Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Week

Began one mammoth project...

...and finished another.  Perhaps rock'n'roll cross-stitch is my calling...?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Zines

Eat to the Beat: A Rock'n'Roll Cookzine

"Food and music are two of the most primal pleasures on earth! It’s a wonder that their paths don’t cross more often than they do-- exceptions being pasta sauce made by ex-Ramones, punk sommeliers and the song titles of bubblegum pop bands, of course…and that guy behind the desk at the record store with the pizza sauce dripping down his chin…

Community recipe collections in the form of cookbooks are not new. I embarked on this project because so many of my friends in “rock”-- whether they be musicians, DJs, record store clerks, recording engineers or record collectors-- are also total foodies. The premise for this zine is simple-- to bring rock and food together in one tasty package, as well as to pay tribute to my community of talented, creative and fun rocker pals and the songs and artists that inspire them."

Eat to the Beat is a collaborative rock'n'roll-themed cookzine featuring contributions by Alycia Wahn, Alexandra Gutnik, Andy "Dictator" Shernoff, Ben Needham, Bev Coneybeare, Casey Johnson, Christina Wozniak, DJ Nico, Elaine Banks, Mark Kingdon, Mary Ann Guiao, Matt Hitch and myself. Zine includes a super special "Food Fight" Risograph pin-up insert illustrated by the fabulous Elaine Banks.

42 pages, 8.5" X 5.25"
Xerography with Risograph insert

Rusty's Dusty:  

A solemn short story in mini-zine form about a man who works in a boatyard in Etobicoke. Inspired by a real-life encounter I had in the early 1990s. Zine comes in a little origami boat.  Recommended for people experiencing post-industrial anxiety.

Zine measures 4.25" X 2.25"
Xerography, origami paper

Buy them here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Barbed Wire Blooms

A few weeks ago, my teenhood dream came true when I was asked by someone at Maximumrocknroll-- world's most famous, long-running punk fanzine-- to contribute a drawing for their monthly "art page."  I was more than likely asked to do this as a result of the work I've done on all the School Jerks albums, most recently their brand new debut LP.

I waited until the 11th hour to start the drawing-- I was asked by MRR to contribute during what was possibly one of the busiest few weeks I've had in a long time with work, school prep, and other projects.  After breaking my brain trying to decide what to draw-- my brainstorm list included such grasps-at-straws as "cranes," "murder victims," "School Jerks outtakes," "Baltimore," "Google street view," "Kensington Market" and "mob scene"-- I finally settled on drawing American crime scene photographer Weegee's infamous snapshot, Their First Murder.

I first learned about Their First Murder a few years ago.  For those who don't already know the back story, for this photo Weegee for once chose to turn his camera not on a crime scene, but at a crowd who had gathered to look at one.  The photo depicts a range of emotions-- while a female relative of the victim cries, neighbourhood children rubberneck to catch their first glimpse of a dead man.  Shot during the latter half of the dirty thirties, the viewer imagines the gunshot victim as two-bit hood or mafioso-type.  Against the night sky, tenement housing looms heavily in the background.

To make the drawing sometime other than just a drawing of a photograph, I knew that the addition of a fitting caption of some sort would be key.  Initially, I wanted to have the caption relate to the children's reactions, tying them to the fact that punk-- to me, anyway-- has always been about confronting and embracing darker aspects of life as opposed to denying or turning away from them, as well as defying social conventions.  All of our lives, we are told to behave appropriately, and to not stare.  The children's reaction to the dead body in the photo is curious and essentially pure.

When I decided that all the captions I came up would sound a little too misanthropic for the good of the drawing, I decided to seek out a fitting quote instead.  The one I settled on is actually a portion of a poem written by a child in 1944 in the Terezin concentration camp, in what is now the Czech Republic under the tutelage of the artist-educator and possible pioneer of art therapy Friel Dicker-Brandeis.  I am glad this reference is obscure enough to prevent a heavy holocaust reading of the drawing, because that's was definitely not a part of my original intention-- the drawing is still of a bunch of kids in New York City shot by Weegee, after all.  The text is appropriate in that at its core is an allusion to creativity and resilience-- how creative acts are almost always concious or unconcious attempts at building an ideal world, against all odds.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Lesen Lounge on T Magazine/New York Times Blog

So much to catch up on here, but I'll start with this awesome tidbit.  Talented friend and Toronto expat Leah Buckareff has started a new project in Berlin called the The Lesen Lounge-- a roving zine library cart attached to the back of her bike which she rides around to parks, letting people browse her collection of zines for reading enjoyment and inspiration purposes.  In Leah's (adorable) words:

I really just want to share the zines with Berliners. (...)  People think I’m trying to sell’s about teaching people to make stuff rather than buying stuff – but they should buy zines. Not here, though. They’re just to read.

To learn more about The Lesen Lounge and Leah's impressive selection of zines from around the world, take a look at the project website.  Also, don't forget to take a look at this article written for the New York Times online by another Toronto expat Nadja Sayej about the project, where you can find a photo and caption for my recent zine, Goin' Down the Road: Newfoundland Stories of Leaving.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ziney Morning

Got up at 8:30 to get a head start.  Zine Dream is tomorrow!