Great YLW Art Installation!

All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go…

I can see Daniel waving goodbye…

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise a kid…

If reading these lines makes song about traveling start traversing through your brain, then Kelowna artist Wanda Lock has succeeded.Image

Lock has a new installation called Flying Machines and Poems Sung by Strangers up at the Kelowna International Airport that she described as being like a visual soundtrack for traveling.

“Even as a teenager, I loved soundtracks to movies and the whole idea of putting songs together to an event or happening,” said Lock, who attributes this to growing up under the influence of MuchMusic video culture.

And when MP3 players came out, she began putting together playlists for different events. As a visual artist, however, she came up with a rather unique idea.

“I wanted to do a playlist for the airport but because I’m a visual artist and not an audio artists, and because I’ve always worked with text, I decided to make a visual soundtrack for people traveling on an aircraft.”

After coming up with the idea, Lock approached curator Liz Wylie at the Kelowna Art Gallery. “I told her I’d like to use the space to do a site specific piece which is something I’d never done personally in my work before,” said Lock.

Lock grew up in the Okanagan and studied art at Okanagan University College before moving on to study at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. Although she’s been exhibiting professionally for 20 years, she’s never done anything of this magnitude before.

She created the first sketch back in June of last year and after having the three eight-by-12 panels built for her, began working on it at the end of August. The whole project took her six months to create.

In the forefront are a series of lines from songs, each one related to traveling by air. 

“I kept it pretty much to pop songs,” said Lock, “and because you’re just walking by, I’m hoping the captions from the different songs are famous enough lines that they’re easily recognizable.”

The background for each of the three panels is filled with various flying machines. “I have a couple of Da Vinci’s sketchbook drawings in there and a little Star Wars piece in there and the space shuttle along with some made up flying machines I did with my daughter,” said the artist.

Lock enjoys working with text and so getting to play with all these song titles was a lot of fun. “And I love the idea of putting the song into your head, like when you’re alarm goes off and that song stays with you for the day – I’m hoping that as the person reads the text as they’re walking by, that the song continues on in their head in some form or another.”

All of the lettering was painstakingly painted using a lot of cardboard stencils.

Getting to create such a giant sized piece, has reignited a desire in Lock to create more big pieces. “Maybe not 36 feet long,” laughed Lock, but she is hoping to do more eight by 12 foot pieces in the future.

“I did some pieces that were that size about 10 years ago,” said Lock, and working on these three very large panels reintroduced her to the fun of paining on a ladder.

Traditionally, her work is much smaller and many people will remember her for the collaging she has done with the old Dick and Jane readers.

 “I usually have two projects going on at any time in my studio,” said Lock, and the 22 by 30 inch drawings where she has fun with Dick and Jane are what she likes to use to break up the big stuff. “Those are ongoing,” she said, and usually based on things going on in her everyday life.

But Lock is hoping to be scaling ladders again soon. “I just love the physical-ness of getting up and down the ladder,” she said with a smile.

To view Wanda Lock’s work or to learn more about her, you can go to her website at wandalockart.com

As for the Flying Machines and Poems Sung by Strangers piece, it will be on display to catch your eye next time you’re leavin’ on a jet a plane … from now until November 4.

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About artseenokanagan

Freelance writer and photographer in Kelowna, specializing in the Arts.
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