Q&A with Two Saskatoon Artists

The city of Saskatoon is home to many compelling artists - so let’s pick their brains a bit to learn about how the city influences their artistic practices. Perhaps you’ll find yourself motivated to explore Saskatoon differently after reading more from Jo Van Lambalgen and Krystle Pederson. The two artists share why they appreciate living in Saskatoon, how the city impacts their work and where they go when they need a creative boost for projects. Each artist also shares recent pieces inspired by Saskatoon.

 

1. Jo Van Lambalgen

Jo Van Headshot

Instagram: https://instagram.com/althausmurals @althausmurals

https://instagram.com/althausyxe  @althausyxe

Jo Van Lambalgen is a queer, interdisciplinary artist in Saskatoon, SK, with a focus on large scale geometric and abstract murals and artwork. Their background in the trades informs their work, transforming ordinary spaces with paint, simple building materials and ingenuity. Jo believes in the power of colour, and how it can transform any space into something amazing. Jo is co-owner of Alt Haus in Saskatoon, a colourful home décor, furniture and lifestyle store, which they run with their partner Miranda Young. Jo and Miranda also work together on residential and commercial interior design projects, with an emphasis on “happy design”.

Mural in the back of Wanuskewin Giftshop

Mural in the back of the Wanuskewin Giftshop

What do you appreciate about living in Saskatoon?

Jo Van Lambalgen: I find that the smaller community can actually give more opportunity. You’re able to collaborate with other artists, as well as local businesses and organizations, because it’s easier to know the right people and make things happen.

 

Where do you go in Saskatoon when seeking inspiration or when you are working on ideas for your art?

JVL: I love going to the Remai to get inspired by all of the monolithic artists. I also find inspiration exploring the river valley, Beaver Creek and Manitou Beach through walks and taking note of the colour palettes nature creates, as well as exploring downtown to find inspiration in architecture.

Citizen Cafe Mural

Mural at Citizen Cafe and Bakery

How does living in Saskatoon influence your art?

JVL: Being surrounded by so many talented artists in the city, as well as on our walls in the shop (Alt Haus), such as David Stonhouse, Lindsey Rewuski, Emily Znudich, and Yonina Rollack influences me on the daily. Having opportunities to collaborate with organizations and businesses, such as 9 Mile, Paved Arts, and Citizen Bakery, inspires me to create things that fit into their space, suit their branding and vision and push me out of my comfort zone. Custom murals allow me to try new ideas and experiment with new techniques. My art is constantly evolving based on my influences and projects.

9 Mile Legacy Mural - Jo

Mural at 9 Mile Legacy

Do you have any songs inspired by Saskatoon?

JVL: The mural I recently did for 9 Mile at their new brewery was inspired by looking at fields from above - specifically, the fields that house the two farms that 9 Mile’s owners are from: 9 miles apart. The mural done on the back of the Wanuskewin Gift Shop on Broadway, was inspired by the Saskatoon sun, and the mural done at Citizen Bakery was inspired by a Saskatchewan sunset over the canola fields. Most of my pieces take some sort of inspiration from the architecture they occupy, and the spaces they inhabit.

 

 

2. Krystle Pederson

Krystle Pederson Headshot

Artist Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kped306

Krystle Pederson is a Cree/Métis actor, singer, songwriter with an outstanding career performing all across North America and New Zealand. Krystle’s list of acting credits include: The (Post) Mistress, Little Badger and the Fire Spirit, Gabriel Dumont Wild West Show, Penelopiad, Reasonable Doubt. Krystle is the lead vocalist for “Lynx Lamour Goes to Nashville” a one-woman Cree musical written and composed by Tomson Highway. Krystle has used her time off during the pandemic to focus on her music. Krystle will be heading into the studio in the fall and will be releasing her first EP in the beginning of 2021.


What do you appreciate about living in Saskatoon?

Krystle Pederson: What do I appreciate about living in Saskatoon…wow what a question? Saskatoon for me means home. I guess what I appreciate the most is the sense of community here, especially within the arts. Having been a full-time artist now for the last 5 years I have really come to love the sense of community between the artists that live here. This small city in the middle of Canada has somehow to the outside world become this place that no one knows about. But the talent here is undeniable. I think that’s what I appreciate the most. We have become this gem

of a city with passionate and goal driven musicians and artists who have room to grow and be creative here in Saskatoon. The beauty behind being creative in a small city seems to allow for more opportunity and not hidden behind 1000’s of other artists trying to do the same thing. The outside world of Canada may think we are small but our hearts here are big.

 

Where do you go in Saskatoon when seeking inspiration, working on ideas for music and preparing for acting roles?

KP: I have a few places I like to go when I’m needing inspiration or need to find creativity for my work. On the music side I like to walk the Meewasin Trail and find a spot along the river. There are a lot of little quiet spots that are hiding along the trail. I like to just sit by the river, I find this somehow calming and reflective. Songs seem to come to me when I can get out of the house and get with nature and our Meewasin Trail is so beautiful. When I’m working on a script for play, I like to enjoy a beer and go over lines at a few different places. O’Shea’s, Clarks Crossing, Capitol. You would think when working on lines for a play you would need the quiet, but for me, I like to get out and work from a corner at the bar [laughs].

 

How does living in Saskatoon influence your art?

KP: As much as I love this city, it has some growing to do. Race, Diversity, Inclusion are big topics. Not just here but everywhere. The world is changing. Artists have the ability to see the inside of this and create from it. A Métis hero named Louis Riel said, “the world will sleep for a thousand years and when they awake it will be the artists who wake them”. These words are truer today than they have ever been. I’d like to believe that the world is “woke” so creating songs and telling stories of events that matter, I feel like maybe the world is ready to listen.

 

Do you have any pieces inspired by Saskatoon?

KP: I feel like all of my work in the past while has been connected to Saskatoon or Saskatchewan. I was recently in a play at the beginning of 2020 called “Reasonable Doubt” written in collaboration by Joel Bernbaum, Yvette Nolan and Lancelot Knight. It focused on the racial discrimination that lives in our city and our province. I wrote a song about this topic since it has weighed so heavy on my heart for so long. It’s called “Yesterday”. I haven’t recorded it yet, but it is coming. I have shared the lyrics below:


Yesterday

Written and Composed by Krystle Pederson

 

Yesterday, I went for a walk and I almost flew away

Yesterday, I saw the world outside and felt the barricades OH

 

Verse 1

Why can’t we find a common ground

Why can’t we come together now

Why is the train forever bound

To see the tribulations and the darkness found

 

Yesterday, I went for a walk and I almost flew away

Yesterday, I saw the world outside and felt the barricades OH

 

Verse 2

Why is the colour of my skin

All you ever see within my kin

Why are we forced to live in sin

Because of insecure and fear driving pins

 

Yesterday, I went for a walk and I almost flew away

Yesterday, I saw the world outside and felt the barricades

 

Chorus

Life’s too short to live it this way

Life’s too short gotta be a better way

Brother’s and sisters Let’s stand together

Chase away the demons and be proud of who we are today.

 

Yesterday, I went for a walk and I almost flew away

Yesterday, I saw the world outside and felt the barricades

 

Verse 3

Why’s it so hard to celebrate

Diversity and everything that’s great

Why have people become so fake

Because of yours and mine and take take take

Yesterday, I went for a walk and I almost flew away

Yesterday, I saw the world outside and felt the barricades

 

Chorus

Life’s too short to live it this way

Life’s too short gotta be a better way

Brother’s and sisters Let’s stand together

Chase away the demons and be proud of who we are today.

Yesterday, OH

Yesterday, OH

Yesterday, OH

Yesterday, OH

Yesterday

 

*********

 

You can follow the creative journey of these two artists by checking out their social media accounts: Krystle Pederson Facebook, Jo Van Lambalgen Instagram

And if you want to learn about a few other Saskatoon artists, please read last month’s artist Q&A with Kyle Zurevinski, Peace Akintade and Zann Foth.