Art show confidential

I just realized that it has been quite a while since I last posted on Vanalogue. I have been quite busy these first 4 months of 2019, so I hope you will forgive me. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to.

All framed up, and ready to hang. “I love you, booth” – 2019 Christine Hagemoen. Photo: C. Hagemoen

I’ve been working on getting things ready for not one, but two photography exhibits this year. This is the very first time I have had a solo exhibit of my photographs, which has been a personal goal of mine for a long time. The first one was during the month of February and was held in the bright tasting room at Off The Rail Brewing. The second one is currently on view at The Whip Restaurant and Gallery until April 30th, 2019. The Whip is a Mount Pleasant neighbourhood hangout in a funky loft space that features a rotating exhibition of local artists. This space along E. 6th Avenue in the historic Ashnola building (1913) was the original home of the Grunt Gallery from 1984 to 1995.

Pan of my exhibit in The Whip Restaurant & Gallery. Photo: C. Hagemoen

My exhibit of digital photo collages is called Simplicity.

Simplicity noun

  1. Absence of complication;
  2. Brand of sewing patterns.


Two of the vintage sewing patterns that were my source of inspiration. Photo: C. Hagemoen

I was inspired by a collection of vintage sewing patterns that belonged to my friend’s grandmother along with my own collection of vintage magazines and recipe pamphlets. Attracted to the mid-century illustration style depicting the uncomplicated, “Barbie-like” ideal forms of femininity (and masculinity), I wanted to incorporate the mid-century figures into my own contemporary photographic scenes of Vancouver – juxtaposing these idealized ‘catalogue fashion’ figures of the past against realistic backdrops of the present.

“Third Beach Blanket Bingo” photo collage by C. Hagemoen

The process of creating these digital collage is, in many ways, very similar to using sewing patterns to create your own clothes. After scanning the pattern covers, I needed to carefully “cut out” the figures and then seamlessly “stitch” them into photographs of Vancouver that I had shot. I had to resize the patterns, adjust them, and often I had to use my best Photoshop skills to make them fit within a particular scene.

In a few of the images the backgrounds are not as they appear in reality. In those cases, I have collaged buildings or features from other photographs to create a new tableau.

“Chinatown Alley” photo collage by Christine Hagemoen.

Since I am a “digital immigrant” I decided to try my hand at analogue collages. So, using my collection of late 1940s and 1950s magazines as source material, I channeled my inner “Richard Hamilton” and created this collage (below) I call “Just another Saturday night in suburbia”.

“Just another Saturday night in suburbia” collage by Christine Hagemoen

This collage was made manually by cutting out the individual componets and arranging them into a compostion. Unlike digital cutting, where you can fix your missteps by “stepping backward”, manually cutting requires a good pair of scissors (or Exacto knife) and a very steady hand.  Before I permanently affixed the cutouts to the support surface, I scanned them individually so that I could recreate the scene for the print version (see above). The original is hanging on the wall in my hall and everytime I pass it, I smile. The exuberance of mid-century product advertising is infectious.

The world these days can often seem dark and complicated, these works are meant as a respite from all that.

If you are in Mount Pleasant over the next few days I invite you to drop by The Whip and check out my exhibit which will be up until Tuesday, April 30th.

9 thoughts on “Art show confidential

  1. Great fun, very colorful too ! Funny how modern fashion models never look happy, I guess they really don’t like what they have to wear – no surprise there.

    1. Thanks! I guess the best part about fashion illustrations is that you can make them do what you want. Of course, all of that mid-century valium might have had a hand in their expressions.

  2. The expressions are aloof – I am gorgeous and get to wear these clothes so I get to look down on everyone else.

    1. Some of them are, for sure. The best part of this project was discovering that not all the expressions were Stepford Wife-like. One of the pattern people ( not shown in the post) was an angry boy.

  3. The combination of photograph and vintage pattern illustration in “I love you booth” and “Chinatown Alley” is so satisfyingly natural and unforced. This is a tribute to your skill and judgement, as well as that of the anonymous freelancer who produced the wonderful illustrations for Butterick (during the 1950s and 1960s, I’m assuming).

    As you may know there is interest in the work of the many distinctive pattern cover illustrators, but little or no information as to their actual identities survives.

    I better get off my butt if I want to see this wonderful showing (and I do)!

    1. Thank you, Stanley that means a lot to me coming from someone with a background such as yours. I hope you are able to make it up the hill to see it. There is a bike rack outside the Ashnola.

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