Written by Molly McCrea
I was lucky enough this week to find out about The Gladstone Hotel’s newest installation “The Wild Wild Wes”, the animation community’s tribute to the inspiring, quirky films of Wes Anderson.
I had the chance to check out this new exhibit, featuring works of over 40 artists this past Tuesday. I made my way to the historic hotel and was greeted by the always themselves quirky and kind front desk staff, who directed me with excitement up the creaky old stairs to the second floor gallery. I love this space. The floors are uneven and sloping, polished to a fine patina that shines with year of footsteps and mysteries. It is a beautifully lit space that opens out to a greenery filled balcony that overlooks a corner of Queen Street that is so steeped in history it always brings goose bumps to my skin.
This makes it the perfect space to host a tribute to the films of the wild Wes Anderson. The walls are lined, sometimes in theme with the movie each piece is representing, sometimes not and I took a walk down memory lane remembering my favourite films of his. As always, with most things I cover, I came to this exhibition being like “wait, who the f is Wes Anderson? He makes movies right? Scary ones? Oh no, I hope it’s not scary.” So obviously much to my delight as I started to take in the pieces I realized not only do I know Wes’s movies, they are easily among my favourites. Life Aquatic? GTFOH. Rushmore? O.R. are they? (MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE JOKE TO SAY THAT NO ONE EVER GETS!) How could I have not known these were all Wes Anderson movies? Right, because I never pay attention to these things.
The first piece that catches my eye is one from Riccardo Durante, titled “Richie”. It is dark and captures Richie’s idioms somehow. It was oddly reminiscent of Christian Bale in American Psycho; dark, rich and poignant. Next up I really enjoyed the skill and the rosiness of the colours in the piece from “The beginning of the end of the beginning” by Alexandra Kavalova. I loved the little old lady clasping the man’s hand; you almost know that she has just said something sassy and wise. This piece is inspired by the Grand Budapest Hotel, one of the few movies of Mr. Anderson I haven’t seen. If this movie can make me make me feel as warm and magical as this piece I will definitely be making a point to watch it soon.
I then moved down those hallowed Gladstone halls to a cute piece by Hilary Leung. This piece is entitled “Because I am a wild animal” and is made entirely of Lego. I love me some Lego so I was of course drawn to and delighted by this fun piece. On the opposite wall I found the Rushmore zone and a work by Mark Ackland titled “Attendance/Punctuality” this is a great, overlain, graphic design that I could picture hanging in a) my living room or b) some funky little queen street bar (Beaver.. I’m looking at you… if I can’t hang it on my own walls I can at least enjoy during Sunday Karaoke.)
In all honesty, I’m not usually a huge fan of the Animation style of art, not because I don’t think they aren’t incredibly talented, but because I often don’t know the meaning or inspiration behind the piece. This was a refreshing reminder to dig deeper into this world. Knowing the inspiration and being a (albeit originally unknowing) fan of Wes Anderson’s work I was able to be transported into his fantastical world once again with each of these pieces. This exhibit celebrates its opening this Thursday, November 13th, from 7-11 pm (frreeeee) and runs until November 23rd. Son of a bitch I’m sick of these dolphins.
As an extra treat we have an amazing piece from Vancouver artist Hobo Divine.
Moonrise Kingdom (faux record jacket)