Playlist Friday: And now, for the weather

The outdoor art show season is upon us, so if I may address the weather gods for a moment: “You’ve pulled some interesting tricks this year. That hail-bordering-on-snow in May was a neat one. But let’s not go crazy this weekend. Some of us have outdoor exhibits to set up. Go have a beer on a patio, relax, listen to some tunes about your heroic exploits, let the sun do its thing. Kthxbye.”

“Stormy Weather” – Pixies

Sometimes there’s just nothing more to be said. When it’s time, it’s time. That time is not this Saturday. Just sayin’.

“Lightning Crashes” – Live

This is an epic, life-and-death thunderstorm they’re singing about. Once-in-a-lifetime thing. Statistically unlikely to happen this weekend. Unless your baby is due?

“Moanin’ Wind” – Michelle Rumball

This is how I feel about wind, too. But, as this lovely Toronto singer points out, you just gotta stick it out. And make sure you weight down your tent properly, or it’ll fly away.

“Strange Weather” – Marianne Faithfull

Just a really beautiful song. Not really about the weather at all.

“More Than Rain” – Tom Waits

Neither is this one. Wait, none of them are. Forget I said anything.

“Come Rain or Come Shine” – Etta James

Come shine, thanks. Oh, you’re all out of cake? So my choices are “or, death”?*

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Riverdale Art Walk this weekend

Evite_2013 Riverdale Art WalkThis Saturday & Sunday, June 1-2, I will be exhibiting my new fine arts mosaics at the outdoor Riverdale Art Walk show in Jimmie Simpson Park on Queen St. East near Broadview. If you’re in Toronto, I’d love to see you there!

There are over 120 artists participating in the show – you can check out images of their work at the RAW Artist Galleries site.

As for me, I’ll be showing the mosaics from my Favourite Books series (including the one inspired by Neuromancer, that William Gibson himself complimented), as well as the slate abstracts and other new works, including this charmingly titled one:

Mixed Emotions (Dark Side of the Moon), scrap slate and pink glass

Mixed Emotions (Dark Side of the Moon)

Here’s a map of the park to help you find my booth:

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Scrap slate abstracts

I’ve been getting ready for the Riverdale Art Walk, which is coming up in ten days, and here are a few new pieces I made using salvaged slate and gold mirror smalti.

Slate abstracts

Slate abstracts 5

The slate was part of the great scrap tile haul from our local tile store, and strips of it were arranged into panels that I ended up smashing apart.

The four mosaics above are quite small – about 6″x7″ – mainly because slate is so heavy.

I did make one larger piece, 8″x12″ (on the right), after which I had to stop with this lovely series, as there was only slate rubble left.

I suspect there’s another small series of abstracts hiding in the rubble though – I’ll see about digging it out tomorrow.

In progress: bathroom graffiti mosaic

I’m thinking of making a series of mosaics based on bathroom graffiti, and I’ve started on the first piece to see whether it’ll be worth doing a few of these.

Mirror in Sneaky Dee's washroom.

The mirror in Sneaky Dee’s washroom I’m using as the basis for this mosaic

I decided to start with an image of the bathroom mirror at Sneaky Dee’s, both because the mirror aspect of it seemed like an interesting twist to explore, and because this was the place that gave me the idea in the first place.

Graffiti is the main aspect of Sneaky Dee’s decor, and while in the restaurant itself it doesn’t overwhelm you, every time I enter their washroom, it’s like an aesthetic punch to the solar plexus. Every inch of wall, cubicle and ceiling space is covered in sloppily lettered platitudes and highly unoriginal insults.

I like the place, it has good food. And I’m sure its punkish nighttime crowd, whose inebriated decorating efforts are represented here, would be pleased with the revolting effect they have on the casual weekend bruncher. But rather than try to tune out this passive aggressive assault on my artistic sensibilities, I decided to see whether I can turn it into something that I’d find beautiful.

So far it’s working. I love how this unholy mess is turning out in stained glass and mirror, on a 1.5′ x 1.5′ board. But cutting the glass with the required obsessive precision is taking such a long time.

Graffitti mosaic in progress

Detail of the mosaic in progress. Under the pieces of stained glass is the printout of the original photo that I’m using as a sketch.

And since I’ve been accepted to exhibit at the Riverdale Art Walk, which is taking place June 1-2, I’ll need to take the next four weeks to make a few new pieces for that show. So I’ll have to lay this one aside for now, otherwise I’ll kill most of that time finishing it. But it’ll be worth the wait, I think; it’s turning out kind of incredible.

The Story of a Piece of Paper

Free PDF download

You can now download the story that I illustrated for my kids as a PDF.

I hope that you know a kid or two that you can share it with, and that they enjoy it as much as our girls did.

The download is available in English and Russian.

Edited to add: The Story of a Piece of Paper was featured on Boing Boing. As I have no words to express just how ridiculously thrilling this is, I present it here as a bare statement of fact.