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Local music video director making art with a message – SooToday.com

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About a week ago, local music institution Dustin Jones released a music video for the first single Don’t Want To Come Down by his new band, The Conspirators. The group is made up of himself, Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger/The Salads) on drums and Chuck Dailey (I Mother Earth/The Salads) on bass.

Although Brendan Garlick defers the actual meaning of the song to songwriter Dustin Jones, he notes the video concept is an ironic play on the title of the tune. “The video interprets the meaning of ‘Don’t Want to Come Down’ to not wanting to give up a certain lifestyle, or not wanting to grow up.”

According to their social media page, The Conspirators’ high energy songs were built to prove that “rock and roll is still alive and well”. The Garlick-directed accompanying video was clearly directed to capture that same energy.

Garlick notes that Jones first approached him about making a video for the Conspirators back in 2017. Since that time, the duo had bounced around a number of ideas before landing on a concept.

“We came up with the idea for this one in early summer,” said Garlick. “With that concept, we wanted to find an actress with a youthful look, someone who seemed defiant to play the main protagonist.”

The perfect actress turned out to be Hannah Rausch, a local secondary school student. “Hannah was the winner of a high school songwriting contest and she was recording a couple of really great songs with Dustin at Mission Control Studios. Dustin cast her in the video and she was perfect.”

Garlick noted that Rausch’s instinct for the character in the video was spot on. 

“The entire wardrobe was her own. We didn’t ask her to dress in any specific way. She would just show up and Dustin and I would both say, ‘That’s exactly the look we were going for.’ All we added was a leather jacket that we found at Value Village for one scene. She was able to capture that defiant alt teen look with a touch of goth.”

The filming for the video took place through August and September.

“The shots are slowed down and then (we) sped it up to give it a specific effect.”  

In one scene, Rausch stands in front of a wall with multi-coloured paint running down the walls at an unusual pace. In another, she stands passively in front of a flaming lawnmower.

One of Garlick’s friends and former bandmates, Aaron Allessandrini, was essential in helping make some of these scenes happen.

“I pulled him into the shoot and he contributed a lot to this video. The guy is really talented. He was the key grip behind the scenes and was instrumental in it.”

Allessandrini figured out how to make some of the slowed down scenes work.

“We had a piece of plywood clamped on a carpenter’s bench. The idea was to make use of the sped up effect, so Aaron would take a scoop of paint and let it run down the board to great effect.”

For the flaming lawnmower concept that Garlick had come up with earlier, it was Allessandrini who helped make it happen.

“At first we thought, ‘no, that could be a hazard’. But the night before one of the shoots, I found an electric lawnmower on Kijiji. Someone was giving it away. So I talked Dustin into it.”

Allessandrini was off screen and had figured out how to use a squirt bottle to add gasoline to the lawnmower to give it a billowing effect, while ensuring there was no danger or risk.

Filming the video at a lower speed and then increasing he final version meant their actress could not lip-sync to the song in real time.

“We slowed the song down by 300 percent. I like to refer to it as a Cthulhu remix,” he laughs. “We only had to do one take of each scene. Hannah really nailed it.”

After the video was released, Garlick jokingly asked Rausch if she felt like a celebrity. Her response?  “Not quite.”

“Hannah has aspiration to do more in terms of songwriting. So my hope is if she goes on this meteoric rise, I can say I was there at the beginning,” he laughs. 

For the band portion of the video, some clever coordination had to take place.

Drummer Darrin Pfeiffer was in Los Angeles and Chuck Dailey was in Toronto. As luck would have it, both were performing as part of Amy Gabba and the Almost Famous’ CD Release in Toronto.

So taking advantage of Pfeiffer being flown into Toronto for the show, Jones and Garlick hopped in a car and drove down to meet them during their practice session for the CD Release.

“This was the first time the guys have been in the same room together in a couple years. They were in the jam rehearsal space practicing for their CD release. When Amy and the guitarist left after their practice finished, I shot the live segment of the video with Chuck, Darren and Dustin. We did it quickly, within an hour.”

The filming wrapped up by the end of September and editing was done before Halloween. “We’ve been sitting on the video waiting for the album’s release.”

If the Conspirator video wasn’t enough, Garlick also directed a video that was released in those months after the wrap. This one for local songwriter Jay Case.

The video for Case’s first single Intend to Be from his album foundation came out about a month ago.  

“Jay’s video has a different groove. When I went into it, I definitely did try to match the feeling of the song to the video. Jay’s song is more laid back than the Conspirators’ song which is high tempo.”

Intend to Be was filmed on the shore of Havilland Bay.

“We drove out to this cool house for the shoot. They had a nice little dock with a break wall. We got really lucky and had ducks going by and a mist on the water. So we capitalized on it.”

With this video, Garlick was trying to capture an atmosphere rather than tell a story.

“The more I can do in trying to create an atmosphere, the more successful I am going to be.”

Unlike the Conspirators’ video, the Jay Case shoot was less planned and done quickly. “We shot it in a couple of hours,” says Garlick. “We didn’t plan much out ahead. I listened to the song a couple of times and had this idea about Jay preparing a dinner. We left the ending open ended and we never know who it was on the other side of the door.”

As a filmmaker, Garlick has to live in both worlds and be ready to work in planned and unplanned shoots.

He notes that many clients don’t know exactly what they want, but they know what they don’t want.

“On the creative side, it is really challenging to just trust yourself. You have to know that the client may not see what I am seeing. You have to try to figure out what they need.”

Although Garlick has most recently been working in the directing world, he notes that there is another world: the organization side.

“I started my career in filmmaking on the organization side of things working on a film called All Hallows Eve: October 30th. I went from slate as a volunteer to assistant director in 3 days. I am very time organized and the crew didn’t have anyone in terms of set organization. So, I just slipped into that role.”

Those organizational skills were handy in his role as a band member too. “In Gnaeus, I was the guy who kept track of shows, of when are we practicing, and how are we going to get the gear to the shows. Aaron [Allessandrini] would write the words and melodies and handled things like the art work.”

So for Garlick, his most recent experiences working with Dustin Jones and the Tidal Records artists, was a big shift from the organizational side  to the vision side of the equation.

“Working with Dustin, I was able to supply some of that vision. I would lead shots by default.”

Garlick has come a long way from his early roots working with Shaw Cable to stream City Council meetings, as a wedding videographer or even as part of the All Hallows Eve: October 30th crew. He has learned from his earlier music videos for local band K.I.C.K. and songwriter Brendan Hodgson

“My initial videos were done by trying to get artists together and film performance shots.”

As a fan of the MuchMusic and MTV music era, he has been working to develop his skills to match a video to the song.

“With limited resources, it is often hard to tell a convincing story. You can look really amateurish the more you try to show a consistent A to B to C. So, I like to get into these abstract ideas where you can gain in innovativeness and eye catchiness to make up for what you don’t have in terms of lenses or lighting gear.”

Garlick remembers the impact of videos like Madonna’s Like a Prayer video had on him.

“Even as a 10-year old, I loved those videos. I knew there was an underlying message there but I wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t totally get it, but knew it was there.

Aside from music and film, Garlick has developed his own comics.

The Spaceman Chronicles he describes as a combination of Star Trek and Magic Schoolbus. 

“It was a six part series that followed a group of six space explorers.” The catch was that at the end of each episode, the explorer died.

He is currently working on another called Detox: A Love Story.

“I have all the pages laid out. I am going panel by panel. My hope is to find a way to finance an outside illustrator.”

The concept stemmed from a placement he had at a withdrawal management centre while he was in school.

“I also have a personal history that involves experiences in that realm. So this comic will be about addiction and the way it overlaps with other aspects of people’s lives. I want it to be for people who actually have that experience, people who are in the middle of it. I want it to be universally accessible.”

Garlick is philosophical about his art. 

“I loved Calvin and Hobbes when I was young. At first I saw it as trivial. Looking back, it has so much philosophical messaging, so much emotional development. It is also so simplistic as a format. If you look at so called ‘low culture’ media, including music videos and comic books.”

Garlick wants to imbue those mediums with the same sort of meaning you would find in Dostoyevsky or Dickens.

“Good art has to have meaning, but that doesn’t have to mean that you need to say things explicitly. That’s the trick. If you say things explicitly people will reject it or they will tune it out. Great art tricks you into emotionally connecting. Afterwards you say, ‘oh shoot, I can see things from a different perspective now.’”

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Home + Away artwork opens in Vancouver’s Hastings Park

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A new art installation now towers over Vancouver’s Hastings Park fields in celebration of the city’s history of spectators and sports.

Home + Away is a sculpture by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio, which opened Monday in the southeast end of the historic park.

It’s a 17-metre-tall structure that resembles a narrow set of bleachers — similar to the stands of the Empire Stadium, which stood on the site of the park from 1954 to 1993 and hosted The Beatles, among many others. It recalls a covered ski jump that stood there in the 1950s and the nearby wooden rollercoaster at the PNE.

The city says the public is invited to walk the stairs and sit on the benches.

“In addition to being visually striking, this artwork is intended to be ascended, sat on and experienced. It offers exciting experiences of height and views and provides 16 rows of seating for up to 49 people, making for a unique spectator experience when watching events at Empire Fields,” the city said in a release Monday.

The idea for the park to include public art was outlined in the Hastings Park “Master Plan,” first adopted by the city in 2010. The city says Han and Mihalyo first presented their design in 2015.

“It’s wonderful to see this piece realized within the context of such a well-used public space,” said Han.

Home + Away was inspired directly by the site history of spectatorship, and we hope it will connect Hastings Park users to that history and the majestic views of the environment for many decades to come,” added Mihalyo.

The artwork features a large light-up sign, in the style of a sports scoreboard, that reads “HOME” and “AWAY.”

 

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Bill Viola, Video Artist Who Established the Medium as an Integral Part of Contemporary Art, Dies at 73

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Bill Viola, whose decades-long engagement with video proved vital in establishing the medium as an integral part of contemporary art, died on July 12 at his home in Long Beach, California. He was at 73 years old. The cause was complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. The news of his passing was confirmed by James Cohan Gallery.

Viola’s works are centered around the idea of human consciousness and such fundamental experiences as birth, death, and spirituality. He delved into mystical traditions from Zen Buddhism to Islamic Sufism, as well as Western devotional art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in his videos, which often juxtaposed themes of life and death, light and dark, noise and silence. These explorations were achieved by submerging viewers in both image and sound with cutting-edge technologies for their time.

“I first used the camera and lens as a surrogate eye, to bring things closer, or to magnify them, to experiment with perception, to extend vision and make lengthy observations of simple objects,” Viola said in a 2015 interview. “Once you do that, their essence becomes visible. So I suppose I was always interested in the inner life of the world around me.”

Beginning in the 1970s, Viola created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast—all of which expanded the scope of the medium and established Viola as one of its most notable practitioner.

Video still of a man diving into water that has been reversed. The image is mostly black and teal.

In 2003 the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Tate, London; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris jointly acquired Bill Viola’s 2001 three-channel video installation Five Angels for the Millennium.

Photo Kira Perov/©Bill Viola Studio

Bill Viola was born in 1951. He grew up in Queens and Westbury, New York, and attended P.S. 20 in Flushing, before receiving his BFA in experimental studios from Syracuse University in 1973. There, he studied with visual art with the likes of Jack Nelson and electronic music with Franklin Morris.

Following his graduation, between 1973 to 1980, Viola studied and performed with composer David Tudor in the music group Rainforest, which later became known as Composers Inside Electronics. He also worked as technical director at the pioneering video studio Art/tapes/22 in Florence, Italy from 1974 to 1976. During that time he encountered the work of other seminal video artists like Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Vito Acconci.

Viola was subsequently an artist-in-residence at New York’s WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory between 1976 to 1983, wherein he created a series of works that premiered on television. He traveled to the Solomon Islands, Java, and Indonesia to record traditional performing arts between 1976 and 1977. Later that year, Viola was invited to show work at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, by cultural arts director Kira Perov, with whom he married and began a lifelong collaboration.

He was appointed an instructor in advanced video at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1983. He was the Getty Research Institute scholar-in-residence in Los Angeles in 1998 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

In 1985, Viola received with a Guggenheim Fellowship for fine arts, and later that decade, in 1989, he was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. His work was also featured in some of the world’s most notable exhibitions, including Documenta VI in 1977, Documenta XI in 1992, the 1987 and 1993 editions of the Whitney Biennial, and the 2001 Venice Biennale.

In 1995, he represented the United States at the 46th edition of the Venice Biennale. For the pavilion, Viola produced the series of works “Buried Secrets,” including one of his most known works The Greeting, which offers a contemporary interpretation of Pontormo’s oil painting The Visitation (ca.1528–30). The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and New York’s Guggenheim Museum commissioned the digital fresco cycle in high-definition video, titled Going Forth By Day, in 2002.

Viola’s work was the subject of a major 25-year survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1997, which subsequently toured internationally. His work has been the subject of major museum retrospectives in the years since, including at the Grand Palais in Paris (in 2014), the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2017), the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain (2017), and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (2019), as well as an exhibition pairing his work with that of Michelangelo at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2019.

Viola is survived by his wife Kira Perov, who has been the executive director of his studio since 1978, and their two children.

“One thing that’s very exciting about video that has turned me on since I first saw this glowing image way back in 1970 is that it can be so much,” Viola said in a 1995 with Charlie Rose on the occasion of this US Pavilion at the Biennale. “Furthermore, what’s really exciting is I don’t think it’s been since really the Renaissance where artists have been able to use a medium that one could say is the dominant communication form in society.”

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Couple’s winning art projects adorn overpass

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Annabelle Harvey and Corbin Elliot are partners: in life, love, and art. Thanks to their creative pursuits, now they are also joined in the recognition of their work along the Lakeshore overpass.

The City of North Bay, in collaboration with the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC), recently held an event to acknowledge the successful applicants for the Lakeshore Drive overpass banner project. This initiative features 14 artworks created by local artists, highlighting the ongoing commitment to bringing public art to the community and celebrating local talent. The banners were installed early last week.

On behalf of PAAC, Katie Bevan noted that 71 submissions were received for the banner art project. “Selecting just 14 artworks from such outstanding submissions was no small feat. It truly highlights the incredible creativity within our community — and it’s only growing.”

Bevan acknowledged all who submitted their work and congratulated the 14 winners:

  • Caitlin Daniel
  • Corbin Elliot
  • Adam Fielder
  • Ian Gauthier
  • Ruby Grant
  • Annabelle Harvey
  • Penny Heather
  • Robert Johannsen
  • Robyn Jones
  • Gerry McComb
  • Victoria Primeau
  • Tessa Shank
  • Rana Thomas
  • Claudia Torres

“This is the first time I’ve participated in something city-wide, and I’ve been really interested in getting more involved in the art community,” said Harvey, a teacher by vocation when not helping to beautify North Bay. “I’ve worked a lot with the WKP Kennedy Gallery and I’ve been putting in submissions for some of their group shows. So, this is a cool opportunity to try something new. This is the first time I have done digital work. Usually, I like painting and collage. So I was interested just to try something new.”

In September 2023, public art gained more prominence in North Bay as 12 pieces by eight local artists selected by the Public Art Advisory Committee were placed on aluminum panels mounted onto the public buildings in both Champlain and Sunset parks.

Harvey’s partner Elliot is an emerging artist and a Fine Arts graduate from Nipissing University who says his passion for bringing his vision to life has only grown, thanks, in part, to these public art initiatives.

“There is so much opportunity to have a lot of different public art in different spaces,” he says. “So, when I saw that there was a variety of different artists and voices being accepted, of course, I wanted to have my vision out there in the city, to make my mark and be a part of that kind of trajectory of building the art scene within the city.”

The couple share a studio space, often working on separate projects at the same time while collaborating with encouragement and ideas.

“We are working on different mediums, a lot of the time,” Elliot said. “We have our own corners set up in the studio and I’ll usually be on my easel and Annabelle will be doing something…”

Harvey picked up his thought, “I’m usually at my desk doing pottery, jewellery, collage — I do a lot of different things.”

2024-07-12-lakeshore-overpass-banner-art-elliot-harvey-2-campaigne
Couple Annabelle Harvey and Corbin Elliot each earned a spot among the 14 winning banner art projects. Stu Campaigne/BayToday

For Harvey, working so closely together is her “favourite part, especially watching his creative process.”

Elliot added, “I think I’m more non-verbal as I’m creating. I often hear you saying, ‘Oh, I think I like this.'”

Both have active Instagram pages featuring their artwork, Harvey’s can be found here, and Elliot’s here.

Elliot has a show at the WKP Kennedy Gallery, entitled “Upon a Star,” opening Sept. 13. “I’ll have my own solo exhibition. I typically work in painting. I have a big body of work with paintings,” he said.

The City of North Bay and PAAC encourage everyone to take a moment to appreciate these works of art when passing by the overpass.

Harvey and Elliot are thrilled about the banner art project.

“It’s like seeing your vision come to life. We’ve had lots of friends, even before we saw them today say excitedly, ‘I saw your work on the overpass,’ it’s just a proud moment to have so many eyes on our work.”

 

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