anona kosmack art show arlington five chaos in the cosmos

On Saturday, May 13, artist and art educator Anona Kosmack hosted her first solo show at a quaint coffee shop called Arlington 5. Located just off the bustling street of Bank St. between downtown and the Glebe, this establishment serves it's community locally made treats, coffee and tea, all while doing their part to reduce their waste.

When they aren't doing what they do best, Arlington Five also accommodates and supports local artists and musicians by opening their space for events to showcase talent and art. 

Anona's 'Chaos in the Cosmos' was a series exploring "how the universe favouring entropy can work to our advantage. It really plays on the feeling of being small in such a vast a mysterious world. A lot of the works are portrait like in nature but the backgrounds and surrounding effect place the subject in a surrounding state of awe and wonder."

Indeed, it was a beautiful evening together, having caricatures created by Anona herself and creating Mother's Days cards while enjoying delicious snacks provided from Scratch With Love. Thank you to everyone that purchased art, provided donations and came out to support. 

For more photos check out uploads to the event page HERE.


Should you do art (or work) for free?

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What do you say to a company or individual that wants you to provide a service, talent or product to them for free?

We artists, freelancers and creative professionals get this all the time. And I mean ALL the time. Do x work for free, for exposure, or for your portfolio.

My number one advice is:

No matter how new you are to the industry, if a business or individual will profit from your work, you should always be compensated. Basically, if you know they are using your product, service or talent to market themselves, their store, their business - you should get compensated. They are using you so they can make money, doesn't it make sense that you should get paid too? 

Of course, there are exceptions to this such as:

1) Bartering for a good/service 

If someone approaches you, particularly a friend or a family that wants you to help them out for a project, you can suggest a trade. I do this all the time with my closest friends. For example, my girl Sabrina Jade Designs - if she needs photos of her kickass clothing line, she'll offer to alter my clothes for free or custom design me a new outfit. It doesn't necessarily have to be of equal value, but it helps to put the trade in perspective, especially when it comes to how much time it will take both of you. 

2) Helping out a local non-profit/charity 

If you want to build good karma, network, build a portfolio or add to your resume, there are many non-profits that would appreciate free help. It doesn't hurt to ask them if they have a budget, as there are many larger non-profits that do have the funds to be able to compensate you, but the little ones often don't. If you have the time and want to help for free, do it. Heck, I do it as part of my business model, always with boundaries though. Don't say yes to doing something for free if you're already busy or you really don't want to. Remember, clients, paid work, and your mental health, should always come first.

Unless you have a child.

Then your child should come first.

And that work is always unpaid. Sanity is not guaranteed. 

Anyway. There are many people who may disagree with me, and many who do agree (like this article on Huffington Post), but I have been working and getting paid as an artist for over 15 years because I believe it is right. My time has value. It may not have started out as much in the beginning, but growth starts with your first paid job.

As creative professionals, we often are expected to do work or create art for free, which adds to the culture that our talent, skills and time aren't as important as others. If we don't value what we do, then others won't either. If we continue to say yes to working for free, then we add to that culture. 

But remember, we are professionals. We want to earn a living from our vocation. We do great work and our work is worth the investment. 

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Homeschooling Mom of 3 lives Zero Waste in Belleville, Ontario

simple life in the city

When you first meet Alissa Brennan, you'll notice that she holds a calm, peaceful energy. Her three, energetic children are happy, polite and kind. In this ever growing, fast-paced world of technology, it was refreshing to sit still with Alissa and learn about how she manages to live simply in today's world. She is an urban homesteader, a supplier of essential oils and a homeschooling Mama striving to live a zero waste life in Belleville, Ontario. When you think of all of this combined, by no means does it sound like it would be "simple" in any way. But Alissa manages to navigate life smoothly on their 1/8 acre lot with three, beautiful children and a cuddly dog. 

After chatting with Alissa for some time and learning she too was a single Mom, I asked her how she managed her bills, her home and her lifestyle. Although not currently single, Alissa shared with me how terrified she was when she first became a single parent. I nodded knowingly, like most people no one ever expects to become a single parent. She shared how she had just started homeschooling her daughter and knew she needed to find a way to continue. With her three kids packed in a van, she drove from Nova Scotia to Belleville to be closer to family. Alissa spoke openly about her determination to find a mortgage broker who would "go to bat" for a single Mom with no income. After being rejected five times, she finally found one. Three years later, she continues to build upon her gorgeous little home where we sit and listen to her beside a warm fire. 

"I made a decision that I wanted to buy a house and homeschool my children. And we live in a beautiful country where the government provides support, for example with the Canada Child Tax Benefits. It made it easier for me to do this."

Having found myself in a similar position, being single and also wanting to stay at home with my child, I understood the feeling of being so determined to do something that nothing would get your way. As Alissa states, "When you make a conscious decision to do something, everything works out." 

While our visit was far too short, it was so nice to be around a woman and Mother, who shares similar values and lifestyles. Although I can continue to write about her, I'll let Alissa's documentary sum up what she strives for in life: to live a Simple Life in the City with her family.

Thank you Alissa, for taking the time to meet with Jodi and I and share your story.  

Learn more about Alissa on her website:


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