Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunny Quail

Each year at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, artists voluntarily donate a 6” x 6” unique artwork to support the exhibition’s fundraising effort, Art Squares. I chose to create an illustration inspired by Foster the People’s uplifting concert at Downsview Park on June 19, 2012. Tuesday evening’s performance, featuring Foster the People and local openers Tokyo Police Club, went ahead despite a tragic stage collapse that occurred before a scheduled Radiohead concert the preceding weekend. I recall merging with the migrating crowd on a long stretch of road toward The Meadow when the wreckage came into view. An aura of sombreness and foreboding hovered over us all until greeted by the up-tempo beats, captivating lyrics and impressive light show of the concert’s double feature. Midway through Foster the People’s set, Mark Foster paid a touching tribute to the late Scott Johnson, a casualty of Saturday’s incident. “We make music to bring joy to people” Foster said poignantly as he went on to describe the bonds of friendship shared between a band and its crew members while touring. Foster the People and musical guest Kimbra continued their celebration of life in grand fashion and proved yet again that music is integral to the healing process.

Foster the People formed in Los Angeles and carry many Californian sensibilities. Accordingly, my decorative painting features the state’s national bird, The California Quail. The quail is widespread and appears in the mythology and legends of numerous cultures as a symbol for a contrite spirit, communal love, victory and the hunt. I always found it quite humorous that their call sounds as though it were exclaiming, “Run, Run Run” or “The man is coming, the man is coming!”.

The expressive anthropomorphic flower gestures at the animated sun the band featured in their main act. The mood of the piece was made to reflect the positive vibes the band’s music exudes.

Grad Show and Graduation

The weeks heralding our Grad Show on April 19 and 20 were charged with heavy emotion and anticipation. Late nights and early mornings were interchangeably spent finishing artwork and essays, conducting self-promotion initiatives and getting our grad show display underway. We survived the endurance test on our souls and creativity by encouraging one another and never losing sight of our goals. Thank you to everyone who has journeyed with me through these past four years :). You are exceptionally talented and wonderful people. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all. Above all, I must acknowledge those professors who underwent much toil in preparing the graduate classes and coordinating the setup for our final exhibition.

The layout of my final display board and accordion on corner table.

 Family and friends on the first official night of our Grad Show.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thesis Accordion

Although exceedingly late in commenting about the crowning events of my four years at Sheridan, namely Grad Show and Graduation, I would be more than pleased to share my sentiments with you in retrospect. I apologize to those followers who have been patient with my infrequent updates. The following half of the summer will guarantee plenty of creative progress as I prepare for FanExpo 2012.

The stretch of months between January and April of this year comprised alternating periods of conceptualisation, execution and revisions to my final thesis project. More than often they did not ensue in this order. I felt compelled to speed up my rendering process by turning to media outside acrylic and oil paints that could demonstrate similar painterly effects in a fraction of the time. I harnessed a method which combines the vibrant colour and effortless blending of soft pastel with tight brushwork in acrylic. With each piece this experimentation revealed more aspects of its character, ranging from cooperative to untameable. I eventually learned that acrylic and pastel can co-exist while occupying discrete areas on the same surface, only lightly infringing on each other’s territory. That and never throw gouache into the same mix. The latter is what led to obliterating thick layers of water and sky by means of industrial sandpaper. 

Eight of my thesis paintings were completed by this method and later compiled in an accordion book under the series title, The Sleepers.

Finding a printing bureau that could manufacture a one-off 11” x 72” accordion at a decent price and quality was no small feat. Then again, this is one of several cases where an artist’s vision is incompatible with the harsh practicality of reality. Thankfully in the final weeks before my graduation exhibition, a company called Global Printing Enterprises took on the challenge and excelled magnificently. The cover was created by refurnishing an old children’s book and applying a faux leather bind. Here are the results :)

Interior of  “The Sleepers”. A full length 72” accordion opens on the right hand side.

 Those “King Under Mountain” historical and fictional characters eliminated from the greater body of my thesis appeared as cartoons in the inside cover.