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 span from the 1950's to the 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 returned during the fall of 2016 where I tried the new Zip-Line.

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 five 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 in New York City 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 was exhibited in 
''The Still Life'' Invitational Group Show at the Elliott Fouts Gallery, in Sacramento, CA.
 Sept. 5 - Oct. 1, 2015


To be exhibited in a two-person show at the Fog Forest Gallery, Sackville, NB
October, 2017, details to follow.


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 be exhibited in a two-person with Yvon Gallant entitled "Harvest" at the Fog Forest Gallery, Sackville, NB
October 12 - Nov. 8,  2017.