Book Review

Book Review

“Art, magic, and the occult have been intimately linked since our prehistoric ancestors created the first cave paintings some 50,000 years ago. As civilizations developed, these esoteric forces continued to drive culture forward, both visibly and behind the scenes, from the Hermetic ideas of the Renaissance, to the ethereal worlds of 19th century Symbolism, to the occult interests of the Surrealists. ”
– Amazon review

“Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change.”

“Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.”
– Amazon review

Review by Bonnie Schmaus
CVPAG Treasurer


A quote from the back cover – the book is a “deep exploration of occulture (the liminal space where art and magic meet)” …. Carl “reveals the integral role played by magic and occultism in the development of culture throughout history”… ideas from “Carl Jung, Anton LaVey, Paul Bowles, Aleister Crowley, and Rudolf Stein”.

Culture Code:
It’s an education on the dynamics of groups across cultures and classes – a helpful and fascinating read.

I found the story on film maker Stanley Kubrick, quite amusing.  He claimed in his later years: “ I perpetuated a huge fraud ”  – in regards to the Apollo 8 moon landing.

Both books offer lots of insight and are written through conversations with some of our more thoughtful and provocative creators, thinkers and tinkerers. 

**Please support your local bookstore or Library

Artist Profile

Artist Profile

Yuko Yamamoto
Interdisciplinary Artist
– by Wendy Robison “Art is the purest expression of passion.”
– Yuko Yamamoto

Interdisciplinary artist Yuko Yamamoto conceives and practises creativity in many languages – paint, fibre, ancient ‘Yuzen’ wood-block, printing-making, text, performance art . . .

 “I wanted to explore, experience — not reject — different ideas and cultures – sound production, sculpture, movement in performance, directing in performance, making sound from my drawings. Tradition kills uniqueness.
When I was 4, my mother took me to an art tutor. Also, I took flute lessons. And I loved to climb trees. I wanted to jump higher than high.”


Being risky generates an aura of power and that power Yuko experiences in the creative act.  Yuko believes it is in the process of being utterly honest, intense, human, that art achieves authenticity.  And this process illuminates for Yuko the fundamental desire to be a human being. “I open myself to you.”


Born in Japan, Yuko studied and practised as a clinical psychologist.  During graduate studies at the Arts Institute of Chicago she transposed to performance art. “In North America, I found an openness, a generosity to explore creatively.”

Emigrating to the Cowichan Valley, Yuko and Hiroshi and their two daughters live in a wild mountain garden, yellow Leopard’s Bane dancing up the forest drive.  Yuko has opened herself to the Valley’s vibrant life:  offering workshops, bringing visiting Japanese artists, engaging with many local artists, arts groups, galleries, and in experimental creative projects, working with Providence Farm.   Click here to see the video.

She travels often to Japan, connecting with Japanese artists, curating exhibits and teaching, taking Canadian visiting artists to study and share in Japanese culture.  Twice, Yuko has arranged for the extraordinarily vital octogenarian Master Koyama to teach, in Valley studios, the ancient Yuzen wood-block printing technique used in kimono-making.  Click here to see the video.

As a performance artist, Yuko participates internationally.  Performance art, she emphasises, uses a body that is not trained to be an art object, exposing the body directly as the art material. Performance art is not acting. It’s creating physically with the body to expose one’s Self in beauty and authenticity. It must feel utterly truthful.

“The most important thing about performance art is feeling everything is right about one’s body: loving oneself. It hurts and it heals. It pulls the pure passion of madness into art.”

Yuko’s curatorial work in Tokyo, when Vancouver Island artists Cathi Jefferson and Gloria Daley showed their works.  The articles explain how they successfully interacted with local Japanese people.

Election Related

Election Related

We asked candidates in the recent local municipal elections if they could support our cause…this was our question: I’m Jock Hildebrand and I am the president of the “Friends of the Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society” a registered group under the Societies Act.
We have been in existence for a year now, we have 60 plus paid up membership and we have 200 people who receive our monthly news letter.  Our intention is to bring the valley a purpose built Schedule “A” Public Art Gallery. This designation would allow the gallery to bring any exhibition from Canada and around our world.  Our honourary Chair person and Champion is the valley’s well known citizen, Jean Crowder.

Would this be a project you could support?

Michelle Staples  ELECTED  Mayor, City of Duncan

“This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for the valley and it is good to hear so many people are coming together to make this happen.”

Carol Newington ELECTED  Council, City of Duncan
“Thank you, Jock, for the email and yes this is a project that I could get behind. Yet another reason to visit the Cowichan Valley!”

Kate Marsh ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“I have heard about this initiative and think it would be wonderful to have a Schedule A public art gallery in the valley. Thank you for taking the initiative on this.”

Bob Brooke ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“What a tremendous idea! If elected I would not only support this but advocate for it.  Good Luck!”

Christopher Justice ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“I think that a public art gallery would be a great addition to the arts scene in the Cowichan Valley. As a photographic artist myself, I am attracted to the idea of an art gallery. But it would have a broader function. I believe that a key to our economic development involves transitioning from a resource based economy to a broader base. One key to this is attracting young entrepreneurs and other investors to the valley, those people who can live wherever they choose. Such people are more likely to pick a place to settle based on the availability of lifestyle amenities including great natural beauty and recreational opportunities, good schools and health care, and access to the arts.”

Rosalie Sawrie ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“Yes of course I would support a project that would bring different art exhibits from across the country.”

Art is Medicine

Art is Medicine


Quebec Doctors to prescribe Museum visits for chronic pain, depression From the article:

“I am convinced that in the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century,” said MMFA director Nathalie Bondil in a statement.

“Cultural experiences will benefit health and wellness, just as engaging in sports contributes to fitness,” she said.


News Flash

News Flash

“Since 2007, the Vancouver Island State of the Island Economic Summit has been providing a venue and a forum for businesses and stakeholders on Vancouver Island to learn about and understand the State of the Island Economy. Youth, First Nations, Political Leaders, Business Leaders, Small Business and other inspirational leaders on Vancouver Island participate in championing actions that will position Vancouver Island in the Global Marketplace.”

–  quote from the VIEA Economic Summit website

CVPAG President, Jock Hildebrand, D.F.A. at the Summit

“Thanks to encouragement from our members and a generous donation from CVPAG member (and newsletter editor) Dorian Melton, I was able to attend the Vancouver Island Economic conference in Nanaimo on behalf of CVPAG.

The conference was truly interesting and I was able to meet more than 50 people with whom I exchanged cards and spoke to about the CVPAG project. As in the Cowichan, there was a lot of enthusiasm.  I will be following up and looking for support, particularly for sponsorships for our exhibitions.

Member Profile

Member Profile

Jean Crowder

The Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society has, in her chosen word, a “champion”!

Jean Crowder, recently retired Member of Parliament, Nanaimo-Cowichan (2004-2015), brings her deep experience and her vitality to the creative process of establishing a Public Art Gallery in the Cowichan Valley.

As the Society’s honourary chairperson, Jean believes her strength will be in “speaking to people where they are.”   Intelligent and warm, Jean’s voice is widely recognized and respected, speaking publicly, politically and in-community.  A four-term MP, her roles included shadow critic for: Aboriginal Affairs, Community Economic Development, Health, and Status of Women.  As a professional as well as a  volunteer, she has established relationships with all elements of our Cowichan Valley’s diverse spectrum of cultures, social and ethnic languages, and interest groups.  From the multiple perspectives of the economy, local community issues, social activism, cultural priorities, youth, and marginalized citizens, Jean can persuasively discuss the value to the Cowichan Valley of a world-class Public Art Gallery.

“We must first identify our audience clearly.  We must be open to input from all elements.  Public engagement is crucial in developing a vision.  Relationship-building is key to a successful process. Bringing diverse groups together and speaking publicly to all elements of society are a joy for me.”
“The arts are our birthright . . . I see a project that reflects the natural traditions of this Warmland:  the cedar, the rains, the rivers and Salish Sea, the creatures and the people. First Nations must be informed, asking respectfully if and how they might like to be involved.  An wholistic vision of arts and culture can reflect our culturally-rich Island community.  A Public Art Gallery can be a space for public forum; it can pull people together, educating us to see our world in new and different ways. The arts expand and enrich the languages with which we tell our stories.”
A Public Art Gallery can be a vital restorative communal space where people share their life stories. “Story and storytelling are central to civilization . . . and what’s happening to ‘story’, now, in our current culture? Listening to individuals’ unique stories, and taking someone’s story forward, has been the most  powerful experience of my life in-community.”

– profile by Wendy Robison

Masked – by Daniel Collins

Masked – by Daniel Collins

Image: Balinese wooden mask. Photo: Daniel to see the full image

Hanging in my current home, blessed with many walls, is my modest collection of wooden masks. Amongst the collection, hanging by itself in the living room where the light is sometimes just right, is my personal favourite, the first mask in the collection.

It’s quite plain, really, especially compared with most of the others and is unpainted, carved in slightly blemished wood, of a Balinese face at rest, with eyes bulging and slightly smiling full lips (like a Buddha some have said). I purchased it in New York where I had been trying to live as an actor/waiter/alexander technique receptionist for over two years in the early 80’s. There was a shop in the village where I’d never dared go inside because I knew my greed for folk art would overcome my need for food. But I stopped every time I went by and gazed longingly in the window. The store featured Indonesian art. I finally went in.

It was immediately overwhelming. Especially frightening beauty was rampant, dangling from the ceiling and screaming from the walls. Lots of fantastic, large fanged, bug-eyed beings, fabulous masks and puppets and carvings and dragons and pink lotuses and snarling demons all painted up. But I was looking for something in particular. I had been dreaming up a clown character who opposes nuclear development, a man of peace named ‘Nonuke of the North’. I was seeking inspiration.

As I was looking at all the stuff, drooling on my runners, pricing the costly items, starting to worry that I wouldn’t be able to afford anything, when I came to a section of unpainted carvings, including several masks. I held them all and tried them on. A few were out of my price range, not hard to beat. After a long time I finally narrowed it down to simple one with a sweet face. I chose it because I thought the face looked universal and neutral, but I’m a naïve white man.

I took my purchase to the cashier and paid about $25, which was all I had to spare. The Indonesian owner of the shop wrapped it up in tissue and put it in a small cardboard box, which I thought was so thoughtful for an inexpensive item. He smiled and asked, “Do you know what this one is called?”
“No.” I said.
He smiled and said, “A Peaceful Man.”

When I eventually moved into an old house in the West End of Vancouver, that mask was the first thing on the wall, followed by a few Mexican masks that I’d purchased on tour with that nameless theatre company that lured me to New York in the first place. That was the beginning of my collection, which now contains over 40 masks from 14 countries.

I had moved to Vancouver to take a job with Expo ’86 as a singing/dancing beaver in the opening act in the Canadian pavilion in what was later voted “the worst show at Expo”. After that very challenging gig I thought that what I jokingly referred to as ‘my performing career ’had hit rock bottom. I decided to shift gears (again) and dedicated the rest of my life to being a photographer, becoming a dance/theatre publicist/photographer/writer for the next 20 years I was in Vancouver.

But back in between rehearsals for ‘The Goose and Beaver show’ I also managed to create ‘Nonuke of the North’ who appeared for the first time in the 4th annual Vancouver peace march in April, 1985 with 80,000 other protestors. Nonuke wore bright yellow plastic 2-piece rain gear trimmed with green fake fur. There was a large fluorescent green peace sign on his back. I hesitated copying the mask because i didn’t have the time, but the peaceful, gentle spirit of the mask was a definite part of the Nonuke’s character. I painted Nonuke’s face white with a green peace sign. The character was much more popular than I had expected and spent most of the day posing for photos. I loved the fact that Nonuke was making people smile or laugh while protesting. He appeared on all local TV and newspaper coverage of the event, including a great shot in the Vancouver Sun..

The next year the march was scheduled on a day when I had to work as the Beaver and I couldn’t re-schedule because of my uncooperative Goose. So I asked my youngest sister if she wanted to fill in for me at the 1986 march. My idea that year was to include Santa Claus so I rented a costume for her b.f. to dress-up in. I thought Santa and Nonnuke would be a hot couple and I was right. My sister said they posed for photos “pretty much constantly”. There were over 100,000 peace marchers in 1986, a record that still stands.

1986 was the first year the march ended up at B.C. Place and those in costume or with good signs were asked to parade in front of the other assembled participants sitting in the stands waiting for the speeches. My sister said that when they walked in a roar went up in the crowd as people cheered like crazy. She looked around to see who they were cheering for and realized it was them, Santa and Nonuke holding hands.

As they walked by each new section of the stands they got a standing ovation. So many people wanted photos that they never had a chance to sit down. She also remembers, as I did, having to smile with closed lips so as not to break the bottom curved line of the peace sign painted on Nonuke’s face. Lots of pictures appeared in all the papers and TV coverage that year also. When I returned the Santa costume, the rental company had loved seeing him on TV and didn’t charge me.

The next year I decided that Nonuke could have a partner and made a green rain gear costume with brown and yellow checked fur. I remembered the mask and recklessly decided to make papier mache copies for my friend Jay and I to wear so that we might appear more neutral and non-gender, non-race specific. I thought we looked fabulous. Perhaps we looked too gay?

As the 1987 march assembled on the far side of the Burrard Bridge, we were soon accosted by an angry Native Feminist who demanded to see under my mask. When I lifted it and she saw my white face she screamed, “I thought so!” and unleashed a barrage of abuse based on cultural appropriation. She wouldn’t listen to the fact that the mask wasn’t copied from her culture, she reasoned that it was stolen no matter where it was from. She stormed off and soon returned with a piece of paper saying, “This is what your sign should say!” She jammed the paper into my hand. It read, “Racist for a good cause!” I argued back that this wasn’t native misappropriation because the mask and the character were meant to be seen as universal but she wasn’t listening. Maybe she was right? Was Nonuke’s costume a rip-off of Inuit culture?

Jay and I walked in the 1987 march but my spirit wasn’t in it. Nonuke and his partner didn’t make it into any newspapers. Nonuke, as a solo without the mask, made it out to a couple of other smaller demos after that but that was his last peace march.

In an end of the millennium wrap-up on Dec. 16, 1999, the Vancouver Sun re-published the photo from the 1985 march along with a subsequent letter to the editor from some anti-peace march ranter from Ladysmith. Anyone know an H.B. Dickens?

– Daniel Collins, 2018

Why I love art galleries

Why I love art galleries

Image: sketchbook drawing: 9″ x 12″. pen and ink with watercolour. drawn on site, Pallazzo Veccio, Florence, Italy. click to see the full image

I love art galleries (and museums)!

My all-time favourite trips have been primarily for the purpose of seeing art. The cities in Europe that I travelled to all had major art galleries and museums that, as an artist; I felt compelled to spend time in.

My last trip to Europe was like an abbreviated a tour of the History of Western Art: beginning in Athens, Greece; I visited the Parthenon and spent many hours sketching the ancient art pieces in the Acropolis Museum (now known as the “Old Acropolis Museum”, as a new one has been added to the site since my visit in 1987) see sketchbook image.

Following my time in Greece; the next leg of my journey took me to Italy where I spent time drawing in Pompeii see sketchbook image, Rome see sketchbook image and Florence see sketchbook image.

Later came the many Art Galleries and museums of Paris see sketchbook image and London, where I recall drawing furiously in the National Gallery while being shooed from the building by the guards at closing time see sketchbook image.

By the time I arrived home from that Art-History filled journey; it felt as though my place as an artist in the grand scheme of things finally made sense, and it was a very satisfying feeling.

Having moved to the Cowichan Valley a little more than one year ago; I feel a great desire to be able to see the art of the world closer to home. To that end; I have become involved with the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery Society and hope to see their vision of an exciting new major public Art Gallery come to life.

This beautiful place we live in is absolutely brimming with people whose creative paths could be positively impacted by having intimate and personal access to the high-level art exhibitions that a proper public Art Gallery could attract.

There is no question that to establish, build and fund such a top level Public Art Gallery is a very ambitious project; one which which would have no hope of success whatsoever without the combined efforts and energy of many dedicated individuals and groups.

I invite and encourage you to add your voice to our cause, and play a part in making the dream of a Public Art Gallery in the Cowichan Valley become a reality.

– Dorian Melton (editor, CVPAG newsletter editor)
see more from Dorian’s travel sketchbooks

Artist Profile    JOCK HILDEBRAND



“Public access to the arts has a civilizing effect, particularly on the young . . .

it gentles the soul.” Jock Hildebrand, sculptor, interview August 26th, 2018.

Beside Shibui’s gate, a silken fish drifts among hot summer pines. A gentle soul lives here. From his hands, earth’s elemental strengths flow in stone, marble, metals, fragrant woods, manifesting deep love of form and the landscape of emotion caught in line.

Jock Hildebrand is an internationally exhibited artist of monumental public sculptures, and of dynamic paintings and drawings in private collections. His public art stands in Asia, Europe, North and Central American. “Many of my works stem from my interest in anthropology and ethnology. I believe that form itself has a more universal, cross-cultural understanding. (Hildebrand, Jock Hildebrand, Sculptor; Creating International Sculpture. [Self-published?] brochure.)

Since graduating from Emily Carr College of Art and Design, for 40+ years Jock has explored the “non-verbal, non-linear gestalt” of the language of art, “manifesting my fascination and enchantment with the mysterious world, conceptualizing in a new way my position towards the physics of art”. Each piece is worked from notebook drawings, then rigorously dismantled to find what doesn’t work. “Great art must create a poetic universe in which all elements have the rhythm and consistency of authenticity. Great art is magic.”

In 2014, Jock and Carmen came to Maple Bay. Together, they’ve grown a gallery and sculpture garden: shibui is Japanese meaning ‘complexity in simplicity’. Shibui seeds Jock’s creative essence: “thought into desire into manifestion”: a poetic landscape where nothing distracts from the “honest” love of the artist.

Sensualist, fisherman, tanner of skins, bronze caster, art educator, civic innovator, environmental agitator, Buddhist wildling and intellectual; enchanted and enchanting — Magician.

Wendy Robison

Jock’s involvement in the community:

· member on the Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association board

· representative for CERCA to the Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable

· opened the Shibui Fine Art Gallery

· mentor in the Youth opportunity Program

· speaker in the CVAC speaker series.