With only a few days left in 2018, I find myself looking back on all the blog posts I didn’t write, dozens of incredible art finds that I didn’t share with you, and photos I never posted. But my regret won’t get you those photos, so instead I’m going to jam my 10 favourites into a single, end-of-the-year blog post so you don’t miss out on a thing! Here are my top 10 art finds of 2018 – none of which are the blockbuster shows I’ve already written about, but rather, the little discoveries that I am still thinking about, sometimes months later.
#10 Artist Brendan Tang
Manga meets sci fi meets fine art. What’s not to love? Vancouver artist Brendan Tang is one to check out. This was discovered at the Burrard Arts Foundation in Vancouver.
When I visited Bella Coola for the first time for a cousin’s wedding, the forest fires were building towards their peak. But it didn’t dampen the lush beauty of the landscape or the stunning Nuxalk art I discovered around town. My favourite was this simple, yet powerful Sputc Pole erected in 2014.
These limited edition, artist designed sneakers are the perfect hybrid of art and fashion. It helps that two of my very favourite artists – Sean Karemaker and Priscilla Yu – had their line of shoes on display when I visited this little shop in Vancouver’s Gastown. I also had a near brush with a celebrity here, which always makes for an exciting night (she says, as if it happens all the time). I was about to say hello to Sean, one of the artists I had come to see, when I realized that the person I thought was him, was, in fact, not. It’s too bad that I didn’t go say hello though, because it turns out it may have been Orlando Bloom! Le sigh 🙂
#7 Equilibrium Guitar by JOI Guitars
This year, the Junos were hosted in Vancouver and YVR brought in some guitar displays for the occasion. Reuben Forsland of JOI Guitars crafted this guitar, and it’s the story behind it that really sticks with me:
This guitar is inspired by my amazing father: his battle with crack addiction, homelessness, and yet still a wonderful, amazing addition to humankind…Although this guitar is a story inspired by him, I feel it speaks more to humankind itself, with our need to be balanced in life. We all have challenges presented to us throughout our life, and finding the balance in our choice is not always the road we choose. This can lead to what could be called “holes in our lives;” times when we are not quite whole within ourselves. Though, through self inspiration and strength it is always possible to again be in “Equilibrium.”
Quoted from the JOI Guitars website
#6 Artist Mitchell Brager
Mitchell is a young man with autism who finds a creative outlet in his imaginative representations of the world around him. Mitchell’s art was part of the Skeena Salmon Art Show at the Terrace Art Gallery, and we even put his image on the cover of the exhibit booklet. I have plans for multiple commissions from Mitchell, so get your order in before I do!
#5 Preserving Traditions by Jamie Nole
This is, by far, the most innovative design I have seen all year. It may be small, but it delivers on every front. This is an artist to watch! Her tiny painting was included in the Skeena Salmon Art Show at the Terrace Art Gallery.
#4 Crab of the Woods Bronze by Robert Davidson
Because turquoise. And this artist delivers. Every. Single. Time. This was discovered at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver.
#3 Artist Diane Roy
Is it crafty? Is it sculpture? It’s both, and this earns Diane Roy my #3 spot this year. I also have a spot saved in my house for when I buy one of her pieces! I discovered Diane’s art at a show by Collectif des Artistes Visuels de Colombie-Britannique in Vancouver.
#2 Emma Canning, creator of Dirt Spindle Pottery
This quirky and inventive potter stole my heart right off the bat with her creative and almost ghoulish designs. FYI, you can get your own body parts turned into plates and bowls! Note to self: shop here for Christmas gifts next year. I discovered Emma’s pottery at the 2018 Made in the 604 fall pop-up market.
#1 Stone Mask by Phil Gray
This artist was a 2017 YVR Art Foundation Mid-Career Artist Scholarship recipient. He chose to recreate one of a pair of the oldest Tsimshian stone masks found and the results are stunning. Gray combines the revival of stone carving with the recreation of a pivotal Tsimshian artifact. Not only is this an incredible piece of art in its own right, but it carries so much power, bringing ancient artifacts into the living and breathing present. I cannot over emphasize the impact of seeing this in person. It is currently on display in the South Terminal Building at YVR and can be viewed without going through security.
Well, that’s it! My top 10 of 2018. I hope you loved reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, and maybe it’s inspired you to go out and discover some art for yourself in 2019. May 2019 find you out visiting artists studios, going to art galleries, or possibly even purchasing art for your home or a friend. Discovering art is one of my favourite pass times, and I hope I have inspired you to as well.