On Saturday, April 5, Keith McKellar aka Laughing Hand opened a one man show at the Interurban Art Gallery in Vancouver. The gallery walls were filled with his large formats drawings, meticulously coloured and vibrantly printed, displaying some of the most characteristic establishments ever seen in downtown Vancouver. Many of these drawings were originally conceived for his 2001 book, Neon Eulogy, but in most cases, the drawings have been completely reworked, applying more than a decade of refined technique and skill to bring these scenes to life.

Not everyone can afford to bring home and install a neon sign in their living room, but it is far more feasible to bring home one of these works of art. Highly recommended! The show runs until April 29, 2014.

Willie Shoemaker at Exhibition Park, Vancouver, an autographed print drawn by J. Neilly dated May 13, 1985 via ebay. This was Willie’s second visit to Exhibition Park, as described in this 2003 tribute written by the Province writer Tommy Wolski:

During his riding career, Shoe visited Exhibition Park twice. In 1977, the chance to see this living legend lured 11,537 fans to the track. Not only did his fans see him ride, they bet $1,018,306. It was the first million-dollar weeknight in the track’s history.Shoe did not let his admirers down — he won two of four races.His final visit to Vancouver came May 13, 1985. He arrived at Exhibition Park on a rainy night, believing it was only to promote his book, Shoemaker: America’s Greatest Jockey.After visiting the jockey’s room, he learned he was expected to ride in four races. In typical Shoemaker style, he didn’t complain. Instead, Shoe asked if he could borrow some riding gear to fulfill an agreement he had not even made.He borrowed a pair of boots from jockey Mark Walker, riding pants from Dave Mylrea and a saddle from Pat Burton. To while away the time until his first ride, he asked several valets and jockeys if they were interested in playing some cards.While playing, Shoemaker received a phone call from management, requesting him to join them for a small party. He graciously turned them down and continued playing cards until it was time for him to ride.When the night was over, Shoe thanked everyone in the jockey’s room for making him feel at home and said goodbye.Oh, he also autographed Burton’s saddle…

Willie Shoemaker at Exhibition Park, Vancouver, an autographed print drawn by J. Neilly dated May 13, 1985 via ebay. This was Willie’s second visit to Exhibition Park, as described in this 2003 tribute written by the Province writer Tommy Wolski:

During his riding career, Shoe visited Exhibition Park twice. In 1977, the chance to see this living legend lured 11,537 fans to the track. Not only did his fans see him ride, they bet $1,018,306. It was the first million-dollar weeknight in the track’s history.

Shoe did not let his admirers down — he won two of four races.

His final visit to Vancouver came May 13, 1985. He arrived at Exhibition Park on a rainy night, believing it was only to promote his book, Shoemaker: America’s Greatest Jockey.

After visiting the jockey’s room, he learned he was expected to ride in four races. In typical Shoemaker style, he didn’t complain. Instead, Shoe asked if he could borrow some riding gear to fulfill an agreement he had not even made.

He borrowed a pair of boots from jockey Mark Walker, riding pants from Dave Mylrea and a saddle from Pat Burton. To while away the time until his first ride, he asked several valets and jockeys if they were interested in playing some cards.

While playing, Shoemaker received a phone call from management, requesting him to join them for a small party. He graciously turned them down and continued playing cards until it was time for him to ride.

When the night was over, Shoe thanked everyone in the jockey’s room for making him feel at home and said goodbye.

Oh, he also autographed Burton’s saddle…

The Polar Bear Club by Ken Pattern, the January image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Given the annual tradition, this print is a fitting image for the first day of the year. The swim has been taking place since 1920; it begins at noon-2:30pm. A few tips from the City of Vancouver website:

If you have a heart problem - just watch!
Children must swim and stay with an adult 
Please leave your dog at home
Do not drink - alcohol does not warm you up - it accelerates hypothermia.
Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
Entrants in the 100 yard race - meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat - give your names to the lifeguard.
After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.

The Polar Bear Club by Ken Pattern, the January image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Given the annual tradition, this print is a fitting image for the first day of the year. The swim has been taking place since 1920; it begins at noon-2:30pm. A few tips from the City of Vancouver website:

  • If you have a heart problem - just watch!
  • Children must swim and stay with an adult 
  • Please leave your dog at home
  • Do not drink - alcohol does not warm you up - it accelerates hypothermia.
  • Do not stay in the water longer than 15 minutes. Body heat is lost 25 times faster in water than in air.
  • Do not remove your clothing until swim time. The swim will be started by a flag and siren.
  • Entrants in the 100 yard race - meet in the front line on the north side (Stanley Park side) of the enclosure.
  • First 3 swimmers to touch the marker buoy by the lifeguard boat - give your names to the lifeguard.
  • After you swim, pick up your commemorative button at the large polar bear or at the registration table.
  • Warm up with coffee or hot chocolate.
Weekend Special by Ken Pattern, the December image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Here we have my favourite print from the series, featuring skiing atop the Hotel Vancouver # 3. Ken’s style is meticulous and well suited to the medium of stone lithography, a most demanding art form. It’s also exceedingly humorous, as his recent series on the Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore attests.

About the stone lithography process, his website gives an introduction to the process, as does the calendar: 
In this process, Ken Pattern creates the prints by first drawing an image on a flat piece of limestone. He then brushes a solution of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone’s surface; the resulting chemical reaction secures the image onto the stone.
To print the image, Ken rolls an oil-based ink onto a rubber roller, which he then rolls onto the stone. Repeating this inking process several times, he uses a sponge between each pass of the roller to keep the stone damp. With the image fully inked, Ken places a piece of paper on the stone, cranking the paper beneath the hard pressure bar to transfer the ink from the stone.
Each colour in the image requires a separate drawing and a separate printing. After each colour is printed, Ken grinds the image off the stone with grit, and then draws the next colour on the stone. Finally, with the printing finished, Ken edits the prints. Only those meeting his standards are included in the edition, and he ten signs and numbers them.

To truly appreciate this work, you must see one of these prints in person. Start by looking at the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may still have one or two available! Happy Christmas everyone!
Weekend Special by Ken Pattern, the December image in the 1985 Vancity Calendar. Here we have my favourite print from the series, featuring skiing atop the Hotel Vancouver # 3. Ken’s style is meticulous and well suited to the medium of stone lithography, a most demanding art form. It’s also exceedingly humorous, as his recent series on the Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore attests.
About the stone lithography process, his website gives an introduction to the process, as does the calendar:

In this process, Ken Pattern creates the prints by first drawing an image on a flat piece of limestone. He then brushes a solution of gum arabic and nitric acid over the stone’s surface; the resulting chemical reaction secures the image onto the stone.

To print the image, Ken rolls an oil-based ink onto a rubber roller, which he then rolls onto the stone. Repeating this inking process several times, he uses a sponge between each pass of the roller to keep the stone damp. With the image fully inked, Ken places a piece of paper on the stone, cranking the paper beneath the hard pressure bar to transfer the ink from the stone.

Each colour in the image requires a separate drawing and a separate printing. After each colour is printed, Ken grinds the image off the stone with grit, and then draws the next colour on the stone. Finally, with the printing finished, Ken edits the prints. Only those meeting his standards are included in the edition, and he ten signs and numbers them.

To truly appreciate this work, you must see one of these prints in person. Start by looking at the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may still have one or two available! Happy Christmas everyone!
Flight into Fall by Ken Pattern, the October image from the 1985 Vancity calendar, which I mentioned previously. This illustration depicts the Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and here it is seen with a flock of migrating umbrellas. Fall has come and nearly left us, but I figured I could squeeze this image in before the first snowfall. The bird sanctuary is one of the many great and lasting legacies that the Reifel family has given to the Vancouver region; it is a must see destination for all who live here.
Also above is an in-depth article written by Lorne Parton from the Province's Sunday pullout section dated December 9, 1984. About Lorne Parton, Chuck Davis wrote:
…After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he joined the Province as a reporter and columnist (1952-89) until he suffered a major stroke. A sensitive writer with a broad knowledge of cars, planes, the film industry and Vancouver’s power elite, he was noted for his careful use of language. A peer of fellow journalists Jack Wasserman, Jack Webster, Allan Fotheringham and Pierre Berton, “he moved with ease among politicians and paupers.” Remembered for his rapier wit…
The article explains the premise behind Ken’s “Vancouver Patterns Suite”, the series of prints featuring 12 visual puns, riddles, and inside jokes for the true Vancouverite. There were 50,000 of these calendars produced, but few of these have likely been preserved. Fortunately, a limited edition series of stone lithographic prints survives; check the Burnaby Art Gallery, or perhaps the Malaspina Printmakers Society where these prints were produced; they may have one or two still available. Keep on the lookout! These are true classics!
Princess Pat, by David Hornblow, 1984. This hand-pulled serigraph was based on Waterfront images; a series of Vancouver civic banners. You can read the book Waterfront images: a distinguished collection of limited-edition, hand-pulled serigraphs based on the Vancouver civic banners in the Vancouver Archives. 
The SS Princess Patricia II was built by Fairfield Co. Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland in 1949. It was retired from cruise service in 1978, but became a cruise ship hotel during Expo 86. This concept was also planned for the 2010 Olympics, but the Norwegian Star was not able to secure enough customers. Cruise Connections were negotiating to provide accommodations for security staff, but that contract fell through. Staff were put up in two ships from Carnival’s Holland America (the MS Statendam and MS Oosterdam) and one from Carnival Cruise Lines (the Carnival Elation).
This print was spotted in 1000 Parker during the latest Culture Crawl, and was offered by Harrison Art Services.

Princess Pat, by David Hornblow, 1984. This hand-pulled serigraph was based on Waterfront images; a series of Vancouver civic banners. You can read the book Waterfront images: a distinguished collection of limited-edition, hand-pulled serigraphs based on the Vancouver civic banners in the Vancouver Archives.

The SS Princess Patricia II was built by Fairfield Co. Ltd., Glasgow, Scotland in 1949. It was retired from cruise service in 1978, but became a cruise ship hotel during Expo 86. This concept was also planned for the 2010 Olympics, but the Norwegian Star was not able to secure enough customers. Cruise Connections were negotiating to provide accommodations for security staff, but that contract fell through. Staff were put up in two ships from Carnival’s Holland America (the MS Statendam and MS Oosterdam) and one from Carnival Cruise Lines (the Carnival Elation).

This print was spotted in 1000 Parker during the latest Culture Crawl, and was offered by Harrison Art Services.

$1.49 Day / 1993 by Ken Pattern, drawn during the final year of the Woodward’s department store. Born in New Westminster, Ken Pattern began his fine art career in Vancouver with a show at the VPL in 1978. His curiosity of the world has taken him around the globe, and he currently lives and works in Indonesia, returning to Vancouver each year to print at the Malaspina Printmakers on Granville Island. I met Ken on the Island this summer, and he graciously gave me a viewing of some of his iconic lithographic prints. He also provided me with a superb artistic artifact from the 1980s - a VanCity calendar from 1985 which I am very much looking forward to featuring in future posts.
His latest show, ON MARINA BAY, opened at Galeri Hadiprana in Jakarta on November 23rd, 2013 and runs to January 4th, 2014.

$1.49 Day / 1993 by Ken Pattern, drawn during the final year of the Woodward’s department store. Born in New Westminster, Ken Pattern began his fine art career in Vancouver with a show at the VPL in 1978. His curiosity of the world has taken him around the globe, and he currently lives and works in Indonesia, returning to Vancouver each year to print at the Malaspina Printmakers on Granville Island. I met Ken on the Island this summer, and he graciously gave me a viewing of some of his iconic lithographic prints. He also provided me with a superb artistic artifact from the 1980s - a VanCity calendar from 1985 which I am very much looking forward to featuring in future posts.

His latest show, ON MARINA BAY, opened at Galeri Hadiprana in Jakarta on November 23rd, 2013 and runs to January 4th, 2014.

Aaron Chapman recently came across a piece of vintage Vancouver in his family papers. The print was created by his mother Evadna Chapman, a Vancouver artist in the 1970s and 1980s. About the work, he writes:

[Above is] an old photograph that my late mother took of downtown Vancouver from across the water at Stanley Park, and an illustration she later did. She silk screened the art on a number of hand made greeting cards…

Coal Harbour had been home to an eclectic assortment of squatter shacks and boathouses for many years, until around 1955, when these homes were removed and replaced with the Vancouver Yacht Club Marina. Michael Kluckner talks about this time in his gentrification talk at about 9 minutes 30 seconds here.

The Culture Crawl, 2013, part 2! Featured here are Lonely Only by Jon Shaw, The Drive by Lawrence Lowe, Ovaltine by Lori Motokado, Transformer 167 E. Pender by Nadia Baker, and Early Morning Streetscape by Suzy Arbor. See you there this weekend!

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A linocut of the Woodwards W printed in letterpress by DistrictDogsDesigns, via Instagram. Oh, btw, the W was recently returned to its place AGAIN last month. Not sure what maintenance was required, but I captured the return on both film and photo.

Vancouver, BC, a classic pennant depicted on this hand carved linocut print by District Dogs Designs of North Vancouver. As members of the Vancouver Letterpress League, a local collective of creative letterpress enthusiasts, they were out in force at the Alcuin Society Wayzgoose earlier this month. There’s more Vancouver love in their portfolio as this photo attests, so be sure to check out their wares; available at Shop Cocoon at 3345 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC.

Vancouver, BC, a classic pennant depicted on this hand carved linocut print by District Dogs Designs of North Vancouver. As members of the Vancouver Letterpress League, a local collective of creative letterpress enthusiasts, they were out in force at the Alcuin Society Wayzgoose earlier this month. There’s more Vancouver love in their portfolio as this photo attests, so be sure to check out their wares; available at Shop Cocoon at 3345 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC.

A series of linocuts with watercolour by sketchalina, Carol McQuaid, on exhibit at the Unitarian Church in Vancouver later this month. From her blog:

Here are some more for my upcoming show. It’s at the gallery in the Unitarian Church on 49th and Oak here in Vancouver. It’ll run from September 16th to October 15th, and there’s a reception on Sunday the 22nd from 2:30-5…
This church is an amazing community member. They put on a great organic farmers market every Wednesday…There are two awesome gallery spaces, one in the sanctuary and another called the Fireside Room, and they always have interesting shows…
The Ridge screened its last picture show on February 3, 2013. It hasn’t been a part of the Vancouver Film Festival since 2009, but even with the loss of the Granville 7, VIFF marches on! In addition to Vancity and the PC, we’ll be able to watch the big screen in the following venues: The Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts, the Vancouver Playhouse, Cineplex Odeon International Village (3 screens at Tinseltown), SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, and the Rio Theatre! On with the show!

Screenprint and watercolour on paper by Linda Suffidy for Papergirl Vancouver 2013. PapergirlVan rides today! Top prize to whomever is lucky enough to score this print, which I have a hunch (just a hunch!) that it will be found somewhere along the seawall near Stanley Park! Birthday celebrations for the park continue all weekend.

via PapergirlVan 2013 on Flickr.

Vancouver, circa 1962 from the opening pages of George Kuthan’s book Vancouver: Sights & Insights. This colourized variation is a scan of an electronic reproduction of what could be an aquatint or perhaps a hand coloured drawing. None of the images in the above mentioned books are shown in colour, but this print demonstrates the possibilities. The print came from Robert R. Reid’s studio, via Heavenly Monkey. Robert was a close friend of George Kuthan, and this colour treatment was likely done by Robert in more recent years. From the Heavenly Monkey website:

…The two met at Reid’s printing shop in Vancouver in 1951, shortly after Kuthan’s arrival in Canada. Born in Klatovy, Czechoslovakia in 1916, Kuthan was a medical student at the University of Prague when the Nazis closed it, in 1939. It was at this time that he turned his attention to art, which he studied at Prague’s School of Decorative Arts for the next six years. After the war he went on to study painting and various forms of printmaking in Paris for several years. What few published details of his life exist indicate he enjoyed some success while there, making his decision to emigrate to Canada somewhat puzzling (especially since he first landed in Saskatchewan!). Shortly after arriving in Vancouver, he was introduced to Reid…

More biographical information about George Kuthan can be found here, and a pamphlet from 1964 from the Private Press of Robert R. Reid dedicated to George’s work can be seen here.

Vancouver, circa 1962 from the opening pages of George Kuthan’s book Vancouver: Sights & Insights. This colourized variation is a scan of an electronic reproduction of what could be an aquatint or perhaps a hand coloured drawing. None of the images in the above mentioned books are shown in colour, but this print demonstrates the possibilities. The print came from Robert R. Reid’s studio, via Heavenly Monkey. Robert was a close friend of George Kuthan, and this colour treatment was likely done by Robert in more recent years. From the Heavenly Monkey website:

…The two met at Reid’s printing shop in Vancouver in 1951, shortly after Kuthan’s arrival in Canada. Born in Klatovy, Czechoslovakia in 1916, Kuthan was a medical student at the University of Prague when the Nazis closed it, in 1939. It was at this time that he turned his attention to art, which he studied at Prague’s School of Decorative Arts for the next six years. After the war he went on to study painting and various forms of printmaking in Paris for several years. What few published details of his life exist indicate he enjoyed some success while there, making his decision to emigrate to Canada somewhat puzzling (especially since he first landed in Saskatchewan!). Shortly after arriving in Vancouver, he was introduced to Reid…

More biographical information about George Kuthan can be found here, and a pamphlet from 1964 from the Private Press of Robert R. Reid dedicated to George’s work can be seen here.

Ship in BC Marine Drydock, Vancouver by Orville Fisher. I’m not sure what the date was, but I wonder if it was also dated 1935, the very same year that colleagues Paul Goranson and EJ Hughes each made a print on the shipping trade in Vancouver. I thought it was appropriate to post the past three images in a row, as I just happened to come across these images all at once! Here’s a quote from this article in the Saturday Night Magazine from 1939: 

In 1933 Edward Hughes and Orville Fisher graduated from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art and Paul Goranson completed his third year. All three took the drawing and painting course. Fisher and Goranson studied for another year with Fred Varley, one of the Group of Seven, and Hughes also did some post-graduate studying. Then began the heart-breaking grind of trying to paint for a living…

I don’t know where this was reproduced, but if I recall correctly, this reproduction came from the VPL artist file.

Ship in BC Marine Drydock, Vancouver by Orville Fisher. I’m not sure what the date was, but I wonder if it was also dated 1935, the very same year that colleagues Paul Goranson and EJ Hughes each made a print on the shipping trade in Vancouver. I thought it was appropriate to post the past three images in a row, as I just happened to come across these images all at once! Here’s a quote from this article in the Saturday Night Magazine from 1939: 

In 1933 Edward Hughes and Orville Fisher graduated from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art and Paul Goranson completed his third year. All three took the drawing and painting course. Fisher and Goranson studied for another year with Fred Varley, one of the Group of Seven, and Hughes also did some post-graduate studying. Then began the heart-breaking grind of trying to paint for a living…

I don’t know where this was reproduced, but if I recall correctly, this reproduction came from the VPL artist file.