Ash Tanasiychuk

Row, row, row your process…

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Celebrating the journey, not the destination, we're very proud to announce the launch of VANDOC's Online Artists Residency, affectionately known as OAR.

The timing is eerie. We’ve been thinking about hosting an online residency for a while now. Launching it during these isolating COVID-19 times was not planned, but is peculiarly appropriate.


Because VANDOC’s Online Artists Residency (OAR) is a strictly online place for artists to explore the process of making art. The concept is one that accepts one of the major roadblocks to making art – lack of space, especially in our “physical distancing” present – and turns it on its head. OAR doesn’t depend on physical space. This ongoing artists residency is online and digital, and the “spaces” you’ll be invited into in these pages will be limited only by the artists’ imaginations. Anything that can happen online can happen here.

OAR takes society’s obsession with product – produce, produce, produce! the machine barks at us, everyday – and says, how about we examine the process that goes into the end result? What if we don’t even care about the end result, and instead revel in the days and hours and minutes of sweat, stress, experimentation, blistered feet, raw fingertips, burning eyes, rustled clothes, rumbling stomachs, bursts of focus, afternoons of doubt, all of it… Because all of it, in one form or another, make up the parts that are necessary to create something.

Jon Sasaki performance "We First Need A Boat For The Rising Tide To Lift Us" Richmond, BC, July 28 2019. Photo by Xinyue Liu.
Jon Sasaki attempts to build a boat while waist-deep in the water for his performance, “We First Need A Boat For The Rising Tide To Lift Us.”
Steveston, Richmond, BC, July 28 2019. Photo by Xinyue Liu.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, they say. Good ideas, may be a bit more expensive. But taking an idea and putting yourself through the process needed to turn it into something is priceless.

If you’ve been through the arduous process of taking an idea, and assembled the tools and space and time needed to build it, you’ll know very well that the inbetween stage is more often than not a very difficult one. It’s where you come up against the realities that wag a “nuh-uh” finger in your face just when you think your idea can become reality. So you adjust, you pivot.

There are many times when the making of a drawing, painting, song, dance, script, installation, video, will hit hurdles that must be overcome, both from a practical sense and a personal perspective. Overcome ego, believe in your ability to move forward, one stitch, one syllable, one note, one frame at a time, just enough to drive out of the ditch of self-despair back onto the road of meaning-making and assembly.

Years before it was mandatory, Claire Love Wilson created an isolation-appropriate performance; she plays every role, her body every instrument.
Video still from LAND/SONG/LAND. Video by Ash Tanasiychuk. See the story & video.

Sure, some projects come together in a snap. The majority, though, even for seasoned creators, are battles.

VANDOC’s Online Artists Residency is a celebration of those battles. It’s a space that says: This is a safe space for artists to try out something new, to share their ups and downs, their inspirations, their journal entries, what they’re watching & listening to right now that’s keeping them going, giving them new ideas and perspectives, feeding their reservoir of inspiration.

Van Art Book Fair at VAG, Vancouver BC 2017. Photo by Rennie Brown for VANDOCUMENT
Writing down your thoughts is always a good idea.
Van Art Book Fair 2017 at VAG. Photo by Rennie Brown. See the original story.

In the next post, we’ll go into the history behind OAR, where the idea comes from, the artist we have to thank, a look at her posts, and a little more about how we envision OAR bringing us together, among art communities, art supporters and the art-curious.

We ask you to join us on this journey. Please email to get OAR updates.

If you’re an artist and are interested in being considered for OAR, we’ll launch a submission form soon. Stay tuned.

Until then, please share this post with anyone who might be interested. Your support is appreciated.

Big love and respect, Ash.

Want more? Read our next post, Process before product, where we share the behind-the-scenes story that led to the creation of OAR. Plus we introduce our first artist of 2020!