Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Hay on Wye Festival

So I find myself in the VIP area at the Hay on Wye fest, sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Well, scratch the veneer and we see something quite different. The art monkey is completely sleep deprived, having slept on the floor for the past 2 days. The funny thing about authors and the VIP area is that you have no idea who half these people are, you know their words but not the way they look, they go about their movements with an air of celebrity but in some manner it seems to be metered, toned down as they are keenly aware of how hard it is for someone to recognize them.

If you also look closer at this veneer you will also a great amount of white powder, coke that is; Devil's dandruff. When you are naming drugs with stupid handles like that, you clearly need to be either in detox or working on new names for chupa chups products.

The creative community of greater London seems to rely on grotesque quantities of cocaine. In time that I have been here, I have just seen so much of it, degenerating to people snorting rails at 9am while shouting "the breakfast of champions!!!!"

What ever happened to Shreddies?

People, it is a school night, lets take it easy.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I dream of Rabbis

I was in this low dark room, there was a tall rabbi there who was constantly blowing his nose and making quite a production out of it. Later in the dream, he walked around this dark room with half-opened eyes, trying to bump into me with this wet handkerchief.

My real Rabbi, Rabbi Spero is a character and presides over the Minsk synagogue in Kensington Market. He often prays while he eats so you will see this small, bald and bearded man rocking from side to side while munching on a titanic piece of challah bread. One time a person came up to the rabbi, "Rabbi, I need to talk to you, I am really angry about something" Trying to eat a meal and balance the concerns of the congregation, the Rabbi responded "...(rocking)Wait ten minutes, if you are still angry in ten minutes, ..(swaying)I'll talk to you. If not,...(pitching from side to side)let it go."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


After 6 years, I have made it back to the UK, and more specifically the north. The trains, the tiny train stations, it is exactly as I remembered it-fucked up and seriously ill designed, poorly executed with no one wondering if, now after 200 years of the Industrial Revolution, can we please have hot and cold taps coming from one spout, thereby mixing the temperature!!
For fuck's sake people, a nation gets up in the morning, burns their left hand and freezes their right.....?

Anyone? Aidez-moi! This is just the beginning.

On the plus side, in six years some of the major technological marvels, cubes, yes, there are ice cubes! Everywhere, why they even advertise beer (admittedly cider) with ice cubes in it.

Doris 1978

My aunt and uncle were visiting from Paris, and as usual this meant a few things: 1) a mangy cut rate gift (cut me some slack, I was 7 and focused. They actually came empty handed and bought me one of those rubber sharks that were all the rage after Jaws. Purchased, of course from Hobby Toyland, the local hobby shop) 2) giving up my bedroom, which meant I had to take down my marvel comic-CN tower colouring sheets. Imagine! Thor standing on the restaurant of the tower, sloppily coloured, down for a month and never to return. 3) The ubiquitous trip to Niagara falls "Tu te rende de counte?" is about all they said.

About a week and a half ago I went to see Doris again after 7 years. She is about 86 and very frail. Going there for me was a big deal particularily because I went by Eurostar through the chunnel, and Da Vinci Code tie-in aside, there is very little security on that mofo. I just keep waiting for everything to go black, sudden stop and the icy cold water to start filling the compartment.

So, like I said, Aunt, old, husband died a few months ago thus went to see her. She fell on him, she broke her arm, he broke his leg. He had serious surgery and did not recover. It was a difficult visit and before I left, I asked her if she wanted anything, to which she replied "mon mari"

What could I say?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Montreal, 2004

In Conversation

Another room from the now demolished Whitby Mental Health Facility


The title refers to my father's 1930s Omega Sea Master that rests on the table in the photo. worth a small fortune especially in the sense of sentimental value, I was saving to have it repaired when my apartment was broken into and this was subsequently stolen.



This image was shot in my bathroom when I lived on Pape Ave in Toronto. The books in the foreground are mainly older sketchbooks and they have a sense of personal history, hope, desire and at times, failures and reconciliation.

The black and white photos on the left were shot in a bar in London back in 1998, I felt alone and awkward in that place, my friends at the time being more adept at dancing and meeting people. Now, I walk by that same basement club every few days and I cannot help but remember those feelings.

The tub is in the background, with a skylight and a hanging candelabra, it may have been the best room I have ever had. Lots of late night salt baths with whiskey and my fur hat to stay warm. My father's moccasins obscure my semi-fictional diary account of two weeks as a single man in 2003, revealing and added a layer instead about my personal life in general.

Friday, May 19, 2006

New Imagery

This Carousel was shot in San Francisco a few months ago. I was visiting our uber-fantastic friends Ron and Kristy, who are art lovers par excellence. On some advice of Kristy's I walked down to the SFMOMA and on the way noticed this carousel. Using my Holga camera, I shot a series of photographs with the idea that it would be part of one or two images, despite distinct shots, allowing the images to overlap in the shooting.

I think this image crystalises an aspect of my narrative interests in photography.

Collective Memory

A page of Personal History

This image was part of a recent show of my new work in Toronto called "Collective Memory" The work exhibited the collections of things which comprise my sense of memory and personal historical reference. The images are densely packed with deeply personal meaning, certainly charges of narcissism or self-indulgence can be leveled, but I think these images are captivating and draw the viewer in, sharing in the experience.

Images of my father's shoes have been laid directly across the photograph, painted in a kind of 'a la prima' style.

A Document

Collection of memories

This series were a fusion of the Metal Hospital photographs and images which i drew from my memories- purposely not painted from objects or photographic reference.

I wanted to have the inaccurate quality of a memory, something you cannot exactly put your finger on, something that we are keenly aware of, and yet intangible.


In many respects this is the perfect set up or establishing shot for Whitby Mental Health. This is an abandoned facility which was built in 1916 and closed in 1993. The doors were forced in 2001 and between that time and 2005 when it was demolished, it was ground zero to local bored kids to graffitti in, movie crews to shoot in and various artists to 'art' in.

The grounds had 39 bulidings which were linked by underground passageways. Most of the windows and walls were damaged by the time I came to shoot there and I incorporated that element into my work.

We had a friend of the family who spent some time here about 6 months before it closed in 1993, my brother went to visit him and he remarked how dreary, oppressive and down right nasty it looked when it was open. Not much had changed since it closed.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bondage for Beginners

The title of this image refers to an advert card I saw as a 14 year old in a seedy telephone box in London. The image combines a base photograph, ink and guache painting with collage elements.

The red colour provided the Japanese inspiration, and ample inspiration for bondage of the beginner or advanced level.

Homage a la Jet

Jet Fuel is the coffee shop in toronto which can be described in a number of manners: fantastic place for coffee, where Michael Ondaatje has to wait for a coffee; mine and about 30 other people's office, a cyclist community centre possibly the best pick up joint in the city or just the favorite hang out of such bon vivants as my father.

The Wave Forward

In the past few months, perhaps starting as long as a year ago with this image, i have been really interested in the line and story telling quality of late Japanese prints. I have been fascinated with the prints of the late-period master Kiyochika Kobayashi, a former Samurai who depicted images of the 19th century military fused with a classic style.

Charlie's Portrait

What can I say about Charlie?

My Tribute

Charlie's Haunt

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


This series was inspired by the paintings on Roman and Greek vases, a long horizontal story telling.


Water's Edge

Outside of Time

Tiny beaches communities, they line the beaches around Wasaga, Ontario. These old cabins are painted with Aluminium paint before each harsh winter and then sealed.

This polariod implies the lonliness of these places.

For the moment, Untitled

This image, it is hard for me to talk about it really. I think it has this seductive quality, the legs, the framing but most of all, the ripples in the water.

Montreal Evening

This image was shot on Montreal. My cousin came out of no where and drove me crazy all this day. I had planned to go to montreal, work on a photo-essay (shadows) and just relax. She showed up, drove me nuts and just generally got in the way. We were walking down the street and she saw her friend (the person who owns this arm) and stood and talked to him for 45 minutes, driving me to the limit. In the end, being completely stressed out, I looked over and saw this gent's arm, the way he rested, the folds in the in his shirt and I just was captivated by this moment.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

May third, some park, 2006

Wow, When I started this blog I had no idea where I drew this Asian guy, I remember being in a grass area, it was warm, I thought it was London.....then I thought it was when I was in Paris, somewhere around Sacre Coeur where there is grass near the steps going up to it, now I am thinking maybe the V&A back in London, I have no idea anymore.

Jesus, I did not notice the steps behind him, it must be Paris, but I ain't certain.