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Becoming An Artist – Talking Art, Passion and Hockey

When does someone become an Artist? What drives the creation of a painting? How many hours are spent making Art? People are attracted to passion, and those who pursue their passions relentlessly, putting it all on the line. Talking with Canadian documentary filmmaker Randy Frykas, about becoming an Artist and the influence of hockey.

In October 2019, a few months before COVID-19 started changing how we navigate our worlds, I invited a Winnipeg filmmaker into my haven, my Art studio. As I stated in a blog post from 2018, art studios “are places typically reserved for artists to create, serious art collectors to view the work privately, and curators to visit and consider works for future art exhibitions.” After a few emails back and fourth, and a telephone conversation, I agreed to the visit and I also agreed to let the filmmaker ask questions without pre-screening. He came to learn and film and arrived with a professional audio engineer, James Humberstone, also originally hailing from Manitoba. I accepted their visit and interest purely on the portfolio Frykas produced when I began asking questions. There seemed to be a common ground in the topic of hockey and my paintings about hockey, so the focus became mostly these works from my oeuvre of the past decade. I had recently returned home from a month studying and making work at the Royal College of Art in London, England, and was in the process of making a new work, a large landscape on loose canvas.

Becoming an artist documentary film

Over the course of two separate days, Frykas asked questions and recorded digital video. Over the course of the coming months the team of The Passion Projects, led by director Frykas, began editing while flying to other locations to film with other talented people driven by their passions. With Frykas and Humberstone also creating their own soundtrack for each short documentary film produced for the project. This truly was becoming a collaborative effort, filled with passion and experience, bringing together film, editing, sound, music and visual art.

As this series began shooting before COVID hit, and was being developed as the filmmakers’ own passion project on the side while he is working full-time TV and freelance gigs, the series is developing organically and is quickly becoming a record of life and attitudes before, during and eventually post COVID.

filmmaker Randy Frykas

I don’t invite many people into my studio, it really is my workplace, and a sacred place I go to escape into my work. I was moved by the enthusiasm exuding from the voice on the other end of the phone line, which was as palpable in person. Vulnerability is another important facet of making great Art, and those days we were filming, we were at our most vulnerable, and I am proud of the film that came from this experience.

Sincere thanks to Randy Frykas and James Humberstone, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Randy Frykas James Humberstone The Passion Projects

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley a.k.a #iconiccanuck

2019 in Canadian Art, My Year in Painting.

In 2010 I set a goal for myself, to paint 25 to 35 new paintings every year and to do at least one thing every year in my art career, that I didn’t think I could achieve. For me goals are important motivators, and as a professional artist who lives a life open to all possibilities, a little structure helps to keep the business side of this career moving forward, and not in circles. Circles are important, they are like pauses to swim in the lake of life, soaking up new experiences, where the inception of new ideas begin. But, I cannot languish in the lake for too long, as I would never get beyond the lake, and I like the challenge that comes with riding the waves of the ocean.

2019 began with a bang, and it took me from my island home of Vancouver Island, across the country, to the USA and even the United Kingdom. When asked the question; “if you could be a famous artist, who would you be?” my answer is always, Brandy Saturley a year from now, as the only one I am chasing is me, and the only one I am competing with, is me.

Here is my 2019 in Art.

January – new work and new ideas

Three paintings into a new series of paintings inspired by my travels across North America, featuring ‘people in the landscape’. The gathering of friends, family and strangers to marvel at the landscape, it is something as familiar as breathing, moments shared contemplating nature.

2019 in Canadian Art

January also included a new initiative, as we began to work on what would become the first fine art offering of it’s kind, ‘The Box Sets’ original art collections.

2019 in Canadian Art

In February, we launched the first ‘Box Sets’ original art collection and I traveled to the Okanagan for some snowy mountain inspiration.

Canadian Art Collection for sale

2019 in Canadian Art

In March, I spent my studio days surrounded by snow with a good amount of the white stuff falling on Vancouver Island. The energy is high when it snows here, it is like a late Christmas present that brings brightness to gray winter days.

Canadian artist at work

in March a new painting inspired by sunrise on Salt Spring Island, in Ganges Harbour was completed. The painting not being quite enough to satisfy, I continued on with painting the crate that would house the painting, adding skateboard wheels for mobility.

salt spring island art painting Brandy Saturley

Then I hit the road again, this time headed to Edmonton for art business.

art business in Edmonton

Coming home through Calgary, with a stop at Fairmont Lake Louise…

Fairmont Lake Louise

an iconic beacon on the continental divide, Mount Robson.

Canadian artist Brandy Saturley at Mt. Robson

April showers bring, more art. New paintings completed for the Mountain Forms Collective, painting collaboration with Calgary artist, Gisa Mayer.

Canadian artist collaboration - painting rocky mountains

A new painting for the People of Canada Portrait Project.

May the force be with you! I don’t mean to be punny. A chance to explore with my camera, the work behind the art. One of my photos, now available to license on Getty images.

image licensing Getty Images Brandy Saturley

A new painting, this time a diptych (two canvasses) inspired by shared experiences in the landscape and the music of the Beatles.

Painting inspired by the Beatles - Because the world is round

The second round of ‘Box Sets’ art collections were launched to the public.

art shipping crate painted with text - Canadian artist Brandy Saturley

June! one month to London, you heard that right. Earlier in the year I was invited to join the Contemporary Art Summer Intensive at the Royal College of Art in London, England. in June I was packing and ordering supplies for my month in the UK.

I also completed a new painting for the People of Canada portrait project, this time a self portrait of the artist and her muses.

Brandy Saturley Canadian artist - self-portrait of the artist

July, I left on a Dreamliner to London, and set up my studio in the Painting wing of the Royal College of Art, Battersea campus. One month of making, talking, exploring art in the world’s financial centre.

Canadian artist Brandy Saturley - Royal College of Art London

Royal College of Art - Battersea

During my time in London I painted four large scale works on loose duck canvas, and a few smaller pieces on paper.

Brandy Saturley - Royal College of art - Painting studios Battersea

I also toured a number of museums and art galleries including; White Cube, Barbican, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Design Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Library, and White Chapel to name a handful.

white cube gallery London England

In August, we were preparing for a solo show at Dyson Gallery – 22 artists from around the world. It was the experience of a lifetime.

pop paintings by Canadian artist - Brandy Saturley - Royal College of Art

paintings by brandy saturley at dyson gallery london

Upon returning home from London, I immediately threw myself into new large landscape paintings, influenced by my time working at the Royal College of Art over the early summer.

In September, while I was painting this large landscape I also began a smaller work on stretched canvas. Two red muskoka chairs, by the light of the silvery full moon.

two muskoka chairs by the moonlight

By the time October rolled around I was working to finish the paintings above, and I was talking to a documentary film crew from Winnipeg and Victoria. The Passion Project Series is a docuseries being launched in 2020. I spent two days with the crew sharing my process, talking about my career, and showing a bit of the behind the scenes of my process. We talked about hockey, family, influences, challenges and success as a Canadian artist. I can’t wait to see the series and share my episode with you.

Randy Frykas interviews Brandy Saturley - The Passion Projects

Randy Frykas documentary film Brandy Saturley Canadian artist

November began with another large format landscape painting, seven feet wide and on un-stretched canvas duck. This time my focus was Lake Louise in Banff Alberta.

Production of my annual art magazine/catalogue was completed – you can get yours here.

Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley annual art catalogue 2019

I set up a private art lounge meeting area outside my studio – for collectors, curators and press visits.

Canadian Art Gallery in Victoria BC - The Art of Brandy Saturley

In December, after all the paintings were shipped, gifts wrapped and mail sent out, I jetted off to Las Vegas for a re-charge and to take in some of the best art exhibits in the world. Ate too much, drank too much, and celebrated too much. What happens in Vegas…

brandy saturley in las vegas container park

stardust sign neon boneyard las vegas

tim burton lost vegas neon boneyard

Tim Burton – Lost Vegas at the Neon Boneyard, 2019

The year included the production and sale of 21 new paintings, travel to Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Las Vegas and London, England. One exhibition in London, the launch of the Box Sets, a documentary film crew and mountains of snow almost covering my studio windows. There was inventory, newsletters, website updates, and a move of my art vault to my home. I set up a lounge for private meetings and worked on the largest paintings of my career. There were a couple magazine features, but can’t even remember what those were now. I had the privilege of seeing many great art exhibitions, learning new things from talented people and teaching things to eager young artists. I think one of the reasons I write a year in review is so that I can recall what actually happened in a year, and so I can plan for the coming years. I am thankful to those who collaborated with me and to those who continue to collaborate, I am enjoying the journey, what a ride! There were challenging days, and big moves. There was rejection and the sweetest of rewards. What will 2020 hold? for one, there will be limited edition art prints.

Here we go!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley