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Artwork Wednesday: Our Ted Harrison Push-Pin Reproduction

Artwork Wednesday: Our Ted Harrison Push-Pin Reproduction


The Yukon Arts Centre has recently completed our first ever push-pin art project with the help of the community.  This participatory art piece required many hands to ‘pin’ a total of thirty thousand push pins, recreating the colourful landscape painting Lone Woman with Ravens from 1991 by Yukon artist Ted Harrison.

Community pinning at the Old Fire Hall, Culture Days 2014 

Participatory artwork is meant to engage an audience, to animate a space, and to encourage dialogue and reflection, amongst other things. At the Yukon Arts Centre we are always eager to take on these kinds of projects which we hope will provide our visitors with a stimulating and memorable experience at the Centre.  

During Culture Days 2014, a national festival of arts and culture, YAC re-produced an idea from the Toronto School of Art using push-pins to interpret a masterpiece of painting. While the TSA chose to reproduce a painting by French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat, we decided not to stray too far from home. We were inspired by the vivid colours and organic shapes of Ted Harrison’s paintings, particularly his landscape painting Lone Woman with Ravens (1991). The northern lights and sparkling mountains were ideal forms to be re-created with colourful push-pins. Altogether, thirty thousand white push-pins were spray painted to achieve the twenty two colours necessary to reproduce Harrison’s brilliant masterpiece.

Boxes of push-pins 

As a first step, Harrison’s work had to be sketched on a large four by eight piece of coroplast. After the sketch was complete, we began spray painting the push-pins in batches to allow them to dry and be packaged.

The project was revealed during the Culture Days weekend in September, and visitors at the Old Fire Hall were invited to ‘pin’ with us. It was difficult to estimate the time frame this project would take and finally it was not completed that weekend. The project moved up to the lobby of the YAC where it continued to develop.

After weeks of helpful and curious visitors pinning, the Harrison interpretation was complete. The image has been beautifully filled in with brilliant colour contrasts, dimension to the raised pins on the surface and the abstracted forms within the image, which only show their true selves when you back up from the work.

Progress Pic 


The Yukon Arts Centre would like to thank the community for participating in this project, and the Yukon Office Supply Centre for their generous sponsorship. Without you the project would not have been possible.

Would you like to see another work of art reproduced in push-pin art? Let us know! You can tweet @YukonArtsCentre or post to our Facebook page!


Stages of the project, from original painting, sketched copy to final masterpiece!

Artwork Wednesday: Sandra Grace Storey

Artwork Wednesday: Sandra Grace Storey

Installation Shot of the We Are Golden Exhibition 

Sandra Grace Storey is a clay-based artist from Tagish. With teaching and exhibition experience nationally and internationally, Storey chooses the Yukon as her home and a place to continue making artwork. Her first solo exhibition at the Yukon Arts Centre, titled We Are Golden, is a moving sculptural installation with themes of history, mythology and archaeology. With only a month left until the exhibition closes, I spoke with Storey about some of her thoughts on the gallery show, life in the Yukon and other Yukon artists.


Anne Margaret Deck: How did you get into this career?

Sandra Grace Storey:  I went to Emily Carr University to study design, and by the end of first year I was hooked on clay. I have done bronze casting, silver casting, and paper casting but clay is definitely my ultra-favorite medium.
I have always been in the arts...after I trained at Emily Carr in Vancouver I sailed to New Zealand for my first job at a polytechnic school. I also taught art at a rural school in New Zealand. When I moved back to the Yukon in 2006, I started volunteering at Arts Underground, and worked there until 2011. I didn’t want to do anything but art, and now I am working on my own career, with my partner’s support, as a full time artist making sculpture and commissions and showing my work in galleries in the Yukon and internationally.

AMD: What projects are you working on now?

SGS: I have been doing commissions for the past three years.

AMD: How do the commissions work?

SGS: Generally people see something, something someone has bought, on a Facebook page, or in an exhibition and they say, ‘I really like your owls, could you make me an owl?’ I will ask them ‘Why do you want that? Does it mean something to you? Is it an archetypal thing? Does it come from a dream or an experience?’ Though they are somewhat realistic, they often come from a dream realm, an ancient realm.…[with the commissions] I feel like I have made a meaningful piece for that person…and each piece is different. My artwork is always sculpture….my most functional piece was putting flowers in the mouth of a dancing pig.

AMD: What do you love about this exhibition at the YAC?

SGS: This is my first show exhibiting at the Yukon Arts Centre. I was able to put all on hold for six months, and I was able to create something that I really, really wanted to create that didn’t have a huge commercial content.

AMD: What is unique about We are Golden?

SGS: The size of the show is unique….as far as I know there has never been a clay installation that big in the Yukon…I really wanted people to walk into a myth, a moment, where they and the other characters were all the same size.  I wanted people not to feel like the master nor the owner of the work, but instead as a participant who entered the space to observe something or learn.

AMD: What do you love about living in the Yukon?

SGS: My partner and I just moved into a studio home in Tagish that we built ourselves. I grew up out there and I love the lifestyle. It’s simple, rigorous, and I’m a real introvert so I am happy to spend a lot of time by myself. 

AMD: What was your involvement with Ted Harrison?

SGS:  I went to F.H. Collins from grades 9-12 and he was the arts teacher during that time. A small group of students would go and meet at his house, we would go once a month and have an art group. He was somebody that didn’t have an agenda. He got to know each of his students, where your strengths were and what you liked to do…when you weren’t in a space to produce art work, he would sit beside you and draw and tell stories and all of a sudden something would click and you would say ‘I got it, I know! He would encourage everyone to be an individual creative voice, and he made a big difference in my getting into Emily Carr.


The exhibition We Are Golden by Sandra Grace Storey will be on display at the Yukon Arts Centre until November 29, 2014. 

Artwork Wednesday: Ken Anderson

Artwork Wednesday: Ken Anderson


Photo by Christian Kuntz Photography



Ken Anderson, born and raised in the Yukon, is of Tlingit and Scandinavian descent. This accomplished carver and painter, who loves ‘starting a piece, solving a space, having a piece look back at you’, has a large body of contemporary carvings, and has participated in repeated solo and group exhibitions at the Yukon Arts Centre.

Indeed, two of Anderson’s works on canvas are highlights in the Yukon Arts Centre Permanent Collection and are on display in the lobby of the Centre.

Mind, Body and Spirit and Each Other, both of 2004, are large scale abstracted paintings demonstrating the classic Tlingit stylistic features of bold black lines and red, green and blue forms. Indeed, Anderson says that he has a ‘preoccupation with line and details’.

Each Other, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 3ft x 7ft

Anderson has taken traditional forms, composition and style but modified them to fit a contemporary framework. Mind, Body and Spirit and Each Other were painted with acrylic on canvas, a traditional manner of pictorial representation in the Western Art Tradition. Anderson, whose favorite artist is the modern abstract sculptor Henry Moore connects with the language of the contemporary art world and creates aboriginal artwork suitable for exhibition in contemporary galleries today.
Still, Anderson is deeply engaged with the traditional values underlying aboriginal art making. The notion of a spiritual realm, ancestry, legends and mythology are all present in Mind, Body and Spirit.

The mind is the component at the bottom left of the painting, the body is portrayed by the red component and the spirit is portrayed by the bluish green component. The spirit is painted in the negative (the area usually painted is left unpainted). In this way, I felt I could represent the spirit as a concept that was open to the viewer’s notion of spirit. The two smaller components to the top and bottom of the spirit are the representations of what it is that makes the spirit soar. - Ken Anderson

Mind, Body and Spirit, 2004, acrylic on canvas, 3ft x 7ft

Indeed, Anderson is an expert at rendering the style of the old masters of northwest coast art. He has worked with the Tlingit master carver Stan Bevan, and has studied design since 1990 through ‘self-study of old pieces’ in the collections in the UBC Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver and various other museums in the United States with large collections of northwest coast art. These designs focus on flow, balance and abstracted forms.

I believe that the northwest coast art form is one of the most advanced art forms to ever exist. When you look at the works of the old masters there is nothing that seems wrong. You get the feeling that the possibilities are endless. The design elements offer abstraction and realism at the same time. This art form is like a language that when spoken well transcends the sum of the parts. I believe that it is the duty of every artist to expand their visual vocabulary through what already exists but also through the exploration of their own ideas. For me it is necessary to respect the past, present and future of this art form by continuing to learn, continuing to develop my skills and to push the limits of my imagination.
-Artist Statement, Foundation Exhibition, Curated by Scott Marsden at the Yukon Arts Centre 

Anderson believes in the life of the object and of the idea, and does not limit the evolution of their forms and characters.  His dream project would exist ‘without budget and /or size constraints’. As a professional artist he speaks the language of northwest coast art, and is able to skillfully express ideas and stories of that culture.  ‘All I ever really wanted to do was to create’, says Anderson, who has become quite an accomplished artist and continues to grow, learn and develop the products of his imagination. ‘I could not ask for more.’