… a perspective embodied by each original Caleb Speller piece. Art hid Speller from pressures at school and after graduation his travels to Hawaii, Thailand, and Australia aided in a deeper connection to himself, his beliefs, and the world. While rebuilding custom bicycles, Speller earned a Visual Arts diploma at Camosun College which introduced many new mediums. His focus became ceramics, watercolour, and photography, yet unorthodox. Gaining confidence, he knocked on doors in the creative community and his work was invited to display at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria during the Warhol exhibit. Speller’s inspiration continues to grow, whether it’s carving hockey pucks into print blocks, building a studio from found materials, or studying plant life from his garden. His newly assembled table book showcases images of his work and how he is shaped by surroundings, accessible materials and the recesses of his mind’s visual dictionary. There is no destination, he is active in the present.
After graduating from forestry and one of the first ever Eco-Tourism courses in 1999, Tyler Hayes chose to head west from Ontario to explore related jobs such as spacing forest growth in Grand Prairie and river guiding in Jasper. Intending to explore the coast, Hayes purchased a van. On his trip to Vancouver Island Hayes met with a glass blower and decided to buy the artist’s work to sell at festivals along the coast to California. Hayes became fascinated with how glass was made and the malleability of the material. Then an idea to create his own pieces sparked something for him. Shortly after, he found an artistic business partner, applied for grants, trained and bought a shop. Hayes works with borosilicate glass, the highest grade of glass commonly known as Pyrex. His beautiful pendants, sea life figurines, and globes are all over the world. This year Hayes blends purpose and passion together to manufacture, by hand, the only environmentally friendly glass straws produced in Canada.
Josh Miller, like many people, studied at University, found a career (in carpentry), and is a self-proclaimed “simple kind of guy”. Until last year; fate dealt a serious accident, preventing him from working. During his recovery, his teenage impulse (un-pursued interest to attend Emily Carr) revealed painting as more than a hobby. It was totally fulfilling. Inspired by his fiancé’s appreciation of fine art, he creates with bold colour (straight from the tube, no solvents like artists of the 1930’s) and uses only a pallet knife, with aspirations to be the next D Kooning. This passion gained serious momentum, listing him in the top 10 at the Emerging Art Gallery (Victoria) his first year. He feels by rejecting the standard art community expectations, the response to his work is growing and continues to seep through appreciating channels. His goal: to eventually show in London.
In pursuit of his passions, thirteen year old Austin Black has a motto, “Live the life you love; don’t let it live you.” During seven years of training Shotokan Karate along side his grandfather, it seemed Black also started to excel in other areas – as an inspiring young instructor, an encouraging lacrosse teammate, and a familiar face in theatre. More importantly, the art form’s original philosophy of avoiding violence provided some positive self-discipline. Recently, while participating in the Vancouver Island Coastal Martial Arts Open, Black took gold in three categories including Grand Champion. However, in addition to the metals he received something unexpected – an invitation to the TAFISA’s world tournament. Black then raised two thousand dollars to attend the event and took home bronze in Kata 13/14 using traditional hand techniques and silver in Weapons 13/14. Black hopes to re-qualify for Team Canada / TAFISA in two years and to also one day attend the Funakoshi Worlds.
Influenced early on by his mother’s musical guidance Richard Moody found a lifelong devotion to the string instruments. At fourteen Moody moved with his family to France where he studied and practiced classical viola 3-5 hours a day. Being a part of a city and conservatory incredibly supportive of the arts allowed him to blossom as a player. Back in Canada Moody was driven at his craft, yet led a bit of a gypsy lifestyle – busking Vancouver, co-founding renowned group Acoustically Inclined and traveled solo performing a variety of Improv, Roots, Folk and Jazz. Later, studying yoga in India, he was inspired to incorporate the rich Indian music into his work. In the last six years Moody has made a presence in Victoria playing with the Bills, Brishen, and teaching. Currently he is touring a new album “Safar” created with Amir Amiri of Iran. Nominated for Best World Music Recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards, it’s an East/West collaboration of modern sounds and classic Persian piece.