By Ansharah Shakil, July 5 2023—
Multi-medium art showcase For The Love of: Volume 1, or FTLO, premiered June 23 to 24 in association with Arts Commons at Jack Singer Rehearsal Hall. With 15 local artists, music from multiple DJs, day shows open to all ages and evening shows for those over 18, FTLO was an excellent and enjoyable display of Calgarian art. With the intended aim of promoting Calgary’s art scene and increasing its diversity, the art show was a lively new event for the city, filled with mingling people looking at artists’ work and listening to music in the Arts Commons.
Project Manager Nadia Ashton explained what went into the art showing, and why it took place.
“What we hope to accomplish is to show the art scene in Calgary,” she said. “There’s a lot of hidden talent in Calgary, so we wanted to show all the different artists and different mediums.”
In a press release to the Gauntlet, the team behind FTLO described their desire to encourage young people in Calgary to stay and have their art seen in their city, rather than leaving for other opportunities. With projects like FTLO, more artistic opportunities are created in Calgary, a city where the arts and culture scene is unique and adaptable, but often not recognized. FTLO is a project about passion — passion for art, for artists and for Calgary.
Ashton was enthusiastic about how the showings on the 23rd and 24th, the first events that FTLO has put on, went.
“Nothing’s gonna go right the first time, but it went as smoothly as can be, and all the artists’ pieces look amazing,” she said.
The future may even hold a Volume 2 of FTLO, according to Ashton, who said the team has a few artists and ideas in mind already.
The artists in Volume 1 showcased a variety of fascinating artwork from up-and-coming artists, some of whom are new to the particular type of art they showcased and some who have been doing it for a long time.
Alex Sumatree, who can be found as @sumantree on Instagram, started doing his artwork recently after working in artist management and film, and his background in other mediums helped inspire some of his current work.
“I was working in film and we have this place in Vancouver that’s like a haunted, abandoned island,” he said. “One day I decided to make the most uncomfortable, anxious piece I could while I was in that haunted asylum.”
Another artist named Annabelle, who can be found on Instagram as brikneyspears, enjoys mixing mediums and physically interacting with her art. For one piece, she even used dried Elmer’s glue that she covered her leg in, waiting for it to dry before peeling it off.
“I get inspired as I go. But usually right before I’m about to sleep, I’ll have a vision of how I want it to be,” she said. “I use a lot of random materials that you find in your house [because] I don’t like working on my laptop, it feels fake. I don’t want to look at a screen if I’m making art. It defeats the purpose of it. It should make you happy, but looking at a screen doesn’t make me happy.”
Ryan Lee, a photographer whose work can be found on his website and on Instagram as @stillchromatic, displayed a number of works depicting beautiful locations across the world, including places like L.A., Santa Monica, Mexico and Jeju Island, but also Calgary’s own Nose Hill Park.
Having gone from digital to film and back to digital, he brought a consistency he learned from film to his digital work. But for Lee, simplicity is sometimes key. When it comes to the equipment used or the ideas and content behind the photos taken, he explained that more expensive or more complicated doesn’t equal better.
“For me, it’s just like I found these things pretty, and I hope you’ll find it pretty in the same way that I did,” he said.
These are just a few of the many incredible artists FTLO promoted during their showings, but their work illustrates that the talent in our city deserves to be seen, the exact purpose behind FTLO Volume 1, a showcase which was a celebration of young creatives in Calgary.
More details about what FTLO hoped to accomplish with their art showings can be found on the Arts Commons website, where info about any future events will likely be found as well.