The Eastside Culture Crawl is a garden of branching paths. Almost 450 artists are opening up their studios this year (including 60 first-timers) alongside countless artist talks, demonstrations, and workshops. With so many choices, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Allow us to help guide you. Here’s just a handful of the many incredible local creatives tackling the big issues of today at the 27th annual Eastside Culture Crawl from November 16 to 19—a jumping-off point from whence you can traverse your own winding paths.
Sára Molčan (Arts Factory, 281 Industrial Avenue)
You’ve probably seen Sára Molčan’s work, even if you haven’t realized it. Her paint-mixing videos went viral on Instagram back in 2016—appropriate for an artist whose practice examines what it means to live and love in the digital era. Her large-scale paintings mix image and text, turning social media conventions into smart, sighing, deeply millennial art. Molčan’s latest series, which depicts interracial relationships, was inspired by visitors from last year’s Crawl. Who knows what this year’s event might spark for her?
Nico Gruzling (Sunrise Studios, 1115 East Hastings)
Fashion designer Nico Gruzling uses lasers to freshen up fabric. Precise geometric cut-outs dot her one-of-a-kind clothing, making wearable art from sustainable fabrics. Gruzling’s collection spans accessories and attire, but her techniques come at a cost: the cut-outs create fabric waste. But Gruzling turns these scraps into art, too, be it thread encased in resin to create abstract pendants, or textural swatches that highlight tactility.
Lydia Cecilia (August Studios, 1320 East Pender Street)
Lydia Cecilia’s collages burst off the confines of their backing. Fresh from group exhibitions around the city at Atelier 8.18 and August Studios, Cecilia mixes mediums to create eye-catching work, patching together photography, found media, embroidery, and more to evoke the layered identities people possess. Many of their works are feminine figures with flowers blooming from their necks: a blossoming of endless possibilities, free from expectation and restriction.
Ricardo Khayatte (Parker Street Studios, Suite 202, 1000 Parker Street)
As a member of folk band The Reckoners, first-time Crawl artist Ricardo Khayatte isn’t a stranger to telling stories. But painting is something he picked up during the pandemic, after his daughter fell asleep each night, to help him through that turbulent time. In less than two years, he’s grown from home practice to a studio space, creating vivid, dreamy art that’s grounded in a sense of magical realism. Anything is possible in art: Khayatte’s work sheds the painful past to walk into brighter futures.
Violet Patrich (Gore Studio [Kim Heng Noodles], 617 Gore Avenue)
Fellow first-time Crawler Violet Patrich upcycles baby dolls into creepy-cute conversation pieces. As Ultraviolet Oddities, she scavenges, disassembles, sculpts, paints, and embellishes the toys to create planters, jewellery, sculptures, and homewares. A commentary on consumption of mass-produced plastics, her work is confrontational but whimsical that makes a statement in subversive ways. Like a cow-patterned baby head holding a succulent.
Bronwyn McIvor (Studio 580, 580 Clark Drive)
Beautiful strangeness also pervades Bronwyn McIvor’s saturated oil paintings. The detritus of a rich meal is transformed into a rippling landscape, seen from angles that emphasize the shapes and surrealness. Her Townsfolk series takes inspiration from disparate places to create portraits of eerie yet elegant humanoids. McIvor invites viewers to step into discomfort—and to appreciate the beauty that lies therein.
Bettina Matzkuhn (Mergatroid Building, Suite 235, 975 Vernon Drive)
The earthiness of textiles makes Bettina Matzkuhn’s fabric work ideally suited to explore landscapes and nature. Her detailed hand and machine embroidery emphasizes both the micro and the macro, as she examines how all parts of the ecosystem work in harmony. From large-scale textiles to deconstructed backpacks, Matzkuhn’s fibre art tells stories of natural interdependence and balance.
Laurie Landry (Sun Wah Building, Suite 30D, 268 Keefer Street)
Laurie Landry’s perspective as a Deaf and queer woman permeates her powerful figure art. Her contemporary realist paintings capture motion and gesture in oil, making moments permanent. Gorgeously detailed hands and bodies, caught in moments of gesticulation, illustrate her focal points: the power of communication, the perfect idiosyncrasies of bodies, and the depth of layered colours blooming into the juiciness of skin.