sea of love

T-Shirt Tuesday – Octopus Edition

Hey there. As you may have noticed, weekly t-shirt releases were on hiatus for awhile as we prepped for (and recovered from) Hot Pink .

But now we’re rebooting the t-shirt release program, starting with this octopus from the upcoming Ocean Rain show (more on this at a later date):

You can buy this lovely cephalopod right here in my Redbubble store .


Hot Pink Recap

Let me tell you the story of one amazing day. A lifetime ago (or a very short while, depending on your perspective), I had my very first solo art show.

I was half-assing my way through organizing the show till Tess McCann stepped in to offer her assistance. I would mark that as the most significant turning point in my art career to date (and of course, Tess is now my agent).

From there it’s been… I dunno, would it sound pretentious if I said it “a journey of self-discovery” ?


We’ve spent the last year and a half experimenting and learning about art shows and art marketing, and we’ve met some incredible people along the way. And all the things we’ve learned got applied to the latest extravaganza, Hot Pink .

Now, Hot Pink has its roots in two sources: a suggestion from Alex Stewart last summer that we do a pin-up girl show together, and a request from Tess the summer before for a hot pink painting of a dancer.

Everything just gelled from there. Putting this show together was almost effortless, apart from the labour in actually creating the art itself. Many people stepped in to help promote the show, offer suggestions and their encouragement, and lend a hand in many ways.

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

Let’s backtrack. Friday night, Feb. 22. Team Hot Pink gathered at imagemaker photographic studio to hang the show. I wore my toolbelt, because I’m told it makes me more popular with the ladies:

Alex brought along some stunning pieces. I’d been following their progress for months via social media, but it was my first time seeing most of them in the flesh.

(I brought along a few pieces of my own, of course.)

And in no time at all the entire show was hung, the pizza eaten, and beers drank. Waking up to sunshine the next morning was a nice omen.

And just like that, the Big Day was upon us:

You may have noticed the beautiful Hot Pink button in that last pic. It comes courtesy of Annie Friesen, the proprietor of Dottie’s Buttons . In addition to that button, Annie is now selling others that feature my artwork and Alex’s. We’re pretty pleased to have her on the team.

In addition we had a major contribution from Candice Roach’s Love Your Cake business. Another great local company run by a good friend. And her cakes are mindblowing to see (or to eat, for that matter).

My latest paintings were a hit. Several of them were sold before the show even happened. Here are the ones I’m particularly proud of:

Aside: Agent McCann and I also donated a painting to a fundraiser by our friends at the HiVE called An Evening of Debauchery . Full of inappropriate dirty jokes, politically-incorrect comedians, burlesque performers and an artist with a… unique approach to painting, the event was held to raise money for a non-profit business incubator. In the end the painting went to Nelu Oncel, who was patient enough to let us keep the painting for a few more days so it could still be in Hot Pink.

Alex and I also collaborated on two pieces, which is probably the creative highlight of my year so far. I started one piece that he finished, and vice versa. An incredible experience, and one I learned a lot from. Hopefully there’ll be more joint efforts from us in the future.

And from there, things just… rolled . Many excellent friends showed up, both old and new. These pics should give you an idea of how it went:

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At midnight we wrapped things up, exhausted. Took the party to several other locales, and in the AM we were back to tear everything down. By that afternoon you’d never know there’d even been a show.

So thanks to John Carter, Sarah Merris, Kimli Welsh, Steve Kinsey, Jeremy Ball, Amanda West, Jamie Presley and Meghan Low, Vicky Hames, Meghan Kilner, George Smeltzer and Lori Kittelberg, John Bell, John Watson, Alex Stewart, Jon Crewe, Jaime Lee Purgavie, Aimee Vuilleumier, Lyndsey McEwen, August Wiled, Chantal Michaud, everyone who wore pink to support the cause, and the incomparable Tess McCann, who once again deserves a huge round of applause for everything she’s done for me.

Photos courtesy of John Watson, Tess McCann, Alex Stewart, Heather Prost, Cathy Browne, Christy McNeil, Scott Graham, and Bret Taylor.

So I may have mentioned this before, but I don’t always have an easy time of it when I’m writing for this blog. The delays you see generally happen because I just can’t think of anything to write about, and I don’t want to cram the blog with filler.

The thing is, though, I sweat it so much that I practically get performance anxiety. Which is ridiculous all on its own. I mean, it’s only a damn blog entry, y’know?

Anyhow, it occurred to me that there’s one arrow in my creative quiver that I haven’t really used on the blog – I’m a compulsive listmaker. Have been all my life, and it’s still my strongest organizational tool as well. (Hell, let’s be honest. It’s really the only way I know of processing and sorting information.)

Also, 2011′s been, to be frank, a fucking hellish year. January was brutal – money problems, sickness, general anxiety and stress, cabin fever, all sorts of ugly highschool-drama bullshit, depression, no work, short days with little sunlight, post-holiday anticlimax… you name it, I had it. Looking back on it now, it’s like looking at somebody else stumbling through a horror movie. I was definitely operating on the frayed ends of sanity.

February, in comparison, was infinitely better. Not without its share of grief, but the overall amount of trauma was greatly reduced, and things just started to happen . March, so far, has been another giant step up – a huge amount of work dropped into my lap when it was desperately needed, I’ve got a bunch of new art commissions, I’ve made some new friends, and of course there’s an art show the end of April to prep for. Plus next month will feature some live bands and a friend I haven’t seen in a year coming to town for a brief, steak-and-whiskey-filled visit.

By now you’re saying, “where’s the damn list ?” Well, I’m getting to that. More than anything (except the art itself, obviously), what’s gotten me through these Dark Times was music. I’ve heard a ton of new(ish) stuff, and it gave me what I needed to keep the hangman from my door.

So without further ado, here’s the good stuff; it kept my creative juices flowing, too:

  • Social Distortion: Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes . This band has been a fave of mine for many years. Sometimes it’s like a gutpunch; other times it’s like hanging out with an old friend. And this new album is as strong as anything they’ve ever done. Highly recommended.
  • The Heavy: The House That Dirt Built , and Great Vengeance & Furious Fire . These guys were recommended to me by fellow artiste and all-around swell guy Snakebite Cortez. They’ve got a great sound, clever lyrics and a great party vibe.
  • The Californian: Sea of Love . Also recommended by a friend (in this case, jazz bassist and brother in arms Lyman Medeiros, of The Funky Supervillain fame). They’ve got a bit of a surf vibe to them, with inevitable influences by the Pixies.
  • Slash: Slash . I resisted listening to this album for a long time, mainly because of some negative reviews I read when it first came out, plus the presence of some questionable guests on it. Then I ran into my old buddy Scott MacLeod, and he said I should at least give the song with Ian Astbury a chance. Turns out the whole album is damn strong from start to finish.
  • Gin Wigmore: Holy Smoke . Strong writing, a quirky voice, good performances all around. Although I’ve gotta admit, “Dying Day” was a bit too much for me at times.
  • Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style . God, I love this band. I’ve been a fan for years, and this album absolutely does not disappoint.
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead: “Say Hey (I Love You)”. A pure, sweet, honest sentiment, and a damn danceable tune. First heard it on an episode of Weeds .
  • Cee Lo Green: “Fuck You”. Because sometimes it just has to be said.
  • Hugo: “99 Problems”. An odd little cover of a Jay-Z tune – some tasty guitar, great percussion, and a sentiment I can definitely get behind.

Thank you one and all; I couldn’t have done it without you.