Ash Tanasiychuk

Process before product

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Where did the idea for Online Artists Residency (OAR) come from? + introducing our first artist of 2020

Put artists first. That’s what we’ve been doing since 2013. VANDOC’s mission has always been to support locally based, emerging artists. We’ve done this through years of previews, interviews and reviews. We’ve documented artists and art events through photography, writing and videography.

But what if we spun it around a little? What if it wasn’t us documenting the artists, but the artists telling their own story?

We’ve done this in the past, in various forms:

1. Popcorn Galaxies communicated their urban audio project into text with a takeover of a post, a word collage in Invisible City: a secret theatrical adventure in a public space.

Invisible City. Soundwalk. Photos by Christian Vistan courtesy of Popcorn Galaxy. Vandocument 2015.
From Popcorn Galaxies’ Invisible City article. Photos by Christian Vistan.

2. Jakub Markiewicz, while facing charges for standing with land defenders against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, wrote and provided photos for An Artist, Environmentalist & Political Prisoner.

Jakub Markiewicz KMFace Kinder Morgan protesting environmentalism Vancouver Vandocument artist
Jakub Markiewicz’s photo from An Artist, Environmentalist & Political Prisoner

3. Claire Love Wilson shared a thoughtful look into why and how she does Song-Walking, part of her LAND/SONG/LAND multidisciplinary piece 

Claire Love Wilson’s LAND/SONG/LAND and Song-Walking. Image by Ash Tanasiychuk.

4. We worked closely with artists Robert Leveroos, Mirae Rosner, Elliot Vaughan and Kyla Gardiner to photograph and write an article on Safe/Guard and Feast but only reveal as much as the artists wanted, since this was a preview piece.

squaring off like sumo wrestlers
Safe/Guard and Feast: Mystery and Intrigue at the rEvolver Festival. Photo by Ash Tanasiychuk.

Klasika: The Inspiration for OAR

Something very special happened when artist Barbara Adler proposed a novel idea to VANDOC and really ran with it.

The idea? Take a fresh new concept that she got while overseas and develop it into a living, breathing art piece, using the VANDOCUMENT platform to work through all the steps along the way. Publicly post her process. Be open and sharing with ideas, iterations, experiments and progress. Create articles to test ideas out on the world. Rather than keep the creative process all internal, Adler’s energized idea celebrated the creative process through a platform that the public could accompany her on.

For over one year, from September 2014 to October 2015, Adler’s project – called Klasika – was explored and evolved over the course of ten posts:

Sep 25, 2014: My Cowbojsky Boty. Intro entry, setting the stage. Creative forms used: words, photos, illustration, video, gif.

Nov 14, 2014: Hey you, it’s me. Podcast and photo essay. Creative forms: audio, photos.

Jan 5, 2015: Welcome to the Johnny Horton Remix. Musical remixes. Forms: audio, words.

March 6, 2015: Call Me Black Wolf. A musical essay. Audio, words, photos.

June 19, 2015: Makeshift Cowboy Meets Improvised Beach. An urban vandr and reconnaissance photo essay. Photos, words.

Aug 20, 2015: Strange Memorial. An audio memoir. Words, sound piece, photos.

Oct 15, 2015: Field Camp. Collaboration with Dance Troupe Practice. Words, photos.

Oct 22, 2015: Blisters are the way the leather says ‘I love you.’ A letter to cowboy boots. Words, photos.

Oct 27, 2015: High Hair Economics. Interview with collaborator. Words, photos.

Oct 29, 2015: The Lady is a Tramp. Preview of the performance. Words, photos.

You can also read and enjoy all ten Klasika articles here. Note, they are listed in reverse order (most recent first).

Klasika: accordion and all. Photo by Barbara Adler. Drawing by Brit Bachman.
Composite image from My Cowbojsky Boty. Photo by Barbara Adler. Drawing by Brit Bachmann.

“My collaboration with VANDOCUMENT helped me understand something that I now see as central to my work, both as an artist and as a programmer/producer. And that’s just that I’m a compulsive connection maker – between ideas, materials, people, places. I didn’t know that before I started. The collaboration with VANDOC gave me the space to discover it, by letting me follow any rabbit hole that seemed interesting at the moment, across different forms, and with different voices. And, when it came time to put Klasika on stage, we had this amazing, public visualization of the work we’d put into making those connections.”

Barbara Adler, reflecting on her Klasika project, April 2020

Not only did this process allow Adler to explore her concept and turn it into a full-on project, it became incredibly collaborative along the way, with contributions from members of VANDOC, local artists, and fellow students from her cohort.

This is something we are going to encourage OAR artists to continue: the tradition of collaboration. This could take the form of the literal, in person sharing of skills and contribution to the artist’s process; or the OAR artist could reveal who they are listening to (musicians, podcast presenters), watching (actors, dancers) or reading (writers) for inspiration through their process, weaving these artists’ songs and videos and articles into their OAR posts.

The Birth of VANDOC’s Online Artists Residency

Ever since Klasika, we at VANDOC have been in love with artists sharing their process. The series was experimental, revealing, and ultimately fantastic. The concept is beneficial for the artist because it provides a great way for them to work through their process. The published articles are a fresh new way for people to experience art making. They see the not-so-straight line that artists take to work through their ideas. They witness the very necessary explorations on the side, the divergences, the collaborations and inspirations that build in ways that never could have been predicted at the beginning. It’s all very exciting.

For all of these reasons, we wanted to bring this concept back for a while now. And as we shared in our previous post, Row, row, row your process…, we’ve taken the leap. We dove into the water this week and launched VANDOC’s Online Artists Residency, affectionately known as OAR.

Giving artists based in the “Vancouver” area the opportunity to share their process with the public, we have very simple guidelines:

  • The artist’s project must be significantly new. A radically new concept, a medium they’ve never used before, or a combination.
  • The purpose of the artist’s project must be entirely focused on process rather than the end product.
  • There is no enforced publication schedule, but a minimum of once per month is required. For artists who find that externally imposed deadlines help them focus and produce, we can work with you to create a schedule.
  • The duration of the residency is flexible.
  • Collaboration is encouraged but not required.
  • VANDOC is available to assist with anything the artist needs: photo and/or video documentation, assistance with writing and/or editing articles, social media. We can also put word out to the artistic community for any materials or help the artist may need.
  • The VANDOC platform and all of our channels, including our Vimeo channel, are available for the artist to use/take over/implement to their needs.

Introducing Sasha Krieger

We are very excited to introduce the first OAR artist of 2020. It is our honour to introduce Sasha Krieger (she/her/hers).

Emily Carr University of Art and Design (BFA) and California College of the Arts (MFA) graduate, and current UBC Library Assistant.

Sasha Krieger. Books I Have Read, 2009. C-print, 20 x 24 inches. Image from

We discussed art and she expressed how process has always been more important to her than the end result. I was intrigued by how she insists on always being challenged. Once she’s done something successfully, she doesn’t want to return to it; instead, she’ll look for a new way of working, often picking up a new medium. While I doubt she’d say she’s fearless, she has the strength and bravery to say something like, “Since I’m starting something new, I don’t know what I’m doing. But that is the point and I’m going to enjoy the process of learning through making.”

For her VANDOC Online Artists Residency, Sasha will explore the process of weaving on a loom. The skill is relatively new to her. Yet the idea is not. This is something she’s been wanting to do for quite some time. 

For her OAR, Sasha will be sharing her journey: learning equipment, which has so many potential ways it they could go. Such an aged yet beautifully complex piece of equipment in the hands of an artist who is treating it like a newly discovered species. Sasha intends to dissect, examine, learn, and bond with the craft, in a way that is unique to her.

Stay glued! Sasha Krieger aims to publish her first OAR post here on this weekend. We hope you’ll accompany us on this journey.

Barbara Adler's Klasika Vander, February 28. Disposable Camera Photo by Brit Bachmann for Vandocument
From Makeshift Cowboy Meets Improvised Beach. Photo by Brit Bachmann

We’ll be updating and our social channels, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram along the way. Follow us. Stay locked. We are @VANDOCUMENT everywhere. Like and share our posts when you see them. Thank you!

If you have questions or ideas for an Online Artists Residency, DM us at any of our channels or email

Live art. Treat one another nicely. Support creativity. Be kind, respectful, and encouraging. It takes a helluva lot of bravery to make things and share them publicly, but by doing so, we help one another find places to feel safe, inspired and connected in this crazy world.

Curious for more? If you haven’t already, please read our previous post, Row, row, row your process…, where we officially launched our Online Artists Residency.