Gorillas in a Concrete Jungle

The month of May held many adventures that are often brought when the weather changes from windy, dry, and cold to rainy, warm, and lush. It seems as if Calgary totally forgot about spring this year and went straight to summer. The warmth in the air lended itself to many post-work bike rides that led to new discoveries. The beginning of May started off in support of local artists at Gorilla House. Gorilla House is an art studio in Calgary’s Beltline. Every Wednesday night it hosts an “art battle” where local artists, come one come all, are given three topics to incorporate into/inspire their work. They get three hours to make their work and then the open-to-the public auction begins. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the artist. The night I was there the three randomly selected topics were “Closer to Infinity”, “Kinetics” and “Mysterious Doors”. I was curious to see the results. The art space itself is quit unassuming but, upon closer inspection and traipsing from one workspace to the next, I noticed that there was a lot of talent in that house.

Lane Shordee at work at Gorilla House

Lane Shordee at work at Gorilla House

My eye, however, was immediately drawn to one abstract painting in the works downstairs being painted by a man named Lane Shordee. I didn’t know his name at the time but in due time I would. At 9:29 the artists were brushing their last strokes onto their canvases and bringing their work to the auctioning area. At that time I was outside admiring some last-minute talent when I saw Lane. I told him I liked his piece and was hoping to bid on it. I asked him if he had checked out the then exhibiting “Wreck House” in Sunnyside. He told me that in fact he was one of the artists responsible for the greenhouse installation there. This was quite coincidental seeing as that particular installation was one I similarly had gravitated towards when I checked out “Wreck House”. IMG_0779The auction began and the first piece being sold was a painting on a piece cardboard being held up by the artist himself, a boy of eight years. It sold for five dollars. Then it came for Lane to hold up his painting. As a virgin to the auctioning process, I found bidding quite exhilarating. I bid at $10.00, at $25.00, at $38.00, and finally at $45.00 dollars, which is the price it sold for! I couldn’t believe it! A one-of-a-kind abstract painting! Lane and I had a celebratory photo shoot post buy.


Can you see open doors, kinetics, and closer to infinity? Because all I see is a First Nations warrior!



About hannahslomp

I have an interest in arts and culture wherever my bicycle takes me. My travels have allowed me to realize that there is ingenuity wherever you go, you just have to go off the beaten municipal bike path.
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3 Responses to Gorillas in a Concrete Jungle

  1. Tom Tracey says:

    This is a nice piece of writing.
    I had a similar experience at Gorilla House where I bought one of Lane’s works.
    Really one of the best pieces of the night and it went for far too little.
    I’m hoping to pick up another one sometime soon.
    Maybe I’ll meet you there!
    All the best,

  2. Pingback: ABOUT town 2013: A Year in Review | ABOUT town

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