24.3.07

Root Specimens



In the Spring of 2006 my mother and I planted an assortment of vegetables in our garden, which lies in the virile southeast corner of our lot at 2 Rusholme Dr. In order to keep our neighbours from violent retaliation (as they are predominantly Portuguese), we were forced to plant many tomato vines in our garden. But we also decided to plant red and romaine lettuce, eggplant, purple kolrabi, red cabbage, and various herbs to pepper the gaps. Since our garden received more than its required share of sunlight, and since last summer was a wet one, our garden grew as if it were some poor farmer's hot-ticket science expirement gone terribly wrong - our lettuce stalks grew almost four feet high (if you are imagining a four-foot head of lettuce, please stop and imagine a wilted head of lettuce with large shoots bearing small yellow flowers growing out the center of the head instead. That's what it looked like. Or imagine the giant head of lettuce, because it's more fun), and the cabbage leaves made bosky allusions to elephant ears.



Ah, but The Kolrabi, it turned its energy towards producing swollen red bulbous nodes the size of footballs from which its leaves could sprout, and resembled something more alien than even the pugs and curious muts that sometimes trounced our small latticed garden fence. Most of the garden plants were either eaten or pulled in the fall, and most all the rest were quartered and dissolved by the processes of winter months. But the three mutant Kolrabi, they survived through to three days ago, when I finally pulled the stalwarts from their soil because the snows had cleared and the sun and warmth had thawed the plants and they were starting to stink, like rotten cabbage. These plants were unique, and I thought they should be documented, so I called my neighbour Jeremy Jansen, and he brought over his equipment and we shot our specimens hanging from a string (which was Jeremy's idea). These three photographs are the result of almost nine months of preparation on the part of the Kolrabi, and a few serendipidous moments on our part.

23.3.07

Food Pyramid part 1 - Bread.


Here is the first part of one of the new designs for the next run of Fighting shirts Niall McClelland and I will be releasing in short order. This is going to be a food pyramid, like the ones you might know and love from your school years, but drawn as a still life (sort of) with all real food. There is a photograph to go along with the drawing, and I will post that shortly. But for now, it's just breads and cereals done with brush and ink. You're supposed to eat 6 or more breads and cereals a day. How many do you eat?

Poem: The Seduction of Captain Hamm

This is a very good poem; it is a tragic ode to the capitulation and resulting emasculation of a most revered leader, told by a lowly but sexually charged gay Able Seaman (Second lowest rank in the old time navy):

The Seduction of Captain Hamm

Yes Oh Captain!
Oh my Captain
Whose sails pregnant
Take us South

I've browned my neck
Took hand to Deck
Bled through to please
Your supple mouth

A brazen brine
Would taste as wine
Were captain's blessing
Brought to cup

A swollen stew
The god's own brew
Were Captain's river
Summed with sup

Have at thine self
For higher shelf
The triden't spires
Hardly reach

Have at thine heart
for heaven's art
your crossing hands
confiding preach

But have at me
and feel the sea
as moves within
a charg'ed nother

And have at mine
For clouds divine
Your moment as
A common brother

Yes oh captain
Oh my man!
Whose power lost
With harbored lust

Thine legs are gone
and sails are long
And North, true North's
Relieved of trust.

16.3.07

Map of Eternia


There is a fictional far-away place called Eternia, a realm of magic and wonder, that lies at the center (roughly) of the known universe. It's inhabitants are a very concise microcosm of all things living carbon and breathing something in the universe. It is the planet where the saga of the ever-popular He-Man cartoon series takes place. It was created by Mattel.

Here I've produced a map of Eternia's Light and Dark Hemispheres from the facts and figures I found online, in episode guides and on the Eternia Wiki. The piece was made for a Masters of the Universe charity Art Show happening here in Toronto on the 29th of March at Magic Pony, 694 Queen street West, and although you won't be able to bid on the original work (this guy is like 60 inches wide and 70 long), you can bid on one of ten prints of the map that are a more manageable size (24"x28"). All proceeds go to the Sick Kids Foundation (Sick Children's hospital, by the way, is one of Toronto's most amazing architectural gems. It is THE place you want to go if you're a sick kid anywhere, especially if you dig Harry Potter - it's almost a castle). I think the show starts around 7pm. It costs money to go, which I don't approve of, but I think it goes to charity too.

I have never been more certain than anything in my enter life than the fact that, were this theme-show not about Masters of the Universe, during the course of my long life I would not have created or ever considered creating a detailed map of Eternia.

10.3.07

Tangent Theory




A tangent is a line that intersects a curve at some point where the slope (angle) of the line and the curve are equal, and continues on in either direction, away from the curve forever if that curve is part of a circle. That's why when people talk about going off on a tangent, it means they're heading off topic, and at some point they'll have admit they've digressed (usually by saying 'but I digress') and turn back around in order to stay the true course (this is all common knowledge, yes, but why not start simple). Now, let's imagine that when we talk on a subject, in conversation or in debate or in lecture, that the substance of the subject comprises the volume of a cone. A cone is a three-dimensional shape that's comprised of a great many circles that get smaller and smaller as they move up a line (the cone's height), eventually arriving at a point. Let's say that arriving at this point is the ultimate goal of any purposeful discussion, and we get there by working our way up the concentrically shrinking/rising circles. We always start on a point along any given circle's circumference (it's perimeter), and if it's a new(ish) topic, we're generally starting at the base of the cone. As we take wind and start to speak, we can move the conversation in a number of ways. I'd say the most common way is to tarry along the circumfence of the circle, until a point (not THE point, but a point - there are a kajiliion of them on every plane; the surface of the cone is a plane) is made that belongs on a higher level and elevates the conversation to a higher ring. We then continue along this ring until that happens again, and this is how we elevate the conversation. The conversation could continue entirely along the surface of the cone and eventually reach THE point without ever heading towards the center of the cone, where deep conversations take place, and I'll tell you why that's a tough place to be in a minute. This type of upward-spiralling circumferential discussion, I would posit, is a healthy discussion, as discussions almost always take place in a circular fashion, and thus require the path of circumference to keep them moving. My case is that a circular discussion is never a bad thing, but it wanes when you make it all the way round and discover it hasn't moved upward (as you may see, you can make it almost all the way around a circle and still keep from taunting futility if you're able to gain a touch of higher ground before you close the gap on any given ring; and since there are a seemingly infinite amount of rings that make up your topic cone, it really doesn't take much more than a small step to keep you moving in a positive direction). Up and up and round and round we travel, until we reach the summit, plant our flag of reason on it's verbose perch, and ramble on along our new learned level of understanding to find another topic to conquer. Yes, this is a precipitous place to be, at the height of conversation, but there are many cones to climb.

So, you'd like to get off the circular surface of a topic (it can get dizzying) and plod through it's skin to taste it's sweet innards? Well, you're in for a treat, as they taste pretty good, but they don't provide you with much direction. You can crawl into the voluminous expanses of a topic's substance and become lost forever - to take a linear approach to a conversation is to behave in such an efficient manner that it's almost beyond human capability, but should you succeed in going the straight and narrow, there are these items to which you ought to pay heed: Your direction - are you headed along a radial path, or are you cruising along a chord (see circle diagram. A chord is a straight line between any two points on a circle's circumference). And if you're on a chord, well then you're going to come shooting right out the other side of the mountain at some point, and you'd better know it, otherwise you're doing no better than the man on a tangent. If you stop at any point during your linear journey to the center of argument, then what? You'll be terribly hard-pressed heading straight up - like making your way to the tip of an iceberg by digging a long tunnel and then chipping away at it's ceiling - there's a lot of topical weight bearing down on that central matter; it's a heavy place. And, if you decide to stay where you are and start in a circle again, well then you may do so, but you've created a new surface for yourself and the slope is much steeper, or THE point is of a lesser quality of air (see diagram). Mining your topic is bound to get you into trouble, but it's one hell of a trip. The nice part is that you shouldn't have much trouble retracing your steps if the canary quits chirping. I hope you can see why deep conversations rarely get to THE point, although they are rewarding in the sense that thay offer overwhelming perpsectives and provide plenty of mindful exercise.

Consider these notions next time to set off to find purchase on a greater topical slope among the foothills of small talk and idle banter (Ide banter isn't even a foothill - it's the Nebraska of conference, where you're apt to dig a trench in order to climb a hill. But hey, the corn is sweeter than candy, and there's plenty of room for all). Also, consider that I may have just wasted a hunk of your time if you don't take adsurdity seriously.

5.3.07

Magical Nature Specimen Mobile


Here is one of two Free-floating Mobiles I have drawn/painted (you see, this is still a bit of an issue for me - I used a paint brush exclusively to render these twigs and leaves and strings, however they don't really look like paintings, do they?). The mobile is made up of little specimens of things you might find outdoors, in nature, and they are all tied together with a fine gossamer thread (my father alerted me to the fact that these threads are more gossamer than twiny or stringish). There is some evidence of gravity in the way the specimens are connected, although nothing's really holding them up. This is the part of magic realism which I enjoy.