this will help you keep momentum when it comes to producing after graduation. Have any ideas that have helped you stay self-motivated? Leave them below.