Everyone has one of those friends who is just too darn good.
Maybe a super sporty type who sinks baskets effortlessly and consistently shoots straight on the fairway. Even after the beer cart has come by a few times. Or perhaps you know a handy person extraordinare who can perfectly hang a door in their sleep, or rebuild a carburetor while flipping burgers on a grill.
Well dear reader, I have that friend too.
His name is Stew Kirkwood, and his super power is music. A virtuoso guitarist, a tasty drummer with feel for days, pianist, bassist… Stew could get tone out of a 2×4 if you’d let him. Stew is a record producer of multiple Juno nominee recording artists, a singer-songwriter, a sound engineer, and multi-instrumentalist. A musician’s musician who has “it” written into his DNA.
A driving force for decades in Edmonton’s musical community, Stew was the bandleader for Edmonton’s alt rock wonder-band Welcome, as well for the legendary Rotting Fruit, who were a staple at the much beloved Sidetrack Cafe. Most notably, Stew was the proprietor of Sound Extractor Studios, which until it’s recent closure, was of one of Alberta’s foremost institutions in the audio recording business. Sound Extractor was the labour and delivery room for countless artist’s creations, and Stew played the role of trusted Dr. Who slapped your album on the keester and thrust it at you all shiny and bright eyed, ready to play.
I am proud to be one of the many artists who have had the pleasure to work with Stew. For many hours I have witnessed his ability to translate the intangible, to tie frayed ends together so they’re seamless, and to help turn a glimmer of an idea into a perfect little cellophane wrapped square that you can’t wait to share with the world.
This ability my friends, is a super power, and Stew has it in spades. Click to see the amazing body of work that Stew has been involved in over the years.
As talented as he is behind the console, Stew is also a brilliant and acclaimed songwriter. His songs are written with genuine nods to great traditions of rock and roll, roots music, prog, and wherever else be decides to set his sights. While he’s not active with performing his own music right now, there is plenty of back catalogue for any music lover to sink their teeth into a quality Alberta creator’s work.
Stews album Free to Fly On a String That’s Tied is available here.
Graffiti artist completes world’s tallest mural in downtown Calgary
CALGARY — It looms on the edge of downtown a stone’s throw from the Calgary Tower, a splash of colour amid aging buildings, railway tracks, parkades and a steady stream of traffic.
It’s billed as the world’s tallest mural, painted by one of the globe’s top graffiti artists, and is part of a project to turn an austere area of downtown into an expansive open-air urban art gallery.
“The brutalism and dystopian look of this area with the giant parkades and the spiral ramps and stuff — it feels like Gotham. So turning this wall from concrete nothing to this is really fun,” said Peter Oliver, president of the Beltline Urban Murals Project, or BUMP.
The mural is an abstract painting in various shades of orange, black, grey, blue, white and yellow and is the creation of DAIM, an internationally renowned German artist. DAIM, whose real name is Mirko Reisser, has been creating public artworks for more than 30 years.
“DAIM’s work is rooted in graffiti art. It’s abstract and he was actually the very first graffiti artist to start exploring three-dimensional works. So his work kind of obeys the laws of light and shadow but defies the laws of gravity,” Oliver said.
“I think his work really marries well with the brutalism of this building and it’s just a massive flat wall of concrete. It’s the very first prefabricated concrete building in Calgary, built in 1980.”
The mural is 95 metres high, making it the tallest mural in the world “by a long shot,” said Oliver.
He said most cities don’t have giant concrete walls available, with the majority being glass, steel or aluminum. So this was a perfect marriage.
DAIM, who was assisted by three local artists, spent over three weeks painting and went through more than 500 cans of spray paint after a base coat was added to the bare concrete. It is to be a permanent addition to the area and, as of last week, was awaiting a coat of UV sealant to make it complete.
Facing toward the east, it can be seen from a long way away.
“If you’ve got the window seat on the airplane, you can see it on the approach into the airport,” Oliver said.
“I think what we’re really doing with BUMP is re-architecting the identity of this city.”
The project will be unveiling about 60 new murals during its annual festival, which runs from Aug. 1 to 28. Before that, the new art work can be viewed by visitors at the annual Calgary Stampede, which begins this week.
“If you’re coming down, I’d check this out over the parade any day,” Oliver said with a chuckle.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2022.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Alberta’s 2022 Lt. Governor Emerging Artists Named
Alberta’s 2022 Lt. Governor Emerging Artists Named
The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation announces awards totaling $110,000 to the 11 recipients of its 2022 Emerging Artist Award.
“When economic times are tough, our artists are particularly vulnerable,” says Foundation Chair, Arlene Strom. “We are thrilled to invest $110,000 this year in advancing the careers of these outstanding artists at the early stages of their professional development.”
2022 Emerging Artist Recipients:
Perpetual Atife Saxophone, Calgary
Vicki Chau Filmmaker, Calgary
Arlan Vriens Violin, Edmonton; Toronto
Eden Tremayne Soprano, Calgary
Omar Mouallem Writer, Edmonton
Trina Moyles Writer, Peace River
Kiona Ligtvoet Visual Arts, Edmonton
Tenaj Williams Actor, Calgary
Ally McIntyre Visual Arts, Edmonton
Moni Brar Writer/Poet, Calgary
Nahanni McKay Visual Arts, Banff
The Award’s patron, Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta AOE, B.Sc., LLD (hon) awarded the 2022 Emerging Artists at a celebration hosted by the County of Lac La Biche and Portage College on June 10, 2022. Each awardee receives a $10,000 cash award, a handcrafted medal and a certificate.
The 11 recipients were selected from 140 applications in an adjudication process overseen by The Banff Centre. The adjudication panel included: Darren Fung, renowned composer based out of Los Angeles, originally from Edmonton; Sean Caulfield, artist and Centennial Professor in the Department of Art & Design at the University of Alberta; Patricia Darbasie, Alberta actor, director and educator; Jenna Butler, 2014 LG Emerging Artist, award-winning author and educator; Derek Beaulieu, Jury Facilitator, Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre.
For more information on the awardees visit artsawards.ca
Who are the 2022 Emerging Artists?
Perpetual Atife Saxophonist, Calgary: Perpetual Atife is retelling African stories and music through her practice as a jazz saxophonist and songwriter. Her entrepreneurial spirit and energy are as impressive as her skills as a band leader and performer. The aural tapestry she creates combines her Nigerian roots and the realities she exists in today. Her debut album, a collection of her journey through instrumental music, spoken word and vocal music, is due to be released in the Fall of 2022.
Vicki Chau Filmmaker, Calgary: Vicki Chau is a filmmaker and media artist based in Calgary. Her two short films Pulled Strings and Hearth of the Lion capture a slice of her Chinese-Vietnamese heritage in a beautiful lyrical way. Her family and cultural identity have been a core inspiration in her artistic practice and help her to promote the appreciation of both Chinese and Vietnamese culture through a uniquely Canadian perspective. She was selected for the WarnerMedia Access Festivals Program at Toronto’s Reelworld Film Festival in 2021.
Arlan Vriens, Violin, Edmonton/Toronto: Arlan Vriens is an Edmonton-born classical violinist noted for his ability to evoke strong, emotional performances with difficult, contemporary repertoire that pushes the boundaries of what the instrument was designed to do. Equally at home performing newly-written contemporary works or rediscovering long-lost violin techniques, Arlan is committed to nurturing and critiquing classical music as a living, evolving practice. His chamber music and solo violin projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the arts councils of Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland.
Eden Tremayne Soprano, Calgary: Eden Tremayne delivers an authenticity and emotional strength that is impressive to see in an emerging opera singer. A soprano with both a strong technical facility and range, she is noted for her stirring performances. For the past three seasons, Ms. Tremayne has been a McPhee Artist with Calgary Opera. She had her Calgary Opera mainstage debut In the 2019-2020 season as Clotilde in Bellini’s Norma and covered Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème. Tremayne was previously featured as an Apprentice Artist with the San Diego Opera and a Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist with Vancouver Opera.
Omar Mouallem Writer, Edmonton: Omar Mouallem has established himself as a talented young journalist and filmmaker to watch. With the arrival of his important new book of non-fiction, Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas, he’s an important voice in Canadian literature with a long career ahead. A second-generation Canadian born and raised in Northern Alberta’s Muslim Lebanese community, Mouallem has become known for his ability to intertwine human interest stories with world history and broad social issues. Omar co-authored the national bestseller Inside the Inferno: A Firefighter’s Story of the Brotherhood that Saved Fort McMurray and co-directed Digging in the Dirt (with Dylan Rhys Howard), a raw look at the psychological toll of oil and gas labour.
Trina Moyles Writer, Peace River: Trina Moyles blends journalistic knowledge with literary expertise and a love for the land. She grew up in the northern community of Peace River, Alberta (Treaty 8), where she spent much of her childhood immersed in the boreal forest. Moyles’s first book, Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World was published in 2018 by the University of Regina Press. Her second book, a memoir and frontline reportage on the increasing prevalence of wildfire in North America, Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest, was published in 2021 by Penguin Random House Canada. Lookout won a National Outdoors Book Award in 2021 and has recently been nominated as a finalist for the 2022 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize and a finalist for the Memoir Award at the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards.
Kiona Ligtvoet Visual Arts, Edmonton: Kiona Ligtvoet looks to experiences with family and the land they live and work on to create paintings, prints and installations that function as both a personal archive, as well as non-linear storytelling. Kiona grew up west of Edmonton near the hamlet of Calahoo where she lived with her moshom and relatives on scrip land. Her family lines are Cree and Métis descending from Michel First Nation, as well as Dutch/ mixed European. Kiona works in painting, printmaking and drawing, recollecting personal stories of grief and tenderness. Most recent exhibitions have been sahkitok mistahi at Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre (2021), and her solo show, These Are the Things at Latitude 53 (2021). She is currently writing her debut graphic novel We Were Younger Once (2022).
Tenaj Williams Actor, Calgary: Tenaj Williams has built on his community theatre experiences to create a provincial and national footprint as an actor, professionally performing on stages in Alberta and across the country. He has recently branched out into film and television landing roles on various TV series, most prominently the hit CTV comedy show, JANN. Tenaj hopes to further advance his work in the arts and be instrumental in helping to create and foster safe, and brave spaces for diverse and emerging artists. He plans to develop his skills as a director and learn more about theatre production and management.
Ally McIntyre Visual Arts, Edmonton: Ally McIntyre creates bold, powerful paintings that combine passages of abstraction with naturalistic imagery, and which contain moments of aggressive and expressive mark-making, alongside more introspective, sensitive passages of drawing. This blending of visual languages results in highly compelling imagery that fosters unexpected narratives and poetic associations for viewers. Bold and assertive, her works question the prevailing gendered association of large-scale art and expressionism. In 2015, McIntyre was awarded the HIX Award 2015 presented by Tracey Emin and the Jealous Prize 2015. Exhibits include various galleries in London, UK, The Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy, The London Art Fair, Start Art Fair and Art Toronto. She was a finalist in the RBC national painting competition (2018). Her solo exhibition ‘Dog Day Circus’ was featured at the Saatchi Gallery in London, UK (2022). Her work can be found in private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America.
Moni Brar Writer/Poet, Calgary: Moni Brar has published in many of the most respected journals in Canada and received a number of the top writing awards. A Punjabi Canadian writer exploring diasporan guilt and intergenerational trauma, she is poised to make major contributions to the literary arts in Canada. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and multiple Best of the Net awards and was the winner of the SAAG Arts Writing Prize, runner-up in PRISM international’s Grouse Grind Prize, honourable mention in Room magazine’s Poetry Prize, and a finalist in the Alberta Magazine Awards and the Subnivean Awards. Her work can be found in Best Canadian Poetry 2022, the Literary Review of Canada, Passages North, Prairie Fire, Hobart, and the League of Canadian Poets’ “Poem in Your Pocket” postcard series.
Nahanni McKay Visual Arts, Banff: McKay’s creative practice utilizes photography, digital media, as well as performances in the landscape to explore pressing questions related to environmental change. The work often considers the ways landscape and animals have been depicted historically, particularly in the context of national parks, in order to investigate the complex interrelationship between colonial power structures, identity and ecological degradation and loss. Nahanni uses her photography to bring awareness of the need to coexist with wildlife to prevent further harm to the land we reside on. Exhibits include Personal Structures Exhibition, European Cultural Centre, Venice, Italy (2022), Loop 14, Alberta Foundation for the Arts Travelling Exhibition (2020), EXPOSURE Photography Festival Emerging Artists Showcase, Contemporary Calgary and more.
About The Awards
Founders Fil Fraser, Tommy Banks, John Poole and Jenny Belzberg established the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Foundation in 2003 to celebrate and promote excellence in the arts. The endowments they established were created with philanthropic dollars and gifts from the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada. Since its inception in 2003, the Foundation has awarded $1,430,000 to 23 Distinguished Artists and 74 Emerging Artists, all Alberta affiliated. The Foundation administers two awards programs: The Emerging Artist Awards program, established in 2008, gives up to 10 awards of $10,000 each to support and encourage promising artists early in their professional careers. Emerging Artist Awards are given out in even years. The Distinguished Artist Awards program, begun in 2005, gives up to three awards of $30,000 each in recognition of outstanding achievement in, or contribution to, the arts in Alberta. Distinguished Artist Awards are given in odd years.
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