As we roll into the end of the year, so ends another exciting (and exhausting!) fall show season. I am so grateful to the community for all the support and encouragement I received this year. There were many opportunities to showcase my work, and I am thrilled to say the experiences at each show were a success.
This fall, I participated in 4 shows:
Cambrian College Faculty Mentor Exhibit
Inspired Hands Arts and Craft Show
Makers North - Holiday Market
Though there is challenge to producing, prepping, and packaging, then setting up, running my booth solo, and tearing down each show, the experiences are incredibly rewarding. Beyond selling my work, I have made meaningful connections with people, had the chance to describe my process, and be inspired by other hugely talented makers in our community.
These shows are wonderful examples of opportunities for local artists. I am proud to showcase work in my community, and fully appreciate all the supp...
I am so proud to be a professional member of the creative community, having the opportunity to work on a number of large scale murals and public art. This summer I had the absolute privilege of working as a primary mural assistant on two separate murals. It was a week of extremes - working with unbelievable talent on exciting murals. My adventures during UpHere 2016:
Assisted world renowned muralists Ella+Pitr from France - who have created highly visible and huge (in scale and message) murals around the world. They were the most approachable and kind artists I have ever worked with, and I am so grateful to have been able to experience their process and huge talent.
We met them at the airport, and I pretty much immediately realized that my french left much to be desired. But they spoke english very well, as I stumbled through my french, and I was able to spend time with them, both on the mural and outside of the project. They are lovely people,...
The Annual Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Awards occurred last month, and we had the chance to learn more about local artist Johanna Westby, winner of the Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist.
She is well known throughout Sudbury as a graphic designer and art teacher at Cambrian, a children’s book author and illustrator, and the creator behind the cement truck mural at UpFest last year (don’t worry, we asked her for all the details!). Read on for our interview with Johanna.
First off, congratulations on this achievement! How does it feel to be recognized by the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Awards?
It is an honour to be recognized within such a rich and vibrant creative community. There is so much talent in Greater Sud...
An event pops up on my Facebook feed - an amazing-sounding discussion for artists and designers! With some fantastic panelists! Here in Sudbury! Tonigh.... Oh. Well, I guess I won't be attending. No time to get a babysitter for my very young children. Maybe next time.
Finding the balance between being a mother and being an artist/designer is challenging. It seems often as though the maternal requirement outweighs the professional, and one is left to lament the missed opportunity. Chances for inspiration or invaluable motivation are lost, and it is often difficult to cultivate creativity oneself without an external push.
As a practicing designer/illustrator and mother of two, I have often felt this disappointment in my professional career. Listening to colleagues tell tales of how wonderful a lecture was, how rejuvenated they felt after a great presentation, it becomes more obvious that I have missed something. But there are solutions [well, maybe not...
Very happy to announce that I have been selected as a finalist for the Mayor's Celebration of the Arts in the Emerging Artist category. Sudbury has a wealth of talent and creative individuals, and it is an honour to be recognized for my contribution to the arts. I am very thankful to the Sudbury Arts Council, and I look forward to the gala event on May 18, 2016.
This past weekend, I took a group of students to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection gallery. I've been there many times, and while always impressed by the work, had never experienced it as I had this trip.
I had spent the weekend being enveloped by the work of Lawren Harris at multiple venues. The technique, movement, colour, composition, geometry, precision, and light of his work is glorious. I am always drawn to his paintings - the aesthetic and symbolism of his work, the effervescent and illuminated quality has always intrigued and excited me. His seemingly endless body of work has suggested his eternal existence in my world.
There's something real about seeing the gravesite of Lawren Harris.
Such an exquisite and prolific painter - one I have been inspired by my whole artistic life - a mortal.
There was a finite limit on his time of creation. There's something unsettling about that. I'm not interested in dwelling on futile death contemplation, b...
In a call for inspiring words for Graphic Design students, I felt compelled to share my experience and a few words that will (hopefully) create encouragement:
This is one of the only jobs that requires passion.
At the risk of sounding like a cliche motivational poster: Your success is measured by how far you want to go, and how much you're willing to work to get it. Your passion, your drive, and your attitude will determine your altitude in this field. It's not enough just to like or even love design - you have to have a fire inside you that drives you to create.
In a discussion with a colleague, I was reminded how I got through the program. In my experience before graphic design, I bounced around, working in various crummy minimum wage jobs, in some less-than-favourable locations, and in the end, I had a rotten job at a steel factory. That was it. The catalyst which drove me to get myself together and start treating myself with WORTH. But it didn't...
"I got THREE adult colouring books for Christmas!!"
This was a statement that began a long discussion about the "other side" of adult colouring books.
EVERYBODY loves them. And the justification is sound - they are fun, great for adults of all skill level for therapeutic reasons, for easing stress, and are wonderful for adults who may not, for whatever reason, be able to create the initial line work (for instance, they are a very positive outlet for those with developmental disability and seniors, in addition to adults of all ages).
But there is a negative impact this very popular trend is creating.
There is growth in the general public's interest in purchasing artwork in reproductive form, and adult colouring books are being used as a replacement for original work. The line work is pre-formed, the colour is added (often arbitrarily - colour is a powerful element and should be thoughtfully considered), and the piece is displayed as a final image, with...
Two of the most dreaded words to some creatives (students and professionals alike). Why? Is the information boring? Is the content un-relatable? Sure, some periods of art (ahem, Etruscan Art...) may not pique the interest of the average creative, perhaps due to the less-than-empathetic reaction it generates. But it seems curious that some creatives, especially relatively fresh artists, have little to no recognition or interest in retaining historic information.
I find this particularly curious, since in many other creative fields, one might find a plethora of knowledge about historic influence, from even those with no classical training. Take for instance music. If one decides to be a musician (perhaps at an early age), they would have knowledge and be influenced by predecessors and current trends in the field. For instance, if one chose to be interested in being a rock genre guitar player, they are probably familiar with Jimi Hendrix, Er...
Cute little miniatures have made an appearance in my studio - in preparation for the holiday season. These function as tree ornaments, or decorative miniature images. The images shown here will be available at the Art Gallery of Sudbury, and more are on the way for upcoming shows (Maker's Market on December 6 in Sudbury).
For more information about upcoming shows, or to commission a custom illustration, contact me at: