Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Posters and other thangs


What's up? Is it spring yet? The willow tree across the way from my studio is finally starting to show some yellow-ish leaves so that's promising. This spring has been swamped with commissions and requests to participate in a whole bunch-o-shows! Splendid.

Lets start this off with posters! I'm designing the poster series for a summer concert series called 'Construction.' Created as the summer alternative to the Long Winter, the title plays on that ol' joke that there are only two seasons in Toronto: winter, and construction. Here are the first two:

Secondly, my friend Ian Cheung at June Records has asked me to make posters for June's special events. Special posters for a special store! Here's two I've completed so far:

Also I made this nice window display for Victoire, a boutique based out of Ottawa that just recently opened up a Toronto Location on Ossington! I'm going to take some better photos soon, but here is the one that Kristina Smiff captured for Victoire's Instagram. I look goofy.

Ok so here is another thing. My friend Halloway Jones has asked me to curate the art for this super cool summertime island jam on June 22nd called 'Unaffiliated.' Isn't that great? Yes it is! Please submit, there's only a few more days until the deadline! I bet you could come up with something kewl ;) To find out more, visit the tumblr here. It will be happening at none other than my favourite place in the whole world, Artscape Gibraltar Point.

I am also on the curatorial board for The Roundtable Residency. Founded by buds Morris Fox and Brandon Dalmer, participating artists will have access to a free studio space for approximately a month, and there will be a weeklong exhibition following the residency, with events (TBA) to coincide with it. Submit, the deadline is May 25th! You can find the facebook event here or visit their website here.

There are more exciting new things afoot but for now that's what I've got to report back! Kazoo Fest was a hoot, I went to New York for a week, got 3 different shows coming up in Ottawa, the XPACE Fundraiser is happening very soon, applying to a bunch o' residencies and oh yeah Papirmass interviewed me because I am their featured artist for the month of May! Read the interview on the website here.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An update on 2014 / Best of 2013

Howdy everyone,

So… it's time to update this guy huh? Lots of stuff been happenin' lately! How nice. My exhibition with Diana Lynn Vandermeulen went amazingly well! Lots of people came to the opening, got tons o' nice feedback, and Sara Diamond even showed up and asked me to talk about the show to her! The big cheese herself. The student gallery was nice enough to get a photographer to take photos of the event which you can view here, and I took some photos of the exhibition sans people. Thanks to all the artists who participated, to Anna May Henry for making her delicious Magic Hour drinks, to Cameron Whitesell (of Teen Tits Wild Wives) for providing us with spacey tunes all night, and to everyone who came out to show us some love!

From left to Right: Sarah Diamond, Gallery Directors Vanessa Nichols and Caroline Macfarlane, artist Inez Genereux, and curators Julia Dickens and Diana Lynn Vandermeulen

I took a buttload of photos of the show, too many to put up on the blog. You can see the entire set on flickr here (BTW not into flickr's current layout, sorry about that pals). Below are some shots of the psychedelic forest mural I made.

Vanessa and Caroline also asked me to make a poster for their upcoming call for submissions. Check it out!

If you are an OCAD student: submit! I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience putting on a show in that space, and the programming there over the past few years has been really stellar. The final thank you goes to Vanessa and Caroline, our glitter gals in charge without this none of which would be possible.


In other news my friend Brian Seeger let me do the cover of February's Offerings!

Pick up a copy soon before the next issue comes out! You can catch the interview with me in there too, right next to my pal Pierre (who is one half of Bruised Tongue and runs Ottawa based music newspaper Small Talk).


My friend Cameron asked me if I wanted to do visual environs for the March edition of Feast In the East and I was like 'sure!'

Poster by Tad

And that's about it for art updates today. Stay tuned, I'm going to be tabling again at the Kazoo Fest Print Expo with some brand new multiples for you to feast your eyes on….


So, kind of funny to be posting a best of list in March since we've all pretty much forgotten that 2013 even happened. Not me though! The year 2013 royally kicked my butt, emotionally flipped me upside down but also provided me with lots of great opportunities for art making. I got a lot done, and I saw a lot of great things get done. Last year once again showed me that life is short and that I am surrounded my amazing peers, endless opportunity and unending support and love from my friends and family. Here's showing a little love back, things that I loved about a year that, without these things, would have been one of the hardest I've had since I moved here over 5 years ago. So, in no particular order, I give you...


Petra Glynt

Alexandra Mackenzie is Toronto's darling weirdo and a good friend of mine. Between drawing massive melted mashes of the pure psychedelic sublime, Alex has also been consistently been blowing my mind with her drumming and vocal chops, from 2009-10's gnarly grrrl band Dentata, and being one half of drums-and-vocals two-piece Romo Roto. Current projects involve Pachamama with her partner Brandon Valvida (Not The Wind Not The Flag, Mas Aya) but everyone is mostly freaking out about Alex's solo project, Petra Glynt. I first saw her performing under this moniker at Sarah Friend's "Small Talk Lecture Series" Zine Launch at May Cafe in 2012. Alex just released a video for the monster jam 'Sour Paradise' and here is a great interview with her about her art on Weird Canada.

Alex played a million shows this year, including the Punchclock fundraiser (which was a crazy fun time) and shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. I believe she is working on a full length album and everyone is waiting with baited breath. Give the people what they want (Petra Glynt on wax pls)!

Tobias Williams - Yellow Pages Catacombs at XPACE

Sometimes it's hard to remember the best art exhibits you saw in a particular year, and I'm almost certain I'm forgetting a lot of them, but Tobias WilliamsYellow Pages Catacombs was a definite standout. Tobias took on the project space at XPACE in August, the same month I had a window installation, and it was really great to be working alongside such a thoughtful and well executed project. His pillar of human skulls made from yellow pages makes a comment on history, obsolescence and decay, executed with precision, attention to detail, and was obviously very labour intensive. Happy to share the space with this great project (really what I want to say is that he stole the show, for sure). Read more about it here.

Bruised Tongue / Small Talk

Bruised Tongue has existed for the past five years which is almost exactly how long I haven't lived in Ottawa. Run by Craig Proulx and Pierre Richardson, this record label is keeping my hometown weird and current, with releases from Can Con favourites like CROSSS, Holy Cobras, Un Blonde, Cold Warps, Ultrathin and more. They just hosted a 3 day mini festival to celebrate their five year anniversary and I'm bummed I couldn't go. But wait, that's not all! In response to Ottawa losing its weekly cultural newspaper, The Xpress (arguably a loss, but whatever), Pierre has taken on the challenge of running his own monthly risographed event/music/culture zine (somewhat in the style of Toronto's Offerings). It's great! I made a cover for them last month and cool new pal Lesley Marshall reviewed the show I did at OZ Kafe, along with the work of Phil Osborne. Which brings me to my next candidate...

Osborne Oddities

This past summer, when I was planning my project for Ghost Hole, a friend suggested that I check out the work of Phil Osborne, a local Ottawa monster maker. I shoved that recommendation in the back on my slime brain, but totally forgot his name. I was re-initiated to his work when I saw a great little handbill illustrated by Phil for my friend Andy's band CROSSS. Then I noticed that he was planning to attend my art opening in Ottawa, so I asked Lesley about him. She told me Phil often opens up the living room of his centre town apartment on the weekends as a store to sell his prints, t-shirts, monster masks, and other miscellaneous spooky junk. So we went and guys: Phil's work is so good. Handmade animation techniques, monsters masks and seriously creepy drawings, his work is executed with style and skill level only a true nerd could accomplish. So I made Phil my new friend and he's part of this show at Saw Gallery in Ottawa (which, for the uninitiated, is a great artist - run centre) and I really want him to be in the next Ghost Hole. PHIL RULES. Also check out this music video he made for Victoria band Babysitter.

Birdman Sound Still Exists
Based on the number of shops that have folded in the past decade (Record Runner,  The Record Shoppe, Organised Sound, End Hits, Sounds Unlikely) I think it's safe to say that Ottawa is not a great place to have a record store. Arguably, nowhere is a great place to have a record store. Profit seems to be slim and god dammit who would ever buy something when they could steal it online and there would be literally no immediate (if any) consequence. That's why I feel as though record stores must, like so many of the things we value most, be run on love in order to survive. And there is a lot of love put into Birdman Sound, Ottawa's teeny weeny shop that specializes in garage, psych, proto and post punk, kraut, and some other genres I am less interested in. It's a beautiful store, it's been around since 1991, owner John Westhaver has this great radio show Friday Morning Cartunes which you can listen to on CKCU-FM.   I know this doesn't really count as a 'new thing' but I'm happy to give this store a shout out for merely continuing to exist (especially since they very nearly folded in 2011).  I will continue to give them my patronage, as often as I can come home for a visit.

June Records Is Also Really Great
I feel as though I ought to bring this place up, although anyone who frequents Toronto record stores knows that this one is really special. Owners Ian Cheung and Dennis Reynolds regularly stock amazing vintage records, reissues and new releases at very reasonable prices. There's a lot of gems to be found in this College Street store, and they are also especially supportive of small local labels. Between that and hosting regular shows and events, June records meets the needs of both my interests: music made within my own community, and adding to my small but growing collection of music from a past I mostly wasn't even alive for. Thanks guys! Also thanks for letting me hang out at your store to bug Katie and Alex for hours on end and not making me leave! Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

The Commonwealth At The Sterling Lofts
Truth be told, I hardly made any money that night and the Blog TO reporter thought my prints belonged to Jenn Kitagawa (a flattering mistake, but a mistake nonetheless). I didn't really care in the end because this night was F-U-N fun. A collaborative effort from Go Home Print gals Emma Sharpe and Shanley Maguire, alongside Marishka Anne and Kelsey Stasiak, this ram jammed event brought together the best of Toronto's small press slingers, slanging their goods to a packed and sweaty room. After it was all over everyone got really drunk around a bonfire and made out with somebody the end!

FIN - Anin

Ok so I've known Rebecca Simonetti for about 4 years now. We were studio mates for a number of months at The White House, where we bonded over art making (duh), dudes from Baltimore we were into at the time, and a love of making weird sounds with our mouths. I remember when she told us that she didn't want us to call her 'Becki' anymore which is totally fine but sometimes I still forget and do it anyways, four years later. Anyways, Fin's art has been getting crazier and crazier (in a good way) as has her music and I think she's got a show coming up at Le Gallery which I'm jazzed for aaaanddd she just dropped this crazy music video for her song Anin, with performances by dance collective Fluct.

Fin's Anin is a perfect summation of her visual art work, and it's been so interesting to watch her aesthetic evolve with such consistency and increasing sophistication over the past four years. Her darkly psychedelic visions of girl culture, mental and physical illness, and internal struggle have come into focus with a specificity and purpose that really just makes me want to work harder on my own practice (which, in many ways I think, is one of the highest compliments of all).

Alicia's Klassic Kool Shoppe Wallpapers Entire City Of Toronto

But seriously. Alicia Nauta is going to wallpaper the entire city of Toronto. Starting with Newold's in Hamilton, The Likely General on Roncesvalles, this hallway at Ghost Hole V, Jacob Horwood's son's bedroom, the staircase of Double Double Land and probably a million other places I can't remember, Alicia's screen prints (comprised of repetitive collages, squiggles from outer space and a beautiful homage to Goodnight Moon) have been creeping up all over the city. I still remember the first time I bought a print from Alicia and I could only give her 15 dollars even though it was priced at 20 and I still feel bad about it. One day I'll give you that 5 dollars, Alicia! One day.

Body Interface with DJs Cameron Lee, Laura McCoy and Sebastien Butt

Best dance party in town. Hand slams down on table to emphasize point.

Paper Pusher and Papirmass Get Married

"We just wanted a wedding that we could plan in a week" said bride and Papirmass director Kirsten McCrea to me at the reception of her wedding to Paper Pusher's JP King. Great job guys! You pulled off one of the most touching, thoughtful and fun weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending. DinnerDinner (Nicholas Robins and Adrian DiLena's nomadic dinner party-cum-art project) served up ceviche and tacos, the speeches were heartfelt and hilarious, a full swing band lead the dance party in an unreal loft located at the soon to be torn down building at Adelaide and John. This was not to be outdone by the following nights festivities which involved a huge bonfire on Hanlan's point, illegal fireworks and late night singing on the beach (where I fell asleep and woke up, confused, cold but happy). Way to make me believe in love again.

Offerings Tape / Healing Power's Heart of Toronto & Fruits Compilations

Ok, so, compilations are admitedly not always my jam, but I'll happily make exceptions for these three excellent ones, direct from Toronto's 'Anomalous Music Scene.' Despite the overlap in content, I would highly recommend listening to / picking up copies of all of these, especially if you want to get better acquainted withToronto's weirdo music community. You can find the Offerings tape at June Records on College Street, and Healing Power's Heart of Toronto and Fruits can be found online (or you can email Healing Power to get a CD if you are into that sort of thang). The Heart of Toronto party they threw in September was the best. One of my top dance nights of the year (even though I lost my phone. I tell people it was stolen but really I probably just dropped it in street like an idiot). Also, that Fruits comp is a fantastic collection of lady tunes from Toronto's most badass lady music makers, if you are into THAT sort of thang (spoiler alert: you should be).

Seripop at YYZ

Seripop! What a team! I am really impressed with the way these two (Chloe Lum and Yannick Desranleau) have managed to maintain their spot as some of my favourite art makers over lo these many years. I still have this Japanther poster they made with Micheal Deforge in 2008 and I still love it. Seripop as illustrators and musicians (Aidswolf) seems to be pretty much dissolved at this point and for a while that really bummed me out but if they keep making these crazy paper installations I don't even care anymore. I had a nice chat with Chloe at the opening about how they made this giant vinyl hand from materials they had lying around their studio and how artists tend to be hoarders and it made me regret throwing out a lot of stuff that maybe I could have used for something someday. Anyways, I hope these guys never stop, I need people to look constantly look up to otherwise I'm just lost.

Ok I'll admit it: I've only been able to make it out to a handful of these events. Whenever I try to explain Doored to friends who don't know anything about it, the words 'weird art comedy showcase' fall out of my mouth and are greeted with polite albeit skeptical looks. Fair enough. Sometimes I wonder if I would find Doored as magical and hilarious if I didn't already know many of the performers and audience members. And yet this event is consistently packed-to-sold out and filled with laughter from start to finish. Art comedy, who knew? The brain baby of Jon McCurly and Amy Lam's Life of A Craphead, this event fuses stand up, performance art, music, theatre and who knows what else into a very hilarious monday night. Hosted at Double Double Land once a month, do yourself a a favour and go (or check out the Doored channel where it is streamed online every time). Guaranteed to make life a little more bearable.

Flood Island

Woah talk about making lemonade from the lemon of a local disaster that was the Calgary flood. The whole trip was an almost-didn't-happen of a good time. Firstly, because I very nearly missed my flight (I got to Pearson Airport late, only to discover my flight had been moved back an hour). Secondly because Sled Island, the amazing music festival I had scored a free pass to, got cancelled due to a flood that submerged a good portion of the city, knocked out the power, closed businesses and completely screwed up the infrastructure. In bad times however, the good times must roll on, and I had the best four days ever in all of your basements, at the (also almost-didn't-happen) Weird Canada Tubby Dog show, at backyard hangouts and traipsing all over the city with Sasha in search of the party, man. Babes galore, hot dogs and cheap beer, new friends and old from across Canada. Highlights included OFF!, taking the coldest shower ever at Nicola's, the best saturday afternoon nap of my life, The Beets playing the sweetest set in someone's backyard, a very hungover breakfast at Phil's, crawling along the floor of a packed basement show so I could plug in the mic amp during Cousins' set, and CROSSS's amazing friday night performance when Andy was backed up against the wall with a microphone in his mouth and Ryan had to stand on top of his amp to get away from the crowd that was literally tearing the ceiling down. THANKS PALGARY.

Nightlife Guard Lecture by Vanessa Reiger

My friend and roommate Vanessa Rieger has been doing her Nightlife Guard project for, oh, about 2 years now? It's first incarnation was on Toronto Island in the summer of 2012, during the Whippersnapper Gallery's New Traditions Festival. After Doldrums played his psychedelic tiki torch dance set, the party then turned (naturally) into drunken drug-fuelled-beach-rave. The party goers began to climb all over Felix Kalmenson's floating room project in a manner which can only be described as 'out of control', which is when Nightlife Guard had to step in and make sure everyone partied safely. You see, Nightlife Guard isn't simply there to save lives, but facilitate partying (such as pool hopping and beach hangs) in a safe and respectful manner. I still remember standing on the beach in my underwear with Sarah Kirwan, watching Vanessa run out into the water wearing a glow stick baseball cap to save the day and knowing that everything was going to be a - ok.

This summer at Sarah Friend's Small Talk lecture series, Vanessa gave us all a power-point tutorial of the role and importance of the Nightlife Guard, what her responsibilities are, and how to become Nightlife Guards ourselves. Featuring a special performance by my ex-boyfriend Vince Vining as the 'Pool Pig' (the rambunctious bro at the pool that ends up hurting himself and endangering the party), this talk was hilarious and actually very practical. Because let's be honest, we all want to have a good time, but partying comes at a certain risk and any one of us can end up hurting ourselves in the process. Vanessa's anti-killjoy approach to keeping a lookout while facilitating a good time (because an important Nightlife Guard duty is to keep watch for the cops) shows that you can be responsible, aware and still keep fun as priority number one.

Ghost Hole V

I should probably come clean here and say that I missed a lot of Ghost Hole V. I don't really need to elaborate too much, but the lesson I learn time and again is that if you want to party you need to eat something beforehand otherwise you are basically throwing a night down the toilet. That being said... the residency leading up to this year's Ghost Hole was some sorely needed fun escape time: hanging out on the island, having bonfires, watching horror movies, and making slime. Everyone's work looked amazing, I got to make a kewl poster, and it was one more knockout event in a series of yearly spooktacular Ghost Holes. Thanks again Vanessa, for bringing out the ghoul in all of us.

Scrummage Noise Brunch in Detroit

This is such a good idea. Scrummage Fest is a weird little music festival that happens sometimes in Detroit, similar to Wham City's Whartscape in Baltimore (RIP). I only managed to make it to Detroit for Saturday evening / Sunday morning of the fest, but it was well worth the trip if not only for Noise Brunch, Scrummage Fest's Sunday comedown event where for ten dollars you can eat delicious brunch in a giant warehouse (former film studio that was a former rec centre now art space?) while drone-y bands play their drone-y jams. After drinking really cheap mimosas and filling my tummy with breakfast, me and my pals starfished on the hardwood floor and let the noise take us to slumber land. What I am trying to say is that this is the best way ever to enjoy this kind of music: atmospheric sounds that build and grow into psyched out landscapes played to a room full of hungover young people taking a communal nap. It was the most relaxing show I have ever been to. Highlights included Ben Filler's band Unholy Water and old-wierdo Detroit noise band Space Band, who looked and sounded like 100% wizard dreams.

Honorable mentions: Crackgate 2013, That Day I Went to the Pool 3 Times, Everything Weird Canada is doing, the Healing Power Records 'Heart of Toronto' party, sitting next to Fake Injury Party at Canzine, and Kazoo Fest (sorry, you would have made the list if that girl wasn't so mean to Vanessa at the pancake breakfast when she asked about gluten free pancakes)

That's it folks! Lets look to the future and make 2014 the rootenest tootenest year we've ever had!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another Dark Day Passes

Hi Blog,

It's me again! It's been a long time since I've updated you. Here's all the latest and greatest!


Exhibition dates: February 5 to March 1, 2014
Opening Vernissage February 6 from 7 to 11 pm

'Another Dark Day Passes' is an exploration of psychedelic landscapes and alternative realities. This show invites viewers to experience the gallery as a portal to an altered psychological state. The works presented oscillate between material reality and dream-like illusion. The holographic and iridescent aesthetic that runs through the show is meant to communicate optimism by transforming the gallery into an ethereal environment. Conversely, dissonant elements have been incorporated with the intent of disarming the viewer to release meditative energy and open up the imagination. It is a psychological mirage, where confusion and darkness give way to possibility and hope.

Curated by Diana Lynn VanderMeulen and Julia Dickens

Featuring work by: Robin Clason, Sarah D'Angelo, Julia Dickens, Melissa Fisher, Inez Genereux, Eunice Luk, Felix Kalmenson, Nicholas Robins, Mark Sommerfeld, Diana Lynn VanderMeulen, Vince Vining

Featuring Special Cocktails by Magic Hour aka Anna May Henry.
DJ Cameron Whitesell (Teen Tits Wild Wives) playing sweet magic jams.


NEWS! Ok, here's so photo documentation of my installation at the Long Winter on January 10th.

Tom Beedham did an interview with me about this piece, about my project for the Long Winter Takeover of the AGO, which you can read here

I also did a cover for Ottawa's month music / culture / event listings zine, Small Talk, put out by Bruised Tongue, a sweet Ottawa record label. Also Lesley Marshall from Kelp Records / Saw Video and generally a sweet lady pal, reviewed my show alongside a write up about Phil Osborne's weekend living room store and showroom Osborne Oddities  and you can read both here.