You KNOW I'm a fan of go-getters, people who make things happen. Bringing people together through the arts. Creatives who dream up something and bust their a** to execute.
No excuses, no whining, no second-guessing. Do this, then this, then that. Step by step. Figure it out as you go along.
Well, Vancouver artist Chris Bentzen is that kind of guy. Not only is he the owner of Hot Art Wet City Gallery, he is a freelance communication designer, artist, and promotional button maker.
He also has a keen interest in filmmaking, photography, visual art, social media, bicycle advocacy, devil’s advocacy, craft brewing, and creative problem solving.
And he has some of THE most creative, fun, interactive, arty events in Vancouver. Ready to hear from him?
Describe your events
Most of the events at Hot Art Wet City are about community building and interactivity, whether that's through group art shows that expose audiences to new local talent and give them the opportunity to interact with the artists at the openings, or at events specifically designed for interactivity (like Hot One Inch Action and CARDED.
Other events include our monthly Hot Talks speaker series, workshops, life drawing, and yoga.
Why do you think it's important to go offline and into real life?
We can meet and interact with people online but real life is where the good stuff happens.
You really have a chance to meet someone, get to know them, and get a sense of who they are. Plus, it's really hard to have a beer with someone online. Sarcasm also works better in real life.
What was your biggest worry before starting your events?
The biggest worry is always people showing up. Even if I know people are coming, there's always that moment of "uh oh, no one's here". I'm learning to be okay with that.
Why should people come to your events?
For fun, to learn, to support a community space, to support local artists, to meet other creative-types and interesting people here in Vancouver.
How do you know if it's been a success?
People let me know! That's really the biggest indicator if I've done a good job. If something is mediocre (or even bad), people tend not to say anything. If it's good, it's another story.
From idea to execution, how long do they take?
I don't dwell very long on how to execute an idea. If I think of something, if I can't figure out how to make it happen, I likely won't take the idea beyond that initial thought. If I know what to do with it, I'll put it out into the world. If it's not perfect, I can refine it as I go.
What is the most challenging part about putting on these events?
I'm currently at a point where I'm unable to hire people but there's often more to do than I can do alone. While I can occasionally rely on volunteers, I can't count on them to always be there. So, it's often up to me to do everything. I've been lucky with some events to have a few key people willing to consistently put in the effort to make it happen. I've also had a few helpful people behind the scenes helping me stay on track.
Real life IS where the good stuff happens. There's nothing like hanging out face-to-face doing something creative.