Two South Okanagan artists made a big splash at a film festival in New York City last month.
In the lead up to the Equus Film Festival, local artist Shannon Ford’s painting of her stallion Ritmo AJ was selected as the winning artwork to be featured on the cover of the event’s program guide. Ritmo is a Mangalarga Marchador Stallion from Brazil.
As a painter, Ford is able to powerfully portray the many personas that can be embodied by any horse. Before embaraking on a new creation, she takes time to gain an intimate understanding with the subject of her work.
“I always go and meet the horse first so I can get to know it and paint more than just what it looks like,” she said. “I’m not painting a representational photographic image of a horse, I’m painting more about how I feel about the horse.”
Her work was exhibited at the Lloyd Gallery in Penticton for the first time last year, and that milestone in her career was documented by Wayne McDougall, who’s a producer with Shaw TV.
Ford’s exhibit also featured horses belonging to Dr. David Ward, from both the Fairview Arabian Stud in Okanagan Falls BC, and also from Saddle Rock Meadows in Summerland.
In following Ford’s artistic development, McDougall’s produced a short film titled Is That a Horse in the Gallery, which appropriately features a horse that was in attendance during her show at the Lloyd, whose name is Cowboy.
Cowboy was owned by Daryl Gibb of Horsemanship in Osoyoos, and now belongs to Ford’s friend Nancy Schmidt.
McDougall’s three-minute video was entered into the commercial equine category along with 16 other short films, and Is That a Horse in the Gallery was declared the winner.
“It feels amazing that it received international attention,” McDougall said.
Is That a Horse in the Gallery was produced as a typical local feature for Shaw TV, and it luckily fit well into the Equus Film Festival’s criteria.
“Once we started to talk about her work we could really see that she was quite passionate, not only about art but also the horses she paints,” McDougall said. “One thing that struck me is she really wants to get to know a horse and their personality.”
Besides focusing on the live horse occupying an indoor art gallery, the short film portrays the work of Ford and her love for horses, “and how her horses come alive in the paintings,” McDougall said.