ART

Dreamers + Doers

The following is the speech I prepared for my 5 min talk at a new event entitled Dreamers + Doers

Hi.

I was asked to be here through my current fellowship with RADIUS. I’d like to thank Jenn McRae & Shawn Smith for connecting me with Sarah Shandl, the organizer of this great event.

// INTRO.

I looked up. Lil Wayne’s tattooed body. His gold-filled grin. And amongst the screaming crowd and thumping bass, I asked myself, what the fuck am I doing here?!?

We’ll get back to that, but first,
let’s hop over the rockies, to good ol’ Alberta…

// ORIGINS / MORE THAN JUST 9-5.

I was born in Edmonton.

Although I came from a blue collared working class family, in which “working hard for your money” was drilled into me, it never fit. I was a quiet kid who spent pretty much all day either drawing or reading.
I was an artist, which was considered weird and useless.
I tried working as a helper in a welding fabrication shop during the summer. I worked on construction sites. But I just didn’t fit in.

It wasn’t just that I didn’t fit in with these stereotypically gruff n tough manly Albertan men.
I always thought there must be more than this.

Even though by my early 20s, I hadn’t been anywhere outside Alberta (other than a trip to Disneyland when I was a kid),
I knew there must be more than this.

My imagination, confined to being able to draw cool creatures or writing fantastical stories,  was at best, up to that point, been given a pat on the head.

But what I’ve learned since is that my imagination – my dreaming – has WAY more potential than anyone, myself included, could have imagined.

// SO WHO AM I & WHY AM I HERE?

My name is Ash Tanasiychuk
(tana – SAY – chuck)

I’m a visual artist and the founder of VANDOCUMENT.

You might have seen photos of mine over the years. Since 2010, I’ve shot bands playing throughout the city, which gets us back to Lil Wayne.

How DID I find myself in a photo pit shooting Lil Wayne?

I found myself there because I took a chance.

// SHOOTING BANDS.

In July 2010, I answered a local online publication’s call for gig photographers.
At that point, I had NEVER shot ANYTHING for ANYONE other than myself.
I didn’t even have an SLR.
But it was an unpaid gig, I thought what the hell why not.
I shot the show and I instantly fell in love with live music photography. From that day, I was hooked. I loved what I was doing, and in the photos, it showed.

  • Although I shot tons of bands, including Leonard Cohen at one point – I realized my talent wasn’t really contributing to anything, other than some sweets shots on the sites & publications I was shooting for.
  • That fateful gig in Rogers Arena, shooting Lil Wayne, helped me realize there must be more than this.
  • I realized that my talent to capture a few key moments in time could be shifted to my city’s local artists.

This is where the DOING started to come in.

// STARTING VANDOC.

Once Lil Wayne helped me realize that he didn’t need my photo talent, that my local community did, everything exploded.

I started shooting events featuring local artists. I cycled around, brought my camera everywhere, shot pics of gallery openings, artist talks, bands and performers, posted the pics, and shared them with the artists.

Everyone FREAKED OUT.

So I did it more. This energy fed me.

I shot more and more until I literally couldn’t do anymore. I realized this needed to be a bigger thing.

I brainstormed a name (VANDOCUMENT, obvious, right?) bought the url, found a theme,  populated it with my own work, and launched on May 10 2013.

From there, I spoke to people. In person, online. I invited people to join. And it took no time to gather a small but amazing crew.

This is where my dreams moved from personal to communal.

// COMMUNITY.

It’s a buzz word, I admit.
But I choose it for a genuine reason: community building buzzes me. Electrifies me.

This is a new discovery.
As a quiet kid, I didn’t make an effort to build community.
As an artist, I just made things. I didn’t think I needed community.

But now that my dreaming had moved from simply being an artist to documenting and supporting artists, I was opening myself up to others. I began to expose myself and my beliefs to people.

// WHY THIS MATTERS.

In one of VANDOC’s first posts, entitled “On Why Art Matters”
I introduce the concept and intentions of VANDOCUMENT. Then I ask:

“But WHY? Why does our local talent deserve this attention?”
A couple of the points in particular stick out:

  • Art has the capability to save me from confusion, depression, anger, and other not-so-awesome states because it reminds me that I am not alone. Music, performance, film, etc – shows me a world larger than my own and by so doing, it grounds me, calms me or invigorates me
  • This grounding, calming, invigorating power of art is inherently community-building. It gives us a sense of being HERE. Whether we know the people around us or not, whether we are in a tiny village or a massive metropolis, we are not alone.

I sign off on this post with
“Support art. Love yourself. Connect with the people around you.”

I bore my soul here. By writing this, I was distilling the core essence of my dreaming into a 500 word article.

By baring my soul, I was sharing my dream. I began DOING my dream.

So what did this teach me?

// PURPOSE.

Genuine purpose.
Purpose that extends into & connects with other people’s lives.

In my case, paying tribute to what people do.
If people are going to put themselves on the line, if they’re going to create anything, we should at least give them a nod.
You needn’t love it. You needn’t like it. You needn’t even “get” it. But you definitely need to give that nod. Because each of these creators, even if only for that one time in their lives, have taken a dream and done it.

What we should be asking is what is their story.
What is your story? What matters to you? No, what REALLY matters? If you could realize your dream, what would that look like?

Cuz see, I’m discovering that by putting MY dream out there, by DOING my dream, I’m enabling other people to DO theirs.
I’m inviting people in to share their stories, and their dreams with me.

So, before I leave, I’d like to share:

// WHAT HAVE I LEARNED ABOUT HOW TO DO, IN ADDITION TO DREAM?

  1. Surround yourself with believers, supporters, and participants in your dream.
  2. Thank those who help you, give back to those who give to you, and create opportunities for them. Build and respect your community.
  3. Take chances. Lots of them. As often as possible.

Thank you.

Advertisements
Standard
ART

Posting The Impossible, or, Calling An Arts Admin Position What It Really Is

I’m sorry, ArtsBC, but this is insulting http://www.allianceforarts.com/job-board/executive-director-32
A job posting to be Executive Director, part time?!?!

There is NO fucking way anyone can do this job, and do it even remotely well, on a part time basis.

Not when the Executive Director will be “responsible for the overall day-to-day management and administration of the organization,” to “Establish and maintain strong communication and good working relationships with community and regional arts councils, other arts organizations, government agencies, funding agencies, and to promote ArtsBC and its mission in every way possible” and on and on.

Anyone who has ever worked in the capacity of an arts administrative position knows just how much time these responsibilities take.

Just because you can only pay a $32-$36,000 salary doesn’t mean you should try to convince anyone that they will be working part time hours.

“Part time” means that the employee would have the other part of their time to do another job, or take care of their family, or pursue other projects. This position of ArtsBC Executive Director would not allow any of this time.

Please repost this job position as what it is, a Full Time job. Thank you.

With respect,
Ash Tanasiychuk,
artist & life long supporter of the arts

Standard
ART

VANDOCUMENT – District Dogs in the window

VANDOCUMENT – District Dogs in the window.

Letterpress & linocut business District Dogs gave me a shout out for photographing their live “Artist In The Window” at Bird On A Wire – huge thanks to this rad local creative business!!

Standard
LITERATURE, QUOTES, SPIRITUALITY

Ideas Are Exciting, But Doing Is What Matters Most

After mentioning Steve Jobs’ quote:

“It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that really matter.”

– Scott Belsky, Behance founder and Making Ideas Happen writer extends:

“The wise creative leader understands that idea generation is a wild animal that requires a stolid trainer to tame excitement with a healthy dose of skepticism. You need to say ‘no’ more than you say ‘yes,’ and you need to build a team and culture that helps kill ideas when necessary.”

Ideas are exciting, doing matters most.

Standard
ART, LITERATURE, QUOTES, RULES, SPIRITUALITY

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

Standard
ART, LITERATURE, RULES

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

Standard
ART, QUOTES

Big Mouth Leaves Me Hungry For More: A Case of Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen/Too Many Opinions on Art & Real Estate and Not Enough Concrete Action?

OK, tonight riled me up.

I attended a speakers series called Big Mouth.

Tonight’s subject was Art and Real Estate.
In a city such as Vancouver, which has had an absolute explosion of condo development and a constant destruction of anything old in favour of new, this is a very heated subject matter.

Artists can not afford to live in the city. They are being pushed further and further away from the centres where they and their craft should be thriving and enlivening the city.

But after listening to seven speakers, as well as a much-too-short Q&A, I felt like there wasn’t enough talk on action.
How do we take what is obviously a difficult situation for artists and make it better?
How do we integrate art & government, culture & development?

An article was published in the Globe & Mail yesterday that provides what I believe are some answers. I will post the link at the end of this blog post.

Before that,
here are some notes I compiled from the evening…

Speakers:

1st

Michael Green

– Principal, Michael Green Architecture

  • Humourous, quick presentation.
  • Point of view that art & architecture used to be integrated w/ craft. Then we moved to the architect trying to be the artist, such as Gehry. Green says we are still here, which he sees as unfortunate.
  • Unfortunate case too often: by the time a building has been completed, no $ left over for the art that was intended in original design. Green experienced this with tall vertical slots in the lower section of the airport in Ottawa. Was meant to be area to put art.
  • Mentions a project called “One % for the hood.” US has 1% rule to incorporate art into new buildings. Canada needs something similar.

2nd:

Donald Luxton

– Heritage Consultant + President, Heritage Vancouver
photo

  • Gave a cursory history of the development of Vancouver. A tad us-and-them (Europeans vs First Nations). Left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Interesting fact about 33×122′ parcels of land
  • Talked about history, but what else? Didn’t get into much about current state or possible resolutions.

3rd:

Heather Redfern

– Executive Director, The Cultch

  • Quite raw, off the cuff, I admired her gusto.
  • A little bit idealistic, but also some great ideas such as creating buildings that can house visiting artists closer to venues such as Cultch.
  • Make a real artistic district, East side culture crawl throughout year
  • She says “Yes” to density.
  • Redfern says that artists need to see change as inevitable, and to work w developers.

4th:

Steven Cox

– Principal, Cause+Affect & Producer, PechaKucha Vancouver, created FUSE for VAG
SIQICs (Sustainability, Individuality, Quality, Intelligence, Craft) = ideal audience, they create the future according to @causeaffect @BigMouthSeries

  • Very likeable, said he was going to talk all about himself and his company, which he did, but he made it relevant to the topic.
  • I admire his pursuit of making communities that count, how to actually make culture work in a era where money rules. “Good.”
  • “We want to de-commoditise Van Real Estate” in a city run by tourism
  • Some important points in his process:
    – Create more aesthetically pleasing buildings, and buildings that actually fit into the neighbourhood they’re built in. Gave example of “Chips” in Manchester: they responded because it meant something to them, they could relate to it.
    – Reinvent marketing by communicating process rather than product. Get people with u from Day 1!

5th:
Mark Shieh

– Director, River Market at The Quay
Mark Shieh describes his Food 360 project @BigMouthSeries

  • Believes in integrating culture & community & commerce.
  • Smart, personable, some interesting projects but do they actually integrate with the community or are they just tacked on?
    – Food 360: Break down the process of food
    – PS New West: poetry on building exterior across sky train.
    – ONE: put 1% towards community projects such as @popluckNW
    – Bringing Street Game Fest to New West – if you’d like to help, contact him

6th:

Bruce Wright

– Chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery and Managing Partner of Goodmans Vancouver

  • Talked entire time about VAG & the new land awarded, didn’t know what his point was in relation to the topic.
  • Wants to get non-art supporters on board to help finance new VAG

7th:

Ernesto Gomez

– Co-Owner, Nuba Restaurant + Founding Partner, Arrival Agency (formerly Waldorf Productions)

  • Shy presenation, scattered thoughts, but his heart is coming from the right place.
  • Waldorf as a platform for a variety of people from different sections of city & community, a rare place they could come together.

Q & A

  • Inhabitants disconnected from owners.
  • Steven brings good point about buying home being an investment more than being a home.
  • Prediction that the most interesting stuff in future Vancouver will be rental and commerical
  • Who is Ernesto’s friend (Shelley?) is a firecracker, brings some spark to Q&A
  • Ernesto ends w great point about how we need to stop seeing a separation between arts & everyday monetary life. They should be integrated, seamless.

Thank you Polina!
Nice to see you Graeme, Erika, Avalon, Pax

Here is the article on the Globe & Mail “The economic imperative for investing in arts and culture.” Have a read, it’s worth your time.

And I’ll close with this inspiring slide by Steven Cox
Wise words via Steven Cox of @causeaffect @BigMouthSeries

Standard