Inside the Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver’s ode to mixed media art

When it comes to all things art, Vancouver is a city that is packed with opportunities for both the artist and the admirer. From the Fringe festivals to the Artivism events that took place at UBC just a few weeks ago, the chance to relish art is endless.

So when I got to have a chat with UBC alumni and multidisciplinary artist Nadia Baker, about the Eastside Culture Crawl, I could hardly wait to hear all about it.

“It's exciting because it's the [Crawl’s] 25th anniversary, and there's going to be lots of different events happening. This year, it's happening over two weekends and you have to do it by appointment. So you make an appointment for the building that you want to see, and you have to be double vaccinated,” said Baker.

The Crawl, which showcases all sorts of interdisciplinary works from pottery to mixed-media, took place last weekend (November 12–14) and will continue this weekend too. The first weekend was by appointment only but the second one is an open studio festival where the public can explore the artists’ studio and their work.

For Baker, the event means that she can share her work which takes inspiration from her background as a biologist. She finds herself especially intrigued by landscapes and nature. She shared how her latest series, The Boulder Fantasy, marries acrylics with chalk pastels to create a contrasting landscape that consists of different elements.

Nadia finds herself especially intrigued by landscapes and nature.
Nadia finds herself especially intrigued by landscapes and nature. Courtesy Nadia Baker

“As a biologist, a lot of the work that I've done [is] fieldwork; it's observing the landscape, like what kind of vegetation is there? What kind of wildlife, or are there any streams? It's a lot of documentation, taking photos and making notes. In the last few years, I've been working on this series called The Boulder Fantasy and it draws on our visit to Joshua Tree where I took lots of photos and sketches. As a biologist, you're trained to kind of make lots of observations and notes. For me also, as an artist, I really appreciate looking at those details, the different colours, the different textures and bringing that into my art,” said Baker.

After nearly two years of the pandemic, Baker expressed her excitement about being able to share her art with the Crawl’s audiences.

“I'm very excited to be in the show. And also to be able to open up my studio and share the works with people coming through. It's a great opportunity to get feedback and just even see people smile or something, because sometimes being an artist is a lonely work.”