This Is My City : Fantastic and Surreal

Ryan Delve and Bill

+15 Window Exhibition
April 4 to May 25, 2013

The New Gallery will be partnering with This Is My City Art Society to produce a special +15 Window Space exhibition. This Is My City is a volunteer-run, non-profit society that brings opportunities for positive creative expression into the lives of some of Calgary’s most marginalized citizens: the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. Professional artist-mentors bring their skills and love of art into the shelters and service agencies year-round and connect with individuals to make visual art together.

This special program was organized by Linda Hawke and curated by Eveline Kolijn.


Ryan Delve conjures up evocative, fantastic images in acrylic paint that flow across clothing and other three-dimensional surfaces. Bill’s sensitive pencil drawings reflect his keen observational skills and a disciplined dedication to capturing the nuances of light and shadow which sometimes jump off the page onto a variety of objects. Though their styles are distinct, Ryan and Bill share a life-long passion for art that finds expression in the art studio of the Calgary Drop-In Centre where they reside.



“A unique cross of comic art and surrealism” is how Bill describes his art. He places comic-style vamps in haunting, mystical woods. Hooded nymphs cradle fairies or step in front of a giant moon, all carefully rendered in detailed and delicate pencil drawings. Bill is completely self-taught and has discovered the power of art in the last two years, in which he has been pouring out hundreds of these delicate drawings. A jack-of-all-trades, and often only seasonally employed, Bill has experienced homelessness throughout his life. It was during one of these times that he started to draw and discovered that it came naturally and filled a void. Bill has expanded his artistic vocabulary to repurposing objects and furniture, which he covers with monsters and devils with textured, boldly-coloured acrylics.

Similar work is made by another artist in the creative hive of the Wildrose Studio of the Calgary Drop-In centre. Ryan Delve grew up as a street kid and expresses that aesthetic in bright and bold paintings of angels, skulls, dragons, and spaceships. Ryan is always full of ideas and each visit to the studio reveals new and imaginative work. Always working with low-budget materials, these artists find new ways to apply the available art-materials onto items like framed vintage reproductions and clothing. Ryan is no stranger to making art: he has previously worked as a tattoo-artist and covers not only his skin, but his clothing as well. A discarded old jacket receives new life with painted flesh, pneumatic tubes, bones, and skulls. Ryan and Bill make art everyday, feeding off each other’s energy and finding joy in creating the fantastic and the surreal. They have found their muse and they work hard to grow their art and aspire to make it their living.

– Eveline Kolijn