Friends, Enemies, and Internet Losers: I have returned.

Posts tagged “painting

Lost in Translation: Not every burka is visible to the naked eye

We had some international guests last night at the open mic/jam. A 20-something Japanese couple joined us on the patio. She was beautifully clothed in a wide striped dress. He was an Asian hipster. They were chatty and fun. Her English was much better than his and we spoke most of the night. She even complimented me on my Japanese pronunciation. I’ve never studied Japanese but because of my father’s business connections, I learned how to be polite to Japanese speakers at a very young age.

My dad traveled to Japan quite frequently in the 80s and on one trip he acquired a painting by (I believe) Osawa Seiichiro. It depicts two pregnant women with no faces. My mother instantly hated it. At the time, I didn’t quite understand why. But I figured it out. She had an issue with the way some Japanese men treated women and the painting just gave it an image. I had never really though about it. We hear a lot these days about Muslim women and the hijab and burka. I’d never thought too much other cultures. Out of sight out of mind, I suppose.

Last night at the bar, I left the patio to pack up my stuff at the bar. The young woman I’d been talking with for most the evening came in to order a round of drinks and asked me what all “the men” were drinking. I told her she did have “to buy any drinks for those bums,” but she insisted because it was her duty to do so. It dawned on me then that she’d been filling the glasses all night, adjusting my chair every time I stood up or sat down.

I told her that I did not mean to insult her or her culture, but Western men open doors for women and should never walk in front of them. The idea of not walking behind a man almost frightened her. She told me, nervous and quiet, that she wasn’t “Japanese enough” when in Japan and never felt Canadian enough when here. I told her whenever she came to our pub and sat at our table, she was just our friend and didn’t have to serve anyone if she didn’t want to. She smiled, her dark eyes shining, but I am certain we will never see her again.

When we returned to the table, without the drinks, her boyfriend cast an accusing glance at us. His hipster charm wore off soon there after.


neither rain, nor snow, or… um… heavy bags or er… bad gas…

Guess what I got today? If you guessed “More awesome mail?” you’re either a genius or living under my desk. I recently blogged about how awesome it feels to get cool mail. Today, was pretty freakin’ cool. Today I received a package from New York (stomping grounds of the illustrious Jen and Elaine). Inside said package was the following:

Okay, for those who don’t have super powers and can’t hear pictures, along with the super-cool portrait is a talking Gilda Radner card. “RAD” indeed. I love the portrait, the talking card – listening to Gilda Radner complain about bad gas from beyond the grave is a must for any Tuesday morning, and the note made my day.

I told you: Mail is a happy thing! And it works both ways. Now Jen can tell her friends that one of her pictures sits proudly beside a limited edition Ralph Steadman print of Hunter S. Thompson, signed by Thompson and Steadman and shot (yeah, shot) by William S. Burroughs. I’d like point out Jen’s portrait of HST is signed too. WOOT! I hope Jen’s work likes its new home because its new home sure likes it. MAIL IS AWESOME!


Notes from the Underground

A space is defined by its edge, its peripheries. A visual artist knows this. I believe this can be applied to societies as well. To truly know them, one must start at the outside and move inward. That is why I went downtown Tuesday night to meet with Jason, a local fantasy artist who wanted to show me some of his work. I’d met Jason a few times at the Railway Club and I can guarantee you that if you saw Jason, you probably wouldn’t forget him. The same can be said of me and his art.

I like pretty things. I don’t really have a style or a school that I prefer; I just like art the doesn’t suck. I really didn’t know what to expect as I made my way down to Robson to meet Jason. When I enter the apartment, art hangs on every wall. As I turn the corner, my eyes land on a record turntable, always a good sign. As I move into his work space I smile. It looks like my office. Except, instead of the result of an accident between a Staples truck and the Bookmobile, it looks like an art supply store blew up in there. A gracious host, Jason gestures to the walls and invites me to look around. It’s Fantasy Art, very colourful, very dynamic. A lot of his works have very dark backgrounds which cause the brightly coloured subjects to leap from the canvas.

I have seen Fantasy Art before but I have never seen this. What sets Jason’s paintings apart from all other Fantasy work I’ve seen are his subjects. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am no fan of Conspiracy Theory. I consider it to be the realm of ‘Merican Hillbillies who possess neither an education nor a clue. I have seen it dramatized on YouTube, debated on Stickam, and bantered about on blogs; what I haven’t seen is it painted.

As Jason gives me the tour, he’s not trying to convince me of anything, he’s just explaining the stories behind his paintings. Ghost-like alien figures oversee the resurrection of Queen Nefertiti in order to usher in a new age for the Illuminati. A muscular and chisled Warlock presides over secret 24/7 ceremonies involving Isis and her son, Horus. One painting vividly shows the sybols of the Knight’s Templar and their Masonic descendants. I don’t believe the stories these paintings depict, but my interest in the images in undeniable. Just as I can find La Pieta to be the most gorgeous carving I have ever seen and not believe in the existence of Christ, I can enjoy the images in Jason’s paintings and not feel threatened by the Trilateral Commission.

Jason has other subjects as well: paintings of nature and animals and a visually stunning depiction of Icarus after the fall adapted from a Drapier painting. What I really didn’t expect was the carvings.

Sitting in a corner of the room is the amazing figure of a past lover, cut beautifully into a life-sized piece of Texada limestone. He shows me a series of smaller pieces that are incredibly intricate for their size. He works in oil, acrylic, stone, silver, and even bronze. The first time I saw Jason at the Railway Club, I knew he had to be an artist. And he most certainly is.

We finish the tour with a smoke on the balcony, looking to the cloud covered North Shore mountains, talking about Avatar. In a polite exchange we both defend our camps. As a visual artist, he raves about its effect on the eye. As a writer, I inform Jason that James Cameron has yet again stolen the story to one of his movies from somebody else. I will see Avatar one day. But not today. Today I venture back out into the rain to see what cool Vanouver thing I can find next. The Na’vi will just have to wait.

You can view a gallery of some of Jason’s pieces on his webpage: http://www.zyryo.com Click the image to enter.


Work in Progress

When I went to visit Vancouver fantasy artist, Jason, he’d flipped his latest work to face the wall because it wasn’t finished yet. He invited me back to see it when completed.

I don’t know why I needed to take a picture, but I did. Working on a blog entry about Jason’s work as soon as I finish posting this stupid little one.

I’ll say this for the picture: it makes hell of a lot more sense than Yoko Ono driving a single nail into a wall and naming it “Absence of a Painting.”