Nuovofresco works and thoughts

Main + Hastings at The Seymour Art Gallery

For the last few years I’ve been creating an archive of facades. The mixed faces of blocks that line the arteries of Main and Hastings Streets in Vancouver. I’ve put them in frames and have had them hung up on the walls of the Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove. The project is ongoing, as change is ongoing. Here’s some of the works so far:

The pieces are on display through September 6th 2014. There is a reception on August 17th 2014 from 2pm to 4pm where I will talk about my process and thoughts about this project. The gallery hours are 10am to 5pm seven days a week (excluding statutory holidays). I hope you can come out and see it!

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Roots

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The place doesn’t look exactly like I remember but as time passes nothing looks exactly as one remembers.

Mom grew up on a small farm and I can’t recall eating a vegetable that wasn’t grown on that land when we visited Grandma and Grandpa. Strong in my memory was a community with a thriving “underground” economy; chickens traded for hay, hay traded for milk. I remember a great deal of chicken. I remember neighbours helping neighbours.

I learned how to ride a bike in front of that little house.

Spinach growing on a pallet

Spinach growing on a pallet in East Vancouver.

I ate crab apples from the trees. I learned how to space seeds and how deep to plant them. I learned that if you cut a seed potato between the eyes that one potato will grow into multiple plants. I learned that if you berm around those potato plants with soil as it grows it increases productivity. I remember Grandpa picking kelp and seaweed from the beach to condition his garden soil. I learned that if you make a pile of dead plants, add some sticks and twigs and your fireplace ash and turn it over frequently with a shovel it will break down into compost. I learned that chicken manure is an excellent source of nitrogen; not every kid learns that.  I learned that on a slice of property in Port Alberni. That’s stuff not taught in a classroom and rightly so. In this part of the planet it would be a crazy teacher that would bring in wheel barrows of chicken manure, rotting kelp, salmon carcasses and dead plants into a classroom, pile it up in a corner, turn it over with a shovel every so often and expect to keep his or her job. Vancouver is a place with supermarkets and plenty and those lessons of spacing and composting aren’t as needed in this city, they are needed elsewhere though so this year I’m giving you two a vegetable garden. I’m told it’s somewhere by a school likely outside of the view of “Google Earth” though.

Love Ross and Sarolta.

p.s. It looks like Grandma and Grandpa Bowler put their outhouse on the neighbours side of the fence. That’s good property management!

fence_outhouse

Arts Umbrella “Defining Silence” Splash 2012 preview

Arts Umbrella has had 29 “Splash” Gala events. This year marks the 30th. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute works. I believe exposing children to art provides a foundation in creative an critical thought that bind the disciplines of art to science and humanities. It should be an essential element of education but the arts, I fear, are the first to suffer when budgets run short. I’m so proud to support this organization where many students without the means otherwise are allowed to participate through bursary programs.

Some info from the press release:

“This annual exhibition is a preview of the work of over 100 local, national and international artists that will be featured at Splash Art Auction & Gala on October 13 at CBC Studios in Downtown Vancouver. The show highlights important and engaging works by Edward Burtynsky, Tracey Tarling, Fred Herzog, Paul Wong, Gordon Smith and many others. Splash 2012 will showcase a diverse range of art and art objects in a variety of materials including painting, printmaking, glass sculpture, jewellery and photography. The exhibition at the Pendulum Gallery provides an opportunity to view the work of this eclectic group of artists who come together to support Arts Umbrella’s mission to inspire kids for life through the arts. A significant number of generous supporters also help make this exceptional event a reality.”

Here’s a little video I made of the preview works hanging at The Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver.

Sun Prints

Toned cyanotype (ferric tannate print)   "Magnolia" 12"x9" - 2012

Toned cyanotype (ferric tannate print) “Magnolia” 12″x9″ – 2012

I was asked to teach a workshop at Vancouver Photo Workshops on subjects of my choosing. Cool. I went way back to 1842 and thought I would resurrect the Cyanotype process discovered by Sir John Hershal to make what are more commonly known as “Blue Prints”. VPW rightly states that they have no darkrooms. They are very focused on remaining current with technology and they attract some of the finest photographers and lecturers from around the world. This 1842 process gets a modern makeover by using digital processes to prepare enlarged negatives for contact printing rather than shooting film at the size of your intended print. A combination of modern method with the organic elements of earlier photographic days.

Here’s a little video of the process:

Waylaid

May 6, 2012

I started this post a few days ago… actually I just put the title down and hit save; A client came by for a photo session.

May 8, 2012

The title explains the problem. A stream of interruptions that has kept me from putting fingertips to keyboard, the essence of twenty-first century pen to paper. Intersections dissecting days for the last few months. Everything seems partly started, partly finished. Glass. Half full. Half empty. Drink up!

May 10, 2012

Just taught my last Fundamentals of Photography class for the term yesterday at The Vancouver Institute of Media Arts. Zipped down to Arts Umbrella to donate of a piece of work for Splash. I have a softball game later tonight, No time to finish this today.

May 11, 2012 1:28pm

Got back in from shooting headshots and office photos for The RSC Group. Now I’m off to David Cooper‘s to prep some files for him while he’s shooting in Ontario.

May 11, 2012 7:58pm

Dinner. Some TV. Bed. I’ll get back to this in the morning.

May 12, 2012 10:10am

Our dog woke us up in the middle of the night in a bit of shock. She has a hip problem and I think she’s dislocated her back leg. We’re off to the vet this morning to have it looked at. Poor thing was sleeping on my lap for the last 2 hours. I’ll finish this later.

May 13 2012

Figures it’s the 13th. First photo session of the day down. Dropped a lens. Broke it. (this is a family show but I’m thinking f-bombs). I’ll finish this later, probably going to find a replacement or a stiff drink before my afternoon shoot.

Burnt Orange Campari

Burnt Orange Campari

May 14 through 20 2012

Engagement, wedding and birthday rings I've made for Sarolta.

A blur mostly. Sarolta and I taught a class to the senior photography students at VanArts. Had a softball game. Shot a few people. Celebrated my 17th wedding anniversary with a dinner out.

May 21 2012

Our computer is a bit messed up. Off to the shop to have it looked at.

May 26 2012

How did that happen?

May 27 2012

I forgot to post this yesterday.

That ring thing

January 8th 2012. It felt like my first day off in three months. Sarolta was in a yoga teacher training class and I was sitting at home watching a recording of PowerBlock on Spike TV when she called me at 12:30. “Lolo’s in labour!”. Lolo had asked me in November to make her a family ring to celebrate the upcoming birth of her son, some months away, and given my nature I waited until the eleventh hour. In the end I made it on the day her son arrived, which sounds so much better than I procrastinated. A bit of backstory; when I’m working with gold I’ll often use the lost wax process but I didn’t this time because of the work Lolo’s father does. He’s an ironworker. He forms metal with flame and hammer. I couldn’t see him playing with wax and puddles of alloy. He would heat, hammer, cut, bend, reheat, bend and hammer more, braze, file, sand, hammer in a texture and polish. There would be no spinning of molten metal into a plaster mold. This ring was made using his processes.

To make the ring I melted down pieces of family jewelry that hadn’t been worn for a while. The family birthstones were set in the ring yesterday, on Valentine’s day.

I’m so glad Lolo’s dad has met his grandson.

Salute,

Ross

www.nuovofresco.com

How do you wrap a goat?

It’s not easy. They have a peculiar shape with odd angles and they don’t really stay still for long. They jump some height with seemingly little effort, can climb walls and they eat everything, paper and ribbons included. If by chance you find a docile one willing to sit wrapped under a christmas tree its silhouette and the sounds it makes would give up the contents of the wrapped package well before you’ve had a chance to shake it.

I vaguely remember travelling with my dad and his brothers to visit his other brother in Prince George, winding up on a farm, leaving the sunroof open through which a goat jumped and ate the back seat of our rental car. I wish I was there to hear the excuse given to the rental company when the car was returned.

Mom has always wanted a goat. I’m sure mom’s neigbours don’t; I’m not too sure you can keep one in a subdivision in Courtenay anyway.

Sarolta found the perfect way to give a goat for christmas and still remain on the lawful side of any city zoning laws. OXFAM delivers goats to communities that need more goats.

Merry Christmas Mom and Evan!

Love,

Ross and Sarolta!