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Morgan Black and Rachel Ellenord were at the Gallery opening to support Zoe Pawlak.
The Twitter/Art+Social Media show on Thursday at the Diane Farris Gallery was an event waiting to happen. People in Vancouver were ready for a show that looked at how artists are creating, sharing, and promoting their work in this ‘social media’ age. Over 300 art-lover and social media types packed the gallery to view 80-100 art pieces by 43 Artists from artists from Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia.

The exhibition was developed from an original idea by Mia Johnson, who has been the webmaster of the Diane Farris Gallery website since 2004. She created the Twitter exhibit blog, designed the submission forms to enable artists to apply online and has been technical advisor to the exhibition. Her work can be found at kitsmedia.ca

I spoke with Lili Vieira de Carvalho and Stacey White about the purpose and background of the show. Both Lili and Stacey described how the artist’s life changes from art student to professional artist. In art school, the artist works in a shared space and gets feedback and support from other artists. Once the artists leaves art school, artists can become isolated. Lili sees social media as being the support group and way of finding your tribe. Artists can come together with social media and share, network, and organize shows. It’s becoming the new platform for work.

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Lili Vieira de Carvalho curator or the Twitter/Art+Social Media show.

For the first time in Diane Farris gallery’s history, the show was an open call for artists. Over 200 submissions were received with 80-100 pieces by in the show. The artworks were selected by a multidisciplinary committee from submissions to the gallery’s open call during February. The selection committee was composed of 43 Artists. Lili Vieira de Carvalho, curator of the show and Associate Director at Diane Farris Gallery; Kris Krug, photographer and web strategist; Dr. Maria Lantin, Director of the Intersections Digital Studios (IDS) research centre at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design; and Hank Bull, the Executive Director at Centre A.
There were size constraints such as the work had to be no bigger than 24×24 inches and selling for no more than a thousand dollars. The process to choose artists for the show were based on a 150 word artist’s statement and their work. The traditional importance of the artist’s bio or previous art experience wasn’t part of the selection criteria.

Lili said that the gallery was trying something new, instead of following their usual template for selection process. The open call approach meant less control over choices by the gallery but also created opportunities for unsigned or unknown artists to show in an established Vancouver gallery.

The Diane Farris gallery hopes that other art venues pick up on the idea. The gallery will wait until after the “Twitter/Art+Social Media” show before they start thinking about what they’ll do next or if they’ll have another similar show.

I had a chance to interview a few of the artists presenting at the gallery on opening night.

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Debra Stringfellow calls herself a “photo conceptual artist” and is currently attending Emily Carr. More photographic work by Debra can be found at debrastringfellow.com.

Debra Stringfellow found a series of police sketches of criminals which she found online. The sketches were placed together in a checkerboard pattern. According to Debra, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter as “playgrounds for criminals”. She elaborated to say that people’s identity’s were being stolen and people were being stalked online without the victim’s even knowing the criminal beyond the computer screen. She told me the piece was created to put a face to the criminals on both a figurative and literal level.

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Glenna Evans is a third year student in General Fine Arts at Emily Carr. Her creative work can be found at glennaevans.ca.

Hung side by side was a photograph of a young girl by Polly Nomial and an oil painting by Glenna based on the photo by Polly. Glenna told me that her artist’s statement was actually the conversation between her and Polly on artist’s right. The painting had originally been done for a painting class at Emily Carr. Polly found out that the painting was based on her photo and asked that she be credited. According to Glenna, it’s very common for photo realist artists to use photographs without crediting the photographers in their final art work. The debate on artist’s ownership and rights was turned into ongoing dialogue with the gallery goers by showing both photo and painting at the Diane Farris gallery.

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Robyn Drage is an artist, illustrator, web and graphic designer. Her work can be found at robyndrage.com.

The piece presented by Robyn was called “Feels like Home” and based on her Narrative Series. She describes the Narrative Project as collective storytelling, which builds a narrative with many different voices. To determine what she’s going to create, Robyn collects stories through her blog, email, facebook, and meeting people. The work is a mix of drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and installation. Her inspiration for the “Feels like Home” piece was from two different people who suggested that “home is where I take my pants off”. From having a BA in Creative Writing, it makes sense that she finds hearing other people’s stories interesting. As Robyn mentions on her website “social media + collaboration + traditional art practices = one interesting story “

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Zoe Pawlak is a painter. Her paintings can be found at zoepawlak.com.

I could describe Zoe Pawlak’s colorful painting with it’s abstraction from nature in reds, oranges, and blues, but honestly it’s her personal story that most intrigued me. Zoe says that “I’m interested in business as much as I am painting”. Business is creative, according to Zoe. Social media is the means by which she conducts herself in business and as an artist. She spends fifteen minutes a day submitting her art work to interior designers online, writing on blogs, and keeping up her social presence. Zoe has carved out a niche and creates custom pieces for homes.
She originally had one of her pieces featured on Designspong.com. The feature led to twenty of her paintings being sold in three days. She was then taken down to San Fransisco to work with Interior Designer Cloe Warner. Zoe and Close where photographed for a Martha Stewart piece. While the article wasn’t published, Zoe made use of the photos to promote and pitch her work. As Zoe describes it, she reuses all the social media content including the Diane Farris gallery coverage and (eventually) this article. She proudly mentioned that she supports her family, as her husband is a stay-at-home dad who takes care of their two children.

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Peter Combe lives and works in San Fransisco. His work can be found online at http://stylembe.wordpress.com.

Peter Combe showed several digital collage pieces, were created on a Mac and uploaded to HP Digital Screens ( like a digital photo frame ).
The Twitter/Art+Social Media show does well at telling stories through the art and/or the artist. I’d suggest that these days, art and artist are just extensions of each other.
During the show the Diane Farris gallery is going to have several fun events.

NOTE: Registrations for the workshop on the 13th and panel on the 17th are being taken through
email facebook@dianefarrisgallery.com or phone 604-737-2629. Draw by Night is taken registrations by RSVP on their event page on facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=105654146142191&ref=mf

On April 13th, the gallery is hosting “Social Media for Visual Artists” for 35 people. The workshop will be run by Rebecca Coleman and Kris Krug. The event is FREE and the works created during the night will be shown on the Gallery walls for the rest of the “Twitter/Art+Social Media” show.

On April 17th, the selection committee (of Lili Vieira de Carvalho , Kris Krug, Dr. Maria Lantin, Hank Bull ) with be hosting a panel discussion on “Art & Social Media”.

On April 27th, the Gallery will have a drawing party. The event will include 10 artists and 25 RSVP requests. The 35 people workshop will be private to provide a comfortable environment for creating at the Gallery. The event will be FREE.

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Morgan Black and Rachel Ellenord were at the Gallery opening to support Zoe Pawlak.

I spoke with Morgan and he commented that while he appreciated the opportunity the gallery was giving artists, he wished the pieces had been more separated in the space. He pointed out that the artist’s pieces were placed together in groupings, but the labels weren’t placed next to each piece making it confusing to determine who had created which art piece. Morgan is also an artist who lived in Portland. He thinks that people will pick and choose what they like. The beauty of art is an excuse to bring people together says Morgan. Ultimately he believes that the relationships we have are more important than the show.

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Bill Scherk, Paulo OConnor, and Bernd Mueller attended the show.

Bill has been coming since when the Diane Farris gallery was in Gastown. He considered the gallery the best Independent gallery in town. Bernd is from Munich Germany and is curious about the Canadian art scene. He thinks that the artists in Canada are not that different from German artists. He believes that people take their inspiration from all the world these days.

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Kathy Zhang, Sean Mills, and Jeremy Green.

They were at the show to support Glenna Evens. Jeremy Green told me that they are all Emily Carr students and artists. They would submit work if the Diane Farris gallery were to have another open call show. They see it as good practise in writing up an artist’s statement and a good experience for new artists.

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Diane Farris gallery staff ( Katherine Ferns – gallery assistant, Stacey White – Associate Director; Alison Sagar – assistant to the Curator (intern), Lili Vieira de Carvalho – Associate Director / show Curator, Christopher Fadden – Art Preparator)

A full list of all 43 Artists showing at the Twitter/Art+Social Media show.

Alex Firmani, Vancouver, BC
Andrew Buszchak, Edmonton, AB
Artie Vierkant, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Baschz & Selfcontrolfreak, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Brian Piana, Houston, TX, USA
Colin Moore, Vancouver, BC
David Niddrie, Vancouver, BC
Deanne Achong, Vancouver, BC
Debra Stringfellow, Bowen Island, BC
Glenna Evans, Vancouver, BC
Heather Saunders, Bronx, NY USA
Helen Eady, Vancouver, BC
Janet Wang, North Vancouver, BC
Karine Guyon, Vancouver, BC
Kelly Schovanek, Canmore, AB
Kristofir Dean, Vancouver, BC
Laara Williamsen, South Surrey, BC
Léola Le Blanc, Dartmouth, NS
Lilac Lang, Vancouver, BC
Liza Eurich, Surrey, BC
Liza Lee, Vancouver, BC
Maurice Li, Vancouver, BC
Megan Smith, Leeds, UK
Melanie Cossey, Port Moody, BC
Michael Alstad, Toronto, ON
Myron Campbell, Vancouver, BC
Peter Combe, San Francisco, CA, USA
Rachael Ashe, Vancouver, BC
Robi Smith, Vancouver, BC
Robyn Drage, Vancouver, BC
Rosamond Norbury, Vancouver, BC
Ross den Otter, Vancouver, BC
Rukmunal Hakim, Bandung, Jawa Barat, Indonesia
Sandra Dawson, North Vancouver, BC
Sandrine Pelissier, North Vancouver, BC
Sarah Mulder, Vancouver, BC
Sarah Pinder, Toronto, ON
Shari-Anne Gibson, Vancouver, BC
Sol Sallee, Vancouver, BC
Sona Safaei, Toronto, ON
Sylvana D’Angelo, Vancouver, BC
Viven Chiu, Richmond, BC
Zoe Pawlak, Vancouver, BC