City Park was filled with the triumphant sound of trumpets, the soothing notes from saxophones and the rhythmic pulse of percussion on Saturday at the 2011 Kelowna Jazz and Blues Festival.
While many tapped their feet, snapped their fingers or clapped their hands, one man moved a pencil effortlessly along a piece of paper.
Richard Mancion, a local artist, says that drawing helps him experience the music.
“It gets me into (what I’m) drawing because the band is right there on stage and I’m taking in all the surroundings. Sitting on the grandstand I can see the lake and everything going on around me,” says Mancion.
“I almost feel like I’m an extension of what I’m hearing. It’s flowing through my pencil, onto my paper. I’m right in the mood.”
Mancion finds it difficult to categorize his art.
“I don’t have a set identity as a visual artist. That’s what I’m working on: To basically find something acceptable to cover the whole gamut of what I do.”
Mancion can definitely add ‘cartoonist’ to the definition; he has self-published various art booklets and comic books.
Mancion takes a break from his sketching to acknowledge the band playing on stage, The MidNight Kicks.
“They’re the youngest band in the show. I used to be in jazz band in high school and these guys are 100 times better than I was. They got me snapping my fingers.”
Although he says that he jumps from genre to genre, Mancion insists that he has always been interested in jazz and blues.
“There’s something about jazz that I really understand, just the abstractness of it, because that’s how my mind works. It relaxes me.”
He continues drawing as he explains more of his philosophy on music.
“I like independent music, first and foremost. Music can put you in a mood, so I can never listen to one type of music.”
MidNight Kicks finish their song and the crowd begins to clap. Mancion sets down his pencil and joins the rest of the audience. “Fat track,” he says.
In 2001 Mancion moved to Kelowna from Vernon. He loves the area; however, he wants to travel soon.
As for his art, the Vernon native concedes that he should probably set up a simple web site to display his work. But certain aspects of technology have Mancion hesitant.
“Don’t get me wrong: I love technology, I could drool over technology,” Mancion says.
“But I find technology can take up a lot of one’s time as well. You see so many people with their heads down, they’re just glued to their technology. I’m just drawing with a pencil and a paper. That’s the way I like it.”
The piece of paper that Mancion is drawing on begins to resemble his surroundings: The backs of heads in the foreground, an assortment of trees towering above the stage, Okanagan Lake’s smooth water behind and four young men with instruments at the centre of it all.
“It’s an excellent day for a jazz festival.”