Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sightseeing in 3-D

Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
painting # 231, 2015

Part of my creative process in choosing subject matter for a painting has to do with the intent and the narrative. While I am not the first to use a View-Master as a prop, several artists whose work I admire certainly ignited the idea that this toy might be an interesting object worth consideration if only I can create something visually unique in content and composition. These artists would include James Hollingsworth, Otto Lange, Kelly Grace and Carl Janes.  (click on names to view)

With the opportunity of on-line shopping, comes the possibility of acquiring great finds without ever having to leave your home. This View Master is a model G produced from 1959-1977. It was purchased from a seller on Etsy living in Montana, while the three sets of travel picture reels were purchased individually on eBay from a seller living in the U.K. The whole narrative came to me while browsing and connecting the dots.

I did not have a View-Master as a child, but several kids in my neighbourhood did. Most of the reels they owned were cartoon serials from Disney, Hanna-Barbera or Warner Bros. However, I do distinctly remember viewing several travel reels. The ones that come to mind were of Disneyland and Expo '67 held in Montreal. In retrospect it would be interesting to know if viewing these fascinating stereo pictures did contribute somehow to my love of travelling and later visiting all these places in real life because the three dimensional effect does give the feeling of being there and longing to visit them one day.

In this lot are reels of Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and New York City. The images are from the 1950's and early 1970's. We visited Niagara Falls during the last week of March in 1998 while on a road trip to Hamilton Ontario during my running days when I ran the "Around the Bay 30K". The most impressive thing about the falls was the shear force of the water. 

We visited Grand Canyon during the last week of February 2009 on a road trip of Arizona, Nevada and southern Utah. Here, the vastness of the ravine is mind boggling. There was still a bit of snow which added to the magic of this mystical place. It was the last week before the shuttle service kicked in, so we could drive at will to discover this amazing national park. 


And finally New York City, one of my favourite places to visit. We've visited the Big Apple four time so far. The first two were in line with the New York City Marathon which I ran in 1994 and 2002, then later as tourists in 2010 and 2013. Sightseeing, great art, Broadway plays and the famous skyline are the main attractions. I always find it a surreal experience to be there. This year, we will be spending Christmas with some family members joining us. On Christmas evening we have tickets for the "Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular" featuring "The Rockettes". I did the photo study for this painting before I even booked the airline tickets. The NYC reel featured in the painting was just randomly added. Call it faith or coincidence that "The Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall" would appear in this disc.






Painting to be exhibited in 
''The Still Life'' Invitational Group Show at the Elliott Fouts Gallery, in Sacramento, CA.
 Sept. 5 - Oct. 1, 2015.

To inquire or acquire this painting, please contact:
Elliott Fouts Gallery
1831 P. Street Sacramento, California, USA , 95811 
Phone (916) 736-1429 
e-mail: efgallery@sbcglobal.ne
t

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Car on The Cars

Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
painting # 229, 2015

During my teens and until my mid twenties, a great deal of the music I purchased was on vinyl. Not only was the sound very distinct, but you had the added bonus of holding the album jacket and liner notes/lyrics while listening to your record. Over the years, the artwork produced on many album covers contributed greatly to popular culture. A marketing tool that added to the enjoyment, sales and by themselves became a desirable items to collect.   

In 1984, new wave / pop-rock band “The Cars” released a multi-platinum studio album entitled ''Heartbeat City''. Peter Phillips' painting, “Art-O-Matic Loop Di Loop” (1972) appeared on the album jacket. It’s one of those classic 1980’s album that kind of defined by early adulthood in many ways, since I was but 22 at the time.

Before I even started to paint and my real interest in art would begin, it is undeniable that the exposure to this form of art would contribute and influence my artwork. In recent years I have completed several paintings in the same 12 x 12'' format. 

The original acrylic painting on canvas, ''Art-O-Matic Loop Di Loop'' is mural format, measuring a massive 200 x 400 cm or approximately 6½ ft high by 13 ft long. At the time the record came out was owned by Galerie Neuendorf in Hamburg, Germany.  It features a pin-up girl, automotive parts, light beams, circles, stars and a 1971 Plymouth Duster 340. The concept for my own painting happened by chance when I found an exact Johnny Lightning die-cast car in yellow on eBay. I've added the mason jar since it's purpose is to preserve stuff.



English artist Peter Phillips (b. 1939) is considered one of the fathers of the Pop Art Movement and after a temporary move to New York City exhibited alongside is American contemporaries Andy WarholRoy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist. He has had several retrospective of his work including the Tate Gallery in London which owns several of his works. 

''Heartbeat City'' was produced by Robert ''Mutt'' Lange (Def Leppard, Shania Twain, AC/DC, Bryan Adams) and The Cars. Six singles would receive radio airplay, including four top 10 hits, ''Hello Again'', ''You Might Think'', ''Drive'' and ''Magic''. Actor Timothy Hutton directed the video for ''Drive'' sung by Benjamin Orr. It was during the filming of that video that frontman Ric Ocasek met his future wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova (whom I had a massive crush on). To add more Pop Art flavour to the album, Andy Warhol directed the très cheezy video for "Hello Again". The album was certified 4x platinum in the US alone. Click on the below image to view the video.     



Painting to be exhibited in 
''The Still Life'' Invitational Group Show at the Elliott Fouts Gallery, in Sacramento, CA.
 Sept. 5 - Oct. 1, 2015.

To inquire or acquire this painting, please contact:
Elliott Fouts Gallery
1831 P. Street Sacramento, California, USA , 95811 
Phone (916) 736-1429 
e-mail: efgallery@sbcglobal.ne
t

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Coca-Cola Bottle at 100

20 x 10'', acrylic on hardboard, 2015
Painting # 230

The title says it all. Coca-Cola might be 129 years old, however the iconic form of it’s bottle is celebrating 100 years in 2015. This 6-pack edition was made especially for the occasion.

Coca-Cola was invented by Dr John Pemberton, a pharmacist living in Columbus Georgia. It was first introduced in 1886. The famous fonts used for in the lettering / logo is named Spencerian Script. In 1915, Coca-Cola launched a competition for the design of a unique bottle that could be distinguish by it's form alone. ''The contour bottle'' created by Earl R. Dean was declared as the winning entry. Coca-Cola has great sustainability. It is undeniable that from a marketing stand point that the company has gone to great length to remain current while retaining a nostalgic edge unlike it's main competitor Pepsi-Cola. Based on a best global brand rankings in 2014 by Interbrand, Coca-Cola was the world's 3rd most valuable brand, behind Apple and Google. Pepsi is ranked 24th. 

During the month of May of 2014, my wife Suzanne and I had the immense pleasure to visit the World of Coca-Cola. The museum is located in Atlanta, Ga, the same city as it's headquarters. It houses an immense collection of artefacts and vintage Coke memorabilia and is a must for any individual who collect anything Coca-Cola. The highlights for me was certainly all of the vintage signs, the Olympic Torch display from past games, the original paintings of the most iconic Santa Claus by Haddon Sundblom and the 'Taste it'' exhibit where you can sample at will the 100+ products made by the Coca-Cola Corporation that are available around the globe. As a parting gift, you get a newly bottled Coca-Cola to take home. 
  




Coca-Cola is a  major sponsors for several sporting events like the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. With Canada hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, Coca-Cola sponsored a Cross-Canada Tour of the trophy before the tournament began with several stops across our country. I was fortunate enough to be part of the medical team for all the seven games held here in Moncton, NB. One of six host cities that also included Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. 



The painting is currently on exhibition in the group show, Under Summer Skies!
To acquire this painting, please contact the 
Fog Forest Gallery 
14 Bridge Street, Sackville, NB. Canada
(506) 536-9000 or e-mail-gallery@nbnet.nb.ca .

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Les Fraîches du Québec



Acrylic on hardboard, 4 x 3''.
Painting # 228, 2015

This painting was juried in the 8th edition of the International Miniature Biennial to be held in Lévis and Saint Nicolas in the province of Québec. As it turns out, the photo study for the painting was actually taken in Lévis as few years back while visiting my wife's sister Lise during a summer vacation.

Sunday June 14th, 2015 - Opening reception

The first part of the opening will be held at
the Presbytère Saint-Nicolas at 1 pm.
The event will continue at the Galerie Louise-Carrier at 3 pm.

At both locations, the jury will announce
the winners of various prizes.

On your journey between both locations, you are invited to stop at the Galerie d’art des Deux-Ponts to visit an exhibit of miniature artist’s books. You are then invited to stop at the artist-run center, Regart, for a current contemporary arts look at miniatures. 
A miniature tour of the world of miniatures this summer in Lévis, Québec, Canada
The exhibition will be held from June 14th to September 6th, 2015.





One exhibit – four locations
    
Presbytère Saint-Nicolas
1450, rue des Pionniers       
Lévis, Qc
 (gallery where my painting is exhibited) 


Galerie Louise-Carrier
33, rue Wolfe
Lévis, Qc                                   
                         
Galerie d'Art des Deux-Ponts
601, route des Rivières
Lévis, QC

Regart
5956, rue Saint-Laurent
Lévis, QC

http://www.artmini.com

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lucky Kitty


Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12''
painting #227, 2015

This past November, I was invited to submit an entry in the 2015 International Artist Grand Prize Competition hosted by the organizers of A.R.T. Revolution Taipei, the premier spring Art Fair in Taiwan. One of the requirements was that the painting should reflect the Asian art market. I immediately mentioned this to my son Jean-Luc. He asked me, ''What would you paint?''. I said, ''Maybe something with Hello Kitty in the composition''. He then pulls out his iPhone and shows me a photo that his friend Matthieu had just sent him. Matthieu had left for Asia the previous day and was backpacking through several east Asian countries. ''Check this out'' he said. ''Matthieu had a connecting flight in Taipei and sent me a picture of a Hello Kitty Store located at the airport terminal''. I had purchased this Lucky Stars Candy tin featuring Hello Kitty about 2 years ago as a possible prop for a painting. With Hello Kitty celebrating her 40th Birthday that same month, it seemed like perfect timing to shine some light of this iconic animated character. 

Hello Kitty is a white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow created by Yuko Shimizu. The character first appeared on a vinyl coin purse in 1974 in Japan and was introduced in the United States two years later. The target audience was primarily for young girls but it has become equally popular with woman.  I probably started noticing Hello Kitty on various products about a decade ago. Now a day, it is probably impossible to enter any department store that does not feature this famous feline on a variety of consumer goods. Hello Kitty is owned by the Japanese company Sanrio . Without doing any advertisement, Hello Kitty has become a cultural phenomenon and a pop culture icon across the globe but especially in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and many Asian countries. She has received the exclusive title of UNICEF Special Friend of Children. Singers Lady Gaga has posed in Kitty fashion and Avril Lavigne featured a SONG on her self-titled fifth studio album. The video has enjoyed more than 73 million views on VEVO.  

Hello Kitty currently appears on an astounding 50,000 plus products distributed in 60 countries. You'd be hard pressed not to find it on any random products. Just Google anything with Hello Kitty and it is bound to exist. Anything you can dream of or imagine, from coloring books, pencil cases, popsicles, t-shirts, dresses, porcelain figurines, cookie jars, bed linen, bedroom furniture, credit card, condoms, ironing boards, microwave ovens, electric fans, toasters, lawnmowers, motor oil, video games to even houses, cars, trains, planes, house cafés, restaurants, theme parks and maternity hospital where the nurses' uniforms features Hello Kitty. It has become a 7 billion dollar /year empire. Click on this LINK for some mind-boggling samples. 





On January 31, I received the news that ''Lucky Kitty'' was selected among 90 finalists from an estimated 4,033 pieces of artworks submitted for the 2015 International Artist Grand Prize Competition created by artists form 78 different countries. A.R.T. Revolution Taipei is to be held in Hall 3 at the Taipei World Trade Center from May 5 to 11, 2015 (including previews). Attendance at last year's event attracted more than 25,000 visitors. I will be the sole representative for Canada. Click HERE for a preview of the finalists and HERE for a link to a video of this grand event.


Update - Event photos (May 11, 2015) 




-SOLD

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Featured on Lines and Colors


My artwork is currently featured on one of the most popular art blogs, 
"Lines and Colors" written by Charley Parker.  Many thanks for the exposure. 
Date- January, 19, 2015.
Please click HERE to view.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Splitting the Apple

Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
Painting #226, 2014

If there is a musical group that really need no introduction, it would be The Beatles. The band from Liverpool England was formed in 1960. They found success in early 1963 when "Please Please me" topped the UK charts. Their initial releases in America were on independent labels. By late 1963, Capitol Record introduced their music to the American public with their #1 single, "I want to hold your hand". The album, "Beatlemania! With the Beatles" was released in Canada on Capitol records on November 25, 1963.  

The timing for this painting, although I almost missed the deadline was to mark the 50th anniversary of their first album release in the United States. "Introducing.....The Beatles" was released on January 10, 1964 by Vee-Jay Records. Capitol Records would release "Meet the Beatles" 10 days later, on January 20. 

The enduring longevity of The Beatles, even if the band were only together for a decade can certainly be attributed to the various directions that they took musically, from pop, rock and roll, psychedelic and hard rock. But their song-writing abilities, especially the Lennon-McCartney collaboration was exceptionally remarkable. They were extremely prolific and studio albums were released in quick succession.

In 1968, the Beatles founded Apple Records as a creative outlet for the band while signing a select group of artists to the roster. In 1970, "Let it be" would be their last studio album recording. By this time, creative differences and tension between the band members caused the group to dissolve. The concept behind this painting creates a narrative of the band splitting up and each member carrying on with their individual solo projects. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr all releases solo albums in 1970. During the following years, their solo recordings sometimes involved one or more of the other members as collaborators. 



Their legions of fans remained hopeful that one day they would reunite, but when John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment building in New York City in 1980, so did that dream. 

When the band broke up, I was only 8 years old. My interest in music only started around age 12. While The Beatles' songs still played on the radio during my teens, I didn't truly appreciate their music until recently. This was probably due to the ever evolving music scene of the 1970's and reduced radio play. After the band broke up, several compilation albums were issued of their past recordings in greatest hits format, specific periods, anthologies and box set which became even more popular than their original recordings. The album 1, which was released in 2000 on the band's 30th anniversary of their break-up is a prime exemple. The record was a compilation of virtually all their number one singles in the UK and the USA. I bought it in 2011, when it was re-released digitally on iTunes re-entering the album charts at #1. The day I completed this painting on December 29, the album was specially price for the holidays and made yet another return on the iTunes charts at #24. That album has sold in excess of 33 million copies, bringing the total sales of the entire Beatles album discography to 600 millions copies sold, making them the most successful act in music history. On this LINK is a song catalogue, with many more singles that did not make it to number one and are among my favourites.  




I purchased "Let it be" about five years ago on eBay for the sole purpose of making this painting. When I did the photo study, in order to see the side of the apple, it needed to be at an angle. I wanted the image to retain the format of a vinyl album jacket. With the help of Photoshop, I was able to crop it as if you are looking at it directly above, but the perspective of their faces is altered because of this. These are by far the best faces I have painted and this is attributed to the fact that I currently use an iPad to view my source material. I am able to see better. It is strange that the photograph of Ringo Starr that was used for the album cover appears to have a thumb or something obstructing the left lower frame. I worked on this painting for more than two months. I anticipated that doing portraiture would be challenging and it was, but the fact that they were all in the same tonal values on my source photo study did ease the process.




The Beatles legacy and influences on other musicians, songwriters, popular culture and in print are immeasurable and will continue to live on as their music as universal appeal and transcends many generations. 

To inquire or acquire this painting, please contact:
Elliott Fouts Gallery
1831 P. Street Sacramento, California, USA , 95811 
Phone (916) 736-1429 
e-mail: efgallery@sbcglobal.ne
t

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Free Parking

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 7 x 5"
Painting #225, 2014

The idea for this painting occurred last year after completing the painting Mondrian Tumbler. I can't remember if I was setting up a composition like this in my dreams, but upon waking up after a full nights' sleep, the first thing that popped in my head was, "I wonder if a Monopoly tumbler exist? Sure enough, I found a listing on eBay and immediately acquired it. It was a promotional item offered by Arby's Restaurants back in 1985. It is resting on a book, The Monopoly Companion, a players' guide written by Monopoly guru Philip Orbanes. It was a fun little piece to do just in time for Christmas.


To acquire this painting, please contact the 
Fog Forest Gallery 
14 Bridge Street, Sackville, NB. Canada
(506) 536-9000 or e-mail-gallery@nbnet.nb.ca .


-SOLD

Friday, December 5, 2014

Do you see what I see?


I currently have two paintings on exhibition at the Fog Forest Gallery. The Christmas showcase exhibition opened this evening and will be running until the end of the month. If you are in the area of Sackville, NB, do make the detour, it will be time well spent. 

Click HERE for details. 
Gallery hours are: Tuesday to Friday 10 am - 5 pm. Saturday 10 am - 1 pm or by appointment.

The Fog Forest Gallery is located at:
14 Bridge Street,
Sackville, NB
(506) 536-9000


Monday, November 3, 2014

Vintage Fashion

Acrylic on gessoed birch panel, 12 x 12"
Painting # 223, 2014

The image for this painting has evolve around a series of serendipitous events. In retrospect, when I started to connect the dots, the process informed me that it was just meant to be.

During the summer of 2013, I was browsing on eBay when I just happen to stumble on this vintage Barbie Sewing Pattern featuring six outfits. I was instantly seduced by the visuals of the illustration. It just screamed "Pop Art", almost à la Andy Warhol. This pattern dating back to 1961, appeared during the same period as Pop Art was emerging. The term was officially introduced in December 1962 on the occasion of a "Symposium on Pop Art" organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. By this time, American advertising had adopted various aspects reflected in modern art, and this sewing pattern was a prime example.  

This past spring, my wife and I visited the southern part of Georgia and South Carolina. This trip had been on my bucket list for close to a decade. Two years ago, I discovered my genealogy on the Richard side, dating back to 1652. I also learned that during "Le grand dérangement" in 1755, my sixth great grandfather, Michel Richard had been deported by the British army from Fort Beauséjour, NB  and sent to Charleston, SC, where he later died. My reasons to visit this region now seemed to carry more weight. After flying to Atlanta, we rented a car and went on a 10-day road trip that included Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Augusta and Atlanta. 

This whole trip was amazing. The people are most courteous and good old Southern Hospitality is still alive and well in these parts. When we visited Charleston, first on our list was the Gibbes Museum of Art . One of their featured exhibitions was a solo show by John Westmark.  Westmark creates dramatic images of faceless human figures that become lyrical by adding contemporary text. His primary material is store bought paper sewing patterns that are meticulously mounted on large canvases. The collages are brought to life with acrylic paint as his medium.  He creates "a narrative based on crisis, conflict and resolution in relation to feminist and gender-related issues". This collection certainly ignited a spark in my decision to use a sewing pattern for the above painting, although mine took a much different approach.

 John Westmark in his studio. 

On my list of commercial galleries to visit in Charleston was the Robert Lange Studios. The roster of artists they represent is among the most gifted realists in America. The two level space and artists studios is located in a historical building that has been modernized while retaining loads of it's original character. I only briefly said a few words and saluted Robert and his wife Megan whom were expecting their first child in a week or so. Upon exiting the gallery, we walked about 100 meters towards the waterfront when my eye caught a glimpse of a Robert Lange painting hanging in a grand lobby space. After inquiring about the work, a lady told me that Lange was collaborating with them. We then made our way to the water taxi and took a cruise in the harbour. 

During my visit to the Robert Lange Studios, 2 Queen Street, May 2014

During the month of July, I received an e-mail from the Robert Lange Studios. An invitation to submit my resumé for a juried exhibition they were organizing to be held at the Vendue, a historical Inn that recently underwent major renovations and transformed into Charleston First Art Hotel. Upon reading this, I immediately made the connection with the Robert Lange painting I had spotted two months earlier that was exhibited in this same space.

I submitted the required documents pretty close to the deadline. The following month, I received news that from the 500+ submissions received, mine was retained among the 40 selected artists for the show. The exhibition is entitled, "I see a Pattern", a theme that can be broadly explored as it was suggested. This opened a window of opportunity to use the Barbie sewing pattern and explore the theme in a very singular way. 

I'll spare you the details about the choice of fabrics used for my composition, but the dotted print material has several anecdotes that happened before and after it was purchased.

The Barbie Doll was introduced by Mattel in March of 1959.  A full clothing line that even included a wedding dress and accessories were launched at the same time.  This Advance Sewing Pattern was introduced two years later for the novice seamstress and designers who wanted to make their own fashion statements by experimenting with fabrics and prints. During the fall of 2009, in conjunction with Barbie's 50th birthday, New York Fashion Week hosted a haute-couture runway show featuring 50 fashion designers that included Diane von Fürstenberg, Vera Wang, Calvin KleinBob Mackie, and Christian Louboutin. Click HERE for a pics featuring live models. 

New York Fashion Week, Barbie runway show, 2009.

I am honoured to be taking part in such a exclusive exhibition, featuring a great diversity of established and emerging artists. The show is set to open on November 21, 2014 and will run until May 30, 2015. Please click HERE for a preview and opening reception information.
The Vendue is located at 19 Vendue Range, Charleston, SC 29401, U.S.A.  


Here is a list of the participating artists:
Tony ChimentoTripp Smith, Victor Grasso .

December 3, 2014 -Update- A friend and fellow participating artist, David Parker attended the opening reception and generously sent me a few pics to share.




August 24, 2015 - latest update:
Painting to be exhibited in 
''The Still Life'' Invitational Group Show" 
at the Elliott Fouts Gallery, in Sacramento, CA.
 Sept. 5 - Oct. 1, 2015.

To inquire or acquire this painting, please contact:
Elliott Fouts Gallery
1831 P. Street Sacramento, California, USA , 95811 
Phone (916) 736-1429 
e-mail: efgallery@sbcglobal.ne
t