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I am drawn to materials that hold a sense of history or storytelling, like a well-worn piece of leather or fabric that has faded from use. Discarded objects become part of my repertoire of media from which I create my works. My approach to art is closely aligned with that of the bricoleur , where I draw upon all sorts of everyday items – whatever is at hand – to create.

Regardless of the medium, my work focuses on themes of love, memory, hope, and loss. I am most interested in making the invisible visible through my art and in doing so I honour the stories that would otherwise be lost and forgotten. Recently, I have begun to explore the art form of puppetry where I get to bring together all aspects of my creative practice to consider storytelling anew through this complex medium.

Portrait of Ken Flett.
✢ This is me, shot with a 8x10 view camera and l used black and white ilford paper as a negative. I am blurry because to hold oneself sharp for 10 seconds is difficult.

A graduate of the Alberta College of Art with a focus in Photographic Arts, I have over 30 years of experience as a visual artist and educator. My early work focused on using large black and white photographs mounted on canvas or wood to create the base for my mixed media paintings. In 2012, my practice stepped away from photographically based work to one that focuses primarily on pieces created through stitching, embroidery, and mosaic. My three-dimensional work includes sculptures, hand-sewn figures, and more recently wooden puppets carved by hand. An interest in time-based work has allowed me to explore stop motion with the creation of When Crows Go Home (2015) and other short pieces I share on Instagram. I am currently enrolled in Bernd Ogrodnik’s Academy of Wooden Puppets to further my knowledge and experience with puppet making. I believe that learning never ends and I have enjoyed the return to the classroom as a student to expand my knowledge of the art form of puppetry.

My adroit use of unlikely materials is a unique element that I bring to the workshops and classes I have offered since 1996. Classes and workshops include: black and white analogue photography, pinhole photography, stop motion, doll making, mixed media, assemblage, papermaking, and collage. My workshops and classes have been offered across Canada and in 2005 and 2010 I was invited to participate in the Singapore Children’s Art Festival where children built scenes in a box one year and paper dolls the second year. 

In 2022, I began Ken Flett Art Factory as an art resource studio at the Oakdene Community Centre in Bear River where students and experts come together for instruction, community, and collaboration. The Art Factory offers classes and workshops (both in-person and online) where learning is encouraged through curiosity and an openness to risk-taking.

My approach to teaching is to provide students with the foundational knowledge on the process being taught so that they can explore their own creativity through the technique without being hemmed in by the technical aspects. I am interested in allowing space for experimentation and dialogue within each class. Art cannot be created entirely through technique and my aim is to create a space where method can be applied to one’s desire to explore personal storytelling through the different classes I offer.  

Education

2022 - Academy of Wooden Puppets
1987 - Diploma · Alberta College of Art; Calgary, Alberta (Major · Photographic Arts)

group Exhibitions

2022 - ARTSPLACE 40 YEAR CELEBRATION · Annapolis Royal, NS
2018 - EAST MEETS WEST · Victoria BC & Annapolis Royal, NS (Curator)
2018 - MAD DOGS & STRAYS · Oakdene Centre; Bear River, NS (Curator)
2015 - UNSUNG · Artworks Gallery; Bear River, NS
2013 - PRE-SHRUNK · Argyle Fine Art Gallery; Halifax, NS
2013 - LOVE & MONSTERS · Rebekah Gallery; Bear River, NS (Curator)
2012 - VIEWPOINT 25 · The Old School House Gallery; Qualicum, BC
2011 - Omnium Gatherum · Evanescence Gallery; High River, AB
2010 - PIRATES & OUTCASTS · Rebekah Gallery; Bear River, NS (Curator)
2010 - AUTUMN UPRISING · Bare Canvas Gallery; Bear River, NS
2010 - REGARDING WEALTH · Legacy Gallery; Victoria, BC
2010 - RED HOT · Annapolis Royal Theatre; Annapolis Royal, NS
2009 - ALTERNATIVE IDENTITIES · Evergreen Cultural Centre; Coquitlam, BC
2008 - 20 YEARS · The Old School House Gallery; Qualicum, BC
2008 - WILLIAM'S COLLECTION · Legacy Gallery; Victoria, BC
2007 - WOOD - NATURALLY INSPIRED · Maple Ridge Gallery; Maple Ridge, BC
2007 - CIRCLE OF MEMORY · Public Art Installation (with Amy Rubin); City of Penticton, BC
2007 - FAREWELL EXHIBITION · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
2007 - 30th ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION · Island Mountain Arts; Wells, BC
2006 - NE ME QUITTE PAS · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
2006 - VICTORIA COLLEGE OF ART · Instructor show; Victoria, BC
2005 - MAYWORKS · OceanSide Arts Council Gallery; Parksville, BC
2004 - MIKE WILLIAMS COLLECTION · Maltwood Museum & Gallery; Victoria, BC
2004 - GALLERY CLOSING · Art is Vital Gallery; Calgary, AB
2003 - ART IRRITATES LIFE · Comox Valley Art Gallery; Courtenay, BC
2000 - PERCEPTIONS · Art Is Vital Gallery; Calgary, AB
1999 - ANNIVERSARY SHOW · Comox Public Art Gallery; Courtenay, BC
1998 - INSTALLATION · Rollin Art Centre; Port Alberni, BC
1998 - LOVE AND LIBERTY · Miles Lowry Fine Arts; Victoria, BC
1997 - COOL - ART (Victoria Cool Aid Society) · Victoria, BC
1996 - NEW ARTISTS/NEW WORKS · Muttart Public Art Gallery, Calgary, AB
1996 - DE VITA ET MORTE · Old School House Gallery; Qualicum Beach, BC
1995 - HOWLING IN THE DARKNESS · Seymour Art Gallery; Deep Cove, BC
1995 - APOCRYPHA III · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
1994 - CONTEMPORARY BEINGS · Arts Alliance; Courtenay, BC
1994 - APOCRYPHA II · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
1994 - RESIDENT ARTISTS SHOW · Old School House Gallery; Qualicum Beach, BC
1994 - FENESTRA · Arts Council Gallery; Parksville, BC
1993 - CANADIAN ARTISTS TO THE BENEFIT OF THE OLGA HAVEL FOUNDATION · Gallerie Pallas; Prague, Czechoslovakia.
1993 - MONOCHROME · Old School House Gallery; Qualicum, BC
1993 - JOURNEYS · Harcourt House Gallery; Edmonton, AB
1993 - TWO STORIES · Breakwater Gallery; Qualicum BC
1992 - COAST TO COAST · Old School House Gallery; Qualicum, BC
1992 - TEN FACES · Arts Council Gallery; Parksville, BC
1992 - District 69 Juried Art Show; Award of Excellence
1991 - IMAGES AND OBJECTS · Provincial Juried Art Show Award of Excellence; North Vancouver, BC
1991 - Regional Juried Art Show; Award of Excellence, BC
1991 - District 69 Juried Art Show; Award of Excellence
1991 - PIECES OF EIGHT · Parksville Arts Council Gallery
1990 - Provincial Juried Art Show; Victoria, BC
1990 - Regional Juried Art Show; Award of Excellence
1987 - GRADUATE SHOW · Alberta College of Art
1987 - COLLEGE ARTS 86 · Honourable Mention; Maison Alcan; Montreal, Quebec.

Jury | Presenter

2023 - Dancing with Shadows, puppet performance – McMillan Arts Centre, Parksville BC
2022 - The Diabolical Puppet Bomb; Oakdene Centre; Bear River NS, Producer
2015 - Stop Motion Performance; Oakdene Centre; Bear River NS, Producer
2006 - Hornby Island Music Festival Visual Arts, Curator
1999 - BC Festival of the Arts; Victoria BC, Artist Presenter
1999 - Dist.69 Annual Juried Art Show, Juror
1998 - BC Arts Council Visual Artists Project Assistance, Juror

Awards

2023 -Canada Council Explore and Create Grant
2022 -Nova Scotia Professional Development Grant
2023 -Winter Residency at ArtsPlace - Annapolis Royal
2022 - Nova Scotia ArtBank Purchase
2013 - Art Director for the Bear River Luminosa Lantern Festival
2000 - Canada Council Travel Grant
1999 - Canada Council Short Term Grant
1998 - B.C. Arts Council Visual Artists Project Grant
1997 - B.C. Arts Council Visual Artists Project Assistance
1996 - Mexico Artists Resideney Program · Canada Council
1992 - District 69 Juried Art Show · Award of Excellence
1991 - Regional Juried Art Show · Award of Excellence; BC
1991 - District 69 Juried Art Show · Award of Excellence
1990 - Provincial Juried Art Show; Victoria, BC
1990 - Regional Juried Art Show · Award of Excellence; BC
1987 - Alberta College of Art Graduate Award
1987 - Provincial Charles Noble Award far Leadership
1987 - COLLEGE ARTS 86 Honourable Mention; Maison Alcan
1986 - Provincial Continuing Arts Travel Scholarship

Solo Exhibitions

2023 - STORIES THROUGH WOOD, ArtsPlace Library Gallery, Annapolis Royal NS
2022 - VINEWOMAN SCULPTURE · ArtsPlace yard; Annapolis Royal, NS
2019 - BECOMING THE OCEAN · Oakdene Centre; Bear River, NS
2012 - LOST & FOUND · Evanescence Gallery; High River, AB
2012 - LOST & FOUND · Mym Gallery; Annapolis Royal , NS
2007 - BRIAR AND A ROSE · Art Gallery of South Okanagan; Pentiction , BC
2006 - NE ME QUITTE PAS · Grand Forks Public Art Gallery; Grand Forks, BC
2006 - NE ME QUITTE PAS · The Old School House Gallery; Qualicum, BC
2004 - SHELTER · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
2002 - WARM NESTS, DARK FLIGHTS · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
2001 - WARM NESTS, DARK FLIGHTS · Nanaimo Public Art Gallery; Nanaimo, BC
1999 - FRIENDS & LOVERS · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
1998 - FRIENDS & LOVERS · Yukon Arts Centre; Whitehorse, Yukon
1998 - RITES OF SANCTUARY · Seymour Art Gallery; Deep Cove, BC
1997 - QUERENCIA · Public Art Gallery; Prince George, BC
1997 - QUERENCIA · Public Art Gallery; Grand Forks, BC
1997 - QUERENCIA · South Okanagan Public Art Gallery; Penticton, BC
1997 - RITES OF SANCTUARY · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
1996 - FURTHER THAN THE EYES CAN SEE · Island Mountain Arts; Wells, BC
1995 - LUMINOSA OBSCURA · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
1995 - CHRYSALIDS · Arts Alliance; Courtenay, BC
1995 - PENUMBRA · Galerie Sans Nom; Moncton, NB
1992 - Richmond Gateway Gallery; Richmond, BC

Teaching Experience

2023 - SELF PORTRAITURE WITH B&W FILM, Oakdene Centre, Bear River, NS
2023 - SIMPLE WOODEN MARIONETTE, The Old School House Gallery, Qualicum BC
2022 - Handmade Paper Introduction · Oakdene Center; Bear River, NS
2022 - Black & White Film Camera · Oakdene Center; Bear River, NS
2015 - STOP MOTION ANIMATION WORKSHOP · Oakdene Center; Bear River, NS
2015 - DOLL WORKSHOP · Oakdene Center; Bear River, NS
2010 - CRYING & MOANING · Oakdene Center; Bear River, NS
2010 - SINGAPORE CHILDRENS ART FESTIVAL · Singapore
2008 - METCHOSIN SUMMER SCHOOL OF ARTS · Metchosin, BC (5 day mixed media)
2007 & 2008 - ISLAND MOUNTAIN ARTS · Wells, BC (5 day mixed media)
2007 & 2008 - RED DEER COLLEGE · Summer Visual Arts Program; Red Deer, BC (5 day bricolage)
2008 - CARE OF A BRICOLEUR · Denman Island Arts Centre; Denman, BC (3 day assemblage)
2007 - ART DOLL WORKSHOP · Denman Island Arts Centre; Denman, BC (3 days)
2007 - ART DOLL WORKSHOP · Fran Willis Gallery; Victoria, BC
2007 - BRICOLAGE WORKSHOP · Comox Valley Art Gallery; Courtenay, BC
2007 - EN'OKWIN CENTRE STUDENTS · Penticton, BC (day long mixed media workshop)
2007 - BRICOLAGE WORKSHOP · Gallery of South Okanagan; Penticton, BC
2006 - BRICOLAGE WORKSHOP · Grand Forks Public Art Gallery; Grand Forks, BC
2006 - BRICOLAGE WORKSHOP · Hornby Island Music Festival; Hornby Island, BC
2006 - ARTSTARTS · Vanier Secondary School; Courtenay, BC
2006 - METCHOSIN SUMMER SCHOOL OF THE ARTS · Metchosin, BC (5 day bricolage)
2005 & 2006 - VICTORIA COLLEGE OF ART · Victoria, BC (ten week mixed media course)
2004 - SINGAPORE KIDSFEST · Singapore
2003 - ARTSTARTS · Vanier Secondary School; Courtenay, BC
2002 - ARTSTARTS · Vanier Secondary School; Courtenay, BC
2000 - MIXED MEDIA WORKSHOP · SweetWater Moon Festival; Rolla, BC
1999 - MIXED MEDIA WORKSHOP · Yukon Arts Centre; Whitehorse, Yukon
1998 & 1999 - EXPLORATION OF CAMERA ARTS · Malaspina College; Parksville, BC
1998 - MIXED MEDIA WORKSHOP · Parksville, BC
1997 - SELF PORTRAIT WORKSHOP · Turning Point Youth Program; Parksville, BC
1997 - EXPLORATION OF CAMERA ARTS · Old School House Gallery; Qualicum, BC
1996 - EXPLORATION OF CAMERA ARTS · Island Mountain Arts; Wells, BC
1986 - PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS · City of Calgary Parks & Recreation; Calgary, AB

Selected Reviews/Articles

August 2023 - IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE · ArtSeen Profile: ArtsPlacei; Annapolis Royal NS
March 2012 - LOVE & MONSTERS · Heather Killen: The Annapolis County Spectator; Middleton NS
2011 - STEALING COOKIES · Heather Killen: The Annapolis County Spectator; Middleton, NS
March 2008 - WILLIAM'S FAVORITES ON EXHIBITION · Robert Amos: Times Colonist; Victoria, BC
September 2000 - MIKE WILLIAMS COLLECTION · Robert Amos: Times Colonist; Victoria, BC
November 25, 1998 - NORTH BY NORTHWEST · David Grierson: CBC Radio
July 11, 1998 - WINDOWS ON HIS SOUL · Goody Niosi: Harbour City Star; Nanaimo, BC
March 1998 - REVIEW · Paula Gustafson: Asian News
November 1997 - A PICTURE OF COMPASSION · Robert Amos: Times Colonist; Victoria, BC
June 1995 - AFFIRMATIVE ART BORN OF ANGUISH · Paula Gustafson: The Georgia Straight; Vancouver, BC
November 1995 - PROFILE · Paula Gustafson: Artichoke Magazine; Vancouver, BC
1995 - FURTHER THAN THE EYES CAN SEE · David Lonergan: L'Acadie Nouvelle; Dieppe, NB
1995 - PAINTINGS BURROW INTO THE SOUL · Svetozar Kontic: The Independent; Courtenay, BC
1995 - PORTRAITS · Shaw Cable; Nanaimo, BC
1995 - PROFILE · Amanda Thompson: The Times; Nanaimo, BC
1991 - STREET PEOPLE OFFER INSPIRATION FOR ERRINGTON ARTIST · Mike Robinson: Parksville News