Ottawa artist Andrea Stokes is a huge fan of New Order, so it’s no coincidence she chose “Bizarre Love Triangle” as the theme for this year’s annual Holiday Art Show.
If you are a child of the ‘80s just hearing those three words likely sets off an electronic drum beat in your head and has you feeling a sudden urge to start dancing; it’s a very infectious tune after all.
For the uninitiated, “Bizarre Love Triangle” was a big hit, circa 1986, by the post-punk, electronic-dance British band New Order. Stokes was inspired to use the classic pop tune from one of her “favourite bands ever” by asking artists to create pieces reflecting on the “bizarre,” “love” and “triangles” for this year’s Holiday Art Show. “Expect an eclectic event,” said Stokes, who organized this year’s show with VJ Ina.
The event is an opportunity for local artists to gain exposure as well as a chance for them to make a profit. “(It) allows artists to make their own money,” said Stokes. “It’s a great way to support local, established and emerging artists.”
Stokes is particularly proud that the event is an avenue for both the artists who are already well-known in Ottawa’s arts community and those just starting to make their way. “The great part about it is that I try to make it a democratic event with lots of established artists, but every year with new and emerging ones as well. There’s a real mix of levels of expertise and it’s always affordable.” More than 30 artists have created pieces for Friday’s show, all of which will be selling for under $250.
The Holiday Art Show began seven years ago when Stokes was looking for an outlet to showcase the works of Ottawa-based artists. Around that same time a new store had just opened in the Hingtonburg neighbourhood. Cyclelogik was a bike shop with the unique twist of also being a coffee bar and, as it would soon turn out, the future site for the artistic venture Stokes had been envisaging. Her idea for a diverse art show and the funky new shop were a perfect mix.
“I met (the owners) and they were so great. I just wandered in and pitched them (my idea) because the space was conducive and we didn’t have a lot of art galleries at the time. It seems like forever ago now,” said Stokes. She immediately saw the shop’s potential to host such an event. “The whole front part was super conducive to hanging a ton of art.” Stokes remembered how in the beginning people thought it was an odd place to host an art show, but the oddity did not stop people from turning up, or perhaps it was because of the pre-conceived oddity that enticed people to attend. Whatever it was people came out in droves.
“The first show was a smashing success and it’s just never stopped being this amazing success,” said Stokes.
An artist herself and the mother of two girls Stokes is also a self-described organizer, activist and educator. She is not sure yet whether she will display one of her “abstract” pieces of art. “I might not even make the cut,” she said laughing, modestly adding her work isn’t quite “up to snuff.”
Playing on this year’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” theme, people can expect some pretty unique pieces. Some of those pieces may just be perfect for the artsy person on your holiday gift list.
“The party itself is always amazing and it’s just packed with people and artists and music and food,” said Stokes, who advised getting there early for first-dibs on the art being sold as well as “fantastic” catering by Essence. “(The food) doesn’t last all night,” she said. There is also going to be a photo booth, which Stokes describes on the event’s Facebook page as “the most awesome triangular, tessellated, illuminated, potentially bizarre photo booth!” That in itself sounds intriguing; throw in some funky art, cool tunes and delicious bites and you have yourself one eventful Friday night.
Bizarre Love Triangle Holiday Art Show is happening on Friday, December 5 at 8pm. Works will be on display until January 4, 2015. Cyclelogik is at 1111 A Wellington St. West.