Oval dragonfly mirror


A friend of mine commissioned this mirror for her hallway. Years ago, I painted a really trippy elephant for her, and by a strange dint of association she decided that the elephant needed some dragonflies to go with it. This kind of surreal logic appeals to me. On the other hand, the request for an oval-shaped mirror didn’t appeal to me at all. Not after the mysterious trouble that plagued my last attempt to have a circle mirror cut to size, when the glass-cutting place had to redo it three times because there was always a tiny chip in the …

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Canadian Visual Artists: Laura Stitzel

Acrobadger ink transfer on wood

Laura Stitzel is a layout designer for an animation studio, and an exhibiting artist specializing in pen-and-ink illustration and hand-lettered vintage-style posters. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she is now living in Toronto. I chatted with Laura over a pint in a pub in the Annex – the neighbourhood which is about to host one of Toronto’s more unconventional outdoor exhibits, where she’ll be showing her new series of works on wood. In the Annex Patio Art Show, art is displayed on the outside of storefronts and restaurant windows along Bloor St. West while artists hang out on the sidewalk. It’s …

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A. Shay Hahn’s murals at the Cameron House

The Royal Ant Mother, detail of the Cameron House west wall mural

If you’re in Toronto, do yourself a favour and visit the Cameron House at least once this summer to check out A. Shay Hahn‘s gorgeous murals in the front room. They are only there till October. That stunning lady surrounded by records is The Royal Ant Mother, by the way. You’re welcome. Photos are © A. Shay Hahn. There are also a bunch of great in-process pictures of the murals on his blog. …

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Fragments of books: Infinite Jest

Inifinte Jest

If you enjoy books that run to over a thousand pages of mind-boggling literary showmanship, then there comes a day when someone recommends David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest to you as the great 1990s equivalent of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, or Joyce’s Ulysses, or something similarly dense and critically acclaimed. Heed these people. Let me clear the room first: this novel is rambling and circuitous and there are plotlines that start and don’t go anywhere, and it could do with a lot more editing. I can make a case for why all these qualities are integral to the themes of the …

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Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2013

michael rennick

The TOAE was off to a very slow start today due to a combination of rain, construction on Queen Street and unspecified forces of evil. But it’s all settled in now, so go check it out tomorrow and Sunday. The good news is that this year the show is noticeably smaller and more manageable – you can definitely go around the whole thing in one visit. The other great thing is that there are twelve bronze sculptures by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei on display in Nathan Phillips Square right now – the only Canadian stop on this exhibition’s North …

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Canadian Visual Artists: Charlie Easton

Killarney Rocks After Sunset by Charlie Easton

Charlie Easton is a Vancouver-based landscape painter who moved to B.C. from Britain, where he grew up in a family of artists. What draws me most to your paintings are the vibrantly warm colours – your landscapes are rich in incandescent oranges and blues that give these scenes the feel of being bathed in late afternoon sunlight. Can you talk a bit about why this particular palette? It seems full of joy – is that the intended effect? Well, I paint as much as I can on location as I firmly believe that photographs are so limiting. They are amazing …

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Playlist Friday: Drinking songs


It’s another Friday! This calls for a celebration. Cheers! “If You Don’t Start Drinkin’ (I’m Gonna Leave) ” – George Thorogood George Thorogood’s problem is that he’s got too many good drinking songs. Oh, and also, he’s a really bad influence on his sober friends. “Salt of the Earth” – The Rolling Stones So you’ve succumbed to peer pressure and the evening’s first brew is in your hand – let’s toast to something worthwhile. Here’s to the hardworking people, the salt of the earth. The two (now seven) thousand million. Hopefully not to each one individually. “Drinking Song” – Jason …

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Canadian Visual Artists: Rob Croxford

Things 2 by Rob Croxford

Rob Croxford is a Toronto artist whose paintings and mixed-media works playfully combine elements of graphic design and vintage 1950’s aesthetics with thought-provoking messages. Rob’s personality, like his art, projects such optimism, that the first question I ask when we meet up for coffee near his Queen East studio is about what helps him to stay so upbeat. “I’m just grateful that I get to do this. I worked some terrible jobs over the years. I’ve got so much going for me already – I get to do what I love every single day. Even if things are not always …

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