I could use this space to wave the flag of professionalism, transcribed in third-party format, and wow the world with clever artspoken artist statements. I could post links to songs that describe "exactly how I'm feeling". I could keep the ridiculous bio this current body of text is replacing, but it was up since 2008 and if my web stats tell anything--nobody read it anyway. Does anyone even visit websites anymore? Supposing some do and assuming if you're reading this, obviously SOMEONE does, I'll muster up an accurate [as can be] blurb to paint a picture of Derek von Essen.
Some relevant personal history’Ä¶
I was born to a German father and Jamaican mother. Culture has always been the backbone of, well, everything to me. The differences in people are far more interesting than the similarities. My upbringing in the suburbs of Toronto were filled with a wide range of contrasts in cultural, racial, economical, religious foundations, and the expanding sexual expressions of the 70s and 80s. Accepting people's differences and challenges, being open to new ways of looking at things, question everything, resolving problems, approaching limitations by turning them into possibilities--those traits were instilled in me by family and friends while growing up.
What do you do?
Often the first question asked of me, it's the one with the longest answer which, thanks to the wonders of editing, I will shorten here: I am a graphic artist working in design, photography, painting and mixed-media assemblage to design books, magazines, posters and other visual communication tools, while consistently creating personal artwork. I've facilitated artist workshops, sat on some panels, done some talks, been featured in various publications, and have work in several international collections. Specialising in fine arts, dance, theatre, music and publishing projects, I have a tendency to recycle everything from objects to conversations in my work (and life!). Expressing myself through art, whether it's personally motivated towards fine art projects, or client-focused design-based projects, are both creative avenues and genuine for me. If Ibelieve in it, I support it. I would write more of what I do, but this site contains a considerable number of portfolio samples to peruse. Each has a notation detailing my involvement, whether it was design, photography, illustration or any and all of them.
What DID you do?
Back in the 80s, when not behind the counter of a local record store, I was photo-documenting the underground music scene at hundreds of club shows in Toronto including touring acts like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Jesus Lizard, Melvins, Mudhoney (and so many more) before they achieved notoriety. Shot before the digital age, my photo archive captures images the Vancouver Westender called, "confrontational, kinetic and the result of a keen eye for the perfect moment". A number of images have been published in band biographies and magazine articles. Currently, there's a placeholder website set to unveil an archive of fantastic garage and punk bands in my time shooting from 1986-92. But hey, scanning negs takes time..of which I have little these days. A Sunday project for now.
I understand the needs of those in the Arts to market themselves, their events, and wares. I want to assist like-minded creative folks and organizations reach their goals. On the other side of that, I create personal work which is reflective of my other interests’Ä¶history, memory, conflict, ecology, media, architecture, recycling, injustice, social framework, authoritarian dogma, marketing propaganda’Ä¶yes, I cover a range, and add to that my interests in the shaping of cultural, social and environmental currents as they change and effect our future. My old site contains an archive of older paintings and projects, including some artist statements, if that's your bag. I've participated in a long list of solo and group exhibitions. Here's my CV. Want to hire me, work with me, exhibit my work, invite me to talk, publish something of mine or just get in touch? Please do so at: me [at] derekvonessen.com
For paintings and other art projects, visit derekvonessen.ca
2014 Derek von Essen