Monday, 16 October 2017

Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron


Announcing Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron, my first young adult novel, four years in the making:

“Dragons and worse lurk in the forests of Adyron, and only steam knights in their gleaming battle machines can keep the kingdom safe. 

Theo Paxstone dreams of being such a knight. Instead, he finds himself slaving away at a repair shop for the pitiless Master Grimes.

When a dragon abducts Princess Jena from the royal tournament, Theo sees his chance and escapes. He joins forces with Sir Bentham, a crippled knight, and his pugnacious squire, Riley. Together, they pursue the dread beast, determined to rescue the princess from its clutches.

Along the way they discover that not all enemies are what, or who, they seem…” 

Theo Paxstone's a fun filled, rollicking adventure story,with great twists and turns. 

Trust me, I’m known for my objectivity and good taste. 

It’s 411 pages, complete with illustrations, and available on Kindle for just $3.99. 

Please share and spread the word (Writing the book was easy compared to promotion!).

And if you have a spare evening, give it a read, a review, and a plug or two. 

Website, animations, and even more breathless, obligatory hype to come… 

Thank you so very, very much!

Check out the blog here.



Sunday, 15 October 2017

After Dark Film Festival

Nil: No Blood for Coffee showed to a packed house, before Beyond Skyline, which was a real effects extravaganza!











Saturday, 7 October 2017

Great J.K. Rowling quote

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

― J.K. Rowling

Inspiring, resilient, authentic.

Love it.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Frederico Gastaldi's Petite Bourgeois Revolution


Frederico Gastaldi was in the My Petite Bourgeois Revolution art show recently at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto. He does fabulous conceptual work with bold shapes and striking colours. I asked him a few quick questions in the wake of the show...



What's top of mind when your create? Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?
Definitely the composition and the concept. I like how an illustration, once finished, is very different compared to the initial idea I had.


What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?Editorial and advertising primarily.

Why did you chose the First World Problem you did? Well-being is too badly distributed. I am worried that this gap will continue to increase.



What statement do you want to make with your work?
Whatever statement comes to mind of those who see my work.

We often build on the backs of giants. I know I try to, and I've been influenced by the Constructivists, Symbolists, and Bauhaus. What artists and / or art movements inform / inspire your work? There are many artists and art movements that influence me. My favourite painters are Bo Bartlett, Edward Hopper and William Turner.

If you could cross the world to see the work of one compelling creator and visit their studio (anytime, anyplace), which one would you chose?
I guess Paul Gauguin's studio.

Any advice for new artists, starting out in today's market?
Take it easy!

What are you working on now? What’s your next big challenge?
I'm working with some American and German clients, and preparing a personal illustrated book.



Check out more of his work here.








Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Robb Mirsky's Petite Bourgeois Revolution


The awesome Robb Mirsky participated recently in the My Petite Bourgeois Revolution show at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto. 

I asked him a few questions in the wake of the revolution, about art, his razor sharp indie-comix edge, and inspiration:

What's top of mind when your create? Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?
Usually i think about composition first. I like to try to find something simple yet captivating and sort of work from there. I don’t really have any one set way of doing things, so i let it fester in my brain a bit before heading to paper. I can usually see some form of what i want in my head before i really start getting down to the nitty gritty, and i just try to emulate that.

What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?
For the most part i create comics (which can be found in the printed books, Read More Comix), but i also make a lot of band posters for local shows and bands around Toronto. I’m primarily working within commercial and advertising with a low brow/indepedant twist.

Why did you chose the First World Problem you did?
I chose the First World Problem I did because I am constantly inundated with (as I’m sure the rest of you are too) people who blindly walk the streets, staring at their phone screens, acting like zombies. I find it infuriating, but also hilarious how far humanity has slid that we can barely handle interactions that don’t have to do with our personal technology. 

We often build on the backs of giants. I know I try to, and I've been influenced by the Constructivists, Symbolists, and Bauhaus. What artists and / or art movements inform / inspire your work?
For the most part, i find a lot of inspiration from independent comics artists of the past like R. Crumb, Basil Wolverton, Dan Clowes, and the list goes on. I stare at their panels and just soak in the composition choices and the details like line work and shading; really nerd stuff! I also grew up with a lot of custom car culture in my face (yet i know very little about cars…), and the work of people like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth really bent my mind with things like gross out art, and zany colour choices.

Any advice for new artists, starting out in today's market?
Do it cuz you love it. Do it for yourself. Spend years toiling in obscurity. Don’t expect anything from anyone else. Never settle. Always keep pushing. Keep striving to make better art than the last thing you did. NEVER STOP.

What are you working on now? What’s your next big challenge?
Currently I’m working on a few different comic projects for Read More Comix, as well as a couple show posters, beer labels for a small brewer, a shirt design, and as always filling sketchbooks with wacky sketches that i can pull ideas from later.


Check out more of his stuff at www.robbmirsky.com, on Instagram at @mirsktoons, or through his comics collective:  www.readmorecomix.com.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Chiara Dattola's Petite Bourgeois Revolution

Chiara Dattola was in the My Petite Bourgeois Revolution art show recently at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto. Her vibrant work channels Milton Glaser and Paul Klee in a kaleidoscope of colour. She's recently been in 3x3 magazine, and can be found on Instagram here.



Give her work a gander, you'll thank yourself for it!

I asked Chiara some puzzlers after the show:

What's top of mind when your create? Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?
Concept is always top of my mind when I start creating. But the second aspect I can't understimate is composition. I always rely on my instinct.

What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?
Currently, editorial and fine art.
Dams, Billion-dollar dams are making water
shortages, not solving them – Internazionale magazine
Why did you chose the First World Problem you did?
“Time” is the most important thing we have in our life.

The rise of an oligarchical elite that threatens to undermine free, flat, fair markets and establish a new feudalism is a concern for many. What real issue are you most concerned about in the world today? What fires your jets and gets your blood pressure up?
I think that the capitalistic system and, in general, an oligarchical elite is interested in keeping most of the people ignorant and isolated.
Can Facebook really create a global
community? Internazionale magazine
The more ignorant and isolated we are, the more unaware we are: we are unaware how much  time we lose everyday (in order to possess unnecessary things), and how we are becoming slaves to this system.

I'm really worried about this. But the thing that gets my blood pressure up is looking at the people and seeing that they are mostly disinterested in their own life, their own care. They believe the most important thing is to have money. 
Allergies – Internazionale
magazine

I really feel an outcast in this contemporary world.

What statement do you want to make with your work?
I would really say to everyone: “Know yourself and be strong and be happy: don't waste your time.”

We often build on the backs of giants. I know I try to, and I've been influenced by the Constructivists, Symbolists, and Bauhaus. What artists and / or art movements inform / inspire your work?

I think I've been influenced by Fauvism, Folk art in general, Naif art, Precisionism, Charles Sheeler in particular, and I love primitive art.

L'homme sous la mer –
Revue XXI online
If you could cross the world to see the work of one compelling creator and visit their studio (anytime, anyplace), which one would you chose?
David Hockney, because I'm studying his process of creation. I'm really excited because I have the opportunity to go to Beaubourg, Paris, to visit his retrospective.

Any advice for new artists, starting out in today's market?
Feel free to explore, and be happy doing that. At first.

Stay strong and be careful.

Double page spread from the children's book “Les Petites Plan├Ętes”, Les Editions du Ricochet

What are you working on now? What’s your next big challenge?
I'm working on different projects, but I'm going to start my first graphic novel, and then look for a publisher.

Dutch dna – Internazionale magazine
Check out more of her work at her website.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Xiao Hua Yang's Petite Bourgeois Revolution

Xiao Hua Yang was one of the fantastic artists who participated in the My Petite Bourgeois Revolution show at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto recently. His work feels like the product of Symbolism meeting the wondrous Lorenzo Mattotti.



What's top of mind when your create? Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?

The aspect that fascinates me the most is how convenient our lives have become thanks to some of the great inventions out there lately, but as we are benefiting from them, we are also more or less getting too dependant on them, which contradicts the idea of having those inventions at the first place. Having this in mind, I wanted to comment and make fun of a common struggle of ours.

What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?

Mostly editorial work. I like working with texts and stories because I get to experience something brand new each time when assigned a new project. All I need to do is to focus on the story and find a way to get the author's idea across in a visual way.

Why did you choose the First World Problem you did?
It's one of my daily struggles to keep my battery alive so that I feel connected to the rest of the world. I'd assume people are having the same struggle too.

What statement do you want to make with your work?
First of all, it's just a friendly reminder. Secondly, I am hoping that people would actually give it a second thought.

Any advice for new artists, starting out in today's market?
Keep working hard

What are you working on now? What’s your next big challenge?
I am working on a personal project right now. It's a story in which two smaller stories intertwine together as one. A story about hunting and being hunted and a story about chasing and being chased. It sounds a bit complicated, but it's actually not that complex. Here, I am hoping to explore the relationships between people and leave an open space for the viewers to participate and experience too.

Xiao let me get a sneak peek at his personal project, and the pieces are gorgeous. Rich, sumptuous and eerie imagery.




You can find Xiaohua Yang at his website, yxhart.me, and on instagram: @dawnwatch. Check it out!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Matthew Daley's Petite Bourgeois Revolution

Illustration maestro Matthew Daley (Shiny Pliers) recently participated in the My Petite Bourgeois Revolution art show at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto.

His work is graphic, joyfully colorful and narrative. He's making a modern Canadian pictogram language through illustration, Saul Bass crossed with Tetris. Yes, he does both comics and great infographics.



I caught up with him after the show and peppered him with questions:

1) What's top of mind when your create? Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?
Concept is what usually comes first and I flesh it out from there. Everything else comes with a certain amount of fine tuning and trial and error. I kind of love seeing how things come together and how the end result might differ from what I originally envisioned or sketched.

2) What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?
My work is usually of the editorial/commercial variety.

2) Why did you chose the First World Problem you did?
I chose "Short Turn" because short turning or rerouted street cars have been the bane of my existence since moving to the East End. Since most events I partake in happen in either the West End or City core, there's nothing more frustrating than having to get off a streetcar while partway through a long trip home and waiting for the next one to show up or to have to deal with shuttle buses.



4) What statement do you want to make with your work?
That all Kaiju is awesome and worthy of love.

5) We often build on the backs of giants. I know I try to, and I've been influenced by the Constructivists, Symbolists, and Bauhaus. What artists and / or art movements inform / inspire your work?
My main inspiration over the past decade has been mid-20th century illustration and design, particularly the work of James Flora or Mary Blair. I’m also heavily influenced by the playful mayhem of the Dadaists and the aesthetic of Eiji Tsuburaya’s incredible monster designs in Godzilla movies and Ultraman episodes.

6) If you could cross the world to see the work of one compelling creator and visit their studio (anytime, anyplace), which one would you chose? French children’s book illustrator, Olivier Douzou.

7) Any advice for new artists, starting out in today's market?
Keep having fun. Getting started is frustrating and it may take ages to get to a point where you’re professionally satisfied, but that’s all part of the struggle.

8) What are you working on now? What’s your next big challenge?
I’m presently plugging away at a Kaiju design a day for “Kaijuly 2017” which I’m showcasing on my tumblr page and on Instagram.

Find me online at www.shinypliers.com






Thursday, 13 July 2017

My Petite Bourgeois Revolution: Robert John Paterson

My Petite Bourgeois Revolution was held at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto in May. We had a fantastic selection of artists for the show, including the inimitable Robert John Paterson.

His work is Constructivist design savvy crossed with Pop-Art fun, driven by sharp wit. And perhaps the ghost of the legendary Saul Bass.


I asked him some questions about his work, the show, and the future:

1) What's top of mind when your create? Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?

Concept is always first and foremost. I lean more design than fine art, if something isn't done for a reason I really have a hard time investing. I feel the idea should be whats on display, and my illustration is more or less the vehicle to communicate it. When the illustration looks pretty that's a win win, but to me if the concept doesn't work no amount of polish can save it.

2) What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?
I feel like I'm a mix of editorial and advertising. I do a lot of film and band posters, as well as magazine and online editorial work. I did my first book cover earlier this year and I loved it, to me its was pretty much a combination of those two fields. Concept heavy but still had to be bold and attention grabbing.



2) Why did you chose the First World Problem you did?
Mine was critique of the snacking habits of the first world, I wouldn't say its unique to the privileged because many lower income families have a similar if not worse sugar and super sized portion based diets. My piece was a diptych with a hand too big too fit into a Pringles can on one side, and a cookie too big to fit in the glass of milk on the other.

3) The rise of an oligarchical elite that threatens to undermine free, flat, fair markets and establish a new feudalism is a concern for many. What real issue are you most concerned about in the world today? What fires your jets and gets your blood pressure up?
Diet is a very scary issue to me. Its so easy to eat conveniently and the long term side effects of many harmful ingredients and food preparation practices are soooo long term most people (even experts) have no idea how we will be effected later in life.

4) What statement do you want to make with your work?

Statement is a tricky word. It sounds so defined and ridged. I'm more of a have you thought about this kind of person. People can be so strict in their politics, religion, opinions and criticisms. I don't make things to change anyone's mind or get everyone to think like me. More of a hey did you notice this or thought about this side of a subject approach.

5) We often build on the backs of giants. I know I try to, and I've been influenced by the Constructivists, Symbolists, and Bauhaus. What artists and / or art movements inform / inspire your work?
Big fan of 1960s Graphic Design, heavily influenced by Sal Bass and Milton Glaser.


6) If you could cross the world to see the work of one compelling creator and visit their studio (anytime, anyplace), which one would you chose?
No one specific but I would like to spend time in Europe and study typesetting and printmaking with more traditional tools and masters. I screen print my work here in Toronto, but other than pulling the screen my process is computer heavy. Would love to learn and work more traditionally.

7) Any advice for new artists, starting out in today's market?
Networking. Build relationships with people outside the digital world. Instagram popular doesnt always mean real world popular. Go to shows and make friends, build a scene rather than a following.

8) What are you working on now? What’s your next big challenge?
No big plan, lots of little ones. Working with some bands and short commissions. I feel like lots of smaller steps are more beneficial for me to keep getting experience and developing my illustrative voice rather than a few big ones each year.

You can see more of his work here.

And it's available on Etsy! I've always wanted a Crystal Lake Camp Counsellor badge...