Category Archives: Featured Artists

TARDIS sighting in British Columbia

Daytime TARDIS

Daytime TARDIS

Note: The premier of Season 8 of “Dr. Who” airs today with Peter Capaldi as the new doctor. The last time I saw Capaldi, he played the young Danny Oldsen in “Local Hero.”  I liked him then and I’m excited about seeing him in the role of Dr. Who now. It seemed fitting to re-post this blog piece today and I hope you enjoy it. The show starts in minutes few!  – Jan (first published Nov. 14, 2013.)

Dr. Who must be skulking in the neighborhood, because the TARDIS has landed in Metro Vancouver. We didn’t hear it cascading down, but there it is, sure enough. It landed two months ago, so the Doctor’s mission must be taking him far and wee. The Doctor, a Time Lord over 900 years old, is the main character of a fantastically inventive BBC science fiction television show which began airing in 1963. TARDIS is the acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. A TARDIS is the time travel machine used by Dr Who. It was designed to blend into whatever landscape it landed in, but this particular machine went wonky and only ever appears as a police box. An example of art deco architecture, the structure is modeled after the British metropolitan police box, which, at one time, dotted the landscape throughout the UK. All London police boxes were built of concrete and had teak doors, but some in outlying areas may have been wooden. The BBC’s police boxes are wooden and, as opposed to the actual police box, it’s right-hand door swings inward.

TARDIS at night

TARDIS at night

There is a lot of buzz about the Doctor at present and, because of it, one wonders why he has chosen to land on a quiet street in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Maybe he’s escaping the limelight. The BBC’s “Dr. Who” is 50 years old this year and the 50th anniversary of the show is being celebrated throughout the world. On November 23, the BBC special “The Day of the Doctor” will be simulcast across the globe. In addition, lost episodes of the BBC show have been found in Nigeria and fans everywhere have rejoiced. The Doctor is no longer just a character on a television show. He’s an integral part of the British psyche…it’s hopes and dreams. Much has been written and theorized and criticized, but I like the Doctor. Why? For starters, the Doctor doesn’t have a macho build, isn’t pumped up on steroids. Then, the Doctor

BBC Blueprints

BBC Blueprints

carries no weapon; he only has a tool, a sonic screwdriver, which can open things. The Doctor is a romantic figure…he’s adventurous and he spends his time fixing things and, well, saving the Universe. The Doctor isn’t sexualized; he’s on a mission and he takes his missions one-by-one. He does have traveling companions, but only platonic relationships are depicted. Doctor Who is a refreshing alternative to a lot of what you find on tv or in the cinemas these days.

Original UK metropolitan police box blueprints, A

Original UK metropolitan police box blueprints, A

When “Dr. Who” first started, it was extremely low budget, but now it has a blank check, or so it seems, and with that $, the BBC fashions tv shows that show an intelligent use of special effects. The writers are splendid, in addition. And nothing could be better than the original theme, written by Rob Grainer, but brought to life by the genius of Delia Derbyshire of the amazing BBC Radiophonic workshop. What came to be known as the howl-around effect, the graphic sequence of the original Dr. Who intro, was created by Norman Taylor. According to the Independent, Taylor said, “I got the usual effect of diminishing images of the monitor disappearing into limbo when, suddenly, some stray light hit the monitor screen and the whole picture went mobile, with swirling patterns of black and white.” Everyone who has ever watched and liked Dr. Who has ‘their’ doctor. While getting on in years, he doesn’t necessarily have to age that much bodily, as he is able to regenerate a new body. The Doctor has recently enjoyed his 11th incarnation in the form of Matt Smith. The 50th Anniversary will usher in the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord, played by Peter Capaldi, who I first saw in “Local Hero,” in the 1980s. ‘My’ Dr. Who was Tom Baker, mainly because I began watching the show in the 1970s, when Baker was cast in the role of the fourth doctor. He remains a favorite among many fans and was notable for his long curly hair, big beak, and wonderfully long scarf.

Original UK metropolitan police box blueprint, B

Original UK metropolitan police box blueprint, B

The television show died out for a period of time but was resurrected and revamped in the 1990s. Since then, there have been new generations of fans, Whovians. I’m rather partial to David Tennant’s Dr. Who, as he was rather swashbuckling, yet, at the same time, sensitive as the 10th doctor. His altruism and passion really come across. But, back to the TARDIS…on our block… Some months ago, we were planning on building a triangular garden shed to set on the corner of our deck, but after researching plans, I kept coming across a British garden shed trend: Dr. Who’s time travel machine. They were large enough for what we wanted, but even more than that, they fit into our sense of aesthetics. So, my husband began researching, by using internet forums and web surfing. He wanted to find out about the origin, the history, so he went back to the advent of the police box. He found blueprints of the original British boxes, then ones from the BBC of successive TARDIS’. After much study, he began developing his plans, customizing the dimensions for our needs but

retaining all the design elements. The Jane Street TARDIS is 1o’x4’4′.  In every way, it looks like a British police box. It has a light, illuminated signage, a St. John’s Ambulance decal, a Yale lock, and police box telephone instructions. Because we live in SW BC, he used rubberized paint to seal it and opted for the original police box lip at the base of the door, which will keep the rain out (added after the photos above were shot). Original British boxes were about 10’x5’x5′, but we decided that was too big for our deck. It’s still mammoth; no photo shows its true scale. The deck floor is strong, the box was braced, and it’s extremely well-built. I’m posting blueprints, in case you want to build one of your own. Note, it’s a big project and not inexpensive. It’s also very heavy and needs a couple of people to place the top on the walls. Good luck with your endeavor, if you should choose to take this mission…

In the end, Dr. Who is about creativity and Jane Street Clayworks gives that a big “thumbs up.”

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PMAC exhibition and studio tour: Otto Kamensek, “Shards, Bone Deep”


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Sculpture exhibition opening: “Shards, Bone Deep,” by Otto Kamensek, April 17

otto's opening

otto's opening split

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Exhibition: Ceramic sculpture by Otto Kamensek focuses on art and arthritis

Otto Kamensek’s ceramic sculpture will be exhibited in his end-of-residency show entitled “Shards, Bone Deep.” The exhibition, which opens the evening of April 17th and runs to May 8th, will be in the 3-D Gallery at the Port Moody Arts Centre. The centre is located at 2425 St. Johns Street, Port Moody, British Columbia.

On May 1, from 7:00-9:00 p.m, Mr. Kamensek will discuss “the release of pain, frustration, and stress through art” during an exhibition and studio tour at the Port Moody Arts Centre. Call (604)931-2008  to make a reservation for the tour or for more information. A $10.00 donation for talk and tour is suggested, with proceeds going to the OK Bursary.

Colleen Maloney’s article, “Art and Arthritis: Shards, Bone Deep,” was originally published in the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada newsletter for Spring ’14.


“Art and Arthritis: Shards, Bone Deep,”

by Colleen Maloney

Otto Kamensek’s ceramic work has generated interest within the local art circles and the arthritis research community. Living with arthritis is reflected in Otto’s artistic expression and his work has led to invitations to present at community events and at national and international arthritis conferences. Last year, Otto earned a one-year ceramic artist-in-residence award at the Port Moody Art Centre (PMAC) to further explore his creativity.  The residency gives him a private studio space and access to equipment in which to develop his craft.  This year, his sculptures will be showcased in a solo exhibition titled, Shards, Bone Deep, a play on words relating to a piece of pottery or stone and the sharp ragged pain of arthritis.

Otto’s association with the PMAC and his involvement with the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, as a member of the Consumer Advisory Board, coincided with the creation of what is now a series of pieces depicting the dimensions of arthritis.  He explained that as a student of art history he wanted to “try” to meld his health experiences into his art in a meaningful expression of life with chronic disease.


“Chronic Disease Staircase”

The first piece in his exploration of arthritis, and one of the 12 pieces in his upcoming solo exhibition, is the Chronic Disease Staircase. It depicts a small figure on the bottom step of a multi-tiered staircase looking at risers that become progressively higher, while his shadow falls forward melting into the tip of the second step.

Otto says he knows the feeling of being overwhelmed because he’s been there;  “It’s the end of the day, the sun is setting, and no matter what you have tried throughout the day, you’re still at the bottom of the stairs.  It’s sheer frustration.”

His second piece, The Glimmer of Hope, was a turning point for him.  It began as all Otto’s pieces begin with an idea and a sketch.  But unlike other pieces that progress to the maquete stage and then on to the building of the ceramic sculpture, this piece came to a full stop.

“It is a very personal piece and it was difficult to construct because it required revisiting my past,” he explained.  “I had to decide if I really wanted to do it because it seemed to be pushing me down rather than lifting me up.” It gives those without arthritis or chronic disease a glimpse at the ravages of the disease and its emotional impact.

The two biggest pieces slated for the exhibition are Bone Deep, a hand at just over two feet in height, and a three-foot high caricature titled The Fog of Fatigue.

The hand is exquisite in its detail and artistry.  It shows the findings related to inflammatory and osteoarthritis including muscle, bone and tendons, and muscle wasting in the palm.  On each finger is written the word arthritis.  The letters on one of the fingers are fashioned to resemble bone.


“The Fog of Fatigue”

The caricature is my favourite.  One look and you know it portrays fatigue; you know what it feels like to be constantly tired.  And you know how fatigue can make it difficult to concentrate because it can cloud the mind.  But one look isn’t enough.  His work has many layers and a depth that goes unrealized with only a quick look.  The Fog of Fatigue deserves concentrated inspection and is a must see at the exhibition.

Two of the other pieces in the exhibition are An Angry Joint, and Arthritis Still LifeAn Angry Joint demonstrates Otto’s talent for creating powerful, dramatic faces that capture the emotional and physical scars of living with a chronic disease.  Although I am not an art critic by profession, I do enjoy all forms of art and explore art galleries during my travels.  Based on the quality of his work and the important subject matter it depicts, I would like to see Otto’s work showcased in a major national gallery.  It would prompt a discussion about arthritis and chronic disease in general.

Otto’s sculptures from his solo exhibition are not for sale.  It is part of his commitment to promoting arthritis advocacy and will grow in size as time allows and ideas develop.  His greatest wish is that the collection will be exhibited in other cities so that people can develop a better understanding of what it is like to live with arthritis.

There is sadness in his voice when he says that his residency at the PMAC ends on May 1st.  “It’s been fun”, he says.

Otto and His Sculptures

The Glimmer of Hope is a sculpture that reflects Otto’s visual journey of pain.  It portrays a man bent forward in a chair, his arms resting on his scar streaked knees and his body infused with spikes, nails and needles.   Otto says he wanted to illustrate old rusty pain, sharp needle-like pain, and festering pain that seems to go on forever.  At the same time he wanted to depict hope, maybe even trust, that something better was around the corner, hence the name The Glimmer of Hope.  And there was.  His work is intricate and expressive and appeals to people with chronic diseases.  It depicts how they feel and helps them to better translate their feelings.  It gives those without arthritis or chronic disease a glimpse at the ravages of the disease and its emotional impact.

Arthritis Still Life is fashioned in the Flemish style, when artisans created pieces depicting possessions that illustrated prominent features of their lives and status in the community.   Within this genre Otto has created an arthritis still life.  It contains a table, and beside it is a raised chair and a cane.  On top are all the items associated with arthritis treatment including a small splash of red that I will not reveal.  You must see and discover the significance for yourself.

About Otto

In 1974, Otto was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis — he was 9 years old. It was an era he refers to as the stone age of arthritis treatment. The disease brought changes to his body that necessitated changes in physical activity. When soccer was no longer an option, he turned to drawing and building models. In his  20’s and early 30’s, he worked as a buyer in the electronics industry; by his mid 30’s arthritis had played havoc with his body, resulting in hip and knee replacements and four long-term in-patient stays in a rehabilitation centre. Prowling the halls at night  he discovered the rehab centre’s art studio, and, one day he ventured in. His life became much sweeter. Otto left the centre with paper mache masks tucked under his arms and enrolled in clay classes at the PMAC. This was the beginning of his affiliation with sculpture and his dedication to working with clay. In 2005 he collaborated with a friend to produce a ceramic sculpture title Joan of Art and won second prize at the Port Moody Society’s Wearable Art Show, a bi-annual event that attracts entries from around the world. Otto continues to mold his experience of living with arthritis with his artistic endeavours.


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