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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

International Sketchcrawl and Kimsooja

I spent the 44th International Sketchcrawl in Vancouver, BC. The local group didn't post a group gathering so I took a couple of opportunities to make some quick sketches in spite of the cold and wind. The first was the corner of Georgia and Granville where I ducked behind the shelter of a storefront to capture the chestnut roaster.

The real treat of the weekend for me was a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery. We knew Emily Carr was showing there but we happened upon the last day of an exhibition by KimSooja, a Korean born, New York City artist. 

Her medium, at least in this exhibition, centered around Korean textiles. The bottari is a Korean scarf that serves many purposes, one being a bundle wrapping. It can contain whatever objects that need to be gathered and carried from one place to another.  

One of her projects was documented through a film showing her 11 day journey through the villages where she lived as a child. She made the journey in a truck that carried many bottari wrapped bundles. A similarly stocked truck inhabited one full room at the exhibition. Although I had to be surreptitious considering the fact that most museums don't allow anything but pencil sketching, I did manage an ink rendering and added color later. It doesn't really capture the rich, tactile quality of the show. Really impressive.


Below is a video of another room in the exhibition -- clotheslines of scarves in a mirrored room.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mohai - Drawn to Seattle

I've been wanting to get to MOHAI since its opening last year and it was definitely worth the wait. The mini "foot-path stars" lighting my path at the entrance gave the first hint of enchantment. I was more than impressed as I entered the hall of icons where people were milling about nibbling on snacks and sipping beverages. After sketching for the first hour I caught the informal tour of Gabi Campanario's exhibition, Drawn to Seattle, and I was floored. The variety of displays, the layout and design, not to mention the collection of wonderful sketches and stories was so well done.

The Boeing B-1 airplane shown below was the first airplane to be designed and constructed at Boeing in 1919. It's made of cedar and linen over a spruce frame, the strongest and most lightweight materials at the time. Eddie Hubbard, a local pilot won the contract for the first international airmail service and flew between Seattle and Victoria ten to twelve times a month for seven years. I'm told the plane's position in the MOHAI hall is exactly the same as it would have been when it landed on Lake Union to deliver mail.

I visited MOHAI a second time as part of a monthly sketch outing with Seattle Urban Sketchers. I found the Slo-mo-shun IV hydroplane hanging from the ceiling behind the mail plane. This famous Seattle icon won the 1950 Gold Cup setting a water speed record of 160.323 mph in Lake Washington, breaking the world record by almost 20 mph on June 26 of that same year.

The LincolnToe truck was constructed by Ed Lincoln, owner. He got the idea after negotiating with a salesman. He purchased a wrecked VW van, hired his friend, Ed Ellison, a master welder, and Joan McGinnis to sculpt a mold for the fiberglass toes. Voila! A toe truck! It was used for 20 years for parades and hired out for charity work: weddings and parties, until it was retired and eventually donated to MOHAI. 

I returned to MOHAI in March and May as artist in residence -- sketching and greeting other interested potential sketchers. These ship sirens used to lead the way on ships' prows. Now they lean in from the wall, overseeing the great hall.