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!
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
I will be facilitating a really exciting Cultural Portrait pilot project at a local high school in a couple of weeks. The plan is for the 30 students to create a street art type ceiling as they explore self and cultural identity. The work is to go on those classic porous school ceiling tiles- you know the kind- with about 3 students working on one tile together, to create dialogue, camaraderie, and group creative process.
But does wheatpasting (my fave form of street art) work on the fibrous board?
What is the point of a piece that is meant to be temporary? Work that is impermanent reminds us that nothing in life is permanent, that every state is temporary and transitory. Contemplating this concept teaches us to embrace change in our life, instead of working against it. When others notice a piece that is there one day and gone the next it creates a kind of energy/excitement within the community. – Keri Smith
Making a painting in a studio can be a bit stifling at times, but when you add the street installation element to it, it begins to be this exciting and urgent way of communicating. – Cake
Successful art programs recognize that art is a vehicle that can be used to engage youth in activities that will increase their self-esteem. These programs also recognize and involve the community in which they live. Ultimately, successful programs culminate in a public performance or exhibition in an effort to build participants’ self-esteem through public recognition.
I have been been involved in facilitating art programs to vulnerable youth in Vancouver for many years. On January 20 and 27, 2014, I took three years worth of youth drawings- along with a group of six youth from Intersections Media and their youth coordinator (Alison Donnelly), filmmaker Patti Henderson- and installed an art wall at YouthCO. YouthCO is a community-driven organization run by and for youth that seeks to engage, educate and empower young people living with or at-risk of HIV and Hep C. The gathering centre at YouthCo needed some sprucing up; the installation of wheatpasted original art work made the room vibrant and alive. The wall has the magic of street art while in an indoor setting. The youth created amazing short films from the footage they collected and footage by Patti.
Special thanks to Intersections Media Intake 7 participants, Alison Donnelly, Patti Henderson, Shane MacInnes, Anna Thorsen, and ALL THE YOUTH WHO CREATED THE ART OVER THE YEARS for your great work on the YouthCO wall!