Mahaloness

Contemporary artist specializing in full spectrum painting, mural, animation and digital hybrid art.


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Enter Calvin

I don’t think I have ever met someone quite like Cal, he is a man of many hats and when in the back country of Alberta he soon became someone I trusted. He stands tall, his presence powerful, in a silent kind of way, eyes like a wolf, and why wouldn’t the be they be, he is a man who has stared a wolf in the eyes. We are leaving the German’s hut, bellies full, we move north, the river a sparkling array of dancing sunlight amongst olive green water. Observing the river closely it becomes evident that a stream or small adjoining river turns the water from olive green to brown, to dark brown, depending on rainfall in surrounding areas, and there goes the Geographer in me. It also helps to pay attention to Darcy, or Shirley or Cal, you will pick up very interesting information, river wisdom, and it’s not Google, which has such an interesting grip on people and human experience, like I have said before the downloads here are something truly extraordinary. Everywhere I look I am seeking some sign of human, it’s what I am used to living in the city, instead all I see is river, forest and sky. The crew rests. I am told we are near to where Calvin has property. I breathe in, I breathe out, forest fresh all around. Suddenly I am reminded this is a film shoot, I think twice about it and move forward, no time for mind games here, this place is all about being present. Ania and I jump ship, Eppo, the director explains the scene, and action! What happens after this I do not remember, and than I hear ‘cut!’, I think to myself ‘back to ones!’ and than I remember this is not that kind of film set. The land here is breathtaking, truly peaceful, there is so little sign of human habitation here one begins to think this is a worm hole and we have landed in some kind of world that time forgot, I disappear. Tranquil moment….the wind blows through the forest canopy, cranes call form overhead, the sun is falling in the sky, the clouds dancing and shape shifting, this is truly a paradise. We walk into the forest with Calvin, that is Ania and myself, film crew recording as we come upon an old dilapidated building, okay so there are signs, relics telling stories of a different time. Calvin tells us of 100 men who were here at one time, in its height, this is an old oil site, trading post and halfway point to Fort Mcmurray, left behind are only remnants of what it must of been. It doesn’t take long for a curious mind to discover a shoe covered in moss, it gives me shivers, I have this eerie feeling we are not alone, I also wonder if this is what we are to all become, I let that one go downstream. I notice a Model T, or at least whats left of it, it is nearly grown over with moss, grass, and various vegetation. This place is lush I am taking in as much as I can because that’s just what I do. As we proceed Calvin takes us around pointing out objects that are mere fragments, albeit some that are quite large. He knows his story well, each object a link to the chain of history which act as show and tell of how the folks here drew Mother Earth’s blood from her veins, fascinating details we ought to know as Albertans, considering that’s pretty much what this place is known for. Cal shows us an old pipe into the ground that is a well, it is quite lush with vegetation and to this day it still bubbles, what a trip. Standing there I thought of what this place was like before oil, the First Nations for instance, when they were in their height, what was it like? As we walk around Cal continues to pour out his knowledge of the trading post and oil related artifacts, he tells me used to work on offshore wells as a tool push, how he travelled the world. I asked him what the scariest thing that happened and he went on to tell me about 100 ft waves crashing over the decks as he and his fellow crew watched from the safety of an elevated safe room, I envision a roaring sea, I have seen my fair share of giant waves, and know power of the ocean can shake any man’s constitution. Calvin is like a university of knowledge, in 5 minutes I learnt more from Calvin than I did in a year at university, I know a good teacher when I see one, I continue to listen attentively, I have much to learn….

Side note: This is a rather long chapter and therefore I have decided to break it up, it s a lot for one entry, and deserves the time be told properly. The amazing thing is that this is day 1, we haven’t even made it to the backcountry lodge yet, what is to come really hit a deep note with me, I will get to that in the next entry.
FotoMahaloness -heavy FotoMahaloness so much to take in!
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Patterns

This is an excerpt out of a Moleskine from around 2007. I just happened to find it gong through my stuff. It is titled ‘Patterns’

Patterns are your friend and your enemy. Patterns act as directional arrows once discovered. High above patterns are a Persian rug. Life is similar to weather, both of which exhibit patterns. Life signature patterns, LSP. It’s how we associate with one another, we see a pattern and we tune in if we like it and we escape if we do not. Fluctuations, oscillations, a sinuous river with its sweeping undulating patterns, Mother Earth’s majestic curves. Nature. man as beast, a link of the chain, not exactly the whole thing, no higher, no lower. There is a inverting misconception,a dialogue that’s as old as Socretes. Man’s obsession with his so called intelligence and special DNA code somehow leaves the impression that we are better than this, or that, on some kind of higher plane. We with all our science, technology, gadgetry, knowledge (primitive to present) and yet we cannot see collectively the pattern we have woven. The looks on people’s faces says it all, walking down a sidewalk looking at their feet, birds soar overhead, observing our funny behavioural patterns. Man continues to judge and point blame, while women seek their inner goddess, so what is the future for men? Our sense of curiosity immobilized by sensory overload and over indulgence. Sure our lives as a whole seem easier than those before us, or is it only relative? How is it than that fear is still a large part of the human condition, with no signs of it ever going away. Fear runs our lives and places a veil over our eyes, as we are told to remain silent. Silence. And within the silence I see the pattern, songs sing about it, art imitates it, and even mirrors it, writers write about it, spoken words beat about it, scientists quantify it, Philosophizers philosophize about it, Buddhists find rhythms in it while meditating in it. Abstract interprets it, not what it looks like but what it feels like, politics politic about it, and photography steals it. We speak about it in different tongues, and dialects. Thermodynamics, constant, conservation,entropy,infinity, spacetime,super string theory, singularity. E=mc squared, universe, multiverse, bubbles, Big Bang, expansion, contraction, big Crunch! Black holes, dark matter, worm hole, energy, consumption, temperature variations, Global Warming, Patterns. Stewardship, man vs. nature, man vs. himself, Life, death, birth, Life death birth, rebirth, patterns.

This excerpt was written many moons ago, though sitting in a boat on the Athabasca, it returns as I once again become aware of patterns.

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Mahaloness goes exploring to GRWA

In order to retell this story I will be writing it in multiple parts, I could go for one foul swoop but like a movie I would be skipping too many details, and let me tell you every detail to this story wants to be told. So without further adieu, I invite you to enter this journey, one that took me to what is for some lucky folks a not so distant land. I returned just yesterday from the trip to the Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures backcountry lodge, north of the town of Atahasca on the Southern edge of the Boreal Forest of Alberta. I find myself sitting in a coffee shop writing these words, I will do my darnedest to tell this story as well as I can. I have to admit that finding the right words is proving to be a difficult task, I have a deep intensity within me that perhaps only a trip to the backcountry can give you. On the river’s edge of the Athabasca lies GRWA, where Darcy and Shirley own and operate the lodge that caters to Eco tourism, and if you are into wilderness and adventure this is a great place to explore.

Gypsy proverb “when the river bends, bend with it.”

So the story begins.

It all begins one fine day when I receive an email from an old friend, in his message he writes that a video production company is seeking an artist they would like to document for a Travel Alberta campaign, my spider senses rising I reply to my friend and that leads to eventually being casted by Clauida Neff, thank you, as the artist for the journey. I also put out a call on Facebook, the production company wants me to bring a friend, and this would lead to my co-explorer, Ania. To be honest Ania and I did not really know each other that well, this would all change, as we set to embark on a journey North. Where we are going I have never been. I prepare for the voyage, the usual packing of the kit, while my wondering mind imagines what is about to take place. After a really short sleep, I awake the next morning and my pal Ian gives me a ride to the production house where I meet Claudia, Ania, Ryley and some of the crew. I can sense that none of us really know what is about to happen. We meet and greet and eventually we pile into out respective vehicles, and ahoy we go. Ahead a long drive North, not quite far north but certainly just north enough to experience some precious wilderness, Mother Earth’s creation, the land I am not always privy to living in the city. Just to getting there is a journey, and as such this entry is dedicated to, it sets the tone. The ride consists of a long drive through cities, car sales centers, towns, satellite cities, pasture land, past oil wells, pulp mills, skies filled with puffy grey white clouds, fluffy cumulus, ominous presence and eventual deluge, making seeing difficult, white knuckle, remember to breath kind of stuff. As we head through oil country, or at least that seems how most people know it, the anticipation rises, I keep myself in the moment by taking shots with my handy docu device, which is key to retelling an adventure like this. First stop the town of Athabasca, for an overnight before we set out in the morning. For me the land I am about to visit is similar to time travel, where I am heading is an ancient place, where fossils lay silent yet hold 250 million years of story, and the great Boreal Forest Begins, where early explorers followed their dreams, and Pioneering hunters and trappers courageously faced their days. I spend the first night with Ania and the the crew consisting of the director extraordinaire, Eppo Erkes, Sean Henning camera, DOP and artist no doubt, Brad Schewagga, or Be rad, B camera and grip, Justan Ross, sound, and the intern Ania Wolksa, actually Ania is hardly an intern, she was my co pilot, and marvelous co Talent. We bonded that first night, after some shopping the team was introduced and a cheers set the tone for the days to come. Following beer and protein, we hit the hay, call time was right around the corner and one more nights sleep would be a good thing before we set out on our adventure on the Athabasca River to the Grand Rapids Wilderness Adventures backcountry lodge.
FotoMahaloness -the journey begins, images of the country I live, once outside the city one will find farmland, and the what is known as Big Sky country. Additional fotos courtesy Ania Wolska
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Gypsy spirit

“when the road bends why go straight” -Gypsy proverb
I know I am an unconventional artist, and perhaps even human being. I sometimes think I know too much and than someone or something teaches me something. The gypsy in me wants to always be on the move, I am one who enjoys adventure, even if it brings discomfort, the road less travelled is one I dream of, and subsequently live by. It could be I am dreaming I am awake and awake when I am dreaming. When I began Mahaloness I was in Maui, now I find myself thousands of miles away on Canadian soil, in Athabasca to be exact, and if you don’t know where that is, here is a Google location, look for the blue dot.

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So yes here I be, in a small quiet town called Athabasca, nestled by a chill slow moving river, near a railway bridge long past inspection. The river that flows through here is called the Athabasca River. I am sitting in a Super 8 hotel, sipping a ronnie cola, and contemplating the next few days I will be spending on the river, in a jet boat, with a film crew and my pal Ania who gifted me some Jade.

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The film crew will be filming me and Ania as we flow through the beautiful landscape that graces this place. I will be exploring the land with an artists eye, although seemingly a sleepy town, this place has a history, and one I know very little about, my hope with this part of the journey is to find out what that is. This is oil country, and part of my trip will be to thank Mother Earth and offer healing words to her. I feel we have become very attached to using her for our own convenience and as a result she has been scarred, cut, dug, drilled, exploded, polluted and generally mistreated. I will do my best to be in Mahaloness while I am here.
So my friends the path that lies ahead of me, it has footprints left by those before me, I will scout those footsteps and pay homage to the many, who ventured to this land before me, and who sacrificed their lives to do so, without judgment or fear. I am love, that is my root, I will be falling in love with this land and what comes out of me only time will tell, may this journey be well, and may we all respect our home, and give it the love it truly deserves.

Quick thought, kind of…..the one thing I know about myself is the art I produce is a direct result of the environments I find myself in, and that may not always tell a pretty story, and this is partly why I use very particular colours in my palette. I am curious to see what comes out of this exploration.

Artist Statement:
If I were to put all my work together, it would tell a story, it is the breadcrumbs I have left. I am a storyteller after all, through my talents I share with you the journey, which is mostly voluntarily, I make an effort to take the time to do, and it is my service to humanity, even if I fight with it at times, the ego does that once and awhile. My way of seeing the world doesn’t always jive with the the so called real world, where mortgages, car payments, food costs and making money are the bottom line and when I do try to be in that world it is a challenge, and one I am still working at facing with grace, and thankfulness, because after all that’s what Mahaloness is. It is a challenge to find stillness within the complexity of living, so that I can breath, and do what It is I love to do while I am here. I want to thank those who have helped, in one way or another, whether it was support, and to those who have encouraged me, including anyone who reads this, I am not always grammatically correct, and I hold some disdain for time or even chronological order, which may cause some confusion, I am working at it, and to be honest it’s how I write. I am not always great at saying thank you, and I know there are those folks or there I would love to hug right now, and express my gratitude, I will, when that time comes, please have patience with me.
FotoMahaloness slices and the explorer, Wolfman

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