Member of the Month - Kamloops Arts Council

Member of the Month – Kamloops Arts Council

Full Name: Gail Clark

Medium: Encaustic, mixed media and found objects

How long have you been doing your art: 15 years

What got you originally interested in the art you do: Attending an art in the park fair in Elora Ontario, I was drawn to the work of encaustic artist Andrea Bird. It was the first time I had seen the layered look of translucent beeswax and objects in a piece of art. It looked extremely intricate and difficult. I happened to overhear the artist talking to another person, telling them that the process was very easy, lots of fun, and that she conducted introductory one and two day courses for beginners. Well, it was love at first workshop!!

It wasn’t possible for me to have studio space of my own at the time, so for a while I attended workshops and developed some basic skills. Years later, I was able to have my own studio set up in the home, and now enjoy the freedom and possibilities of having a dedicated space for my work. Yvonne Reddick, an established local artist in Kamloops helped me find my current studio space in the Fuoco Block on Victoria street.

What is something you have learned about yourself through your art:

I have developed a love of the imperfect and appreciate the intricacies of decay – whether in man made items or nature. Learning to see beauty in items that are not traditionally considered beautiful is something I am grateful to focus on. The more you look for it, the more you will find. It’s a attitude that can be applied to many aspects of life. So many small and under appreciated things encountered throughout a day, or in a relationship with a person are important to “see” and be grateful for.

In particular, I enjoy the cyclical aspect of life forms, primarily in nature and metal. I think about how minerals and ore are sourced from the earth and manufactured into metal for a specific purpose. Then when the item is no longer useful and discarded, the decay begins. Rusted metal will eventually become dirt and return to the earth where it came from. I see my art slipping into a small window between finding the rusted metal piece and it’s eventual return to the earth.

What do you enjoy the most about your art: The enjoyment comes at various times during the process. I love the conceptual thinking, being inspired by a particular piece of nature or found rusty metal, as well as the “getting lost in time” while working with the melted wax. I also like playing with a variety of compositions and challenging myself to use what I have at hand, and what is available through found objects. I source my boards from the off cuts that would otherwise go to landfill. More and more, I try to only use items that are found, or that have been salvaged. There is enough “stuff” out there in our world, and I am uncomfortably conscious of creating more. I try to view my work as using old or broken objects and giving them a new life. I also enjoy the seductive smell of beeswax, and I occasionally get bees flying around my window exhaust vent, no doubt curious as to the source.

 

Why are you a member of the Kamloops Arts Council: I joined the KAC when I arrived in Kamloops, because not only did I want to be more involved in an art community, but I wanted to challenge myself to submit works to various exhibitions and eventually have a solo show. I feel my work straddles the line between art and craft, and the KAC felt like a good fit.

What are you looking forward to the most in this upcoming year (A special show or project you’re working on): I am particularly excited about my Hearts show coming up in February 2021. It was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, but I am very happy to have it during the month containing Valentines- serendipity. Each piece in the show will use the simple heart shape, in various sizes, and each piece will be done using different techniques, colours, found objects, bits of nature etc.

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