The Benefits Of Doing, The Power Of Action

“When the next step is unclear, the best way to figure it out is to take action. Constant motion is the key to execution.”

– Scott Belsky, Making Ideas Happen


Don’t Get Caught In The Brainstorm: Idea Generation Is Only Truly Efficient With Clearly Defined Beginnings

“Approach every occasion of creativity with a dose of skepticism and a bias toward action. Brainstorming should start with a question and the goal of capturing something specific, relevant, and actionable.”

– introducing the Action Method in Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky


A More Concise Wrap Up: Make It Monthly! January 2013 Wrap Up

No, you didn’t miss out: I haven’t posted a Wrap Up of 2012. Yet.

Yes, that’s right, I *might* still post last years’s major events, accomplishments, favourite art, music, film, and literature…
but for now, I’m trying on a new hat,
a tighter, better fitting, perhaps even more stylish hat:
The Monthly Wrap Up!

That’s right, at the end of every month throughout the year,
I’m going to bring you a quick recap of everything that stood out for me,
so you can keep fresh tabs on the tunes that kept me movin’, the films that kept me inspired, the art that I outputted 😉 and more..!

So let’s get started!

//// WRAP UP JANUARY 2013 ////

/// NEWS ///

Move, Move, Moving On

This year started mega busy, as I helped a friend pack and move her place during New Year’s, which was also her birthday..! Amazing what we can accomplish with focused determination, and a healthy dose of positivity!

I also returned the favour to an old, dependable friend who has always been there for my constant moving. Clearing a storage unit on a grey Sunday, it’s fun when you’re with Graeme Scott.
Ladner storage lockers. Grey mist morning

I moved Format No Auto Creative Projects, my art & design business, into a new studio space at 721 E Hastings A beautiful sunny frosty morning at 721 E.Hastings
with the fine folks of Considered Design (& their incredible flying husky, George) Come one! Come all! To 721 E Hastings to witness the Amazing Flying George!!
I’m stoked as we turn 721 into our working home, keep yer ears open for an upcoming launch party!

Bicycle Love

I cycle 12 months a year. For 7-9 months each year, it rains like hell here. My bike takes a ton of abuse, so I wasn’t surprised when the fine mechanics at Mac-Talla gave me the long list of everything my bike should have fixed/replaced. But they’re super rad at Mac-Talla, and gave me a prioritized list, being straight up with what I absolutely needed now (so as not to die due to an exploding bike) and what could wait a bit.
Need work on your bike? I highly recommend Mac-Talla Cycles, 2626 E Hastings (@ Penticton St)

Tragic, But Pulls Us Together

The Waldorf Hotel has been sold to condo developers.
Although the story is far from over (work is being done to give the hotel heritage status), killing the amazing multi-disciplinary arts programming at The Waldorf was an indescribable blow to the nuts for artists throughout this city.
The way that everyone pulled together and supported the Waldorf, each other, and arts culture (& not just on social media, but in person at an impromptu, celebrity-filled, media-attended Sunday Love In) was incredibly inspiring. Shit like this needs to happen to make people act out, and the voices have been loud and clear.
The very day I heard about the sale, I created this drawing as an outlet, an expression of protest not only in support of the Waldorf, but in support of every artistic & cultural venue trying to sustain existence and support community life!

/// MY WORK ///


Joseph Beuys drawing & print

I drew this portrait of Joseph Beuys & used it at a screenprinting class at Blim!


East Side Yoga photography

Photographed the 1st set of promo shots for East Side Yoga – thanks Jane, Julie, and Daniel for being awesome yogis, and to M.Hall for your generous use of equipment!

// DESIGN //

Shout outs to my team of clients and creative colleagues!

East Side Yoga, Direct Impact Media, ShowMakers Productions, Decoda Literacy Solutions, Considered Design, VIVO Media Arts, Michael JP Hall Photography

Big love to those who keep me well fed, emotionally nourished, and creatively inspired!

Brent & Jenni, igor, jenny reed, Dan Sorce, Erica, Ben, Neil, Cory, Kate, Kirby, Jason Wrobleski, Taraneh, Luciana, Krisztina, Karianne, those I’ve mentioned above, and many more, you know who you are – thank you.

/// BEST EATS ///

Wilder Snail

Strathcona mini-grocers and delicious sandwich/soup shop Support local business! Shop & eat @wildersnail Keefer/Hawks #ILoveStrathcona


// Music, recorded //

Foals – My Number (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Remix)

a bumpin’ brilliant combo of an ace dj mixing an ace indie band

Arbutus Records

The Quebec-based record label Arbutus Records has an amazing roster (Grimes, Majical Cloudz, TONSTARTSSBANDHT and more), and my heart flutters for their mandate:

“Emphasis on friendship and collaboration within the scene has lead to an increasingly multimedia oriented endeavor, moving beyond a label to include film and literature.”

Segue – Snow Dub

on Silent Season – this is a label to watch!

Goat – World Music

This is epic sprawling rock – get in!


Post-punk death rock. Fucking awesome.

// Music, Live //

A night at Prophouse Cafe

Everyone should support The Prophouse Cafe: it’s packed with gorgeous film props, the staff are inviting and kind, the food is delicious, and there are nightly comedy and music events.
On an early night in January, three fantastic female performers: Kristi-Lee Audette, Pitre, and Olenka turned a cold winter into a warm cozy night.

Three solid bands rock The Astoria

Needles//Pins, The Ballantynes, and I was especially impressed by the fierce energy of Fist City

/// BEST READS ///

Chase Happiness by Dave Gamache

With advice such as “Stop saving all your money for retirement” and “Learn to care less about what others think,” this little manifesto is worth a read. Chase Happiness by Dave Gamache

Decoy Magazine

Decoy a great online mag to keep up to tabs with Vancouver’s art scene

Rules of A Creative Life

– I love this rules-of-creators-life

/// BEST VIEWS ///

// Art, openings //


An interesting, compelling, and uniquely interactive evening of performances at Dynamo, including Luciana D’Anunciação
Luciana-DAnunciacao_Dynamo_Jan2013_IMG_0484and Lauren Marsden

Paul Wong: Now & Then @ Surrey Art Gallery

Paul Wong talks about his 40 years as a videographer, from portapack to smart phone.

Edible Glasses @ Western Front

A variety of work in Edible Glasses, including Feiko Beckers’ clever, humourous video ‘Merely a Part of Life’
@Western_Front Michael Turner squishes the video head of Feiko Beckers' 'Merely a Part of Life'

After I Shed My Skin @ Wil Aballe Art Projects

Only a few pieces, but not a small show at Wil Aballe Art Projects by any means!
Sean Weisgerber: After I Shed My Skin @WAAPart

Attila Richard Lukacs @ Winsor Gallery

A new show of Lukacs’ work at Winsor Gallery, including ‘Lotus Pools,’ a beautiful combination of rough and delicate.
'Lotus Pools' by Attila Richard Lukacs at Winsor Gallery. 5'x7' Must be seen in person. Beautiful combo of rough & delicate, shimmering colour & stark b&w

KT Kilgour’s ‘Corners’ at Black & Yellow Gallery

KT Kilgour (my screenprinting instructor at Blim!)’s show ‘Corners’ at Black & Yellow Gallery

// Art, elsewhere //

Soey Milk

Soey Milk – my oh my. She is one helluvan artist, and her subject matter is incredibly tantalizing..!

Bartosz Kosowski

Bartosz Kosowski – incredibly illustrative portraits, reminds me of Arthur Adams, a comic book artist I loved

Ben Lamb

Ben Lamb – holy shit incredible illustration! Thx Julian for recommendation

Werner Knaupp

Werner Knaupp – wow gorgeous, moving paintings. Found on The Darcys’ Tumblr.

// Vids //

Keith Yamashita: The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams

This touches on so much more than just a few good habits; another fantastic 99U vid worth watching.

Uncle Skeleton: Dot

This really could go in my ART section, as it’s a gorgeous artistic collaboration between Vancouver band Uncle Skeleton and dancer Mirae Rosner

Uncle Skeleton “Dot” from Ken Tsui on Vimeo.


  • By Feb 5: design new Format No Auto business cards. Print by Feb 7
  • By Feb 18: complete redesigned mockups of new Format No Auto website. Will be responsive (good for mobile devices)
    How you can help me:
    – do you or anyone you know develop apps or mobile sites? I have 2 ideas I want to create, and am meeting with developers to find person/team with the right fit.

An aside, very important though:…!
Format No Auto Creative Projects exists because I, Ash Tanasiychuk, live to create art, document art, and promote art.

My main goal in 2013 is to build a community of artists and art lovers, and to build such a large and inspiring community, that we will excite and engage people who hadn’t previously been involved in the arts.

Some plans include:

  • growing the team at Format No Auto Creative Projects
    I’m looking for web developers, videographers, copywriters, project managers, and social media experts. I’m also open to other suggestions…
  • start a community arts space
    An open door policy: anyone is welcome to sit, pour a cup of coffee, use computer terminals to research events, job postings, grants, etc, to talk about projects or events, to network for fellow musicians, collaborators, etc. We’d also hold low-cost workshops.
  • develop a mobile-friendly Vancouver event site
    Make searching for things to do easy, fun, encouraging. Sort by date, neighbourhood, cost, and genre dead-easy. GPS enabled to give you directions, and to find other event-goers once there.

Do you have a project you want to document the process of?
A performance you want photographed?
Are you stoked by my plans and want to be part of my growing team of creative peeps who are driven by the creativity of our communities?
If you want to get involved in any way, shape or form, please give me a shout! ash(at)formatnoauto(dot)com

Finally, here’s a new addition to my Wrap Ups: a look into the month ahead, with some events that are high on my radar…


Feb 1st-3rd

performance: last chance for PuSh Fest events, including Human Library

Feb 4th

talk/seminar: Vancouver Institute for Social Research presents Glen Coulthard – Rage against Empire: Resentment, Reconciliation and Indigenous Decolonization in Canada (FREE to attend)

Feb 8th

art opening: Contemporary Art & Cocktails @ Beaumont
Stoked on this because Leon Phillips is showing, his work is fantastic.

Feb 14th

exhibition opening: Sex Talk In The City @ MOV
dance party!: People’s Prom

Feb 15th

art opening: FUCK @ HAWC
art opening: Gutter Snipes @ Grunt
live music/indie band: Helio Sequence @ Biltmore

Feb 16th

live music/dj: Gramatik @ Electric Owl

Feb 19th

art/music/culture: Talking Stick Festival starts, runs till March 3

Feb 20th

film: A Sister’s Call @ Cinematheque

Feb 21st

art/book launch: Anamnesia: Unforgetting Book Launch @ VIVO

Feb 23rd

live music/dj: Justin Martin @ Electric Owl

Feb 28th

live music/dj: Shlohmo @ Fortune

/// IN CLOSING… ///

Alright! Whew! All that, in just one month!
Thanks for joining me on the ride!

If you like what you’ve read here and want to receive a monthly email from me, please Subscribe Me.
To unsubscribe, click Unsubscribe Me.

Cheers everyone, big love and peace to you and your loved ones
Ash Tanasiychuk, Format No Auto Creative Projects


Belief & Care In Yourself: The Most Crucial Keys To Success? or Restructure That Brain, Good Sir!

A restructuring of the brain is needed.

  1. I need to believe in myself, I need to respect myself, I need to value my work, effort, and talents
  2. I need to handle personal challenges with a clearer head, and a more positive outlook

The position I am in, I am struggling with those 2 things.

When it became brutally apparent that I can’t continue living as I have, with very little pay for the work I do, I took it as a character flaw, as though there was something inherently wrong with me that lead to being in a place of low funds and little income.

I scolded myself for not having a stronger business mind, for not being more cutthroat with my business/career decisions. I felt like a sucker for being so willing to give, to help, with causes I believe in, projects I have passion for. How could I be so foolish, I thought.

But I haven’t been foolish, I’ve been giving and passionate and there isn’t enough of these qualities in the world.

So I am changing my outlook.

I will continue to give to projects & causes I care about and believe in, I will continue to help people I care about and believe in. But I will also care about and believe in myself and value my time & talent.

As ridiculous as it may seem, with everything I have seen, learned, and accomplished, with all my skills and talents, I struggle with self care and belief. This puts me in a weak and fragile position: when someone praises me or complements me, I adore it. But when they cease their praise, I loathe it.

Too extreme, good sir!! I must find care and belief inside, so that no matter where I find myself, no matter who I am with, no matter what I am doing, I will be of a solid, sound mind to continue creating.

This is one of the very most important things I wish to communicate and encourage through my artists’ space: create at all times. Create through the times you think that all is lost, create through times of deep sadness, create through times of confusion and disarray.
By creating, you bind yourself with the fabric of humanity.

By Jove, that’s fucking cheesy! But true!

Life is a struggle. Existing is tough. Life can also be beautiful and full of wonder, but everyone experiences the struggle, and by working through it, by not allowing the struggle to gag your art, your expression, your creative spirit, you are succeeding in life.

(side note: I desperately want to find new words to replace ‘creative’ and ‘expression’ and even ‘art’ because their connotation is much too pompous and high brow and bullshit. I want to make art accessible, I want people to be encouraged to create. Just create. Just do. Art needs to lose it’s upper class elitism and become a realm for EVERYONE.
So, how do we break the pompous, unapproachable relation with art? Is a change with terminology all that’s needed? Send me your suggestions! Thx)

The next stage in moving towards my solid game/life/career plan & becoming both creatively and financially successful, is to write my bio/educational & professional history. I figure that by not just having my history in my head, but writing it out before my eyes, it will help me focus on where my strengths lie and where/how I want to focus my talents. By having it all written, it will also greatly assist me in writing resumes, cover letters, and proposals for potential clients and employers.

It also greatly fits into my task to care for and believe in myself, as well as having a clearer, more positive head space, because by looking through the past, I am listing and documenting a series of my accomplishments and successes.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. It’s largely sketched out, from birth till a year ago. I have a lot fleshing out to do, but it’s a good start. Let me know what you think, perhaps what you’d like to know more about, if you were an employer or client. Thanks, cheers!


Born in Edmonton 1975

Started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil

1st exhibition in Grade 1. Drew a fox with pen. Classmate named Graham drew a sloppy tongue on the fox before I could stop him. I hated him for that, but he would become my best childhood friend.

Focused on art throughout public school, designing school’s rugby team jerseys, volleyball team’s warm up Tshirts (silkscreening them too), among other things.

Went to art camp when I was around 13 years old. Think it was in Red Deer, Alberta. Remember being super shy but inspired.

Graduated from Ecole Secondaire Beaumont Composite High School in 1993. Yes, it sounds like a French school, but it wasn’t all immersion. I learned badly-taught French as a second language. I love the language, and aim to live in Quebec or France one day so that I can become fluent.

After high school graduation, I went to Grant MacEwan where I fully embraced being an artist. I practically lived and slept at the studio for 2 years, even renting an apartment right across the street from the college.


  • drawing (life drawing, still life, etc with various medium)
  • painting (various subjects in acrylic paints)
  • photography (my 1st experiences with traditional film processing and darkroom developing – awesome. Bought a $100 used Minolta from a pawn shop. Loved that camera. Had it for many years until it got lost in transit from Australia)
  • art history
  • sculpture (wood, clay, mixed media)
  • performance
  • video (analog recording & editing! Badass)

Our group graduation show was called Flux. Hanging work for that show was the most pride I’ve felt in my life, up to that point.
I graduated from Grant MacEwan University in 1996 with a Fine Arts Diploma.

I moved to Halifax to continue my studies in Fine Arts, focusing on colour photography and printmaking, but after a short stay there, I decided to focus on another love of mine: literature.
Accepted by Simon Fraser University, I moved to Vancouver, and studied English Literature and Humanities.


  • How to truly read, to absorb a literary piece, analyze and critique, to disassemble and write pieces in response.
  • Editing!
  • Researching
  • Through the Humanities program, I learned a great deal about world religions and philosophy, taking a special shining to Taoism. The Humanities program gives a fantastic overview of the world, combining religious and spiritual studies with societal studies, history, and geography. Beautiful. I love big picture learning.

After reading for hundreds of hours and writing hundreds of pages, I completed by BA.
I graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, English & Humanities Joint Major.

During this degree, I began work for Vancouver Public Library where I continued my love of literature and writing.

I also missed creating visual art.

So I returned to school to study graphic design. Quite unfamiliar with computers (beyond basic word processing and internet searching), the Publishing program at Langara was both a crash course in computers & design applications.

The program was created to train students in the book & magazine world, but as those industries have changed, Langara wisely also teaches beyond the print world: web design, Flash, and video editing are included in the curriculum.

A major component of the course is to produce a magazine called Pacific Rim. All content is created by the students: writing, photography, illustration. Many of the ads are also created by the students.

Arranged to resemble an actual magazine team, the Publishing program is divided into departments: writing/editing, art, ads, and production. I was appointed the position of Production Director; it was my responsibility to ensure that all stages of creation were on schedule, that the magazine was then assembled by the production team accurately and to spec, and then to ensure printing was satisfactorily accomplished by the printhouse. I loved the responsibility, and as always, thrived in this big picture role. View the online version of the magazine.


  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • Flash (including Actionscript 2.0)
  • Dreamweaver (as well as hand coding HTML & CSS)
  • Final Cut Pro Studio
  • Design theory
  • Printing practices (CMYK, offset printing, trapping, etc)

I graduated from Langara College in 2006 with a Publishing Techniques and Technologies Diploma (with distinction).

While at Langara, I gave birth to my artistic persona and my business name: Format No Auto. Quite possibly my greatest creation, this is a creative gift that keeps giving, because no matter what the situation, I can always return to the principles of Format No Auto:

Refuse to fall into ‘auto format’ mode! Don’t let things be decided for you, forge your own path! As confusing or intimidating it might be, carve out your own innovative vision of how you want to see the world.

Without innovation, life becomes stale and dull. Innovation does not have to mean turning your world upside down. Change does not have to mean the loss of security. Sometimes the greatest changes, the most radical innovations, are beautifully subtle. As Format No Auto, I aim to create the subtly beautiful.

Yet I am also aware that the truly innovative might be so original that viewers will not accept it at first. They might run in the other direction because as people, we do not like what we do not know. As Format No Auto, I encourage the creation of things that might be weird or uncomfortable at first. I support these creations because who knows, they might actually turn out to be game changers. I encourage you to look beyond the temporary current fads/trends and think to the future, to the unknown. Remember, refuse to fall into ‘auto format’ mode!

Upon graduation, I immediately began work with ShowMakers Productions, a 20+ year old company that focuses on digital presentations, graphic design, web solutions, and video production. The company, though experienced and successful, is small, which allowed me to work hands-on from Day 1. I learned a ton at ShowMakers over my 5 years full time there, and I will always be grateful for my years there.


  • Built upon skills learned at Langara, especially improving skills with Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Dreamweaver
  • Premiere Pro and After Effects. We worked A LOT in video editing and encoding
  • Audition and Soundbooth

During this time, I was approached to teach Flash at Video Media Arts Centre, one of Vancouver’s oldest artist run centres. This was my first real opportunity to teach, and it has been very enjoyable. The small class sizes allow for me to honestly engage with students. It also allows me to tailor the course to what the students specifically need.


  • that I love teaching! It is easy for me to relate to people who want to learn. I love to constantly learn, but it can be intimidating to put ourselves out there, especially if the instructor isn’t sympathetic to how overwhelming all the new content is. I teach in a way that encourages the student to ask questions, get exactly what they need out of the course, and enables them to build skills beyond the course.


…..that’s it for now……..


Even If They’re Wrong Decisions (Wisdom From Touching The Void)

“You gotta make decisions. You gotta keep making decisions, even if they’re wrong decisions. If you don’t make decisions, you’re stuffed.”

– Joe Simpson, in Touching The Void, talking about his decision to lower himself deeper into the crevasse he has fallen into, alone, with a broken leg, in the Peruvian Andes.

I highly highly highly recommend this movie. Not only is it an arresting account of the triumph of the human spirit, it is a brilliantly actualized film enhanced by outstanding reenactments of these unbelievable events.


No F’n Regrets! & Bathroom Pics (Destroy, Challenge)

While researching RAID 1 NAS options, I was browsing Chase Jarvis’ amazing site of helpful photography ideas and tips (I think it was on his site that I 1st found out about G-Tech products, which seem AMAZING but are hella expensive).

Today I stumbled upon his interview with REI brand manager Jason Sutherland. I especially like that he said this:

F it all and f-n no regrets. Bottom line, get pissed, destroy. And by destroy, I mean tear it all down so you create something new and wonderful out of the strange parts that are left over. Make stuff. Cool stuff. Move on. Make more. Don’t dwell in the past. (It’s over.)

To read the rest of his advice on how to approach creative directors, go here.

In a related matter, as I was brushing my teeth in my bathroom last night, preparing for a much-needed sleep after a 12+ hour day of work, I challenged myself to shoot some abstract still lives. Seems all I’ve been doing is shooting live music, which ain’t bad, but some variety needs to be throw in the mix!
Here is one of my results:

Have a great day my friends,
and remember: “F it all and no regrets!!!”


The Fortune Cookie Says…


Functioning superbly will come automatically to you

Why, thank you, cookie. You are such a charmer.

The nice thing about receiving this message was that the timing was wonderful, as I was at a business meeting.

I am learning all I can about working for myself, to promote myself, and psyche myself up to do the stuff I love more than anything, which is make art. Sometimes I don’t believe that I function superbly. But now a cookie has told me I do. So I will.


Vincent Parker!

I’ve really been enjoying this guy’s poster art for the Biltmore Cabaret over recent months. Turns out there’s a lot more to him than just a really great, loose drawing style. Check him out at:


Rule #3 – Always, ALWAYS take time out to read. A little news, a little nonfiction, and a lot a fiction. Get out of your head and into another’s.


An artist is a person first. He is an individual. If there is no person, there is no artist. It is of no importance to me whether you wear your payos behind your ears or whether you cut off your hair entirely and go around bald. I am not a defender of payos. Great artists will not give a damn about your payos; they will only give a damn about your art. The artists who will care about your payos are not worth caring about. You want to cut off your payos, go ahead. But do not do it because you think it will make you more acceptable as an artist.

– Jacob Kahn, artist and mentor, speaking to his student in Chaim Potok’s amazing novel “My Name Is Asher Lev” (pg 257)