Blue Rodeo is an iconic Canadian band that has established itself as part of the musical landscape. I was contacted by Polaris - the Slaight Family Heritage Prize and commissioned to create a poster for the album 'Five Days in July'. Since it's the fifth of July, I thought it would be a good time to talk a bit about the project and show the artwork.
The album was recorded at Greg Keelor's farm in rural Southeastern Ontario, not far from where I live way back in 2008. The countryside is rolling, with farms and trees and rivers. There is a strength and integrity in the music, as most of it was recorded in one take from the floor. I wanted to capture that feeling, and the title of the album in the image. I used to walk to a spot in the fields behind our old house and there was a beautiful tree standing alone. I was always drawn to that spot and it was the inspiration for this image.
Silkscreen poster - 18 x 24" (4 colour printed by Kid Icarus). I chose sunny summer colours to capture the feeling of a hot hazy July day.
The Heritage Prize selected eight classic Canadian albums and awarded prizes for this year's event. Each of the posters is limited to an edition of 49. You can order a print online here. I worked with designer Vanda Marasan, and was super excited to be included in this event. Here's a shot of Jim Cuddy accepting the award, the band loved the image.
You can read a more in-depth article on all of the posters and comments by the artists in this article on Passport 2017: Walls of Sound - Eight new posters by eight Canadian artists, made for the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize, celebrate the best of Canadian music’s past
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…"
I opened this post with a personal piece called 'Disruptor', about the unpredictability of technology and politics, the feeling of seismic shifts beneath our feet.
This year felt like some kind of reallignment, or hiccup, or catastrophe, depending on your viewpoint or politics. I am hopeful for a new beginning in 2017, but frightened by the pace of change.
Having said that, I have to put together some images from the fall. I've been super busy the past few months, always thinking about posting some work, so my first resolution for the year is right here.
Above is a piece for Reader's Digest about understanding and treating Migraines. It's an interesting article and my son suffers from them, so I could really connect with the subject matter. Scientists are working on new strategies, getting a better understanding of triggers and brain physiology in the hunt for new insights and treatments.
I got a little lost in the details on this illustration for Watershed magazine about perils and peculiarities of pipelines.
Terry Gilliam was a huge influence on me when I was growing up, I always loved his animated work and connecting all these pipes and random elements made me think of the great things he did for Monty Python. I had a lot of fun pulling this together.
Squeaking this update in on the last day of summer.
Things ramped up quickly this September, I have some exciting news I am waiting to announce on a national poster campaign. More to come on that in the coming months!
I started teaching again this semester at Sheridan, I work with third and fourth year students on courses related to information-based illustration. I have asked my fourth year students to consider where art and science intersect, and the workshop has been dubbed 'big data'.
We are surrounded by big data and live in an age of information. Understanding and being able to communicate knowledge and ideas visually is critical in business and media. This workshop explores illustration, science, observation, and data visualization through a series of research-driven exercises. Students are encouraged to foster creativity and curiosity, defined accurately and effectively through different media.
I took it upon myself to illustrate some technology-driven collages. How do we relate to our digital devices? How does it serve us and/or control us? All of our likes, searches, purchases and comments are tracked and quantified, packaged and traded. At what point does social media reward us for our patience and commitment? More and more, the fruits of our labour feels tainted. The new iPhone 7 was launched while I was working on these. Not much of a wave, or movement, or ripple. Just another costly upgrade.
Here are some images from the series.
Here's a little doodle that sums things up nicely: Concept Engine
I've had some time this summer to work on projects around the house, ride my bike, relax at the cottage and go swimming. But anyone in this business knows that the wheels don't stop turning, the flow of creativity doesn't shut off. Here's a piece that I created reflecting my creative wandering this summer.
This summer has been hot and dry, and trying at times, and the news cycle doesn't lift your spirits. I tried as best I could to ignore the election cycle in the U.S., but it never stops pounding away. So here's a series of images influenced by politics and power.
We suffered through an extremely long drought for our area, with leaves on the trees turning brown and dropping off. It's unnerving to see record temperatures across the board this summer. Here's another response, called Heatwave.
I will be putting together a number of screenprints for an upcoming show, but for now I 'm heading for the beach. Get outside and stay cool and don't forget the sunscreen. Summer is almost over!
Here's a parting shot from the cottage dock. Wish I could have stayed longer.