Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Art Camp Diary- Part 6: the photographer



Part 1: Preparation

Part 2: Travel

Part 3: Art Camp Day 1 

Part 4: Art Camp Day 2

Part 5: Art Camp Day 3

Part 6: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Summer 2016 Art Camp- the photographer

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What a treat it was to be joined by photographer Rick Magnell of Magnell Photography on Days 1 and 3!

Rick Magnell.  Photo by Jana Roller

Contact: rmagnell@me.com

As this is a wheatpaste project developed from my initial obsession (that began in 2012) with the street artist JR…

I knew the Punky Lake project had to include photo portraits.  Rick was THE PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHER for this purpose!  He not only has a profound gift for the visual but also a demeanour that makes even the shyest participant at ease in front of the camera!


He also has an ability to go with the flow!  It was only Day 1 and we were all just getting to know each other, but Rick managed to take EXTRAORDINARY portraits of the participants and support staff.  I am BLOWN AWAY by the beauty of these faces as captured by Rick.

I will let Rick explain:

Sarah Jackman from The Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society offered me the opportunity to photograph the Journey and Mind Mapping Art Camp with Kat Thorsen. My first task was to head out to the Old Training and Recreation Complex in Riske Creek and take portraits of all the youth and adults involved in the camp and have 8×10 prints made. The prints would then be cut out and become part of the mural project with in the gymnasium. Once I got there Kat had already got the group to all sketch pictures of raccoons and after lunch started teaching the group how to sketch anatomical hearts. These would all get incorporated in to the mural. Everyone was great, of course you get the few shy ones but we managed to get them in front of the camera.” – Rick Magnell





Day 3 was where I brought out the 8×10’s to be wheatpasted on the mural and documented the rest of the day. The day concluded with a closing circle where everyone shared their thoughts about the art camp. Two of the youth were presented drums along with Kat who received a drum herself as thanks. Elder Gary finished the circle with a drumming song. Gary has some incredible stories, I did approach him to see if he would be interested in my Story project. Overall it was a great group and a great experience for myself to photograph. I appreciate the opportunity and it was great to meet Kat and everyone else involved in the project.” – Rick Magnell


… the power of paper and glue… – JR

Thank you Rick for making the art camp extra-special!  I look forward to drawing all the participants from your photos! 


I want to thank and acknowledge the Toosey (Tl’esqox) and Tsihquot’in First Nations, Old School Training and Recreation Complex and Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society (Sarah Jackman, Samantha Dick, Bruce Baptiste, Ann Guichon) for hosting the Summer 2016 Art Camp. I also want to thank and acknowledge the elders, the chef, the photographer, the chaperones, youth workers and the participants!

Check out:

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Inside Out: youth empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

I am so excited to be part of this incredible project inspired by my hero JR:


MOUNTAINSIDE SECONDARY: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey

Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of portrait photography and street art to learn life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

THEMES: Connection and Empowerment


Pilot Project: September 30, 2014- October 30, 2014


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Mountainside Secondary School (MSS) is the North Vancouver School Districts smallest and newest secondary school, meeting the Ministry of Education requirements for funding as an Alternative School (BCEDAlternate Program Policy).

MSS functions as part of the continuum of social/emotional/behavioural supports that are available to all students at all secondary schools in the NVSD, and targets students in Grades 9-12 (ages 14-19).
MSS aims to allow for varied and alternate pathways to graduation (80 credit or Adult) or School Completion, and beyond.

MSS Core Values

  • Mutual respect
  • Genuine relationships
  • Flexibility
  • Choice
  • Individual accountability
  • Community Connections
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TEST SHOOT, INTERSECTIONS MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH SOCIETY, 2013-2014 (including Mountainside students/alumni)

We are proud to be part of the global art initiative INSIDE OUT PROJECT founded by JR:






As mentioned, we are part of a global art initiative founded by French street artist JR, winner of the 2011 Ted Talk Prize.  Our project is called: The Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey.

As they work through the curriculum, the students will be gaining some valuable life and transferable skills.

We use TED TALKS to inspire and to induce dialogue and self-reflection around the theme.

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Student journal entry

When you try to be yourself there will be people who will put you down. You grow up looking up to people and not knowing who you are and being told what to do and what not to do. We all deal with pain in different ways- some do it in a sad way. Having to live in a world where judging a person we don’t even know is a good way to make yourself feel better, or even judging a person makes ‘cool.’ But in the end we are all on this earth for a reason ans we should all love ourselves the way we are and respect all of our good qualities and get rid of all the negative, cruelty thoughts. – student journal entry

We are registering our project with JR’s site on Tuesday! And our unique angle is that it is a youth run project and that by addressing their own vulnerability by connecting w people/community through portrait photography, the youth, in turn, empower the subject to feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of the camera!
The project will culminate in a large outdoor installation in the Spring.  A documentary and a behind the scenes short film will also be produced!



Co-facilitator Ian Powell and his dog, Finnegan!






Source: The Music Empowers Foundation
Source: The Music Empowers Foundation

JR and Swoon: my #wheatpaste heroes

The original inspiration:


JR, a French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face. He makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. A funny, moving talk about art and who we are. Learn more at insideoutproject.net.


Swoon is a Brooklyn-based artist whose life-sized woodblock and cut-paper portraits hang on walls in various states of decay in cities around the world. She has designed and built several large-scale installations, most notably the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea at Deitch Projects in 2008. Her pieces have been collected by The Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, & the Tate Modern. Major pieces have appeared at PS1, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Black Rat Press. Swoon is also an instigator and a collaborator. She founded the Toyshop collective and the Miss Rockaway Armada, and is a member of Just Seeds and the Transformazium. Since 2006 she has organized four large-scale raft projects and floated down the Mississippi and Hudson rivers with them. Most recently, she and her collaborators designed a flotilla of sea-going rafts that invaded the 2009 Venice Biennale. Her artistic process is predicated on the belief that art is an immersive, provocative, and transformative experience for its participants. Although her aesthetics can be seen as an outgrowth of street art, her engagement with ethical living and making art share a close kinship with the idealism of off-grid, barter-based cultures and economies based on sharing. She uses scavenged and local materials and embraces print media as a potent means of action for social change.


This is how we do it! #wheatpaste #streetart #downtowneastside

See also:

China Marker Bowie and other portraits

Portrait: Jacqueline

Latest updates

Start with a drawing:

Here I am drawing a live portrait of “Kim.” Photographer: Nancy Kirkpatrick

Cut it out:

Add detail:

Find the right spot:

Emily McMorran and Maryellen Groundwater attaching “Kim.” I love how the background matched the original image.
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

An assortment of delicious moments from the past week:

Anna T Fabulous! Photographer: Megan Low
Photographer: Nancy Kirkpatrick

Emily McMorran

Emily McMorran, Nancy Kirkpatrick and Maryellen Groundwater prepping portrait of Nancy.
Travis Hengg wheatpasting Nancy.  Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

Travis Hengg is my hero!
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Travis re-pasting Megan’s portrait
Photo by Megan Low
Dustin Whymark checking is he can remove his portrait!
Maryellen prepping her drawing.  Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick

By Maryellen Groundwater

Travis Hengg

Latest updates from our #wheatpaste (aka Marxist glue) #streetart blitz, #downtowneastside.

Wheatpaste (also known as Marxist glue, or simply paste) is a liquid adhesive made from vegetable starch and water. It has been used since ancient times for various arts and crafts such as book binding, decoupage, collage, and papier-mâché. It is also made for the purpose of adhering paper posters to walls and other surfaces (often in graffiti). Closely resembling wallpaper paste, it is often made by mixing roughly equal portions of flour and water [and some sugar] and heating it until it thickens, or by smearing cooked rice into a paste. [source]

See also:

China Marker Bowie and other portraits

Portrait: Jacqueline

This is how we do it

We’ll be doing more pasteups today and capturing it on video.  I was going to write about WHY? I’m into doing wheatpasting right now- but, nah- it’s either self-explicable or un-explicable.  Either way: WHY NOT?

Travis pasting Matt’s portrait. Photo by Maryellen Groundwater


Emily.  As the wheatpasted paper dries, it shrinks and adheres solidly to the wall, revealing whatever texture is underneath. Our initial pasteups are still on the wall and survived torrential downpour, unscathed.
Travis doing touchups on the only casualty this week. Looks like a key scratch on Megan’s portrait.

Travis Hengg, Maryellen Groundwater

Megan, Travis, Maryellen, Brandon, Dustin, Emily, Jacqueline.

Today’s pasteups are being prepped:


The portraits. Foreshadowing of the next large art event: a take on the Inside Out Project. Another #massarttherapysession!

The art event as a huge success and is now a catalyst for bringing more of these happenings to Vancouver.  It left attendees hungry for more creative and interactive art experiences.

I met with the muses last Monday and our next event will likely be some time in May 2011.  The focus will be THE PORTRAIT, as inspired by THE INSIDE OUT PROJECT (see details about this project below).

Photos by Julian Bowers.


Jay Fisher
Jocelyn Louise

Rebecca Rawlinson


The premise of the night will be to install 12 large canvases in the creative space.  Each canvas will have a portrait of a local (through pre-registration and subject will be in attendance).  The portrait will have been started by me in charcoal prior to the event- essentially an outline/layout of the essential form of that person.  The subjects and a group of participants will then finish the individual portraits during the 3 hour evening.  The process will be filmed and participants interviewed (if they choose) regarding their relationship to the pieces and their experience of the creative process.

There will also be body art, cash bar, aprés dinner snacks and film.  Afterwards, the portraits will be photographed and be made into posters for pasting around town.  This process will also be filmed and a blog page will be started to record the relationship of the pieces to the community.   The original pieces may travel and be re-exhibited once the film is completed.



Support the project:

Trailer for Women Are Heroes



I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait. – Salvador Dali