Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Collective Memory II

Collective Memory was a show I had in 2006, images of my personal and work spaces were mirrored with my family's penchant for collecting and saving items of dubious beauty.

Starting in February, I will be building a new installation, at the Jet Fuel. This will be using the "stuff' that has always sat in the basement at the family home and constitutes a life. This idea stems from a series of conversations I have had over the past few years with Daniel Garber, who with his site, has an interest in aspects of cultural and its language. We have been exchanging ideas ever since I started to take papers, bills and flyers from our basement and posting them to the wall at Jet Fuel. He catches all the subtle nuances of the visual elements and printing quirks of these old documents. Daniel Garber ladies and gentlemen, a real gem.

The large obstacles are how to re-create something that lives on shelves in a basement while being visually interesting and faithful to these objects, how they came to be together and what they mean to those who stored them rather than threw them out.

So, it is an exercise in limiting your ego and letting the wonder of a commodore 64, AFX race tracks and about 3000 other interesting things play off each other.

Collective Memory II, at the Jet Fuel (519 Parliament ST) for the month of February, please come check it out if you are not claustrophobic.

Please check out Daniel's site,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Compare New and Old

Well, as promised, here are a few more watercolours from my recent trip to Buenos Aires coupled with a year old series I did on the beaches of Cuba.

This above image was done in the Plaza de Mayo, the red haired guy on the left was Federico, I think he was the producer of aforementioned TV series, he seemed to be a bit of a ring leader. As an aside, you see a great deal of people with red hair in Argentina, that may seem odd or perhaps a skewed result based on the fact that they stand out but hey, ponder this, my cousin is really a red head and her mom is from Argentina....I know!

Anyways, the couple on the right were from Calgary and I think had just arrived in town. I hit my stride with the simple and if i may say elegant profile of the lady's face (i don't remember their names) the guy seemed to like the portrayal of his special lady friend and took a photo and then stood beside her to watch the actor, well, act. I then included him into this painting which I guess looks a bit like a inflated image. He saw himself pictured like Mr. Macho and guffawed, which I think is a great reaction.

So here are some sketches I did on my birthday a year ago on the beach in Cuba, surrounded by rotund Quebec-ers who have zero desire to use a skin cream with a SPF factor. It was lobsterville, for serious. Anyways, this is what got me started on portraying people in this simple style versus using pencil or ink pen sketches. The large block forms and shapes of painting worked more for me, with hints of line drawing.

Plaza de Mayo

With my days in Buenos Aires winding down, I headed to the main square to do some painting. This place is known for protests but not much was going on this day, I think it was a Sunday? Anyways, instead of a protest there were a group of people shooting some sort of revolutionary recreation type thing for TV. Go figure.

If you look on the left hand side of the image, you see the television crew: far left in red is the make-up girl who asked me about immigrating to Canada and if she should go to Montreal; some crew members; the actor is the guy with the outstretched arm and beard; to the right of that the camera person with a 5D and an old lens and sound.

To the right of all that is a group of American tourists who were sitting in the park (actually my starting point, worked the other way across the page) the tourists were de rigueur annoying in the way you expect people to be, lame comments about the city and a insane allegiance to an overuse of the words 'like' and 'dude'.

As an aside, I have to admit that the Moleskine Watercolor Sketchbook has been really terrific for me for the past year: Cuba, Morocco and now Buenos Aires, the paper is great which has been what has been lacking with other Moleskine products for 'arty' pursuits. At some point I will upload these really crude (read rudimentary) paintings I did in Cuba which sort of got me started on this style of character depiction with watercolours.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Buenos Aires - Watercolour

These are a few of some recent watercolour sketches I made while in Buenos Aires over the holidays. We went to the horse track, the Hippodromo to be exact. These Jockeys had incredible satin outfits and I had about a minute to paint them before they go on their horses and took off. I was taking a picture of these Jockeys and guards stopped me-saying no photos. I pulled out my watercolour set and started to work.

This is one of the riders as they prepared for a race. This guy is the second person in on the watercolour above- with one minute to work with, they are more of a suggestion than a painting. This was Dec 31st, it was 20 +C in Buenos Aires, just a great day, not to mention we bet on the last race of the day and won!

I sat in a little coffee shop near the Once district and watched people go about their week day, slowly painting this over the course of probably an hour, watching the changes in the end of day traffic.

The girl who is in the lower right corner of this painting is part of a group of people who collect all the cardboard and bottles in Buenos Aires, they go by the name cartoneros,. Mostly it is gruff weathered bachelors who push these immense nylon bags on rollers around town but this girl was part of a family who were scavenging. She stopped for a moment and looked around. I would have liked to follow these groups of people around and get to know who their life is, and I'm sure it ain't easy. There story is I'm sure about the suffering lower income people have suffered since the economic collapse.

Anyways, more paintings to follow.