Eastside Culture Crawl

The Eastside Culture Crawl, that annual November arts extravaganza, saw your intrepid friend stomping in her winter boots and lion hat through the lanes and byways of the eastside city checking out the goodies on offer by hundreds of Vancouver’s artists in their homes and studios. Other organisations, such as the Ukranian Cultural Centre, piggy-backed on the Crawl’s popularity with their annual pre-Christmas bazaar. However, not everyone is a fan of this yearly blow-out as can be seen in this poster extolling Free Art.

While the point of view expressed here may have merit, not too many people seemed to be embracing it this day. I spent the first sunny part of Saturday roaming around Hawks, Keefer, Union and Campbell Streets, visiting several private homes and studios, one of which displayed some interesting Pride paintings of Drag Queens and naked ladies on ironing boards,

the building owned by Arnt Arntzen, Richard Tetrault, and Valerie Arntzen where I saw some beautiful sculptural furniture make of wood and  disused airplane and helicopter parts, and the studio building of wood artist Peter Pierobon and painter Sibeal Foyle, where Peter’s dramatic wooden lights were on display.

Other spaces I investigated were Kiku Hawkes photography, Nadia Baker’s prints installed in an off-Union street laneway house, and Ross deNotter’s nuovo fresco mixed media works in his spacious Union street backyard studio.

Feeling a might peckish, I stopped in to the Russian Community Centre for some homemade soup in its faux-living room gymnasium – cool place –

and then off to the vast rabbit warren of 1000 Parker Street.

This amazing labyrinth of studios contains the work of many talented folk – lots of wood-workers doing interesting things on the first and second floors – and some good painting and the sculpture of David Robinson, whose Equestrian Monument outside the Yaletown skytrain station I like very much.

I was interested to note that colourful abstraction, often with very shiny resin or shellac surfaces, seemed to be the style du jour. Some of these were quite luscious and beautiful; others, not so much.

While appreciating the lovely paintings of Fiona Ackerman, I spied two female mannequins atop one of the cupboards in her studio. After asking her whether she intended to do anything with them, and receiving the answer that she wanted to get rid of them, I was delighted to take them off her hands and drag them through the building halls and out the door. They were quite heavy and, as I paused for a break outside the front door, three women asked if I needed a hand and were kind enough to help me carry them the three blocks to my car – huzzah!

After stowing the two bodies in my car, I went back to finish the Parker Street stroll and then made my way across the street to the Mergatroid building and another warren of studios – lots of ceramics, some glass, prints, clothing, a screen printing studio, the Purple Thistle co-operative … at this point I ran out of steam and, my arms aching from mannequin-carrying, crawled back to my car and home.

See more here.

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