Thursday, September 30, 2010


This is the Exquisite Object.  I do not know what it is.  I do not know when Ivaan made it.  I believe it is bronze, but I am too protective of the patina it has developed to confirm this.  If it's not bronze, it's silver.   Ivaan doesn't appear to have signed it - and believe me, I have looked.    If I had made something this beautiful, I would simply put down my tools and never make anything again, content to rest on my laurels for the remainder of my life on Earth.

The Exquisite Object is about four inches in diameter and is shaped like a shallow bowl.  The domed underside is completely smooth - rare for Ivaan.  At the top (under the frilly protrusions at seven and nine o'clock on the photo)  are two holes, suggesting it is meant to hang from something.  It's too beautiful simply to hang on a wall, but it's rather large to wear as a pendant.

Ivaan never mentioned The Exquisite Object to me.  I found it among his archives.  It is undeniably his own work.  There is definitely no mould of it, and I think it would be impossible to duplicate it because of its complexity.  I think I may start wearing it around my neck because it's too beautiful not to.

Not a day goes by that I don't regret being unable to ask Ivaan something.   While I often ask him things at night and wake up knowing the answer, so far I have received no explanation for the existence of The Exquisite Object.

Well, I just wanted to share this unspeakable beauty with you. Maybe one day I'll know more about it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


                                                                            (c) Estate of Ivaan Kotulsky

Ivaan was always on the lookout for photographic subjects for his Portraiture assignments at Ryerson.  He wasn't looking for pretty faces; he wanted interesting faces.  One of his subjects, who had a face that Ivaan described as being dramatic enough to belong on Mount Rushmore, happened to be a limousine driver.   In August, 1966, this limousine driver called up Ivaan, said he was being sent to the Toronto Airport to pick up an English rock and roll group called The Beatles, and asked if Ivaan wanted to come along and bring his camera.

Ivaan was not actually a Beatles fan; he preferred The Rolling Stones.  But he decided to come along for the ride, and borrowed an impressive looking array of photographic equipment from his employer, Eatons Camera Department.  Ivaan said some of the lenses he brought were so long, they barely fit in the front seat, where he was sitting next to the driver.

Arriving on the tarmac at the airport, Ivaan jumped out with his equipment and took this photograph of The Beatles getting off the plane.  This was their second visit to Toronto, having performed at Maple Leaf Gardens the previous year.  The Beatles climbed into the back of the limousine, and Ivaan was feeling too shy to say much.  The temperature in the limousine was getting hotter by the minute.  No one could figure out why.  The limo drove to Upper Canada College, where a police paddywagon was waiting.  The Beatles jumped out, climbed into the paddywagon, and Ivaan continued with the limo driver to Maple Leaf Gardens.  It was there he discovered that his extra-long lens had jammed the heat switch on, instead of the air conditioning.  Getting out at Maple Leaf Gardens, Ivaan was mobbed by screaming girls, expecting to find The Beatles inside the limousine.

Meanwhile the paddywagon proceeded uneventfully to Maple Leaf Gardens and The Beatles slipped inside unnoticed.  Ivaan met up with The Beatles again in the Hot Stove Lounge, and photographed them while John was explaining to the press about the remark that got The Beatles kicked out of the Philippines:  his "bigger than Jesus" comment.  Ivaan took over 100 photos of The Beatles.  Four years later, Ivaan had changed his mind about The Beatles; his favourite song was "Here Comes The Sun".


Ivaan loved his high school years at Harbord Collegiate.  He joined the Camera Club and fell in love with photography.  This is a self-portrait of Ivaan at about age 17 in his parents' house on Euclid Avenue.  On the wall above him are some of his photographic portraits.

Never one to make plans for the future, Ivaan had almost finished Grade Thirteen when a teacher asked him what his intentions were for the following year.  Ivaan had no particular goals; he hadn't applied to university or started looking for employment.   The teacher told him about Ryerson Polytechnical Institute's diploma program in Photographic Arts.   Ivaan was intrigued, and asked the teacher to help him apply.  Based on his award-winning photography and an excellent reference from this teacher, Ivaan was accepted into Ryerson.

It was a rigorous program; Ivaan remembered that students were required to dress in jacket and tie and they were taught by some of the most disciplined and accomplished photographers Ivaan ever met.  It was as a result of a photographic assignment for his Portraiture class that Ivaan was invited to meet and to photograph The Beatles in August of 1966.   I'll devote a future entry to Ivaan Meets The Beatles.  It's a funny story.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

THE CABBAGETOWN KID, PART 2: Vegetable Delivery and The Pan Pilipenko Story

A favourite activity of the boys on Wyatt Avenue was to hitch a ride on the back bumper of the vegetable delivery truck.  This truck, which went slowly through the neighbourhood once a week, delivered fresh fruit and vegetables to homes along the delivery route, sometimes stopping to make "cold calls" on the off-chance that the lady of the house might need a basket of apples or a bag of potatoes.  If there were few deliveries to make on a particular street, the truck would pick up speed, but generally it was a slow-moving vehicle.  One Saturday morning when Ivaan was about eight, he jumped onto the rear bumper of the vegetable truck, holding on to the back railing, unbeknownst to the driver, just for the pleasure of a ride down their short street. However, the vehicle picked up speed, turned one corner, then another, and before long Ivaan was in unfamiliar territory.  The driver, glancing in the rear view mirror, eventually noticed his young stowaway and decided to put him to work.  The truck would stop at various homes and Ivaan would hop out of the rear of the truck, where he'd been assembling the next customer's order, deliver it to the door, collect payment and bring it back to the driver,  who would give him instructions about the upcoming order.  By lunchtime, both the driver and Ivaan had worked up an appetite, so the driver went into a restaurant and came out with two fried egg sandwiches.  At home, Ivaan would never have eaten a fried egg sandwich, but out in the fresh air, after a good morning's work, he had a hearty appetite, and enjoyed every mouthful.

Work continued until about four in the afternoon, when a police cruiser pulled up beside the vegetable delivery truck, and the officers asked the driver if he'd seen a dark-haired skinny kid about eight years old.  The driver turned his assistant over to the cops, but not before paying him his wages in full:  a dime.  Ivaan rode home in the police cruiser, to the relief, and then the wrath, of his mother, who promptly confiscated his hard-earned wages.  After all, ten cents was ten cents.  The story ended with a line with which Ivaan concluded most of his Cabbagetown stories:  "And then my mother KILLED me", he'd say.  "She killed me to DEATH".

Soon after moving into 42 Wyatt Avenue, the Kotulsky family got their own telephone.   This was in the early 1950s, and not every home had a phone of their own.  But the Kotulsky family was active in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and community, so having a telephone enabled them to keep in touch with friends.  Another feature of immigrant life was evening classes for adults, to help them adapt to life in their new community,  by teaching English language basics and other life skills.  It was at one of these evening classes that Ivaan's father learned Proper Telephone Etiquette, and he was anxious to pass on this new-found knowledge to his wife and children.  So one Saturday afternoon, he gathered the family together -  his wife,  their daughter Nadia, and Ivaan - for an instructional session on the correct protocol for using their new telephone.  He demonstrated how to answer the telephone, in English and Ukrainian.  He pointed out that it was not necessary to shout into the mouthpiece.  He showed them proper dialling technique.  And then the family was ready for the big moment, actually placing a call to his friend, Pan Pilipenko.  (The title "Pan" is the Ukrainian equivalent of "Mr." )  He cleared his throat.  He dialled.  The phone could be heard ringing at the other end.  A voice answered.  Ivaan's father, enunciating clearly, replied, "Dobrii Vechir (Good afternoon).  Pan Pilipenko?"  He continued in English:   "Oh, sorry.  Wrong number." And, rather dismayed,  hung up the receiver.

That was the end of the family's lessons in telephone etiquette, but even decades later, Ivaan could be reduced to fits of helpless laughter, just by hearing the name Pilipenko, or hearing someone say, "Sorry, wrong number."


One item that was perennially on Ivaan's to-do list was to write a book.  He intended to call it The Cabbagetown Kid.  It was to be a collection of his stories about growing up in Cabbagetown.   Although I've heard the stories a dozen times, the closest we ever got to working on his book was buying him a portable tape recorder so he could dictate the stories.   He used the tape recorder to make notes of funny thoughts and interesting ideas he had during the day, and had me transcribe them into his journal every evening.  But he never got around to dictating the stories for The Cabbagetown Kid, so I think I'll tell some of the stories on his behalf.

Ivaan's parents bought a house at 42 Wyatt Avenue shortly after they moved to Toronto from Smoky Lake, Alberta.  The first winter in their new house was so cold that Ivaan sometimes stayed home from school, ripping up layers of old linoleum from the floors and burning it in the coal furnace to keep the pipes from freezing.  The basement had an earth floor.  Ivaan's father acquired a load of used bricks from a Tepperman Wreckers demolition site and had them delivered to their front yard.  Ivaan's job was to knock all the mortar off the bricks, and then build a basement floor out of them.  The hammer he used to break off the mortar wore out completely before he floor was completed and it too was thrown into the furnace.  His parents collected partial rolls of wallpaper and used them to paper the walls of the house.  Their father would bring home bags of over-ripe fruit and they would cut it up, discarding the inedible parts, and make fruit salad out of the rest.  Ivaan was an incredibly picky eater.  If he saw as much as a drop of oil floating on top of his bowl of borsch, he would refuse to touch it.  His mother despaired of getting him to eat.  In March of 1953, Ivaan was absent from school for ten consecutive days, suffering from what Dr. Volpe, their family doctor, described as "Spring Fever".  His prescription?  Keep him at home and feed him grapes.   The first food Ivaan remembers enjoying was a ham sandwich, prepared by the mother of his friends Len and Bo.  As a matter of fact, he enjoyed it so much, he asked her to make him another.  His mother, incredibly relieved and mortified at the same time, had to call Len and Bo's mother to ask what the sandwich was made of, so she could replicate it at home.

Ivaan was desperate to have school lunches like his classmates brought:  two pieces of white bread, spread lightly with mustard and nothing else.  He wanted pre-sliced bread, not thick hand-sliced European rye bread sandwiches prepared by his mother.  Ivaan's parents were not easily fooled.  They insisted that white sliced bread was not for sandwiches, it was only for the toaster, a fact which was clearly proven by the name on the plastic bread bag:  Toastmaster.  Ivaan's father was horrified by Canadian eating habits, particularly eating canned goods.  He told his children that Canadians were too lazy to chew, and that food in cans was pre-chewed.

In Part 2 of The Cabbagetown Kid, I'll tell you about  what accidentally became Ivaan's first paying job:  delivering vegetables.  I'll also tell you the story about Telephone Etiquette:  what Ivaan used to call the Pan Pilipenko Story.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

WINSTON CHURCHILL: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

by Yousuf Karsh


In 1967, during the time that  Ivaan was working in the photo studio at Maclean Hunter Publishing, the world-renowned Armenian-Canadian portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh, who lived in Ottawa, came to the photo studio to be photographed, in conjunction with a magazine article that was being written about him.  For Karsh, it was nearly a life-changing event.  Under the direction of Chief Photographer Nicke Luciani, Ivaan and fellow photographer Harvey Lambert had set up the studio to shoot a portrait of Karsh to accompany the article:   backdrop, lights, camera, a chair for the celebrated Karsh to sit on.  Karsh positioned himself on the chair, the lights were turned on, Ivaan was adjusting the camera, and Harvey was standing beside him, surveying the scene.  Suddenly, the hinged arm of one of the light stands began to swing slowly downwards.  Obviously, in the excitement of preparing the studio, the screw on the hinged arm had not been tightened sufficiently, and this heavy light began descending, with increasing velocity, towards Karsh's head.  Ivaan, peering through the viewfinder, was oblivious. Harvey, horrified, dived toward the "business end" of the light and caught it, just before it intersected with Karsh's head, possibly saving Karsh's life and certainly saving all of their reputations.

The photos they took of Karsh are now in the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology on the centenary of Karsh's birth, donated by the late Nicke Luciani's sister, Angela Sabino.  Karsh seemed to have taken a liking to Ivaan, and presented him with a gift:  a copy of the famous portrait he had taken of Winston Churchill in 1941, where he'd reputedly pulled the ever-present cigar from Churchill's lips, resulting in the scowl you see above.  (The photo above is a close-cropped section, not the entire portrait.)


40 years later, this gift from Karsh was languishing among Ivaan's archives in our basement.  It's astonishing that it had never been lost.  I didn't even know of its existence, until Ivaan told me the story of their encounter with Karsh.  I found the portrait, still in perfect condition, and  persuaded Ivaan that he would be wise to sell it.  He reluctantly agreed, and our friend Stephen Bulger, who owns the Stephen Bulger Gallery on Queen Street West, handled the sale for us.

Before handing the portrait over to Stephen, Ivaan decided to make a colour photocopy of this black and white photograph, as a memento.  Actually, he made 36 copies, and then he laminated them.  They look amazing.  A decade later, Yousuf Karsh, Nicke Luciani and Ivaan are probably discussing the finer points of portrait photography in the World To Come (Harvey Lambert is still very much alive) ....and I am left with 36 laminated pictures of Winston Churchill.


These heavily laminated photos are about the size of a placemat.  I have no idea what to do with them.  Perhaps you'd like to have one. If so, please let me know.  I have a grudging respect for Winston Churchill; he stood up to Hitler when no other world leaders would (well, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, Archbishop Krill did, in an act of great bravery, as did Bulgaria's King Boris III).  This was the kind of historical detail that really engaged Ivaan.  I'll write about Ivaan's passion for history in an upcoming post).  Meanwhile, I welcome your suggestions.

Monday, September 13, 2010

IVAAN and the CECILIA STRING QUARTET: Love at first sight...and sound


In early 2005, Ivaan and I went to a lunchtime concert held in the solarium of Falconer Hall, Faculty of Law, at U of T.   We were both feeling very fragile that year, and he was still coming to terms with the presence of the wheelchair in his life.  We decided that it would lift our spirits to get out and hear some music, and a series of free concerts by students in the Faculty of Music at U of T, which were to be held in odd locations around the campus, seemed like the perfect prescription.

Our first concert was a performance by the Cecilia String Quartet - well, it was three members of the original Quartet and a young male classmate of theirs, filling in on cello.  Ivaan was determined he was not going to listen to the concert sitting in his wheelchair.  He asked me to transfer him to a sofa and then hide the wheelchair, as far out of his line of vision as possible.  He was getting ready to enjoy himself, and he couldn't enjoy himself if he was the "disabled" guy in the room.  (It's funny - even on his last day on earth, "disabled" would be the last word I'd use to describe Ivaan.)

I have no recollection what they played, but the Cecilia String Quartet captured Ivaan's heart.  Their performance was so physical, and the interplay among the musicians was so riveting, it was an hour that Ivaan never forgot.  Sarah Nematallah and Liana Berube were on violin.  I think Sharon Wei played viola, and this young man with a Spanish name, who wasn't part of the Quartet at all, was on cello.  I remember I was crying during the concert, partly because their performance was so captivating, but partly because I was witnessing a profound soul-stirring taking place in Ivaan.

Liana Berube, on violin, was all arms and legs.  She was seated on a chair, but only just, because she is such a physical player that I was on pins and needles, waiting to see if she would actually fall off her chair or crash into one of the other musicians.  Liana was mesmerizing to watch, but it was Sarah Nematallah, on second violin, who was holding the reins.  Ivaan was captivated by the fact that the other Quartet members studied her breathing to know when to begin:  a quick inhale by Sarah, and they were off.

Shortly after, the Quartet won the Felix Galimir Award For Chamber Music Excellence and we attended their performance as prizewinners at Walter Hall, Faculty of Music.  When we returned home from that concert, Ivaan decided he wanted each member of the Quartet to have a piece of his jewellery.  He decided on identical dragonfly brooches, and had me deliver them to violinist Scott St. John, who was their professor at U of T.    Subsequently, when we'd go to hear them play, we'd see them wearing Ivaan's dragonflies.

The Quartet had a couple of personnel changes after Felix Galimir:  Liana went on to pursue other interests and then Sharon, who had moved from viola to violin after Liana's departure, also left.  They were replaced by Min-Jeong Koh on violin and Caitlin Boyle on viola.  Cellist Rebecca Wenham and violinist Sarah Nematallah were the original Quartet members.  (I gather the Cecilias have recently acquired a new cellist, Rachel Desoer).

As Ivaan's health declined, we'd still go to hear the Cecilias whenever we had the opportunity.  He'd ask me to send them a cheque if they were going out of town to perform somewhere special, because he wanted them to take themselves out to lunch in Paris or wherever and have a good meal, as a gift from him.  He treasured the communications and correspondence we had from them, and was extremely proud that Sarah wrote to us, offering to bring the Quartet to our condo and perform for Ivaan when they were next in Toronto.  Unfortunately, Ivaan died before this could occur.

The joy Ivaan experienced in listening to the  Cecilia String Quartet inspired my return to university to study Historical Musicology in the fall of 2005.  Sarah Nematallah generously contributed to a paper I wrote about the Mooredale Concerts in which she participated, shortly before the death of founder Kristine Bogyo.  The Cecilias don't just get up on stage and perform; one or the other of them tells the audience about the  music, what's significant about it, why they chose it, what to listen for.  It connects them to the audience, and it connects the audience to them.

I went to hear the Cecilias perform at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts shortly after Ivaan's death.  It was very moving, being there without him.  Sarah and Becky were wearing Ivaan's dragonflies (Liana and Sharon of course kept theirs when they left the Quartet).

I'll be going to hear the Cecilia String Quartet again on October 2nd at Koerner Hall, in the Royal Conservatory of Music.  The concert is part of Nuit Blanche, and the tickets are FREE (but cannot be reserved in advance).  The big news is that the Cecilia String Quartet has just won first prize at the 10th Banff International String Quartet competition.  I cannot urge you strongly enough to come out on Saturday, October 2nd and hear the Cecilia String Quartet.  The concert starts at 7:30 p.m.  In the meantime, I'll be working on a couple more a gift to the Cecilias from Ivaan.  Incidentally, there is a type of dragonfly called the Cecilia, a fact that was brought to our attention by Becky Wenham, which  totally delighted Ivaan.

If you are able to attend, pay close attention, as I am sure Ivaan will be in the concert hall, waiting for Sarah to inhale - and start the performance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

LOWON BEHOLD: Lana's got a new crush.

The "Lana" Ring

Ivaan and Lana Lowon struck up a friendship in December 1994, when he was looking for a retail location on Queen Street West and Lana and her husband Jim Pope were in the market for a new headquarters for Lowon Pope, their custom dress shop.   They decided to join forces and share a location at 692 Queen Street West.  There was some great synergy involved:  Lowon Pope specializes in one-of-a-kind wedding dresses and Ivaan makes rings.  What's not to like?

A big part of the pleasure of sharing a store with Jim and Lana was Ivaan's instant connection with their seven-year-old son.  Max and Ivaan were the best of friends and shared many things, including a love of playing and a love of snacking.  Many scientific experiments were carried out by Max and Ivaan in the back room of the shop which, if they had known, would have been of serious concern to the Fire Department.  If Ivaan and Max weren't busy burning something, it's because they were busy eating something.

Five years later, Jim and Lana needed more space and they moved Lowon Pope to a new shop directly across the street.  I'm surprised the City didn't install a pedestrian crossing at that location, because the flow of traffic between the stores was pretty constant.  Lana was a big fan of Ivaan's work from the start.  She has a good eye for rings, and invariably chooses ones that are feminine but not dainty, with kind of a spare, muscular architecture to them.  Recently, she lost her beloved thumb ring in a taxi and wanted to choose a replacement.  She's totally fallen in love with her new ring, pictured above. It's been named the Lana Ring.  Ivaan would completely approve of her choice.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Every so often, Ivaan would have an extraordinary fit of inspiration and create a wax original of a piece of jewellery that, because of the complexity of the design, could never be duplicated.  The Traffic Stopper, as it has come to be known, is a case in point.  I'd have been perfectly happy with this, if the ring in question had actually fit me.  Even if it had come close to fitting me, I'd have taken the risk of giving it a little stretch, but The Traffic Stopper is a bit of a Cinderella's Glass Slipper, and it either fits you or it doesn't.  If it does, you get to go to the ball, meet Prince Charming and live happily ever after.  If it doesn't, you get to stay home and sweep.

Our friend Sonia was visiting one day and trying on jewellery.  As fate would have it, she tried on this ring and it fit perfectly.   As a matter of fact, it practically jumped out of the tray and landed on her finger.  It's so different from the other Ivaan pieces she owns and yet it's so clearly at home on her.  It was she who named it The Traffic Stopper, and it's very apt, because strangers do stop her on the street to inspect it. 

I'm glad it's out there in the world for people to see, even if it's not on my finger.  And now, if you will excuse me, I will get back to my sweeping.  Grrrrr.

Friday, September 10, 2010

MY NEW BEST FRIENDS: A Wax Injector and 1,954 Moulds

In about 1976, Ivaan started making rubber moulds of his creations as a record of what he had done.  He didn't make a mould of everything, but he did make moulds of 1,954 of them.  Rubber moulds usually last about 10 years, but some of Ivaan's moulds are over 30 years old and still able to produce waxes.  I'm sure the reason for this is that Ivaan rarely used them.  He just kept them as a record of what he had done.  While he loved to admire his vintage pieces, he always had something new and exciting brewing in his head and never reprised his earlier work.  I guess this is the hallmark of a true artist.  Fortunately for the world, I am no artist, and having recently counted and categorized his rubber moulds, I decided to invest in a wax injector so I could make a wax copy of each of the 1,954 pieces.

Once in a television interview, Ivaan said, "I can hardly wait to wake up in the morning.  There's always something hot cooking.  My big thrill is to crack open a mould."  I now know exactly what he meant.  It is incredibly exciting opening a mould and seeing a wax replica of one of his vintage works of art.   I'm especially loving his work from the 1980s.  Some of the bracelets are incredibly beautiful.  And the reason I've never seen them before is that the best ones are owned by his clients, who are all over the world.

Learning to operate a wax injector is not easy.  There are many variables to consider:  the type of wax, the temperature of the melted wax, the PSI (air pressure), the condition of the rubber mould, the complexity of the design.  Right now the wax injector sits in the kitchen, looking like a very industrial food processor.  But I've successfully produced several dozen waxes so far. I wonder how old I'll be by the time I've successfully injected all of them.  I'll never be an artist, but thanks to Ivaan's foresight in preserving this record of his work, I am beginning to understand the thrill of creation.  So, thank you, Ivaan, for leaving me this project.  You feel so totally present when I'm working on preserving your legacy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This happens all the time: I'll be going through Ivaan's jewellery and I'll stop in my tracks and say, "Why haven't I paid attention to this ring/bracelet/pendant before?"  Usually it's as a result of trying something on and realizing it fits me.  That was the case with this ring.  It's been in the Art Gallery of Ontario for months.  We were recently switching up the AGO inventory and I brought it home with the others from the Tutankhamun exhibition.  Our nephew Ivor, who is the newly-appointed Vice President of Atelier Ivaan, was doing inventory  last week and I saw him photographing this ring.  I think it looks amazing on me.  Ivaan used to say, "I only make two sizes:  too big and too small."  This explains why most of the things he made don't fit me.  This one is totally gorgeous, though, AND it fits me.  This is a vintage ring - I think he made it in 1980.  I totally love the things he made in that era, many of which I have never seen before.  In another post, I'll explain why I've never seen them and why I'm discovering them now.  Meanwhile, isn't this ring exquisitely beautiful?  Also, in a later post, I'm going to include a photo of Lana's new thumb ring, which has been officially named the Lana Ring because it is uniquely and totally Lana.

Sunday, September 5, 2010




In June 1970, Ivaan was asked to travel across Canada as the official photographer aboard the Festival Express - a train carrying musicians across the country, stopping to perform in various cities en route.  One of the biggest attractions on board was Janis Joplin.    That's her with her guitar on the left, and you can see Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead)  and folk musician Eric Andersen in the background.  On the right, Ivaan is carrying Janis in the fountain in downtown Winnipeg, with Eric Andersen beside them.  Janis was no lightweight, and Ivaan later said he nearly had a heart attack, trying not to drop her.
Four months later, Janis Joplin was dead.  Like Jimi Hendrix, she was 27.



In December 1969, Ivaan met and photographed Jimi Hendrix at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Note the CHUM microphone. These are no mere concert snaps from Row ZZ. Ivaan's Press credentials got him onstage where he took dozens of colour photographs.  Nine months later, Jimi Hendrix was dead at age 27.  


December 1969 is the month Ivaan started working in metal arts.  It would be more accurate to say he became obsessed with metal arts, because although he continued to work in photography at Maclean Hunter Publishing for another four years, he spent every available minute on his new-found passion.

This is the first ring Ivaan ever made.  40 years later, remembering his early experiments, he said:  "With my early pieces, I wondered if I'd have to pay someone to take them away."


(c) Len Lawrent

So here is a photo of Ivaan taken in December 1969, which coincidentally is the same month and year I first met him. This was taken by his friend and assistant, Len, in the photo studio at Maclean Hunter Publishing, where he worked as Chief Photographer.  He's sitting on their secretary's desk.  December 1969 was the month he shaved off his beard. 


9 OCTOBER 1944 - 6 DECEMBER 2008

Ivaan is an artist.

People who know Ivaan will almost invariably remember the exact occasion on which they first met him - where and when it occurred, what they were wearing, what he was wearing, what they talked about, and primarily, the gigantic impression he made on them. For me, meeting Ivaan was a powerful experience.  It was as if in an instant I had become complete, without ever thinking that I might not have been complete before.   I wasn't sure that I liked him when we first met, but I totally understood that at that precise moment, my life had permanently changed.