Multi-Artist Collaboration Inspired By Original Songs

On Friday, Jan. 12, at The Bleeding Carrot in Owen Sound, six creative artists will present their original works based on four songs.  The four songs are the work of Dave Hawkins.  He has recruited visual artists and short story writers to create original works inspired by these four songs and they will be presenting them to an audience on Friday.

This past summer, Dave mastered recordings of four songs he’d written.  While he performs regularly with the classic country band Trish and The Tractors, his original songs are something different.  His song writing has a nostalgic air to it, reflecting as it does various aspects of life, mostly looking back, evoking the past.  Dave performed his original songs a couple of times as part of a song writers’ evenings and found that audiences responded to his warmth and sincerity.  Having created studio recordings he felt the urge to make something more of the songs.

“I was pleased with the result and I’ve always wanted to have a song inspire a piece of art and also do short stories,” he says, “I’ve always been a water colourist and in the past I was in a short story group where we sat around a wrote short stories once a week. 

“I thought it would be fun to put those all together but then I thought I should get somebody out there who really writes short stories so I asked Maryann of the Ginger Press if she could suggest some writers for me because she’s in touch with a lot of local writers.  She put out the word and two people contacted me and I got hold of a couple of artists that I know and asked them if they would like to be involved and I was very lucky to have them sign on too.”

The result is this unique presentation of music, art and stories built around four of Dave’s songs.  The Bleeding Carrot is a very intimate venue where Dave had enjoyed success as part of one of the Songwriters’ shows and it’s ideal for this type of show.  It starts at 7:30 with a cover charge of $10 at the door.  No advance tickets will be sold and it’s a small room so it’s a good idea to get there early to get a seat.  As a bonus, you receive a copy of the songs to take home with you.

“I’ll be giving away a flash drive with four songs on it with admission,” he says, “There will be two songs and then intermission and then two songs.  There will be a song and then a short story or two will be read and then, of course, all through that you’ll be looking at a piece of art.”

He recruited two painters, one digital artist and two short story writers.

He had a special project for his brother “John who lives in Toronto, five years my senior, has been an artist all his life.   I asked him to get involved, so he’s doing digital art, which we’re going to show on a screen.  He’s done some fabulous stuff.”

One of the things that makes John Hawkins’ contribution special is that it is inspired by a song of Dave’s that evokes their summers together as kids.  The song, “When I Was A Boy” captures the innocence and wonder of youth when he used to camp out with John and his other brothers, their souls open to the universe expanding above them when they were “sleeping out under the stars”.  John has created a visual illustration of that.

“It’s just breathtaking.  He did two of them and said ‘Which one do you want to use?’  I’m going to use them both, I’m gonna flip them back and forth because they’re both just stunning.”

The first artist Dave approached “was a gentleman called Chris Petanowitch.  I’ve known him for years and he does some beautiful art.  I happened to run into him and he said yes he wants to be involved in that.  Also Billy Goodkat is going to submit a couple of pieces.  He’s done quite a bit of outside murals in the Owen Sound area.”

The show will feature short stories from Andrée Levie-Warrilow and Richard-Yves Sitoski.

Andrée has ranged between being a poetry judge and working full time as an editor for Insight on Collectables, writing articles on antiques and collectables and interviewing featured artists, while simultaneously working as an ESL tutor.  She is also a published poet and freelance journalist, currently working on her second novel.

Originally from Ottawa, Richard-Yves Sitoski moved to Owen Sound in 2010 where he has contributed to local culture with his unique command of the language as a spoken word artist.  He also performs original songs with his wife Mary Little, as part of the duo, Deep Blue Honey.  He has published a book of poetry through Ginger Press and last year he released a spoken word CD called “Word Salad”.

If you listen to Dave’s songs it is easy to see how an artist can extrapolate from them, creating a larger canvas for the experience.  Besides the boyhood memories in “When I Was A Boy”, he has a song about his grandparents from Manitoulin Island, one about the wonders of living next to a giant sweetwater lake, and one about how mobile devices create spaces between us, wondering if in the future people will take the time to actually interact in a real way.

Of course there is no deeper way to interact than through art, and, with these nuggets of inspiration provided by Dave, the artists he has gathered are sure to awaken your senses in a way that augments what the songs already do for you.

“It’s far exceeded my expectations,” he says, “There’s a part of me that kind of wishes I had done it all myself because that is what I wanted originally but this collaboration has been really fun and really interesting.  I was very clear that it was up to them to interpret and to let their imaginations run wild.  Their involvement is about them being artistic and being creative”

It’s not often that a concert event is built around just four songs, but these are special songs and, even more so, special artists interpreting them in their own way.

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