So I've decided to create a blog. The purpose here is to share my work in process as it happened, as well as to share photos and stories from the amazing projects and adventures I have had in the past few years. Perhaps those with similar interests and professions to mine will read this, or perhaps those who are simply curious, "What is it that Amira actually does? How does it work? What is it like?"
I moved from Toronto to Vancouver in January/February of this year 2016, leaving a large community of friends and colleagues back in Ontario after almost 13 years of living there. Canada is geographically large but socially not so much, at least not in the theatre, circus, and arts scene, and I want to stay connected with Toronto as time goes on; I'm sure I'll be back there sometime. Also having made new friends internationally in the past few years, I hope to stay connected to people all over the world by making my stories publicly available here. My life as a freelance artist has led me to incredible and extraordinary places and situations, doing things I would never have predicted I would get to do... but may have dreamed of. I'd like to share more stories of those adventures with you.
However, that said, a good blog holds interest for more than its author's family and friends. It should have useful information and points of interest to people with shared interests. For those reasons I intend to post pictures, videos and writings from my specific set of interests: theatre, design, circus, puppetry, painting, custom decor, installation art, public art, community-building, travel, and ecological/environmental concerns. I look forward to your comments and I hope new connections are made here. Please let me know what you think. :)
Since arriving in "Rain City" mid-February 2016, I've got some excellent projects in the works... to date:
The Wallpaper Fashion Show, with Engagement Unlimited
While cold-calling for myself as a new stilt performer in town (see www.stiltcore.com), I called up a special events company and sent an email with my info, mentioning that I make my own costumes. Apparently I had great timing because they had an opening for a costume designer/builder to create a fashion show using & featuring wallpaper for their client, a paint & wallpaper company from India who are bringing their people to Vancouver for a week of fun and team-building type stuff. They wanted me to create 7 feature dresses and 5 "accent" garments out of wallpaper, and manage backstage at the show. As I write it is T-22 hours from showtime and overall, it is in good shape. I'm excited to present this. I haven't had the chance to really hunker down and build a body of work for a while. Here are some shots of work in progress, from designs to photos from fittings.
Holt Renfrew - Custom Decor
I met with the Visual Department Co-ordinator at the Holt Renfrew store downtown Vancouver soon after I arrived in town. I painted a wall in one of their Dunsmuir St. windows, and created a paper flower wall installation. I think this will be an ongoing on-call service relationship that I'm pleased to continue after 8 years freelancing for the Bloor St. Toronto location.
Scenic Painting at Scenic Oasis
Although it's been a while since I did any scenic painting for theatre, and never before for film, I looked for work painting in Vancouver with great results. I found a great, big scenic shop that mainly builds sets for commercials, in Burnaby. The foreman of Scenic Oasis Film Inc. has a good crew of nice guys who work hard to put out high-quality sets and props on short notice for commercials, so far as I can tell. I'm thrilled to be using those skills and learning more. IATSE Local 891 has recently granted me permittee status so I see a fair amount of scenic painting in my future. Since starting there in mid-March I've done a wide range of paint projects, including painting vacuform paving stones and bricks, a fake polished concrete floor, foam rocks, aging wood boards, and a foam 10' square mini-mountain, plus painting a set in studio, tuff-backing a room on location, painting a canvas to look like rock, and using Polybase to do a concrete effect and then aging that..... so many techniques and skills, so much fun! I'm looking forward to future shop days spent mixing colors and creating effects, playing with the shop dog and eating BBQ from the double-barrel custom smoker the guys built. MMMmmmmm.
Amira Emma Routledge,