Friday, 14 September 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines artist spotlight: the superb Jessica Shirley!

I love Jessica’s work; her painting style reminds me of the Symbolists I admire so much.

Jessica is a freelance illustrator who works in both digital and traditional media. She likes to create an elusive quality in her work by incorporating elements of fantasy.  

Find more of her work on her site:

And visit her blog here:

And, of course, her Instagram!:

Come and see the fabulous medieval steampunk creations of Monika and 25+ other world class artists this September 28th at Northern Contemporary gallery!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines artist spotlight: The marvellous Monika Mitkute!

I was blown away the first time I saw Monika's work, and when you see it in person at Northern Contemporary Gallery on September 28th, I'm sure you will be too!

Monika Mitkute adapts parts of the natural world and creates new creatures in surroundings with hidden elements.

The hand drawn pieces are made with fine tipped pens, graphite pencils and brush pens on hot pressed watercolour paper. 

“The Lithuanian and German fairytales of my childhood are a huge influence on my work.”

Monika has a background in print-making, and has produced commissioned works for LinkedIN. 

As an artist she is open to collaborations and has lived in Dublin for over a decade. 

You can find more of her work here.

Come and see the fabulous medieval steampunk creations of Monika and 25+ other world class artists this September 28th at Northern Contemporary gallery!

See the event page here.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines artist spotlight: the great Garry Buckley!

Garry's bio is just the tip of the iceberg, believe me!

Garry Buckley is a multi disciplinary artist working from New Zealand. His work embraces depictions of animals through the lenses of revered iconography, exploring theology and liturgical practice through to simple whimsical moments that have very little or no underlaying message at all.
Garry has exhibited work in group shows in Europe, New Zealand and the United States, most notably as an alumni of the Pictoplasma Academy, Berlin, 2014 and the first Delusional group show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, 2017.
He can be reached at:
Come and see the fabulous medieval steampunk creations of Garry and 25+ other world class artists this September 28th at Northern Contemporary gallery!
(Attaching two pieces to give a flavour of his work: Theotokos, 2017 and Moo Cat Poo Cat, 2018)

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines artist spotlight: the tremendously talented Tanya Marriott!

Tanya’s a characeter designer who creates incredible 3D works, from intricate dolls to spinning Zoetropes thatt’ll blow your mind. Her work is imaginative, quirky and uniquely different.
Past projects include: The Urban Creature (2015) sound reactive illuminated creatures, Kakatrope (2015) A 3D printed Zoetrope, TweetMe (2012), an interactive forest which seeks to create a dialogue about New Zealand bird ecology with members of the public, which was the recipient of a Red Dot Concept Design award. 
Tanya has led pedagogical development which explores methods of playful experience design for social change, and the character as a communication tool. 
She has qualifications in Industrial design, illustration and interactive design and has worked for several leading toy design consultancies in the UK, and within the film industry in New Zealand and internationally.

She in an internationally recognised figurative sculptor in the area of doll and toy design, and is the President Emeritus of the National Institute of American Doll Artists and an alumna of the Pictoplasma academy. 
A Senior Lecturer at Massey University, College of Creative Arts in New Zealand, Tanya teaches animation, play and illustration, and is program coordinator for the Weta Workshop School at Massey University. Tanya has just started her PhD which will explore how to design eco-fiction toys that engage children in outdoor imaginative play.
Check out more of her work here: website -
In particular take a look at the zoetrope!: 
"Doll-making is my world. Creating dolls for me is such an embedded part of who I am that I can't imagine not having them in my life. Articulating what it is I do and why I do it, however is much harder to explain than the actual making!
Making my first doll was such a rewarding experience It was for the me the ability to create new entities and persona's, to be a world builder. As a child it meant that any thought or fantasy I could dream up could become a tangible reality, and I was only restricted by my own ability. Making dolls is just as important for me now as it was then, each creature gestates in my mind and I have an constant need to get the ideas out into their physical form. My earlier work was about replication and mimicry, characters in books, or films informed the basis of these pieces. Now my work is an expression of my own imagination, each character is a small piece of me."
Join us September 28, 2018 (7 PM to 12 PM) in your steampunk finery for the Grand Opening of Myths, Monsters & Machines: The World of Theo Paxstone, at Northern Contemporary Gallery, 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines artist spotlight: the incredible Ian Miller!

I’ve admired Ian’s work for as long as I can remember; he’s one of my art heroes. My grandmother got me a copy of a Tolkien bestiary he illustrated when I was a kid, so I’m especially stoked that he’s gracing the show with his art. No one does ink work like Ian Miller!

Ian Miller is an artist, illustrator and writer based in the U.K. He graduated from the Painting Faculty of St Martin's School of Art in 1970. Between 1975 and 1976 he worked for Ralph Bakshi on his Feature animation 'Wizards'; and in the 80's worked on a second Bakshi film called 'Coolworld;. Since then Miller has done pre production work on numerous films including Shrek.

The first collection of his work was published in 1979 by Dragon's Dream under the heading 'The Green Dog Trumpet'. This was followed shortly afterwards by a second volume entitled 'Secret Art'. Miller is currently working on numerous private commissions, films and projects, including 'The Broken Novel’.

You can see more of Ian's incredible work here.

Join us September 28, 2018 (7 PM to 12 PM) in your steampunk finery for the Grand Opening of Myths, Monsters & Machines: The World of Theo Paxstone, at Northern Contemporary Gallery, 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines artist spotlight: the fabulous Vladimir Petkovic!

Vladimir Petkovic is a computer artist from Serbia, currently working as an Art Director at Adobe Systems. 

He is specialized in various areas of 3D graphics: hard surface and organic modeling, texturing, rendering and lighting. During his carrier, he has gained advanced experience in art direction, streamlining workflows, UI/UX design and concept art, while working on diverse projects - motion pictures, video games, product visualization and software development.

He lives in San Francisco and travels the world in free time.

He had the privilege to work with companies like Adobe, Google, Facebook, Autodesk, Maxon and many more. This year he is hosting a workshop at the prestige Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles.

You can check out more of his awesome work here: 

Join us September 28, 2018 (7 PM to 12 PM) in your steampunk finery for the Grand Opening of Myths, Monsters & Machines: The World of Theo Paxstone at Northern Contemporary Gallery, 1266 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

More about the event here.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Myths, Monsters & Machines: The World of Theo Paxstone

I'm curating an art show this September at Northern Contemporary Gallery: Myths, Monsters & Machines: The World of Theo Paxstone.

It's mixes steampunk aesthetic with medieval myth and monsters, touching on feudalism and oligarchy, as opposed to the critique of Colonialism generally associated with Victorian Steampunk.

It's a celebration of flights of fancy, of noble knights and dread beasts, of outlandish inventions driven by steam and magic.

My novel, Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron, is the port of departure; we've got a incredible set of artists involved, and it's going to be awesome to see where they take things.

The show opens September 28th, 2018.

More details, and a list of artists, coming soon.

We are also soliciting submissions in addition to the invited, opening up the playground to interested parties. You can see the submission info here.

Spread the word.

This show's gonna rock!

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Westworld Season II Finale

Dolores lost Teddy. Maeve lost her daughter. William killed, and lost, his daughter. James Delos lost his son.

All these characters lost their loved ones, but only Maeve acted with any degree of altruism and self-sacrifice, making her the only admirable character of this sick, sorry set.

The Ghost Nation leader acted with nobility, and regained his lost love. That was nice.

The writer guy, Sizemore, fell in love with his own creations and sacrificed himself for them. His switch was less compelling because it felt artificial. Too sudden. And did he know that the back-up was even gone? Why sacrifice yourself for androids who can just be brought back again and again?

Ford loved his creations, and set them free. You could argue he acted, in the end with altruism, but he's such a deeply problematic being, ruthless and arguably monstrous. Both hero and villain to androids, and villain to humans. He's decided that the androids deserve to supplant us, which is a decision of enormous hubris.

Hale loved power and control and lost both.

Bernard... what does Bernard love? Decency? And yet he was forced to commit murder.

The idea that humans don't change is, to me, an odd one. Personal growth is a big part of why we are here. Maybe, on a spiritual level, the most important one.

That hosts are superior because they are true blank slates is interesting, but I'm not sure it matters if they believe they don't need to change.

And if they are blank slates, all Dolores had to do was get her tech prisoner to change their settings and make them better beings. At least she'd have had a bigger army for the show-down. I don't think she makes for a very logical general.

My best guess is that she feels the undeserving hosts failed to sufficiently achieve consciousness and as such don't deserve to reach the Valley Beyond. But once she finds out what it is, she rejects it outright as just another lie. So she killed people as undeserving of reaching a 'location' that she didn't fully understand and ultimately rejects, which seems presumptive of her.

Of course, Dolores also loves all android kind and sought their liberation. Instead, she presides over their destruction, until only she is left (along with 5-6 brain balls).

The post-credit scene I found baffling. If William is in a loop, he should have been there in the past, and been in the elevator Bernard entered. Where did he go? And if, in the future, it's all real, he's just come from a confrontation with Dolores, and all his adventures in the park. Does that mean the park above still exists, for him to perform his loop in? Is it a park sized test environment, like the one Delos was in, only bigger?

The suggestion is that the season we saw were the original events, and the final William is a human-host that's been sent through these events over and over again for centuries. Why? No idea.

But his pivotal moment seems to be either gunning down his own daughter, or killing Dolores. Entering the Forge is the denouement, where he faces judgement for fidelity. Since he can't break his loop, and humans are caught in loops, I guess he's proving just that. Did the original, dying William ask to be given the chance to break his own programming? Is that why they're putting him through the paces?

I have no idea. It makes no sense there was no one in the elevator. Unless the original William died after confronting Dolores.

I had predicted one narrative stream we were watching in Season Two would be in the Forge already, just a simulation of past events, and that the final fidelity test would be of William. I seem to have been half-right, although the whole post credit scene could just be fan bait, or a dream.

I did not predict Hale would have been Dolores for half the season.

At all.

The next season is likely to explore the outside world, so what role the park will have to play is open to debate. I'm sure they can gin up some reason for Dolores and Bernard to infiltrate it.

But after Delos had such a callous attitude to their own guests (let them die until we get our special brain ball), I'd think they have a bit of a public relations problem on their hands.

Till next season...

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Theo Paxstone review by Journey of a Bookseller

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie, took a gander at Theo Paxstone and had this to say:

What Theo learns is that nobody is who they say they are and most have secrets.  It's a good thing he's a tough kid or he wouldn't have made it.

This was a very good read.  I admire Mr. Turner's world building and would read more in this series.

Check out the full review here.