Wednesday, September 29, 2010

YOU SAY ANTIQUE, I SAY.......



Overpriced stuff. Ok, as you know my new work is mixed media. Which means, inthe words of Trish Boon :

Well, the 'thrill of the chase' continues. For me, there is no such thing as a real break. Yes, I take time away from painting, but I am always thinking up new ideas. It is the curse of the artist. Or at least the curse of THIS artist. To quote my favourite doctor "Oh, the thinks you can think. If you're willing to try. Think invisible ink! Or a gink with a stink! Or a stair to the sky. If you open your mind, Oh, the thinks you will find". 



What is my point? Well, I was out antiquing this last weekend, and it turned into a scavenger hunt for neat stuff for my upcoming art projects. Here are some of the things I saw. Enjoy!


Cool game. Lots of ideas to steal borrow from this.
All my favourite books: "Dangerous Deeds", "Johnny Chuck",  "Ol' Mistah Buzzard", and
 "Mr. Mocker".
Cool stuff! But EXPENSIVE!!!!


Why? No really, why???
"Yes, I am looking for a creepy 3' clown for my hall....."
"Yes, so I have this empty spot in my dining room....I was looking for something unique...."
Nothing like a doll coffin.
I am bringing "whoopee" back!
Such an unfortunate name. "Till I cum Toys" SO DIRTY!
I think Santa should lay off the cocaine. There. I said it. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

BOOK CLUB - PART 3 - THE FINAL ADVENTURES OF RAINBOW ROB

Ok. So, you have all been such good little waiters. No, I mean like you are good at waiting....NOT you are good at serving tables. Although, maybe you are? Oh, you know what I meant! So....
When we last left Rob he was trying things out.
Finding what fits can really fill you with doubt.

He tried to be orange, yellow, green and then red.
But nothing was right, they were all wrong instead!




I was willing to overlook the crack about 'small'.
And walking on snow is not like me at all.

C'mon, PINK in the rainbow? That's crazy and dumb!
And pink and Rob go together like ice-cream and "yum".

At this point in the story, the author's on crack.
But like any good book, we'll soon be on track!




So there. There you have it. The whole point of the book.
To tell all the world, that it's not how you look.

This book, as you seen, is the story of me.
And now I tell it to you, quite openly.

My message to you? Don't just run with the herd.
Just be true to yourself, just like this little bird!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

THE VERY LAST "ARCADE" POST

This is the last time I will be posting about this show. No, REALLY! I know you are just sick sick sick to death of hearing about this show. The truth is, when you work so hard getting an exhibition together, you just have to keep shoving it down peoples throats! All in the hopes that you are noticed, and perhaps even bought!! For me, I tend to feel a bit sad when it is over. I get a case of the Post Exhibition Depression. It is kinda like the feeling a bride gets after all the presents are opened, and the honeymoon is over. WAAAA. So for me, once the show is done, I usually get the P.E.D. Which means I am expecting this to wash over in me in a few days. So, before the tsunami of self-pity hits, I want to share a couple more of the pieces in this exhibition.
I have talked a lot about the mixed media pieces in this show. Infact, I have gone on and on about the pinball machines made of repurposed materials with the flashing lights. They were the real show-stoppers. They were a BOATLOAD of work, and truthfully, I am not anxious to do more of these right now. So today I am gonna focus on the 3 paintings that I did for the show.
#1 - Sassony Arcade, 36" x 48"



The back story on this one is that it is taken from a photograph of an actual arcade in Los Angeles. I took a snapshot of this building in Google Maps for you:


As you can see, I took a whole whack of 'artistic liberty' with it. Now don't get me wrong,  I think it is fabulous in its current state of....well.......disrepair. But for this show, I felt it needed to be a bit more glossy and new looking. I worked up a bunch of different photoshopped versions, and the angle just worked!!


#2 "Scarlett Women". Which is 25.5" x 21.5" This one was a lot of fun. I love the colours on this one. Pink is a terrific colour to use. Yes, there is a lot of innuendo in the text on this! I know. Dirty. Thankfully as a gay guy, I can get away without being called a pervery misogynist! It was a lot of fun to do. I got the idea from old ads. 
You see, the pinball manufacturers used to send out ads to their clients whenever a new pinball machine came out. (I guess to make sure that they had all the latest machines??) So EVERY machine ever produced has a flyer-like advert for it. Cool huh?? Here are a couple of examples!
Do you love them or WHAT??
I love the 1950's "Eager Beaver". It is so simple and nicely designed. 
On the other hand the "Cactus Jacks" was obviously a more modern example. I like the high-rise jeans on the ladies.....and the size of the melons in this. RIDICULOUS!

#3 "Rocket Ride" 25.5" x 21.5". This is another large scale version of these ads. The colours in this one are some of my favourites. Teal with red and yellow. YUM!!



So folks, that is all she wrote. That is all the fat lady wrote. I hope you had a chance to come out to Gallery 129 Ossington. If you didn't, you have a few more days:


"Arcade" - runs to Saturday September 25th, 2010
Gallery at 129 Ossington (located at......get ready for it......129 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON)
Gallery Hours: Wed. to Sat. 12 - 6pm or by appointment



And if you can't make it, remember, the unsold work will be there for a few months. You just have to ask to see it! Thanks to everyone for all the positive support on this show. I was really pleased with the work, and I hope to do more work like this in the future. Just not for a few months. WHEW!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

LAST WEEK - "ARCADE"

Time flies, huh?
It just seemed like a month ago when I was franticly working to get the paintings done so that my new show could open. Oh wait, I WAS a month ago. Well, for those of you who haven't checked it out, you still have until Saturday, September the 25th. If you just cant make it, be sure to check out this little movie (that is also posted on my website).
I made it on my little mac, but be warned, the production values are not spectacular. It is a bit 'Blair Witch Project-y'. So expect a little drunken camera work. If you were expecting something Spielberg-y you will be filled with disappointment. Be pre-warned that there is some music with this little movie tour, so if you are watching this at the office make sure to turn down your speakers. OR prehaps turn up your speakers and attract a crowd of co-workers who can check it out too!! (can you tell I am not an office worker? ;-) If you are like me, you may just have the song stuck in your head for the remainder of the day. Also be warned that I got a bit heavy on the imovie transition effects! It is a bit of an illness.
Enjoy the video, and hey, try to make it out to my big exhibition this week! There is nothing like seeing it in person!!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

TORONTO: A LAKESIDE CITY??????

Ok. I have big news. Earth shattering news! ENORMOUSLY BIG EARTH SHATTERING NEWS!
I was out yesterday photographing reference images for a commission, and I found something out. Brace yourself. Did you know that Toronto (the big smoke) is actually on a lake. I know. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! Ok Ok seriously, I walked down to the beach, and BAM. There it was. Plus, there were miles of boardwalk and discovery paths around Ashbridges Bay. It was nuts. I felt like Christopher Columbus!
I snapped a hundred or so reference shots because I was so shocked that it was so lovely. I live in the Upper Beaches, but I usually do not walk the entire boardwalk......it was a lovely day. Sufficed to say, I got a tonne of great shots. It is all for one of my latest commissions, for a client that lives down in the Beaches. I will share more about that commission later, in the meantime, I want to share some of my photos from yesterday with you. 
Miles and miles of Boardwalk (or kilometres and kilometres) around the beach and Ashbridges Bay Area.
Totally "Baywatch"!
C'mon......so pretty!!
BUT please, NO GOLFING!

"Yes, hello operator, I have a brassiere emergency!"
"Aisle 4, canned goods and sand?"
This is part of my walk home. UPHILL. A LOT OF UPHILL!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NEW FOR T.I.F.F.

Ok, so I bet you think that since my show "Arcade" was up that I have the time to sit back, eat some cake, and take a well earned rest! Well....not so much. I have 5 commissioned pieces that I am working on. I know, FIVE is a lot at once. But never one to rest on my laurels.....(I am not sure what laurels are - I like to think it is a nicer was of saying 'ass'.) I am back to work, hi ho. If you are a regular blog reader, (and if you aren't.....why the hell not?) you will remember the piece I am working on about Port Burwell. So that is one. Today I thought I would let you see my latest piece. I have painted it specifically for one of my galleries, Liss Gallery. Liss is located in Yorkville, and in fact, is right across from the Four Seasons Hotel. As many of you know, the Toronto International Film Festival is on right now, and the Yorkville area has become a hubbub of celebrity comings and goings. Case in point, I was delivering this painting yesterday, and ran into (almost literally) into Zach Braff. If you are wondering if I tried to get him interested in my painting, the answer is no. Why? Because it is tacky, and I am not impressed by celebrity! Ok, truthfully, it was because I did not think of it! DUH! Anyways.....so I have been working like a crazy man trying to get this piece done, so that it could be up for T.I.F.F. and sold to George Clooney. Here is the painting in my studio (below). As you can see, it is one of my Tin Toy robot paintings. I used a bunch of colours that I don't normally use. In this painting, there are lots of greens, and I am not normally a green guy. Especially not an 'acid green' guy. I am, on the other hand, more of a teal kind of guy. I also used some reds to offset the teals and acid greensrecycled. This painting is almost entirely made from recycled and repurposed materials. There is a bunch of wood and wood strips. There is also a LOT of metal on this piece, and a tonne of rivets. I MUST ADMIT I DO LOVE ME SOME RIVETING!! Who'd a thought!? There is also a fun little button, a gauge and a reflector on it.  The picture taken in my studio (below) was when I was almost done.







After I saw this JPG I went back in and did a bit of work. See if you can spot the differences. I often take a picture when I think I am done and look at it on the computer - to see if it IS done, or whether it needs a little more 'fussing'. I am super pleased with the final product!




Come out to Liss Gallery and see it in person!
IT IS FAB!!
Don't 'cha think?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BOOK CLUB - PART 2 - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF RAINBOW ROB

Remember last week when I introduced you to "Rainbow Rob", the book that was based on my true life stories? Well, I wanted to share some more from this exceptional book. If you remember from last time, poor Rainbow Rob came to the realization that he didnt want to be just black and white. Inspired by the rainbow, R.R. went on a quest for colour. As you can see, this book is a thinly disguised collection of my life experiences. The book is "Packed with wacky characters, funny rhymes and lots to touch and feel." I don't want to give it all away, but here are a few more pages of this amazing book. Enjoy.
BAD AT RUNNING? Sad but true. No reason to run, how 'bout you?
Now, I am not sure about 'chicken shocking', but I am awful fond of talking.

I could not live in a tree, true 'dat. I could not live up high like that.
In real life, I don't miss the sea, this author, I think, does not know me!


































I am not a yellow cat. And very strong, not weak and fat.
I'm sure by now, you see my rhymes. That is why these are 'good times'!






































Oh author yes, my smile is snappy. This book about me, makes me happy!
I walk a lot 'cause I have no car. I often walk to the local bar.


So that is it for now my friends, you know the endings on its way,
and tune in next time to this blog to see what else I have to say!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

MY INTERVIEW WITH TRISH BOON




Last week, I had the great pleasure of being interview by Trish BoonShe will be leading audiences through Gallery at 129 Ossington, during the Ossington leg of the Canadian Art Foundation’s Annual Art Hop on September 25th. Trish swang...er...swung....(that is why I leave the fancy writing to the professionals) by my "Arcade" exhibition while I was hanging it. It was a super hot day and we went next door for a iced latte. I was a bit nervous, because I tend to speak my mind and sometimes I forget to think first. It is a habit that has gotten me into trouble before! I have gotten out of interviews thinking "Oh, Rob, That was awesome!" and then when I read the article thought..."hmmm....I SAID that???".  Luckily any fear I had was almost immediately washed away. Trish had an easy to talk to style that was both effective and interesting. She shared a bit, I shared a bit. It was very nice. She was smart, and I like smart. She was also an interested audience which was refreshing! It was so enjoyable that when I looked down at my watch and noticed the time, I realized that I had spent over an hour talking her ear off. Thankfully, none of this came across in the blog! I would like to quote passages from it here, but I would rather you read the article, from her site. It is much better than I could have put it! 
On a side note, I have to say how nice it is to have someone really get what I am doing. And how happy I was that I did not come accross as a total BAH-FOON!
What did you think of the article??

Friday, September 10, 2010

"ARCADE" IT UP, UNTIL SEPTEMBER 25TH!

Are you sick of hearing about this show?
I knew it!
Well, I won't talk about it much in this post. Last night was the opening reception, alas I forgot my camera at home. There was a packed house. It was terriffic. It was also exhausting! I am so thrilled for the support! For those who couldn't make it out, the exhibition is open until September 25th!

Gallery at 129 Ossington
Gallery Hours: Wed. to Sat. 12 - 6pm or by appointment

For those of you who live out of town/province/country, here are a few installation shots of the show. Remember, they look totally different in person. You simply must see them LIVE LIVE LIVE to get the full effect of the bright colours and large scale and flashing lights!





As you can see, there are a number of smaller pieces that are perfect for a smaller budget! There are a few that don't light up as well, that were inspired by  the information/advertisement package that the pinball machine manufacturers used to send out to interest arcade owners in the latest machines!



FOR A VIDEO TOUR OF THIS SHOW, YOU CAN CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE AT www.robcroxford.com

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

COMMISSION: PORT BURWELL

Hello all. Are you excited to see that I am regularly posting again?
I know it fills an emptiness in your day that you would have filled with pointless googling.
It certainly fills up my days!
So, as an artist, commissions are a part of the job. Most artists hate them. In truth, they are challenging. It is like working on something by committee. There is an added stress of making the correct piece for a specific person. Usually, you can just paint, and in the end, the right person will find the right piece for them. Commissions are not like this. However, for all the worry that comes along with a commission, there is a great feeling of accomplishment when it is done and your client is happy!
Currently, I am working on 5 completely different commissions.
The one I want to blog about today is a commission for a client who is originally from Port Burwell Ontario. (Which is also where my folks are from.) Don't' know where Port Burwell is? Here is a little info about this nice beach town:
Right on lovely Lake Erie, this sleepy little town has one of Canada's oldest wooden Lighthouses. It also has a great marine museum. 


Present in the museum collection is the most accurate model ever built of the rail car ferry the Ashtabula, which made routine trips between Port Burwell and Ashtabula, Ohio for the purposes of transporting coal. This ship was a mainstay of the Port Burwell shipping experience until the 1950s and played an intricate role in the development of Southern Ontario through its supply of coal energy. Next year, they will also have a decommissioned submarine (the HMCS Ojibwa) Which will add a lot of new tourism for the little hamlet.  If history isn't your thing, you will not want to miss the beautiful beaches. 


And if camping is your thing, you cannot miss the provincial park. If you just come to eat......it is a fish and chips lovers delight!


For me, I spent much of my childhood in Port Burwell, re-enacting "Superfriends: Justice League" with my cousins (for the record, I was never Wonder Woman - but was often cast as Robin ;-( . I also spent a lot of time at the beach and on my grandfathers farm. 






















Anyways.....this commission is based on the former Wolfe Garage (above: here it is today - Lakeside Garage) My real inspiration though, is the old photo below. I am in the process of working out a more dynamic composition that captures the 1950's look of the garage. For the other part of the compostition, I think I want to create mechanic-related imagery. I have yet to work out the rest, but I will post more, when I have more!




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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TOP 10 REASONS TO ATTEND "ARCADE" OPENING

Ok, if you are a regular reader, (I know there are 3 of you) you already know I have a big official exhibition opening this week. If you are not a regular reader, and have somehow stumbled here accidently, or perhaps were redirected from a porn site, herer are the details:

"Arcade" A new exhibition of mixed Media works

Gallery 129 Ossington (2 blocks north of Queen - see map on my website)

Opening Night Reception: Thursday, September 9th, 2010 - 7pm-10pm

I For those who simply cannot come out this Thursday,  you can still check out my exhibition until September 25th. Gallery Hours: Wed. to Sat. 12 - 6pm or by appointment!



Here are the 10 reasons you MUST see this exhibition:


10. This is my first exhibition of mixed media pieces, and is a great benchmark in my illustrious art career. It might be the catalyst that changes my work FOREVER!  The benchmark that will be noted in all the art textbooks (ok ok maybe just in a wikipedia entry....that I wrote myself).


9.   There are 16 pieces that have NEVER BEEN SEEN before. Ok, you can see them on my site, but there ain't nothin' like the real thing! Seriously! They look ok in pictures, but in real life, they are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better!


8.  The opening night is stressful for me, and I am always afraid that it will be like a Mary Tyler Moore party. For those of you who are not old enough, and/or were not fans of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary had a knack of having sad, ill-attended, and sometimes disastrous parties! Oh the stress!


7.  The opening coincides with the Toronto International Film Festival. Which means Toronto will be filled to the brim with Hollywood celebrities including: Clint Eastwood, Jon Hamm, Robert De Niro, Hilary Swank, Colin Firth, Robert Redford, Keanu Reeves, Ryan Reynolds, Woody Harrelson, Will Ferrell, Bill Murray, Uma Thurman, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Matt Damon, Javier Bardem, Paul Giamatti. And while I am not guaranteeing that George Clooney will show up on my opening night........it is possible. Not probable. But possible!


6.  A bunch of the art lights up. YES. LIGHTS UP!!! C'mon, have you ever seen this before? It is really something new and innovative for me. 


7. You can also check out Stewart Jones' exhibition in the middle room at 129 Ossington that same night. You can also walk up/down ossington and take in a couple of other Galleries. Hell, you could be drunk by the end of the night by checking out all the openings - FOR FREE!


6. There is some food for thought too. Some of the work has an environmental message. Without being too hit-you-over-the-head preachy! The pinball machines are made from re-purposed and recycled materials.


5. There is a great wall of installation behind the art. Something kinda new and different, that really makes the show look like the inside of an old arcade! 


4. Robots. 'Nuff Said?


3. On opening night, there is a FREE glass of wine waiting for you!! (or more importantly - FOR ME!)


2. There is something for every budget! Pick up a little something for $275 or pick up something big and spectacular for more.


1. The show is 'retro-tastic'. It really feels like 1950's work! Oh, and did I mention that some of the work lights up??


So, that is the LAST sales pitch I will make for my show. Ok, maybe not the last, but the last for the OPENING NIGHT RECPETION this THURSDAY the 9th at 7pm.


I hope to see you there!!!!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

BEWARE THE BEAST

Every now and again, I like to get away. No, 'like' doesn't quite cover it. I NEED to get away. Too much time at my studio tends to turn me into The Beast. A crazy, albeit caged Beast! I can usually feel the beastly change coming on - not unlike the full moon effect on a werewolf. So, to avoid an appearance from The Beast, I like to go away a couple times a year. I would like it to go away more often, but then my bank account and schedule are not always cooperative. For me, when I leave my home for more than a day, it becomes an opportunity to have new experiences, and find new inspiration! Granted, there is inspiration all around us, but sometimes a complete change of scenery and perhaps area-code makes all the difference! So, in the pursuit of new experiences and some much needed relaxation, I took a week away. Thankfully I had a dear friend with a cottage just outside of Winnipeg. Ok, I know what you are thinking, WINNIPEG? THAT is your getaway? Oh yes, dear reader, it was 6 glorious days communing with nature. And by communing with nature, I mean the cottage was in the woods, on a lake, and most importantly had a dishwasher! The funny part is, I took a 2 hour flight to Winnipeg, just to take a 2 hour drive back into Ontario. The cottage was on the beautiful Lake of the Woods, which was near Kenora, which is north, WAY north!
To sum it all up? I came, I ate, and most importantly, I napped on a hammock in the middle of the day.
It was paradise!
Enjoy some of my photos!
Ah, the flat splendour of Manitoba. 

It was all field, kids, as far as the eye could see!
What a difference in landscape from Manitoba to Ontario!
Lake of the Woods has over 14,000 islands,
 105,000km of shoreline and is the 6th largest lake in Canada!
WOWSA!

The view from the hammock was EXCEPTIONAL!
Oh dear.

HUH? What did I tell you? B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!
Even a full moon couldn't conjure up The Beast!
The sun, the sand, and plenty of cowboys....what a vacation!


Many forms of wildlife were seen -
just  look at this exotic ground squirrel!