Nov 192013


The Holiday Assembly is only a few days away! So where did we get our inspiration for the event?

A holiday event combining a night market with DJs and other installations and activities has been on our minds for few years now. After visiting traditional European markets in Stockholm and Copenhagen, and night markets in Seoul and Bangkok, we wanted to put something together that reflected the Canadian holiday spirit in Ottawa, but in a creative way. Essentially a new take on the holiday cultural experience in Canada’s capital.


When the Canadian Museum of Nature approached us last summer to be a part of Nature Nocturne in November, we thought this would be the perfect time to put this together. Plus, November is Support Local Month in Ottawa, so we’d get to celebrate local creativity in a beloved national institution.


Originally the name of the event was simply Holiday Night Market. But we wanted to expand the concept of what the event was about, putting the focus on not just the shopping aspect of the holidays, but also on gathering people together through music and making. For us it was about engaging with the holidays in an intentional way, whether it’s supporting independent makers through your purchases or customizing your holiday experience through your own creations. And so The Holiday Assembly emerged as the name.


We’re really excited to bring you the very best of  the lead up to the holidays, but with a creative, contemporary twist. It’s like all the good stuff wrapped up in bow, on one night, with lots of traditional festive cheer. For more details, head here.

May 012013

For our Cinco de Mayo party this coming Friday, we were inspired by quintessential Mexico: bold colours, iconic images, and fiesta gatherings.

Here’s a few images that inspired and helped us develop the event theme, our poster design and the project for this month’s event.

For more photo inspiration, check out our Pinterest board.







Photo credits: 1234567891011.

Mar 152013

Angelo by Maurizio Anzeri

It’s here! We’re hosting our geometrics-inspired DIY + DJ party tonight.

When you mention Spirographs to people, for most it conjures up childhood memories of creating endless spirals on white pieces of paper (and knowing there was some math behind the toy but not really knowing what you were learning).

For the March event, we were inspired by very modern interpretations of the drawing toy as found in the art, craft and design world, on paper and in 3-D.

Here’s a few images that inspired and helped us develop the event theme, our poster design and the project for this month’s event (more on the project in an upcoming post).

For more event inspiration, check out the inspiration board on our Pinterest page.

Dream catchers in black and white via Tumblr

Untitled (2011) by Anne Seidman

Hadr / Kvadrat (2012) by Todd Bracher Studio

WOW for Rogerseller (2013) by harvest textiles

We Couldn’t Get In. We Couldn’t Get Out. (2007) by Lacey Jane Roberts

Work for The Youthquake (2011) by María Aparicio Puentes

Seed of Life (Long Deep Sleep) (2013) by Shaun Kardinal


Mar 122013


We’re loving the juxtaposition of two of our event inspirations this month: supernovae vs. supervinyl. It’s nature drawing in the sky vs. machines drawing on paper. Both result in geometric Spirograph images.

The first video by NASA was posted on the web in late February 2013. It shows the gamma rays photographed by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope on its orbital journey around Earth. The gamma rays come from different cosmic events and entities like atomic decay, supermassive black holes, supernovae, stars and pulsars. The high-energy radiation activity from the events look like an animated Spirograph.

The second video is of the art project “Drawing Apparatus” by Robert Howsare, created in March 2012.  Two ordinary record turntables are hacked to make geometric drawings. The turntables are connected to a pen through a mechanism, that uses the rotating platters to move the pen.  The drawings produced by the contraption look like old Spirograph images.

Jan 112013


As you saw from the last post, Eadweard Muybridge’s seminal work in photography played a big role in inspiring us when we developed the event concept this month.

Muybridge introduced the idea of a moving image to the world in the 1870s, by looping a series of timed photographs using a zoopraxiscope. The photographs were humans and animals in motion.

It’s argued that he produced the world’s first animated GIF, which are so huge today.

Despite living in an age of technology at our fingertips, as Clive Thompson from Wired writes in his article: ”One hundred and thirty years later, we’re still living in the age of Muybridge”.

A few of our favourites are below – you can spot them in our event poster. More of Muybridge’s work reinterpreted as GIFs can be found here.



Mar 232012

Our last Prints & Inks profile is not on an artist but the Montreal-based creative print shop and studio Station 16. The shop + studio offers limited edition prints from some of the best street and graffiti artists in North America and Europe (including Prints & Inks exhibiting artists Antoine Tavaglione, whatisadam, En Masse, Martine Frossard, Labrona and Niko). Originally just a family textile screenprinting business, owner Carlo De Luca decided 18 months ago to offer free screenprinting space to artists in the city to create and print their works, uniquely partnering his family business with his love of art.

Here’s Carlo’s story on setting up a screenprinting studio, having silkscreening in his blood, and being inspired by the artists who work at and collaborate with Station16.

1. Telll us a bit about Station16. What was your motivation to start this print shop/studio? How did you get started?

Station16 was/is primarily a textile screen print business. I’ve been doing this for twenty years (the last 10 on my own). About 18 months ago I wanted to diversify my business and since I love art, the natural progression was to start up a fine art studio within my shop. I reached out to artists in the city and offered them the opportunity of free space within my shop to see how we can take their art and combine it with my medium. This is when I met whatisadam. He was screen printing these amazing and awesome edition prints at home using a light bulb and one screen that he kept reclaiming. I was so impressed with his skill and passion that I immediately knew that we would produce a wonderful product together. His passion for art with my resources and equipment produced his first successful solo art exhibit in Montreal, April 2011. Later in the year, I realized that I could offer this to other artists and give them an opportunity as well. This is when was created.

2. How did you become interested in silkscreening?

My family has always been in the textile (needle trade) Growing up, my summer jobs were in the print shop. At the age of 21, I decided to work full time and I started managing a print shop. By age 31, I started up my own business. I guess you can say it’s in my blood.

3. How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers?

My influence whether printing on paper, fabric or wood has always quality. I look at master printers and compare my work to theirs. I am constantly looking to improve, invent and explore. I often ask myself, if Andy Warhol would walk into my shop and view my quality of work…would he choose Station16 as his print house ? He’d better!

4. How many artists are involved with Station16? How do you go about selecting whose work you will feature?

Presently we have 9 artists onboard. I love street , graffiti, pop , modern and contemporary art. I love wheat paste artist and muralists as well. Artists selected would definitely fall into these categories.

5. Is there a collaborative aspect to your studio and your enterprise? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Station16 fine art department is based on collaborations between printer and artist. Station16 absorbs all the development costs and remits a fair percentage to the artist based on the sells of their works. We provide them an online shop platform and take care of all the shipping.

Working with different artists and collectively showcasing their works on one online screen print shop enables the magic of strength in numbers to work. Emerging and established artists directing their fans to our shop, enables people to view their works and introduces them to the works of other artists they were unfamiliar with.

Recently we collaborated with Montreal art collective En Masse, and produced for them their first ever serigraph print . En Masse is a collective of artists that produce these large scale handpainted murals with black/white imagery. This original drawing was a collaborative of six different artists. The edition is signed and numbered by all six artists involved. En Masse is gaining much deserved recognition for their works. Recently they were part of the Bing Bang exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

6. What are some of the challenges of running your own print shop/studio? What are the opportunities?

The textile screen print challenges are competition with overseas production.

Surround yourself with good people. Get the employees involved with the process. Make them understand that whether they are printing a t-shirt or fine art print, the impression once on the medium is there forever. Be proud of what you put out there!

My textile screen print business has given me the opportunity to explore other interests and to feed my soul with the fine art program I have developed.

7. What’s next for Station16 in terms of creative projects?

We recently completed a collaboration with CEASE for ArtTV at Montreal Nuit Blanche.

We were also at Armory Week in New York City from March 9-11. We also had a booth at Fountain Fair, where we showcased prints produced at Station16.

8. Anything else we should know about?

Station 16 is named after my MHM screen print machine that has 16 stations…small editions made at station16 are sometimes developed in editions of 16.

Surround yourself with things that make you happy ! Hang up some art !

Thanks Carlo! To see some of the work from artists at Station16, and to find out more about the print studio/shop, check out Station 16′s website. You can also visit the studio in Montreal at 111 Avenue de Louvaine West.

Mar 222012

Next up as part of the Prints & Inks artist profile is Toronto-based designer and screenprinter Sandi Falconer (aka Deadweight). Her prints reflect slightly askew hand drawn text, tired eyes, scrappy patterns, witches, objects of perceived luck or fortune, triangles, textured paper, wish bones, and the moon. She’s done work for the likes of The Walrus, Wavelength, The Images Festival, City Of Craft, The Hype Machine, and more. She plays music in The Guest Bedroom and collaborates on a line of screen printed leather goods called Falconwright.  Did we mention she’s also a full time office worker and loves avocados?

Here’s what she had to say:

1.     Tell me a little bit about your creative/art background. Also, what got you interested in silkscreening?

I got interested in screen printing at a time when a handful of people were doing really great screen printed posters in Toronto. I was totally dazzled by the bright colours, and I really wanted to get in on that (and be able to make my band t-shirts). My art background is mostly music related (school wise), and I’m a self taught hack when it comes to illustration and screen printing, but I love doing it and hope to continue expanding my knowledge/skills by moving forward and making stuff.

2. Describe the items/designs you’ve submitted to the Prints & Inks Show. Where did the inspiration for the print/design come from?

I’m a big fan of space. And coffee. But I probably wouldn’t enjoy space coffee!

3. What is your creative process? Where do you derive your imagery from – found objects? Your original drawings? Appropriated images?

My imagery is inspired by all kinds of things, but over the years it’s become a bit more focused on the themes I tend to enjoy. All my work is now illustrated/hand lettered by myself and screen printed in my home, though I have recently been experimenting with some digital printing (for shame!).

4.     How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work.

Whenever I see a screen print that blows me away, I love trying to solve it like a math problem. That kind of wonder/interest is a really appealing feeling! I love seeing a colour combo blow my socks off. And I love being inspired by others to become a better printer, a better illustrator, just plain better.

5.     Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you work with other artists/collectives? If so, what is the place of collaboration in your practice? Do you see silk screening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Most of my screen printing work is done solo, though I am collaborating with a friend on a line of leather goods called Falconwright.  I design and screen print the patterns and my friend Danielle does the product development and sewing. I think screen printing is great for a skills sharing kind of collab. Certainly!  I’ve never collabed with another printer on a print before, but it is something that is definitely appealing to me. Maybe this is the year!

6. What’s next for you in terms of creative projects?

More Falconwright stuff, putting together my bands latest release, and working on some larger format screen prints.  Plus making more time for drawing in general!

7. Anything else we should know about?

I love avocados, but I used to think they looked disgusting. Things change and that’s good!

Thanks Sandi! For more of her prints and products check out her website.

Mar 192012

Next up we’re profiling Prints & Inks contributor and Ottawa-based artist Guillermo Trejo. Originally from Mexico, Guillermo studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Etching in Mexico City, and is currently completing his MFA at the University of Ottawa.

Much of Guillermo’s work borrows directly from news media, pairing disparate political events that reveal a borderless world where humans ubiquitously fight against poverty and violence. This kind of democratization of popular or regional stories allows us to ponder not on our differences, but on the incredible likeness of many of our world’s important episodes.

Thank you to Prints & Inks show assistant Rhiannon Vogl for interviewing Guillermo.

Here’s what he had to say about his work:

Tell me a little bit about the specific project you have on display at Prints & Inks? What is the (his)tory behind it?
I am presenting 2 projects, one is call Blue Series; in this case the idea is to do formal investigation, by printing different images that do not have a relation between each other, by using the same color. Creating a linear narrative that is possible only by the color.

The second project is calling Free Association: in this project I print two images in one paper. The idea is to create a free association, free of interpretation, but that have a linear narration.

2. What is your reasoning behind choosing the medium of silkscreen?
I [actually] work with lino cuts and woodcuts printed on a letterpress machine, the great grandfather technique of silkscreen.

I work with relief prints, because I found in the intrinsic limitation of the technique a great quality that cannot be achieved with other methods. This limitation pushes the image to be as much direct as possible. I believe that this urgent capacity of communicate in a print is fundamental and only can be acquired by the reproducibility of the same.

Printing is not about the original, but is  about the reproduction.

The relation of politic and printed matter can be track to the origins of society, basically because the technique has been designed to communicate and not to have an aesthetic function.

Statement by the Atelier Populaire:

“The posters produced by the Atelier Populaire are weapons in the service of the struggle and are an inseparable part of it. Their rightful place is in the centers of conflict, that is to say, in the streets and on the walls of the factories. To use them for decorative purposes, to display them in bourgeois places of culture or to consider them as objects of aesthetic interest is to impair both their function and their effect. This is why the Atelier Populaire has always refused to put them on sale. Even to keep them as historical evidence of a certain stage in the struggle is a betrayal, for the struggle itself is of such primary importance that the position of an “outside” observer is a fiction which inevitably plays into the hands of the ruling class. That is why these works should not be taken as the final outcome of an experience, but as an inducement for finding, through contact with the masses, new levels of action, both on the cultural and the political plane.”

3. What is your artistic process? Where do you derive your imagery from?

My artistic process is quite simple, I found an image and then I “distill” the image to fit the technique, by distillation I mean, the reduction of non-necessary details, things that do not have a communicative reason, could be the background, or small details in the image. By doing this process the image became an “icon” for example, a soldier, a car, etc. The images are not a specific soldier but rather all the soldiers.

4. When I think of silkscreening, I think of two very broad categories – the aesthetic/design side, related more to fashion and the creation of saleable objects and then that which is rooted more traditionally in the political spectrum – here I’m thinking of protest posters and the like. Would you situate your work on either side? How so?

I situate my work in the second category, unfortunately we are living in the pinnacle of capitalism, at the extreme that capitalism has consume and commodified all aspects of political stand or contra culture. OBEY is an example of this, without judging the accomplishments and talent of Shepherd Fairey in his work we can see the bizarre chimera of politics and capitalism.

5. How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work.

My biggest inspirations for me at this point are.

Taller de Grafica Popular (Workshop of the Peoples’ Graphics) in Mexico City. This collective works between the 30s and the 70s, creating some of the most incredible politic posters.

Atelier Populaire: This group of artist create some of the most memorable print from all times in the middle of the 1968 protest in Paris France.

Leopoldo Mendes: One of the most versatile printers in the history of printmaking.

6. Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you print with other artists/collectives? If so, what is the place of collaboration in your practice? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

Sadly in my work there is no more collaborative aspect, and it is not because I don’t want it is because, the printmaking community in Ottawa is not too big. Hopefully events like Prints & Inks will create a bigger community.

All print methods stand in the idea of collaboration!

Thanks Guillermo! To see more of Guillermo’s work, visit his website.


Mar 082012

Next up we’re profiling Prints & Inks contributor and Montreal-based street artist whatisadam, who depicts North-American wildlife in new ways in his prints. His ‘comic-book cover’ posters of prostitute Deers, tattooed Mallards and cans of Maple ‘Sizzurp’, can be seen the alleyways and streets of Montreal, Brooklyn and Mexico City.

Tell us a little bit about your creative/art background. Also, what got you interested in silkscreening?

I have always been in art, studied in drawing and design, and animation as well. After a couple of years of that, I took a trip across Canada from Montreal to Whitehorse… I’ve also always been a bit of an outdoorsman. When I got back to the city, I began making silkscreen posters for the street. Images of all those animals I’d seen on my trip began popping up, only they where different, changed.

Describe the piece that was submitted to the Prints & Inks Show. Where did the inspiration for the print/design come from?
All my images are a mixture of wild things of the past and modern influences. Free to Roam is the image of a Buffalo, juxtaposed on text that could be from a torn ad poster, which is on yet another poster.

What is your creative process? Where do you derive your imagery from – found objects? Your original drawings? Appropriated images?
I draw most of my images by hand, ink them and scan them into my computer. Most of them are influenced by advertising, comic books, or old movie posters.

How are you influenced by other artists, specifically, other silkscreeners/printers? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work.
I love to use layers in my work. I also enjoy the limitations that sometimes come with silkscreen printing. For example, using the paper as a color, or limiting yourself to a two color print.

Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?
I have yet to collaborate with another artist, but I do a lot of work with Station16 and CEASE.

What are some projects you’ve worked on the past that you’d like to highlight?
Recently I just did a show with CEASE at Place-des-Arts in Montreal, for Nuit Blanche, a big art event that happens all night.

What’s next for you in terms of creative projects?
I hope to keep collaborating on shows with other street artists and graffiti artists, and there is talk of a group art show at the end of the year with some local Montreal talents.

Anything else we should know about?
Within the year, I plan to turn some of my images into 3D sculptures and objects.

Thanks whatisadam! Check out his website to view his works and find out more:

Mar 062012

As part of  Prints & Inks, the blog will be profiling some of the awesome people in the show: ranging from an illustrator/designer who is a beginner silkscreener to a full-time office worker by day who is a successful screenprinter at night to the owner of a creative print shop focused on collaboration, and more!

First up we start with an artist who is just starting out with silkscreening. Patrick Fraser is an Ottawa-based illustrator and graphic designer. He studied Graphic Design at George Brown College in Toronto, and recently completed the Interactive Multimedia program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. Through the Spins & Needles Silkscreening 101 Workshop he took last December, he’s looking to use silkscreening get his illustrations out there in wearable ways. The design  “Brocery Bag”  he brought to the 101 Workshop is a favourite with us.

Here’s what he had to say about his work:

What got you interested in silkscreening in the first place?

Well, I’ve been drawing ever since I was a little kid. It’s always been my “escape” from reality for sure. Art & drawing has always presented itself as being a prominent part of my life. When I was younger, I managed to get a summer job at a silkscreening & design company. I learned a lot there and silkscreening has always been something that I’ve wanted to learn more about and possibly pursue as a lifelong hobby.

Describe the items/designs you’ve submitted to the Prints & Inks Show. Where did the inspiration for the print/design come from?

I put together a few men and women items – some t-shirts & tank tops with my logo silk screened onto them. The logo I have submitted is called “Brocery Bag”. It’s inspired by text message conversations with my brother-in-law. We would always end our messages saying something like “later bro!”. This turned into both of us trying to out do each other by incorporating the word “bro” into the closing of our text messages. We now have quite a few “BRO” ideas for future t-shirts!!!

What is your creative process? Where do you derive your imagery from – found objects? Your original drawings? Appropriated images?

Usually, it always starts with a quick sketch or pencil drawing. I get a lot of inspiration from what I see around me on a daily basis; what people are talking about; coversations with people; from music and pictures. If and when I can, I take a picture with my cell phone, save it, then draw a quick sketch from it. Those usually become great pieces!

How are you influenced by other artists? Who are you inspired by and how is this translated into your own work?

Any good artist studies work from other artists. If I like the work of another artist, I always try to find out how my style of work can be better from what I’ve studied from their work. I’m inspired by artists like Douglas Fraser, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Ron Mueck, Robert Crumb and En Masse.

Is there a collaborative aspect to your work? Do you work with other artists/collectives? If so, what is the place of collaboration in your practice? Do you see silkscreening as being particularly suited to collaboration?

I’d love to get together at least once a week with other silkscreeners & artists of all kinds. I can’t imagine what would come from a union of that kind! Collaborations are a great thing … Look at Kanye West & Jay-Z … Simon & Garfunkel … Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson … Ice T & Coco …

What are some recent projects you’ve worked on that you’d like to highlight?

I recently designed T-shirts, posters and booklets for the production of the Vagina Monologues show that was held at the Bronson Center in Ottawa from February 24-25, 2012.BOTH SHOWS SOLD OUT!!!) Outside of that, the Prints & Inks Show, which should be a great event. I’m happy to be a part of it!

What’s next for you in terms of creative projects?

Some local outdoor art shows this year. I’ve already started working on some pieces and getting hyped about them. My goal is to have an art show later in the year.

Thanks Patrick! Keep an eye out for his work at upcoming local art shows in Ottawa and check out his website.