Sunday, June 26, 2016

Boxed In Opening: Video

I wanted to do a better walk around so I could really show off the talent here in Port Credit... but the gallery was crowded (awesome!) and I was late arriving, so it just didn't happen. But what a fantastic show! I am continually amazed by the diversity and quality of the work of the artists I meet here. The work was priced to sell, so I wasn't surprised to see a couple pieces had sold. I actually was surprised that more hadn't sold. This is the kind of show that really should sell out.

In 2011 we had 713,445 people in Mississauga. We have 5 dedicated art galleries, one being the public, city-run gallery, and another being the one at the University. Two of the commercial galleries don't carry the works of anyone local (that I know of... I've been following them for quite some time and have yet to see it, but I could be mistaken). That leaves one... and I've submitted my portfolio and wasn't even graced with a response. We have artist-run initiatives: Imagemaker (not counted in my tally of galleries), who keeps it's doors open by holding classes, Pazan gallery, who survives as a framing shop with a display space for the locals, and Promenade Gallery, which has some interesting events centering around the South Asian community. We also have the wonderful Visual Arts Mississauga, who offer all kinds of artists programs and also have shows in their space. I know there have been other galleries open in the past, but they have had to close their doors. I've often wondered why this is, given the amount of money that resides around here. Houses by the lake go for over a million bucks. Some way, way over. Even a condo will set you back over half a million.  So there are people who can afford to have original art in their homes, yet they do not seem to buy it here. My guess is that they go into Toronto. My son has noted the same thing as a musician. There are very few venues for live music here these days. Most of the young people trek into Toronto to catch a show, because nothing much seems to happens here.

The Mississauga Arts Council is aiming to change all that. The Interim Executive Director spoke at the opening, and he had some inspiring things to say. Plans to make Mississauga residents more aware of the local talent we have. Programs to help Mississauga artists actually sell their work here. And combined with the planned conversion of the Small Arms building into a cultural hub, this should be a huge boost to the cultural community in this city. I have high expectations. I hope I'm not disappointed.

Oh and if I've missed something, please let me know in the comments! I love finding new, local spots to visit!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New Abstract Painting: Soul of the Siren

"Soul of the Siren", 6x6" mixed media on wood panel. Private Collection. 

It has been an incredibly busy couple weeks. But YAY!!! My mom has been successfully moved, it all went pretty smoothly, and she's settling into her new apartment. It will be a big change for her... she's been in a big house for many years, and no matter how comfortable her new digs are, it's still an apartment. One level, one bathroom, a small kitchen. it will be easier to keep clean, but it will take some getting used to. Luckily there is lots of family around. Having social contact will definitely help. The house was beautiful and peaceful, but really, really isolated. 

My son is also preparing to move house. He's going to be moving in to a house in Toronto with his friends... he'll be closer to school, will be able to practice more often with both the bands he's in, and will be able to try out the whole independence thing while still being a shortish trip home for a mom cooked meal. It's an exciting time for him.

Things are going to be a bit weird for me though... the past year I've had kids constantly in and out of my house. We have a somewhat soundproofed room in the basement, and Clairvoyant is a serious band and they practice constantly. I had always enjoyed having the kids around. It's been fun. The house is now going to be oddly quiet. I'm sure I will miss it. But hey, it might actually inspire me to invite MY friends over. It's certainly been a while. 

This painting I finished up a bit before all the mayhem. As you can imagine, I haven't had a whole lot of time to paint in the last couple weeks... I'm getting a bit antsy to get back to it. I've committed to a habit of daily creativity, and I've actually done nothing in the past week. Nothing. I do have a couple projects that I will be getting to later today. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands dirty. This little cradleboard has been sitting on a shelf in my studio for over a year. It started as a collage that didn't work, was covered with paint for a bird painting that didn't work, covered with an abstract that didn't work. As a result, there is so much texture and colour that it didn't really need a lot to create something that did work. I just needed to know what I was looking for. I am going to give this little piece to my son when he moves. It will be his first piece of original art (that he didn't do himself). He has always been surrounded by it and I'm sure he will miss it. And if I'm lucky his friends will be ok with my using their walls as storage space and I can get some of this stuff out of my closets. If I'm lucky. 


I know I was going to post a video of the Boxed In opening. Didn't forget, I've just been busy. I actually arrived late and so didn't get my wifi set up in time to go live, and the place was so packed I couldn't get close enough to do a decent walk-around. I do have a bit of video that is uploading to youtube as I write this. I will post it here mid-week. See you then. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Anatomy of an illustration

Samples of my hand-drawn lettering
A couple weeks ago, when I was still in the midst of my Boxed In project, and my mom was getting ready to move, my son asked me to do an illustration for his band's upcoming CD cover. Normally I would be thrilled to have been asked. I'm his mom, and therefore old and decidedly uncool. This time though, I raised an eyebrow at him.

I thought you had someone doing that for you, I said.
Didn't work out.
When do you need it by?

It was Monday, around 10 pm.

Any other client, I'd probably say no. Creating something I'm proud of, from concept to print ready art, takes more than a couple days. But this is my kid, and he's been working hard to get this recording done, and I want him to have it for the string of live shows they had lined up for early June. So, ok... I'll do what I can. But as a client in a hurry, decisiveness is key.

1st Rough concept for the album cover.  
We started with concept. The name of the album? Rot. Oh. Goody. They don't want something gross. Ok, so no skulls or bugs or rotting vegetables. Crumbling concrete? No, too cliché. Also struck down... assorted vegetation, and kids sitting in front of a TV set. They finally decided on a crow. Subtle, but the association is there. Crows eat dead things.

Next up, the wordmark. Typeface or handwritten? What impression do you want to give? I did a couple handwriting samples of the band name and album title, just to give them an idea. Hand drawn typefaces are all over Instagram, so it is very current. Current is good when you're young and you're target market is young.

I did a few quick layouts with images I already had... two from my sketchbook, a couple using photos I found online... just to give them the basic idea before I started drawing. That part takes time, and no point in wasting time drawing something that they ultimately don't want. They picked one layout, which I then used to start my drawing.

My initial computer drawing. I kinda like it, but the boy
wasn't sure about the white background... even though that
was what he had asked for... sometimes you can't tell
if something is right until you see it.
When I do illustration work, I usually start out on paper. I know people who go straight to the computer, but I can't seem to work that way. I need a pencil and paper to work through the basic stuff, then I do a final drawing, scan it in, and work from there. I guess I'm old school that way... and being an artist in the traditional sense, I feel like I can be more creative with a pencil than a stylus or mouse. I use Adobe Illustrator at work. I also use Photoshop, but the main part of my job is in Illustrator. I prefer Photoshop for actual illustrations. I could probably get the same effects and a bit more flexibility if I used Illustrator, but I haven't invested the time to be really good at it. Anyway, once that drawing was done I did a little mockup to show the kids.

It wasn't quite the feel they were going for, so I did what I never do... let him sit beside me and go through some possibilities. Having your client sit beside you while you work is like some special form of torture.... anyone who works in a creative/visual field has probably experienced this. It only took a few tries to get what he was after, so ultimately easier than going through them all on my own and letting him choose. We made the printer deadline, and they picked up their CDs the day before their show in Montreal. And I've got a happy kid.

The final CD and cover. All done in a week.
My boy, playing in a Toronto club. Photo by the talented Haley Wheeler. Check out the band on their Facebook page, and their music on Bandcamp.


I won't have a regular post next weekend... my mom is finally moving and I will be otherwise occupied. Have a good one, and I'll see you for the Boxed In opening on June 9th.