How Artfully Artless is crafting death back to life

Artfully Artless is an independent business based out of Calgary, Alberta run by ACAD art student Amanda West.

“Artfully Artless began in August of 2013 with a few insect specimens and some bones being the first listings in the shop,” says Amanda West.

Bugs, bones, jewels and stones are just a few of the arsenal this creative soul uses to recreate artistry through the imaginative use of cruelty free insects for crafts.

“I first opened the shop in 2011 but I never listed anything,” says West.

“After a few years of scavenging and gathering parts, I found last summer that my impulsive collection of deceased critters was getting out of hand, and I was running out of space for all of it,” West adds.

Amanda uses cruelty-free insects harvested from local farmers/picked herself/etc. for use in her jewellery.

“It’s more of a way of living for me,” West says.

“I don’t kill thing nor do I let my family kill things in the house or in my presence,” West mentions.

“I would not buy something killed for the sake of art, so I would not sell something that is killed for the sake of [it]” West says.

So the idea came to fruition to take the form of death and bring it back to life.

“Perhaps someone would appreciate my bugs as much as I did,” says West.

Amanda has always been known throughout the city for her innovative and awe-inspiring artwork.

“I still study at ACAD actually,” says West.

“It’s fantastic being surrounded by other artists with all sorts of styles and means of inspiring,” West adds.

“I can honestly say I never thought I’d grow as much as a creator,” says West.

To create something that was once living and give it a new breadth of life is a skill most of us are drawn to but wouldn’t have the urge to attempt.

“Almost everything I make incorporates nature in some way,” says West.

“Nature is beautiful in its living form and even after it passes on, there is this sort of shell that remains,” West adds.

“The animals that I get my bones from have either died naturally, or have been taken by the road, by hunters, by hitting windows, or have been killed by other animals,” West says.

“I’d rather remember them, and honour them, than bury them and forget,” West says.

While Artfully Artless is picking up success online, Amanda sees a bright future for the business.

“Artfully Artless is a brand that I hope to allow other creators to sell their work under. It’s not easy to get your own business started, and if I can help others get started in selling their work, I’d be happy,” West says.

For her facebook page please visit: https://www.facebook.com/ArtfullyArtlessCraft 

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Under the Covers with Riley Rossmo

Riley Rossmo is a Calgary based comic book artist who has gained recognition for his well detailed and vibrant style of drawing. He has worked on big name comics such as: “Green Wake”, “Rebel Blood”, “Bedlam”, and his latest adventure “Drumhellar”.

“I think [when I first took interest] my grandma gave me a G.I. Joe comic when I was about 5 and sick with a fever. I was hooked after that,” says Riley.

“The second comic I remember reading was Voltron #1 and after that I’d buy used comics from the quarter bin at the local used book/comic/record store,” he adds.

“I’ve always been into drawing narratives. I’d draw little military scenes, animal drawings, fantasy battles, design cars, etc.” he says.

“I was often bored in school so I drew all the time on everything,” Riley says.

“I received my formal training when I was 19 in college,” he shares.

Comic book art is very distinct in nature and always has an emphasis on dramatic flair. Riley draws his inspiration from the real world.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about horror and comics lately. I feel like the grotesque is easy to draw and I’d look at images of road kill, or from slaughter houses for inspiration and apply it pretty directly especially in Rebel Blood and Green Wake,” says Riley.

“The next horror comic I’d like to try and do is something in atmospheric horror,” he adds.

Being a comic book artist wasn’t always his first choice as a career either.

“Yes and no, I didn’t know it was an option really till I got older,” says Riley.

“As a teen the only people I knew in the arts that had careers were tattoo artists and I only really put my mind to doing something in art after I went on a tour of ACAD,” he mentions.

He found his success when his first big comic “Proof” was published by Image Comics.

Each edition to his collection of contributions quickly becomes his favorite series.

“Whatever’s current is always my favourite. I like making, imagining, and building stuff more than putting the final touches on this,” he says.

Most artists usually draw inspiration from the real world, experiences they’ve had, or even some fantastical ideas birthed from the recess of their minds.

“I draw my influences from film, books, comics, locations, etc. and I read a lot and listen to podcasts, when I travel,” says Riley.

“My biggest influences are probably Bill Sienkiewicz, Ego Schiele, John Byrne, and Frank Millar,” he says.

One of his long time collaborators, Kurtis Wiebe, has shared quite a bit of success as well.

“We both lived in Saskatoon for a while. I was interested in doing something new and Kurtis was open to starting a book from the ground up so we came up with a concept and started fleshing it out,” he says.

“It was pretty cool to work like that in the same physical space,” Riley adds.

“When we can work in a back and forth way like that we do good. When talking concepts or pacing, or characters, I like to do it verbally,” he says.

“On Green Wake we’d back and forth a lot and let each other’s’ ideas grow and evolve and it was a real partnership,” Riley adds.

Being artistic has always been important to Riley.

“Drawing is the only thing I’ve ever worked at that hasn’t been a grind,” he says.

Calgary has its own little niche for artists and the city is responding to the success each artist has gained.

“Comics have an interesting place in Calgary,” says Riley.

“ACAD produces a lot of artists and more of them seem to be into comics so the talent pool keeps growing,” he adds.

“Historically there have been some comic giants such as John Byrne, Todd Mcfarlene and Cary Nord from here. The thing about oil and comics is lots of engineers seems to be into comics and with all the wealth in oil lots of big comic art and comic collectors in Calgary can afford to buy stuff,” he mentions.

Some big names such as Guillermo del Toro, the Dalai lama, Rupert Sheldrake and Grant Morrison are people he’d love to meet one day. Grant Morrison is also well known for his contributions to DC comics.

Riley’s steam isn’t running out any time soon. He’s working on some new material that is quickly gaining attention as well.

“My newest book ‘Drumhellar’ (a paranormal road trip set in small town America), came out in November and I’m pretty excited about it,” he says.

“I’m co-plotting, penciling, inking and coloring it,” he adds.

Riley Rossmo has contributed to: “Seven Sons” (Ait/Planet Lar), “Proof” (Image Comics), “Cowboy Ninja Viking” (Image Comics), “Green Wake” (Image Comics), “Rebel Blood” (Image Comics), “Daken The Dark Walverin” (Marvel Comics), “Debris” (Image Comics), “Bedlam” (Image Comics), “Adventures of Superman” (DC Comics), “Dia de la Muertos” (Image Comics), and “Drumhelar” (Image Comics).

Inside A City Of Bridges

Robert Albus, A.K.A. Rob Jungle, A.K.A. A City of Bridges, is a young up-and-coming musical mastermind who dabbles in the indie electronic scene brewing in the cold winter heart of Calgary.

“My name is my music,” says ACOB.

“I am A City Of Bridges,” he adds.

To Rob, music is much more than most of us can comprehend.

“My name is the feeling you get when a song hits you in the feels,” he touches on.

“Maybe that’s a little inexplicable for most to understand, but it’s how I view myself,” he shares.

Rob has become accustomed to the soothing sounds of Fruity Loops Studio (FL) and shares his work throughout the social media scope.

“I make all sorts of electronic music but it’s all some common elements,” he shares.

“I like to use self-recorded sounds of things like twigs breaking, rocks hitting rocks, crunchy leaves and the sort for my percussion. There’s a lot of subtractive synthesis in my work and I’ve been branching into additive synthesis and FM synthesis, he says.

“Convolution reverb is another large theme for A City Of Bridges. Imagine clapping in a parkade: the tail of this reverberation can be processed in such a way that I can place my synthesized and self-recorded sounds into this acoustic space,” he explains.

But how does a musician deal with the task of trying to sort his thought process without interference or distraction from everyone else’s work?

“I listen to little music day to day at the moment. My tastes, however, have been developed over years which have been filled with great periods of active listening (the practice of listening to a piece of music as a sole activity rather than using it accompany other tasks),” he says.

I enjoy everything from big band and swing to acid and improvisational jazz. Anything folky speaks to my heart and reminds me of the fact that I AM nature, not IN nature,” he shares passionately.

“I love to throw my hood up and vibe to hip hop – new school or old school and basically anything bass-heavy in the electronic realm is A-OK to me,” he says.

“But my soul resonates with deep, atmospheric, dubby, grimy, slow jams,” he shares.

“I also like to dance like a motherfu**er so it’s important to know what’s appropriate,” he says.

Rob’s interest in electronic music dates back to the prepubescent ages of every man’s time to grow.

“I started making electronic music when I was in high school,” he says.

“I met a fellow who was a DJ and he taught me a few things. I thought it was fun, but I wanted to create music, not just play it,” he says with soul.

“I spent years learning the art and to this day I am still learning, he adds.

“The key is to do it every single day and allocate the time and money that is needed to do this,” he says.

Rob has been associated under a variety of names, but A City Of Bridges is a creature of a different realm.

“A City Of Bridges started autumn 2012. I went through a rough breakup and lost my mind a little and I went to my home town to see my ailing grandmother in the hospital,” he says.

“This lovely small city is known affectionately as The City Of Bridges. It all came together,” he shares.

“I knew that I had to dedicate myself to my art at a whole new level and in a way that I didn’t know I could previously,” he says.

“Since then, I have had a release, an EP entitled GSD https://soundcloud.com/acityofbridges/sets/gsd,”

A City of Bridges isn’t hitting the breaks anytime soon.

“I have a lead on a label release but it’s all unofficial still,” he says.

“It’d be a first for me and it is certainly the next step in my career,” he adds.

Whether it’s writing music, DJing, or simply finding the time to garden while rocking out to his beats (no pun intended), A City of Bridges will find his place in the modern world.

“Being a performance artist of some sort is a part of where I see my career going, but ultimately I identify as a maker,” he says with ferocity.

“For the time being I make music and coming up soon I will be making performance hardware from recycled and antiquated mediums. Wherever I end up, it will be music and it will be focused on making,” he adds.

“My music is my life and all I really want to see are people feeling what I’m feeling when I write my music,” he says.

“The rest we’ll have to wait and find out,” he shares lastly.

Bless up!

ACO Bridges

For additional coverage, click here:

http://storify.com/Dylan_Streifel/inside-a-city-of-bridges

Downtown Shoot

Annual Calgary Zombie Walk Takes a Bite Out of the City

Calgary Zombie Walk

The Calgary Zombie walk is an event that happens once yearly in the spirit of Halloween, The Walking Dead and dressing up to give Calgarians quite a scare.

It’s all in good fun of course, where thousands gather at Olympic Plaza dressed in their best attire of flesh, brains, blood and good vibes.

The streets were packed as zombies rushed the survivors to put up a fight for their life.

From Mario and Luigi to Batman to dead brides and corpses, the spirit of Halloween could be felt and heard throughout the downtown core.

They marched and trudged along Steven Ave. and carried onward to 17th Ave. where the crowd gathered to recollect and take a breather while socializing.

From young to old, everyone participated in the anguish.

The best part about Halloween is seeing the creativity people put into their costumes to further keep the tradition alive.

Passers-by were scared and surprised cheering and honking their horns as their eyes beheld the army of zombies strutting their way.

“I love this event and the spirit of Halloween,” one crowd member said.

Photographers took their stand along with the survivors while some were daring enough to make their way right into the heart of the walk to get the best angles and shots.

If you haven’t had the chance to attend before, I highly recommend giving yourself a good scare next Halloween.

https://twitter.com/DylanStreifel

Young Galaxy: A Profile

Image

Young Galaxy is an indie rock/dream pop Canadian group that originated in Vancouver, B.C. in 2005.

Their sound is compared to Pink Floyd and Luna with elements of shoegaze and electronic-oriented soundscapes.

Originally on Arts&Crafts records (A recording company staple based out of Toronto), they have been releasing under Paper Bag records in recent years with a noticeable stylistic shift towards dance music elements.

Catherine McCandless features a more prominent role as a lead singer.

I watched Young Galaxy perform at SAIT’s The Gateway on September 21st and to my amazement saw a very minimal set up using background projections as an added element to a dream like set list.

The crowd gathered as they hit the stage and everyone was hypnotically entranced holding their gaze upon Catherine’s captivating eyes.

“She sounds like Dolores from The Cranberries,” I heard one audience member say.

The fours would hit the floor and everyone was crooning and dancing with their hands waving like flags.

Doused in 90’s vibes, even down to Catherine McCandless’ outfit of leather overalls to the swept back short hair, the crowd couldn’t help but move to the swaying dream pop resonating throughout the venue.

She gave a deadpan stare and moved elegantly with a shaker in her hand that seemed automated everytime she shook it but instead was rhythmically moving to the beat of the drums.

When they released their self-titled debut album back in 2007, their music was quickly being recognized for its well-crafted songs that carried you to a place you’ve never been to.

Even when you think you haven’t heard them before, you might have caught their tune “The Sun’s Coming up and My Plane’s Going Down” in the Canadian film “Y.P.F (Young People F**king)”.

It’s to no one’s surprise that they’ve accredited praise release after release while expanding their sound to incorporate electronic elements such as midi drums in their foray of instruments.

Their music has shifted in tone but hasn’t lost its edge.

They’ve adopted a more “impressionistic” writing style, says Stephen Ramsay (guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist), instead of using the verse-chorus-verse progression commonly found in all types of music.

Their new album Ultramarine, which was longlisted as a nominee for the sought after Polaris Music Prize, is available in your local music stores.

You can catch Young Galaxy continue their U.S. tour from September 27th through November 10th.

Check out “Embers” from their self-titled release and “Fall For You” off of Ultramarine.

Website: http://younggalaxy.com/

by: Dylan Streifel