adult beverages

Presenting the Second Annual Rent-Party Art Sale Extravaganza

“Things are almost bad enough to have a party.”

~ Judd Nelson, The Billionaire Boys’ Club

I dunno about you, but I am having the strangest damn year. As you may know, I work as both an artist and a graphic designer, and having the two revenue streams is really helpful in these dark and troubled times.

This year, though, everything seems to be… off.

Art is selling much better than usual, and January is particular was much busier than in any previous year. Which is weird, but definitely good – because graphic design work has been non-existent (and that’s coming on the heels of a year as financially and emotionally ruinous as 2016).

My solution to such issues is probably obvious by now: when in doubt, throw an art sale. Then I can clear some much-needed space out, AND help pay the rent.

Speaking of which, I’ve been doing 2-day flash sales over the past week. Responses have been good, so I decided on Friday to cap it all off with a BIG sale. Have a look below at the latest offerings. There might just be something there you want, and of course there’s the added bonus of supporting local art (or if you’re not in Vancouver, think “independent art” instead).

And by all means, tell your friends. Spread the word. Help a brother out.

Also, I’ve finished a number of commissions lately, so if you’re thinking about having a custom piece of your own painted, now is exactly the right time.

Sale ends Sunday night, April 30th.

(Disclaimer: prices do not include shipping.)


The Summer 2014 Studio Sale

If you’ve been following my art career, you know I’m a bit on the prolific side – I love to paint, and I have a lot to say. So it may not come as a total surprise that I’ve got a fair number of paintings on hand at the moment. I’d go so far as to call it a backlog, even.

And I work out of a small studio, so space is at a premium (can you see where this is going?).

I sat looking at all these pieces today, and decided I need to move some of them. Which is where you come in – I’m marking these down so I can free up some space, and you can score some art bargains.

Without further ado, then, here’s what’s for sale:

If you have your eye on a piece, drop me a line at howyadoin@gmail.com and refer to the sale in the email title.

The fine print:

Prices are in effect till Friday, August 1, 2014. Prices do not include shipping.

Dark Valentine Recap

01 Calendar

So my first show of 2014 is finished. Dark Valentine was another stellar experience for me, of course – these events mean more to me than I could ever really explain. People from different parts of my life (some who I had never even met before), all brought together by my art? After eight shows, that still floors me at times.

There was a great turnout again at Score on Davie – including several first-timers, which is always nice. It’s great to see the Gospel of Metalflake spreading far and wide.

02 Party People 01 03 Party People 02

Keith from Score came up with another delicious, powerful cocktail for the show, and this one even topped the Howyadoin Whiskey Sour from last time. Here’s my first Broken Heart of the night:

04 Broken Heart_0185

Irish whiskey (thanks to the amazing Simone Kelly, Jameson Ambassador par excellence), ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and a hint of maple syrup. Seriously, you gotta try one of these sometime.

Or maybe two, even.

Should I actually talk about the art? Yeah, I guess I should. Here’s the centerpiece of the show, a painting called “Once Upon a Wine”. It features three of the four main characters: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella:

05 OnceUponaWine_P7A9857

(In researching the fairytale characters for the show, I came across all sorts of interesting trivia, and some pretty dark versions of their stories. The sheer amount of murder in the original stories is kind of astounding. So I came up with an overall narrative for the show, tying several of these tales together and bringing the evil Queen of Hearts (she’s kind of a serial evil stepmother) into the mix as a sort of catalyst. Along the way the characters began to establish their own identities in my head, shaping the final paintings in ways I hadn’t anticipated.)

Here are a few of the paintings on the wall:

06 Group 02 07 Group 03

And here’s the evil Queen in all her reflected glory, in a piece titled “Who’s the Fairest?”:

08 Queen of Hearts_P7A9858

The other key painting in the show is this one, “Awakening”:

09 Awakening_P7A9859

The significance of this one changed several times during my creative process, as the story seemed to rewrite itself. So, hearing people’s reactions and interpretations has been fascinating. And those interpretations add their own layers of meaning, as well. Art should, after all, be an ongoing dialogue.

And finally, the night drew to a close:

10 End of the Night

I was feeling a bit rough the next day, but Simone treated me to lunch after I took the paintings down, and after that pulled pork mac & cheese hotdog, I recovered completely. As Valentine’s Days go, that was a pretty good one. Especially once this magic elixir entered the picture:

11 Jameson_0197

The End.

P.S. In the credit-where-credit-is-due department, I would like to thank these fine people for all they do:

Jewel Staite, for suggesting the concept to me in the first place, back in December (and for buying the Queen of Hearts). It makes me very happy knowing this painting is now hers.

Simone Kelly, for lunch, whiskey, and being an all-around epic human being.

Keith Corbett from Score, for pulling all of this together, providing the venue, and for excellent, excellent cocktails.

Bon Bahar, Amanda West, Cathy Browne, Meghan Kilner, Krista Falconer, Donna Jaggard, Dan Udey, Corrina Carlson, Adam Carlson, Steve Graham, Steve Kinsey, Chrissy Watson, John Watson, George Smeltzer, Nikkie Milne, Melissa Jones, Kyle Reid, Mike Watson, Aaron MacDonald, Scott McLeod, Lyndsey MacEwen, Stephanie Hogan, Jordana Manchester, Holly D’herty, Ian MacKinnon, Lindsay Bayne, Patrick Masse, Theresa Barteluk, Johnny Warkentin, Geoff Gautier, Cynthia Griffiths, Matt Bosch, Jay Holtslander, Katherine Houston.

Annie Friesen, for the buttons and the creative support.

Derek Bolen, for instigating.

Shannon Nilson, for naming “Once Upon a Wine”.

And Jamie Lee Purgavie, for always believing.

(Photos courtesy of imagemaker photographic studio, Bon Bahar, Jordana Manchester, and Simone Kelly.)


7 Art Shows and What I’ve Learned.

Metal Flake

My first solo show. I went into it practically blind, and it wasn’t till a week before it opened that I had someone to help me out with the planning. Fortunately it all came together nicely anyway, though.

What I learned:

• that it feels amazing to bring strangers together.
• that brown is a tricky colour to glaze with.
• that not everything will sell.
• that good lighting is crucial.
• that the private afterparty is the best part of a show.

Metalflake Remix

Eight months later, I tried it again. I put on a live-art show, but also had a variety of new and old metalflake pieces on hand, plus a pretty random assortment of non-metalflake pieces.

What I learned:

• that it’s impossible to go slow when you’re painting in front of a crowd.
• that if there are metalflake and non-metalflake pieces in a show, nobody will look at the non-metalflake ones.
• that consistency of style and theme are crucial.

Dinosaurs

Armed with a new agent and a new series of paintings, this was my first show with some actual strategy behind it. We had an all-ages afternoon portion, and then an adults-only afterparty. We also had a dinosaur cake, buttons, and even costumes (some people really get into a good theme).

What I learned:

• that everybody loves dinosaurs.
• that eight hours is a long damn time to be standing and schmoozing.
• that a lot can change in a year.
• that cheap masking tape from the dollar store is the only way to go.

Hot Pink

This show was a joint effort between Alex Stewart and I, based on a pin-up girl theme. Everybody involved (and it was a sizable crew) really brought their A-game. The show was a smash, and a real event.

What I learned:

• that everybody loves pin-up girls.
• that sanding the edges of a painting before glazing adds so much.
• that audience participation is the best form of publicity, and people love to dress up.
• that collaborating with another artist is an amazing experience.
• that spraypaint is your friend.
• that baseboard heaters are pretty useful for drying paintings.
• that under the right circumstances you can get away with almost anything.
• that I don’t have pre-show jitters anymore.

Ocean Rain

A much longer show (it ran for 3 months), a brand new venue, and overall a serious change of pace. The opening had a relatively small turnout, but that was okay. Nearly all of the paintings were sold before they were even hung at the venue – some before they were even finished.

What I learned:

• that everybody loves undersea creatures.
• that putting together contracts is exhausting but educational.
• that people can and will let you down, but other people will raise you back up.
• that blues and greens are inherently more intense colours.
• that octopi are incredibly hard to draw.
• that I shouldn’t schedule an art show opening for Mother’s Day.
• that X-Acto blades are sharp.
• that leaving the biggest, most crucial painting in a show till last isn’t such a bright idea.
• that borders aren’t necessary.

Ka-Pow!

Another new venue, and many new people were in attendance. Superheroes seemed like a natural fit for my art style and process, and sure enough, this was easily my most successful show to date (particularly if you factor in all the spin-off commissions I got from it). Also, the food was astounding, and once again I was treated like a star. This show opened all sorts of doors for me, too.

What I learned:

• that everybody loves superheroes.
• that putting on a show by myself isn’t actually that hard.
• that going hog wild with colour is a liberating experience.
• that light refraction is what makes the colours really pop.
• that mica flake gel is a gamechanger.
• that lipstick on your forehead is a great conversational gambit.
• that people really do care about Green Arrow.

Cocktails

My fourth and final venue for 2013, and one well-suited to the topic at hand. Everything about the experience was positive, from the formal-dress aspect, to the involvement of one of my favourite whiskeys as a sponsor. And while there were no pre-sales, I did sell half the paintings in a matter of five hours that night.

What I learned:

• that everybody loves cocktails.
• that every girl crazy for a sharp-dressed man.
• that art shows should always have signature cocktails.
• that black lava gel is a must, not just an option.
• that when the baseboard heaters just aren’t enough, the top of the toaster oven can also be pressed into service to make paintings dry faster.
• that a splash of iridescent colour under the top layer of clear is like a revolution for the eyes.
• that a venue so close to home is a godsend at the end of the show (particularly when you’re in a hurry to celebrate for another five hours).
• that pulled pork mac and cheese defies description.
• that not even Pearl Jam can keep the people who really want to be at the show from attending.


The Glamorous Life

Another art show is officially done. Cocktails was the first formal-dress event I’ve put on so far, and I have to say it was a rousing success. A great turnout, impressive sales, and everybody looked like a million bucks.

But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Wednesday morning I was up early, packing up the paintings and heading to Score on Davie to set up. Score is a great venue, with a much bigger room than you’d anticipate from seeing the outside of the building, and fantastic lighting, too.

01_Setup

It only took a few minutes to set things up; after eight shows I’m kind of an old hand at this.

02_Display

All the while this was going on, I could smell food aromas coming out of the kitchen. So once the show was hung, I sat down and ordered some breakfast.

03_Breakfast

The management and staff of Score were very enthusiastic about the show, and very accommodating. They’ve had art shows there in the past, and it showed in how professionally they handled everything.

04_Sign

Of course I live-tweeted the whole process, and I had three paintings sold before I even finished that Jack & Coke.

05_Sold

After that I ran a few errands, and went home to do a bit of painting before suiting up for the evening’s festivities.

Then it was party time.

06_Glam

The night went something like this for me: sell a painting, have my picture taken with a beautiful woman, drink a signature Howyadoin Whiskey Sour (Jameson whiskey, hand-squeezed lemonade, free-range pasteurized egg whites, and Angostura bitters), schmooze, sell a painting, have my picture taken…

07_Amanda

08_Sour

The drinks were potent, delicious, and incredibly cheap, thanks to the involvement of Simone Kelly, who came all the way from Ireland just to promote her favourite whiskey (she was also kind enough to treat me to a shot).

09_Simone

Several times that night, things started to slow down and I thought maybe the party was over. But then there’d be another influx of people, and the cycle would start again. Even as the Pearl Jam show ended, more people were still arriving.

We finally wrapped things up around 1:00AM, and then a friend from the bad old days who I hadn’t seen in a year came back to my bar, and we cracked open another bottle of (you guessed it) Jameson and drank and talked till 6:00AM.

So I’d like to thank these most excellent people for their contributions to the evening:

Jessi, Keith, Rob, Shiz and Jessica at Score, for… everything, basically (not just the free meals).

Derek Bolen, for lining up the dominoes.

Simone Kelly, for all things whiskey-related.

Annie Friesen, for the buttons, the artistic encouragement, and generally being an excellent human being.

And Krista Falconer, Jewel Staite, Mark Fox, Cher Staite, George Smeltzer, Lori Kittelberg, Cathy Browne, Katherine MacDonald, Doug Farmer, Scott Graham, Lyndsey Locke, Cristina Weir, Sam Anderson, Dale De Ruiter, Donna Jaggard, Dan Udey, Amanda West, Meghan Kilner and Shaun, Candie Tanaka, Adam & Corinna Carlson, Nikkie Milne, Melissa Jones, Johnny B., Ian Martin & “Holly”, Rochele Potter, Tiffany Shim, Don Falconer, Lindsay Bayne, Ian MacKinnon, Theresa Barteluk, Kyle Reid, Chris, and Sean (I’m sure I must be forgetting somebody here).

I thank you, one and all. You made my day.

Photos courtesy of Amanda West, Lyndsey Locke, Simone Kelly, Dan Udey.

The Big, Big Show (Fourth Time’s the Charm)

Welcome back, and thanks for joining us. It’s been a few days since the Dinosaur Show – time spent recovering and regrouping, for the most part. It seems that the bigger these events get, the more time it takes to bounce back.

And this was definitely a BIG event.

Earth-shaking, even.

The excitement all started Friday night, with a trip to imagemaker photographic studio to hang the show. This is part of the process that I always stress needlessly about, as it usually goes off without much of a hitch. In this particular case, the positioning and hanging of the paintings was a breeze; it was just the peripherals (a display for posters and calendars, for instance) that raised questions.

That night I slept well, which has never happened the night before a show till now. Come to think of it, I slept pretty well for most of the preceeding two weeks.

In the morning I was up early, running last-minute errands in the rain. We were at the studio doing last-minute setup by 1:00PM…

… and then it was showtime. My friend Cindy, who moved here recently from Ontario, snapped up the medium-sized T-Rex almost immediately after we opened the doors. Technically that was the second sale of the show, though, because John from HogShack had already spoken for one of the struttin’ T-Rex paintings.

Over the next six hours lots of people came in, often with young dinosaur fans in tow. Talked to old friends, met some people I’d previously only talked to online, sold a few paintings, and all in all had a great afternoon.

And then it was 8:00. The afterparty started.

The Agent was outfitted in a custom T-Rex top, and we also had hot pink T-Rex buttons made:

The people who got into the dinosaur theme the most, though, were Candice Roach and Danny Parker. Candice made a cake especially for the show, and Dan brought not only a T-Rex hat, but a full-on dinosaur COSTUME:

I kept thinking we’d hit the point where people were more focused on the party than the art, but then, miraculously, a few more paintings would sell. The final tally: 14 paintings sold out of a possible 17.

Did I mention there were drinks? Cake? Sandwiches and pumpkin pie cheesecake that my friend Melissa Jones so thoughtfully contributed? That people came from all over the place just for the show?

I’ve gotta say, the show of support never gets old.

Things wrapped up pretty quickly around 1:00AM. The day was done, the show a success.

Thanks, first of all, to the people who bought my paintings, posters and prints: John Lim Hing, Cindy McShane, Nic & Todd Cruickshank, Lori Kittelberg and George Smeltzer, Lindsay Bayne, Christine Warner, Geoff Gauthier, Irving Lau, Mark Crater, Candice Roach, Krista Lee, Amanda West, Donna Jay-Crowe, and all the people who bought buttons.

These lovely people couldn’t make the show (which will always happen) but were still kind enough to send along apologies and/or encouragement anyway: Chantal Michaud, Kate MacDonald, Lynn McIlwee, Jackie McCaughan, Adam & Corinna Carlson, Lyndsey MacEwen, Jewel Staite, Crystal Witty, Ceci Graber, Erin Kyle, and Jeff Hornby.

And of course, how could I forget my agent, Tess McCann? We’ve been through a lot together in the 14 months since we met, and this show actually started with her posting T-Rex cartoons on her Facebook wall in the early part of 2012. Thanks for everything, Tess. At the risk of repeating myself, this wouldn’t even be possible without your help.

(Photos courtesy of Danny Parker, Ned Tobin, Amanda West, Lindsay Bayne, Krista Lee, John Lim Hing, and John Watson.)


T-Shirt Thursday, Round 13

So I was drinking with friends last weekend, and the subject of the dinosaur art show came up. Next thing we knew…

 

 

As always, you can find this in my RedBubble store.


Bret’s Big Art Sale.

So yesterday’s sale was a smashing success. I commandeered the studio at Imagemaker Photographic Studio, lots of good, fun people showed up, paintings and prints were sold, and a good time was had by all. The show wasn’t even started before several prints were already sold, and with the guidance of a few friends, the momentum kept going as we turned the sale into a bit of a Twitter event (#BretsBigArtSale).

(Photo courtesy of George Smeltzer – GSCameraworks)

I was really touched by how much effort people made to promote the sale. Plenty of mentions, retweets, photos and link sharing on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Right off the bat, I should thank these fine people:

John & Chrissy Watson, George Smeltzer, Lori Kittelberg, Patti Catroppa, Ceci Graber, Brandy Trudeau, Jeff Hornby, Donna Jay-Crowe, Adam Carlson, Ned Tobin, Nikki Cruickshank, Nicola Rueschmann, Richard Finch, Adé Win, Vincent Ng, everybody at Cosca and Novo, Nicola Rueschmann, Yvonne Milroy, Matty Sadorf, April Trasy, Valarie H., Kimli, Stephanie Insixiengmay, Anthony Wittrock, DaDe Art & Design Lab,  Vancouver Vantage, Carly Fryer, BC Berrie, Lora Jean, John Bell, Jenn Ashton, Lola Frost, Louise Perrin, Ashley November, Steve Kubien, and of course my family.

Sold a set of 6 bourbon prints, a Jack Daniel’s print, the Crow’s Funeral painting I did in tribute to my good friends Lisa and Paul in Mojave, etc. etc. I was sort of sad to see this one go, but at least it went to a good home:

(Photo courtesy of Brandy Trudeau)

In the midst of all the wining and dining and wheeling and dealing, I managed to get a little sketching in:

(Photo courtesy of Tess McCann)

And of course, adult beverages were provided to keep spirits up (see what I did there?). There’s still a bit of wine left in my fridge, but the tequila didn’t survive:

After 6 hours we packed up the paintings and called it a night. Only thing left to do at that point was celebrate with vodka and poutine.

Thank you one and all for a stellar day. Let’s do it again sometime soon.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who put up with my twitchiness and general neurosis on the days leading up to the sale. Apparently I’m always going to be a bit of a mess right up to the point where a sale/show starts.