Monday, October 28, 2013

Fear of Punk//Fear of Art in Hamilton

Show #2:  We are excited to announce that Fear of Punk//Fear of Art will have a second installment in Hamilton, Ontario at Hammer City Records.  This exhibition will open during November's James Street Art Crawl on November 8th, beginning at 7 pm.

Tell the world you wouldn't miss it here:

Hamiltonians:  For a taste of what the exhibition is all about, check out this great little piece written by Alison Lang of Broken Pencil that discusses the exhibition's premise and a few of the participating artists:

Art Crawl Night: 

Adam Kindred (Halifax)
Alex Ratcharge (France)
Alexander Heir (NYC)
Dustin McChesney (Minneapolis)
Emma Maatman (LA)
Erick Lyle (NYC)
Heather Benjamin (NYC)
Jill Pucciarelli (Olympia)
Leah Wishnia (NYC)
Matthew McGarry (Rochester)
Nathan Gattis (Chicago)
Paul D’Elia (LA)
Sam Ryser (NYC)
Shiva Addanki (NYC)  
Spoiler (Montreal)
Tara Bursey (Hamilton)
Weird Luke (NYC)
Yecatl Peña (Mexico City)

Curated by Ben Needham and Tara Bursey

Punk is everywhere.  From malls to museums, the influence and imagery of punk’s past has largely been absorbed into mass culture. Despite this, contemporary DIY punk rock sits firmly outside of the mainstream, and at both regional and global levels is stronger than ever. The visual culture that surrounds it is variably dark, threatening, chaotic, smart, funny, mysterious and questioning.

Fear of Punk / Fear of Art highlights the creative output of current punk artists, bringing their work out of its usual context while exploring intersections between punk rock, art and print culture. The purpose of the exhibition is to celebrate contemporary punk art while sharing it with a broader audience. The exhibition includes drawing, sculpture and printed matter that draws inspiration from horror, the occult, sex, despair, popular culture, art history and urban life.

FEAR OF PUNK / FEAR OF ART runs November 6-December 10
at Hammer City Records
228 James Street North (Basement at Rear)
Hamilton, Ontario

On Art Crawl Nights you can enter via bcontemporary gallery direct from James St North, or the usual entrance off the Robert Street alley located between Granny’s Place and the Classic Cafe Patio.

Telling: An Audio Survey of Parkdale

November is almost upon us, as are three exhibitions I've been working away on for the past few months!  First up: An exhibition of audio art in public spaces around one of my very favourite Toronto neighbourhoods, Parkdale.  See below for details.


Various venues around Parkdale
November 6th-30th
Reception: November 7th, 7-10pm

Panel Talk: November 13th, 7pm

Curated by Phil Anderson and Tara Bursey

With participating artists: Luis Jacob, Myfanwy Ashmore, Zeesy Powers, Shannon Gerard, Paul Aloisi and Jaclyn Meloche

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” 
― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Telling: An Audio Survey of Parkdale is an exhibition of site-specific audio works that will animate familiar and hidden spaces across Parkdale. Each participating artist has chosen a different site along Queen Street West as a starting point to engage and explore the history and character of one of Toronto’s most storied and diverse neighbourhoods. This exhibition pays tribute to the real and mythic spaces, stories and people important to the exhibition’s participating artist/residents.

This exhibition will tell the story of the Pigeon Lady of Parkdale, a local landlady who was known to feed hundreds of pigeons that would flock to her street corner each day. The sound of pigeons outside of Capitol Espresso will serve as an aural memorial for one of the neighbourhood’s former residents. In Gallery 1313’s courtyard, a representation of horses using sound and visuals recalls where police horses were led to the back stable house, a space which is part of the current home of Gallery 1313.  At Bacchus Roti, the sounds of the Gardiner Expressway-- which when created caused several hundred Parkdale homes to be demolished for its construction-- is juxtaposed with an image of the lakeshore, serving as a reminder of the often complicated relationship between nature and the built environment. These and other stories conjured by participating artists will reside with the public as works of art, encouraging current residents to tell and trade their own stories, thus taking an active role in the creation of a collective community history.

A panel discussion featuring Judith Doyle (Professor, OCADU), Shawn Micallef (Author/Editor/Co-Owner, Spacing Magazine; Columnist, the Toronto Star) and Darren Copeland (Artistic Director, New Adventures in Sound Art [NAISA]) will invite the public to engage in discussion about the works featured in the exhibition, as well as the use of audio technology in contemporary art practices. Moderator will be Russell Smith, cultural writer for the Globe and Mail and author of several books.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with the following local businesses: Capitol Espresso, Bacchus Roti.

Media contact: 
Phil Anderson, Director, Gallery 1313 
416-536-6778 or 647-918-6606

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Canzine on BlogTO

Had a great time at Canzine last weekend!  Great people, great conversations-- zine fairs like Canzine always feel like a big reunion.  Contrary to what my expression says above (I look PISSED), I had fun.

It was brought to my attention that I got a pretty nice mention on BlogTO in the wake of the fest.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Canzine 2013

15 years after my very first appearance at Canzine (I tabled with my zine distro when I was 16 at the first ever Canzine held at the long-defunct Club Shanghai on Spadina in '98!), I'll be at Canzine hawking my wares for the first time in several years this Sunday.  Canzine is holding a Symposium on the Saturday before the big Sunday fair, which looks great. What will I be selling this year?  This is a mystery even to me at this point, but I promise there will be some new goodies up for grabs.  Hope to see ya'll there!

Canzine Toronto 2013
Sunday, October 20, 1-7pm
918 Bathurst Centre
(North of Bathurst Subway Station)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

More Punk Art

Setting in to my new digs in Hamilton has been a trip!  Work contracts, back-n-forth travel to TO, (unsuccessful) job hunting and moving has more or less put a halt to art-making endeavors except for some punk rock-related bits and pieces.  This kinda makes sense considering the very last things I did before leaving TO were putting on the Fear of Punk show and popping of a quick LP cover for a friend's band.

A few weeks ago, I was asked for an interview for an incredible NYC-based comics anthology called Happiness, published and edited by the talented Leah Wishnia.  The interview will also include contributions from two of the four School Jerks-- I've done the art for all of their recorded output, and the interview is mostly about the work I've done for them.  Doing this interview gave me a rare opportunity to talk about my other "art-half" (the one that does art for punk bands) and reflect on how I started doing this this type of work.   I've included some of the interview text here (it's only a small portion of the entire interview):

Doing show flyers and album artwork grew out of my work making zines.  I remember being 17 or 18 thinking that it would be a really great job to be a freelance illustrator, doing art for bands both in and outside of punk that was not unlike the work I did for the zines I had been making for years.  This was before I realized how hard it was to get paid by bands that see you as a friend or acquaintance doing the band a favour!  When I was 18, I dropped out of art school and had a string of crappy jobs.  Doing flyers for neighbourhood bands and the odd flyer for performers and punk bands was less a way of making money than a way I kept an art practice going and got to know people while I just floated around aimlessly working retail, socializing, and trying to make an adult life for myself.

My first real job doing an album cover that was widely distributed was for the LP of a Toronto band called Action in 2003 or so.  They were pretty young and got signed to the label Punkcore from New York and were really excited about the prospect of touring and being on the same label as some of their favourite bands growing up.  The drummer Greg was my best friend at the time.  I was really happy to be a part of it because they were all friends of mine, we were all from the same suburb of Toronto, and it was such a big deal for all of us to feel like we were “making it” on some level-- they were under 20, and I was a couple years older.  I ended up doing their pin designs, t-shirt designs and the front cover, back cover and insert art for their LP.  This was my first taste of having a hand in shaping the entire visual identity of a band and at the time it was really rewarding and exciting for all of us to be doing something we knew a ton of people would see and hear. 

To be honest, ten years later, punk rock isn’t as much a part of my daily life as it used to be when I was 20, or even 25.  I have a pretty broad art practice that involves making art for punk bands but also sculpture/installation, publications and curating among other things.  I listen to way more 60s psych and hard rock than punk these days.  I am lucky to have developed my drawing skills at a really young age (I went to an arts high school where most students wanted to be animators for Disney!), so now I have this skill that I can basically pull out of my back pocket when I need to.  Most of the time it’s to draw a dripping skull or something grim for some punk dude, which is fine when I have the time.


I think Ben said it best in another interview when he said that while art has always taken a backseat in punk, it plays a huge part in how punk is understood by itself and the world.  Also, within punk, art (lyrics too) can be an introduction or passage to social and political issues that would be more difficult to understand through a textbook or a news source, especially for young people.  For example, when I was a teenager, the art of Gee Vaucher and Winston Smith (for Crass and the Dead Kennedys respectively) was a way for me to begin to explore radical politics. Punk art can be frightening, stimulating, exciting, thought provoking and (gasp) even beautiful.  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from it, too.

Collage by Gee Vaucher

The Fear of Punk//Fear of Art show has been a great way to expand on the work for bands and connect with people who are serious about doing art work in and around punk rock.  Along these lines, I was also asked recently to do contribute a page to a screenprinted zine of fake comic book covers by punk artists, organized by another awesome artist, Yecatl Pena in Mexico.  My recent fixation on post-apocalyptic films produced this silly but fun comic cover based on the cover old comic book of mine, inspired by the record cover I did for Absolut at the end of the summer-- in progress!