My new friend, Chrissy Davey (aka @craftyfatalist) recently connected with me on Instagram about my embroidered drawings. Serendipitously, she had taken pictures of a street art wall (in the lane behind 119 East Cordova in Vancouver) a few years back- which amazingly turns out to be the wall I worked on with my youth program. She sent me some photos that take my breath away. The wall may be gone. But the ghosts live on.
Photos by Chrissy Davey:
That is why I love the creative process- especially street art. You create, you share, you let go. It deteriorates but leaves a mark in the heart.
Photos of the wall from my archives:
With fondness, I look back through some of my blog posts about the wall. What I love so much about that is the connections made with the artists and with the community…
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!
Part 5: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Summer 2016 Art Camp Day 3- Celebration
Sitting here in my lovely hotel room organizing supplies and reflecting on this week…
It was the final day of the art camp today. It was Punky Lake Wilderness Campy Society’s first ever art camp and I could not be more honored to have been able to facilitate it for the past three days.
We started the day with a beautiful OWL story and song from Elder Gary- speaking of our need to LISTEN and LEARN from animals for they are hurting too. He spoke of animals, in particular owls as messengers. I then led an owl drawing session- I loved that youth and adults alike dove right in using the techniques I have been sharing with them for the past couple of days! FAST and VORACIOUS learners!
A team of students then pasted the rest of the drawings (wheatpasting is delicious fun!). We were joined by photographer Rick Magnell who delivered print outs of his extraordinary portraits of the participants (blog post on Rick and his photography next week).
We pasted the photos in the midst of all the beautiful drawings and after a lovely lunch, spent time in circle reflecting and thanking each other.
I was gifted a most beautiful drum that I will cherish for the rest of my life. There are no words to suffice to describe its beauty.
Elder Gary who shared so many empowering prayers, stories and songs this week infused my drum with his healing energy:
I have fallen in love with these beautiful people, their hearts, minds, spirits, traditions- in love with the stunning Chilcotin landscape on which we created so much art work and made so many lovely connections and new friendships.
I look forward to gifting them all with hand drawn portraits. <3
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 chef, the photographer, the chaperones, youth workers and the participants!
Latest Inside Out Project prep at Intersections Media, Vancouver (March 2019)
We started the day by making name tags for the wall:
As the group continued to work on their name tags, I took some students into the kitchen to create a GIANT pot of wheatpaste (flour, water, sugar, white glue):
We then went onto WOLF drawings (preceded by a beautiful story and song by Gary, the elder, about his grandmother and the wolf).
We were treated to a fantastic lunch!
Then it came time to add the first layer to the wall! (Thank you to all my helpers who cut out all the drawings)
It was messy and delirious and so much fun! Tomorrow we add the rest of the drawings that I found at the end of the day:
We will also add new drawings, words and photographs!
— 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 chef, the photographer, the chaperones, youth workers and the participants!
Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of street art to address social and emotional intelligence and life- and transferable skills, while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections
I am delighted to be working with Yasmin Tayob and Michele Lopez and extraordinary students and volunteers on a wall installation at Alpha Secondary School in Burnaby BC. The heart of the project is to encourage youth to project plan around a theme and produce an art piece for a particular space, all the while addressing social and emotional intelligence and personal empowerment.
The image of the anatomical heart has invited both personal and group exploration around the issues that churn in our hearts. As a group, we celebrate the power of connection and creative expression.
Here is a random gallery of our last 4 after school sessions:
Next up is finalizing the large piece and installing the 8×8 foot piece in the stairwell!
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
CO-FACILITATORS: IAN POWELL, KAT THORSEN
Pilot Project: September 30, 2014- October 30, 2014
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.
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.
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!
STAY TUNED FOR OUR FUNDRAISER TO HELP US WITH PRINTING COSTS AND PROGRAM EXPANSION!!!
As part of Instalment 1 Exposition, I am creating a new street art wall in the city of Vancouver of 100 real people to represent the soul of the city.
The 100 faces will be cut out and collaged together and wheatpasted on January 15, 2015, the 62nd anniversary of the discovery the skeletons in Stanley Park. The wall image will appear in instalment 1 as part of setting the scene for telling the story.
I am inviting YOU to add your face and to be part of the wall and thus be part of the graphic novel!
For $20, you will be drawn in my signature style and the original portrait will become part of the 100 faces wall. I will email you a photo of your portrait. I will also share your image on my blog and my social media sites as the process develops and your name will appear in acknowledgments. I will also send out the invite for the wheatpaste session on January 15 in case you are in the Vancouver area!
All ages are encouraged.
To become a part of my project, you email me your photo of choice
Art is a powerful tool to facilitate connection and healing. For me, art is not about the finished product but about the creative process. Allowing the community to take ownership of the art creates dialogue- an ongoing dynamic that enriches all involved. On Saturday June 14, 2014, senior residents at Rideau Manor and audience members of all ages at Shine Your Light Concert [with Singspiration Singers, benefitting North Shore Restorative Justice Society] added to my drawings. The art created during the events was then added to our community street art wall on the Downtown Eastside by Intersections Media Opportunities for Youth Society participants. I just love witnessing the evolution of my art as it passes hand to hand and is then released to the public and the elements.
I decided to embroider the drawing of the dead heron. Check out more at: LINK