November 4, 2012

Painting is the new black

 Oct. 20, 2012
Idea Ghetto HQ
Once upon a night, 7 novice painters stepped into unit 117 of 365 Dundas St. E not realizing that their lives would be altered like never before.  This must be how Neil Armstrong felt when he stepped foot on the moon.  That one small step would change his life for ever and that is indeed what happened to these 7 painters.
7 painters and their ever talented mentor Mr. James Fowler made it a tight squeeze in the tiny Idea Ghetto (iG) headquarters.  Drop cloths were put down and the thick concrete window shelves were used as a place to mount our canvasses and would obviate the need for easels (to save on space and budget).
Lighting is always important.  We wanted to create an atmosphere so the iG boys didn't want it too bright but we also didn't want it dark since we would have to be able to discern colour.
Ok, mood is set! 3...2...1.... start painting... wait, our mentor had a brilliant idea! Act I.  All paintings and ideas must be ABSTRACT. As initiates, we didn't want to get caught up in rendering images, figures etc., so just emote what you feel on the 16" x 20 canvas.  We were told to pick a SEASON... now that you have in your mind... you have 40 minutes to complete your first canvas.
40 minutes is a perfect amount of time to finish your first piece.  It's just the right amount of time to get the idea out of you and onto the canvas.  At the end of that 40 minutes you are also starting to get comfortable with the paint, the canvas, the idea and the process.  Oh wait 40 minutes is not enough, we think; not sure we're going in the right direction or we're starting to second guess ourselves. 
Enter ghetto stage left, none other than our fearless mentor Mr. James Fowler.  Never have we found someone who just instills the right amount of encouragement, and displaces our complete sense of panic and we realize it is the right direction and of course this was what we were going for.  I think this was the true 'magic' of the evening.  Having our own Tim Gunn... errr I mean, James Fowler "make it work" moment!
Phew, now that's done we have time for a breather or do we?  CRITIQUE (or cold read) time!  This was perhaps the most enlightened part of the evening for us.  Each initiate had to put their painting on the EASEL for everyone to comment on.  Collectively we tried to determine the season each painter had used as a MUSE and also comment on what we saw in the painting.  Since this was not a class, this turned out to be really FUN!  Everyone was very constructive and as we went through each painting our confidence strengthened!  After everybody offered their critique, the artist disclosed the season used as muse and explained the motivation behind it.  Was great to see subjectivity in art in action! 

ACT II.  Our theme was FASHION.  Everyone freaked out! This is too difficult, we can't do this, we though.  FASHION!  Our fearless mentor was determined about this one.  We got one hour.  Here we go.  Oh we're getting into this.  This isn't so bad after all.

We followed the same construct as the first painting: paint, cold read and artist discussion.... Was another insightful experience. But enough pontificating on the evening. If you ever want to treat your friends to a really fun night, then here's what iG does:  Most of our friends think with the left part of their brain.  When they come to iG headquarters, they are forced to use both sides, with a heavy emphasis on the RIGHT.... but perhaps being forced to use the brain is enough!  Thanks to James Fowler, artiste (hey gurl!) and mentor extraordinaire!  A big thanks to Rick "SOX in the CITY" Kopfensteiner for videotaping the whole experience and interviewing all of the initiates (coming soon...). And to the best "paint pals" anyone could want:  Alain Arseneault, Ali Asfour, Shawn "let's have a KEY KEY" Garrett, and the iG boys, Bam Bam, Wade and PDot! With friends like you, who needs JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN!  Standing INN OVATION!!!
And the paintings are hanging in the iG (Capital D's) loft!!

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