Friday, December 23, 2011

Coffee Anyone?

If you are in the east end, please swing by the Rooster Coffee house, at 479 Broadview Avenue, the coffee is great (they also have a great ginger tea for the non caffeine types) and I have remounted much of my 2010 show, Manifest Dream in the coffee shop.

When you walk in, you'll spot my large Ladies photograph on the northern wall and beside that, an image of the main square of Marrakech, Place Djemaa El fna 1 shot in 2009. The warm colours of the sunset look really great against the beat up brown leather chairs there.

If you are looking for more info on the coffee shop, click here

Also, keep your eye out for this image, I'm happy with it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Botticelli and the Mystic Nativity

I happened to catch a few minutes of this BBC series last night on TVO, (props to the government funded arts acronyms!) its called The Private life of {insert artwork or artist here} they featured one on Botticelli's Mystic Nativity which is in the National Gallery in London. It seemed like the history of the painting is really rich and incorporates the history of Florence in the turbulent times after the Bonfire of the vanities and Savonarola being burned as a heretic.

I have always looked at this image with a lot of care when I was spending time in the gallery, the demons which peak out of the cracks of the earth are fascinating and I love how Botticelli thought the world was coming to an end in 1500 AD because all the problems in Italy at that time. I had a huge chat with my friend Jan years ago and I used this painting as an example of how we always think things are getting worse in life, no matter what the evidence, we think we live at the end of days as it were.

As per usual, she thought I was full of shit and thought it best to let me know, another reason why we all miss Jan- daily.

I digress.

Anyways, when I was a student in Florence back in 1992, I was really into the compositional poetry of the large paintings in the Ufizi galleries there. I went so far as to base a painting of mine on Botticelli's Primavera....However my painting was based on a series of disturbing dreams I was having at the time about US POWs after Viet Nam (wow, i am outdoing myself on the acronyms ce soir!)

man, another picture I do not have a slide of, 20 years ago, I have to see if I can find any reference to that painting of mine and I'll insert it here at some point.
Yup, I remember it well, these Pows had the attributes of 1970s men, moustaches and such, as it turns out Freddie Mercury died at that time and he really resembled one of my characters, or visa versa.

Back to the topic, the Nativity painting, it is really strange and wonderful and makes reference to a speech by Savonarola and his visions of Mary (Click here if you would like to know more about this Dominican friar).

Boy did this drag on, anyways look, I could not fins the doc on youtube but I found others on the series here, look at the sidebar for ones on Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Degas, Picasso, Rodin and the Japanese artist Hokusai of the wave painting, of which I will shamelessly insert my own version of that image as part of my mixed media painting/photography.

The TV series shows you an image in a different light, ok, they don't examine contemporary work which would be awesome but what can I tell you?

Please have a look at the National Gallery UK's site the collection is terrific, there is so much stunning work there, every time i am in the UK, I walk in that gallery and it feels like I am visiting a relative, I'll spend the day there.

Finally organized a shoot at the Studio

Took some time in the studio for this little portrait of Scotty. I have had this seamless around for awhile and I tend to use it more in lengths for painting more stark white paintings on black. For the purpose of painting, its fine, i staple it to the wall and it goes flat. But damn, it needs a ton of help as a backdrop. For these quick prints I did not bother, but I have to blur the background in Photoshop to get the cellulite texture out of the thing. Argh.

Anyways, Scotty came in with this ochre coloured zip up and this seemed like just the right colour mix, the blacks, ochres and browns of coffee on his jeans.

I was trying out these Kino flo knock off constant lights and I have to say I was really happy with the quality of the light, they are neat, 4 independently operated lights in each unit with barn yard doors, not to be a geek but they were cool, and not too heavy.

The fall off of light here is pretty dramatic and I like that a lot. It reminds me of 16th century full length Spanish paintings, not to draw any parallels between this hastily shot image of Scotty and the meticulous work of Diego Velazquez.

Nor am I trying to compare the actor Montgomery Clift like handsomeness of Scotty with famous the deformed lipped royalty of the Hapsburgs, whose portraits by Velazquez and others, now after 300+ years are just a testament to their mad money, vanity and mostly their weird looks.

This Hapsburg ain't the weirdest looker that is for sure but they got 'em.

But seriously, they looked crazy. I remember walking through the Art History Museum in Vienna and being just amused at the heroic portraits of the most inbred and fantastically ugly (and wealthy) people ever. I looked it up online but could not find anything, I have the catalogue for the Kunsthistoriches Museum so I'll put something up when I have a chance to scan the book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The new issue of Modern Painters

You ever tried to kill time by going into a magazine shop? Sure you have but perhaps not lately, honestly you should make the time. We always hear that print is dead and it probably is, but you walk into something as simple as Presse International on College St, and I really thought it was just awesome how many magazines are left, there was some great stuff.

Like many people, I get a lot of Art info off the web, but holding a copy of Modern Painters, why it is the bomb. The cover has a very specific texture and smell, the colour rendition in the magazine is terrific. My interest is not nostalgic, although I used to always order the magazine when I ran a camera store, knowing it would not sell and I would get to take them home, this magazine, this thing, places art and its contents in a world of its own, I loved it, all over again.

This November issue is full of a fairly diverse content, there is a small interview with Maurizio Cattelan talking about his retrospective at the Guggenheim (it is a mounting of his sculptures hanging from the centre of the gallery) and an article on the painter Michael Borremans, some people will really enjoy his style of painting. The artist Byron Kim, director Julia Leigh , writer and Director of Sleeping Beauty are also featured.

Can you find more content online? Absolutely, but there is something great and altogether optimistic about buying a magazine seeing what is featured, wondering about how some truly bad art has the money to advertise, all that good stuff.

So this holiday season, whatever your interest, treat yourself.

you can read about that Guggenheim show here

Sunday, December 04, 2011

December 4th, 2011

Drawing from the television, I admit it, it was Californication.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Images from the summer

So I have got back some film that I shot this summer but I did not have a chance to scan the negatives, so basically there is no image to this visual blog...


I was shooting water lillies up north, they are black and white shot with the holga, of course you cannot look at these little water thingies without thinking of Monet and his work. Back in 1992 I went to where he lived and worked, Giverny, it was just like walking into the paintings. I should find some of those pics and scan them, especially as I am not in them so you cannot see how tragically long my hair was at the time.

I digress, here is a link of those paintings that are in the oval galleries of the Orangerie, in the tuileries garden in Paris a short hop from the Louvre, if I remember correctly, which I may not. I looked up the name, the painting series is Les Nymphéas, 4 paintings in this oval gallery so you are surrounded by nature paintings, it is way better than it sounds.

The Link is a VR tour ( a la late 1990s!) of the 2 rooms, 8 paintings, be careful! It moves really fast with the panning you can lose your mind rapidos.

Actually at the gallery, you will also find Chaim Soutine painting(s?) there is the one of the altar boy

He also did this famous painting of a flayed beef, a homage to Rembrandt's Flayed Ox

this is Soutine's

This is Rembrandt's painting

And this is Francis Bacon

I think the text in the Bacon picture that was added by my cursor going over the image when I took the screen shot, saying "francis-bacon-painting" kinda adds something.

I love the thick rich painting style of Soutine, you can see how he has elaborated on the brush strokes of Rembrandt and perhaps has visually indicated where painting like this can go under the brush of Frank Auerbach, whose oil paintings famously sag from being wet for decades.

Here is a little video about him

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Homage to Donald Barthelme

Yes, this piece of mine has made it out of the studio

The piece looked great framed and I am happy to say the new owner seems pretty chuffed about the whole thing, for which, I am truly grateful.

Sold Work- A momentous occasion, I thought it would be fair to mention the writer Donald Barthelme whose writing was the inspiration for this image and whose post-modern fiction is, well, a real trip.

This is the writer guy by the way, not an image of C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General of the US in the 80s. He came out against smoking but I think his views on abortion were more murky. He was also involved in a dotcom boom site, oh the late 1990s early 2000!

This is neither here nor there with regards to Donald, the writer. It is interesting to read his stories and just listen to the jazzy pace and see how language and meaning was clearly breaking down around him and how this became a part of the stories themselves.

I think this collapsing of meanings is something that all of us are noticing these days wether on television, the arts, there is a great deal of slippage, the signs and signifiers have moved on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy to be over the couch

Years ago, my friend from OCAD Margaret had this idea to sell artwork with the couch in mind, I think I was joking and added that you should sell art with 2 cans of paint and a whack of colour swatches, flying in the face of artistic doctrine, but hey it was 1993 and we were wild then, everyone hanging out at the Beverly tavern on Queen St West, watching Steve Anthony come in between scenes on Much Music to have a number of drinks and head back to being live on air.

Mayhaps the memory is all cloudy, Margaret will probably say it was all her idea, or deny the whole thing, either way she is probably right.

Anyways, I got this sent to me today. Yep, this is now in the home of an architect in the city and I feel pretty good about that. This is one of the pieces that went out of the studio in the past week that made me get into the work space and since I have been conspiring ways to get back there to do some work ( and subsequently assaulted by the cigar smell from the guy below, the renos to the unit south of me and the guy in the back laneway who is insanely dedicated to playing dreadful drumming all day long, so very dedicated...)

SO, it is pretty awesome to see something you had a hand in hanging in someone's living environment, it is a hell of a compliment.

This picture was shot on a sunny day in Paris back in 2006. I was only there for 48 hours, it was a tough trip for me, I went to pay my respect to relatives who were recently deceased and to see other relatives who I knew would be gone before I had a chance to come back. It was the first time I stayed in a hotel (what you would expect) in Paris as I always stayed with relatives, now there were no more of them.

Back in Toronto looking at these multiple exposed sculptures made me think of The Three Graces, this was is just on the lawns around the Louvre. It also reminds me of a B&W photo I've seen on a postcard looking up past 3 sculptures of women to see 3 helicopters, I combed the inter web for awhile but no luck. I really wanted that to be here on this post as I noticed in the bottom of this pic there looks to be a model of a Huey or some other transport copter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

a missive from the edge of the world

Well, I am not sure what took me so long to send in an update.

For the most part, I had nothing to show, so nothing to say. Lately, I have moved some work through the studio and I guess that got me thinking about the visual work that I do, or have done in the past or perhaps will do again - in the world to come not in the post end of days sense, just the world to come as in the future, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

For the past few days I have been playing with these images of actor Louis Negin, you could say he is like a muse of Guy Maddin, how the hell would I know, I have never met Guy but Louis, the London UK native, former Cabbagetowner features in many of Maddin's esoteric and absolutely wonderful films, such as My Winnipeg.

Yup, and he has acting chops too, often in films with Isabella Rossellini

Just look at this Lion in winter, you just want to hug him.

So check out some stuff about Guy Maddin, he uses low fi techniques in wonderful ways.

click here if you wanna see a short with Isabella and Louis

Here is Louis in a mad piece, sissy boy slap party

Friday, August 12, 2011


I used a reference here, this was just a study.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24th, 2011

A study for the AWOL gallery 12x12 show.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Art Show mentioned in National Post


Just a brief mention but all the same, our Loop gallery show was mentioned in the National Post on the 14th.

I also like that I am in the same list as Joan Rivers(!), click here to get the article.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Studio is a Mess as we near the deadline...

Well, Larry and I are getting ready for our show at Loop, and as anyone knows, before a deadline you go a little crazy. Actually, I cannot speak for Larry, but for me, I make a hell of a mess. This morning its taken me 2 hours to get ready to do any work.

Looking at this first picture, the studio looks better than it really is. Stuff is everywhere, sure you have your copies of Penthouse everywhere but you also have the random conch shells, GIJoe action figures, miniature clothing, watercolour supplies, magazines, sketchbooks from the past 10 years and whole lot of record albums as I have no good music at this time so its all Fleetwood Mac and Noel Coward live at Las Vegas.

...its a bit much really.

Here is a view of the wall opposite of my desk, I took down a ton of reference imagery and just left a few postcards. Below that, some paintings which are for the show and small sketches which will be framed for the show.

oh, and a faux Dutch Delft clock plate. My Mom got this in 1985 in Amsterdam, we were let down to see that it was plastic not porcelain- we should have known, my mom bought a amethyst stone in Amsterdam in 1977 and it was a fake when she went to have it appraised. The Dutch I tell you.

Anyways, look forward to seeing as many people as possible on Saturday, please come, we will have beer and cheese.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 02, 2011

April 02, 2011

A study for my 2011 Life Lessons show, ultimately I was unhappy with the painting and it was not included for the show. This study came from a Masami Teraoka painting in his ukiyo-e style.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31st, 2011

This makes me think of Helmut Newton.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Working at the Studio

I thought I would just include this shot from my phone of the wall opposite where I am painting at the studio, it is a bit of a wall of inspiration, its a bit of an 80s phenom true enough, but hey, Avedon's house was full of walls that had things pinned to it, and if its good enough for Richard Avedon...

So as you look across this mess, you will see your obligatory amount of postcards, there is a beautiful Elizabethan tunic/dress thingy from the V&A, its something to see in real life, really.

There are also a great deal of studies I have done over the years of GIJoe figures, and a C3P0 from a painting I destroyed a few years ago, I could not destroy this figure it looked pretty great. It was a very personal painting, and I was never too happy with it, done at my old shared studio on Niagara St, Jeez the utterly un-fond memories of that place, most of which are foul smell related, those who visited me there will remember my roommate...

Other highlights: a postcard of a Hans Belmer sculpture I saw in France in 2009, Koons' Michael and Bubbles, and a watercolour of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin from a photo by Helmut Newton. I started the painting and realised it was not watercolour paper but archival computer photo paper, interesting texture actually.

Oh, by the way, I found a link to Richard Avedon's house in NYC, take the tour, the place is amazing. Click here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Social Media

So I have this show coming up, here are some really lo fi shots from my sketchbook.

These images are continuing on a theme of entering adulthood and fantasy.

Hey, I said Lo Fi.

Anyways, after much trouble, I was able to set up a facebook page so that I could invite people to this opening. I know, a monkey can do that, but for some reason it took me awhile and Scott's explanation to actually get it done.

I was reminded of a video that dear Jan had sent me, she worked in online advertising. This 3 minute video is the bomb, please have a look.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Upcoming Exhibition at Loop

So as the deadline to the new show approaches, there was a mention of it in Toronto Life this week. It has a grotesque photo of some sandwich meat...I eat beef and it looks gross to me.

Anyways, the pressure is mounting so I hope you can make it to the show, I think its going to be great, my exhibition partner Larry Eisenstein were talking about it, we are really excited to see how the work will play off each other, it is so much better if there is a type of inter play between the work rather than a room where two shows are happening at the same time.

If your eyes cannot read that or you do not want to click the picture, here is what it says:

Eric Farache
This photographer is best known for his take on the urgencies of city life, but his sketchbooks are testimony to febrile imagination. Life Lessons, a show of watercolour and ink paintings, approaches the torments and joys of boyhood with verve and nerve.

That is me, people, Verve.

Our show runs from April 30th to May 22, 2011. Please come, there will, as always, be cheese*. Our opening/vernissage is still being determined.

*this offer is only good for the opening, please do not show up on a Wednesday at 4pm and demand cheese, it is childish and demeans us both.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The artist as Monkey

I'll take a break from ranting about Gaddafi for a moment to look at some old drawings that I found in the back of my excessively heavy flat file, again, years later, I thank Mike Bell for helping me drag that f'n thing up the stairs to my studio.

As some of you know, I have referred to myself as the Art Monkey, I feel that the Artist is a monkey who must respond to the needs of his/her environment. It is a bit like being a private dancer, but hey, when you are a dancer for money, I do what you want me to do.

I was working this insane gig back in 1995, painting in a restaurant, I had painted a mural there, now they wanted me to paint canvases while the glitterati ate red meat.

It was heinous but it came with a free meal.

I felt like those little monkeys with the cymbals you wind up for amusement.

You get the idea, then a few years later, I was in India and my mind was blown by Hanuman, the monkey god who goes around performing tasks, he flies on a cloud when needed and does one's bidding. I'm not saying I have Rama's portrait emblazoned on my heart or anything but it spoke to me.

So I think somewhere around 2002-3 I did these series of drawings of Monkeys. Monkey as artist, monkey as guy looking at a laptop sippin' coffee, etc.

And some as a kind of Hanuman friend to the animals, the cow image is something that i remember from the beach, these cows that would just walk around so I wanted to put an element of that memory into these drawings.

Its always interesting to look at work of yours from another time period, sheds light on what you were doing, interests and concerns.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Gaddafi Wins, what next for the West?

Hey don't get me wrong, I want Charlie Sheen to win over Gaddafi, 100% of the time, you can take that to the bank.

But, we do not need Muammar to get a Twitter account to know what he has been up to or what he would do if he can maintain power.

So the question remains not what the crazed despot will do next, we know that already (torture, maim and kill- all with total disrespect for the fashion tzars- except for perhaps Mr. Galliano???) but what will the West do if Gaddafi secures control over Libya, we know the oil business would like to put its head in the sand and just collect money but can we just accept that by buying his oil, yet again, the West enriches its own enemies?

Personally, I would like to see a little Mano e Mano with someone like Charlie Sheen and Gaddafi to fight to the death in the Circus Maximus with nuclear powered dildos....

In all seriousness, I was looking up quotes of these two twerps, and I just had to laugh, what else can I do...?



But you know, why waste your time with these two intellectual lightweights?

All the important quotes are right here

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Gaddafi plays with Libyans as if they are Toy Soldiers

Yes, Mr. Gaddafi, your people love you.

Yes, you are proving each day that they lay down their lives as you mow them down.

No matter how much of an insane megalomaniac Gaddafi seemed in the 1980s, he is outdoing himself in the present.

What really irks me with the SNL send up of Gaddafi recently is that they just straight mimicked his Africa pin rather than making that in the LIVEAID logo, as so much of that money was un-tracked and no one knows how much went to starving people and how much went to despots.

By the way, did you ever watch LIVEAID? That Saturday was really hot in Toronto and the last thing I wanted to be doing was staying at home watching a concert so I popped in a VHS tape ( my Dad always kept the Beta to himself)turned on the VCR and promptly forgot about it for about 10 years. SO, somewhere between 1995-2000 I watched the concert of the decade. It was, merdeloaf. Anyway you cut it, it was MERDE. For serious.

But I still have the tape and the commercials are the bomb, you cannot believe it was 1985, it looks like the 1980 or 1979. Commercials for Vodka Cooler and crap like that. Ok, ok, Queen was ok, Bono was already the Bono he is now, but we were 15 years away from realising that.

Anyways, back to tyrants....

But as Brutus was to have said and more recently John Wilkes Booth, who shouted Sic semper tyrannis, after shooting Lincoln and then jumping from the presidential box at the Ford theatre and onto the stage during the performance of My American Cousin (Sic semper tyrannis = thus always to tyrants {their brutal endings} is the translation ) but, in relation to Gaddafi, when I ask you, when???

Of course this is a mixed message as the senate behind the Julius Caesar assassination were a bunch of a holes and Booth was a racist narcissist.

Still, I hope you get the idea.

While we wait for some form of brutal ending for Gaddafi, I would prefer he played with toy soldiers instead of real people. He seems to be obsessed with toys, he has a cadre of expendable toy soldiers around him and his famous 40 female virgins that are his Amazon body guards.

Maybe what he needs is a few ACTUAL toy soldiers and less toying with real people.

Here are a couple of toys I painted a few months back. These 2 watercolour sketches show some GI Joes, both clothed and naked like Helmut Newton's photo of models from years gone by.