Thursday, 16 November 2017

Grace Heejung Kim's Petite Bourgeois Revolution


Back in May, i curated a show at Northern Contemporary Gallery in Toronto called My Petite Bourgeois Revolution, which was all about First World problems. Grace Heejung Kim was one of the awesome artists who participated, adding her exquisitely balanced yet deceptively simple yet endlessly intriguing work to the collection. I caught up with her and peppered her with all kinds of questions:


What's top of mind when your create?Composition, concept, craft, anatomy, color? What aspect fascinates you most?
When I make illustrations, concept always first, then, composition and color. I believe that every single step of the process is important and fascinating. I try to consider everything as an play/experiment. That way, you constantly push your boundaries and also have fun while doing it.

What kind of work do you usually do? Commercial, editorial, advertising, fashion, fine art?
I mostly do editorial works and fine art. However I am always open for new challenges!

What is your dream project?

I always like to tell a story with my illustrations, and I like to read, a lot. I’ve only done mock covers so far, but I would love to make book covers and eventually publish my own story.

Why did you chose the First World Problem you did?

Aren’t we always looking for free wifi?

I know I am.


What artists and / or art movements inform / inspire your work?

I am inspired by all of the contemporary and modern art that I come across living in New York City. But I have to say Fluxus from the 60-70s is my favorite art movement. I love the idea of collaboration of different artistic media and disciplines.

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 would love to visit the New York City in the 1960s to experience, and hopefully participate, the Fluxus.

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

Be persistent and patient. Don’t be afraid to put your work out.

Do you have anything to say to your future self in 5 years?
I hope you have a dog by now.




See more of her work at her website, or on Behance. Trust me, it's worth a visit!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron


Announcing Theo Paxstone and the Dragon of Adyron, my first middle grade 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