QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE

QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE is a 2-in-1, limited-run chewing gum. It was developed over the 2017–18 academic year in collaboration with Karen Sandhu’s Grade 6/7 class at Queen Alexandra Elementary School, located in East Vancouver on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. The students included Aiden, Alex, Andrew, Angelo, Anna, Anthony, Celest, Edwin, Ellaine, Ellie, Farhin, Hannah, Jacky, Jaden, Jaymes, Jaykwon, Kaleb, Levi, Lily, Saiyaka, Susan, Tatiana, Tessa, and Yoni.

The gum was designed through a series of classroom workshops with students, teachers, support staff, and guest experts such as food scientist Kathrin Wallace. In these workshops, students compared gum textures, natural and artificial flavours, and standard ingredients such as sorbitol and xylitol. We explored gum as an art material, a confectionery, and even as a public nuisance when it gets stuck underneath desks and on sidewalks. The result is QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE, which has a uniquely abstract blend of both fruity and sweet notes, with some sharp and earthy tones. Students have variously described the flavour as “Hello Kitty bubble bath,” “pungent,” and “mysterious.”

QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE has received invaluable support from Queen Alexandra Elementary School staff including; Jamine Hickman, Megan Davies, Jon McCormick, Justin Reist, Joe Mergens, and Carole Gomez.

We are indebted to independent food consultant and flavour scientist Kathrin Wallace, and to Chip Budde and Tom Hinkemeyer of Organic Gum LLC. Students from Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling’s Community Projects course at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design supported this project in the fall of 2017. They included Heena Chung, Martina Eckert, Ashley Gendron, Klara Kirsch, Esther Lovell, Yan Wan, Kerem Dogura, Maya Gauvin, Taja Jinnah, Marija Kanavin, Michelle Ma, Ning Niu, Michael Peter, and Yang Yu.

Terry-Dayne Beasley, Kylie Joe, Cole Pauls, Holly Schmidt, and Cease Wyss brought their expertise to the QA CHEW workshops, research, and documentation, while Chris Lee has support Big Rock Candy Mountain with stellar design work. Vanessa Kwan and Sunshine Frère have contributed their curatorial and managerial expertise via Other Sights for Artists’ Projects. Eric Fredericksen, Karen Henry, Tatiana Mellema, and Tamara Tosoff have overseen this project for the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program. Additional thanks to Gina Badger, Gloria Bejar, Nadia Berenstein, Diane Borsato, Melissa Cartwright, Jenny Craig, Dina Danish, Margaret Daskis, Maya Gauvin, Paige Gratland, Vanessa Grondin, Brooke Lodge, Madison Mayhew, Piper Nawa, Pablo de Ocampo, Whit Deschner, Jeff Kulak, Ines Min, Martha Rans, Zoe Kreye, Anna White, and Meichen Waxer.

QA CHEW is a commission of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program as part of Big Rock Candy Mountain, a multi-phased project initiated by Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed. Big Rock Candy Mountain is a flavour incubator and taste-making think tank produced by Other Sights for Artists’ Projects through the support of the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

QA CHEW’s BUBBLE TROUBLE retails for $2.99. All proceeds will support continued art programming at Queen Alexandra Elementary School. Students want to see the profits go towards good quality art supplies for the school, more artist visits (with “less talking and more hard skills”), and a workshop on how to make memes.

Retail locations to be announced soon!

The chicle used in this product supports communities that work and live in the forests of the Mayan Biosphere.

#bubbletrouble #qachews #bigrockcandymountain

 

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SOUR VS SOUR CHOCOLATE BAR

As part of a 3-month engagement with a grade 3/4 class, we taste-tested a range of flavours and developed a miscellaneous vocabulary to describe them: sounds, shapes, words, elaborate fonts, synesthetic line drawings and emojis. With visits to-and-from East Van Roasters, the group learned about single-origin, fairly traded dark chocolate and navigated its tense (and tacky) conflation with cheap candy from the gas station nearby. SOUR VS SOUR is a clash of the tastes we’ve learned to see in opposition: natural vs synthetic flavour, adult vs kid desires, good vs bad choices, healthy food vs economic means. As influenced by EXTREME candy marketing to kids, (and their astute observations about how it functions), SOUR VS SOUR disguises bean-to-bar food politics as campy, crinkly, candy-bar realness.

In her text, Travels in Chocolate, Candy Culture, and Kid Creativity, independent curator Zoë Chan expands on ideas inherent to this project.

Biggest thanks to Shelley Bolton, Brooke Lodge, Gizelle Paré and Merri Schwartz of East Van Roasters for sharing their knowledge, facilities and chocolate-making expertise in the making of the SOUR VS SOUR Chocolate Bar.

Located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, East Van Roasters is a non-profit initiative benefitting the women residents of the Rainier Hotel.

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TALL TALE POSTCARDS

Tall Tale Postcards were the first edition in the series of published works from Big Rock Candy Mountain. The culmination of four months of comic-utopic exaggeration and surrealist image-making with a class of grade 4/5 students, these postcards were produced as a risograph edition by Color Code in Toronto.

As sung by the teacher and students every week, the kid-friendly version of the folk song “Big Rock Candy Mountain” imagines a world where there is no homework, bubblegum grows on trees and every day is your birthday. The notion of these bizarre lyrical bounties were expanded upon through various  projects within the school environment, including a chandelier made of steak and a pumpkin patch in the playground.

Project curator Vanessa Kwan expands on the process leading up to the making of the Tall Tale Postcards in her essay, Big Rock Candy Mountain: The Start of Something Bigger and Smaller.

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TASTEMAKERS

Tastemakers was a series of artist talks that took place at Queen Alexandra Elementary School in the spring of 2017. These talks brought a diverse array of artists and cultural producers into conversation with grade 4/5 students. The short talks were followed by workshops where the artists’ ideas were enacted, tested, and unraveled by the student population.

 

February 10 – Elizabeth Milton

Elizabeth Milton is a Vancouver-based performance and media artist who utilizes character-play to investigate constructions of identity and affective expression. Her recent performances and exhibitions have taken place at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Nanaimo Art Gallery and the grunt gallery and developed through national and international artist-residencies. Milton holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University. She instructs courses in Studio Art at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University and Langara College.

 

February 17 – Terrance Houle

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and raised on the Great Plains of North America, Terrance Houle is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary media artist and a proud member of the Kainai Nation (Blood Tribe). Involved with Aboriginal communities all his life, he has traveled to reservations throughout North America participating in Powwow dancing and native ceremonies. Houle makes use of performance, photography, video & film, music and painting in his work. Likewise, Houle’s practice includes various tools of mass dissemination such as billboards and vinyl bus signage. Houle graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2003 with a BFA Major in Fibre. Houle’s work has been exhibited across Canada, the United States, Australia, the UK and Europe. Houle lives and maintains his art practice in Calgary.

 

March 3 – Cole Pauls

Cole Pauls is a Tahltan First Nation comic artist, illustrator and printmaker hailing from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory with a BFA in Illustration from Emily Carr University. Currently located in Vancouver BC, he focuses on his two comic series Pizza Punks, a self-contained comic strip about punks eating pizza and Dakwäkãda Warriors, a series about two Southern Tutchone earth protectors- Saving the earth from evil pioneers and cyborg sasquatches. Dakwäkãda Warriors also is a language revival comic book that has 25 Southern Tutchone words. He’s currently working on his next two publications; The Pizza Punks Collection and Dakwäkãda Warriors II.

 

March 10 – Phranc

Phranc introduces herself as “the All-American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger.” As a visual artist she has adopted the moniker  “The Cardboard Cobbler.” As a teenager she attended The Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman’s Building in Los Angeles, California, where she focused on songwriting and silk-screening.  In the late 1970’s she was a member of Nervous Gender and Catholic Discipline in the L.A. punk rock scene. She has recorded for Rhino Records, Island Records, and Kill Rock Stars and toured internationally with many acclaimed and notorious artists. Both her music and visual work employ humor to raise consciousness, trigger response, and provoke discussion. She exhibits her visual work at the Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica California (www.craigkrullgallery.com) and at Friesen Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho (www.friesengallery.com).

 

March 31 – Ron Tran

Ron Tran employs a wide range of media, including sculpture, photography, video, performance and installation, as a means to blur the boundaries between public and private space and authorship and identity. Tran was born in Saigon and moved to Vancouver in 1987. He holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver. Tran has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Canada, Europe and Asia. He was recently awarded a Mayor’s Arts Award (Vancouver, 2015) and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien residency (Berlin, 2014). His work is featured in Art Cities of the Future: 21st Century Avant-Gardes, published by Phaidon Press.

 

Mrs. Wong and Mrs. Nickel hosted us, along with their students: Anna, Andrew, Anthony, Arianna, Asia, Aydin, Cathy, Cami, Celest, Charlotte, Clara, Coebe, Coleen, Daniella, Danielle, Darlene, Derrick, Edwin, Ella, Ellaine, Emi, Gabby, George, Jachin, Jacky, Jaymes, Joey, Jospeh, Justice, Kaleb, Kiera, Keira, Kia, Levi, Lily, Linden, Lucas, Naomi, Nirbhay, Nicholas, Ruby, Ryan, Sophia, Tatiana, Tessa and Yoni.

Special thanks to Emily Carr University students: Lydia Bao, Dong Ding, Celina Hui, Ruby Liu, Vivian Ngo, Brianne Siu, Kylie Joe, Eve Lansink, Madison Mayhew, Grace Noh, Sam Taylor, Melanie Whorton and Willy Zhuang.

And Additional thanks to: Deborah Edmeades, Cynthia Brooke, Bopha Chhay, Erik Hood, Vanessa Kwan, Hana Kujawa, Dominique Norvall, Jess McCormack, Harrell Fletcher and Holly Schmidt.

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POP! AFTER SCHOOL STUDIO

After-school art program in the Spring of 2016 focusing on pop art, printmaking and artist multiples. Participants made new shapes, counterfeit shopkins, comics and chewing gum sculptures.

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