Working in the studio at home wasn't working any more and I wanted a space that would give me more room to paint and to collaborate with people that inspire me.
It's been a month since I moved into the new studio in Kensington Market and I'm sharing this great space with some amazing talent/friends; Sandra Dionisi, Aaron Leighton, Koyama Press, Renmotion and Pyramid Attack.
Thought I might have difficulty working in a studio with others, but have found it to be no trouble at all. In fact, I'm finding myself continually inspired! Not just by the talent mentioned above, but also by my tireless coop students Nayoun Kim and Alysha Puopolo... They've been helping us with a variety of projects and are now working on a killer window display that I'll post photos of when its done.
Where I work...
Shots from last weekend during a Car-Free Kensington Sunday.
I'm busy, but school's out and now I have more time to do things I love, like Pen Club! This is something that happens every other week in Toronto at the Future Bakery on Bloor. (We used to call it "Drink n' Draw".) Aaron Leighton, Steve Wilson, Arv Slabosevicius and Anne Koyama are there every week with a regular crowd and people like myself who drop in every once in a while to hang out and draw.
The steady stream of what they all create in their books in an evening astounds me, and honestly makes me self-concious. I don't work the way that many of them do - hilarious images that just seem to fall out of their heads and onto the page... As much as I try, I don't work this way - eventually I find myself doing what I love most - observing, capturing a moment in a person's face.
In mid-September, illustrator Tracy Walker invited Thom, Kevin, Kathryn, Ryan and myself to Uxbridge for some lunch and the local studio tour. I saw lots of art that day, but nothing really prepared me for this…
In 1966 Victor Tinkl moved to an old school house. When it needed repair, the concrete came out. The property is a fantasy of aqua-ducts and figures.
"I saw it in my mind, that was enough. The audience of one. I don't think I ever felt strongly that other people have to see my work." - Victor Tinkl
Day five in Prague and heading to Berlin in a week... Found myself in a great bookstore off the beaten path and found a few old Czech film posters. The ones I'm posting here are the ones I couldn't manage to bring home but really love. Also some pics of artwork hanging on the walls.
Last week of school at Sheridan College and so it seems right to share another time machine of sorts with you. This gem actually belongs to colleague and friend - painter James Sherman - an all round great guy. He had described it to me a few times and when I finally laid eyes on it, I thought it was pretty amazing. I'm posting a fair amount of photos so that you can see what taking a correspondence art course was like in 1960... The only thing I'm missing are shots of the huge lesson binders that students would have received, which I will post later if I'm able to get a hold of them.
Living on the east side of Toronto is very nice, with all the green space, great restaurants, vintage furniture, killer coffee houses and other precious places to visit south of me in the Leslieville neighbourhood...
However, this weekend, more than ever, I miss my old hood - Kensington Market & Chinatown. Headed there for some huevos rancheros at El Trompo with friends, ended up wandering around for a couple of hours, then went back today to walk off some dim sum. I can go there anytime, but it's not quite the same as when I lived on Brunswick Avenue (for eight years) and it was all two seconds away.
If I had cabin fever while working in the studio, or just antsy because the ideas weren't coming - heading down to the market to sit at Louie's to sketch and drink espresso amongst the noise and bustle always seemed to jog whatever was stuck inside my head...
I like the cacophony of the place; it's where cyclists and pedestrians rule, I love the variety of people and their style, the scents and tastes of amazing food from every country, the friendly banter with strangers, the occasional arguments/debate and fights, tourists and students with their cameras, the anarchists, the strange happenings, patchouli and weedy smells, street folk, grocery shoppers, the hipster douche-tards with their outfits and fixies, musicians (see below), underground everything, Ronnie's pub - art, graffiti and band posters on every surface, a certain energy or buzz that's hard to name, car-free days & nights, and bumping into friends - which almost always led to spur of the moment potluck dinners or barbecues. And although some soapy clean places with carefully curated stock have come into view, Kensington is still the amazing dirty beating heart of the city.
And I miss it.
Winter Solstice in Kensington Market
Here's 'The Haret'... Ryan recorded them while we stood there, so listen to what he sounded like here.
If you continuously pay to have your site updated, and fiddling with HTML leaves you swearing at your computer for hours on end - a service like squarespace (and I'm sure there are others) can be a great solution for you.
Have a look at my good friend Thom Sevalrud's site - now that his design has been implemented, he can update the text and images on his own, as easily as he would a blog. In fact, the content editing for the entire site looks just like it does when you're editing a blog - simple, direct, easy to understand. And his blog is his 'news' section, all there in one place. As you can see, he opted to have an intro/splash page and his blog is embedded in the site (rather than on the front page the way many illustrators are doing it now) which I think is a nice choice as it introduces his work and sensibility of design.
I have a traditional HTML website with a PHP slideshow (that I edit and update myself) and my blog is here on Drawger, so this alternative won't work for me, but maybe it will for you. Gone are the days you have to pay a web designer to change your phone number or add images... Self-sufficiency is the way to go, so hop to it!
I was out for lunch with friends the other day and walked into RITCHIES auction house here in Toronto. Thought maybe they'd have some inventory to look at, but you couldn't really get past reception. However - from across the room we could see a painting of a nude about to go up for auction, and we were so taken with it that we looked up the artist when we got home - Nicola Simbari, a still-living Calabrian painter, born 1927... I feel stupid for not knowing who he is. Here are a few of his paintings that are making my little heart go a pitter-patter.
I love days like today - I was running errands, and on my way past a used bookstore, saw this beautiful copy of a 1927 Eaton's catalogue... It was only $10, so was meant to be mine. I don't make extreme efforts to acquire things like this, but I can't resist them when I trip across them. Look at that cover!
There's a picture of the catalogue in the window before I asked the guy behind the counter to bring it down - it's an amazing source of reference and - more than that - I like the way that things are written, the titles and captions, the prices, the written note just inside the cover. Eaton's was an amazing department store that you could order ANYTHING from; the latest fashions, horse feed, shotguns and at one time I'm fairly certain you could order a house.
I've bought single pages from old magazines as well, and this is one (Pratt & Lambert Varnish ad) that I have hanging in my studio that is one of my favourites.