“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.)
So there I was one Friday night, wondering what to do with myself. And I thought, hmmm, how ’bout an art show?
All I’d need is a few paintings, a lot of cool people, and a big room with booze, a pool table, and a 12-foot leather couch.
Also, a killer soundtrack. ‘Cause that’s a must for any Friday night.
Okay, so that’s not exactly how it went. The true story is about friendship, paint, booze, and serendipity.
One night back in March, Ned Tobin came by with a bottle of wine and some ideas about ink and watercolour. We’d never hung out and painted together before, so we figured it was high time to try. With no specific agenda in mind, he started several of his animal paintings, and I did two quick paintings – a tree frog, and then, somewhat randomly, a koi.
I’ve dabbled in watercolours over the years, but primarily just to create backgrounds for my digital illustrations. And that’s something I’ve done a lot less of since the metalflake paintings took over my life. So I’ve gotten used to a fairly lengthy process for painting, as layers are applied that often need several days to dry. Even longer in the winter months, when the weather is cold and the humidity is high.
These two new pieces were a revelation. I could easily take one from rough concept to finished piece in a single night.
Also, the response was universally positive, which gave me the idea that maybe I could do more of these. And koi are pretty exciting visually, unlike some animals. To me they look like custom cars in a way – wild colours and pattern, and shiny, silvery surfaces. I painted a few more, and a few more after that. Eventually I started wondering if this was a potential art show. Once I decided that it was, the whole process just flowed. Which could be construed as some sort of metaphor for the actual painting process, if you’re a fan of symbolism.
But all that is just backstory. What happened on May 23rd is what really matters.
Many people showed up, and frequently with friends in tow – this was easily the biggest turnout since Hot Pink. I met a LOT of new people, which is always a pleasure. It’s great to see first-timers at a show, especially when there are so many of them. In that respect, this was probably my most successful show to date (obviously I love seeing old friends as well, and there were plenty of those around. There’s a core group of loyal people who come to almost every show and do so much to support my art).
On a related note, this was the first time I had family on hand for a show, and I can’t even begin to explain how much that meant to me. My aunt and uncle even bought a painting.
Speaking of which, I laid the paintings out in chronological order, and it was cool to see how my process had developed over the two months I spent creating the koi. Even though the show is over, I still haven’t entirely stopped painting them. I’ve already completed one new commission, and there’s another waiting in the wings (there are also plans afoot for a piece inspired by the fish in Fantasia). I’ll definitely do more watercolour shows in the future, too. My thought at the moment is that I could have one watercolour exhibition and three metalflake ones each year.
We’ll see what happens, of course. As an artist I try to be open to new directions and opportunities. But overall this was a very, very positive experience, and I’m not just saying that because people plied me with alcohol.
Damn, that was a lot of wordiness. How ’bout a few photos?
Now come the liner notes. First off I’d like to thank Ned Tobin, Amanda West (who was kind enough to hook me up with the venue), John Watson, Annie Friesen, Mike Watson, Jill Sinclair, and Cathy Browne for their contributions. Each of you was crucial to this show, and my hat is off to you.
Next are the patrons, for putting their money where their mouths are: Aida King, Steve Cavers, Donna-Jay Crowe, Kirsten McKenzie, Evan Downie, Jenn Ready, Kathy & Bill Taylor, Jeff Hornby & Cass Wilson, Jewel Staite, Briar Sexton, Nicola Rueschmann, Krista Falconer, Shannon Nilson, Lori Kittelberg & George Smeltzer, Kyle Reid, Kayla, and Samantha Gilmour (incidentally, there are still a handful of paintings available. More details here).
Generally I manage to keep a list of everybody who attends the shows, but this time it got a bit overwhelming at times. So if you were there and I forgot to mention you… well, it’s just an oversight on my part (but drop me a line and I’ll update this post ASAP). Here’s everyone I haven’t already mentioned:
Cindy Busby, Kirst Ostapowich, Alan C., Chris Schneider, Don Falconer, Meghan Kilner, Shaun, Melissa Jones, Matt Bosch, Craig, Chris, Paul Erwin & Alison Tedford, Jason, Jenn Derksen, Katie Moran, Adam Bradley Carlson IV, Lindsay Bayne, Pardeep, Ian MacKinnon, Jill Plotnikoff, Steve Kinsey, Keith Murray, Brad Presta, Cristina Weir, Mila Katana, Jay Holtslander, Bria Hunter… and a handful of other new friends whose names escape me at the moment.
And finally, from the Department of Advice and Support: Jaime Lee Purgavie, Blair Pritchett, Tess McCann, Katherine Houston, Kate MacDonald, and Opus Art Supplies on Granville Island.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
P.S. Photos by Jill Sinclair, Cathy Browne, Jewel Staite, Kayla, Jeff Hornby, Krista Falconer (plus a couple of my own).
Having recently finished the Guitars calendar, it occurred to me that people might want a shirt with all the guitars on it. So without further ado…
And… that’s another year almost put to bed. Truth be told, it’s one I’ll be glad to see the ass end of (I briefly considered titling this post “Kiss My Ass 2012”).
Definitely a BIG year for me, by any standard, and one of constant change. When we went to bed in the wee hours of January 1st, I had pretty concrete, definite ideas of where 2012 would go. For better or worse, though, very few of those ideas came to fruition.
It’s interesting to view it in comparison with the previous year. 2011 started badly, marked with illness and drama. But every month after that was better than the preceding one, culminating in December – which, despite certain difficulties, was easily the happiest month of my entire life.
Which only made January of 2012 even shittier in comparison, as everything bottomed out on me at once.
By the time that month was over, everything that had been good about December was gone.
And I was done.
Each of the next three months had some further catastrophic event to add to the trauma. But fortunately, lots of work was happening, and my creativity never waned. So I kept painting, kept working, and kept my head above water.
Since then it’s been up and down.
It’s only in the last month or so that things feel like they’re coming together again, and my bruised ego finally put in an appearance again. So let’s focus on that, shall we? Who had the most positive, supportive impact on my life in December?
The roll call, in no particular order:
My family, Cynthia Griffiths, Jocelyn Aspa, Greg Lexiphanic, Brendan Moran, Lori Kittelberg, Pardeep, Ceci Graber, Terry Burns, Louise Perrin, Allison Vincent, Donna-Jay Crowe, Donna Jaggard & Dan Udey, Christine Warner, Lindsay Bayne, Alex Stewart, Dan Parker, Candice Roach, Bryce Pugh, Jewel Staite, Mike Watson, John Watson, George Smeltzer, Amanda West, Jaime Lee Purgavie, Rochele Potter, Andrea Waters, Geoff Seymour, Jennifer Juniper, Lyndsey MacEwen, Cathy Browne, Cindy McShane, Mila Pasco, Felice Lam, Chantal Michaud, Geoff Gauthier, Bon Bahar, Annie Friesen, Lynn McIlwee, Tawna Taylor, Jenn Ashton, Lisa Jarvis, Jackie Teel, Kevin Meyers, Jonny Warkentin, August Wiled, Nicola Proctor, and Victoria Pattison Denault.
I thank you one and all.
Disclaimer: if I missed you, you have my sincerest apologies. And I’ll keep editing names in as they occur to me.
I’ve had a pretty stellar year, artwise. Amazing things were accomplished within this narrow timeframe, and I received an absolutely stunning amount of support from people far and wide. People who bought my art, pimped it to their friends, inspired and encouraged me. Great people, in short.
So as a thank-you gesture, I’m having a studio open house at my place next Friday. There’ll be lots of art on display, refreshments of some sort, and I may work on a painting or do some sketching during the process.
Come by and say hello:
3:00-7:00PM, Friday, Dec. 28
503-1101 Pacific Street in Vancouver (buzzer 503)
Thank you, thank you.