Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Saints (Continued)

Although we can't all buy originals and carry them around with us everywhere we go, what we CAN do is wear some pins! The packaging is all done by me, and the final product couldn't have come together without the help/brilliant ideas/button machine of Inaas at Canteen!

These pins are available at Canteen, 238 Dalhousie!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Saints

All are acrylic on canvas, 8x10

“Grandma, you truly make the best pies!” In my new series The Saints I have chosen to humorously apply the notion of martyrdom to the beloved 1950’s housewife. During the fifties women were confined to the private sphere; restricted to the household, innumerable women became experts in housekeeping and masters of the kitchen. Qualified in all things quaint, women were required to dedicate their lives to raising children and tending to their husbands. While some may look back fondly to this era, the significantly high rates of alcoholism and depression among housewives during the fifties is enough to reconsider the recent idealization of this post-war era. Here the figures appear, at first sight, to be happy, but upon closer inspection one might notice that their eyes reveal tears, which symbolize the internal struggle, boredom and/or despair that many women faced and were forced to hide from their families. Thus, each character represents a martyr, namely someone who suffered for a cause. Yet in this case the cause, far from glorious or heroic, is of the utmost mundane kind, namely: baked goods, and their suffering: freak accidents while preparing their most famous desserts. Each of the saints is accompanied by a short description of the tragic incident that led to her canonization into the sainthood of housewives. Therefore, while grandma may very well make the best pies, this series seeks to challenge the viewer by asking: at what price?


Seeeee you all there!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Les hiboux

Hibou, acrylic on canvas, 12x12

Hiboux, acrylic on canvas, 12x12

Alright so the last post had some pretty heavy stuff in it so to change the pace I've decided to post these two cutesy paintings I did for some friends. The request was: two paintings of owls. I pretty much had a wildcard to do whatever I wanted from there. The paintings were meant to be displayed separately but I still wanted them to be unified in colour and style (so that they would still clearly be two of a kind and potentially displayed side by side). Anyhow, I was really excited when Michelle and Matt asked me to do these because I looooooooooooove owls!! They are such beautiful creatures. Not only that, but in art they are often used to represent wisdom and the ability to see right from wrong. Because of their nocturnal nature they are also often used to represent death and darkness. There are a number of other symbols associated with the owl and many of them have arisen within aboriginal shamanism.
Anyhow, I am super happy with the way these came out. I wasn't sure who would get which (and if they would have to fight over who got to keep which one) but it turns out that Michelle wanted the lone owl while Matt wanted the cuddly baby owls, so everything worked out for the best!

In other news: I have been painting like crazy and can't wait to post what I've been working on for a small exhibit at Canteen. It will be up for the month of October.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Evan's tattoo, ink & paper

Martin's tattoo-Earth, ink & paper
Martin's tattoo-Sun, ink & paper

ALT 101 design (I believe they have changed "Fight for Freedom" to "The Struggle for Freedom" but this is the version I had on my computer)
ALT 101 design-legend
Photograph of beautiful anonymous models holding up the shirts I designed

As if it's been over 5 months since I updated this thing. Ah well, that's nothing new. Here are a few commissions from the last couple of months. The first three images were drawn up for some friends as tattoos. Then there is a design I did for OPIRG-GRIPO (Ottawa U this time) for their Alternative frosh week, better known as ALT 101. They had asked me to create an image comprised of important freedom fighters as well as significant/symbolic places that represent different social struggles for justice throughout history and today. I've included a sort of appendix to make it a bit easier to understand.

An interesting note: the activist pictured in the upper left corner's name is Gao Zhisheng and he is actually a very close friend of a professor at Ottawa U. The prof in question actually fled from China not very long ago while 8 months pregnant. She, an active human rights activist, left China in order to escape the treatment reserved for individuals who disagree with the Chinese government. Aside from being one of her close friends, Gao is one of the most high-profile human rights lawyers in China and was imprisoned/ went missing in September 2009. For several months the government did not charge him and denied knowledge of his whereabouts, until it was eventually found that he had in fact been taken by the Chinese authorities. Beyond simply being imprisoned, Gao also underwent torture. At one point the government claimed he had been "released"... But when the family inquired about his whereabouts Beijing police told Gao's brother "he had lost his way and went missing," thus leading his family and friends to believe he had in fact died (aka been murdered) while imprisoned. Yet recently, news that he was still alive surfaced, which brought tremendous joy to his family and friends who have undergone unbearable torment and hardship as a result of these events. As of April, his whereabouts are still unclear but it seems that he has been freed from prison. When I first heard of Gao's story I was shocked, yet not surprised insofar as the utterly appalling treatment of human rights activists in China is no secret. The professor at Ottawa U had contacted me a number of months ago asking me if I could create some kind of artwork to spread the message about her friend. Months passed since the time I received her email but I kept her request in the back of my mind if any ideas or opportunities were to come up. Eventually I was contacted by the fine folks at OPIRG and saw the shirt/poster/pamphlet design as a perfect opportunity to honour both her request as well as the pain and suffering that activists like Gao are put through.
Although some of the faces you see in the design speak directly to the past, I felt it was important to also include activists who are more closely tied to the present: activists who are still fighting for freedom and justice today. Even though many of us live extremely comfortable lives, the struggle for freedom is not a thing of the past and we must be conscious of the injustices that surround us as well as of those who have, and continue to, dedicate their lives to creating a better future for all of us.

Speaking of dedicated activists, I designed a t-shirt (the ones seen in the picture) to help raise funds for some Ottawa folks and important members of the activist community who were arrested in relation with the attacks on the RBC. Their lawyer fees were bound to be extravagant and 100% of the money made from these shirts (as well as bags) went straight to them. That being said, there are many of these shirts still available and I believe some of the money is also now going towards lawyer fees for individuals arrested during the G20. In any case, you should get one!!! Support your community! We've printed the logo on a bunch of different colours now, so hit me up if you want one. *Note that in the picture one of the shirts has a splash of ink going across the logo.. It was the only shirt that turned out that way but of all the shirts we printed that is by far my favorite.

Anyhow, I think that's it for now. OH actually, one more thing... I think I've decided to leave the world of academia once I finish my B.A. in order to live the life of an artist once and for all. That is, to actually make art my priority. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck :)

OH! OH! Actually one more thing: I will have a wall of new pieces at Canteen in October!! I am stoked!! And I hope you will ALL check it out!!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Critical Convictions Poster

Here is a poster for Critical Convictions' 7" release show! It is based on the artwork I did for the 7". Everyone should go to this!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Intensely overdue massive update

Hiya folks! Alright, so this post is dedicated to posting alllllll of the commissions I've been too lazy to post!! I decided it would be better to get this stuff up and have minimal descriptions that to not have it up at all! So here it is:

Adolescence Simplifiée, illustrations for book published by Québecor

Ok, so this is easily the most exciting thing that has happened for my career as a self-taught illustrator so far!! Five of my illustrations were commissioned and published in an ACTUAL book! I know to many this is probably the least exciting thing in the world (especially to Anglophones who have never heard of Québecor)... But the reality is that Québecor is a HUGE publishing company and it is so exciting to know that I have illustrations in a book that will be in bookstores throughout Quebec. The five illustrations you see above were each meant to be the image at the beginning of a chapter. The five chapters each had a theme and the author had a clear idea of what she wanted, which made my job super easy! I love it when people know exactly what they want and all I have to do is execute their vision.
Interesting things to note: the woman in the second picture was inspired by the years of soccer coaching my mom did for my sister's soccer team and the woman even looks like my mom. Also, in the first picture of the second row, the man was inspired by my dad... And the toll I must have had on his heart when he was teaching me to drive. So yah, if you want to see these close-up just head to any francophone bookstore!

California CD, artwork, layout & custom font

Finish What You Started Records (Ska Jeezy!) and Little Heart Records are putting out the 7" for California, a pop-punk band from upstate New York. The guys in the band didn't know what they wanted for the artwork and pretty much just asked me to come up with something based on the lyrics. Since all the songs had to do with break-up type stuff I figured the artwork should also reflect this. Anyway, this is what came of it. I used watercolour and ink for the artwork and title/song titles. I put most of it together in Photoshop (except the cover--that's nothin' but glue, paper, ink and watercolour). I'm really into the way the watercolour gave a sort of marble effect. You can see the 7" label and back of the record below. The cover and insert is essentially the same as with the CD so I didn't post it twice.
California, 7"

New Teeth CD. masks, layout & custom font (Photos by Robyn Riley)

Lucas from New Teeth approached me a little while ago asking me if I'd be up for helping their band out artistically. They wanted me to help them out by painting teeth onto paper bags. That's pretty much all they knew at that point.. Namely, what the outcome would be was still undetermined. So I finally met up with Lucas and we chatted about what he wanted the design to be like. He said he was down with bright colours and I went from there. I also asked the guys from New Teeth to send me pictures of their own teeth for me to work with.. I figured it would make it more personalized and kind of funny.
Since we had delayed meeting for so long, I now had only about 3 days to get everything done. I experimented ALOT to try and find a style that would work well in photographs AND be cohesive. I was surprised that it took me so long to finally come up with the right look (ask my boyfriend.. he got to witness my frustration!). Anyway, I ended up realizing that less is more and a simpler design would be best. So there it is, I ended up sticking with a Cyan/Baby blue, Magenta/Red and Yellow/Ochre colour scheme and somewhat psychedelic pattern.
I was SO pleased with the way they turned out in the pictures, which is largely thanks to the photographer, Robyn Riley.

Anyhow, I ended up not just doing the masks, but doing the entire layout, t-shirt designs, and a custom font to boot! The font is found on the front and back of the CD (i.e. band name, title, and song titles). Oh AND all of this was done in just over a week! Talk about delivery!
I have included the shirt design below. The black one is the design they have printed, and the yellow one next to it was used for a poster. I'm really happy with the final result! Everything looks great and the band's CD release party on February 12th was PACKED!! I see a bright future for these guys and wish them the best of luck.

New Teeth, t-shirt design ( and poster design)

Critical Convictions, 7"

I was stoked when my friend Maxx from Critical Convictions asked me to do the artwork for their 7". Everyone in that band is amazing and I was super happy to be a part of this. Maxx (the vocalist) showed me the lyrics and I went from there for the design. There were a number of recurring themes throughout the lyrics, and I decided to bring together three references within the cover: Hobbes' Leviathan, the sci-fi movie Metropolis, and Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish. I told myself I would keep explanations short today, so I won't go into as much detail as I could, but basically: the image consists of an ultimate ruler with his scepter looking down from the sky (an image from Hobbes' Leviathan) onto a society made up of individuals whom--according to Hobbes--are "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". Behind him are two copies of the panopticon--an idea originally put forward by Jeremy Bentham but taken up by Foucault to describe the way structures in society are built in a way that promote social control, obedience and self-regulation. Finally, the city itself is futuristic, dark and practically lifeless. Overall, the image was meant to evoke the combination of a technologically advanced metropolis with images of modern social control and 17th century conceptions of legitimate government and social contract theory.

Leatherface show poster

I was inspired by Leatherface's song "Springtime" for this poster. The song is all about remembering a time before life became complicated. So I wanted to create an image that put the sense of childhood, freedom and carelessness in contrast with the reality of cruelty and war. I also wanted the image to include some kind of punk element, preferably skateboarding. So I was stoked when I found the image of two kids on their "sidewalk surf boards" with no shoes on, having a blast. I worked with that image and superimposed it onto an image of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. I was really excited about making this poster for the simple reason that Leatherface is amazing and has been around forever. Plus, I was really excited about finding just the right images to convey what I wanted.

Humanities Formal poster

The theme of the formal this year is film noir and my friend asked me to make a poster that resembled a typical film noir movie poster. Instead of having random individuals I decided to photoshop the faces of Nietzsche, Marx, Plato and Artistotle since we study their works in the program. We also have a big reproduction of Raphael's The School of Athens in the hallway where Plato and Aristotle are featured. In other words, their faces are pretty iconic in terms of the Humanities experience. In any case, I have been getting so much more familiar with photoshop, and I've got to say it's winning me over! I was pretty proud of this poster in particular because I got to try out the photoshop skills I've been acquiring.. For example. the "F" of formal was originally an L (check out the original poster here). I also had a field day finding awesome film noir style fonts. All in all had a great time making this poster!