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.