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Aaron Dickinson | Intimate Portraits From Another World: Part One & Darren Filipenko | Portraits of Aaron as a Vampire

Last year in an effort to tap into and develop new audiences, I decided to open the gallery doors to first time curators and invited younger artists within our community to guest curate exhibitions featuring the work of their peers. I expected to attract many more inquiries than I actually received and it is my hope that this exhibition will encourage other to approach me with proposals for future exhibitions. Last year Nyla Rainey was our first guest curator and this year I am pleased that Darren Filipenko took up the challenge and I thank him for taking this leap of faith. This exhibition is actually two exhibits in one where artists reacts to the work of the other and in doing do creates a dialogue which borrows on common interest, personal history and shared experience.

Darren Filipenko is a Penticton based artist who works in a variety of media. He has a BFA from Okanagan University and has attended Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver. He is a three time recipient of the Helen Pitt Scholarship and a winner of the Abraham Rogatnuck Scholarship for industrial design. His installation Abandoned Camp in last year's Sense of Place exhibition examined the transient nature of many who pass through Penticton during the summer as they chase the fruit crops north. Darren has collaborated on a number of mural projects in Penticton, most notably the mural in the Penticton Aquatic Centre.

Aaron Dickinson is a self-taught artist living in Vancouver BC. He trained in video and film making at the Art Institute of Vancouver and his figurative imagery represents characters that are part of a larger fictional narrative and imagined world. This is the first public exhibition his work. In this series, Aaron has drawn on his past inspirations to create a fantastical world set in the future. The many different stories surrounding the lost kingdom involve common themes of love, loss, revenge, greed and redemption. ~ Paul Crawford   

Aaron Dickinson: Intimate Portraits From Another World: Part One

I remember the very first time I drew a picture... On my sixth birthday I received a present from an old family friend, in the present was a pencil, eraser, pad of paper and a VHS copy of The Bear. Immediately after watching the video, i drew a picture of a bear climbing up a mountain. 

When I was ten years old, I attended a strict private Christian School in Vancouver where most of our lunch breaks were spent chasing girls, playing G.I. Joes and creating/drawing rival characters that battle to the death. The two most popular characters that battled for paper supremacy were "Kat Kool", a hip cat gangster with earrings, tattoos, and a robot arm and "Psycho Sid", an ex-professional wrestling lizard who wore spandex tights. Each and everyday my friends would come up with new, exciting and interesting ways for "Kat Kool" and "Psycho Sid" to maim and kill each other. Although my friend's pictures were simple and to the point, they still managed to evoke a sense of shock and awe that had left a lasting impression on me and to the day they remain my greatest inspiration.

Saturday morning cartoons along with old school Disney films played a large role in influencing my style as an artist... some of these favourites include: Teenage mutant Ninja Turtles, Sonic the Hedgehog, G.I. Joes, Thundercats, Bonkers, Marsupilami, Ducktales, Batman: The Animated Series, The Jungle Book, Robin Hook, Davey Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier. 

While attending my last semester of digital film at the Art Institute of Vancouver, Burnaby Campus, everyone in my class was given the opportunity to take any class that our college offered for free. I chose to take the life drawing class. The pictures that I drew in this class inspired me to create Intimate Portraits from Another World -  Part One. This is the series that I've been working on for the past three years. ~ Aaron Dickinson

Darren Filipenko: Portraits of Aaron as a Vampire

My intention behind this work was to create something that complemented Aaron;s show, Intimate Portraits... Part One. During the winter of 2005, while Aaron was attending the film and video program at the Art Institute of Vancouver - long before he started his drawings, he asked me to take this series of photos of him dressed up in a "Vampiresqe" persona. I had always intended to use the photos in a project of my own but never had an excuse to work with them until I got the opportunity to curate this show of Aaron's drawings.

I liked the idea of including a portrait of the artist in amongst the portraits Aaron created out of his imagination. As subject, this is simply another character created from Aaron;s pop-culture-fuelled imagination, however, contextually and formally, it is  a portrait of Aaron, and, to some extent myself. The idea for the photos and their final form ultimately originates from our similar sense of ironic, goofy humour and a love of juxtaposing the ridiculous with the grotesque. In this particular work, the grotesque is evident in the violence of the image and is juxtaposed by the ridiculousness of both the awkward, slap-stick poses of the air-born figures and in the very idea of dressing-up as a bloodied, imaginary creature to begin with. The large scale of the work is meant to give the figures a larger-than-life importance in an effort to enhance the ridiculous and the ironic. ~ Darren Filipenko