Entries from August 27th, 2014

Work Crush: Stephanie Martin

Aug 27, 2014

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Employee: Stephanie Martin

Store: EQ3 ByWard Market, Ottawa

Job Title: Assistant Manager

Years at EQ3:  2

 

Stephanie's Work Crush

 

About Stephanie:

Stephanie was born in Richmond Hill and moved to Ottawa five years ago to become an interior decorator. She’s secretly (but not any more) a science nerd. “I am addicted to researching the latest news on astrophysics and watching the new series The Cosmos.”

 

Stephanie’s Work Crush:

 “Blanche! What could be better than feather filled cushions and an all natural linen slip cover? All I want to do is take a nap on this beautiful sofa and cuddle up with my puppy to watch a movie. Clean lines and comfort – this is my version of modern living.”

 

Like the Blanche? Buy it here!

The Craft: A Conversation with Przemek Pyszczek

Aug 25, 2014

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View of Pyszczek’s studio in Berlin, 2014

View of Pyszczek’s studio in Berlin, 2014

 

Winnipeg is a creative hub and many of our aesthetically-driven residents have attended the University of Manitoba’s Environmental Design program focusing on Interior Environments, Architecture, or Landscapes. In fact, many of our Winnipeg-based employees have graduated from the program. This month, we reached out to fellow Environmental Design graduate, visual artist, and Berlin resident Przemek Pyszczek. Pyszczek went to school with EQ3’s Creative Director, Thom Fougere, and is good friends with EQ3’s Visual Coordinator, Clifford Goodwill.

 

This is our conversation:

 

Where did you grow up and where do you consider home?

I was born in Poland and moved to Winnipeg as a child. Presently I live in Berlin. In response to where I consider home, that’s complicated. My parents live in Winnipeg, however, they moved out of my childhood home during my time in Berlin, so coming back doesn’t have the same nostalgic feeling anymore. As such, I would consider Berlin home because even though I don’t have a nostalgic connection to the city at this point, it is the city that is most in tune with my personality and way of life.

 

How has your education background influenced your work?

The Environmental Design program reinforced my interest in architecture and urbanism, causing me to always observe my surroundings. As my work deals with the physical and social landscape of pre/post-communist era Poland, this has directly influenced my work.

 

When and why did you move to Berlin?

I moved to Berlin in the summer of 2010. I had visited a few times before and really liked the city as it is a large capital and there is always something going on, yet remains very relaxed with no sense of urban chaos. Additionally, I felt an urgency to engage as an artist on a broader international scale, and I knew Berlin was an important art capital that still felt accessible.

 

How has Berlin influenced your art practice?

Berlin is a very international city, with a number of galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions. It is important as an artist to not be stuck within your own head and your own practice, but to be cognizant of what has happened artistically in the past and what is currently happening. Berlin facilitates a constant education for both local and visiting artists.

 

The work I have been making over the last few years has directly resulted from my regular travels to Poland. As Berlin is only an hour from the Polish border, I have been going to Poland very regularly over the last four years. These visits have really made me notice all of the elements I have become obsessed with in my research. While my subject matter is based in Poland, I also appreciate the distance I have living in Berlin as each time I come back, it is like looking with new eyes. Living elsewhere would not allow me to be this engaged.

 

Façade, 2014

Façade, 2014

 

What is the conceptual basis for your current work?

My work is an analysis and deconstruction of memory and physical space. More specifically, I am looking at the contemporary Polish urban landscape, and my relation to it. After World War II, due to the resulting devastation, a rapid program of reconstruction was enacted. A large proportion of construction was realized using a number of prefabricated modular building systems. Concrete panels would be made in a factory, and then brought on site to be quickly assembled into a building. These buildings could be anywhere from three stories, to 20 stories tall, using the same panels.

 

Every sort of life function – housing, schools, offices, hospitals – could be built this way. My father worked as a construction worker on these types of buildings. A very small crew of people (4-6) could build an entire floor of a building in one day. This type of residential construction often resulted in large housing estates with a great number of identical buildings. The resulting landscape and my connection to it is what I am ultimately exploring in my work.

 

Façade, 2014

Façade, 2014

 

What inspires your approach?

The paintings are essentially deconstructed building facades. After communism, the buildings had to be dealt with as they were drab, grey concrete, and had issues relating to insulation. So what happens is that the buildings are covered in styrofoam to add insulation, and then stuccoed. The stucco is then painted, but often the buildings are painted on all sides with a wrap-around graphic mural.

 

On the ground and first floor, residents in these buildings often install security bars, which they have made by a local metal worker. As you travel throughout Poland, you can see that people really go to town on customizing their small section of a very repetitive building. Some of the bars are very simple, but others are very expressive.  So the paintings take a section of the graphic facade, and combine them with a section of the security bars to convey this fascinating aesthetic that permeates the contemporary Polish landscape.

 

Another aspect of these housing estates that really fascinated me was the playgrounds in amongst the buildings. I was drawn to them because they looked like abstract sculpture and not playground structures. I then noticed that similar forms would appear throughout Poland, but they were not made by one factory as they were all a bit different. I had these reconstructed by metal workers in Poland who had also had a connection and memory to these forms. I then deconstructed them by bending and cutting – a way of reconfiguring and addressing my memory and relation to these objects.

 

Façade, 2014

Façade, 2014

 

An Example of a graphic façade referenced by Pyszczek's work

An Example of a graphic façade referenced by Pyszczek’s work

 

View of Playground Structure (Steps) and Playground Structure (worm), 2014

View of Playground Structure (Steps) and Playground Structure (worm), 2014

 

How and where are the metal components of your recent work created?

My uncle and cousin are building contractors in Poland and work with a variety of craftspeople – metalworkers, painters, etc. I worked with them to realize the sort of metal work they create within the building projects that they regularly work on in Poland. My hand as well as the hand of the craftsperson is equally important in this work.

 

We Thank Przemek Pyszczek for this interview and images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music Library: Safe For Work

Aug 22, 2014

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PLAYLIST 08.22.2014

 

sfw_desc_en

10 Questions with Arren Williams

Aug 14, 2014

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Here at EQ3, we’ve decided to change it up! Each new interview will pose questions which we hope reveal something interesting or quirky about someone we admire. This month we’re featuring Arren Williams, the Creative Director, Home at Hudson’s Bay. (You can also shop EQ3 galleries at The Bay!) We’re aiming to inspire whether that takes form through food, books, travel, etc.. Questions and answers will be kept brief and each new interview will include a photograph taken by our feature someone!

 

View from Arren's desk, including a fresh espresso!

View from Arren’s desk, including a fresh espresso!

 

EQ3  What is your current obsession?

 

ARREN WILLIAMS  I live my life constantly design obsessed, but right now I’m very into craft beer, and always enjoy hunting down a local brew whenever I travel.

 

 

EQ3  What has been your drink of choice this summer?

 

AW  Other than beer, I have a bit of a thing for ice cold dry rosé.

 

 

EQ3  What was the last meal that wowed you?

 

AW  Açorda de Marisco, eaten in a little dockside restaurant in Olhão, southern Portugal. It’s a seafood stew made with bread, and it totally blew my socks off.

 

 

EQ3  In your opinion, what is the most essential coffee table book?

 

AW  I have a vintage Terence Conran ‘The House Book’ from 1974 that came off of a very stylish aunt’s bookshelf. That’s definitely a favourite.

 

 

EQ3  One lesson that changed your outlook on design?

 

AW  Stopping worrying about what other people will think.

 

 

EQ3  A room is never complete without ____________?

 

AW  In my case, a black and white Whippet named Spot.

 

 

EQ3  If you could only see the world in three colours, what three colours would they be and why?

 

AW  That is possibly the most bizarre question I have ever been asked. To be honest, I never limit myself when it comes to colour!

 

 

EQ3  Name the most inspirational place you’ve ever travelled to or would like to travel to.

 

AW  India. I’ve been a couple of times for work, but would love the chance to travel around the country.

 

 

EQ3  What is the most played song in your music library?

 

AW  We actually have a record player at home, so the other day Haircut One Hundred’s album, Pelican West, was on repeat. It took me back to my, ahem, younger days…

 

 

EQ3  What is THE conversation piece in your own home?

 

AW  It’s probably a toss-up between a vintage clown painting on our gallery wall and our rather obnoxiously loud, and heavily patterned, sofa.

 

 

So Bad They’re Good

Aug 8, 2014

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Before all the controversy surrounding BADBADNOTGOOD and whether or not they are the “Futurists of Jazz” or “The Game Changers of Jazz“, there really hadn’t been much hype in the mainstream about jazz music. I hear jazz in all modern music and in my opinion the Toronto bred trio BBNG is not only modern but is the hype!

 

Here is a sample of their live performance I recorded at Union Sound Hall, a local venue in Winnipeg, a few days ago:

  

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