Author Archives: Alana Boltwood

About Alana Boltwood

Alana Boltwood is a Certified Management Consultant, and a visual artist, in Toronto, Canada.

Social Media as Art Form

At our next meet-up we will experiment with creative uses of social media.  Register for this free workshop on Tuesday January 26, 7-9pm at OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Lambert Lounge:  Continue reading

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Starting our collaborative Book Club

Tonight the Visual Thinkers met to start our Book Club.  It’s not like a literary-discussion book club. This is a collaborative sketchbook project that you can join in:  just come to our next meet-up on November 24.

Each book has a theme (magic, fear, computers, Canadians, etc.)  Contributors can make a new page by drawing, painting, writing, etc.   Or they can modify a previous page by someone else, maybe even by cutting it up!

Kaia Vintr has initiated this project to encourage participants to make something visual on a frequent basis (because not everyone is consistent about using their solitary sketchbooks!)  At our September meet-up, the group agreed to do this project using paper books, not electronic media.

Much of tonight’s discussion was about the hard edges of artistic collaboration:  How do we keep the books moving quickly between contributors?  What permissions are required if someone wants to publish a page of a book that other people contributed to?  What do we do with the books we produce?   For some artists, letting our work go may be the hardest part!

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The beginnings of Book Club

Tonight the Visual Thinkers met to start our Book Club.   This is a collaborative sketchbook project that you can join in:  just come to our next meet-up on November 24.

Each book has a theme (magic, fear, computers, Canadians, etc.)  Contributors can make a new page by drawing, painting, writing, collaging, etc.   Or they can modify a previous page by someone else. 

October 27: Collaboration!

As visual thinkers how might we collaborate?  And when we collaborate, what might we produce?  During this session of Visual Thinkers we will share in creating images and meaning by drawing and writing together.

Sketchbooks for Book ClubWe will also launch a continuing group project we call “Book Club.”  What’s Book Club?  Instead of reading books, in this Book Club we will create the contents–words and visuals– in sketchbooks, then pass our sketchbooks along to others who will continue the process.

How do we participate in book club? Bring a blank sketch book, your favorite drawing tools, materials for collage and ideas. What will the books be about?  That’s up to you! Some of the books might be shared sketchbooks on a theme, some might contain fiction, some might be alphabet books, icons for graphic recording, infographics, comics, or maps. The content is up to you.

Bring a sketchbook…or not. Participation in Book Club is of course optional, and there will be collaborative games and activities during the evening. Bring your ideas. Come ready to create.

Each Visual Thinkers meeting starts with “Show and Tell”. Anyone can share an image or idea, a toy or tool, for the group to discuss for 5 minutes. (We have a laptop, projector and Internet. Bring your image on a USB stick if required.)  Bring drawing materials and you can practice your live drawing skills with us.

Join us on October 27, 7-9pm, at OCADU’s Lambert Lounge, 100 McCaul St., Toronto. Free to attend, and wheelchair accessible.  After the meet-up we usually go for interesting food and beer at Sin & Redemption nearby.

Blue and red bubbles lit up on glass

Liquid light-show and other uses of an overhead projector

On September 29, an enthusiastic group of Visual Thinkers met at OCADU in Toronto to try out some Novel Uses of Analog Tech.  We introduced ourselves:

Puppetry on an overhead projector; sketch-book exchange club.

Visual Thinkers Toronto 2015-09-29 introduced these participants and ideas. Notes by Alana Boltwood.

Then we learned some fun ways to use Otis the Overhead Projector, while grooving to psychedelic tunes.  Cassandra Pollack shared the transparent puppets she made from lighting gels and cardboard.  We played around, making our own transparent art, while Patricia put on a liquid light-show:

Blue and red bubbles lit up on glass

Patricia Kambitsch mixes oil and water pigments on a glass platter (designed for devilled eggs?), lit up by Otis the overhead projector. Photo by Alana Boltwood.

Coloured droplets lit up by an overhead projector

Old tech meets new. Liquid light-show by Patricia Kambitsch, on Otis the Overhead, at Visual Thinkers Toronto. Photo by Tanya Gerber.

Feb. 24: Diagramming with Rigour and Vigour

Process Flow Notation, by Alana Boltwood, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 16

Process Flow Notation, by Alana Boltwood, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 16″x20″.

At our February 24th meet-up, Alana Boltwood will show some diagramming notations with the rigour required for designing information technology (as she does in her consulting practice). Alana is also an emerging artist, so we will discuss how to apply the principles of graphic design to technical diagrams.

You will get to try inventing a rigorous diagramming notation, to create a vigorous design that expresses lots of information! Bring your logical and creative talents to ask questions and share ideas with other visual thinkers.

Each Visual Thinkers meeting starts with “Show and Tell”. Anyone can share an image or idea, a toy or tool, for the group to discuss for 5 minutes. (We have a laptop, projector and Internet. Bring your image on a USB stick if required.)

Join us on February 24, 2015, from 7-9pm, at OCADU Lambert Lounge, 1st floor, 100 McCaul St., Toronto. Free to attend, and wheelchair accessible.

Links from “Visualizing Science” meet-up

Last night we had a great gathering of new & familiar faces to hear digital artist Ron Wild talk about Visualizing Science.  He showed us OncoMap, his collaboration with cancer researcher Joseph Geraci, among other massive and colourful collages of scientific images.  Ron also introduced us to GigaPan, a website for exploring the world by zooming into very high-resolution images.

Cassandra Pollack shared her two paintings of string theory concepts.   Alana Boltwood invited everyone to her Meta-Diagrams art open house.  Along with Ron’s work, these inspired lots of  discussion about conveying scientific and academic concepts through artistic approaches.  We concluded that each artist may choose a different balance between faithfully conveying academic concepts, and aesthetic concerns such as composition.

It’s not just visualization that can convey scientific concepts.  By applying rules to data from the Large Hadron Collider, CERN created LHChamber Music, an example of sonification.

Gregory showed us his prototype of a video game about genetics, created at the ROM Game Jam.  We heard that design jams and charettes are similar types of events.  Maybe we will do one soon!

Somehow this led to conversation about tetrachromats, people who see unusually more colour in the world.  And at the pub, we passed around our phones to share things like Alex Grey’s spiritual artwork.  It was quite the evening!  Here are some notes and ideas from Patricia Kambitsch:

Visual Thinkers 2014-10-28 notes