Drawn Together (Colin MacIntyre cartoonist interview)

After quite a bit of thought, and just a touch of procrastination thrown in the mix to spark heightened awareness under duress (read:one of the camera angles came out yellow), I think I found another classic pairing that future generations can use, one that just seems to click and is, of course, obvious upon reflection. That said, we already know that certain things in life just pair together well – Peanut butter and jelly, bees and honey, salt and pepper, black and white, dogs and cats, king and queen, socks and shoes, and Laurel and Hardy. All of those choices are great examples of individual items which end up being even better together.

In fact, every romantic couple is supposed to function this way, when it’s healthy. In fact, when you talk with someone after a break up, they will often cite compatibility as a major factor in it not working out. Chemistry in love is a very real thing.

That’s why this month’s interviewee is so special.

He is a creative person who dabbles in a great many different arenas, with his most important asset being his love of drawing. For example, he cites instagram as a major inspiration in getting back on the creative horse, and following through each day. Producing at least one drawing on a lunch hour is quite the feat, but Colin MacIntyre does it with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. The act of making itself is a major reward for him, and given that he has at least three other regular projects on the go at any given time, it’s an impressive thing all it’s own. Colin and drawing.

Now by chance, are you wondering what those other projects he does could possibly be? Heck, you haven’t even seen his art yet, but I have a direct line to everything. Which is why I recommend you get right into the video below or hit the jump for the Youtube express train.

What a great topic dear readers! I’m still smiling and all fired up after all of that talk of Beeverine, Winter activities, and the many shades of Batman. And those were just tangential points to be made in this down-to-earth interview about the life of a salesman.

But what did you think folks?

Did  you like it? Did you hate it? What part of the interview inspired you to get back to making art – when you heard those answers on how Colin deals with the challenges of life? If you want to see more of those kinds interviews, then please, please, please subscribe to the mailing list. We need your comments and shares in order to grow. And to know. If the interviews flow.

And special thanks to Colin for being cooperative, capable, and charged up during this entire process! His enthusiasm knows no bounds; at least, that’s my theory.

Tim!

She Paints (Edmonton Valley Zoo)

Zoos are controversial, apparently.

Some people think that we shouldn’t cage animals, like at all. Because of a few different reasons of course.

And they just might be right.

  1. Captivity can make animals unstable. Zoochosis is a condition where some animals pace back and forth, others injure themselves, and the rest seem to move their heads from side to side or back and forth frequently.
  2. Zoos are profitable businesses. This means that baby animals are traffic drivers but older animals are not, and are often sold off.
  3. Endangered species don’t live in zoos. Lots of zoos claim to care for rare animals and breed them for longevity of the species, but not for preservation.
  4. Limited education opportunities. Signage out front of animal displays only cover the basics, animals don’t exhibit normative behaviours, and people spend little time at each display.
  5. Enclosures are dangerous. For animals anyway. They eat thrown away trash, sometimes face negligence, and are a secondary consideration in the event of natural disasters, like floods and wildfires.

Walk With The Animals

But I wanted to visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo for myself this weekend. It reminds me of my youth, its located in the heart of the river valley, and it’s open every day of the year except for Christmas day. Owned and operated by the City of Edmonton, this zoo has by accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

I know it’s weird for me to write about a zoo, which has little to do with the arts, except I’ve known an artist activist or two in my lifetime, and there is an elephant there who likes to paint sometimes. If that’s a thing, and not training.

It’s a big part of Edmonton history, just like Fort Edmonton Park. Founded back in 1959, replacing the Borden Park Zoo which was on the property that currently serves as Northlands, it was called Storyland Valley Zoo up until 2010, when it went under some major renovations. Why Storyland? Because a big section of the park featured nursery rhyme characters.

The zoo is also home to over 350 animals (both exotic and local, including hundreds of squirrels) and it houses over 100 different species.

Edmonton Valley Zoo regularly hosts events and raises funds through conservation efforts – the Makira Conservation Fund, Red Panda Network, and the Species Survival Plan to restore endangered animal populations to the wild. And things like letting children take on the role of a veterinarian of an animal hospital to see what zoo veterinarians do. After Edmonton City Council decided to inject $50 million into the zoo, we’ve seen the property expand to one and a half times its previous size. The Arctic Shores exhibit and The Wander Trail being key elements in the facelift.

Additionally the zoo is home to the Inner Zoo (formerly Storyland Valley Zoo), Makira Outpost, Carnivore Alley, Elephant House and Exhibit, Saito Center, African Veldt, Back Paddocks, and the Birds of Prey area.

So there are two sides to this story of whether captive animals are happy or not.

But let’s talk about Lucy for a minute.

Lucy

Lucy is the elephant which lives in the Elephant House and Exhibit – at over 4000 kg and forty two years young.

Something of a charmer, and called a peoples elephant by her adoptive herd, she visits with the public at least few times a day and supposedly loves to spend time with her zoo family. Many people have come from all over the world to see Lucy, and we’ve seen our share of protestors ready to come and rescue her from the zoo, including Bob Barker of Price Is Right fame. Lucy was orphaned in Sri Lanka and was brought to the Edmonton Valley Zoo through partnership with the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage and Colombo Zoo when she was two years old.

theories Summarized

Do I think zoos are inherently evil? No. Do I think they are awesome? No to that too.

People have been domesticating animals since we’ve been able to, and the same can be said for eating them. I generally hold the opinion that eating meat is an acceptable way to go, but I’m not overly stoked at the prospect of it. That said, the zoo is a place to go and see beautiful creatures, living and breathing. As a visual artist, I firmly believe that seeing something in person is far better for your creative eye then on film, but I’ll let you battle that out in the comments. Theories and all.

I’m off to the zoo this weekend? How about you?

Tim!

An Oasis of Greenery (Muttart Conservatory)

Have you ever wanted to visit ancient Egypt? The jungles of the Amazon, maybe? How about the Netherlands or even just heading south of the border to explore more Americana? Well I can tell you that I sure have.

As a primarily visual artist, I’m inspired by the world around me.

The challenge of course is that it costs an arm and sometimes a leg too to travel the world we live in. What’s an Edmontonian to do, dear readers? Well luckily, for my local readers, I happen to have a solution nestled right in the heart of the river valley.

Something which both shapes our landscape and is separate from it – The Muttart Conservatory.

Discover the Pyramids

The last time I visited the Muttart Conservatory was back in August of 2013.

A good time was had by all of our group. It was a visit with a purpose though. We were there for wedding photos for one of my oldest and bestest friends forever, Nicholas. My friend Nicholas (often known as Nick) and his wife Coral had their hearts set on getting photos in each of the different rooms of the Conservatory. When the day of the wedding finally arrived, and after the beautiful ceremony of course, we rolled up our sleeves, got in our vehicles and headed to the downtown core for city from The Oasis Centre on the west end. As the group entered each of the rooms, our photographer gave us direction, setting each of us up in turn to get the wedding shots needed. I’ll admit, I had not been to the conservatory in ages and so it was an eye-opening experience for me.

But I felt rushed. I wonder why?

PLUS we eventually found a way onto the roof, so no big deal. Well, except for the security breach.

All in all, it was a good day.

Then a few years later I visited once more with my girlfriend-at-the-time. Under less then auspicious conditions, and mostly to see the roof and outsmart the dinosaur, I convinced my partner-in-crime to attend a nighttime scholarly debate on the conservatory rooftop. This time I did get the better of the situation by outsmarting the dino cop, but unfortunately for you dear readers, that story is for a different post.

The Law of Conservation

The Muttart Conservatory really is a gem of Edmonton.

It offers a year round escape into an active garden, curated with plants from around the world. It has been around since 1976, which means that for over forty years, we’ve been able to enjoy the four garden displays on hand.

When I went to visit with my girlfriend Mysticque last Sunday, we made sure to visit the Arid, Temperate, Feature, and Tropical pyramids with equal measures of attention.

As a lover of succulents and cacti, the Arid room was easily my favourite of the four pyramids, with the Temperate and Feature rooms following closely behind. Of particular significance was the exhibit set up in the Feature room.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of confederation, the Muttart has put on a Netherlands inspired displayed of Tulips. The reason for this being that each year since hosting the exhiled Dutch Royal Family during WWII, the Canadian government has been presented with thousands of bulbs as a show of gratitude. This year is no different, but additionally, thousands of tulip bulbs have been planted from coast to coast in celebration of Canada 150.

Not only does the Feature display rotate in this way five to seven times a year, The Muttart also hosts regular tours for visitors, and special programming for both children and adults in plant care and creativity with plants.

theories Summarized

The Conservatory is located at 9626 96 A Street. Accessible via Scona Road, Connors Road, and 98th avenue, this building is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas. Plus it is open between 10am-5pm each day, and until 9pm on Thursdays. If you want to know more about the cost to visit, you should go here.

I highly recommend it, as there are hundreds of plants to see, and an excellent source of still life for all us creative types who are inspired by the world around them. At least, that’s my theory.

Tim!

This Is The Best, Bedtime Story, Ever (USS Concert)

I’m going to tell you a story about a concert. Okay dear readers?

Once upon a time, a handsome, gallant, and thoughtful young(ish) man decided to take the lady he was courting to see a merry band of musicians from a far away land.

For to woo her and make her upper and nether regions pulse with warm feelings. For he cared deeply for her, but feared to show it. For she was very wise, poetic, and beautiful to behold. But lo, the musicians were to playing in the centre of the shaw, an extravagant building on a hilltop, which looking into the heart of the river and it’s valley.

This meant for the young(ish) man that he would have to take his belle on a futuristic and magical steel vessel which floated on a endless pair of steel beams, many times the length of a spear. Unfortunately the lady was ill prepared for the cold chill of winter, and much to the chagrin of the gentle man, they had to warm her legs over a magical fibre of heat and light in house of hewn stone while they waited for the steel vessel.

But the vessel was not for too long, and surely within less than a moment, the beauteous couple was on their way to see the band known as Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker.

 

At the centre of the shaw many woody folk had arrived thither, and so the pair left their coats with some servants of the house and set about to sample some wares which were for sale in the great halls.16709705_10154238916951932_1154610129_o

It was a mere stipend to acquire the merchandise but the memories the two young lovers were sharing were far more valuable than some silk and cotton mixed together. A couple of fools were there too from a local chamber of commerce, but the braggarts were blocking the privy and the young lady had to give them the highest of fives to get around and find relief.

Once inside the main hall, they were surprised by the size of the space and that all the lords and ladies of the court were in full regal and bouncing at the opportunity to sup on ale while the youth waited behind the gates.

The young lord and lady even entertained a couple of squires from the castle of McMurray, as they downed their ales.

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Then the show was ready to begin – they headed towards the throne and stood in awe as harps, lutes and rebecs, and these odd bowls capped with cowhide which were hit with sticks to produce sounds. The music was moving, lifting, and pushing the crowd of people all around. Smiles were on all faces and the main event had not even graced the crowd with it’s presence.

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The queen of the evening was from a smaller band of musicians known as Repartee, and she kept singing of this duke, someone she must have missed back home. All were quite sorrowful for this golden-haired queen.

But that did not last for long.

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Then the sun shone brighter than it ever has in night, and all were blinded with truth. The Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker’s had finally came on, it was as if the horns of heaven had resounded, men, women and children of all ages came together and sang for which seemed to be all eve, but the morrow never came, it only felt full of time for the music was deep and uplifting.

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Once all was said and done, the two young lovers, more amourous than ever, bid their dues to the crowd, took in a special goodbye with the lady from Repartee, signing contracts of friendship, and made their cold walk home into the winds of winter.

The end.

And that’s not a theory, it’s a story, about something that really happened. So Mysticque and I.

Tim!

When I Left You, I Was But The Learner, Now I Am The Master (Cross Talk Ep. 16)

 

The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.

– Darth Vader

Of all the choices I could make to start this post off right, this is easily one of my favourite quotes from Star Wars because it demonstrates rather visibly resolution, the progression towards an end. Plus, it helps tie in A New Hope directly with my third favourite Star Wars film, Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Each of us moves through life encountering teachers, those who already have key abilities of intelligence, judgment and experience, realized as wisdom.

Darth Vader roughly translates to Dark Father. At least that’s the popular statement. An excellent coincidence that George Lucas used to his advantage when building the lore of Star Wars for us young fans.

But that’s what great storytellers do, they build into the mythos they’ve created and simultaneously strengthen the chronology with each addition to the franchise. Thus making those initial choices seem intentional and enmeshed with later stories. The value of of prequels and sequels is that they enrich an already great story. When the content lines up, exploration of themes is worthwhile.

So while Darth Vader is correct to say that he is now a master of the force, Obi-Wan is also correct in saying that he has only mastered the dark side of the force as a Sith. And when you watch Revenge of the Sith, you can see how handily Obi-Wan beat Anakin, how he admonished him for taking a risk and getting cut down, but only because Obi-Wan had wisdom which Anakin did not.

Because Obi-Wan knew better.

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When you begin the process of watching films, one of the biggest lessons you can learn is that there are levels of emotion which you can experience. Through repeated viewings, with different genres, and by having shared experiences. A popular one that is a perfect example of this is a parent watching one of their favourite movies with their child. You witness their emotions as they experience similar feelings that you had the first time you enjoyed that art, and then you gain the enjoyment of sharing that art with them, plus another bond you now have available in relating to your child.

That now shared, Chris and I have spent a lot of time discussing the inherent value of film before, but today we run through some real-world examples of the merits of this medium and why the more time you spend with it, the more likely you are to build social relationships, enhance your passion, step outside of your comfort zone, and learn about humanity. The highs and lows of the hobby, and the maturation the love is real my friends – wisdom to be gleaned from watching film.

This is episode sixteen of Cross Talk, produced by my friend and yours, Andre Lindo. I hope that you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed creating it. Cross Talk is a passion project, and this exemplifies that passion very well!

Yet another theory knocked right out of the park, and I’m spent. This is atypical of our normal Cross Talk videos, but I really do  hope you enjoyed this episode creative cuties, and that you have a wonderful week. Check back-in for a review of the new AFI album.

Otherwise, please comment, subscribe, and share this video with friends. We want to hear your feedback!

Tim!