Who says there’s nothing to do in Brantford?
This weekend, the Brantford Arts Block will launch its latest exhibit, Two Artists: an exhibition, and play host to eight-piece band The BigUps.
“This is part of the renaissance that is taking place in Brantford, where people are realizing that there are things to do here,” said Arts Block executive director Josh Bean. “This is a great weekend that showcases two great visual artists and performing artists.”
On Friday, March 1, Brantford artists Paul Cheney and Aaron Robbins will showcase their paintings, which will remain on exhibit throughout March. The artists will meet with the public from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the Arts Block’s gallery space.
Cheney, a career photographer, has dabbled in painting as a hobby since childhood. Since the advent of digital photography, painting has become Cheney’s new love, offering him a new way to express his creativity.
“Photography is not a challenge anymore,” Cheney said. “Anyone can do it. Painting is challenging and it’s equally unlimited creativity wise.
“In the past (with photography), you had to understand how the film was affected by light…there were so many variables. Photography is to the point where it’s just not art anymore. You’re just photocopying. Painting is more challenging and that’s why I’m doing it more and more.”
Cheney’s watercolour, ink and charcoal pieces focus on birds, fish and other animals and range from colourful to black and white.
Like Cheney, Robbins has been an artist since he was a child, but only took up painting professionally in 2005.
“I was getting older and thought ‘enough playing around,’” Robbins said. “I had gone to university for art, then moved out west and thought ‘what am I going to do with my life and how can I make a difference?’”
Robbins creates abstract landscapes using a water-based resin and multiple layers to produce a three-dimensional image. His pieces are intentionally colourful and happy.
“There is a lot of gloom in the world and it’s nice to have art that keeps things light,” he said. “One of my collectors is a palliative care nurse. She redecorated her room with my work because she wanted to come home and know everything was okay.”
On Saturday, March 2, The BigUps will bring their reggae-soul-funk-hip hop sound to the Arts Block stage at 9 p.m.
“You’ll see eight men performing to their best,” said lead vocalist Mark Imgrund. “We like having fun and we try to get the crowd to do the same. Their participation makes us better.”
Consisting of Imgrund, drummer Brad Cochrane, bassist Marcel Gurascio, guitarist Cory Mercer, keyboardist Aram Humpartzoomian, Nate Fanning on trombone, Kyle Blacker on saxophone and Joe Howe on trumpet, the band will play a mix of original pieces and cover songs.
Though the Brantford band has released a self-titled album, their passion is performing live, Imgrund said.
“It’s not necessarily improv (when performing live), but there are mistakes and stumbling blocks that you come across and didn’t know would show up,” he said. “There’s a bit of improv and you get to feed off of everyone.”
Tickets to see The BigUps cost $10 and can be purchased at www.brantfordartsblock.ca.