Artist Portrait: Ken Gerberick by Craig Roberts

I happened upon Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick at a local vintage car show last fall, as he set up off the main roadway against the flow of spectators and other showcars on this day with two of his 'art cars' on display.  I've encountered a couple of these art installations at VW shows over the last decade, but this was the first time I was introduced to this as an actual medium - I just figured people liked sticking things on their cars to attract attention. Chatting with Ken, I learned that there was a healthy interest in this form of artistic expression and in fact these were two of the five 'art cars' he's completed in a varied artistic career spanning several decades.  The one I was most drawn to was known as the "Emblem car", for completely obvious reasons. Every square inch of this 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder is adorned with chrome emblems and name badges that Ken sourced by scouring through auto wrecker yards; by his own admission the display contains nearly 6000 separate emblems and took over 2500 hours to complete back in 1990. In addition the car teems with gleaming chrome hub caps and chrome rear tail lights stuffed onto the rear window ledge - you can honestly get lost in the "Where's Waldo" search of your favorite car maker's emblems.

I'm glad that I had the foresight, as I was beginning to leave his area, to ask Ken if would allow me to make a portrait of him beside his car artwork.  Despite the hasty request, I really enjoy this resulting image of him, processed with a black and white treatment to celebrate the mostly monochrome "palette" he established with this art car.  An honest portrayal of the artist I had the pleasure of discussion for a brief period on that Saturday morning.

My few words here hardly do justice to Ken's artistic history - his website has far more detail about his range of artistic endeavors.

Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick

The artist: Ken Gerberick

Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"
Vancouver artist Ken Gerberick's 1957 Pontiac Pathfinder "Art Car"

1957 Pontiac Pathfinder

Steveston Before Dawn by Craig Roberts

In what has become somewhat of an annual January tradition I found myself heading out, far earlier than anyone should during the first Sunday in January, to make some images of the sunrise off the pier in Steveston BC.  Driving into this small village in the early hours, you can hear every nuance of sound hanging in the early morning mist and fog that won't dissipate for a few more hours; the streets in and around are silent and deserted, broken only by the hum and the yellow hue from the overhead streetlights. As I passed one of the local shop's window display caught my attention - in the darkness it had the appearance of a theatre stage, illuminating just the important characters while the rest hid back in the shadows. In the light of day this dramatic scene would be non-existent, lost to the open exposure in the manner of house lights coming up at the conclusion of a performance.

Store Display Window, 'Bon Retour', Steveston BC Canada
Store Display Window, 'Bon Retour', Steveston BC Canada
Fishing Boats, pre-dawn, Steveston BC Canada
Fishing Boats, pre-dawn, Steveston BC Canada

The docks around here have an ecosystem all to their own, a dance repeated daily, annually - and has been for decades, back when the boats were returning to the docks to offload their cargo to the Georgia Cannery, rather than to the entertainment of tourists. There in an uneasy silence and calm from the water, before the bilge pumps on the boats kick in, the vendors emerge to set up their own theatrical stage and the gulls congregate and circle in search of whatever offerings the sea and boats will provide.

Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage ...", sometimes it takes an effort to appreciate the performance and see if for what it truly is.

Fishing Boats at dawn, Steveston BC Canada
Fishing Boats at dawn, Steveston BC Canada

Interlude - Presenting the Orpheum Theatre by Craig Roberts

2012-04-07 054
2012-04-07 054

While I have been embarrassingly slow to process and post any new images, both online here and at Google+, I thought I would upload this particular image from my last round of street photography in downtown Vancouver.  I wanted to capture an angle of a building and theatre sign that has been photographed and documented thousands of times, from a perspective that was unique (for me).  The pigeonon the lower left was not added in post production, it was honestly in flight and I believe it only adds a living component to this image. Processed in Lightroom and Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2 to really pop the textures in the brick and stone, and on the sign.

Chalk it up to Artistic Vision by Craig Roberts

As a father,  I am amazed that beyond the unyielding din of technology kids still can find enjoyment in some of the most simple items, for example sidewalk chalk.  Guided solely by their imagination, my pint-sized Picassos always seem to brighten our front walk with a vast interpretation of wild flowers, caricatures, Justin Bieber or imagery straight out of the Magical Mystery Tour. Keeping with that train of thought - I found this trio of youngsters gathered around an unusual Volkswagen bug at the recent Great Canadian VW Show (the 20th Annual) here locally - the car was painted flat black like a chalkboard, with a bucket of sidewalk chalk just beckoning these little ones to add their artistic flair. My inner 4 year old could not imagine anything cooler than this, and I was happy to have captured them at their creative best.

2011-08-28 032
2011-08-28 032

Create a Photographic Print Legacy by Craig Roberts

With the exploitation of the digital medium, many photographers have chosen to forego any semblance of a printed product as a nod towards their photographic legacy. How important is it to you that your photography lives on past this generation, with the possiblilty that digital-only portfolios could potentially be lost forever with no printed record of their existence?

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Sim Janjua, Make-Up Artist: Portfolio Images by Craig Roberts

Eyes of a Stranger

Back at it again this past weekend, working alongside my colleague Brian Vo, creating some promotional shots to highlight the great techniques of new make-up artist Sim Janjua, from 'Studio Elle' here in the Lower Mainland. Very fortunate to be working again with Rani Hayden, with whom we had a blast doing some casual photographs with her and husband Matt back in the summer.  She has a truly engaging personality, and Sim's work really cut through in so many of these images with Rani in her traditional Indian wedding dress!

Just goes to show that you can take great portraits, but it is that attention to detail that working with a MUA provides that really takes those images to the next level!

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More images from this series can be seen on my companion flickr site here.