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Tolmie Night Market this Thursday the 13th: Featuring Lucas Shawcross

Food, Music, and next featured artist announcement!



Tolmie Ln Night Markets

Dear Friend, 

My name is Matthew Lopez, and I'm calling all lovers of the discerning arts! I’m excited to share that we’re hosting a weekly summer night market every Thursday, with the dream of creating a vibrant and collaborative space. Get ready for an unforgettable experience filled with art, food, live music, and so much more!


The Lopez weekly night market is every Thursday of the summer, starting from July 6th, 6.30pm onwards till late. Join us at our workshop, #3-676 Alpha St, which is accessed through Tolmie Ln.


We’ve also curated featured artists for the upcoming weeks, and we’re excited to have our second featured artist, Lucas Shawcross. Like me, he’s a local artist born and raised on Vancouver Island. Like me, he is a skilled tradesman, and like me he has a strong foundational philosophy of DIY or Do-It-Yourself.


Lucas Shawcross: DIY Master

Featured Artist for July 13th

Lucas is always striving to manipulate as much as he can with his hands, so as to make whatever he imagines in his mind a created reality. That of course struck a deep chord of admiration in me, as I found much in common with my personal creative philosophy. As we say around the shop: mind to matter, sketches to structures, and imagination to innovation. Given his propensity for acquiring skills, Lucas has acquired diverse and truly bespoke artistic accomplishment in media such as denim, embroidery, patches, wood working, metal working bracelets, terrariums, sketching, clothes modification, motorbike mechanics, tattoos, knife making, and even producing electronic music. I’m sure you can imagine why we get along so well!



Lucas’s lifelong love for creation began when he was a youth, when he was spending time with his father. “I wanted a skateboard, but times were tough back then” Lucas chuckled, “My dad and I made a skateboard from scratch and that’s where it all started”. This whirlwind of creativity with his artist father continued, from learning how to draw with him, to learning the tricks of the hardwood trade from him later in his youth. “My dad taught me to work with my hands” Lucas explained, “and I learned the tradition of hardwood flooring from him too. I appreciated pretty quickly that hardwood flooring is a fine art in itself.”


Since then, Lucas has applied himself to innumerable art forms. As he grew into adulthood, he realized that he couldn’t afford his dream tattoos. Lucky for him, he had a steady hand, a lot of artistic skill, and a can-do attitude. Lucas did the due research and soon fabricated his own tattoo gun to get to work. “The snake and skull tattoo is my favourite” Lucas beamed. Soon enough, Lucas was designing and doing tattoos for his friends. 



Having soon become an accomplished tattoo artist in his own right, Lucas then tried his hand at motorbike mechanics. He recently completed building his own motorbike, an undertaking he devoted a lot of passion towards. “Finishing my chopper has been my biggest endeavor. I did everything, even painted the flames on it. I fabricated so many parts on it, and I’ve had my hands on every little piece on the bike. The whole machine is just a work of art.” Since completing his motorbike project, Lucas has been mastering clothing modification since the winter.



Lucas got back into his old family trade of hardwood flooring recently as well, and is now the owner and operator of the aptly named Traditions Hardwood, who provide excellent hardwood installation, scraping, and dustless refinishing services for flooring in the greater Victoria Area. Like us, Traditions Hardwood is a local and family run company offering a highly skilled and artisanal service within our community with a passion for quality work and leaving a great impression. Speaking of traditions, Lucas is often spending time with his daughter Willow making art in various mediums, just as his father did with him. It seems she has the family artistic spark too!


On the 13th of July, Lucas is going to be bringing his custom modified denims and other clothing, patches and possibly some of his bespoke magic staffs, of which only two are in existence, one for him, and the other as a thank you present to his therapist. Magic staffs are usually crowned with a big crystal on the top and few designs wood burned into the ends. Each piece is wrapped up with some chords, feathers, and other decorative and mystical trinkets.


Regardless you can be certain that Lucas’s display is going to be absolutely magical, and personally we can barely wait! At Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd, we want ensure an unforgettable creative experience all who attend. Local musical act CoffinHill will be playing an acoustic set. I hope to see you on this Thursday the 13th for what is looking to be a precious evening, and a great kick-off to our night market season!


Shaye Nielson: Local Comic Book Artist and Cartoonist 

Featured Artist for July 20th

For our next featured artist spot, we’re excited to host Shaye Nielsen this July the 20th! Shaye is a local comic book artist and cartoonist born and raised in Victoria. Shaye’s tryst with the form began whilst in childhood. While in elementary, Shaye read Captain Underpants and it sparked a lifelong creative passion. He’s been fully engrossed in comic book art and cartoons ever since.


Shaye started making his own comics in high school, and he’s never looked back since. Shaye studied the form through private courses at Camosun college and under the tutelage of Ken Stacey, a comic industry professional. Through Ken Stacey, Shaye befriended Garreth Gaudin, a Victoria based comic bookstore owner and teacher. Today, Shaye works with Garreth at Legends Comics. Shaye followed in Garreth’s footsteps and practices his art by producing one comic a day. In fact, Shaye has been on that commitment for almost four years!


Today, Shaye self publishes and sells his amazing comics at Legends Comics and Cavity Curiosity shop in downtown Victoria. His feature comic, Plant Head, has been running for a thousand days.  It’s a modern take on the classic Mikey Mouse feel, with a theme of day to day life that is both rousing and sincere. Lately Shaye has been inspired by old rubber horse cartoons such as Popeyes and Betty Boop, and it has brought a lot of retro richness and charm into his contemporary storytelling.



For Shaye, storytelling comes across naturally. Many editions of his daily comics feature amusing scenarios and off-the cuff jokes inspired by day-to-day life. “Sometimes I’ll be inspired by something and make a story one page at time” Shaye told me, “I love seeing where it goes, I also improvise when making visual art." Comics are certainly an exciting medium for storytelling, as Shaye says himself, “You don’t have to hire a caste or get cameras. You don’t need a big budget, you can do it all yourself.”



Shaye’s art also allows him to empower his friends. For example, Shaye often works with his friends’ bands on design ideas for mediums such as graphics and T-shirts. Shaye uses his art to express his ideas in a way that is truly bespoke, as he shared, “It lets me relate to my influences, like my favorite music and movies.”



Shaye is a highly skilled cartoonist, though his art also extends to many styles such as anime. “As my friend says, anime eyes just work” Shaye is also broadening into animation. In fact, Shaye is soon going to be taking off to the Kubert School in New Jersey, where he is going to be pursuing a comprehensive education and training in animation.


On July 20th, Shaye is going to be bringing down 1-7 zines of Plant Head and two types of prints, one of a painting of Howe’s Moving Castle and a print of Bart and Lisa in the style of Akira. There may even be copies of a few comics Shaye made in college called Mental Slime. Prints available for sale are glossy and in a cellophane sleeve.


About Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd:

Lopez Contracting & Design Ltd is a local and emerging artisanal contracting company that specializes in highly custom projects, ranging from renovations to bespoke commissions such as live-edge furniture. Our one-stop shop strongly values our community, and we strive to operate within a 100% local network of partnered suppliers, sub-trades, artisans, and specialists. Our wood supply network, for example, sources largely from local ethical arborists.

We host a beautiful and diverse display of Vancouver Island’s finest lumber specimen, ready to be kilned, milled, sanded, edged, finished, or otherwise prepared right here in our shop for any discerning patron or project. Our one-stop shop offers singularly rare and unique services right here in the heart of Victoria, including one of downtown’s only kiln, lathe, and CNC services.


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Our Triple Crown Philosophy

Some years ago, I innately understood that a building structure should have three important attributes. First, it should be structurally sound. Second, it should be aesthetically pleasing. Third, it should be attainable or affordable. Ever since, I have strived to make everything I do worthy of this triple crown of excellence.

During a ferry ride to Vancouver, I saw my young son had drawn Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man in my notebook. To my surprise, my son’s sketch led me to discover the historic importance of this idea. This world-famous sketch of a man in a circle, his arms outstretched in two different overlapping poses, has become iconic. A Wikipedia search showed me how Da Vinci was inspired by proportions described by Vitruvius in his ancient treatise of De Architectura.

Vitruvius was arguably the greatest architect in history. His work is the only major surviving publication on architecture from classical antiquity. It was written for Emperor Augustus, made famous in the Bible for his census which brought Jesus’ parents to Bethlehem. Eminent Roman architects such as Vitruvius were skilled in engineering, art, and craftsmanship. As an army engineer himself, Vitruvius had overseen all manner of building and construction for wars and settlements across Europe and North Africa.

The most famous maxim of Vitruvius was that architecture should embody three qualities: utilitias, firmitas, and venustas. In English, this means that great handiwork should be useful, sturdy, and with beautiful proportions. (Just imagine what Venus, the goddess of love, might look like.)

I was delighted and not disappointed to find out that my idea was old and not new. It gives me more motivation than ever to offer you the product of a triple crown craftsman: sturdy, useful, and beautiful work at a reasonable price.