Windspeaker Confidential

A little interview from the summer.

Thanks to Dianne Meili, author of the much-loved book: Those Who Know – Profiles of Alberta’s Native Elders

Windspeaker: What one quality do you most value in a friend?

Aaron Paquette: A tough one right off the bat! All the good answers are honesty, loyalty, that kind of thing, but if someone’s your friend, hopefully they already have that in spades. I think I’d have to say the ability to sit with you in silence, neither one feeling forced to break the awkward moment because the moment isn’t awkward at all! It’s just you and an old friend sitting there. Well, now that I put it that way it sounds kind of boring…

W: What is it that really makes you mad?

A.P.: People throwing their trash out the window of their car. Who do they think is going to clean it up anyway? Me? They’re probably right, but that’s a little presumptuous on their part, don’t you think? Seriously, though, it really bothers me. It speaks of a complete absence of gratitude for the earth we live on and share. I can’t really blame anyone, because who do you blame? In the end everyone does the best they can with what they’ve got at the moment. If you don’t have gratitude, it’s because no one gave that gift to you, or if they did you didn’t understand it. I guess it’s why we have a whole lifetime to learn it.

W: When are you at your happiest?

A.P.: I should probably say that it’s when I’m painting, but really it’s when I’m with my family. There’s just something special about being able to tell old stories and love them every time, and to be able to take tragedy and turn it into laughter. Even though your family can make you go crazy sometimes, getting through it is healing and it’s when I learn the most.

W: What one word best describes you when you are at your worst?

A.P.: Hopeless

W: What one person do you most admire and why?

A.P.: Myself. My humility. Ha ha, just kidding. It’s got to be my mom, for giving it her best every day of our lives. They don’t give awards for that, but they sure as heck should.

W: What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do?

A.P.: Getting to the point where I knew what it really meant to let go. Once I finally reached that, actually letting go was the easy part.

W: What is your greatest accomplishment?

For the rest of the article hit this link.

Here’s the Presser


Showing Thursday, May 29th

From The Spirit: Aaron Paquette

Bravo Canada

7pm EST
6pm Central
5pm Mountain
4pm Pacific

Runtime: 30 minutes

Bravo presents a half hour interview/documentary with one of Canada’s rising First Nations artists, Aaron Paquette. In his own words, Paquette describes both his inspiration and the history that informs and shapes his art. Filmed in October 2007 in his Edmonton studio, From The Spirit documents a personal, human, and spiritual journey into the world of an artist.

Documented by Earth Magic Media.

Aaron Paquette has quickly become one of Canada’s leading First Nations artists. Featured on radio, television, in magazines and newspapers across the country, this young man of Cree, Cherokee and Norwegian descent is blending his cultural backgrounds to create visual and spiritual bridges between the centuries long rifts of Europeans and First Nations peoples.

In addition to his acrylic and oil works, Paquette apprenticed in both Stained Glass and Goldsmithing.

Coming projects include a January 2009 solo show with the Art Gallery of Alberta’s Travelling Exhibition program, as well as curating a regional show with St.Albert’s Profiles Gallery. June 2008 will mark his 6th solo show with the renowned Bearclaw Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta.

“In my paintings, I seek to nurture a relationship with the viewer. I try to use colors that are calming, but also fresh and exciting…In each painting I try to include a story that is meaningful to me and encourages discussion. I hope that my works can act as part of a catalyst toward greater understanding. My work almost always features an animal, totem, or aspect of nature in order to show our relationships with the physical and spiritual worlds that surround us.”

Thanks to Carol, Raymond and Bill at Earth Magic Media

Artist Interview with Lauren White

In this continuing series, I am showcasing some of the talented artists who have crossed my path these past few months and years. Their work ranges from photography to performance to something in between. This month, a controversial artist, 23 year old Lauren White, aka. Raymi the Minx.

Voted Best Blog, Best Humour Blog, and Best Personal Blog in the 2006 Canadian Blog Awards, Lauren has garnered many more fans, and definitely a few more detractors along the way. This record of her personal life can range from wisely clever to embarrassingly juvenile in the space of one or two sentences, but that’s part of the charm and unique identity she portrays. Controversy arises from the fact that she is the Queen of Her Domain and naysayers are ridiculed not only by her, but by her protective fans as well. She writes about anything, and will post images of herself drunk, eating, using the toilet, or completely nude. Fair warning if you click on the link to her site.

Is it performance art? Some seem to think so. Still others are convinced that she is simply seeking fame and adulation by any means possible. Lauren, or “Raymi” as her alter ego would admit, embraces it all.

She is the author of the book, Marketable Depression, a story that details her own struggles with alcoholism and drug use in her attempt to self-medicate and make sense of the world around her.

Without further ado, an interview. By email:

Lauren White
aka Raymi the Minx
artist, author, provocateur

Q. Lauren, when and why did you decide to become an artist?

A. just sort of happened i didnt really decide i just realised that writing manically is basically the only thing i enjoy doing, i go by the code find the one thing you enjoy doing most and get someone to pay you to do it, that or get a blog and convince people to be obsessed over it.

Q. Cool. So what kind of advice would you give to those thinking about taking the plunge but worry about the commitment?

A. wasted talent is a tragedy, you don’t have to sacrifice everything else in your life to do one isolated artistic thing, you can be an artist and a yuppie simultaneously

Q. All right…well how about some words to live by, then?

A. be original and unordinary and dont let anyone ever tell you otherwise when people say that you will never make it ignore them and keep doing your thing knowing you will make something of yourself, those people are cowards with nothing to offer themselves and seeing you create makes them feel lazy and untalented, don’t let people project their insecurities onto you, ever.

Q. Great. So, anything else to finish up with?

A. buy my book

Synopsis of Marketable Depression:

Marketable Depression is a pretentious title I came up with one day when I was feeling clever. Ever since taking English Media in high school I have been fascinated with advertising and how the masses can be effectively manipulated and also how depression is being exploited and sold back to us and perhaps its about time we say something about it. There isnt much having to do with marketing in this book but there is a lot having to do with depression and alcohol. This book is about me and everything that has happened to me as a result of depression. Everything is true.

images: Saddam (created 2 weeks before hanging), Lindsay Lohan, Tom Cruise.

Artist interview with Andrea Pratt

In the coming weeks I’ll be showcasing some of the talented artists who have crossed my path these past few months and years. Their work will range from photography to performance to something in between. This week, I’ll begin with Vancouver artist Andrea Pratt. Here goes!

Andrea Pratt

Q: First, can you tell me a little about yourself?

A: I was born and raised in the Horseshoe Bay area of West Vancouver when it was a sleepy ferry terminal/marina/fishing village and definitely not a suburban destination for the rich and famous as it is now. The beaches and woodlands of my childhood influenced me a great deal (and my earliest artistic influence was Emily Carr) and I do like to paint west coast scenes occasionally, but my real interest is in more symbolic subject matter. The artists I most admire are Klee and Hundertwasser. I also love so-called ‘primitive’ art of all kinds, particularly First Nations, Pre-Columbian and African (tribal).

Q: Andrea, when did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?

A: When I was seven years old and in Grade Two a friend told me I should become an artist. It had never occurred to me but it seemed to fit just right. Fate, however, took a hand, and I believed my parents who told me that artists couldn’t make a living and (shhh… in whispers…) they’re a bit weird. I did complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria but then I buckled to social and economic pressure and didn’t return to my first love for about 15 years.

Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone thinking about taking the big step themselves, into becoming an artist in their own right?

A: My advice to someone thinking about plunging in is to take a six month sabbatical from your ‘regular life’ and work really hard every day on your art. At the end of six months you’ll know. I know that for me, the more I work the more inspired I get and the more I want to work.

Q: Any words to live by you could share with me?

A: Words to live by — hmmmm. There are a lot of quotes I like, but these are probably my favourite art-related quotes:

Art is like a kite. You have to pull the string hard in order to stretch it to its limit, but you don’t want to pull it so hard that you break the thread, because the thread connects you to the land and its peoples. (Wu Guan-Zhong)

Art is not a pastime but a priesthood. (Jean Cocteau)

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. (Andre Gide)

Art is making something out of nothing and selling it. (Frank Zappa)

Q: Thanks, Andrea. I’ll just mention that if you want to follow Andrea and her career as an artist, stop by her website from time to time. You’ll find a link to her in the sidebar, and some other key sites listed below:

Andrea has been known to draw on the walls of her home and any piece of scrap paper not nailed down. Sometimes she gets lucky and does something gallery-worthy. The bathroom walls are the hardest to sell.

Acrylic paint, collage elements, negative-space mixed-media drawings and digital photography are Andrea’s mediums of choice. Much of her work examines time, growth, and life cycles through her use of personal and primitive motifs, symbolic imagery and patterns on a segmented and flattened picture plane. She uses a layered approach to structuring each painting that physically manifests her conceptual vision.

She also likes houses.

works in order of appearance:

Two Zebras, Penguin 2, Bloom, My Life As A House
copyright Andrea Pratt

Links for Andrea: