Updated November 6, 2020: The full podcast episode is out now! Listen below.
This year’s INCLUSION Art Show may be online, but that didn’t stop us from connecting with our participating artists! We’re taking our Good For All podcast listeners on a little field trip to celebrate the show and the artists who make it possible.
We sat down with independent artist Alex Lecce, who participated in the show for the first time last year. We also took a trip to PotteryWorks, one of our long-time participating studios, to chat with some of the artists and staff. Take a listen to this sneak preview of our “Artists of Inclusion” podcast episode and check out the highlights from our conversation below.
Master of the Art Alex
Alex Lecce, also known as “Master of the Art Alex,” is a 24-year-old artist who works in a variety of mediums. He sketches with coloured pencils and paints with acrylics on canvas, wooden carvings, and modeling clay sculptures. He also puts his creative skills to use at his job as a cookie decorator at Gabi & Jules Handmade Pies and Baked Goodness.
Alex participated in the INCLUSION Art Show for the first time last year. His debut at the show was a great success marked by numerous sales. Many guests went home with one of his original paintings, sketches, or painted models.
As a lifelong artist, Alex has been painting some of the same subjects since childhood, including characters like Thomas the Tank Engine from Thomas and Friends. Trains and other vehicles are one of Alex’s favourite subjects.
One of Alex’s most popular paintings is of a classic yellow Volkswagen car.
PotteryWorks – A True Collective
PotteryWorks is a studio and gallery space in New Westminster supported by the Community Living Society. The studio supports and teaches artists with disabilities, as well as promoting the artists and their work so they can be recognized for their abilities and contributions in the community.
Though PotteryWorks has been partially shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still a busy place. The studio has a stable group of long-time artists and an incredible team who keep things running. One of the founding principles at PotteryWorks, according to Studio Coordinator Dee Blackmore, is learning. The artists and staff all come to the studio not just to work, but to learn from one another.
“We decided a long time ago that we weren’t just going to be a studio where people came and made work, but that it was important—as it is to any serious artist—that we learned and grew within our artistic practice. And we all learn from each other. That’s how this works. The artists do things and I learn from them, and vice versa. And in that way, we are a real collective.” – Dee Blackmore, PotteryWorks Studio Coordinator
Sheri-Lynn Sietz and Siobhan Harris are two long-time artists at PotteryWorks. When we visited, they were both working on pointillism paintings, using chopsticks to dab the paint onto the canvas.
The artists at the studio often pick up and try out new techniques. The Colour Collective, a group within PotteryWorks, focuses on the foundations of painting. The group has studied the work of many different artists, including Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, who developed the pointillism technique.
It seems that the Pointillists had a point !!
PotteryWorks artists Siobhan Harris and Sheri Lynn Seitz are using the technique to produce some stunning paintings. However, they may be seeing dots in their sleep soon. pic.twitter.com/cc90jk6ErO
— PotteryWorks CLS (@PotteryWorksCLS) October 13, 2020
Sheri has been with PotteryWorks for the past twenty years, since the studio’s beginning. During that time, she’s developed her skills in multiple disciplines: painting, pottery, and photography. One of her photos even made it onto a street banner just outside the studio!
Siobhan similarly works in multiple mediums. Much of her work is inspired by nature—for example, a series of mugs inspired by the cherry blossoms in Stanley Park. She is also inspired by her friends at PotteryWorks and their artwork.
[What do you enjoy about being a part of this studio?]
“Being with my friends. Getting ideas from them. Looking at their work. I like the feeling of being here. And I like looking at art.” – Siobhan Harris, Artist
The staff at PotteryWorks are an essential part of what makes the studio successful. We spoke to two staff members, Megan Richer and Sarah McClure, about their work supporting the artists.
Megan and Sarah both have arts backgrounds. Megan’s interests are graphic design and photography while Sarah specializes in ceramics. In their roles at PotteryWorks, they are able to use their skills and passions to help artists who share the same interests.
When it comes to providing art facilitation, providing support looks different for each artist. It might be guiding an artist’s hand, demonstrating a new technique, or just identifying an artist’s strengths and helping them draw that out of themselves. Sometimes, they might be working with someone for a few weeks to teach them a new technique and come in one day to find the artist has made a huge leap forward. “It’s amazing to see that,” says Sarah. “It’s inspiring be like, ‘maybe I helped there.’”
“I’d say just the determination and work ethic of all the guys is actually inspiring for me,” says Megan.
The INCLUSION Art Show is a celebration of the past year’s work. It’s an opportunity to relax, have fun, and reconnect with folks they haven’t seen in a while. As BC’s largest disability art show, it’s also a chance for the artists to connect with the general public and be recognized for their work.
“People are blown away by the quality of the art and just how much work that the individuals have done as well. They’re always really impressed. There’s always a good buzz around…[for] the individuals as well, there’s a real big energy there for them.” – Sarah McClure, PotteryWorks staff member
Check out these artists and many more at www.inclusionartshow.com. This year’s show features photography, paintings, illustrations, pottery, glasswork, jewelry, fabric art and cards all for sale directly through the artists. And be sure to subscribe to our podcast, Good For All, to hear episodes as soon as they’re released. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen.