Oral Interview with Marcia Pitch for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Marcia discusses her upbringing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and her parents and grandparents’ origins in Eastern Europe and immigration to Canada. Marcia mentions influences that led her to the arts, including education at the University of Manitoba and doing graduate work in California. In 1969, Marcia experienced the police suppression in response to the People’s Park Revolution in Berkeley. Soon after she returned to Vancouver where she studied education at UBC and volunteered with Amnesty International. She pursued an art style that reflected her strong feelings about politics, war, and the influences of her grandparents’ stories of Eastern European pogroms. Marcia's art includes mixed media collages and sculptures, and producing large scale installations for her gallery exhibitions. Marcia speaks about her upcoming project focusing on sexuality, women’s repression and feminism. She further explains her perspective as an older woman in the art world and the differing responses she has received regarding her art online vs. in person. Marcia relates experiences such as having children, volunteering, and being a part of the recycling community to how they’ve inspired her pieces or participation in the arts community.
Oral Interview with Miriam Aroeste for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon. Miriam was born in Mexico City in 1961 and she explains how her family ended up in Mexico from Poland prior to WWII. She discusses her immediate family, and how her and her husband resettled in Vancouver in 1990. Miriam talks about her career in the film industry and how she transitioned to visual arts with inspiration from her father and the need to balance her career with parenthood. She speaks about having little interest in arts, besides dance, growing up, but that changed when she lived in Europe for almost a decade during her 20s. Miriam describes her art style as more abstract than figurative and discusses her love of bright colours and the necessity of knowing what you want from an art career. She talks about curating art for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics, selling her work, and the kinds of commissions she enjoys. Lastly Miriam discusses her time in art galleries as an artist, curator and art consultant and what she had learned about art collectors and art institutions along the way.
Oral Interview with Stacey Lederman for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Perry Seidelman. Stacey talks briefly about her family history and growing up in Tsawwassen. Her post-secondary education led her to working in business and finance, but having children changed her career path after not working for more than a decade. Stacey discusses her introduction to recreational art classes in Vancouver and how attention from peers quickly saw her realize her talent, and also book her first art show. She describes her work as mixed-media, which includes using different mediums such as acrylics, ink, resin, and photography. Stacey talks about how she is drawn to edgy, colourful pieces including graffiti which can be seen in her own art pieces. Stacey talks about the artists who inspire her as the motivations behind her pieces. Stacey discusses the theme of hearts in her work, art crawls, and her favourite pieces of work. She speaks about how visiting Israel inspired her, and how things like real life, emotion and intuition informs her art practice.
Oral Interview with Sidi Schaffer for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon. Sidi goes over her family history in Romania, where she was born, and across Eastern Europe, and then details her immediate family in Canada. Sidi describes her artistic influences from her parents who were professional photographers after WWII, especially her mother who encouraged her to do art. Being born in 1938, some of Sidi’s earliest childhood memories are of fleeing from the Holocaust with her family. Sidi found art to be an escape from personal traumas, which eventually took her to art school in Bucharest where she met her husband, David. Sidi describes her and David’s time living in Israel, and eventually moving to Edmonton where she pursued more formal arts education. Sidi describes opportunities to show her printmaking and painted works, and teach arts across Canada. She also describes inspiration from nature, freedom of expression, and memories of the Holocaust. She outlines how the Gesher Project helped her develop as a Jewish artist, and how she produces Judaic influenced art with her sister.
Oral History Interview with Janet Esseiva for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Helen Aqua. Janet Esseiva was born in South Africa in 1964. She is an artist currently based out of Bowen Island, B.C. Esseiva describes her younger years in South Africa during the time of Apartheid and her meaningful exposure to the arts. She explains her transition from an Information Technology professional in Cape Town to an immigrant in Canada eventually working as a full time artist. Esseiva is known for painted works that focus on nature, and she explains how these works can evoke strong emotions and meaningful connections between art and artist, as well as artist and viewer.
Oral Interview with Cynthia Minden for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal via remote Zoom call. Cynthia was born in Toronto in 1953 and describes growing up into a family full of musicians, including her parents, who also admired visual arts. She talks about her professional background in classical music as a flautist where she was a member of ensembles, a music teacher, and an arts administrator. Cynthia speaks about her brothers moving to Vancouver and her love of rural living as inspiration for her to move from Toronto to Denman Island. Cynthia discusses her beginnings as an artist through making baskets and subsequently sculpture, collage, surface design, and other art forms. She talks about translating her art practice into therapeutic work through equine facilitated wellness, where people can connect with nature and do be guided through art projects. She speaks about her work in exhibits including the political inspiration behind her pieces: from themes of refugees and migration to environmentalism and making art from reclaimed objects.
Oral History Interview with Olga Campbell for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal. Olga Campbell was born in Iraq in 1943 and immigrated to Canada at the age of five in 1948. She explains her family’s experience with both Russian prison camps and the Holocaust during WWII, where they eventually made it safely to Canada. She discusses her journey as a social worker turned arts professional, including her time spent at Emily Carr and Capilano arts schools. As a second generation Holocaust survivor, Olga discusses how being Jewish and the associated inter-generational trauma of Holocaust survivorship has informed her works. Olga is a mixed-media artist, working in digital and traditional mediums, including collage and sculpture. She also published her art in a book focused on her family’s experience of the Holocaust that has fostered connections to her story, shared herein.
Oral History Interview with Mia Weinberg for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal. Mia was born in London, England in 1958. She describes her life as a child of German-Jewish refugees post-WWII, growing up in England and the role this had on her life, including her art work. She discusses her transition from a materials technologist in England to an immigrant in Vancouver, going to art school in her 30s and becoming an independent working artist. Mia is known for working with unconventional materials in her works, most often sculpture and installations.
Oral History Interview with Nora Patrich for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Patrich was born in Argentina in 1952 and speaks about her upbringing between Argentina, Israel and the United States. She discusses her exposure to political activism and Latin American expressionist art throughout her formative years, including mentorship within her father’s politically charged arts collective named the Spartacus Movement. She tells her experience of the military coup in Argentina during the ‘70s, that forced her into exile in Israel with young children after her husband was assassinated. She explains how this led to a life of traveling activism denouncing Argentina’s past military atrocities, including anti-Semitic genocide, and fighting for human rights through art and protest. Patrich’s primary art mediums are painted murals and sculptures; she discusses their public installments into places like past concentration camps and military bombing sites, and how her art will always be political. She closes by talking about doing mosaic work, independent book printing and publishing, and how there is a documentary about her stories of Argentina.
Oral Interview with Joyce Ozier for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. She speaks about her upbringing in the Jewish community of Boston, MA and provides a brief summary of her immediate family. She talks about her education, including her early artistic influences, and anecdotes relating to producing art and experiences as a child and teen. Joyce talks about how her arts career truly started in the experimental theatre/performance art scene in 1970 Vancouver. She talks about how this led her into arts administration in dance companies, and later teaching English as a second language into her fifties. Joyce explains how ESL teaching didn’t bring her the same happiness as the arts, and how her son convinced her to try store window dressing, which she eventually turned into a business for 10 years. She tells of how she transitioned to a full time visual artist, and how her art style is based in abstraction, movement and thematic use of colour. She also describes a prominent collection of work about the Holocaust that she is most proud of. She talks about how she continues to paint, and is also a part of a collective that she created for artists aged 65 and above called the B-Older Gallery.