RipOff Artists steal a Pink Tulip

ol9_5329roa“Good artists copy, great artists steal” has become the tag line for The Rip-Offs, a collective of nine South Okanagan artists who shamelessly pilfer their creative ideas from great works of art. In a Summer Studio exhibit in July, this multimedia collective interpreted the work of American oil painter Georgia O’Keeffe, each artist in their own medium. They chose as their inspiration O’Keeffe’s dramatic Pink Tulip.

As collage artist Marion Trimble explains, “O’Keeffe was known for painting large lush flowers of dynamic energy and erotic tension.” Each artist faced the challenge of recreating the piece within five days, using a variety of media including oils, quilting, weaving, collage, 3D, wax, felting, and graphic art . The public observed their works in progress throughout the week.

Two years ago the group opened their first show, The Van Gogh Challenge, in which they each interpreted the same masterpiece Wheatfield with Cypresses using their own techniques and materials..In 2008, the collective presented Klimtomania, an homage to Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt and his glamorous blue portrait of Emilie Floge.

From left, the Rip-Off Artists include Terry Irvine, fabric artist (felter); Kurt Hutterli, interactive 3D installations;  Barb Levant, fabric artist (weaver); Thea Haubrich, encaustic art; Enid Baker, painter; JoAnn Turner, painter; Marion Trimble, collage; Russell Work, photographer; and (missing from photo) Dianne Birne, quilter.  Photo by Russell Work

barb-levant-pink-tulip-1Barbara Levant has been weaving, spinning, and dying for 32 years. She recreated Pink Tulip using a transparency woven with fishing line and embroidery thread (at left). Barbara also dyed yarns in the colours of O’Keeffe’s work and wove an elegant scarf.


kurt-hutterli-pink-tulip-1Originally a writer from Switzerland, Kurt Hutterli also works with mixed media objects to create entertaining and interactive 3D installations. In his whimsical creation, the tulip resembles an “exploded diagram” with pistil and stamens as a 3D structure standing in front of a painting of the tulip petals.


russell-work-pink-tulip-1Digital photographer Russell Work focuses on landscapes and other panoramic subjects, so his interpretation of O’Keeffe’s Pink Tulip closeup view was an artistic departure for him.  “When I first saw Pink Tulip, my first thought was ‘vegetables“.”  He first photographed a bean, a slice of red onion, some red cabbage leaves, and a zucchini. Using photoshopping software, he shaped and twisted each photo and then pasted each into position on a master photo to represent the various parts of the flower: the petals, stamen, pistil,  leaf, and so on. The results are displayed at left.

Marion Trimble is a mixed media artist and painter. She used homemade paper and mixed paper to create a collage of the tulip image. Dianne Birnie, a member of Double O Quilters and The Fabricators, employed the techniques of fabric painting and beading. Enid Baker paid  loving homage to the original artwork with a faithful representation of Pink Tulip in acrylics.

Encaustic artist Thea Haubrich specializes in an ancient art form which uses heated tools to melt and paint with pigmented beeswax.

joann-turner-pink-tulip-3JoAnn Turner juxtaposed the delicacy of the spring flower with a symbol of mortality: she painted the tulip across the surface of a  cow skull. (see left).

Missed the action? The Rip-Offs Pink Tulip collection will be the featured exhibit at the Oliver Community Arts Council’s Fall Art Show on the first weekend in October at the Oliver Community Centre.

For more information on the Fall Art Show, type the program name into the search engine at right.

Artwork Photos by Penelope Johnson

Photographer Russell Work shares Digital Secrets at Summer Studio

russell-work-1From his panoramic landscapes of Oliver, Osoyoos, and McIntyre Bluff to his delicate closeups of local flora and fauna, Russell Work’s photographs have reflected some of the most iconic images of the South Okanagan. The local photographer is the featured artist in residence at Summer Studio from August 10th – 15th at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre.

The exhibit includes both a display of Russell’s graphic art and a demonstration of his digital photo techniques. Visitors to Summer Studio can view a wide selection of local scenes. His specialty is the multi-image panoramic vistas of the South Okanagan featuring Oliver from the Golden Mile hiking trail and Osoyoos from the Anarchist viewpoint. Also on display are “giclee” prints (photographs printed on canvas), which create richly textured images resembling painting techniques. Framed, gicleed, and simple matted prints will all be available for purchase.

Russell will be on hand through the week to demonstrate his skill with camera and computer. From taking the perfect digital photo to manipulating the image with digital software, the photographer is making his expertise available for anyone with a digital camera or photoshop question. Russell encourages visitors to bring their cameras along: “Spend some time having your knowledge increased and your frustrations decreased.”

Kid’s Day activities run Wednesday, August 12th, 10am – 12 noon, and will focus on learning digital photography skills. Children are invited to bring a favorite toy, be it truck, transformer or doll, and try their hand at “light painting”. “If they have a digital camera they can bring it too,” says Russell, “but for those who don’t, I will have all the necessary equipment to complete this fun activity.” All Kids’ Day activities require adult accompaniment.

Russell was born in New Zealand and moved with his wife, Christine to Oliver in 1975. He was hired as a science and maths teacher at Southern Okanagan Secondary School but always had an interest in graphic art. He was responsible for organizing the school year book, and it was through this extra-curricular activity that he developed his passion for photography. In the latter years of teaching, he developed a graphics and photography course that proved popular with the students.

Since his retirement, Russell has had more time to explore and capture the beauty of the Okanagan valley. His hobby has developed into a business, with the creation of Digipic Productions. Russell now makes his services available for hire developing PowerPoint presentations and renting out his digital projector and other equipment. He has also licensed his images for commercial tourism purposes, establishing his own website ( for online image purchases. Most recently, Russell joined the Rip Off Artists, a multi-media collective of local artists and is developing his skills in more abstract forms of photographic art.

Summer Studio, a series of weekly displays and demonstrations of local art and craft, opens each week with a public reception on Mondays 6 – 8 p.m. All week long the public can watch artists at work in studio. Exhibits of both works in progress and finished artwork run Tuesdays to Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free Kids’ Day activities are Wednesdays 10 – 12 noon. The SOAP Players display of The Sound of Music costumes and sets continues this week until August 8th. The Quail’s Nest Arts Centre is located at 34274 95th Street. For more information about Summer Studio, call 250-498-0183.

Photo by Penelope Johnson

Summer Studio: Colourful July!


Dyeing for their Art: Fabric  Artists Kick Off Summer Studio

Colour is not something seen with the eye, but something spun, woven, and dyed. Colour becomes three-dimensional under the talented hands of the Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers. The Guild is eager to demonstrate the richness and variety of their craft during the first week of Summer Studio, July 6 -11, at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre.

Summer Studio, a series of weekly displays, workshops and demonstrations of local art and craft, opens July 6 and runs into August. Art comes alive in this Oliver Community Arts Council program. The program operates like a studio rather than a gallery. In addition to viewing finished pieces, visitors can watch art in progress as artists demonstrate their techniques.

Every Summer Studio week opens with a public reception on Mondays 6 – 8 p.m. The casual receptions have become a popular venue to bring house guests and friends to enjoy a relaxed evening of art, food, and music. Public displays and demonstrations run Tuesdays to Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers will be demonstrating a variety of techniques during their week. Nuno felting, a Japanese art form, will be demonstrated on Tuesday July 7. As Guild member Gail Erickson explains, “The Nuno technique felts loose wool onto a silk or gauze background. We experimented with this skill earlier in the year, and are ready to demonstrate it to the public.” On Thursday July 9 the guild will be busy wet felting, and on Friday and Saturday will be up to their elbows in natural dyes. “These aren’t just demonstrations,” says Erickson. “It’s all hands on! We encourage the public to come out and try it for themselves.”

The popular Wednesday Kids’ Days encourage children to experiment with that week’s artistic medium, but geared to children’s skill level and interest. The Spinners and Weavers are considering two crafts for their Kids’ Day on July 8: weaving on cardboard looms or some form of dyeing activity. Programmed Kids’ Day activties run 10 – 12 noon Wednesdays, but children are welcome to visit any time. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

 Upcoming displays include the Oliver Sagebrushers, a fine art club (July 13 – 18) and The RipOff Artists, a multimedia artists collective who interpret famous works of art (July 10 – 25). in past years, the RipOffs have exhibited their interpretations of Van Gogh’s “Cypresses” and Gustav Klimt’s “Emilie Floge”. The RipOffs will be inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Pink Tulip”.

 All opening receptions, displays, demonstrations and Kids’ Days are free and open to the public. The Quail’s Nest Arts Centre is located just west of the Oliver airport at 34274 – 95th Street. For more information about Summer Studio, call arts council rep Penelope Johnson (498-0183), the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre (485-0088), or check the weekly Chronicle ads.