Tag Archives: Crash Gallery

CBC’s In the Making goes inside the working lives of some of Canada’s extraordinary artists

For two seasons Sean O’Neill, the director of public programs and cultural partnerships at the Art Gallery of Ontario, hosted CBC’s Crash Gallery, a reality series pitting three Canadian artists against one another in a competition to create under a time limit and be judged by an in-house audience.

Crash Gallery was brash and unapologetic, and just scratched the surface of how art is created and the thoughts and emotions that go into making it.

Now O’Neill is back on the CBC with an all-new series. In the Making, debuting Friday at 8:30 p.m., immerses O’Neill and viewers in the creative process as he spends time with eight leading Canadian artists who opened their doors to him and answered his questions. Friday’s debut finds him spending time with Lido Pimienta as she records her new album in Colombia. Pimienta grabbed headlines last November when she was accused of racism during a concert in Halifax.

We spoke to O’Neill about In the Making, art and who he thinks this series is aimed at. This interview has been edited and condensed.

You’re listed in the credits as not only a creator but also one of their producers. How did the idea for the show come about?
Sean O’Neill: It’s the show that I’ve wanted to see on CBC or really anywhere for a long time. A show that takes people inside the work and lives of some of Canada’s most extraordinary artists. But really takes you behind the scenes and up close in an intimate way inside the question of what does it mean an artist in the world today? After Crash Gallery ended I was talking to the CBC about how we might continue working together—I was already working with them in my capacity in my job at the AGO on a few projects—and it turned out they were thinking about what was next for them and the arts brand and were talking to White Pine Pictures about that. They kind of paired us together and said, ‘If you could make a show, what would you do?’ And this was the show we pitched.

You asked Lido some hard questions and some even better follow-up questions. Kudos to you and your crew for coming up with great questions.
SON: Thank you so much. That’s really nice of you to say. We worked super hard on this. I should say that Rachel Matlow, the story producer who was on Q, was a huge help on teaching me what it means to interview and we had many test runs. If it does feel intimate or it does feel like there’s a kind of trust or an ability to go a little bit further in the show, yes, that is what we were trying to do. Part of that was how we approached our subjects and how we approach each artist and how our great crews were. I think everything we were trying to do with the artist was in service of trying to create that kind of intimacy that we could carry forward to the viewers. I really appreciate you picking up on it, because it was really important to me to try to get to that bar.

How did you decide who you’re going to cover in this first season?
SON: Very carefully. Because I was working at the AGO as the head of programming and then we were doing concerts, and we did dance, and we did talks, and we did film, so I was already, in the 10 years I worked there, I was in touch with so many artists and it was my job to be familiar with what was happening in Canada and around the world. So, when we sat down, we had a small brain trust of people who were working on the show and we put together a list of I think somewhere between 80 and 100 artists who we just thought would be interesting.

Another criteria is that they had to be doing something major during the time we were shooting. Our promise to the viewer is that you’re going to see these artists at a pivotal moment. Something transformational is happening in their work and their lives and we want to give that slice of life, so that was one criteria and it just narrowed it immediately.

And then, because I was a host of the show and because it was the first season, I wanted to make sure these were artists who I was genuinely passionate about and respected because we felt that you would be able to feel that as the viewer. And we were thinking about the representation of where our subjects were living and were they working across the country. We wanted to make sure that we had a variety of identity positions and perspectives of the world represented in the show. And then, none of our artists said no, which was kind of amazing.

Were there any surprises during production? 
SON: I think that the whole trip to Colombia with Lido was a really good example. Every artist is different and our ethic as we were going in was we’re not a formatted show, we’re a documentary show, so we are certainly having conversations about what we’re going to shoot and where we’re going to go each day, but we’re also going to be prepared to throw that out on the day if the artist is compelled to do something else. And we’ll have that conversation with them.

And with Lido, we were going to La Guajira in Colombia, which is a place not like New York or LA or to Paris or to Delhi where there’s a film industry there, and you can pull your fixers and you can have the people that you might bring on to the core crew as you arrive. We were relying on Lido and her family to do everything from driving us around, in some cases feed us and they cooked us some of the most incredible food of our lives, but also Lido knew the land and we wanted to respect Lido’s knowledge of that land and of that place. It was a very personal episode, because Lido has family members who she loved who were buried there.

Who do you view the In the Making audience as?
SON: I think in some ways you find out who your audience is in the first season. And I think both we as producers and the CBC are curious to find out who does tune in. And I think who tunes in on TV versus digitally will be very different. We’re on after Marketplace on Friday nights, which is, even in terms of the CBC, a relatively older, whiter audience. But who tunes in online remains to be seen. I was keeping kind of two viewers in mind as we were making the show.

One is an aficionado within the arts, an appreciator of the arts, who has knowledge, who might be an artist, who might work in the arts. I wanted those people who put art at the centre of their lives to respect the show and to feel like we weren’t reducing things and that we weren’t turning something that somebody’s spent their life working on into some sort of slick TV show. That was one audience.

The other audience … Well, I grew up in a small town in Ontario with no real connection to what this world was and my interest and passion for it and art changed my own life as a kid. It gave me something to imagine in terms of a future that I would find exciting and desirable and meaningful and so I want that person who is interested, who maybe is moved by a song on the radio in their car in the morning, in terms of their experience with art, to be able to turn on the show and feel like there’s a great story being told that they can be drawn into emotionally and they can learn from it and that it’s just an exciting thing to watch.

And maybe along the way what happens is that the viewer is introduced to some of the foremost artists in the country.

In the Making airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on CBC. All eight episodes will be available for streaming on the CBC app and website this Friday after the broadcast.

Image courtesy of CBC.


Link: CBC’s Vancouver-shot Crash Gallery returns with fun and facts from the world of visual art

From Craig Takeuchi of The Georgia Straight:

Link: CBC’s Vancouver-shot Crash Gallery returns with fun and facts from the world of visual art
What does trying to paint on a canvas suspended above you while being rotated in a circle sound like to you?

Bizarre? Intriguing? Fun? All of the above?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ll probably want to check out CBC’s Crash Gallery, back for a second season on CBC. Continue reading.


Crash Gallery returns for a colourful, chaotic second season

Crash Gallery host Sean O’Neill has a few modest goals for the visual art competition series, which is heading into Season 2 tonight on CBC. “I do think art can transform lives, I do think art can help build a more compassionate, empathetic, humane society. And it’s also fun. It feels good.”

He has hopes the accessible, high-energy show—airing on primetime on the public broadcaster—can act as a gateway drug to a type of art that doesn’t often benefit from the pop culture embrace given to music or movies, for example.

“It’s really about having fun with art. It’s not about creating masterpieces. It’s not a 30-minute art history lesson,” said the host, whose day job is an associate director with the Art Gallery of Ontario, where, like other art museums, he and his colleagues have had plenty of conversations about how to bring visual art to a broader audience.

The five episodes of Season 2 were shot one a day in Vancouver, where media were invited to participate in a challenge the contestants had also tackled. Lying face up on a rotating platform, a canvas above us, covered in disposable overalls, we began to paint … and attempt to avoid the inevitable splatters. (My hairdresser a few days later: “Were you painting something red?”)

After our time was up, the judges asked us what our vision was for the painting. Me: “To not get paint in my mouth, oh and the colours and motion of nature.” They then offered their very kind, you’re-not-professional-artists critique which nonetheless had me puffed up for weeks when they compared it to a famous (to people more in the know than me) painting by abstract impressionist Joan Mitchell.

You be the judge: an original Wild on the left, Mitchell on the right.

The judges and critiques are new this season, bringing more depth to the conversation around the art without veering into an “eat your vegetables” art history lesson. Also new is that the show flew in artists from around the country rather than sticking with the Vancouver-area base of Season 1. The colourful, frenetic energy remains, helped by the new set that is more gallery, less warehouse.

“I think people are curious about art,” said O’Neill. “I hope people watch the show and the world of visual arts seems a little less intimidating. I hope they think, hey, I can pick up a sketch book, or take an art class, bring my grandchildren to an art museum, or go with friends to one of the late night parties most of the museums are throwing. I hope it helps break down barriers between people and the visual arts. It’s a show for people who are curious.”

Crash Gallery airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.


TV Eh B Cs podcast 59 — Crashing into Brent Haynes

Brent Haynes continues to foolishly pursue a career in television. He currently serves as president & executive producer of Picture Arcade where he created the CBC series Crash Gallery.

Season 2 of Crash Gallery returns Sunday, Feb. 5, at 9:30 p.m. on CBC.

Brent made the leap to producing after spending 19 years as a broadcaster. Previously, he was senior vice-president of Comedy & Animation at MTV in New York for five years where he managed a full development slate and oversaw production for close to 20 series including World of Jenks, Nikki & Sara Live and Silent Library. Brent’s MTV portfolio included scripted comedy, animation, unscripted and documentary.

Before making the move to New York, Brent spent 11 years with The Comedy Network in Canada where he helped launch the channel before ultimately becoming vice-president of programming in charge of the development, acquisition and scheduling teams. He was responsible for developing the smash hit Corner Gas and served as an executive on the show for five seasons.

Listen or download below, or subscribe via iTunes or any other podcast catcher with the TV, eh? podcast feed.

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CBC’s Crash Gallery Season 2 casting now open

From a media release:

CASTING CALL: We are looking for creative, confident, energetic artists looking to showcase their skills and talent on national TV!

Lark Productions is now casting Canadian artists for Season 2 for the groundbreaking CBC series – Crash Gallery.

We are looking for artists from a wide variety of mediums from painters, sculptors and mixed media artists to tattoo, graffiti, carving, street art, animators, illustrators, all creative mediums apply.

We want to hear from you if:

• You want an opportunity to showcase your talent on a televised, national stage
• You have advanced art skills (the ability to draw & sketch is a must)
• You are enthusiastic to take on an art challenge both within & outside your specialized medium
• You are comfortable on camera and have an outgoing personality
• You aren’t afraid to get a little competitive!

Casting is currently open, so apply today!

Please send your name, photo, artists bio, contact information and 2-3 photo samples of your artistic work to casting@larkproductions.ca. Please include links to any relevant pages or media articles.