Entries Tagged as 'Interview'

Kenneth Lavallee

Jun 2, 2015

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I first became aware of Winnipeg artist Kenneth Lavallee through seeing his prints displayed at Parlour Coffee on Main street a few years ago. Featuring a pair of half-human half-owl figures that seemed to dance or commiserate with one another, the work was executed in a folksy yet elegant style that drew me in. Since then, I’ve become more familiar with Lavallee’s ouvre, admiring the sweet draftsmanship of his line and the richly harmonic colour palette that he bathes his paintings, murals, prints and graphic design work in. Though he always seems relaxed and at ease, he’s been busy with commissions since having a solo exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery in April of 2014. As of late, he has captured the imagination of Winnipeggers with his proposal to enrobe an entire run down building on north Main Street in a bold star blanket-like mural. I visited Lavallee at his studio in Winnipeg’s Exchange District recently, and had a chance to talk with him about his approach to art and catch a glimpse of his new work in progress.


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BB: What makes you a good painter?


KL: I don’t know if I am a good painter, but I have ideas as an artist that are best done through painting. Like this latest Main Street idea, I’ve always been dreaming and envisioning things that could be, you know, I want my city to shine and look good. I don’t know if I could trust someone else to do it, so I’ve just got to figure things out and do it trial by fire. I think that’s what I’ve been doing the last little while as an artist.


BB: How do know when a painting is working then? How do you judge it?


KL: I’ve had these canvases for a month now, they’re all primed up. This is my favorite part of the creative process, this blank slate, picturing all these different possibilities. But then, there comes a point where just you have to put the brush to it, you know, time to go. Once I start making marks it feels good, and something happens. Making decisions and having to just go with it, and trust yourself. But the thing is, I’ve found that if I stop and take a break from it, maybe come back to it a week later, some of the magic can be gone. You’ve got to keep on it sometimes. I’ve had some past work that just kind of dragged on, became like a chore almost. The spark was gone. But, then sometimes if you sit on it and leave for a while, a month or two months, that spark can come back! I’m looking at some of these ones over here and I’m not over them yet, but I’m not ready to go back. There’s still something there.


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BB: Do you like working on multiple pieces at the same time?


KL: Yes! That’s the best part about a studio. That’s all I wanted. Before this I just worked in my bedroom, on one piece at a time start to finish. It’s hard to develop that way I think, just one thing at a time. To have the space and lay everything out, and see so much at once is good. I want to build up a body of work rather than working with commissions and one-offs. It’s much more exciting and fun to work on things where you don’t know where they’re going, and work on a bunch of things at once.


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BB: Is it important for you to show in galleries; is it part of your strategy?


KL: The Kelowna thing (his solo exhibition “Man and Nature” at the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2014, curated by Jenny Western), that was cool, super important for sure. But I haven’t had too much luck with galleries. That was a big break. Every other gallery I’ve shown at has been a friend’s vacant warehouse, just some walls. And just friends would come over, not really clientele. But, I want to have another show this summer, and I think I’ll just do it here, just clear it out you know? I have a gallery here! It’s nice to get those legit gallery fees though! I’ll have my retrospective at the WAG, but just keep hustling on Selkirk and Main street.



The Bush, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 in. (121.9 x 182.8 cm) Featured in the Lavallee’s exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2014.


BB: You’ve done murals and paintings on buildings. Is there some relationship between painting and architecture that you’re interested in?


KL: Downtown Winnipeg is funny, you know, it’s been compared to a mouth with a bunch of teeth missing, right? All these things we’ve torn down and we’re left with these giant, beautiful blank canvases that are just begging for something! Who wants to stare at a giant wall of just dirty bricks? They get the most beautiful sunlight and we could add so much! I’m just trying to work around Winnipeg, fill in the cracks. I’ll walk around for three hours some days like, I want that wall, and that wall, and that wall… I have plans for sure. But, I don’t want to paint on historical heritage buildings. It started with Deer & Almond, with a crumby cinderblock wall. I was like, let me just throw some paint up there! Even that was tough though, with the owner, who thought it was good as is.



Solar System (2013) Outdoor mural commissioned by deer + almond restaurant for Nuit Blanche 2013.


BB: People are hesitant?


KL: So hesitant! In the exchange anyway, they want to preserve it for the film industry. But, you can’t live in the past, a hundred years ago, forever. There comes a point where you have to move on, life is for the living! A hundred years ago they used to paint on the walls, now we’re just watching it crumble. Why can’t we just keep painting on the walls and have it for another hundred years?


BB: Hard edge and colour seem to be major aspects of your style, is that accurate? What other elements inform your work?


KL: Hard edge and colour are pretty accurate. I think right after high school my goal for post secondary was to study graphic design. I’ve always loved good design, good clean design. I think my favorite book is that Book of American Trademarks. It’s a bunch of super clean logos, so beautiful you know, black and white. I’ve always had a huge interest in well-designed things. I learned Photoshop at a young age, I designed my own websites…


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BB: So a big part of painting for you is the design?


KL: Oh for sure, and murals, designing a cityscape. I got called out a lot in art school for my paintings. During crits not much would be said, or that the paintings just looked like graphic design. They’d dismiss it as just graphic design, or something lesser. Maybe they’re right, I don’t know.


BB: What are the challenges of working as a full time painter? It’s a pretty romantic job but what are the…


KL: The realities? Uh, having no money ever! Sacrificing all fun, going out, eating out, even paying rent. Not everyone could do it I don’t think. And it’s like, what am I doing? There is a lot of doubt when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, but when you’re at your lowest good gigs come, or something sells. So, it’s a rocky road, but I know I’m going to a good place. You’ve got to do your time. I’ve got this beautiful view of all these old buildings, this nice roof top where I can sketch in the sun at the foot of the TD building where everyone’s in suits, and board meetings. I like that! That is super romantic. I’m a millionaire for how happy and content I am with my days, I’m my own boss. I get to explore my brain and my skill and people respond well so it’s nice.


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BB: How is your style evolving? What connects your new body of work?


KL: I can for sure see the journey. Ever since the Kelowna show, I’ve had to think about why or what I make art about and what am I doing. And I’ve realized that a lot of it has to do with just where I am, my environment. So I’m still painting these plants in my bedroom, or the flowers at Natalie’s place, just things I see. It’s all still a journal of my life right now, snapshots. It’s all I know.


5 Questions with Evin Collis

Jan 30, 2015

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Evin Collis was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting and then returned to Winnipeg and began working as a porter for VIA Rail on the ‘Canadian’ for a number of years. His work has been exhibited across Canada and Italy. Drawing, oil painting, sculpture, comics and stop-motion animation are the mediums he uses to realize his work. Evin currently lives in Chicago where he is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Red River Pieta, 8' x 11', 2013, oil on canvas. Photographed by Charles Venzon.

Red River Pieta, 8′ x 11′, 2013, oil on canvas. Photographed by Charles Venzon.


NQ: Your work is currently showing at La Maison des Artistes here in Winnipeg. Do you feel that there is one piece which sums up your intentions for the exhibition?


EC: I would say that the two largest paintings Red River Pieta (La pieta de la rivière rouge) and Assiniboine Odyssey, which are satirical contemporary Manitoba history paintings that were completed earlier in 2012 and 2013 really stimulated this body of work at La Maison des artistes.

Homestead Pile. 5' x 5', 2014, oil on canvas. Photographed by Charles Venzon.

Homestead Pile. 5′ x 5′, 2014, oil on canvas. Photographed by Charles Venzon.


NQ: Which medium do you feel most successfully conveys your artistry?


EC: Most of my time is spent painting and drawing. The sculptures I had created for the show were born out of the paintings. The animations I have done in the past are closely related to painting and drawing as well. As much as I love experimenting and toying with other medias, I am informed through painting and drawing.


Hydra-Goose, 2015, plaster, wood, metal, epoxy, paint, leather, feathers. Photographed by Charles Venzon.

Hydra-Goose, 2015, plaster, wood, metal, epoxy, paint, leather, feathers. Photographed by Charles Venzon.


NQ: How do you determine what your next project will be?


EC: Whatever interests me at the moment; often one project can lead into the next. I draw from a wide array of influences and source material. Sometimes I desire to try something very different. There is no exact formula.


Assiniboine Odyssey. 2010, 8' x 10', Oil and fur on canvas. Photographed by Charles Venzon.

Assiniboine Odyssey. 2010, 8′ x 10′, Oil and fur on canvas. Photographed by Charles Venzon.


NQ: How would you describe your home? Studio?


EC: At the moment I spend most of my time in the studio which is inside the school, near the top floor of a very tall building. There is a common area around the corner from my space that has an incredible open view of Lake Michigan, I think you can even see Indiana from up there. The studio is practically home and I have multiple projects consistently on the go.


Commerce, Prudence, Industry Collage. 2015, photographed by Charles Venzon.

Commerce, Prudence, Industry Collage. 2015, photographed by Charles Venzon.


NQ: What makes you most excited to wake up and do what you do everyday?


EC: To keep making, to continue learning and striving to become a better painter.

Our Hands – Marcy

Dec 22, 2014

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5 Questions with Marcy our Team Leader Seamstress


Charles – How long have you been a seamstress?

Marcy – 24 years.

C – What do your hands do all day?

M – They distribute work + organize.

C – What makes your hands unique?

M – They are ambidextrous.

C – Would you change anything about your hands? If so what?

M – My right hand is a bit crooked (she laughs). Perhaps I would have it straightened (she smiles).

C – What is your favourite thing to hold? 

M – I can’t help it but when I am going down the grocery isle where marshmallows can be found, I need to press on them! A marshmallow is my favourite thing to hold.


5 Questions with Edholm Ullenius

Dec 8, 2014

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Sissi Edholm and Lisa Ullenius are the women behind Edholm Ullenius, a Stockholm based studio of graphic design and illustration. Since 2002, Edholm Ullenius has worked with a wide range of clients and produced an exciting body of work including our Kayak dishes and napkins. They most recently took on the task of designing a line of mid-century inspired prints. The end result was a fun, cohesive collection with striking line work and bold colour blocking. The prints were carved into blocks which were then hand stamped directly onto recycled paper.


The Avenue collection is designed to fit perfectly within the new Edge Picture Frames. Working with Edholm Ullenius has always been a pleasure. We are super excited about the official launch of artwork at EQ3 to help complete your beautiful spaces! You can now find them in-stores or online here.

Lisa Ullenius + Sissi Edholm of Edholm Ullenius


Nina Quark: What was the defining point where you each knew you wanted to pursue design as a career?


Edholm Ullenius: It´s a feeling we both had since we were very young. Around the time we were graduating high school we both realized we actually could do this for a living, that was an amazing insight and we started planning how we best could make it happen. The way to where we are today has been long and winding, but we wouldn´t like to miss out on any of those experiences.

AVENUE Print 1- 5" x 7"

NQ: At which stage of a project are you most excited?


EU: At the beginning and at the end. At the middle we usually get the feeling of having no clue what we are doing. It´s a rollercoaster ride which hopefully ends with the feeling of pushing ourselves to a new creative level. We love the saying: “Always give the client what they need, not always what they think they want”.

AVENUE Print 2-  5" x 7"

NQ: Which method, or medium, do you find best portrays what you’re trying to communicate?


EU: We are very grateful that we get the chance to work with many different materials and products. All though we must say that textile is our favourite choice. The textile texture adds an extra touch and the possibilities to create what you want are endless.

AVENUE Print 1- 8" x 10"

NQ:  What was your inspiration behind the Avenue Block Prints?


EU: The inspiration came from the naive style of mid-century design (1950/1960s). It´s also the result of letting your imagination run free and creating something abstract, yet with a character.

AVENUE Print 2-  8" x 10"

NQ: In the future, what is one project that you would love to take on – individual or duo?


EU: We would love to collaborate with architects and scale up our designs, as placed on the front of a house for example. We are both fascinated by science and must however say that our dream client is NASA.

AVENUE Print 11" x 14"

10 Questions with Chelsea Maier

Nov 14, 2014

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Chelsea Maier is the uber-talented mind behind In Plan View, a young and blossoming company which seeks to make our dining tables extra beautiful! Her obsession with textiles has stirred her to create a collection of ‘brightly-coloured, textured and patterned everythings’ right here in Winnipeg. She is also the mother of Summer Skin Clothing, the sister company to In Plan View. When she’s not busy creating her own things, she’s teaching art to kids at the Artful Owl studio. She shows so much passion in her work and has so much love for Winnipeg. She might be leaving us for BC in the new year but she will certainly continue to inspire us wherever she may be. Lucky for her (and you), EQ3 has something in the works in response to her final answer – that will be revealed soon!



Nina Quark: Which room in your home is your favourite to spend time?


Chelsea Maier: Bedroom. Or specifically- the bed area within the bedroom. I think a bed is an open canvas for your style to be achieved via what you choose for linens, throws, pillow styles, and the frame itself. It’s where comfort and design meet best without apologies. Next to the bed is my favourite piece of furniture- a bedside table. I have had everything from an upside down milk cart, to stools, to more conventional bedside tables. A bedside table is my favourite corner of the bedroom because it houses all of lifes best goodies- books stacked high, lamps, plants, fresh flowers, water at night, coffee in the morning, photographs, art…  a sketchbook in case you can’t fall asleep because of ideas…



NQ: What was the highlight of your summer?


CM: This summer was wild! I don’t think I was in the same place for two days at a time. Highlight had to be wandering around the streets of Vancouver in the sun and thinking ‘In the New Year this will be our new home’.


In Plan View


NQ: What are you most looking forward to with winter approaching?


CM: Seeing what magic the locals cook up for us this season. When I first moved here I thought you ‘Peggers would hibernate or something while winter was in full force. It’s the exact opposite. So many things happen because Winnipegers look at winter as an opportunity. I’m excited to see the new warming huts. I’m excited to see the renderings of the new Raw:Almond come to life, I’m excited to explore all the new restaurants opening up, I’m looking forward to a skate or five on the river trail. The expressions on peoples faces as they rip down the frozen river on skates in the open air? Pure joy. Winter here is priceless, if you surrender yourself to it, if you make it your friend.



NQ: What was the most inspirational thing to happen in your week?


CM: Right now I teach 9 art classes at a local childrens art studio. It inspires me on the daily. This week I asked a group of girls in one of my classes to finish the sentence ‘When I make art I feel…’ and one of the girls wrote: ‘When I make art I feel: happy and confident. Excited like I could make art forever. I feel like I could be an artist’. I think I’m going to frame it.


In Plan View


NQ: With many new local spots to dine, is there one in particular which really impressed you?


CM: Well, I’m currently writing this at ‘The Store Next Door’ which just opened its doors on Monday, by the owners of Chew (on Corydon). I’m sitting at one of two large handmade wooden tables, they have a raw wood farmhouse door separating the bakery/cafe/store from the restaurant, their baked goods look picture perfect, they have take home meals and homemade sauces packaged in mason jars, and I just had the best bowl of potato salad of my life. It just has great vibes. I’m moving in.



NQ: If you could choose any natural environment to view outside of your window, what would it be?


CM: The Ocean. Or a Mountain. And/or both. Aka the view out my grandma’s kitchen window.


In Plan View


NQ: Which musical artist has most recently earned your admiration?


CM: Adam Cohen! His new album is beautiful. ‘We Go Home’ is so so beautiful. I am seeing him perform at the West End Cultural center in November. Hopefully I don’t cry like when I saw his father, Leonard Cohen perform two April’s ago. Music is so powerful.



NQ: Who do you look up to and why?


CM: One person?! Right now there are so many people around me that inspire me daily and are doing so many great things out in the world. I will have to claim that it is one of my best girlfriends from Winnipeg, who recently picked up her life and moved to Toronto on a whim, taking major risks all in the name of adventure. It is the first time she’s moved away from home, lived on her own, had to start from scratch to find a job etc. But all of that aside, the conversations we have had about her experiences of establishing herself in a brand new city are so inspiring. I think they have total crossover into the design field. I believe that learning and exploring a new city can be such a catalyst to the design process, and for rapid change, improvement, observations, and motivations. You know that feeling when you buy a brand new sketchbook, and you flip through all it’s crisp, blank white pages? I think moving to a brand new city is exactly like that- the perfect mix of pressure and anxiety, of opportunity and potential. I’m really proud of the first few marks she’s made in that new book.


In Plan View


NQ: What movie are you most anxious to see (new or old)?


CM: I decided today I need to brush up on two movies: Mary Poppins, and The Sound of Music. I watched those when I was so young, I want to explore them as an adult now. You know, just me, a glass of wine, and do re mi fa so la ti do!



NQ: What is one product you would love to see added to the EQ3 line?


CM: EQ3 + In Plan View haha… Tough question though! EQ3 has a wonderfully curated, well rounded collection. I am totally coveting everything that has the option of being built with white marble (your end tables, dining room table, cheese board, etc). Thinking back, I really liked your collaboration with artists for pillow cases, notebooks and tote bags. Carrying feature art prints that are printed and ready to hang would be really phenomenal. Everybody needs more art on their walls!

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