Angie Marchinkow: water, music and light

Angie Marchinkow: water, music and light

Angie Marchinkow opened her door and greeted me with a big smile and let me in. As soon as she closed the door we started chatting about music.

There was a music studio in one room and as I walked into the large, tall and open living room of her condo I was spoiled with a collection of guitars, a keyboard and a cello, all of them washed in the light of the sunset over Okanagan lake that came spilling in through the windows. 

“My partner is a musician and composer. The music studio and a lot of the instruments are his.” 

“I recognize the cello.”  Angie and I were at one point roommates when I moved back to Kelowna a few years ago. 

“Yup, the cello is mine but it’s been collecting dust. I’ve just been so busy I can’t seem to find the time to practice.” Angie hands me a glass of water as I get my notepad and camera ready. 

I followed her upstairs to her studio. It’s a tall room with a view of Okanagan lake. The ambient light is even and excellent for photography. Painting, too, by the looks of it. Angie is in the process of working on a series of paintings called ‘WAVES.’ Her partner, local musician and composer, Andrew Judah, will work on a collaboration together. I sit down as Angie stands with a few of her paintings that lean against the wall. 

“Does the music you listen to find its way into your paintings,” I ask her as I sip my water. 

“Yes, I listen to lots of different stuff. That’s what Andrew and I will be doing. A collaboration.”

She turns one of the canvases leaning against the wall around, revealing a painting partially finished. Strokes of different blues and purples fill its space.

“I call this one ‘Cascades.’ The idea is that I paint while he’s composing ambient music for me to paint along to.”

She has three smaller canvases, painted and textured in light and deep blues. She has volleyball knee pads on. A lot of her work is done laying the canvases on the floor. She kneels down, brushing a dry brush against one of the paintings’ surfaces.

“Sometimes I just paint in silence. I like hearing the brush against the surface.”

She pulls the brush against its texture and it sounds like sand being pulled by a wave. Her drop cloths are blotted with different colours of paint, becoming an abstract work of art on their own. I photograph her working and I photograph her floors. 

The light is really filling the room now with sunlight. “Is it important to have a room like this at home? A place dedicated to your work?” 

Angie thinks for a moment, looking around the room. It has a board with tubes of acrylic paint meticulously hanging from it in one corner, paintings lean against the walls, the floor is protected and covered  in white drop cloths, the brushes have their place, a desk is loaded with bags Angie makes and sells that have been recycled from past drop cloths. They’re labeled, ‘Art is important.’ The whole upper loft is hers to utilize as her studio. And the view is stunning. The sun is at its apex, just above the horizon. I have to squint to see out the patio door. 

“Working up here really has its pros and cons. On one hand there’s the convenience of working at home. I’m fortunate being upstairs, away from the kitchen and living area. I have to walk up here to paint. On the other hand, sometimes I feel like I never leave. Sometimes it can be easy to avoid the work that needs to be done because home exists down a flight of stairs. If there isn’t a disconnect from work and life at home, sometimes you feel like you’re ALWAYS at work.” 

“You’re still working as a doula as well, ya?” 

“Yes, I’m still working as a doula and I’m commissioned to do a few pieces,” Angie points to a large, naked canvas. “I have a series hanging up at the Rotary Arts Center until January and I’ll be doing more of my Ale and Abstract classes there too. One in November and another in December.” 

Angie paints mainly on canvas and board using pastels and acrylic paint. She tells me, “I never have a final image in mind when I start a painting. It just takes me to where it wants to go.”

Angie is not only a painter but also a musician, a photographer and an avid sailor. She has a lot of experience on the water and looking at her work, you can’t help but feel like the water themes have made their way into her paintings. 

Angie’s father was the artist in the family growing up and would set up. He might not admit it, Angie refers to him as an ‘artist in denial.’ She recalls evenings when she was a child and her father setting up canvas to paint for fun. He and Angie’s mother, who taught music, both encouraged Angie to follow her artistic pursuits ever since she was little. It’s a good thing, too.

Looking around the studio, seeing Angie happy and living her life, following her heart and her passions, collaborating with other artists and creating artwork of her very own fills me with pride knowing that the more I venture out and talk to those who inspire me, I am reminded over and over and over again that there is a way forward, pursuing our dreams and making it happen, one story at a time. 

We spent an hour talking about art and music. I circle her working, snapping photos for this article. The sun has set, leaving soft shadows on the walls. I finished my water and packed up my gear. Andrew is working in the music studio downstairs. As I pack up my gear, I am introduced to Andrew. I promise them that as this pandemic alleviates, I will be available with my camera to document them both as their careers unfold. I left my time with Angie again feeling as if the more I talk to the people who are driven to follow their hearts and passions, the more faith I have in doing the same. 

Look for Angie and Andrews collaboration, ‘WAVES’ in the future. You can see her installation, ‘Embellished Conversance’ now on display upstairs in the Mezzanine of the Rotary Center for the Arts and Angie’s Abstract and Ale event is also at the RCA coming up Nov. 17, 2021.  

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The Okanagan’s been my home since I was born. Life has taken me across the planet several times and through that transient lifestyle I developed a journalistic style to my photography and to my writing. My influences would be that of James Nachtwey, Annie Lebovitz, Ashley Maile, Hunter S Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Tom Robbins, Wes Anderson and Charles Bukowski. The world outside this incredible valley, its cultures and its mystery is what’s kept me working and trying to save my money, so I can keep getting back into the world. That’s the way it used to be. Covid has opened my eyes to the land I call my home and there are so many tales to tell right here in BC. From tales of the impoverished to the neglected to those who overcome adversity, to the spirit to overcome fear, the power of storytelling has never been more relevant. I’ve always been a storyteller. There’s a tale worth telling in every neighborhood. I just happen to write about what happens to me along the way and I’ve kept them close to my heart, hoping one day I’ll have an outlet so I can tell those stories the best way I know how; by writing them down. From adventures of long ago, both here or maybe far away, future interviews with musicians, artists of all kinds, the coverage of events, the people I meet along the way, whatever I get up to I intend to have you as my guest as I go back in time and dig up the bones of those old adventures or chase down new ones. Through the alchemy of storytelling, you can come along with me if you like. Before Covid-19 I was really coming into my own photographing live shows; punk rock bands, hip hop showcases, tattoo portraits, rock climbing adventures, Femme Fatale burlesque performances you name it, the phone was finally beginning to ring. Then Covid showed up like a hurricane and I guess it wiped us all out in one way or another. I have a real bone to pick with Covid-19 and if I can share some stories for our readers to enjoy, I’ll do that and when we can return to live music and to foreign travel and we can safely get to working on mending what’s been damaged I tell you I want to be ringside like Joe Rogan commentating on Covid getting its ass whooped. I want to see it tap out and watch us overcome this hardship, raise our collective hands triumphantly and move on into whatever new normal is waiting for us. I’ll be there and through my eyes, just like the boss man, Hunter himself, I’ll do it in Gonzo fashion and bring you kicking and screaming along with me. So hold on tight and dig in. It might not always be pretty but I won’t call it all ugly, neither. That’s for you to decide. My name is Shane Collins and I hope you’ll read along with me and our team here at Gonzookanagan.com

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