“getting on with it”

You guys, I cannot wait for you to hear today’s episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR! London based Estonian photographer, Sirli Raitma is on the podcast. Sirli spends her time dressing her muse in bizarre fashion, and decorating said muse with fabulous hair and makeup. ps. Her muse is her mother, Eha. Gah! I love this ongoing series so much, but even more, I love how this mother/daughter project came to be. Ooh, and wait till you find out how Sirli became a photographer. This story is a family affair filled to the brim with inspiration. Look and listen right up there under Eha listening to, I assume my podcast (!?), or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Let’s kick things off in the wilderness… the first place Sirli ventured with her camera:

Deer, fog, foliage, and oh… look at that, an Eha in the wild! Perfect segue into the beginning of the “EHA” series, when the photographs were black and white:

Ah, gorgeous… but clearly, she’s begging to be shot in COLOR! Okay, this post could have had a gazillion photos in it, so here are just a few of my faves that feature the hot pink and bright orange eye shadow we mentioned:

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Speaking of which:

Ha! Those photographs are in order of my fave, Sirli’s fave, and the internet’s fave. And look at this fabulous mother and daughter at an art show featuring their creations! Living the dream, ladies.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering if Eha still has legs…

… she does, and they’re fantastic!

Now, I know all of this attention hasn’t gone to Eha’s head (or Sirli’s for that matter), but I just had to include a few ‘soaking it in’ moments:

Wooohoooo! I love all of this more than I can even begin to put into words.

Oh, and then I suddenly remembered how I found Sirli’s work in the first place! I follow an insanely talented artist named Lavely Miller, and she did this painting of Eha:

Yep, the painting took my breath away, and then I started down the rabbit hole that lead me directly to Sirli’s portfolio.

And finally, a couple of casual shots of this creative, hilarious, loving duo:

Cheers, indeed! You two are so inspiring… may this project go on for years and years to come! Thanks so much to Sirli for sharing her story with us; thanks to Storyblocks for supporting yet another episode; and of course, thank YOU for listening. There will be a new episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR in two weeks.

Other links:

  1. Sirli’s site
  2. Sirli on Instagram
  3. Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
  4. Estonian Museum of Photography
  5. Storyblocks


ahrong kim

These wonderful, narrative, painted porcelain beauties are the work of Korean-born, Brooklyn based artist Ahrong Kim. I’ve written about her before {and included her work/story in one of my books}, so when I saw these pieces from her 2020 series, “I_LOVE_MYSELF”, it was time to write again! If you don’t already follow Ahrong on Instagram, you should… she posts so many process videos, giving us a peek behind the porcelain curtain. Check out this one, and this one … just for starters!

liz miller

Works on paper, the wall, and … um … filling the entire room! This fabulous collection of textures and color is the work of American artist Liz Miller. Here’s a snippet from her artist statement:

“I create elaborate site-specific installations that are equal parts absurd, menacing, and poetic. Pattern and tactility confuse and complicate identification, camouflaging recognizable forms and evoking recognition when applied to non-objective forms. The tensions between fact/fiction and dimensionality/flatness are endlessly fascinating to me, playing out in my work as a dialogue between reality and illusion.”

Absurd, menacing, and poetic… love, love, love! ps. Not only is she a working artist, Liz is also a Professor of Installation and Drawing at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

“me in another form”

Are you tired? If not, listening to everything Vancouver based artist Sandeep Johal is doing might make you wanna take a nap! Murals, residencies, installations, solo shows… oh, and she also has a 6 year old son. Told ya. This busy, full-time artist went to university for… biology? Yep. She refers to her twenties as ‘the lost years’, but as you can see, she is now very much found! Listen right up there under Sandeep beside one of her murals, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

So, where should we even start? Well, let’s jump in with just the tiniest peek at a few of Sandeep’s murals:

So fantastic, and seriously, there are a lot more where these came from. Keep an eye on her Instagram feed, because there is always a new wall being prepped!

Alright, let’s take a step back to the work Sandeep was just starting when I met her. Here are just a few of Sandeep’s very emotional “Rest In Power” goddesses:

The piece in the middle is Natsumi Kogawa, the Japanese woman Sandeep mentioned. It’s so horrific that this series could go on and on and on. Hopefully their stories will be heard, and justice will prevail.

That’s not an easy topic to segue from, but there is more work to show you. Here are a few of Sandeep’s ‘beast’ collages:

Yes, this is exactly what we were talking about! Different mediums, but still very much Sandeep’s style. FYI,  these pieces are currently available through @vanartrental … just sayin’.

Speaking of beasts, here’s a look at “Beast of Burden” Sandeep’s final show for her residency at the Burrard Arts Foundation:

So fantastic! This was Sandeep’s first foray into textiles and, yeah, she nailed it. And, of course, there was so much talk about Pennylane and Jamie that I had to pop this photo in!

And finally — oh my word this is so good — “What If?”. This installation is on right now, until December 11th, at the Surrey Art Gallery in Surrey, British Columbia:

Custom wallpaper, too!? Love. If you’re anywhere near Vancouver between now and mid December, get yourself over to the Surrey Art Gallery to see this show in person… So. Many. Details!

Let’s wrap things up with a little ‘how it started / how it’s going’ combo, shall we:

Oh hell yes! From a birthday girl at McDonald’s to a MAMA BEAST! Thank you so much to Sandeep for taking the time to tell us all of her stories; thanks to Storyblocks for supporting the episode, and great big thanks to YOU for listening. I’ll be back with a new episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR in two weeks.

Other links:

  1. Sandeep on Instagram
  2. Sandeep’s website
  3. “What If” / Surrey (BC) Art Gallery until Dec. 11
  4. “Beast of Burden” / BAF Residency
  5. Thrive (Founder Jamie Smith)
  6. Pennylane Shen, Artist Consultant
  7. Sara Khan, Artist
  8. Crissy Arseneau, Artist
  9. Vancouver Mural Festival
  10. VAG (Vancouver Art Gallery) Art Rental & Sales
  11. Storyblocks


Teresa Freitas

Gasp! I want to go to all of these cotton candy places! This is the absolutely dreamy work of Lisbon based artist Teresa Freitas – that’s her in the final photograph – and these are her equally dreamy words about her work:

“The visible secret behind my work lies in how colour can transport us to a subtle change of reality. While the places in my photographs exist, at the same time there is something a little bit “off” about them. We wonder if they are true or if we’re just inside a dream.

I like to play with familiar motifs – palm trees in Palm Springs, a Chinatown street, the architecture of St. Petersburg – and then subvert them into something less tangible and more cinematic. My artistry lies in my composition, yes, but primarily in the conceptual and aesthetic way in which I use colour. You will see both bold and pastel hues in the same image – a visual paradox that our minds aren’t used to and a play on colour that is very interesting to me as an artist. Beyond that paradox is a sense of calm and happiness that continually permeates my work.”

Ahhh, calm and happiness. That works for me. Teresa’s work is available through Subject Matter Art and you can follow her on Instagram at @teresacfreitas.

marina dempster

Whoa. These insanely fabulous sculptures/shoes are the work of Toronto based artists Marina Dempster. In the spring of 2021 they were under glass at the Art Gallery of Burlington as part of a two-person show, titled ‘In Visible’, with Meera Sethi {curated by Hitoko Okada}. Each of Marina’s shoes have an in-depth title/description. This is the writing paired with the shoe at the top of the post… with the tongue!

1. directed or turned back on itself / 2. marked by or capable of reflection. / 3. characterized by habitual and unthinking behavior.

This piece speaks to the archetypal challenges of motherhood and an invitation to exercise self-compassionate awareness while inevitability having ones buttons pushed. An invitation to embody, like mother of pearl, ones strength, resilience, and iridescence over time.

Ah, yes, motherhood and the pushing of buttons!

fred wilson @ glasstress

This is just a tiny bit of the jaw-dropping work of New York based artist Fred Wilson. He is one of several artists featured in Glasstress 2021. Now, normally Glasstress happens in Venice, home of all things glass {I saw Glasstress 2017 in person, and it was a major highlight of my trip}. This year, however, this exhibition of breathtaking glass artworks has crossed the pond and is currently happening in Boca Raton, FL! The lineup of artists is insane {Ai Weiwei, Joyce J. Scott, Nancy Burson, Jimmie Durham, Fiona Banner just to name a few}, but I just had to show you Fred’s gorgeous pieces. Here’s a little bit about him:

Known for his politically charged work that explore issues faced by Africans and African-Americans in past centuries, Fred Wilson makes sculptures that are, first and foremost, beautiful. His Murano glass mirrors are made from onyx Murano glass – a color never before used for decorative objects. ~ via Artsy.net

Glasstress was at Boca Raton Museum of Art until September 5, 2021. You can also find Fred Wilson’s work via Pace Gallery.

alyssa ki

Oooh! These floral wall hangings are the work of New Jersey based, Korean-American artist Alyssa Ki aka @SolipDIY. She uses all sorts of textile techniques to create these beauties (weaving, macrame, needle-felt and crochet), and her color palettes!? They make me wanna run out to the garden… or to an ice cream shop. Here’s a bit of Alyssa’s bio from her website:

I’m Korean-American, and I was born and raised in Virginia. I went to school in snowy upstate New York, where I studied Photojournalism. I work full-time in the wild west of NYC events, and I’m also a freelance photographer. Other than my all-consuming love for beads, yarn and DIY – I also love the outdoors and thrift shopping.

SOLIP is me – it’s my Korean name and the direct translation is ‘pine needle’ so chosen after my father enjoyed a nice liquor derived from the tree.

Pine needle. Well that is kind of perfect given her love of foliage! ps. Alyssa just wrote a really moving, personal post on Instagram about #StopAsianHateYou can read it right here.

angela burson

Loooooove! I discovered the work of Georgia based artist Angela Burson while selecting work for Create Magazine. It was the broken arm that grabbed me immediately… followed closely by that cat’s little squished face! Now, are you asking: ‘Where are their heads?’

“I paint images of often headless people, their personal objects and interior spaces which reveal complex psychological and social relationships with one another. Without the head, the viewer sees the clothed body not as a portrait, but as a collection of objects and patterns.”

Mission accomplished. Also, I think Wes Anderson needs to hang a few of these beauties in his next film, yes? Yes. You can follow Angela on Instagram at @angelaburson.

braxton congrove

More art you can eat!? Nope. This gummie-ish chandelier is actually resin, but ooooh, I can almost taste those fruity butterflies! This is the latest work of New York based artist Braxton Congrove – an installation, titled “Celestial Cherry”, shown in March at Peep in Philadelphia. Here’s a lovely description by the show’s curator:

“The exhibition’s focal piece, an intricate multicolored, multilayered chandelier radiates within Peep’s space. Made of cast resin, gradating colors, and occasionally flecks of glitter, the glass-like material casts a translucent glow from its singular light source. Emulating ornate Renaissance interiors, the chandelier’s chains drip with a series of cherry, butterfly, strawberry, banana, and star-shaped charms. A celebration of the beauty in the cheap consumerism of acrylic nail charms, jelly shoes, and Haribo gummies, Celestial Cherry pulls from nostalgia and the heavens, swaddling its viewer in a blanket of escapism.” ~ Julia Greenway, Curator

Yum! Follow Braxton on Instagram at @braxtoncongrove