amazing

Superchicks – Still Available.

Full report on the show still to come, but here’s what’s still up for grabs. First, the metalflake paintings:

And then the sketches (all 8×10 inches, $50 apiece):

If there’s something you’ve got your eye on, let me know ASAP (prices do not include shipping). And if you’re interested in commissioning something you don’t see here, also let me know.

Thank you and goodnight.


Joystick – the Official Recap.

A few words of introduction: I had my first show at EXP in August of 2013, and by every possible yardstick, Ka-Pow! was a smashing success – even leading to a series of top-secret commissions by a certain prominent visual effects company. Brian Vidovic is the driving force behind the restaurant, and he and I talked back then about a potential videogame-themed show. In my head I could already see Pac-Man and Space Invaders paintings.

At that point I figured the show would focus entirely on the oldschool games. But as time went by and I talked to more and more people about it, I decided not to limit myself to any particular era.

(Especially since I did a set of Final Fantasy paintings for EXP earlier in 2014, and got an idea there of just how much untapped potential there was.)

Some of my previous shows have required an enormous amount of work to pull together, but this time around the process was pretty painless – two meetings (and when I say “meetings” I mean getting together for drinks), a few emails, and the pieces just fell into place.

The only tough part after that was finishing the paintings in time for the show. Which is par for the course; the final Dinosaurs piece, for instance, was finished just 3 hours before I hung it.

But I digress.

Joystick (my eleventh show) happened on kind of a shitty late-November night, and a weeknight to boot, but the turnout was still great – as were sales, thankfully. And everyone who did show up was enthusiastic and supportive. Lots of seasonal illnesses going around, which of course knocked some potential attendees out of commission. Not Donna Jaggard Fox, though. She showed up despite being extremely pregnant, and even bought a painting. Because she’s a champ.

The rest of us had a hell of a time drinking many Jameson Dark & Stormies courtesy of the always-awesome Simone Kelly, the instigator behind several previous shows’ signature cocktails. All that ginger beer made me feel like I was drinking some sort of health beverage.

The night got a little blurry there for awhile, and oddly enough, nobody thought to take many photos. Myself included.

More like an oldschool, pre-social-media sort of party.

Eventually things wound down, as things must. We had a final shot of Irish whiskey for the road, and another art show was done. By that point the rain had stopped, so a few of us wandered back to the West End together.

The next few days were spent meeting with buyers and with friends who weren’t able to make the show (and when I say “meeting”… I think you know where I’m goin’ with this).

Now. How ’bout some photos?

And finally, the obligatory but heartfelt words of thanks:

To Brian Vidovic (the master of ceremonies), Simone Kelly (the ambassador), Annie Friesen (the maker of buttons), and Chantal Michaud (the namer of names).

To Cristina Weir (who brought her parents to the show), Aida King, Kyle Reid, Meghan Kilner, Ian MacKinnon, Chris Schneider, Melissa Jones, Donna Fox (who inspired two of the paintings), Alison Tedford, Chris Magar, and Shamil Meghji, all of whom ponied up their hard-earned cash for the fruits of my labours.

To Stephanie Hogan, Scott Graham, Stu Hunter, Brenta Vatne, Jeff Hornby, George Smeltzer, Lee Harris, Jay Holtslander, Ned Tobin, Nick Salmon, Dan Fox, and Chris, who also braved the aforementioned shitty weather to show their support.

And as always, to Jaime Purgavie.


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.


Inspiration

If you’re on the internet as much as I am, you see a lot of pseudo-profound but ultimately pointless “inspirational” quotes. When I do stumble upon something real, though, I have to share it.

Case in point:

“Authenticity comes from when you leave style behind in pursuit of your own intuition…”

This is courtesy of designer/photographer/motorcycle builder Todd Blubargh, interviewed on Fuel Tank TV.


Possibly the Best Day of My Life.

So. As you are no doubt aware if you’re following this blog, I had my first big solo art show last night. After the show a couple close friends came back to my place for drinks, which inevitably led to me not saying anything online about the show.

Till now, that is.

The verdict? The show was a blast. First sale of the night went to my friend Patti, who bought the “Power Trio” triptych. Since then three of the smaller pieces were also snapped up, after some heated debate over “Dangerous Curves”. The rest, of course, remain on display and on sale at the Tipper till the end of the month.

What really made my night, though, was seeing old friends and new come together to eat, drink, and take in my art. Even writing this now is making me a little choked up. I am a lucky, lucky man.

And the show of support lately has been absolutely stunning. I’ve been profiled in the Vantage and VanCity Buzz, friends have come from all over the damn place for the show, and everywhere I had a question or a concern about anything, somebody always, always stepped up to bat.

Without further ado, then, the above-and-beyond roll call. These people are permanently in my good books: John Watson, Patti Catroppa, Lori Kittelberg, Dan Udey & Donna Jaggard, Sati from LiveVan, the irrepressible Jonny Warkentin, Ceci Graber, Nic & Todd, Nicola and her mom, Gary and Gary, Colin and Cameron and P.J. from the Tipper (without whom none of this would even be possible), Lindsay B. and K. Myles, Corinna Carlson, Karina Halle, Kelly St-Laurent, Mollie Caselli, Carly Fryer, Mike Watson, George Smeltzer, Ned Tobin… and I know I’m still forgetting people. I’ll keep editing this post as the day goes on.

Also, a number of people couldn’t make the show but were kind enough to send along apologies and/or encouragement anyway, because they rock: Jeff Hornby, Brendan Moran, Donna Jay, Amanda West, Dilara Litonjua, Adam Carlson, Kate MacDonald…

And finally, the biggest and most heartfelt thanks of the day have to go to my lovely assistant, without whose support this event wouldn’t have even been conceivable. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Tess McCann. Mere words cannot express…