Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Hero

Adam and Steve

Return of the Originals

Yes, the Action Man images from a few years back.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Personal History

Painted in the tones of my mother's kitchen (before she made her brown macrame curtain opus)I hold a net with my first caught fish, a bottom feeding carp.

The T-shirt I am wearing had an iron-on transfer from Hunt's Tomato paste, why anyone would want an iron-on transfer of the label from this product is beyond me, but for some reason, I liked having this red label on the obverse of the Blue Jay logo.

I was aware of something going on with SILVER at that time, I knew the name Hunt's was involved and thus deduced that it was the Hunt brothers, using their money from tomato paste, to try and corner the world market of silver.

How was I to know they were not related?

The Hunt brother's who tried to buy up all the world's silver made money with oil, which seems more logical. In 1980 the price sky-rocketed from $2 an once to $54 before crashing to $10.

I wanted a bar of silver, for a paper weight.

Perhaps watching the news at was not always a great idea for a kid.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Sino-Soviet Border 1980

Oh those Russians

Soviets resupply their bases, not realising what an insane futile venture Afghanistan will be for them (until Chechnya)

Some of the top ten reasons never to get involved in Afghanistan:

Sly Stallone, as John Rambo, fights alongside the black turbaned Mujahadin, to get rid of the soviet infidels. (RAMBO III-no silly, 3 not i i i)

Eloquently stated in the Princess bride as the number 1 most important thing not to do:

Never get involved in a land war in Asia (number 2 was 'never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line' and then Vizzini, the genius Sicilian promptly dies from Iocaine-at the hands of the man in black-not Johnny Cash silly)

and obviously, the utter useless waste of human life.

Iraq-Iran War

An iconic image of Baghdad under attack, by their neighbours that is; the war would lead to over one million deaths in 8 years.

Famously, Iranian religious zealots went over the top with just a picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini pinned to their chest-to a barrage of bullets and obviously 72 virgins within seconds.


To the 'Rescue'

The US fleet headed off to the Persian Gulf, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

everyone knows that history is amazingly repetitive, but in just 20 years?

It seems a bit much really.

Incidently, the insane colour scheme is from the ceiling in my parent's basement. My father had made a 'hung ceiling' with these brightly (a la 1960s) coloured boards.


Clerics in the Iranian parliament, slowly and totally bringing the army, civil service and the media under their control.

You think the "Chad" scenario of the 2000 election was bad? In 1980, the ballots in the Iranian presidential election were blank and were left to a local mullah to fill out, as the illiteracy rate at the time was 50%.

Burgundy wine is how I would describe my brother's wainscoting details, which serve as a background colour for this image. The wainscoting was an important detail in his room, as it effectively framed his Led Zeppelin (in concert) mural-figures were slightly larger than life size although, if the truth be known, I alwalys felt that John Paul Jones always looked stiff and a little small in the right corner. Mr. JP Jones does kinda look like that in real life: He played with King Crimson at Massey Hall back in 2001...I was working at the hall at the time, what a crew of freaks in the auidence.

Ok Ok, all you Led Zeppelin fans chill out, that does not mean I don't like them. I know they played one date in Toronto at the Masonic temple, JPJ had a Richenbacher blah blah blah, he is a bassist-need I say more?

Oh, as for King Crimson-whatever.

Liberian Regime Change- 1980s style

This image of a military coup in Liberia, where the previous regime is being summarily executed lends a window into the world of politics, the military and conflict in Africa.

(beige of the upstairs bathroom and brown from the downstairs tiles-with hints of my bedroom's baby blue form the colour scheme)

The 1980s project-REDUX

So I have been going over my 'catalogue' as I have been thinking about a project I started to work on in 2000.

I was looking into the US leasing of a port in Yemen back in 1980 which is where the U.S.S Cole was attacked by a suicide bomber (yes, by 'the Base' people) in 2000. It happened when I was in San Diego, a huge Marines town. I think about 17 people died, one of them was a woman from San Diego.

Even then, there was a palatable sense that not for the death of a local girl, the story would not have been covered-300 million stories in America, why look outside kind of thing-

I started to think about how the events of 1980, the implications of what was then happening (2000) were being felt, like almost the crop, the '80 cuvee was being sampled. When you look at it, the US giving money to the Mujaheddin to fight the Ruskies, terrorist bombings in Europe, Iran being under control of religious leaders (after the fall of the Shah) and Iraq at war (with Iran) All together, 1980 was the first year of the 21st century.
The colour schemes of these paintings are based on my parent's house through the late 70s and mid-80s. The harvest golds, the avacado, shag toliet seat covers-all of it, emblazoned on my mind and those colours are now put to use to depict the coup in Liberia, Naval ships and Royal beheadings in Saudi.

The image is of the newly leased port in Yemen circa 1980, with hints of Dusty Rose-bay window drapes

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Art Aficionados

Last night I stopped by Miles and Jan's place-These great people (yes, i met them at the Jet) are becoming patrons of the arts I swear!

They have been immensly supportive and the walls of their home is lined with all kinds of art, a real fun eclectic mix. Photos, paintings and tin wind-up toys- a visual treat.

As my dad used to say about our house, they have so much art-they are going to have to hang stuff on the ceiling soon.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Miss Anne

Had one of those lovely summer evening moments- biking eastbound toward Parliament Street, I saw Anne biking in the opposite direction. i turned around and accompanied her to Kensington Market. Chatting the whole time, riding side by side in the bike lane like outlaws, yeah bad asses.

Anne is an amazing singer with the band John Ray and the River The band was on tour for a month on the west coast and it is great to see Anne again! She has this great voice even when she speaks, its sounds like it comes from the back of her vocal cords-it just seems that way, don't ask me. Her and the band gave a concert over at The Boat (a former Portugeuse Restau where my friend's girl was harassed by the waiter for not eating her salad) in Kensington Market on New Year's Eve, that concert was "fuck-you-up" good. Between them, the one bartender who over-poured and Kids on TV, the floor was shaking and the energy was out of control.

I digress,

We biked west and chatted, when we headed south on Bellevue I could her the NFB's amazing cartoon, Log driver's Waltz-( biked up and caught the end of a video presentation in the park over by Augusta and Dension Square.

This cartoon was one of my most favorite 5 minutes in the CBC's saturday morning cartoon line-up, along with 'the wonderful world of Professor Kitzel' Naturally. I would have the time precisely memorized, turn the immense dial on the black and white Admiral console TV from The Harlem Globe Trotters to channel 5, watch " whirling down and round the white waters, thats where a log driver learns to step lightly is whirling down and round the white waters, a log driver won't please his girl comp-lete-ly..." (not sure what those last words mean)then return to bad late 1970s US programing.

I digress.


This picture was taken on Christmas day 2005 when Jet Fuel is open for the morning for free coffee and booze. The place is full of good cheer and moonshine. Anne is a recent retiree of the Jet killer morning shift, so she is used to the manic morning pace. I snapped this shot as she whipped by adjusting the iTunes and lattes.

Well, that is pretty much all that I had
that was all that I had
that was all that I had
when the water washed away, that was all that i had
well it wasn't that bad
well it wasn't that bad
At the end of the day,

That was all that I... had

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Americans in London

Just a little sketch of some people I saw in the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.
They had an awkward energy about them, you could not help but notice them.

style experiment

The likeness is not too accurate but the style is getting close to what i am looking for. I found some space in an old sketchbook (2002-4) and contrasting the new work with the old is always interesting.

The Cabbage Town Festival

Been working on my painting style-working towards a particular look for a graphic novel.

This image is the first study in this style; my friend Dorothy having a butt on Parliament street. While she sits beside Pablo, a fella looks at some book- I forget, it may have been The Guinness Book of World Records, all the same he looked at this damn book for 2 hours.