Dave Stevens
Illustrator/Cartoonist/Artist

Blog

(posted on 15 Feb 2024)

Did you get the pun with the yellow perch perching on the underwater plant?
I remember lying on a dock by St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island and watching perch swimming in the shadowy water below. Perch were imported and were voracious eaters that threatened the local trout, so we were encouraged to kill the perch whenever we caught one.

Andy Goldsworthy has often been called an earth artist. He works outdoors with a minimum of tools plus a camera to record his creations. He mostly uses imagination and time plus natural elements like thorns to join some items together.
Once Goldsworthy photographs them, the sculptures are left to fall apart and to return to their natural state. He has worked in the countryside of Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and the U.S.A. He has written many books about his art. His creations are motivating for students as many of his works show a strong environmental concern. When I taught photography and Art 12, I sometimes sent students to the ravines around North Delta with nothing other than a pocketknife and a camera. I was always excited to see what they would produce.

Andy Goldsworthy

(posted on 15 Jan 2024)

Weirdly Wonderful A – Z features creatures of British Columbia, but letter ‘X’ proved difficult. I settled on ‘X Marks the Spot’, and if you look closely, you will see a Xiphosura crab, also known as the horseshoe crab. It prefers the warm waters of coastal California and was not listed locally. Global warming has allowed this creature to move north, and I found an article saying these blue-blooded crabs have been found in Vancouver’s False Creek.

Stephen Waddell was one of my props on a high school rugby team I coached in Tsawwassen. He played a position that was known more for size and strength, but he brought creativity and intelligence to his game. Stephen graduated from South Delta Senior Secondary and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University. Sid Samphire, an art teacher colleague and friend, joined me in attending Stephen’s graduating show. Next, Stephen completed his Master of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia. He won the 2019 Scotiabank Photography Prize and is represented locally by the Monte Clark gallery. He lived in Germany for a time and showed in various countries in Europe and Canada. He has taught art at the university level and
has work in permanent collections in the U.S. and Canada, including the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Stephen Waddell

 

(posted on 13 Dec 2023)

Found in underwater rocky crevasses and caves in the Pacific Ocean, the wolf eel
can easily be recognized by its large head and powerful jaws which are able to break shellfish. Their bite can be very painful for humans, but they tend to be friendly unless you are another wolf eel. They mate for life and guard their caves and eggs aggressively. Despite their name, they are finned fish rather than eels.

Tristan Unrau was a student at North Delta who has made a name for himself locally,
nationally and internationally. He formed an interesting art triumvirate in grade 10 with classmates Suki and Harkeerat and he was involved with Sonny Assu’s blanket piece in Grade 12.
Graduation also saw Tristan showing with Harkeerat at the Bushlin Mowatt Gallery. He earned
his Bachelors of Arts degree from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and then completed his
Masters of Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. He recently sold through shows in New York and Los Angeles. Tristan has been a finalist three times in the Royal Bank of Canada Painting Competition and he has displayed work at the Vancouver Art Gallery as an Emerging artist in Canada. Such noteworthy accomplishments!
Special thanks to the Sebastian Gladstone Gallery , in LA, for their permission in using some of
their images of Tristan’s work.

Tristan

Tristan in his studio

   

(posted on 13 Nov 2023)

I am participating in the Nanaimo ArtWalk on December 2nd and 3rd at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, 375 Selby Street near the old railway station.
There are 70 artists represented this year and a shuttle bus has been organized from Downtown to the Old City Quarter every 20 minutes.
The art exhibition runs Saturday the 2nd from 10am - 4pm and Sunday the 3rd from Noon - 4pm.

I hope to see you there.

The lamprey has a suction cup mouth so it can fasten itself to other fish for its food. It first
became known on Vancouver Island, B.C., in Cowichan Lake. The name Vancouver suggests
images like the steam clock from Vancouver’s Gastown, while the name lamprey sounds like
“lamp” and “ray”, hence my fanciful illustration.

Mexican artist Diego Rivera worked on big murals in his native land and internationally. One of
his pieces “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central Park” is fifty feet long. It is a
fresco which covers four hundred years of Mexican history and portrays numerous figures that
convey the agreeable side of life interspersed with darker occurrences such as a man being shot.
Rivera was active in his political views reflecting socialist beliefs. He was involved with the
Communist party and was married numerous times including twice to Frieda Kahlo.

Diego Rivera

(posted on 14 Oct 2023)

When I was a young dad, we visited Booth Bay Resort on Salt Spring Island, the largest one off the coast of Vancouver Island, where my mom would rent two cabins. She’d stay in one and use the second cabin for her children’s families. We’d take turns staying for a few days each. We explored Salt Spring Island for many summers, even after my mother stopped providing a cabin.

After our first visit we took an empty aquarium with us which we filled with sea water and creatures we found in the tidal pools. We learned to aerate the water by pouring streams back into the tank and we let the creatures go each night. We often caught crabs, usually small ones that we found under rocks. Maybe even some umbrella crabs.

Ainslie Roberts is an Australian artist who illustrated aboriginal myths and stories along with text by Charles Mountford in an edition called The Dream Time book. Ainslie Roberts painted the images with confidence and flair, distorting many of the subjects such as placing them on thin legs to communicate the dream-like quality. In my teaching I would use Ainslie Roberts to introduce the idea of anthropomorphizing a subject such as the uprooted tree-hand. Roberts is a fascinating artist.

Ainsley Roberts

 

(posted on 14 Sep 2023)

Tube Worms

Tube worms get their name from the hollow tube shell they build around themselves. They join
other worms to form colonies and are often found near hot vents on the ocean floor. Some deep inhabitants grow from six to eight feet in length. You would think their feathery bodies would catch microscopic food which would pass to their stomachs, but they do not have mouths or stomachs. They rely on minerals from their bodies and from the water as nutrients for survival.

I would like to refer to Antony Gormley again because he is like the tube worms in that he covers himself with rigid materials such as plaster and he then transforms the casts into sculptural pieces. Another Place consists of one hundred cast iron human figures which Gormley placed in the Merseyside tidal flats. He also used cast figures in vacant rooms some of which are arranged on the floor while others climb up the walls or hang from the ceilings. For him the idea behind the sculpture was as important as the visual representation.

Antony Gormley

(posted on 23 Aug 2023)

I have been in touch with the Parkinson's Society of BC and they informed me of things that make a difference when donating if you want to go under my name (Mary your money has already been transferred over).

1. Parkinson BC has their own address - www.parkinson.bc.ca/superwalk

2. I used the full name of DAVID rather than Dave.

3. Page can also be activated through -

http://events.parkinson.bc.ca/site/TR/Events/SuperWalk23?px=1082743&pg=personal&fr_id=1567

Sorry if this is conveluted.

Dave

(posted on 16 Aug 2023)

Steelhead trout have suffered from overfishing and changes in the natural landscape which affects their ability to return from the ocean to some of the rivers and streams of their birth. They are a sea run trout that comes back stronger and larger as they develop. The farther north you go the bigger they become. They are sought after by fly and float casting fisher people. For me combining the metal heads with the fish body was a natural as I had been producing mechanical creatures for awhile. I recently published a book called The Red Door based on illustrations of mechanical insects and a enclosed manufactured garden.

Some good friends, Deborah and Terry Hopkins, took us to see Beyond Van Gogh in Victoria on Vancouver Island. If you‘ve never been I recommend that you go. There were three parts to the show: a life history with quotes set against close-ups of his paintings, a moving compilation of parts of his work that covered a wall and the floor, followed by a large room with views of Vincent’s work complete with transitions  to the next ones that were displayed. I have seen originals but here the size and juxtapositions were overwhelming. Vincent created many pieces, some of which I recognized but others were new to me.
Vincent was seen as the epitome of mental anguish combined with a drive to create. One thing that people often know is that he cut off a portion of an ear to convince a woman of his love. He is purported to have only sold one of his paintings during his lifetime and yet he has become a major influence in modern art and his use of colour, his choice of subjects and his use of stylized marks have contributed to many modern artists.

 

I wanted to let people know they can contribute to the funds raised for Parkinson's research by supporting individuals through the SuperWalk. I will be participating.

SuperWalk

(posted on 31 Jul 2023)

I wanted to let you know that I will be involved on the last weekend of August in the Art Jam and Art on the Avenue.

The problem is that it occurs in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island and that automatically means some of you won't be in the area. But .........

Hope you or somebody you know can make it.

Dave

(posted on 14 Jul 2023)

Rats are often seen as carriers of disease, or we associate them with areas such as the
inner city. I saw a number of rats when I worked on art with the homeless in Surrey and I
found myself worrying about rats who climb into engine area of cars and chew on the
hoses. Our reactions are often based on perceptions of dirtiness but the ratfish received its name for its looks as it reminded people of the rodent’s appearance with its tail formation and front teeth. They are, in fact, deep sea creatures who can grow to four and one-half feet long and are most often seen in our shallower waters at night. Ratfish are a slow swimming fish who feed on clams, crabs and sea worms. They rely upon a poisonous spine located at the dorsal fin on its back, a non-aggressive form of self-defense.

Harkeerat Mangat was a student who came along near the end of my teaching career, and he was in a group that excited and challenged me. As a grade 10 student he was invited to join in a show at Melissa Lane’s store/gallery in New Westminster and he graduated from North Delta Secondary. Harkeerat also displayed work at the prestigious Buschlen-Mowatt Gallery in Vancouver along with Tristan Unrau, following which he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Emily Carr College of Art + Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf, Germany. He has since gone on to establish himself as a multidisciplinary artist in Germany and Vancouver. He combines faith with artistic vision so that there is no separation between the two. What he believes dictates what he creates.
Harkeerat Mangat

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