Sounds like art

Daniela Cinel O’Fee has created a fascinating piece of art as part of Culture Days in Kamloops. Culture Days is a national program where artists create art that is accessible or participatory and in this case woven like wires into our every day life. The theme for 2020 is Unexpected Intersections and O’Fee, who is a pianist in Kamloops, took participants on a sound journey through time and space.

O’Fee’s work, titled Code…Encode…Decode: A Subjective Soundwalk, involved four unique sound stations consisting of plastic containers attached to poles. Each box has a QR code which can be scanned, bringing up a link to a sound piece she has created. Headphones were recommended, which I promptly forgot to bring, but I think it actually enhanced the experience although I would like to really listen to each piece again. I took my camera and took pictures of images at the locations that made me think, or were inspired by the sounds. It was a wonderful experience.

A QR code waiting to be scanned.

4th and Seymour

The first location I went to was located at the old Kamloops Daily News site at 4th and Seymour. It is now a parking lot and hopefully, in the future, will be a new arts centre. I thought each piece was just going to be a selection of sounds but I was surprised and happy that this particular location featured O’Fee improvising on the piano with the sound of typewriter keys frantically playing over top. The typewriter keys in that location told us what was happening in our community and in the world. Their sound is missed in an age where often people don’t take the time to stop and think and choose their words with care. Computers are fine, but sometimes they are too fast for deep thoughts and analysis. The layers of sound, which also include the sound of the demolition of the building, are carefully thought out and crafted.

Dying flowers overlook the parking spaces where the Daily News once was

200 block of Victoria St.

The next place I went was on the 200 block of Victoria Street where O’Fee explored the percussive potential of different objects surrounding the location of the box. I can just picture out in the middle of the night tapping on stones, walls, iron gates, and the nearby bike rack. I met a gentleman with headphones who was also taking part in the artwork and we had a nice chat which made the experience even more special.

The Red Bridge

My third stop was at the Red Bridge near the pedestrian walk way. Very close to where her childhood home was, this stop was rich in family history and as I heard child speaking Italian I could almost feel the warmth of a house. It left me a bit haunted about my own childhood and my dad who passed away a year ago. The sounds of birds were breathtaking.

Riverside Park

My final stop was at Riverside Park where a large group of Canada Geese were guarding the post with the box and the QR code attached. After some negotiation I was allowed to approach and scan the code. O’Fee’s piano and percussion improvisation showed up again and the sounds of water running and splashing from the end of the summer when swimmers were still in inspired a bright and nostalgic feeling. An added bonus was a violinist playing near the playground.

I noticed at each of these locations that I was hyper aware of the sounds around me. Traffic, voices, leaves rustling, footsteps – I felt like I was hearing some of them for the first time. It made me think about sound design in film and how much sound can affect what is normally a visually dominant world. I really loved this experience and I hope O’Fee and other local musicians create more work like this in the future.

It’s been a really long time since I did a blog post but I really needed somewhere to collect my thoughts today and this seemed like the best place. There will probably be more in the future. It turns out I missed it.

Tattoo #2 – Two for Joy


I’m a bit late on posting this but I’m finally able to catch up on some overdue writing. Meet my second tattoo! (Because who gets one and isn’t already thinking about the second?) This was done by the awesome Kelsey Young from Fu Dog Tattoos. She was the artist I originally wanted for my birthday tattoo but she was booked up for a year so I took the first appointment she had (July) and then got my first tattoo by the also great Riley from Pirate Palace.

The themes for this tattoo came from seeing the Viking exhibit at the Royal BC Museum a few years ago – this was an amazing exhibit, one of my favorites ever! One of the displays had a group of keys. Some believe that viking women carried keys on chains around their necks as symbols of their role as keepers of the household and an indication of their high status. I loved the keys! So, the tattoo started as a viking key. Then, when doing some viking research for a writing project, I came across the symbol of a viking compass, or Vegvisir. These were intended to help those who held the compass through rough weather. I asked Kelsey if she could put the compass inside the head of the key.

Next, still doing research for a writing project, I found “One for Sorrow” – a nursery rhyme from the 1700s that I couldn’t get out of my head. Or, the first two lines I couldn’t get out of my head.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.

What started as a smaller tattoo was now getting bigger after I asked Kelsey if she could put in two black birds holding up the compass. She, of course, had no problem.


Kelsey’s original rough sketch

Then I asked her to add some tiny details – runes for joy, strength and prosperity in the ribbon holding up the key.

Kelsey is an old soul in a funky and upbeat person. She’s very cool and I like her a lot. She also recommended Riley for my first tattoo when she couldn’t do it. She also mainly does black and white tattoos which I prefer.

The end result is one I am totally in love with, even though I can actually only see a small bit of it myself. I think this perfectly compliments my first tattoo as well.



50 Crazy Things in my 50th Year #29 – Take an art class

20160118_203151My brother is the artist in our family, I am the writer. He is guitar, bass, and a host of other instruments he picks up and plays by ear and heart. I am clarinet and reading music and playing with heart and technique. I have done some painting but I generally avoid it because he’s so good at it.

When my friend Donna, who I work with, invited me to Paint Night on January 18th with some of our other coworkers she suggested it could be a bit crazy. I agreed. I grabbed Jody for moral support and we were off to Paint Night. I’m not sure Paint Night qualifies as an art class but it was a lot of fun and took some of the seriousness away from art.

Paint Night is an event style program held across Canada. It’s kind of Bob Ross with appies and drinks. Everyone goes to a pub or bar, paints the same painting (or a facsimile thereof), and has a lot of laughs. Surprisingly, even people who haven’t held a paint brush since they were five come out with some pretty awesome paintings and they all represent the style of the person doing the painting. It was quite remarkable.

I knew the painting we would be doing would be of pink cherry blossoms. Some of you may remember I have some issues with the colour pink so I suspected going in that I would end up rebelling and coming home with a painting that wasn’t pink. Oh yeah, it happened!

I sat next to a guy who had never been there but his wife, on the other side of him, obviously had. He was also the only guy there and it was packed with women.

We started with the sky. That seemed easy enough. I noticed I’m more slap happy when it comes to painting and Jody is very meticulous. I think that represents our personalities pretty accurately. Then we did the mountains and the long path coming down the mountain. Me slapping paint on and Jody carefully making perfect Japanese styled mountains. My painting pretty much doubled in weight by the time I brought it home.

The guy next to me was really funny. We all added the branches and body of the tree next. Mine was slapped on, Jody’s was perfect, and the guy next to me created a tree that looked a lot like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. I love Groot! We had lots of laughs about his Groot tree. By the end, when his was done, it looked Groot imitating Peter Frampton or Robert Plant – lots of pink and white rock n roll hair.

The last thing we added were the pink and white cherry blossoms. I was shocked at how good everyone’s paintings were. I was also amazed at how different they were. People like me, who weren’t too into the details, and people like Jody who worked hard on making theirs what they wanted, not necessarily exactly like the original – it wasn’t that kind of perfectionism, it was more that they had a vision and even if they’d never painted before their vision appeared in their paintings

Some women next to me were painting their landscape purple, they’d obviously been there before. I decided to make my flowers more grey and I love the result! My mom says we should hang my painting right next to an amazing watercolor my brother did a few years ago. I think it would drive him insane next time he visits…. Therefore it’s a good thing!

Why was it crazy?

Painting in public, being a beginner in something my brother excels in – all crazy!

Would I do it again?

Absolutely. I still want to take drawing and other painting classes, and we’re already trying to decide on the next paint night we’re going to – it’s like a party with paint!paint night