On Thursday, August 6th at 6:30, visit the ATCO Electric Yukon Youth Gallery for the opening reception of Creative Summer. This show will highlight the talented works of the Camp Raven campers, and 8 year old Amzie Cooke-Goodall. Amzie is such a captivating character, we decided to get a closer look into his creative process, as well getting to know more about Camp Raven from Amzie’s mom, Lian Goodall.
Getting to know Amzie.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART, IN FIVE WORDS OR LESS?
Creative. Crazy. Destructive. Explosive. Dangerous.
HOW DID YOU START MAKING ART?
One day I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t watch TV. There was a pencil and paper that had some tax bills on it that my mom and dad were working on, and I drew all over it. Then I couldn’t watch TV. Well, it sounds good.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE DONE AN ART PIECE, AND HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED?
I just know. I feel good, but if it’s a piece of paper that I don’t get to keep, I don’t feel that good.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH A MILLION DOLLARS?
Buy a mansion. Then, I would buy a ‘paper-turning-real’ machine so I could turn my drawings real. But then the world would be a crazier place and turtle-dragons would roam Africa.
WHY IS CREATING ART IMPORTANT?
Because it expresses yourself in lots of ways—how you’re feeling, what you’re doing… that kind of stuff.
It can be whatever you want it to be. Who cares if it’s pretty? I’m a destructive ball of mayhem. I can make cool pictures because of my twisted mind (evil laugh.)
Everything else needs rules. Art doesn’t.
Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon (LDAY) hosts a summer camp, Camp Raven. These campers will be showing their work alongside Amzie. We spoke with Lian Goodall to get a sneak peek into Camp Raven and got insight of being Amzie’s mom.
WHAT IS CAMP RAVEN?
Camp Raven is a day camp run by Learning Disabilities Association Yukon during March Break and the summer. Since Amzie was five (he is now eight) we have found it a welcoming place that challenges, is non-judgemental, and truly inclusive.
EXPLAIN SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DO AT CAMP RAVEN.
Lots of trips to local attractions! There’s Beach Day, science experiments, cooking and hands-on arts and crafts. I think it would be shorter to list what summer activities they don’t do. There is a high ratio of counselors to campers, and, perhaps I might add that in our experience, behavioural differences are no a sinful, but something to work on.
WHAT PROMTED YOU TO ORGANIZE AN EXHIBIT WITH CAMP RAVEN CAMPERS?
Amzie had been drawing tiny pictures since he was little. Despite quite a number different labels, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, developmental coordination disorder and sensory processing disorder, he has always had a pencil in hand. These challenges get in the way of making art smoothly, of getting the art in one’s head out the way one sees it. It also makes it difficult to do art in a group setting (i.e., at school).
Having different abilities might be part of why Amzie’s art is not ‘pretty,’ nor ‘polite.’ We expect, it seems, children to draw unicorns and butterflies, and colour sweetly for hours. That’s great if you can, and if you want to. Amzie’s art has always explored an opposite view of the world.
This year, our out-of-the-house art experiences have been at two ends of the poles. In some places, Amzie’s creativity was not accepted because it was literally black (not rainbow-y or Christmas-y green).
We appreciated the ATCO Kids Kreate Sundays, because Helen and her team ALWAYS welcomed and saw the positive no matter what!
When I read that there were some availabilities for shows at the ATCO Electric Yukon Youth Gallery, I immediately contacted Jessica. I thought that probably Amzie is not the only child with different abilities who has been under-encouraged when it comes to art I contacted Camp Raven, who happily agreed to help us fill a hall.
WHAT KIND OF WORK SHOULD WE EXPECT TO SEE IN THE EXHIBIT?
The campers have made a lot of 3-D works, such as t-shirts. Some surprises are still under wraps!
I am more familiar with Amzie’s work as I am his parent (and don’t work at Camp Raven). Amzie has made some found sculptures with rock and road tar (i.e., the Elvis Rock). He’s done some comic strips and a long series of collages. He has also crafted some collages with plants. And then there’s the Boobasaurus.
WHY IS CREATIING ART IMPORTANT?
It gives voice. It helps your insides be heard.
I am not an artist, I am an author. I know how important it is to honour one’s creativity and to have it honoured once you have released it.
We hope you come enjoy the show: it’s a wild ride!
Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm
Open for theatre performances.
ADMISSION BY DONATION