January 31, 2010

Green Bulbs

A few weeks ago the lightbulb over our stove blew out. So it sat on our kitchen table for a few days. (I'm really bad at throwing things out). A very good friend who had been hanging out in my kitchen noticed this lonely broken lightbulb and sent me a link to a DIY site that described how to hollow out lightbulbs. Of course ten minutes later, I couldn't think of anything else, and absolutely needed to break open the bulb.

It actually proved to be less step-by-step than the site suggests, and more mash-at-the-glass-until-it-breaks-without-shattering-the-lightbulb. But nonetheless a relatively simple thing to do. (If you plan on doing this yourself, just make sure you hold the lightbulb in a towel and not bare hands, in case the glass shatters).
Since then, the lightbulb in our living room also blew (I get really excited when our lightbulbs die now). One of them serves as a vase for a cutting from our house plant, and the other is a mini terrarium for a ginger root sprout. I have no idea what a ginger plant looks like. I am curious to see how big it will grow and if it will eventually explode the lightbulb.

January 30, 2010

Graffiti/Album Cover

I'm not the type of person to ad applications on Facebook, but there was one drawing tool released several years ago, called Graffiti, for which I was willing to make an exception. It is a very basic tool - the only variables are colour palette, brush size and opacity - but there is a certain zen-like quality in its simplicity. It quickly attracted thousands of other users, who began pushing the limits with stunning photo-realistic drawings. It has actually spawned a sizable community of artists who share their art in online galleries, and art contests sponsored by big-name companies. I recently entered a Graffiti contest called Future and Technology, and won first prize in the Architecture category with the above abstract sketch.

Rod Skimmins, DJ of the monthly Bang the Party at the Boat in Kensington Market came across my Graffiti work in an online public gallery, and asked me to illustrate a portrait of Grace Jones for his upcoming album. The illustration was incorporated into the album cover design as you can see in this picture.

January 25, 2010

The World Book Dictionary L-Z

I recently came across the artwork of Brian Dettmer and was so transfixed by his work, I immediately needed to perform a book autopsy. So I raced over to BMV on my bike and spent about half an hour searching for a dictionary or encyclopedia with lots of illustrations. I finally settled on The World Book Dictionary L-Z for five bucks.
The process itself was very simple: I glued the book shut and peeled away each page one-by-one using an exacto-knife, leaving behind images that I liked. It took about three months for me to finish. I can't tell you how many hours I spent, but I definitely became addicted to the meditative act of lifting a page and discovering what wonders lay beneath.
The result is nothing like Dettmer's much more elaborate recent work. But if you look closely, there is an intriguing complexity to the illustrations. And the text itself is surprisingly poetic. In all my life, I've never read such a poetic dictionary. (And I'm one of those who would go to look something up in my Websters, and two hours later realize I've just read the whole L section).

January 24, 2010

View From My Kitchen Window

This painting is based on the view I see from my kitchen window every morning while eating breakfast and drinking tea. It's 23" x 37" and hangs on the wall in my living room. I painted it using black and white acrylics on canvas.

A few months ago, the Bloorcourt area sent out a call for art. The BIA was putting up new banners, and Ghazaleh Etezal, the woman in charge of the project, decided to take advantage of this fact and start a street art gallery. I obviously thought this was an ingenious idea, so I submitted two pieces which are now hanging on Bloor, between Shaw and Ossington. One of them is based on this painting. The second banner was based on a detail of a little sketch I did this summer of my very awesome Miele bike Lil' Red Thunder. It's hanging between Cyclemania and the LCBO.

January 23, 2010

Spoke Jokes

I made these bike spoke beads out of white Fimo. They're painted with acrylics and coated with a clear lacquer. There's actually no proper way to get them on your bike. I just crack them open with a knife and super glue them back together around the spoke. But despite my ghetto ways, they have become quite popular. If you look closely, you might see them cruising around on various bikes along the streets of Toronto. Some of them are even enjoying the sun in Honolulu. Unfortunately the owl was on a quick-release wheel that has since been stolen.
A very astute six-year old boy came to visit my house to choose some beads for his bike. I expected him to pick one of the colourful ones, but instead, he chose the skull (not pictured here, but it really was my masterpiece) He was just about finished choosing, when he saw a round bead with a tree painted on it. He said, "This is perfect, now I will have a brain to put inside my skull."

January 22, 2010


His name is Leonard. He immigrated to Canada from Poland in the 1960s and recently starred in a short animated film about Toronto that screened at a small film festival.

I made this old man out of scraps of cloth - old tshirts, felt, fleece and burlap. He is about 6" tall. His arms and legs have wires inside so he can be shaped into different positions. I didn't really have an image in mind, but he turned out looking a little sad.

January 21, 2010

Little Projectiles

The name is a play on the idea of little art projects.
And the feeling I have when I create
that my brain is projectile vomiting
its abstract contents into the world of objects.