Creative Parenting (Amanda Wall interview)

Last Sunday I shared a preview of an interview with an illustrator and graphic designer who I’ve known for a quite a few years. She is one of my personal inspirations and she regularly sets a high standard for commitment to her craft.

When I become a parent one day, I can only hope to be as gracious and dedicated to parenting, married life, and art making as this lady does. And she’s a few years my junior to boot.

That’s right, with an exclusive shoot, I’m ready to share the full length and well documented official interview with Amanda Wall.

In case you missed it last week, I wrote about a specific example of Amanda’s skill, which benefits greatly her ability to delegate regularly. No matter what she’s in the midst of this lady is committed – Amanda is a full-time freelance designer, who also stays at home with her son. She is passionate about life. That might seem super vague, but let me explain in greater detail; Amanda loves to produce work related to health and wellness, life events, social issues and the eclectic. She services clients from home, whether a business or an individual.

A graduate of Grant MacEwan University with certification in design and a diploma in illustration, she has been working in the industry for almost decade. And if you were to ask small Wall Riley, there are a set of credentials there that justify the title of Mom too.

Also, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to try out on location interviewing for the first time ever with Amanda, so don’t be surprised at the different environment, embrace it. Her kitchen and dining room are really nice, and well lit. Don’t believe me? Hit the picture below to check it out for yourself.

Told you that was going to be a good one. Aesthetically pleasing, mentally inspiring, and otherwise entertaining, I couldn’t have asked for a better hostess my first time off campus. And Riley was very accommodating too, can’t forget to thank him for his patience.

But what did you think? Did you enjoy the theme this time around? Are you a creative professional with something to say? Hit me up for a chance to do your own interview and get your voice heard, because timotheories isn’t just about me, it’s about you too.

And special thanks for Amanda for being amazing, appropriate, and available to meet!

Tim!

Stop To Smell The Flowers (Amanda Wall, preview interview)

Outsourcing has become a major way to do business in the age of communication.

And as Ferris Bueller once said,

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.

What that means for artists, is that it’s actually in our best interest to embrace the idea of outsourcing. Finding ways to trade off certain tasks for the sake of other ones, like making our art, for instance.

But what if you’re a parent AND an artist? Well, you have to figure out optimal ways to live for both of your passions.

Amanda Wall is a full-time freelance designer, who also stays at home with her son. She manages her business and keeps her son Riley engaged with all sorts of different activities, while her husbands works a day job. She is the kind of artist that finds double duty is the best way to accomplish her goals. And she is more than happy to delegate duties out when needed. Whether its meeting a deadline for a client in the service industry or finding time to go to the park and play with the kid, Amanda has a vice grip on life and she won’t let go of either of her two loves.

She’s figured out how to get the most out of her work, family time, and other responsibilities without sacrificing one for the other. It might help that she sometimes likes to think of Riley as a desk-mate, one she works with rather than against.

It’s an inspiring conversation, and this is just a small sample of life as an artist with a small Wall. So take a peek and learn what Amanda has to say when I ask her about outsourcing aspects of her business versus her household responsibilities.

She really does make things optimal, without having to stick to a rigid structure. Like so many of the moms I’ve met in my life, Amanda is an expert juggler with a great sense of empathy, and she’s happy to bring out the flowers when opportunity strikes.

Another week knocked out of the park my friends, and stay with me this week while we explore the city, get some inspiration from figures associated with Space, take a safety dance, review an album by Wilsen, and then dig into the real meat of this Amanda Wall interview, it’s gonna be a fantastic leg into the finish of May. What a week for theories!

Tim!

Show Me Yours (Art Gallery of Alberta)

The last time I went to the art gallery, I made the mistake of enjoying myself.

This led me to the belief that I didn’t need to visit a gallery for a while, I mean, I’d done my part and contributed to the bigger picture of supporting the arts. I even posted some photos from my visit for social proof. But if I’m being really self-reflective, I should probably visit a local gallery at least once a week. Not because I want to support the institutionalization of art, God that would tragic. No, because it’s important to be inspired by artists and to be informed of what’s going on in that art world of ours. Also, doughnuts.

Metaphorical doughnuts of course. You see dear readers, the history of doughnuts is storied much like the story of art, all perspective and no objectivity. We accept the gallery system, much like we accept the donut, but no one person is capable of upending the mythos or claiming it’s birthright.

By the by, I’ve never liked the term art world, it’s a catch-all for everyone involved in producing, commissioning, presenting, preserving, promoting, chronicling, criticizing, and selling fine art, but what about the people consuming the art, eh? Eh, Pacha?

It’s important to acknowledge the people who spend the most time with the art, the audience. Fuck, they’re the ones that are going to spend the money to support the continued existence of the building(s).

For instance, I went down to the Art Gallery of Alberta last Sunday, January the 15th with my belle and took in a good mix of exhibitions. This is what we saw –

  • Hannah Doerksen: A Story We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves Part mythology, part conspiracy, part vanity project… Doerksen ripped a page straight out of the 80’s and it’s eerie to view this alien display of ancient artifacts
  • Season to Season, Coast to Coast: A Celebration of the Canadian Landscape showcasing paintings from the 19th century to today, this exhibition features works across Canada and in all seasons. It’s a clever nod to the 150th anniversary of Canada and there are some great paintings there
  • David Altmejd: The Vessel essentially a piece on movement, featuring references to the act of creation, my favourite part about this piece was the accompanying gallery of works by other artists that drew connections between the themes in his work
  • The Edge: The Abstract and the Avant-Garde in Canada yet another exhibit focusing on Canadian paintings, this time the draw was the Avant-Garde and how it unfolded at home

But the gallery at large wasn’t exactly brimming with visitors.

There were maybe fifty people in the whole 85,000 sq ft space. I have this theory that part of the problem is parking, another is that ZINC, the on-site restaurant is over-priced and open at weird times, but mostly I think the largest problem is the $10 price tag for each entrance. If the art gallery were free to the public, like the EPL, then attendance would jump from 100 people a day to 300 people or more – and when the EPL was struggling with attendance people were hesitant to pay an annual $12 for a library card.

Overall I enjoyed my recent experience, and it reminded me to keep making art, because I can make better stuff than what it being touted there. And thus I set the stakes for competition.

But you might not be interested in viewing the gallery for the same reasons. Instead, you should set your own expectations and head over at your discretion. Located in the heart of downtown (2 Sir Winston Churchill Square), the AGA is open Tuesdays 11-5, Wednesday & Thursday 11-8, Friday 11-5, and Saturday & Sunday 10-5. The gallery is closed on Mondays and some holidays, but well worth the visit.

Tim!

 

Chick Chickadee, Chick Chickadee, Chick Chick Cheree (The Family Tree series)

Sharing is caring.

At least that’s what the old adage says.

It’s an indication that you are choosing to share something, whether physical or otherwise. But recognizing that you care about the person enough to volunteer something to them, to willingly give without hoping of receiving anything back in return, but knowing that when that feeling is reciprocated, it is all the sweeter of a bond.

That’s probably why my mom pushes us so hard to participate in the family Secret Santa gift exchange we hold each Christmas eve. The intention of the exchange is to draw a name and then make something for another family member on a limited budget. I think the reason she enjoys it so much is that it’s important to her that we do something special for each other, its how she shows love and also the way she feels the most love from others.

It took me a lot of years to realize that fact about her.

Commercial VS Personal

Which is why today I’m going to share one of my most dearly held theories with you.

The theory that there are only really two kinds of art to be made out in the wilderness.

Art that is primarily focused on it’s message or which comes direct from the author, and sometimes  is known as fine art.

The alternative, and this is not a bad thing… is art that is primarily focused on realizing another’s vision and which is paid for by another party upfront, also known as a commission or commercial art.

You see dear readers, you can either make art with the intention of getting paid first or about making a statement first, but you cannot do both. And it is possible for both components to be satisfied, but whatever path you choose will determine the pace of which each component is nurtured first and most. In other words, you can be a successful artist which path you choose, but it takes time to grow that tree.

Kickstart My He(art)

Which is why I made the choice long, long ago, that all of my art would have intention first and be about making a sale second. That was my decision to make, and mine alone, but every creative thing I have made since that decision has been far more rewarding for me and has led to some fantastic opportunities in other areas of my life.

It’s where I came up with the phrase “start with heart, then you’ll make art”

And now the tie-in.

I started this post writing about our family Secret Santa tradition because in 2016 I finally got an opportunity to fulfill a wish for my mom. To build a tree which would support her chickadee drawings that I made for her over six years ago. My mom loves chickadees and the last time I drew her name for Secret Santa, I made a group of them to represent our family.

So over the course of a few weeks this past December, and with a little luck, I was able to sneak into my parents house, borrow her chickadee drawings and determine how best to construct a tree for them.20161213_194924

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After I measured everything, I quickly determined that this project wasn’t going to be done in time no matter what I did. You see dear readers, by deciding what to do with the tree, I had effectively created a theme and an artist statement to go along with it, which made the project incomplete no matter how I resolved it.

The Family Tree

As I later wrote down in a handwritten card to my mother, this tree now represents her and the chickadees on it are her immediate family.

My dad, my two brothers, my sister, myself, and now my brother’s fiancee. So the project may be complete, and yet, it isn’t. As each of the children grow and potentially come into relationships, we’ll add more chickadees to the tree for her to support and love. And as grandchildren show up, there will be even more chickadees to fill that tree. A testament to her strong roots and protective branches, nurturing us with the leaves and berries that grow up and outward.

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So as you can clearly see, and as I have already mentioned, this is a project that while now completed, really has no end in sight, but the intention makes it all the more meaningful. And on top of that, as you are beginning to see, all of my artwork is related to conceptions of identity self-imposed, self-reflective, self-directed, etc.

I hope that this post has inspired you for yet another week out there in the wilderness, creative cuties. I’m out of theories for now. I’ll see you on Sunday with an interview preview, featuring a friend of mine named Byron.

Tim!

Campfire Theories (timotheories January 2017)

Yesterday I promised that I would reveal the timotheories theme of 2017, and today I fulfill that promise dear readers.

I’ve been humming and hawing on what that theme should be for weeks now, and dammit if I didn’t wait until the last minute to hope the idea would just pop into my head. Conveniently enough, when you live a fast and furious lifestyle, things happen when you need them to happen. Which is why this year I’m really embracing the notion that the culture of The Fast and the Furious series pushes on us over and over again.

No, not the theme of family, though that might be a good direction to explore somewhere down the line. It’s more eloquent than family. It’s the activity that holds the family together and which lights up their eyes – the metaphorical barbeque OR campfire.

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That’s why 2017 is the year of stoking the campfire – the ties that bind us creative professionals together. A campfire invites people together to ask questions and share stories but it also serves as a beacon, and a deterrent to that which we are afraid of – a fantastic symbol of community. And I think after almost a year of consistently writing theories and reviews, sharing resources and events with you, that I should begin the process of building my own campfire. That means putting together proper logos, marketing, and even giving valuable self-contained theories that you can take with you on the go. Its a step forward, but not without some effort on my part.

 

Let’s see what January looks like creative cuties.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – January

Stimulating Sundays – (01/08) Cross Talk Ep. 15, (01/15) Byron Martin preview interview, (01/22) Byron Martin interview, (01/29) Cross Talk Ep. 16
Melodic Mondays – (01/02) Sum 41, (01/09) Gord Downie, (01/16) Kid Cudi, (01/23) The Flaming Lips, (01/30) The xx
Theatrical Tuesdays – (01/03) Don’t Breathe, (01/10) Snowden, (01/17) Deepwater Horizon (01/24) Ouija: Origin of Evil (01/31) The Monster
Wisdom Wednesdays – (01/04) Community, (01/11) Decompression, (01/18) Peggy Orenstein, (01/25) Education
Timely Thursday – (01/05) timotheories January, (01/12) Family Tree, (01/19) AGA, (01/26) Sugar Swing Dancing

My album choices are inspired by politics, mental health, and creative expression, while the movie picks are similarly inspired. Funny how those posts seem to cycle together quite nicely.

I’ve got an extra special interview lined up for January with Byron Martin, founder of Grindstone Theatre who also happens to be it’s visionary artistic director. Byron is in the process of setting up a new YEG based theatre space in the heart of Edmonton’s creative sector.

On top of that, we’ve got a couple of cool Cross Talk episodes lined up – benchmark moments in film AND life lessons we’ve learned as film enthusiasts. These’ll be fun, and who knows, you just might see the return of one of our favourite new additions to the team…

And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there is some wisdom brewing on the topics of community, decompression and education… plus I’m reading a book about the western phenomenon of princess culture and how it’s marketed to our female youth. And I’ve got some timely posts about dancing, the Art Gallery of Alberta and an ongoing art project I designed for my mother.

I guess you could say I have a few new theories I want to fuel the fire with, you fine folks. But I promise that we’ll have some fun along the way, and who knows, we might just keep that bogeyman on his toes with all that warmth and light.

Tim!