Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ongoing work

This painting is something that I am working on at the moment at the studio. There is so much that I can say about this Jacket and the others like it that have been graciously loaned to me, but suffice to say that I am really interested in trying to capture something in my painting, something at odds with the tangible of this object.

I started with an old piece of Fabriano paper, that I probably had around since 1992, then China ink in layers building up the underlying structure or architecture of this amazing piece of clothing and finally gouache paint, introducing some colour and texture to the painting.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I found the time to make it to the AGO, in truth, we went to Frank the restaurant, the snacks are great, the mixed drinks are too sweet for me.

Anyways, speaking of art, we stuck around long enough to check out the Julian Schnabel retrospective, a superstar of art, according to the AGO.

Really interesting to see the work, still after all these years I don't really get the broken plate paintings, I hope never do in a way.

Having said that, the painting that really touched me was the black velvet painting of Andy Warhol. Interestingly, this painting and the ones around it were in an intimate space not the volumes of air and concrete the AGO committed to this New York Big Mouth who has all but referred to himself as a modern incarnation of Picasso. For all that loud clothes and his bravado, there is something exceptionally touching in this piece he must of saw in Warhol, whose by his own accounts was fairly vacuous, so this painting dialogue between big mouth and superficial is something much greater than the sum of their parts.

here is an article from the Globe and Mail, see what they have to say

Maybe I am a sucker for velvet paintings ever since we had a red bull fighter in our dining room that my Dad painted.

Here is that painting, in the basement with an illustration on top of it from a series of photo/paintings of mine from 2006.

Julian Schnabel: Art and Film

continues until January 2, 2011, take your honey and have some fries and booze at FRANK.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toronto International Art Fair

Hey, have not made a post in a long time, and guess what this one is about art, more specifically, my art, again.

Loop Gallery will be there, the wit, the banter, the 29 of us, a seething mass of artsy types looking for cheese and wine, hide your pinot grigio- the 11th annual Toronto Art Fair is in town!!!

Yes, art officanados of every stripe will be there with every look from a Jon Waters to a Jason Schwartzman, and that is just the dudes. You will see lady hipsters that run from Jean Harlow to Cruellla DeVille. And then there will be the people to whom you will only wonder, uomo ou donnna?

For Serious.

The art monkey will be there, but due to the time allotments of Loop, my work will only be displayed Thursday night and Friday afternoon.

Please come by, I will be there thursday to Saturday, lots of art to see- wear comfortable shoes.

Here is a link to TIAF

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Night

SO, we decided that tonight was the night, the Perseids Meteor shower would be seen in the city.
We saw nothing, nada, bubkis. We looked in the right direction, we looked in the wrong direction, zip.

Instead, while standing around Central Tech listening to loud mouths, well, mouth off loudly, we spotted this cut out of Guantanamo darling Omar Kadhr, dressed up like the traveler, Waldo (or Wally as he is known in the UK, from which he originates).

I cannot speak to what the ideology of the person putting up this Kadhr image is, I can say that poor Omar is not treated well even as a 2 dimensional cut out- his head had been ripped off and fell to the ground before I finished snapping a few pics.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Upcoming Projects

My show has just gone up at Loop Gallery and yet, what is the next thing I'm working on?

A few things I guess. One, is a group of photos I took when we were in Buenos Aires in January of this year. We were staying near the Once (pronounced ON Say) district which is the Jewish part of town. For those who don't know, Buenos Aires has a massive thriving Jewish community and has one of the last daily Yiddish newspapers left and the only Kosher Mcdonald's outside of Israel.

I guess those are the obvious things about the Once area, the lesser known aspects is the tight knit nature of the area, the incredible old buildings-ancient bars that seem to have the original bartenders working and residential apartments which are also serve as houses of worship for entire congregations. Also the area is sandwiched in with a wholesale area that dealt in everything from obvious (textiles) to the lesser so (catholic religious icons)

Lots of pics to follow, for the moment have a look at this one.

This door leads to one such place of worship. I liked these 2 chicas who were talking loudly outside as I was standing there.

And for the hell of it, the Kosher McDonald's in Abasto shopping mall.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Terrific Saturday

The show opened at Loop Gallery and we had a large number of visitors, children and the odd hobo who strolled in. If you missed the opening, fear not, the show runs till August 8th, you have 3 weeks to catch show, please do.

This is one of the pictures you'll see at the gallery. I shot this in the desert of Morocco last year. I was on this insane desert tour of the salt route which was also known as 4x4 almost falling off the side of a mountain for 6 hours a day.

Anyways, we came into this part of the desert just after a brief rain shower and the sun had all but set. You could just see this amazing vista of forever and the odd dune. It was beautiful and more than a little haunting.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Show about to open at Loop Gallery!!!

I have been so busy I almost forgot to mention that my show at Loop Gallery is opening tomorrow and will run for about 3 weeks, so please come and see the work. This will be the first time I formally show my Dream Series photos taken with a Holga camera and these prints look awesome, large images.

The title of the show is Manifest Dream, a Freudian term to describe how we see our dreams, perhaps not any hidden meanings but what they look like on the surface. This is problematic: an interpretation of the dream creates a series of biases, there is no one answer or "truth". I argue that we can never know what lies below the surface and even as the artist, i create the image but its meanings shift, depending on the viewer.

The show runs from July 17th (our opening is from 2-5pm) and runs to August 8th. We will have a discussion on the 7th. Cheese is only available on the 17th of July, no discussion so please come out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last NYC post, promise

There is this picture/advert that says so much, so mush about things that are so wrong.

Yes, you are looking at a sandwich comprised of two deep fried pieces of chicken, processed cheese and bacon in the center with, i think, mustard/mayo sauce.

I immediately thought of Patton Oswalt, and his KFC bowl routine. Check it out here. "America has spoken,....we want a failure pile in a sadness bowl"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Left over stuff from NYC

I was looking for something on my phone the other week or more and I found all these pics I shot in NYC that I forgot all about.

OK, this one is really the best but I will start here. This was at the New Museum in the Bowery ( is it safe? is it safe?) Technically, i am in violation of the copy right for this image but I had to take a snap of this sculpture, I thought it was maurizio cattelan but I am tired and confused so whatever for the moment. It was a dark room and there in a coffin, lying in state was JFK as a wax sculpture, hair, a suit the whole 9 yards. It is really shocking to anyone who grew up in that time period or after in the shadow of Camelot.

Oh, this is the performance artist Marina Abramovic siting on her tuchas, in "the artist is present" she sat at this table for like a month or something. The real news is that the MOMA remounted many of her performances with performance artists including 2 nude people in a doorway, they are so close you and you have to pass betwixt them to gain entry into the gallery prompting the Tyler Durden question, who do I give the ass and who the crotch? The guy was my height so I faced him and trudged through, perhaps I was more comfortable being crotch to crotch as it were, passing swords whatever your metaphor. He was so damn close i looked him in the eye and I could not focus on the guy, that is close. I also stepped on the naked lady's feet.

Lastly, I think I saw these at the whitney...I am honestly not sure I know an old man asked me not to turn the handle of these doors. The windows of these french doors had these beautiful motifs on them, with zodiac and other characters, the three graces-simply elegant.

Also there was this, i meant to take more pics of these in the subway. People were putting there NYC 2 cents worth on every surface underground. I do not picture a tagger doing this but rather a 40 something witty nebbish office worker.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chef again

Sushi chefs....I need better note taking.

Jesus and the Money Lenders in the temple

This sketch looks like I was looking at the El Greco painting, perhaps in the Frick collection in New York. It is an amazing gallery, around the corner from Central Park, the Neue Gallerie, the Guggenheim, all that good stuff.

This is just a detail, I like the way the painting is essentially done monochromatically then the reds yellows, etc are added in washes.

I always wanted to see this piece of St. Francis receiving the Stigmata

Of course, it was not on display.

YOu can plan your trip to the Frick HERE

Cafe Sabarsky....?

I have no idea where this is drawn, may even be the shitty Irish bar.

I must have hated this place

I wrote "Shitty Irish Bar in NYC"....yikes.

Bartender at Bread

Not sure what possessed me to make this naff drawing of the bartender.

Bread restaurant NYC

This place is great, food is good and the people watching is fantastic albeit dimly lit and difficult for drawing.

You can check out this place when you are next in the Nolita area of NYC, here is a review with terrible pictures from the New York Magazine

Monday, May 17, 2010

More on Stuff at TCAF

Did these sketches of George Walker at TCAF, this was during a lecture on artist books.
These are some simple sketches at 10 am on a Saturday morning.
Its not me, I did not try to make him look like Elvis Costello, he looks that way-honest.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Graphic Imagery

This is one of the most insane images I have ever seen. This picture is part of an amazing show at the Japan Society in New York.
I'll elaborate on this later, its a late night and I have to get some shut eye. It is a good lead in to the recent TCAF, toronto comic art fair which had amazing artists like Seth and Clowes

But for those who likes things a bit more old school, here is another image by master Japanese printer of the 1800s Utagawa Kuniyoshi, first rate bad ass and certainly a inspiration for manga.

Gormley on Madison Square Park

Meanwhile, walking past Madison Square near the Hotel Chelsea, you notice this
And to be honest, either this picture was taken the day it was 'revealed' or these people are all tourists. New Yorkers did not seem to care that this famous British sculptor had decided to go global with flashing/exposing/exhibitionism.

On the whole, the sculptures that you could see at a distance on rooftops seemed the most profound, within the context of a city, they seem like non-passive potential jumpers and I guess that was a complaint of people here, as it brought out memories of Sept 11.

Long Time No Post

OK OK, I have been meaning to make about 10 million posts but where does the time go I ask you in the most rhetorical fashion?

A few weeks ago, I went to NYC via the Megabus, and frankly, meh is my pronouncement on this cheap way to get down there. But when it comes to New York City, unlike much of life, it is not the journey but the destination that matters so don't worry about the crappy bus ride, devoid of the much promised free Wi-Fi and electricity.

No, its more about going to the Neue Galerie on the edge of Central Park, the German art centre which has Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka paintings and a traveling Otto Dix show which will be in Montreal soon.

Otto Dix's series of prints made from his harrowing experiences in WW1 are as terrifying as they are hilarious and sad.

This is where the paintings purchased from the Bloch-Bauer heirs now live. The Adele Bloch-Bauer portrait and some of Klimt's last paintings are here.

check out the Gallery here

This a little sketch from an Egon Schiele painting that was so simple and utter perfect in it's sense of contour.

I sat in the cafe Sabarsky, named after the Klimt art expert who curated a Klimt show I saw 1991 in Florence, it kinda blew me away- you know all about the finished paintings, but it was the sketches that were so simple and stunning. The show was in the massive Fortezza della Basso, which is sort of on the edge of the city.

It is also on a ring road where tranny hookers ply their trade. As students, we had to walk past here every day to get to school, which was fine in the day as we could navigate the insane "Italian Job" Style driving, dog shit and used hypodermic needles which were part of the everyday (Florence, in the early 1990s was apparently the Heroin capital of Western Europe). At Night, however, Fiat Puntos would slow to a crawl, looking for just the right combo of white fur coat, black wig and shiny fuck me boots that made that irresistible Tranny. We would walk past it all in amazement.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Image from Buenos Aires

This is a Holga photo I took in Buenos Aires, Recoleta cemetery. The place is full of all sorts pomp and circumstance, proclaiming the glory of blah blah blah.

Ideas of honour and sacrifice, it would be great if it was just about sculptures.

But sadly, it is about young people dying. I really felt this feeling staring at this monument to the glorious dead over here. The young face of this boy soldier was quite sad and quiet and unlike the people who were nearby laughing and trying to get pictures of Eva Peron's crypt.

I took this series of shots to have this young face flanked and penned in on all sides by this older soldier with a ceremonial helmet.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A view of the my exhibition, Remnants.

Well first thing, I changed the name of the show at Jet Fuel, no biggie really.

It communicates more about what these things are and how the relate to a life. Here is an excerpt of the diatribe:

These pieces evoke a sense of nostalgia: perhaps not for the items themselves but for the time and place that they come from and for the way the user viewed themselves at that time.

They had some sense of importance for a period of time, and entered a repository for that which we could not part with: at that time and after wards, each had some vague sense of personal value. In short, these items represent a time in a life.

If we place the artifacts that represent a short period of a life in the right order, can we recreate a life?

What remains of that life when the life itself has ended?

The wall reads left to right: Childhood, Teenager, burgeoning Sexuality, Adulthood and Senior.

I want to say thanks to the photographer Norm Betts who took this terrific photo in segments and pieced it all together, and brought me a print for the opening, that was Rad.

Please click on the photo to blow it up and check out all the goodies, my personal fav may be the poem entitled "US" my brother's first girlfriend wrote for him (or is that them?), man it is terrible.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blog Blogged.

Well the show went up, and nothing has crashed on anyone's head which is terrific.

We had a grand opening, despite someone nicking my bottle of Gin and my friends trying to get a beer for nephew who is obviously a minor.

Yup, there was some press even, well ok, a blog guy. He does a blog on people's fashion, figures I was wearing my brother's Valentino jacket, now I can hear about how great that jacket is- I know its a great jacket.

Actually, the sweater in this picture was a gift from a friend, on my 16th birthday, 23 years ago...ack, at least it fits. Sarah made me this scarf which I love as it is half her wool and half this ancient wool that had sat in with my mom's wool bins for 40+ years. The colours are so similar, unless you look closely.

here is the website


Have a look at this bloated picture of me and laugh at the review which characterizes my project as " an explosion of Geekdom"


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Collective Memory II

Collective Memory was a show I had in 2006, images of my personal and work spaces were mirrored with my family's penchant for collecting and saving items of dubious beauty.

Starting in February, I will be building a new installation, at the Jet Fuel. This will be using the "stuff' that has always sat in the basement at the family home and constitutes a life. This idea stems from a series of conversations I have had over the past few years with Daniel Garber, who with his site, culturalmining.com has an interest in aspects of cultural and its language. We have been exchanging ideas ever since I started to take papers, bills and flyers from our basement and posting them to the wall at Jet Fuel. He catches all the subtle nuances of the visual elements and printing quirks of these old documents. Daniel Garber ladies and gentlemen, a real gem.

The large obstacles are how to re-create something that lives on shelves in a basement while being visually interesting and faithful to these objects, how they came to be together and what they mean to those who stored them rather than threw them out.

So, it is an exercise in limiting your ego and letting the wonder of a commodore 64, AFX race tracks and about 3000 other interesting things play off each other.

Collective Memory II, at the Jet Fuel (519 Parliament ST) for the month of February, please come check it out if you are not claustrophobic.

Please check out Daniel's site, culturalmining.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Compare New and Old

Well, as promised, here are a few more watercolours from my recent trip to Buenos Aires coupled with a year old series I did on the beaches of Cuba.

This above image was done in the Plaza de Mayo, the red haired guy on the left was Federico, I think he was the producer of aforementioned TV series, he seemed to be a bit of a ring leader. As an aside, you see a great deal of people with red hair in Argentina, that may seem odd or perhaps a skewed result based on the fact that they stand out but hey, ponder this, my cousin is really a red head and her mom is from Argentina....I know!

Anyways, the couple on the right were from Calgary and I think had just arrived in town. I hit my stride with the simple and if i may say elegant profile of the lady's face (i don't remember their names) the guy seemed to like the portrayal of his special lady friend and took a photo and then stood beside her to watch the actor, well, act. I then included him into this painting which I guess looks a bit like a inflated image. He saw himself pictured like Mr. Macho and guffawed, which I think is a great reaction.

So here are some sketches I did on my birthday a year ago on the beach in Cuba, surrounded by rotund Quebec-ers who have zero desire to use a skin cream with a SPF factor. It was lobsterville, for serious. Anyways, this is what got me started on portraying people in this simple style versus using pencil or ink pen sketches. The large block forms and shapes of painting worked more for me, with hints of line drawing.

Plaza de Mayo

With my days in Buenos Aires winding down, I headed to the main square to do some painting. This place is known for protests but not much was going on this day, I think it was a Sunday? Anyways, instead of a protest there were a group of people shooting some sort of revolutionary recreation type thing for TV. Go figure.

If you look on the left hand side of the image, you see the television crew: far left in red is the make-up girl who asked me about immigrating to Canada and if she should go to Montreal; some crew members; the actor is the guy with the outstretched arm and beard; to the right of that the camera person with a 5D and an old lens and sound.

To the right of all that is a group of American tourists who were sitting in the park (actually my starting point, worked the other way across the page) the tourists were de rigueur annoying in the way you expect people to be, lame comments about the city and a insane allegiance to an overuse of the words 'like' and 'dude'.

As an aside, I have to admit that the Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook has been really terrific for me for the past year: Cuba, Morocco and now Buenos Aires, the paper is great which has been what has been lacking with other Moleskine products for 'arty' pursuits. At some point I will upload these really crude (read rudimentary) paintings I did in Cuba which sort of got me started on this style of character depiction with watercolours.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Buenos Aires - Watercolour

These are a few of some recent watercolour sketches I made while in Buenos Aires over the holidays. We went to the horse track, the Hippodromo to be exact. These Jockeys had incredible satin outfits and I had about a minute to paint them before they go on their horses and took off. I was taking a picture of these Jockeys and guards stopped me-saying no photos. I pulled out my watercolour set and started to work.

This is one of the riders as they prepared for a race. This guy is the second person in on the watercolour above- with one minute to work with, they are more of a suggestion than a painting. This was Dec 31st, it was 20 +C in Buenos Aires, just a great day, not to mention we bet on the last race of the day and won!

I sat in a little coffee shop near the Once district and watched people go about their week day, slowly painting this over the course of probably an hour, watching the changes in the end of day traffic.

The girl who is in the lower right corner of this painting is part of a group of people who collect all the cardboard and bottles in Buenos Aires, they go by the name cartoneros,. Mostly it is gruff weathered bachelors who push these immense nylon bags on rollers around town but this girl was part of a family who were scavenging. She stopped for a moment and looked around. I would have liked to follow these groups of people around and get to know who their life is, and I'm sure it ain't easy. There story is I'm sure about the suffering lower income people have suffered since the economic collapse.

Anyways, more paintings to follow.