British Columbia

Amanda Shatzko, aerial artist, represents B.C. at Culture Days

Vernon artist Amanda Shatzko paints on a canvas while being suspended by a harness in the air, performing acrobatics.

Amanda Shatzko paints on a canvas while performing acrobatics in the air

Amanda Shatzko will act as a BC Culture Days spokesperson leading up to the Culture Days weekend in September. (Andrew Chin)

It's Cirque du Soleil meets live painting.

That's how Vernon artist Amanda Shatzko describes her aerial act, which involves painting on a canvas while being suspended by a harness in the air, performing acrobatics.

Shatzko, who was commissioned to paint athletes live during the 2010 Winter Olympics, recently represented BC Culture Days and B.C. artists at the National Congress on Culture in Edmonton.

"It's definitely something they've never seen before," Shatzko told North By Northwest's Sheryl MacKay.

"A lot of them in Montreal ... they were used to Cirque du Soleil and shows and stuff like that. So they said, 'Ok, that's interesting.' But they never thought somebody would put it together with the painting."

For Shatzko, aerial painting was simply a way of combining two of her favourite things: gymnastics and art. She spent much of her childhood and adolescence trying to choose between the two. It wasn't until she did some work with the Vancouver Circus School that she decided it was time to decide.

"It sort of came to the point, again, where it was, well, I'm doing one thing and another thing and I need to choose, and I didn't want to choose anymore," she said.

"So I decided to combine them together."

Shatzko says she has never come across anyone else who does exactly what she does. As she's hanging in the air, she does tricks like flip upside down or do the splits while completing a painting within an hour.

Shatzko will act as a spokeswoman for BC Culture Days leading up to the Culture Days Weekend on Sept. 25.

Listen to the full interview: Vernon aerial artist represents B.C.


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