Here’s the first new painting of my latest series. Not officially titled, but it’s a Blue Angel holding a dove. Â In progress, still working on filling in the grey scale layer. I started this one at the beginning of November 2011, and must get a hustle on here….
Here’s another small one called Snowman Squirrel available at the Red Art Gallery for $175.00. Perfect Xmas present for the art lover in your life (or nutty person).
2033 oak bay avenue
owner:Â marion evamy
director:Â bobb hamilton
A conversation with Carollyne Yardley
This week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Carollyne and ask her aboutwhat makes her tick,Â her fascination with squirrels andÂ how her business background helps her with her art.
Q: Who are you?
My mom and dad would ask me,Â “Who do you think you are?” following some perceived infraction of the house rules.
My response would be to silently recite my full name, address and phone number as if I had been captured by the enemy. I’m not sure why I felt so hostile at seven years old.
Describing who I am makes me think of a psychic reading my brother had years ago. The reader told him I was really funny and mean.
I still have a Wonder Woman costume that fits.
As a successful entrepreneur, my existence is geared to the realization of important acquaintances and friendships.
As an artist, I feel that I can create anything with my hands.
I love smart, eccentric, quick-witted, and creative people.
I have a highly identifiable laugh, which is why I spent a lot of time in the hall for detention.
Q: Why do you do what you do?
I gravitate towards environments where my natural traits can be best expressed.
I also endeavor to learn about myself and what makes me happy, and then I retain the information.
Professionally speaking, I’ve never done anything other than invent, create and build stuff.
Q: Talk to us about your evolution as a visual artist moving from Big-Eyed Ladies to Secret Squirrels and now, your latest project Never Dine Alone?
The evolution started a couple of years ago with a major career change from co-owner and creative director of a web development company to visual artist.
Choosing what to paint was easy. I know what I like in terms of visual appeal.
I started teaching myself to paint by “re-mastering” the Masters . The first one was by Raphael calledÂ The Woman with the Veil. Â My husband suggested I paint a squirrel on her lap.
The term â€œSecret Squirrelsâ€ is a phrase used to describe matters that are hidden from knowledge or concealed. I felt this best described my transition from business owner to visual artist.
For me, the squirrel “mask” has become a symbol describing misfits, hiding behind animated personas, odd and beautifully unusual.
I’m still unveiling who I want to be as an artist.
Never Dine Alone was inspired by my conversation with Ron Forbes, the owner of Applewood Antiques. Ron commented that many art collectors purchase portraits and sculpture of people at his antique store, and line their dining room walls with these forgotten and discarded personalities. With a cast of characters displayed, collectors feel that they never dine alone.
This theme was perfect to amplify my love of glamour and costuming, where I could throw an art show with other great artists and designers, and haveÂ the characters in my paintings coming to life.
I want to continue this and perhaps get more involved in costume design in future.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
It’s a long list:
- pop culture (music, videos, you name it)
- fairy tales (and all the symbolism)
- fashion (all the glamour from the golden age of cinema)
- and just sitting in my yard talking to squirrels, birds, deer and raccoons.Sometimes an old owl will come by for a visit.
I love wildlife and am deranged enough to believe the animals can mind read with me and communicate in English. (Ha!)
Q: How do you get the word out about who you are and what you do? Share with us what it takes to build your BRAND?
I said to my husband a few months ago, “I have to mange my brand.”
His response was:
I didn’t know crazy was a brand.
I like to imagine that people smile, chuckle, or maybe even laugh out loud when they see my work.
I also like to think that people feel my characters have a real heart and soul.
If you are feeling a bit sad, you can talk to the painting and it will give you advice to lighten up!
On a serious note, if the painting actually starts talking back at you, stop mixing the booze with yer’ meds!
Q: You spend a great deal of time using social media: Facebook and Twitter. And, your blog has a loyal following â€“ you’re very active in the social sphere â€“ how come?
Ah, cause I never leave the house anymore? Â Kiddingâ€¦
I get so much out of all the other artists in the online social sphere, I can’t imagine sitting there in silence.
I want to contribute to the whole educational experience, and if other people learn from me, or by inspired in any way, then I’ve reciprocated.
One of the artists I’m following right now isÂ Noah Becker.
He is the Editor-in-Chief ofÂ White Hot Magazine (among other accolades)
His dispatches on the New York and Miami art scene are great for artists who are interested in keeping up to date with the best contemporary artists and designers around the world.
Q: You approach your art both as a creative endeavour but also as a business. Can you share your thoughts on the business of art?
I am new to the business of art, but not to business itself.
In my previous career, I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses and learned how any business can create awareness and streamline a point of sale.
So far, the art business is just like any another business.
If you are tenacious and surround yourself with positive people who have a lust for life, you’re halfway there!
Q: You recently put together an unusual event: Never Dine Alone â€“ to rave reviews. Talk to us a little bit about the concept and what it took to pull off an art opening with over 300 people in attendance?
As mentioned, the inspiration for Never Dine Alone came Ron of Applewood Antiques. We’re social creatures, us humans. And we’re willing to invest time and money in finding the right portrait so when we eat in our dining room, we’re never alone.
I immediately began thinking about what a perfect, well perfect to me, dining room would look like.Â AÂ conversation withÂ David Hunwick from the Sculpture Studio (participating artist + event location) soon followed.
I selected the feature artists based on who could do surrealism or character portraits, or other artists whose work Iâ€™ve collected.
And, I’d soon assembled a collective of artists (and artistic souls) that were willing to be part of an Alice in Wonderland meets the TudorsÂ dinner party.
Leading up to the show, I used my experience inÂ graphic design, web development and social media to market the event.
But, it was really the combination of all the feature artists, and support team that created a perfect guest list of the most artistic and coolest crowd Iâ€™ve seen for an opening night in Victoria.
We had one lady remark she thought she was transported toÂ Greenwich Village New York -Â Â it was so very, haute couture dahlings!
I wonâ€™t bore you with the behind the scene details that saw us:
- borrowing silver trays
- buying crystal bowls from second hand stores
- collecting candelabras, lamps
- scheduling moving vans loaded with Victorian furnitureÂ and Persian carpets
- draping the 2400sqft of studio in black draping
- cleaning the one main public toilet
- picking up dozen upon dozens of cupcakes
- driving blind with a carload of helium balloons
- and, organizing the artists and sponsors.
Oh, and hanging over 50 pieces of artwork â€“ with gentle hands.
In the final stretch, it was pure hard core labour, with 30+ hours over two and a halfÂ days to put the venue together.
We hadÂ three creative directors working at it â€“ so again, it was a huge team effort.
Q: One of your squirrel paintings has a QR code â€“ tells us a little aboutGeisha Girl and your decision to merge your painting with digital media.Â Is there more to come?
I spent so many years in web development, creative design and marketing other people’s businesses,
I wanted to use a QR code as my signature.
I think it’s out of my system now, and I’m onto other things.
Q: What are the top three digital trends that will impact/influence how you approach your art?
I’m interested inÂ 3D Illustration, and also what is being created for use onmobile devices and applications for digital readers.
I think anything created by the movie and music industry / special effects probably gets most of my attention too.
Since Iâ€™m currently into character development, creatures from outer space continue to influence how I approach my art – is that a digital trend?
I hope they donâ€™t come back again for a few years though, the last visit was a bit dodgy (Ha!)
Q: What’s next on the horizon?
I had a dream about the creature for my next series that I’m working on now.
I am excited to show you when it’s complete. So, please stay tuned.
This painting sold at the art show titled Never Dine Alone, but I don’t think I ever blog posted it, although it appears at my online gallery page.
I sold most of my paintings at the last art show, so I have three left from the Sophisticated Squirrels at the Victoria Emerging Art Gallery (downtown Victoria), and a few from the Secret Squirrels show at the Sooke Harbour House Art Gallery (Sooke), plus two new small paintings will be available at the end of the month at the Red Art Gallery (Oak Bay Avenue).
Here they are, great little Christmas present ideas if you are trying to find an all around fabo gift for yourself or loved one. These first six paintings all appeared in the centerpiece painting called Never Dine Alone: Squirrel Banquet (which also got renamed as the Last Acorn by Terry Zlot).
Available at the Victoria Emerging Art Gallery, ask for Ellen Manning. Telephone: 1-778-430-5585
Available at the Sooke Harbour House Art Gallery, ask for Sharan. Telephone: 1-250-642-3421
These two smaller paintings will be available for viewing and sale at the Red Art Gallery at the end of November 2011. Ask for Marion or Bobb.
TO BE INSERTED !!!!!
What better way than at a fashion party event?
Come and Celebrate a Modern Victoria Fashion First.
The release of the 2011 Fall/Winter Fashion Collection for Women
by “Maureen Patricia”.
Jewelry by De Mode en Vogue, Skanda, and Pocket full of Shells.
Victoria’s only 100% Local Designer Boutique.
Experience, Fashion, Jewelry, Music, Wine, and more.
Sat. November 12,
11:00 AM to 9 PM
@ 833 Â½ Fort Street (Fashionable Fort)
Here’s my high speed squirrel on crack video of the Opening Night of Never Dine Alone!
And another video with much more composure by Efren Quiroz of http://www.exhibit-v.ca
And the last video is if you missed the artwork showcased at Never Dine Alone, cause ya’ were too hammered and gawkin’ at all the pretty thangs, yer mask was in the way, or you were MIA – here’s a video to see the works!
Here is a link to the event photos
What a fabulous Opening Night for Never Dine Alone. The vision was achieved. Thanks to all the artists, sponsors, collectors, and the 300 partygoers who dressed the part.Â Show runs November 04th -13, 2011 from 11-3 daily except Remembrance Day 2-4 pm. For location details click here.
Neck of the Woods Winery is continuing it’s sales of the Nosey Neighbour with a portion of proceeds going to art charity.
Here are some of my favorite photos so far, with a link to Facebook PhotoGallery for more. Videos and full event coverage to follow!
Great testimonial from one event attendee.
“…also thank you so much for including us in such a fun event – we greatly enjoyed it all and thought that it was ahead of its time in Victoria, could have been in Greenwich Village New York it was all so IN – yes indeed would love to come to parties of this sophistication and allure….”
Burke Tanner of Neck of the Woods Winery approached me during my participation at a group show at the Red Art Gallery (Marion Evamy), to put Red Hat Squirrel on their wine labels to promote their brand called Nosey Neighbour.
Red Hat Squirrel peering through her opera glasses, with a gloved hand, is definitely a Nosey Neighbour.
You can imagine her in you neck of the woods as easily as I imagine her in mine (I actually don’t have to imagine). Red Hat Squirrel aka Nosey Neighbour has the 411 on your neighbourhood much like the life of eccentric Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances.
More details to come, but the Neck of the WoodsÂ Winery has pledged .50cents from every Neck of the Woods product sold on Vancouver Island go towards the development of an art scholarship fund…school and recipient criteria TO BE ANNOUNCED.
Neck of the Woods wine is available for sale at Spinnakers on Wilson Street and James Bay plus the Cask & Keg in Esquimalt. The list will be expanded soon. I’m sure Red Hat would approve of a liquor store in Sidney and Oak Bay perhaps?
This limited edition bottle will be available for sale approximately November 04th, 2011. Will post more details as they arrive.