Life has been busy of late, and I am happy to be back posting here. I got myself on Instagram in the last year and went on a stint drawing images and creating quotes. It's been a nice way to get both my drawing fix and writing fix at the same time. I'm still learning the world of "Insta" and have been enjoying the process. If you want to follow me on your phone to check out my latest quotes for the day, drawings, and photos, please do. You can find me at https://www.instagram.com/miki_dare/
The Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby is combining its spring festival with its 10th Annual BLOOM Art Silent Auction. I will be donating art for the silent auction as will other local Japanese artists. Come out and pick up a painting, print or pottery to make your home beautiful and help support the Nikkei Centre. Here are a list of artists taking part so far: Mariko Ando, Miki Dare, Yoriko Gillard, Lori Goldberg, Sleepless Kao, Merry Meredith, Shinsuke Minegishi, Raymond Nakamura, Christopher O’neill, Claire Sower, Jeremy Isao Speier, Takao Tanabe, Sachi Yamabe, Instant Coffee, Yifei Zhang, Yurie Hoyoyon, Justine Miles, Michael Abe, Kathy Shimizu, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Audrey Nishi, Joyce Kamikura, and more. The silent auction is taking place on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Nikkei Centre Spring Festival will also be happening on this same date, so stay awhile and enjoy Japanese food, a tea ceremony, martial arts, dance, music,a bonsai display, and arts and crafts. There will also be a kids zone outside for children to take part in a variety of fun activities.
You can also check out the Beta Vulgaris: The Sugar Beet Projects in the art gallery. This exhibit, by Kelty Miyoshi McKinnon and Keri Latimer, looks at the connection between Japanese Internment during World War Two and sugar beet farms. Japanese-Canadian families were told they could stay together if they chose to pick sugar beets in Alberta. Their forced labour covered about 2/3rds of Alberta’s sugar beet farms in the 1940s. There will also be a free film screening of Facing Injustice. The film looks at the relocation of Japanese-Canadians to Manitoba.
Come chill out with me at VCON Relaxicon (41½) this month. It’s happening from Saturday, October 28th to Sunday, October 29th at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel in Surrey.
It will be my first time to attend, and this is how VCON is described on its website, “VCON is the oldest general-interest science fiction, fantasy and games convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy culture in Vancouver BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, tabletop games, electronic games, etc.”
Swing by the art show to check out my Geisha Girl Survivor artwork. I’ll have framed and unframed prints for sale. Also pay the Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing booth a visit as I will be hanging out there for a bit too. Edge is out to promote a number of books, including Compostela: Tesseracts Twenty. My short story “Grounded” is in this anthology and it is edited by the fabulous Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardener.
Come out and enjoy the chill vibe and hope to see you there.
The Powell Street Festival is celebrating its fortieth year this year in Vancouver, and I am so happy to be taking part in the event. Come stop by my table for a visit and a chat. I will be selling my paintings, prints and cards. I have always loved the Powell Street Festival and it`s so awesome to be able to participate this time.
It`s Canada’s biggest festival of Japanese arts and culture, and it is great family fun for the last weekend of July. It offers entertainment from taiko drumming to sumo wrestling. There are crafts and activities for the kids and all sorts of great Japanese arts and crafts to purchase. One of my favourite things to do is to pig out on all the delicious Japanese fair food. This year they are also having an interactive section in the park and a street party on Alexander Street. Hope to see you there!
Come check out the Nikkei National Museum 8th Annual BLOOM Art Auction on Saturday, May 28, 2016. My art titled Exotic Flavour Existence will be part of the silent auction.
You can get a sneak peak by going to the gallery exhibit and/or the online preview featuring the art of more than 60 artists. The theme of this year’s event is ink, and it’s inspired by the sumie works of artist Takao Tanabe. The night will include calligraphy and sumie stations, as well as a calligraphy performance by Kisyuu. There will be music by DJ Rennie Foster and taiko drumming by Sansho Taiko. Hope you can make it. 🙂
It’s 2016 and March already! Time has been just flying by, and I’m still here. I’ve been busy painting. I’ve branched out into some more abstract larger pieces, but continue to collect fast food wrappers and instant noodle packaging for my geisha series paintings.
If you have some time, please go check out the Oxygen for the Soul exhibit going on right now. It’s at the Kariton Art Gallery and the Reach. My work called Time Travel is at the Reach.
To get tickets and more information, you can go to https://abbotsfordhospice.org/campaigns/oxygen-for-the-soul/
How to Market Your Portfolio to Galleries and Curators
I recently went to a talk by Laura Schneider, acting director and curator of the Reach, called How to Market Your Portfolio to Galleries/Curators. She was fabulously energetic, informative and inspiring; and I’m planning to write more on her talk in future posts. One of the best tips I picked up was the importance of the Elevator Pitch.
Elevator Pitch for Artists
I had a total “Aha!” moment when Schneider said that an artist needs to have an elevator pitch. I knew you had to work on having an elevator pitch in the writing world — the idea is you pretend that if you were caught in the elevator with a book publisher, what one-minute spiel would you give to sell your book/screenplay/etc? When Schneider brought the elevator pitch concept up for art, I had to really think. What would I say if a gallery owner or curator and I were stuck in an elevator together for a minute?
Schneider’s advice was to “be confident in describing what you do, why you do it and where you’re going.” I had never really boiled down these three ideas before, and yet I should be ready at all times to give a Cole’s Notes version of this information. Right away I started thinking about how I would pitch myself. Here are my thoughts on how I would answer the questions she brought up.
What Do You Do?
What do you do? Currently, I paint geisha girls in acrylic and then I rip up pages from Japanese books, glue on instant noodle packaging, drip wax and burn canvases.
This by itself definitely seems to be missing something. Why on earth is this woman being so destructive in her work?
Why Do You Do It?
On to the important second question: Why do you do it?
In an overall sense, I like to look at the world through the lens of race, class and gender. In particular, I like to create art focused on those who are not at the top of the hierarchy and express what that looks and feels like.
If I want to be more specific to my recent work titled Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor, this is what I’d say:
As a woman of ‘mixed’ heritage, I created this art to come to grips with stereotypes about Asian women. Faster than you can make instant Asian noodles, stereotypes about my race and gender combo come easily to mind. My work also reflects on the history of the internment of Japanese-Canadians and how that impact is still felt today. My grandparents died before the Canadian government apologized. Their loss, on so many levels, is haunting.
Where Are You Going?
The final question: where are you going?
Because I’m a mix of races, people often are not sure of “what” I am. I plan to do other portraits and explore the stereotypes of other racial groups I am, I’ve been mistaken for or called. I’ve already got some in the works.
What’s Your Elevator Pitch?
These are my thoughts on my elevator pitch for now, and I’ll likely change them up as time goes on. But at least now I have a basis to jump from should I ever get the chance to be in an elevator with a gallery owner or curator. I love the elevator pitch concept, and hope this will spur you on to write your own if you have not already. If you have a great elevator pitch for your art, please feel free to share it by leaving a comment on my blog.
I’m now getting off this elevator ride to go get some painting done. 🙂
Fraser Valley Biennale: Miki Dare
My art will be in the 2015 Fraser Valley Biennale. It’s a series of exhibitions that are coordinated through arts councils in the Fraser Valley region. The show is happening from now until September and you can enjoy a variety of innovative art in galleries ranging from Mission to Abbotsford.
Lovers & Fighters
My painting Exotic Flavour Existence will be at the Kariton Art Gallery from July 25th to August 18th. The theme of this exhibit is titled Lovers and Fighters. The excerpt for the genesis of this particular show reads as follows:
“As subjective expressions, works of art are often personal in nature. But they can also embody collective, or even universal, themes related to who we are and how we respond to our circumstances. This exhibition explores multiple aspects of artistic, personal and social identities through a range of lenses. The Fraser Valley artists presented in this exhibition suggest that there is an intimate distance between being a lover and a fighter.”
Exotic Flavour Existence
The art I have in this exhibition is part of a collection I’ve titled Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor. The piece of cultural garbage I have included in this painting is an instant noodle lid that says, “Noodle Time” and “Instant Ramen Noodles.” I’m interested in the intersecting reality of fast-food garbage and how it coordinates so well with instant stereotypes. Eating fast food is unhealthy for us, yet it is part of the fabric of our society – just as stereotypes based on race, gender and class are. I say I am Japanese and images of geisha girls, sushi, and instant noodles swirl to the surface of our minds. Yet, I am yonsei. I am the fourth generation to live in Canada. My great-grandparents came here.
Processed food and processed stereotypical images are constantly consumed in our culture. Consumed and thrown away – only to be consumed and thrown away the next day. What does that mean to the individual soul swimming through all this? So how do I find my place in this sea of mental and media garbage? Why I bite back with a smile. I paint, rip, splatter, glue and burn in layers of self expression.
Painting Past and Presently
I’ve been on a painting jag lately which has been great for my visual arts side of things. I was just in the Wine and Art Walk and I will soon be in the Anonymous Art Show at the Kariton Art Gallery. Then after that I am taking part in the Fraser Valley Biennale. It is shaping up to be a busy summer.
Anonymous Art Show
I can’t say what I put into the Anonymous Art Show because, well, the whole idea is that the work be anonymous. It’s a great way to raise money. Many art galleries have used this as an excellent fundraiser. With the sale of each painting, half of the money goes to art initiatives put on by the local art council, and the other half goes to the artist. When someone buys a piece of work, they get to take it off the wall right then and there. They can flip over to the back and find out who painted it. I tried to paint in a style quite different than I usually do – just because I like to be tricky like that. 🙂
Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor
Most of my painting time this year has been focused on a collection I titled Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor. They are the works displayed in the Wine and Art Walk and to be displayed at the Fraser Valley Biennale. To learn more about my thinking around these paintings, check out my initial Artist Statement and Biography I used for my most recent show, the Wine and Art Walk.
Miki Dare (Dare is a Japanese word, it’s pronounced DAH-RAY) uses acrylic paint and mixed media on canvas to depict the messy dichotomy of life. She is inspired by the flower growing out of a crack in the sidewalk and the muddy footprint on the freshly cleaned floor. It’s about being creative and surviving with love, strength and a sense of humor.
Artist Statement: Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor
My artwork explores the layers of who we are and what society says we should be. Our mental and media landscapes are littered with psychic fast-food garbage that smothers personal realities and histories. How do I stay true to myself, remember my roots and contend with institutional –isms?
My art is the struggle between the ‘perfect’ stereotypical images and the reality of being a woman and Asian in Canada. It’s the interface between ugly truths and beautiful individuals who persevere. Wear garbage and graffiti with pride and creativity. Cherish the burnt canvas and torn pages of history. Be a geisha girl stereotype survivor.
Art and Wine Walk in Abbotsford
I’ve been a delinquent blogger, I admit it. But I have a good reason. I’ve been busy preparing in every spare moment I could find for an Art and Wine Walk in Abbotsford I took part in today. It was a fantastic day with 250 tickets sold and plenty of people walking through on a beautiful sunny day. The staff at Valley Realty were amazing and so helpful. They set up a tent with balloons for me outside and I had this great deck space all to myself. Artist David Boughton had set up his work inside and he kindly shared so many great tips that I’m hoping to use for my next show. I had such a wonderful day.
Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor
Geisha Girl Stereotype Survivor is the theme for the work I did for this show. It was really interesting to see people’s reaction to my paintings. I always enjoy the process of making my art, and I love how the finished product represents feelings and thoughts I had at the time. But, I admit that I wondered how others would perceive my artwork. Will the ideas I had in creating my pieces be conveyed to others or will they see something different? Most people got what I was going for in my work, but even the folks who had different impressions than I had intended – I still found their remarks something to reflect on.
Compared to other art I have put out to the public, this was a much more personal presentation. I looked at race and gender from a personal perspective. What does it mean to be Asian and a woman in society? It was a new experience to be telling strangers straight up about my racial background and how it played into my artwork. Overall, I was impressed with how people asked thoughtful questions and were gracious listeners. My first time in the Art and Wine Walk in Abbotsford was a great success. I can’t wait until September to do it again.