Couture Neckties by LEELA

Last week was the launch party for Leela Jacobs (aka LEELA)’s new line of couture neckties. It was a fabulous party in a city that sadly lacks any kind of fashion scene. Luckily Leela and some of her designer friends, such as Makara Martin, are building a foundation for Calgary to build a fashion scene. The 2 floor loft party was full of wonderfully dressed people and a few people dressed as mannequins wearing Leela’s handsome ties. I must admit that when I first saw one of the live mannequins I was startled and couldn’t decided whether it was a real person or not. They were all so freakishly still until I saw one guy near the staircase chatting away with a guest. Ah, the illusion was destroyed! In any case, I had a blast. Cocktails, scotch and amuse-bouche were served and I got to chat with many interesting people as I indulged in the food treats.

Sorry for the crappy iphone photo. Didn't bring my fancy DSLR to the party!

Now the whole reason why I was at that exclusive party was because Leela hired me as the videographer for a behind the scenes of a photo shoot we did a few weeks prior. It all started with a chance encounter where Leela and I went to a small concert for The Gentleman Leon and met at the after party. I told her what I did, she told me what she did and I contacted her a day later to get this gig rolling. This video job was my first in Calgary so I was naturally excited! I finally got to dust off my final cut pro and get these editing skills to good use. I was even more ecstatic that it was a video involving fashion. What a dream!

Leela decided that she would have me shoot a video of a photo shoot she was going to have of all her ties being modelled by some handsome friends who volunteered to help her out. She booked a studio space from Fuller Edge Photography, which was located in such a beautiful place – right in the centre of the industrial section of Inglewood. Wow! What a place, that location was. It reminded me so much of Griffin Town in Montreal. So Nostalgic – I felt like I was home. Huge warehouse with stark white walls and big rectangular windows with bars through them and white chandeliers dangling above on the ceiling. Chad and Erin Fuller were very professional yet very easygoing people. They were a joy to work with! The whole day went smoothly and I got to shoot some awesome footage.

The video I did was muted and projected at the launch party on one wall and set to loop infinitely. It was fantastic to see my work playing for all to see! Everyone I chatted with at the party gave me compliments on the video (and on the dress I was wearing too haha) once they found out I was the one who did it. I gotta admit, it felt good!

My video projected on the wall of the loft.

So without further ado, here’s the video (promo version). The full version link is at the end of the clip!

Gorilla House [Live Art]

On Wednesday evening, I participated in an amazing experience for artists to showcase their talent. The Gorilla House [Live Art] hosts on Wednesdays an art battle where artists gather at 7pm and are given 3 themes to choose from, which the artists then use as inspiration for an art piece. The catch is that the artists only have 2 hours to produce the piece and at 9pm a live auction takes place where the visiting public bid on the piece that the artist created. It’s a great chance for art lovers to see a piece being created from start to finish and get to own one of a kind pieces and meet the artist. It’s also a great opportunity for artists to sell their work and showcase their talent.

I have to say, it was a surprise that the city of Calgary would have such an event. When I first moved here, I thought there was a lack of culture and variety of styles in the people compared to Montreal. However, coming to the Gorilla House opened my eyes to people who have such creativity and other people who love (and have the money to spend on) art.

I was a bit nervous coming to the event cold turkey. I had never visited and I had no idea how the night would unravel. I’m usually the type of person to only try new things if someone were to accompany me (I’m so shy!) and that night my partner was working and some of my other friends were only able to make it closer to then end of the night. So there I was, entering this unknown place where strangers gathered. I immediately saw that many of the artists were regulars and they were all friends. I didn’t hit it off with anyone – I just stayed in my corner and set up my canvas and paints.

The night started with the spin of a wheel to determine what the 3 themes were. That night’s themes were: Schoolyard wimps, judgement and reality TV. They were hard themes, but as every art piece you can paint anything and bullshit your way through it saying that it totally relates to the theme. Ah college, how I remember those art critiques where you can immediately see who is able give a convincing speech and who is just full of non-sense. I stared at my blank canvas for a good while before grabbing my paint brush. I forgot to bring a sketchbook so I just went with my gut and painted. I’m a very fast painter and found myself done after an hour, and I gotta say I was pleased with the result.

The theme I chose was judgement. The idea behind this piece is very personal. Having just moved to Calgary, I sometimes feel as though the city is judging my every move and that I am alienated because of the cultural difference between Montreal and Calgary. “There goes that Francophone from Montreal, being all rude and bitchy again like all those big city folk.” The piece has tall building towering over the centre object that is scratched out with a palette knife. See, aren’t I good a BSing?? It’s completely untrue that I feel alienated, but it fit the judgement theme, so I pretended to be. It’s like being an actor and embodying a personality to get an idea across.

Et voilà! Done and done.

I was immensely surprised by the compliments I received for my piece, especially since I haven’t touched a paint brush on canvas in years. A lot of people commended me on the technique I used. I had never sold my art or done paid commissions, so I’m not used to receiving so many responses from strangers. All my previous work are owned by my family or were given to friends as gifts, so it was nice to have such a great response from these art lovers! My piece sold for 70$, which was a complete surprise and delight! I started the bid at a modest 5$ and the first bidder yelled out 25$. Holy crap was my first thought. The rest of the bidding went by in a flash. People were yelling out numbers and I could feel my face burning up and my pits sweating! My partner was ready to bid on my piece in case no one called out anything, but he didn’t get a chance to say anything because in a matter of seconds, the bid was at 50$. Talk about boosting my ego! What a crazy and gratifying experience.

I left the place with lots of confidence and ready to go to the next battle. Next time, I will bring a much bigger canvas!

 

New Business Cards

New city, new address, new work. With all that requires a new business card. When I lived in Montreal, I never made myself any business cards and relied on friends to pass on work to me (gotta love connections!). But now that I am in a city where I don’t know anyone, I need business cards to help spread the word of what I can do.

Making the business card was a bit hard because I’m a jack of all trades when it comes to the creative arts. I can do a lot of things, yet if I list everything on one card it would make me seem like I’m indecisive in what I want to do as my main job. I suppose there is a bit of truth in that, but can’t a person be good at multiple things? I remember back in CEGEP (which is a college level of education in Quebec), I was refused by the school to take math classes on the side because my major was in the creative arts department. They didn’t allow students to take any classes they wanted – they only allowed us to take classes that are related to our program. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. Luckily, when I went to university, I was able to take those math classes while studying film as my major. Thank you Concordia University for allowing me to study something I enjoyed!

My love of working in different areas of interest has always been my downfall. Am I not allowed to work in different fields and succeed? I’ve always been a top student and I won multiple scholarships and awards. I’m a fast learner so I can do whatever it is I am asked to and succeed. I’m just trying to find my niche, yet I feel that my superiors are holding me back. Let me spread my wings already!

I grew up in a household where my parents encouraged me to pursue whatever it is that I wanted. This freedom to choose was good and bad. I loved to do too many things and found myself at a loss. I needed direction. Back in high school, I was hesitating in which field I should go to: should I become an engineer because I am one of the top in my class in math and science; or should I go into the creative arts because I loved to draw and paint and I had a very creative mind? For a long time, I was trying to find a field where I can mix the two together and I came up with architecture. However, I did not go to school in that field because the school where I’d study was too far from home (yes, I was young and not ready to move away from my parents’ place). I finally decided to go into creative arts at my local CEGEP, and so my journey of developing multiple creative skills began…

Anyway, back to the business cards (/end rant). Listing my abilities on a business card was a no go. I can’t write on a tiny business card that I can be a videographer, a film editor, an animator, a baker, a set builder, a painter, a crafter, etc. The list would go on forever… So instead I summed it up and wrote “Caroline de Koninck – Film & Crafts”. That’s broad enough to imply many skills, right? But I was worried it would be too broad, so I played a bit of pictionary, and put some of my skills in picture format. The end result looks like this:

I put together a film strip with a pipping bag and cupcake (to represent my love for baking and cake decorating- which, come to think of it, is a great mix because it involves science and creative arts!), along with a pair of scissors and glue gun (to show my crafting skills, which is my most experienced skill because I’ve been doing it since I was 3!) and a trim tool from Final Cut Pro and camera (to represent my videography/editing abilities).

I’m pretty happy with the result! I hope my future employers will like it as well. Now off I go to get some work in the field of my choice.

Baking for Fall

Since arriving in Calgary, I’ve been busy running errands, filling this new apartment with furniture and just plain getting used to this new city. In between my busy moments, I’ve had time to bake, much to the delight of my new friends who have generously offered to taste test my little creations.

To start, I’ve made several batches of chocolate chip cookies.

And I plan on making pumpkin cookies soon, since this is the month where pumpkins are at their prime!

Speaking of baking with pumpkins, for Thanksgiving (the Canadian one), I made pumpkin cupcakes with a cream cheese centre decorated with a swirl of buttercream and a marshmallow fondant (with a chocolate chip on top) pumpkin. Mmm mmm!

 

 

Wedding Videography

I was fortunate enough last week that my friend Ray was in a bit of a last minute bind and needed me to be his second videographer for a wedding. (Say what!!!) I was so excited that I didn’t even bother asking nor did I care how much money I would get for the job. I’ve always wanted to try it out. So what did I do first? I immediately googled what wedding photographers wear at weddings. Never mind searching for tips about shooting video at such an occasion. My main concern was my attire!

The day of the shoot was perfect. The weather was beautiful (though a little hot for being all in black). The couple had already married in another country and wanted to simply have a reception with family and friends (a grand total of 400 people might I add). So this meant that Ray and I didn’t have to shoot any ceremony. Instead, we came over to the couples house where we videoed them getting ready for the reception.

We then went to the old port of Montreal, in the industrial section and took some shots there. I was able to get some great candid shots at this location while another photographer, Jeremy, took some shots.

Ray had given the wedding couple a package deal that involved us, the videographers, to do an on the spot edit of our footage so far, which would then be shown at the reception. So while Ray and Jeremy went to do a few errands before the reception, I went to the hall and started editing (on Ray’s beautiful new Macbook Pro Retina! *drool*).

The couple had already chosen a song, so I simply went through the rushes and started dropping the footage onto the timeline and times it to the music. I’m still getting used to using Final Cut Pro X, but everything went smoothly. I obviously didn’t have time to colour correct or do some compositing to fix some images, but I gotta say that I am very happy with my same day edit.

My only disappointment of the evening was that the video never got shown at the reception. The PC that was hooked up to the projector didn’t have an auxiliary cable plugged in between it and the projector! So no sound… What a drag. No one came prepared with the right equipment to play this video and my hard work didn’t get shown. The couple did end up seeing the video during the reception, but the music couldn’t be heard because the hall was so loud with the live band performing.

At least I have a copy of the video for myself. Go check it out!

 

What I learnt from this experience:

- Make sure to check all equipment needed for the night prior to guests arriving,

- I will now know how to treat my wedding staff the day I have my own wedding because I know how hard they work!

- Practice shifting focus with a shallow depth of field. It wasn’t easy shooting the couple while they were dancing around, in a low lit room, with such a short depth of field!

- Bring headphones to edit video.

A Blank Canvas

This will be my very first post, and it couldn’t have been during a busier time. I haven’t had a chance to work on any projects lately because of my move to Calgary, AB that is coming up very soon. The only work that I need to do before I leave is a painting for my aunt.

I promised a long while ago that I’d paint her another piece to add to her collection, but I put it off because I was lacking inspiration. My paintings are mostly with an abstract background and an object or person in the foreground. I have mostly painted flowers in the past, however I wanted to do something different this time. I really love the paintings that stores like The Bombay Co. or Structube, or other furniture businesses have on display. They work well with any decor and so I have always done my paintings in that respect.

There’s one painting that I found from my Internet searches of a woman who is sitting in front of a window, gazing outside. Check out the painting here.

Girl in Dress, found on Bombay.ca

 

I thought it was a nice painting that would fit well in my aunts dinning room on the wall that has a patio door leading to the backyard. The painting would be as if the person were gazing out a window that was on that same wall as the patio door. The only thing that is holding me back from painting this is that the subject matter seems a bit sad. The gaze of the woman seems longing and sad – distant from what is happening outside. You can’t see the woman’s expression, and her body language makes her seem anxious about something, like she saw something out the window.Her chair is facing towards the inside of the room, so she must have turned her body to look outside because something caught her eye. She is also dressed up, so it makes me wonder why she is gazing out a window when she should be out at a special event. Maybe she’s stuck, and can’t go outside? In any case, I really want to paint something more uplifting for my aunt, so for those reasons I still haven’t painted anything.

Being handed “carte blanche” for a project is sometimes difficult in the sense that it’s hard to come up with something when you are not given a direction to go in. That is why I turned to the Internet to give me ideas. However, I still need a keyword or some kind of indication of what she wants. Then, I will paint it in no time!

Until then, my canvas remains white…