Ash Tanasiychuk

Removed at artist’s request

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Continuing the important discussion on documenting artists and their work


VANDOCUMENT has been requested by an artist to remove an article that had photos of their exhibition opening.

The article’s photos were shot by professional photographer Angelika Kagan. You can view her work on her website

Kagan’s photos were well lit, well composed, and a tasteful representation of the exhibition opening.

Immediately after we published the article & photos, the gallery messaged us, complimenting us on the photos, and reposting on their own social media. They wrote, “Thank you very much for photographing the exhibition, they are beautiful pictures.”

So we were shocked when the artist messaged us to say that they wanted the article taken down.

Curious to find out why the artist was requesting the article’s removal, we asked the artist. They gave us a couple reasons that we compiled with. This compromise, we thought this, would be satisfactory. Yet the artist still insisted that the entire article be removed.

We have decided to comply with the artist’s request.
We have replaced all of the content from the original article with this new discussion.

We are bringing this public because we want to respect the rights of artists, as well as clarify VANDOCUMENT’s purpose.

VANDOCUMENT is a collective of volunteers who believe passionately in Vancouver’s art scenes. We photograph, video, and write about Vancouver’s emerging and mid career artists because there is way too little attention paid to our city’s visual artists, dancers, theatre makers, filmmakers, bookbinders…

We began in 2013 because we saw that if we document what is happening, and share it online, that local artists would benefit through the exposure, plus they could add the articles to their CVs and include them in grant applications. As well, this same documentation would reach people across the internet in the way the internet works: People would like and share our articles, passing along the info that these artists and these shows are happening in Vancouver all the time. We’ve reached people who may not have otherwise known what’s going on in Vancouver’s artist run centres and studios and galleries. Actually, we know we’ve reached a heck of a lot of people. We’ve had many of them thank us online and in person.

Our entire team, including founders, project managers, editors, and contributors, are volunteers. Almost all of us are also practicing artists. We know what it’s like to hustle to exist as artists.
VANDOC is not backed by anyone. No corporate sponsoring or anything like that. No advertising. We believe entirely on our impartial perspective: That Vancouver based emerging artists are our reason for being. We do what we do with genuine passion for local arts and respect for the people who make the art.

So when a local artist asks us to remove an article, we have complete respect for their perspective, but it also makes want to stop and assess what we are doing.
Do artists actually want us doing what we do? Do they want to be documented? We’ve had nothing but grateful thank you’s sent to us since we began, but perhaps this perspective is changing?

We put this to you, our audience of artists and supporters of the arts:
Is what we are doing needed in Vancouver, to help emerging and mid career artists gain more attention for their work?
Is how we have gone about this mission since 2013 been handled in the most respectful manner?
Have we built a solid base of genuine relationships with artists, organizations, and festivals across the city, and across disciplines, based on respect for one another?

Is there any way in which we could be doing what we do, even better? Differently?

We are open towards and curious about your thoughts.
Please feel free to comment here,
or post on our social media channels
VANDOC on facebook
VANDOC on twitter
VANDOC on instagram

Thank you for reading.

With respect, always,
Ash Tanasiychuk, founder of VANDOCUMENT