In response to demand from local artists for exhibition space and to promote and celebrate our talented local artists, the London Arts Council and the City of London Culture Services have collaborated with RBC Place London to pilot The Gallery program at RBC Place London as part of our London Arts Live (LAL) program offerings.
The Gallery at RBC Place London is a pilot project. If successful, the program will be expanded into other locations throughout the city.
The purpose of The Gallery is to promote the work of artists and creators residing in London and surrounding First Nations to display original artworks for exhibition, with sales opportunities, on highly prominent and specially designated wall space within this municipally owned building.
For the first exhibition of the pilot stage, The Gallery featured artworks created by Tricia Edgar, a well-known local visual artist, artist educator, and a long-standing LAL artist. She has been involved in the London arts scene for many years and has been participating in several of London Arts Council’s programs, including LAL, Arts Education Classroom Experience (AECE), Culture City X (CCX), and Belong-Inclusive Arts Experiences for Children and Youth. These opportunities supported her growth and development as an artist and educator, while also introducing Londoners of all backgrounds to local art.
An Interview with Tricia Edgar
Q: Tell us the story behind the Tree Energy exhibition. How did it start? What was it inspired by? A: I have a deep love for trees, and now that I’m middle-aged and reflective, I’ve come to see them as a symbol of my upbringing – my roots. I grew up in the Port Dover area, so my roots are rural, and I’ve always enjoyed walking in the countryside, where I can see and feel comforted by all the trees. Being around trees grounds me. I always have a hunger to be in the country though I am a “city person.” I moved here but the feeling followed me. Now, I find trees in the city, especially around Western University and The Coves that I appreciate.
Our Roots Are Everlasting was inspired by tree roots near my childhood home – there were all of these old trees that were cleared for farming, and then all of these roots used to line our property and we used to climb on them and play. Eventually, we dragged them into my dad’s shop because people would steal them to use in their gardens or as décor in their homes. There’s something about that, about the necessity of roots. Some of those trees being hundreds of years old, and my ancestors would have been around that area, and then people taking these roots as valuable art pieces for their homes. It really got me thinking about the significance of my own roots, and it was grounding. Q: I like that. Trees do seem very wise and like they want to impart their wisdom. So, walking through nature you hear little whispers of it, you know?
A: Yeah! And most people feel something from nature and trees. But let’s hope, perhaps we keep that appreciation going for future generations. The desire to touch nature.
Q: What else inspires you as an artist? A: Colour, shape, anything in nature that has repetitive patterns, and I love texture. I just feel really inspired by that visceral experience.
Q: How do you transform those inspirations into artwork, then? How does your creative process work? A: Rooted in Inspiration reflects my creative process. First, I see something in my day-to-day life that inspires me, I feel the story/inspiration and want to document it, and then I use my unique method of painting to convey the feeling visually. Q: So, it starts with something that moves you in a way, and then telling the story of that experience?
A: Yeah, when I start to think about a voice. Like, an artist can give voice to something, you can give voice to even just feeling. Then it’s a pictorial voice. Some people like writers and poets do that through language, and I like to convey these feelings visually. Q: That’s interesting. A writer has language and words to convey feeling, but as a painter you’ve got to convey a feeling visually in a way that resonates with others. A: Yeah, and for me it begins with me wanting to express it for myself. First off, it should be about the artist and not doing it for anybody else. First, it’s doing it for me and expressing because that brings me joy. That’s where my energy and passion is. And then the cool thing is figuring out if I can share that feeling. And we know that art does that.
Some people don’t change the art on their walls for 20 or 30 years, but why? We change our cars, we buy patio furniture, clothing. The message I hope to convey is “Look at what a piece of art can do to your environment – it can give you energy.”
A Blossoming Vibe-Energy Tree is a little more whimsical and I have a series of these fun, playful colourful ones that are reaching up, which were inspired by one tree with the most beautiful bark near my house. The bark to me represents pathways and a journey and gets me reflecting on my own journey and thinking about where I am now.
Q: Why does creativity matter to you?
A: I believe that creativity is so vital, and I see that especially in my work with children and older adults. It’s the unique perspective that each of us have and if you’re able to hone in on it, then you’ve got treasure to share. It makes you feel good.
Q: Right. It colours your life. A: It does. It really colours your life. It gives you something, a positive outlet to express your feelings that are going to come out anyway.
Q: What gaps currently exist when it comes to supporting the Arts? What kind of support is needed?
A: I think it starts with the artist needing to want to be a part of something else. Then, we have to think of ways to overlap the community and the arts and weave them together. There is absolutely a place for traditional galleries, and there is something that will stimulate people everyday when art is brought out into the public realm.
For example, I think that the Traffic Signal Box Wraps throughout the city make a big difference. We need more daily encounters and serendipitous moments with art in our daily lives.
A gap I see that currently exists in the public’s understanding of what an artist does. Art is often seen as hobby instead of a career that contributes to the economy. What could help solve this is more partnerships like this one, more word of mouth, and more education and opportunities for the public to value artwork and artists more.
Q: What do you envision for the Arts in London?
A: I would love to see more art clubs, art centres, etc. where artists can go for artistic development, to learn from each other.
Q: What made you put yourself out there to work with RBC Place London?
A: I’m really proud to live here and feel that my city cares about art. RBC Place London is fostering a lot of community events, and a convention centre is a real catalyst of activity. To have art in a place that is action packed is something that I love. People aren’t coming here specifically to see artwork, but it’s a serendipitous encounter. One of my girlfriends was watching the news and saw my artwork in the background of an interview happening at RBC Place London. That means a lot to me!
Q: That’s awesome! Where else can we find your artwork?
A: You can see my work during the London Artist Studio Tour, I also have two group shows through the Central Ontario Art Association (one in Etobicoke and one in Ingersoll), as well as some artworks at TVDSB and King’s College.
The objectives of the Gallery program are: to create a beautiful, unique, and cultured atmosphere; provide compelling experiences for local, national, and international visitors; educate the public by presenting a series of diverse artworks created by local professional artists; and provide professional opportunities for local artists, including increased promotion, sales, and career enhancement.
100% of the proceeds from artwork sales go directly to the artist, supporting the vibrant and diverse arts community in London, Ontario.
For more information about this project or inquiries regarding purchasing artworks, please contact the London Arts Council at firstname.lastname@example.org