Thanks in part to people spending more time at home, puzzles have recently enjoyed a resurgence. There’s something undeniably therapeutic about meticulously piecing together tiny pieces to reveal a work of art, and now designer puzzle company PuzzQuest is taking those works of art to the next level.
The new Peterborough-based company is working with undiscovered photographers, illustrators, and artists around the world to create fun, original 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles for adults — and supporting the arts community in the process.
PuzzQuest was created by marketing consultant and fine art photographer George Gill, who says he understands first-hand how promoting and selling art is much more difficult than creating it. PuzzQuest is another channel, he explains, for artists to showcase their work to a wider audience and, in this case, those who enjoy jigsaw puzzles.
“Jigsaw puzzles are both creative and complex,” Gill says. “Yes, you have the artwork but the puzzler is also immersed in the artist’s creative process. It’s not just a puzzle — it’s an experience, it’s a quest.”
With the coronavirus taking a colossal toll on the arts world with cancelled and postponed industry events, it has left artists seeking creative ways of adapting to trying circumstances. Gill says artists looking to boost their income need to offer their art in new and innovative ways. That’s where PuzzQuest can help.
“For people who love a particular artist’s work, jigsaw puzzles can offer a fun affordable means for them to take home a quality piece of art. It’s just accessible in a different way.”
VIDEO: Introducing Conformity from PuzzQuest
Gill adds that some people who purchase PuzzQuest puzzles take it one step further, by actually framing their puzzles as wall art.
He believes the growth of jigsaw puzzles as a mindfulness technique is one of the reasons puzzles are making a comeback. In addition to being a great way to spend time with family, working on a jigsaw puzzle stimulates your mind while lowering your stress by giving you something specific to create and work towards. There’s a new adventure in every puzzle box.
PuzzQuest is taking the challenge of puzzles another step further. Each jigsaw puzzle available through PuzzQuest will be part of a unique quest. Each puzzle will become part of a series for puzzlers to complete the overall quest.
“The idea is that each jigsaw puzzle is presented as a different challenge but connected through a common theme,” Gill says. “We don’t want to regurgitate puzzles that are already out there.”
The quality of PuzzQuest’s puzzles also makes them stand out in the industry. The company controls every step of a sophisticated manufacturing process from design to packaging to shipping.
Made from recycled paper and coated in a UV oil varnish, the individual pieces are punched at precise tolerances, so that you can hear a satisfying soft click when one fits into another. Every piece is soothing to the touch, providing a calming effect.
Small details like a resealable bag which not only protects the pieces, but also avoids the potential of losing a piece mid-way through the building process, are just some of the features that go into the design process.
“Every little detail has been taken into consideration to match not only the quality of the art we’re reproducing, but the entire experience of creating the puzzle,” Gill says.
Any artists interested in having their work considered for a jigsaw puzzle can fill out a form on the PuzzQuest website. There’s no charge to submit works of art and there are no restrictions, although Gill says all submitted artwork will be evaluated to ensure it would make for a challenging puzzle.
“Some artwork doesn’t transfer over to that medium as well as others. We want to know if it works as a jigsaw puzzle, makes a unique puzzle quest, and will be a good puzzle to build from a puzzler’s perspective.”
Puzzlers typically look for a challenge, Gill says, something that will keep them interested, captivated, and entertained. Artwork with lots of colour and detail is ideal.
One of Gill’s own art creations, called Conformity, is the first of a quest in the company’s line of puzzles.
“Conformity is a challenging jigsaw puzzle to do,” Gill says, adding that he recently tasked his family with trying the expert-level 1,000-piece puzzle to test the degree of difficulty and enjoyment level.
He’s also ecstatic to have puzzle enthusiasts from Quebec, B.C., California, Romania, and Germany reach out to him expressing their interest in trying their hand with the Conformity puzzle.
Beyond a quality unique puzzle to challenge yourself or offer as a great gift, your PuzzQuest purchase makes a difference in the art world too. You can feel good knowing every PuzzQuest puzzle sold results in a portion of the proceeds going back to the artist and a portion to the arts community.
“At PuzzQuest, we’re more than just puzzles, we’re about contributing to a great cause,” Gill explains. “I’m excited about supporting artists and the arts community. I can’t wait to write that first donation cheque.”
The first production of PuzzQuest puzzles has been arriving at warehouse distribution centers across North America and are now available for purchase.
If you’re looking for a new hobby or you’re an experienced puzzler seeking a new challenge, you can buy a puzzle directly from PuzzQuest’s website at puzzquest.ca. They are also available on Amazon, currently in the U.S. and Canada.
For more information, visit puzzquest.ca, where artists can learn more about submitting a piece of artwork and puzzlers can purchase a unique jigsaw puzzle experience. You can also follow PuzzQuest on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
This story was created in partnership with PuzzQuest.
Ann Clow showing her art in Georgetown – TheChronicleHerald.ca
GEORGETOWN, P.E.I. —
Artist Ann Clow has an exhibit on display at the Kings Playhouse.
Running until Jan. 28, Through the Lense and Palette offers highlights from Clow’s collection.
Originally from Nova Scotia, but living in P.E.I. for the past five years, Clow is a self-taught painter and photographer who has followed in her family’s tradition and been an artist all of her life.
She has been selling her work and giving classes for more than 40 years.
Her work is influenced by her surroundings, and since she values travel, these change over time.
Much of her style can vary from highly realistic, abstract to deeply spiritual.
“My heart is filled with creativity and so is my mind,” she said. “In art, I combine my mind and my heart.”
Once the show is finished, people can also view her work in Montague at The Turning Point health store in the Down East Mall and Twice Upon Book Store. For more information, visit annclow.com and annclowphoto.com.
Art 101: The juiciest art war of the 21st century – CBC.ca
Let’s talk about privilege. It’s a huge part of our lives and a huge part of the art world.
Today we’ll talk about the art war that broke out when one artist decided he owned a colour and nobody else could use it. And we’ll tap into why that colour battle said something really important about the art world.
I’m Professor Lise (not really a professor) and this is Art 101 (not really a class). We’re going on a deep dive into an idea, an artwork or a story from the art world that may be controversial, inexplicable, or just plain weird.
Act 1 – Colour is Important!
Lest you think it doesn’t matter, take a moment to remember how much colour lets you recognize the work of your favourite artists. Like Mondrian, whose pervasive use of primary colour makes his paintings easy to spot. Or General Idea! Their vivid colour scheme is a signature element of their work, just as much as the slightly un-natural colours of any Group of Seven painting let you know you’re looking at a work from your uncle’s coffee-table book.
Artist have even tried to make a colour their very own: in 1960, artist Yves Klein patented International Klein Blue, or IKB, and other artists (including the Blue Man Group) still use it today, continuing his legacy. Sweet little anecdote, right?
Let’s move on.
Act 2 – The Colour War
You know that big bean at Chicago’s Millennium Park? It’s a huge reflective satisfying shape and every single person who visits Chicago is contractually obligated to take a selfie in front of it. It’s actually called Cloud Gate, and it’s by British Indian artist Anish Kapoor. It was made in the mid 2000s out of 168 plates of stainless steel joined by welding, and it cost in the vicinity of 20 million dollars.
Why does the massive and expensive bean matter to our story? Because it’ll give you an idea of the scale and scope of Kapoor’s art — he’s a huge deal, and his work costs a lot of money.
Why are we talking about Anish Kapoor? Calm down, I’m getting to it. Kapoor’s gotten a ton of honours for his large-scale architectural public art. He’s won the Turner Prize (the Oscars of the art world) and was even knighted in 2013. So let’s agree, he’s done good work and made his name.
In 2014, he started working with an entirely new material called Vantablack. It was developed in the lab of U.K.-based Surrey NanoSystems and it’s the blackest paint ever made. Originally fashioned to help in optics and aerospace, Vantablack’s dense black look is much easier to grasp in person than in photos and it’s made possible through pretty intense chemistry. In essence, light is TRAPPED by Vantablack instead of being REFLECTED by it — creating an effect that looks a bit like what it might be like to spot a black hole in space. In effect, Vantablack is pretty special and pretty new.
How did Kapoor start working with it? Well … he licensed it. Exclusively. That’s right, uncles everywhere — Anish Kapoor is the only person in the world that can use Vantablack in art.
Hey, did I hear somebody say that’s a dick move? You’re not alone!
On this Instagram post, where Kapoor shows off a work featuring his exclusive black, Willsmithfresh comments, “One man owning vantiblack [sic] is truly the loneliest bean that you’ll ever see.” And hannahjasmin_ says, “Selfish enough to keep an entire colour all to yourself, and all you’ve used it for is a circle. Congratulations, you’re the worst.” And that’s just two members of the general public — some artists were pretty upset that Kapoor took this incredible new invention and crafted a situation where he was the only person who could benefit from it.
Why’d Kapoor do it? He’s said a few things on the topic, including that “it’s not about possessing the stuff.” He’s also ascribed the response to the colour itself, saying, “The problem is that colour is so emotive — especially black … I don’t think the same response would occur if it was white.”
Enter Stuart Semple, popular British multimedia artist, nice guy and … well, for this story, let’s call him a “democratist.”
Semple was one of the artists aggravated by Kapoor’s snatching of the black, and so he decided to invent his own radically new paint: the pinkest pink. He made it beyond vibrant, very affordable, and available to any artist in the world — except Anish Kapoor.
The resulting war raged on through the late 2010s, marked by regular skirmishes. Like when Kapoor somehow got his hands on some of Semple’s pinkest pink shortly after its debut, and posted himself flipping the bird to Semple — the bird in question covered in Semple’s pink paint. Classy move, Anish Kapoor.
Semple, undaunted, went on to make other paints available to the world, including his own version of the blackest black, the mirroriest mirror paint and the glitteriest glitter.
Ok, so why are we reviving this story from 2016? Well, it’s fun! Artists fighting is hilarious! Uncles everywhere rejoiced. And you can find a good number of articles, explainers, and I dunno, maybe even a graphic novel about the Semple vs. Kapoor incident. But that’s not really why we’re here. I mean, it’s part of why we’re here. But there’s more to it.
Act 3 – Why it Matters, or, Kill the Rich
Here’s why Kapoor’s hoarding of black paint points to a problem in the art world, and why Stuart Semple worked so hard to steal Kapoor’s acorns.
It’s about access. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
When you go to your parents and say, “Uncle, I’d like to be an artist,” their inevitable question is, “How will you make any money doing that?” But there’s a missing question here. That is: how are you going to be able to afford to be an artist?
Let me explain: If you want to be a successful artist, you need stuff. I get it — our earliest evidence of art is with simple materials on a cave wall. But making art costs money, and if you want to make art now you need things like: a space to work in, materials, a computer, unlimited bandwidth.These things cost money. Cheap materials can, unfortunately, look like cheap materials. Expensive materials or processes can, unfortunately, look special.
Specialness and prestige are two words we don’t talk enough about when we’re talking about how artists get started. A painter who submits work to the gallery made on panels of stainless steel with the blackest black paint in the world is going to get some notice.
Artists level up. That Cloud Gate we talked about at the beginning? That wasn’t Kapoor’s first work. It’s the result of fame, skill, AND MONEY — both the money he makes from the work AND the money he had to put into it. I’m not trying to suggest that you can’t be an artist without money — you can AND YOU WILL. But it helps, right?
So when the rich guy snatches up the best materials and makes them exclusive to himself, he’s tapping into an issue that’s big in the art world: PRIVILEGE. What Stuart Semple is doing, on the other hand, is making prestige materials — the whateveriest whatever paint available to anybody who wants to use it, except Anish Kapoor. Look, it still costs money — we can’t get away from that. But Semple’s made a big gesture to acknowledge that artists have a rough go and gave them a little leg up.
So let’s give a little shoutout to Stuart Semple, because while this may have been a fun story about artists getting real angry, it’s part of something bigger. And I suspect Semple will keep doing his part to make the art world a more democratic place.
Act 4 – The End!
Thanks for listening! Especially because working from home is really lonely.
See you next time on Art 101!
Artworks featured in this video:
00:46 – Broadway Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian (1942)
00:51 – AIDS by General Idea (1988)
00:56 – Lake and Mountains by Lawren Harris (1928)
00:59 – Autumn Foliage against Grey Rock by Franklin Carmichael (1920)
01:21 – Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor (2006)
01:47 – Leviathan by Anish Kapoor (2011)
01:54 – Shooting into the Corner by Anish Kapoor (2008-2009)
02:04 – Sectional body preparing for Monadic Singularity by Anish Kapoor (2015)
06:09 – Lady Gaga ARTPOP by Jeff Koons (2013)
06:13 – End of a Century by Damien Hirst (2020)
06:15 – Eroded Delorean by Daniel Arsham (2018)
06:27 – Gathering Clouds I-IV by Anish Kapoor (2014)
During these pandemic 'daze,' art an essential service – The Sudbury Star
Article content continued
Online, the producers promise I can learn about thousands of new products, boats, accessories, and services, and receive exclusives Boat Show deals and learn plans for the summer boating season ahead.
From NYC, I signed up to connect directly. I phoned my dear colleague, former Commodore Roy Eaton, residing in Little Current. He has been the collegial, renowned Host of Hosts of the Little Current Cruiser’s Net for the past 17 years. Over the years, Roy Eaton has been written in Sail Magazine, Cruising World and in 2010, he was awarded The Canadian Safe Boating Council Volunteer of the Year, devoted to safe boating.
A seasoned sailor, Roy’s so personable, during summer boating season he’s known as the Voice of the North Channel. The Net broadcasts every morning from July 1 to Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. on VHF Channel 71.
“Roy, will you present at the Boat Show about sailing the North Shore this summer?”
“Bonnie dear,” he laughed, “I’m on as guest speaker in thirty minutes.”
I tuned in, listening to Roy speak about, Summer in Paradise — Northern Georgian Bay and the Fabled North Channel. He showed charts to boaters, sharing knowledge and tips about anchorages. I knew many of them. As a former Caribbean sailor, I learned how to navigate, became proficient, and then took on The North Channel. with help, of course.
Staying afloat is definitely artful.
The day after, the seminar coordinator told Roy; “You broke the bank yesterday. There were 532 boaters in attendance at your seminar. Since our seminars are all recorded and saved, they’ll be on the website starting Jan. 25.”
Happily listening to Roy provide knowledgeable information for boaters who hope to ply the North Shore this summer, about the anchorages, towns, places to dine, and places to hike, was absolute Northern Ontario artistry.
Our Bonnie’s been in the Window Seat for 29 years, always learning about us in Northern Ontario. Please find her at BonnieKogos@gmail.com. She loves hearing from you.
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