Illustrations for David Balzer’s New Book

I recently did some drawing illustrations for David Balzer’s new book “Contrivances“, which is a collection of short stories Balzer has been working on for the last few years.

You can read the teaser chapter here along will my illustrations.

Also, the book launch opening will be at the White House Studios May 11th.
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/271476936279384/

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Neighbourhood Watch Killer: SIGN PETITION!

Recently in Florida U.S.A., a man the same age as me shot and killed an unarmed 17 year old boy in a gated community. This man was also the captain of his local Neighbourhood Watch Group, and confronted the boy on reasons of “suspiciousness”. This man, George Zimmerman, also called the police prior to the confrontation to notify them of this “suspicious” young man. After the police instructed him not to confront him, he went out and did it anyways, which resulted in Zimmerman shooting the boy point blank in what he calls “self-defense”. Zimmerman, a college grad in !CRIMINAL JUSTICE! has not been arrested because of a loop hole?! How convenient. Zimmerman is supposedly using a weird american law called “Stand your ground” to get out of being arrested. The cops have also been trying to cover up the racism involved in the case.

In this excerpt from my OCAD thesis paper I write about this very thing in a way I feel  predicts such events as this case. This is the idea that the effects of increased surveillance within society creates the possibility for paranoid tendencies to become normalized. This normalization creates a paranoid-psychosis, which based on cultural prejudices, can lead to violent and “self-justified” criminal acts:

States of Paranoia:
The Toronto police claim on their website that the NHW program promotes public safety, however:

“Surveillance, while conceptually distinct from suspicion, is materially and discursively connected to it… that the increased surveillance of the population has been one of the conditions of possibility for paranoia.” (Harper, 1999.)

In other words, because the NHW program relies on people to be on guard for suspicious behaviour in their community, it is promoting the development of paranoid tendencies within the public. Everyone has his or her own definitions of “safety” and “security”. It can differ from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and ultimately relies on the society in which the community is based. Since 9/11, acts of racial profiling exploded over North America. Much like the effects of anti-communist propaganda during the Cold War, mass media outlets such as CNN started depicting Muslims in a negative light. Wide spread paranoia and panic can make people forget that violent acts motivated by religion or politics can be committed by any man or any woman of any nation.

-Excerpt from Vanessa Rieger’s Thesis paper, 2009.


PLEASE SUPPORT AND SIGN THE FAMILY’S PETITION!

Crystal Resin Magic

If you didn’t already know this about me, I am a crystal enthusiast and a geology lover since I was a kid. I started collecting rocks and fossils at a very young age, and as a young girl was more into dinosaurs than barbie dolls. To say the least, this interest hasn’t faded over the years, and if anything has only increased. When I began doing research on superstitions, the evil eye and ideas about “power of the gaze” it lead me straight back into crystals. Seems that there are a lot of old and new age beliefs about crystals and the “powers” they potentially contain. Some crystals like quartz can emit and electrical spark when struck together, others like tourmaline can produce + and – poles when heated or rubbed. The hidden nature of crystals and minerals is often overlooked or just thought of as “pretty rocks”, it also seems to be a growing trend but with very little understanding of minerals and geology. It can seem that human being’s attraction to gems is just an aesthetically pleasing one, but when you think of the millions of years, the amount of heat and pressure that goes into nature creating these gems, it really does begin to make more sense that these stones could posses higher energies and vibrations. Even if people have a little-to-no knowledge of crystals, perhaps they are sub-consciously attracted to their “hidden energies”? Just as people say organic fruits have higher energy content than GMO foods, why can’t stones and crystals be the same? Now, at this point you’re starting to think I’m a total geek, and you are absolutely right. To find out more about my personal crystal collection, you can check out my rock hound page: http://canadianrockhound.ning.com/profile/VR

Recently at the studio, artist Sarah D’Angelo and I were on the subject of crystals when I told her about this new thing I heard about through crystal websites called ORGONITES. Now, orgonites are a specifically new-agey concept. It’s the idea that by using metal, crystals and resin molds you can create meta-physical psychic filters. The metal supposedly attracts negative energy and the crystals transmute this energy upwards and outwards while the resin pretty much just suspends the materials in a shape. This whole concept was created and scientifically studied by psycho-analyst Wilhelm Reich. Scientifically its a very interesting theory and Sarah and I became obsessed with the idea of making Orgonites!

Since Sarah and I are both beginners to resin use, we used this interest to begin experimenting with resin and learning how to use it. Overall it’s been a fun experience with satisfying results. Here are the first batch of Orgonites I’ve made. They were made from gem stones beads I’ve collected from discarded jewelry found at thrift shops and I specifically used shapes that some people would refer to as “sacred geometry” to create Organites for specific purposes. Expect more from me soon!

Tetrahedron Organite: Contains smokey quartz, Hematite, burnt sage and joint roach. Use: to overcome addictions/smoking.

Cone Orgonite. Contains: Quartz, Smokey Quartz layered in rock, copper penny. Use: Stabilizer/Focus.

Quadrahedron Orgonite. Contains: Quartz, Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Tiger's eye and pink Aluminum . Use: Attracting Love and Self-love.

3-Teir Pyramid Orgonite. Contains: (from top to bottom) Quartz, Mother of Pearl, Malachite, Turquoise, Hematite, Tiger's Eye, Copper. Use: Multi-purpose. Healer. Transmutes negativity, removes fear.

Artist Made Tickets

Just whipped up some tickets for Trampoline Hall lecture happening next Monday.
Trampoline Hall is an awesome lecture series… that’s kinda hard to explain.
Basically, creative types who talk about things that’s they’re not so familiar with. The topic completely up to them. People sharing ideas/interests with other interesting people! I got asked to make some tickets for the next upcoming talk, and currently working out plans to help liaison/curate more White House artists to make the one of a kind artist made tickets for the series. You can find out more info on the event on the facebook page. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Thursday) at Soundscapes on College.

I made the tickets out of thin cuts from laminated birch ply i had lying around my woodshop. Love the grain!

GHOST HOLE III

Haven’t posted in a while,
not because I’m not doing anything,
but because I’ve been super busy!

Poster by Alexandra Mackenzie

I’m curating another GHOST HOLE!
This is the 3rd year and it’ll be the biggest one so far!
Working with Whippersnapper and VSVSVS this year as collaborating curators!
It’s been a pleasure so far working with them!
Nothing makes me happier than being able to curate this show every year and work with such amazing artists to bring Toronto the best (if not the only) Haunted Art Show ever!

This year it’s an outdoor event in a huge backyard space behind El Gordo’s in Kensington market. It’s going to be a Ghost Hole of EPIC proportions! Prepare yourselves!

Facebook Event for Ghost Hole III: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160397450721696&ref=ts