Off the beaten path

I didn't make it far Eastside Culture Crawling today.

I checked out Nuovofresco's stunning new work at his Union Street studio. Then I strolled off the official Crawl path to visit David Robinson at DMR Ceramics to find him in his studio working and covered in ceramic dust.

David's been collaborating with fellow artist Link Leisure this past summer to create these cool horns made from recycled material. The black lacquered ones were especially sexy and I so want a set for the walls of the studio I will have some day!!


Just another day at the office

I love my 'day job' at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts. I never know what the day will bring. Will I turn on the light in a dark classroom and be greeted by a horse headed mannequin? Will a sword yielding Ninja be lurking around a corner for me? It's never a dull moment around here, and just for the record, I didn't scream either of those times.

Part of my job description is to assist instructors during photography workshops or take behind the scenes photos. I can't believe I actually get paid to do this and last week it was with one of my favorite photographers and Instructors, Adam Blasberg. Here are my fav behind the scenes shots from the workshop Adam gave to our Advanced Lighting and Production students.

Trigger Warning: please don't proceed if you have a Clown Phobia.


Final Clown Image Photo Credit:

Adam Blasberg

Make-up Artist:


atrina Molson

for THEY Representation

Model: Georgie Daburas

Just another day at the office....

If I knew last Tuesday morning when I woke up that I was going to be plunked into the middle of a massive convention of geeks, I would have worn my pocket protector.

Last week I was enlisted for a few hours to work the VanARTS booth at the SIGGRAPH Convention held at Canada Place. 15,000+ artists, gaming experts and developers, flim makers, students and academics from all over the world were milling about and we had such a blast creating some cool images for the visitors to our photo booth.

Occasionally there was a lull and we had a little fun of our own. Did I mention I love my job?


BEFORE - photo in front of a green screen with the deadly VanARTS FemBots Avery and Theo


AFTER - background photo artwork added by Mohit Mitra, VanARTS Game Art & Design

Just another day at the office....

This is the first installment of a new blog series I'm beginning to showcase my place of work. I work at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanARTS) in downtown Vancouver as the Assistant to the Digital Photography Program Manager. I see the strangest and most wonderful things on a daily basis at my job.

Let's start off with the Nude Photography class held a few months ago on location at Ironworks Studios. The instructor of the course is Vancouver fine art figure and nude photographer Aura McKay. Now this is a G Rated blog so I'll just leave you with a few of the less risque images from behind the scenes.

And yes, the lovely lady in red is indeed, Vancouver Burlesque performer Melody Mangler.


Visit VanARTS Instructor Aura McKay's website for beautiful fine art nude photography.

goodbye nelson

"That nothing is static and fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existance. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything - every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate - is always changing, moment to moment." ~ Pema Chodron, Buddhist Nun

I cling to the words of the Dharma for solace. The words hold no meaning for me. They do not comfort me. They do not encourage me. They do not help me see the truth. The only truth I see is loss. The only truth I feel is grief.

I walk the alleyways of Nelson attempting to capture in my memory and my camera the love I feel for this place. I love the alleys. I walk them regularly and in summer, constantly, when Baker Street is saturated with tourists. I love the rustic old telephone poles and the characters I meet between the buildings. Soon the poles will be gone. Removed because they are deemed dangerous and old fashioned. When I return the alleyways where I once walked will be different. Nelson will be different. I will be different.

The loss and grief that is permeating me is crippling. It sucks the joy out of my remaining days here. Replacing joy with sorrow at the sacrifices I must make to fulfill my dream. I wish for time to speed up. To propel me instantly into a new space, a new phase so I can be excited, anxious and overwhelmed. So that I will have no time or energy to dwell on what and who I am leaving behind. I wish to be reunited with my loves in Vancouver so that I may soften this horrible ache in my chest. So I may take a deep breath again without physical pain and emotional sorrow. So my mind and heart are occupied with newness and adventure.

The Buddha teaches that our emotions are controlled by our thoughts and my thoughts are toxic. I crave equanimity and it is fleeting. I crave acceptance and it is illusive. I crave peace and it is rare. My thoughts rob me of what could be a joyous moment. I wish I could leave today.

Never give up on your dreams

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." ~ Thoreau.

That's what I've been trying to do these past 6 months. Well, perhaps I've been going "tentatively in the direction of my dreams", but moving forward nonetheless. I knew in September I wouldn't be able to return to my job at the Coop. My body was saying no and it took me some time to listen and finally accept. It took me some time to let it go. Not that I wanted to stock grocery shelves for the rest of my life, even organic ones. It's just that it felt safe and secure in my little cocoon called the Coop. But as is the way of the Universe, sometimes the hard decisions are made for us.

"Desjardins Insurance regrets to inform you that your claim for Long Term Disability has been denied."

"The Kootenay Coop would like to extend an offer for you to return to your position in the warehouse on a gradual return to work program."

"Belle is unable to return to her warehouse position at the Kootenay Coop for medical reasons."

"Please accept this letter as my resignation from the Grocery Clerk position I held at the Kootenay Coop."

And so, six years of my life was summed up in four opening paragraphs.

On February 12th it will be 9 months since I stocked a shelf or cashed a paycheck. And I couldn't be happier. Because I've discovered my dream. I've discovered my passion. A passion that drives me with such energy and enthusiasm I am in awe of myself. I have never wanted anything so much in my life. I want to go to photography school. I want to be immersed in creativity. I want to explore my own potential.

I took my cues from my friend Reiko who left the Coop and moved to the big city for the first time so she could follow her dream. I sent that school application away and I held my breath. What do you think scared me more? Rejection, or acceptance? Definitely acceptance. Even though I put a stamp on that envelop I didn't actually believe that I would be accepted. I didn't actually believe that I could go to school at such a refined age. I didn't actually believe in myself. I almost peed my pants when I read the first paragraph. "We are pleased to inform you that The Vancouver Institute of Media Arts has accepted your application for our full-time Digital Photography Program."

For the past month I have been working harder than I have ever worked for anything! Hours and hours of research, interviews, paperwork, internet surfing, networking and beaucratic bullshit. There have been many challenges. It's not true what 'they' say. That if it's the right path all obstacles will be removed. Yes, the obstacles move. But you have to push a little. You have to envision what is on the other side of that enormous dense mass of fear and doubt. I can honestly say for the first time in my life that I am proud of myself. Proud that I haven't given up. Proud that I've worked past all the fears and insecurities and allowed myself to want something for me.

Last week I found out I was approved for a Canada student loan. On Tuesday I handed in the 5lbs. of paperwork needed for my Skills Funding application. On Thusday I used my RSP money and I mailed off the first part of my tuition for school. And today someone agreed to co-sign a student line of credit for me which I will hopefully be approved for. And now, I have one more obstacle. On February 5th I have 'The Interrogation' as I like to call it, with the EI Skills Funding people. I picture myself sitting on a solitary chair in a dark empty room. Trying to shield my eyes from the glare of the large piercing light that is shining directly in my eyes. Trying to see the figures moving in the shadows as they interrogate me. "Why do YOU think we should give YOU money for school?" (pardon my melodramatic Pisces with Leo rising imagination).

The future is uncertain, as it most certainly always is. I try not to revel in it because I know I am going to be devastated if I don't get the funding to go to school. I am trying to live day by day. Only focusing on each square of the calendar and not projecting into a future that is so uncertain. I am breathing, I am laughing, I am playing and I am allowing myself to dream.