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It’s that time of year when we are reminded by every terribly designed shopping flyer that the holidays are ‘right around the corner!’. …thanks, tips.  For me, it is a reminder to take stock of the year, flip through notes and decide what projects can be completed before the new year, what will get pushed into January, and what has been sitting on my workbench collecting dust for far too long.

It’s a hard choice. What do we spend our time creating when we have more ideas than one could execute in ten lifetimes, let alone the brief time we get from cradle to grave? That’s a very personal and important decision. We spend so much time learning, experimenting, and distilling before we decide to put our hands to work. There are so many stages a project goes though that it’s amazing and exciting when one comes to fruition. In the meantime, the studio can become a very messy place in need of some order.

In the spirit of the many creative sparks that come to artists during any given day, I’ve created this ART STUDIO PLAYLIST which is, for the most part, unedited. These are one hundred and thirty songs I have listened to in the last month or so. They’ve grabbed my attention for one reason or another. Like ideas on the wind, there are entirely too many, they are wildly different, and most are new (or new to me), and they’ve landing at my door wanting in. So I let them in and give a listen as I tidy up and begin closing out the year.

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Some big musical stand outs for me are of course the covers of Walk On The Wild Side and Life on Mars. The acoustic version A-ha does of their 90’s hit,Take On Me, really highlights how pretty the song is when slowed down and the instrumentation is rearranged. The YouTube COLORS Channel kept me coming back for more this fall. It’s tag, ‘All Colors, No Genre’ is true to its offerings. New updates weekly. There’s lots of new music from Hoverphonic, Fever Ray and N.E.R.D., and if its not obvious, Parekh & Singh are huge Wes Anderson fans. Their videos are marvelously cinematic. This list finishes with a new track from Yaeji which has been in heavy rotation for the past two weeks.

Feel free to click on the embedded media player above to hear all 130 songs in sequence as I’ve arranged them, or root though the music below to listen to the ones you like.

If you’ve got music you love in the studio or when you are working, please leave a link in the comments.







On our sixth date, I was looking though Rick’s DVD collection and found  some of my favourite movies: CLUE, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. I turned to him and asked, ‘Who else do you know who has Under The Tuscan Sun?’. “I love that movie!’, he said. So we watched it. It was at that moment I fell in love.

Images from Instagram.

Eight years later, we found ourselves driving though the Italian countryside. It was a July sunset, the windows were down in our cute little white VW rental, and the heat wave-infused air of the countryside had whipped our hair into a frenzy since leaving Rome earlier that morning. As we entered the Tuscany region, we drove over over a big hill revealing fields of golden sunflowers.  For real.  We were suddenly driving in a postcard.  I had made a playlist for this very moment, found it on my iPhone, and pressed play. Rick recognized the soundtrack right away, laughed, and called me a cheesehead. It was a movie moment for the soundtrack of our lives.

We all have a favourite movie or two.. or twelve that we will watch over an over and over. Each time we find some new detail or fall asleep on the couch at the exact same moment. These movies have special narratives or character qualities that speak to us, reflecting who we are or the values we hold. These movies often come with amazing soundtracks with song favorites that last a lifetime. It is when we recall them, we can recall some amazing memories of friends and family and loved ones.


So, this edition of ART STUDIO PLAYLIST is dedicated to movie soundtracks. There are instrumental movie themes, songs made famous by movies, and movie moments which just wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the music. I’ve tried to include some really famous stuff that you’ll recognize right away, and some not so familiar songs from some not so familiar movies. I’ve included everything from Yello’s OH YEAH, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, to SOME WHERE MY LOVE (Laura’s Theme) from Doctor Zhivago to a French cover of David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel by Seu Jeorge from Life Aquatic. What I did not include are songs from movie musicals. I was thinking of making one of those for the fall when the weather gets cool. Sound good?

Feel free to click on the media player above to hear the songs in sequence as I’ve arranged them, or root though the music below to listen to the ones you like.


  1. Twenty One Pilots: Heathens (Suicide Squad)
  2. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun (Girls Just Want To Have Fun)
  3. Jidenna ft. Roman GianArthur – Classic man – (Moonlight)
  4. The Ronettes – Be My Baby (Dirty Dancing)
  5. Original cast recording – I Will Follow Him (Sister Act)
  6. Irene Cara What A Feeling (Flashdance)
  7. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone (Top Gun)
  8. Junior Senior – Move Your Feet (White Chicks)
  9. House Of Pain – “Jump Around” (Mrs. Doubtfire)
  10. Queen – You’re My Best Friend (Peter’s Friends)
  11. Jamiroquai – Seven Days In Sunny June (Devil Wear Prada)
  12. The Arcade Fire – Wake Up (Where The Wild Things Are)
  13. Harry Belafonte Jr – Jump In The Line / Shake Senora (BeetleJuice)
  14. Kenny Loggins – Footloose (Footloose)
  15. Simple Minds- Don’t You Forget About Me (Breakfast Club)
  16. Blue Swede – Hooked On A Feeling (Guardians of The Galaxy)
  17. Madonna – Into The Groove (Desperately Seeking Susan)
  18. Isaac Hayes: Shaft (Shaft)
  19. Halsey – I Walk The Line (Power Rangers)
  20. Dooley Wilson – As Time Goes By (Casablanca)
  21. Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn & Diane Keaton – You Don’t Own Me – First Wives Club
  22. David Bowie – Cat People (Cat People)
  23. Nino Rota – The Godfather Waltz (The Godfather)
  24. Radiohead – Nude (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot)
  25. Gerard McMann – Cry Little Sister (The Lost Boys)
  26. Cyndi Lauper – ‘R’ Good Enough (The Goonies)
  27. Yello – OH YEAH (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
  28. Sweet – Fox On The Run (Guardians of the Galaxy II)
  29. Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (The Exorcist)
  30. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Mondo Bongo (Mr and Mrs. Smith)
  31. George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad To The Bone (Beverly Hills Chihuahua)
  32. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
  33. Bernard Herrmann- Twisted Nerve (Kill Bill)
  34. Nico- These Days (The Royal Tenenbaums)
  35. OMD- If You Leave (Pretty In Pink)
  36. Percy Faith & his Orchestra – A Summer Place (A Summer Place)
  37. Oingo Boingo – Weird Science (Weird Science)
  38. Ray Parker Jr. I’m not Affraid Of No Ghost (Ghostbusters)
  39. Daryl Hall & John Oates – You Make My Dreams (500 Days of Summer)
  40. Danny Elfman – Ice Dance (Edward Scissorhands)
  41. Jr Walker & Allstars – Shotgun (Malcolm X)
  42. The Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday (The Royal Tenenbaums)
  43. R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly (Space Jam)
  44. The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow (The Darjeeling Limited)
  45. John Williams – The Raiders March (Raiders of the Lost Arc)
  46. Maureen McGovern – The Morning After (The Poseidon Adventure)
  47. Kermit the Frog – Rainbow Connection (The Muppets Movie)
  48. Goodie Mob – Cell Therapy (Moonlight)
  49. Cat Stevens Here comes my baby (Rushmore)
  50. Tone-Loc – Wild Thing (Angry Birds)
  51. The Wallflowers – I Started A Joke (Zoolander)
  52. Madonna – Who’s That Girl (Who’s That Girl)
  53. Iron and Wine – Sunset Soon Forgotten  (In Good Company)
  54. A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario (Men In Black)
  55. Kenny Loggins – I’m Alright (Caddyshack)
  56. Lindsey Buckingham – Holiday Road (National Lampoon’s Vacation)
  57. David Foster – Love Theme (St. Elmo’s Fire)
  58. Karla DeVito – We are not alone (The Breakfast Club)
  59. Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away (Planes Trains & Aurtomobiles)
  60. Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang (Kill Bill)
  61. Michael Nyman – The Promise (The Piano)
  62. Arthur Smith – Dueling Banjos (Deliverance)
  63. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – I’ve Had The Time Of My Life (Dirty Dancing)
  64. Benjamin Britten – Cuckoo  (Moonrise Kingdom)
  65. Irene Cara – I’m Gonna Live Forever (Fame!)
  66. Jimmy Bo Horne – Dance Across the Floor (City of Gold)
  67. The Greenhornes – There Is An End (Broken Flowers)
  68. Maurice Jarre – Somewhere My Love (Doctor Zhivago)
  69. Donovan – Jersey Thursday (Rushmore)
  70. The Paragons – Florence (Mean Streets)
  71. Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone – City of Stars (La La Land)
  72. Juice Newton – Angel Of The Morning (Deadpool)
  73. The Art of Noise – Paranoimia (Max Headroom)
  74. The Revillos – Rev-Up (Sixteen Candles)
  75. Max Richters – The Swimmer (Disconnected)
  76. Seu Jorge – Rebel Rebel (Life Aquatic)
  77. Alexandre Desplat – Kristofferson – (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
  78. Henry Mancini – A Shot in the Dark (The Pink Panther)
  79. Jóhann Jóhannsson – Daisy Daisy (The Theory of Everything)
  80. Salt_N-Pepa – Shoop (Deadpool)
  81. WHAM! – Young Guns (Go for It) (Sixteen Candles)
  82. Mark Mothersbaugh – Piranhas Are A Very Tricky Species (Rushmore)
  83. Perico Hernandez – Oye Como Va [Live at el Jefe] (Chef)
  84. Kevin Shields – City Girl (Lost In Translation)
  85. The Kinks – Powerman (The Darjeeling Limited)
  86. Eurythmics – Sex Crime (1984)
  87. Jimmy Cliff – I Can See Clearly Now (Cool Runnings)
  88. Henry Mancini – The Pink Panther (The Pink Panther)
  89. Fine Arts Quartet – Ravel’s String Quartet in F major (The Royal Tenenbaums)
  90. Ruth Etting – You’re The Cream In My Coffee (Fantastic Beasts)
  91. DeVotchKa – Do You Think There’s A Heaven? (Little Miss Sunshine)
  92. John Williams – Love Theme (Superman)
  93. Henry Mancini – Professor Fate (The Great Race)
  94. The Creation – Making Time (Rushmore)
  95. Alex North – Main Title (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf)
  96. Stereolab – Lo Boob Oscillator (High Fidelity)
  97. The Dismasters – small time hustler (Uncle Buck)
  98. The Generationals – When They Fight They Fight (Edge of Seventeen
  99. Henry Mancini – The Village Inn (The Pink Panther)
  100. Annie Lennox – Everytime We Say Goodbye (Edward II)
  101. James Horner – The Wedding (Legends Of The Fall)
  102. Alexandre Desplat – The French Chef (Julie & Julia)
  103. Nouvelle Vague – Blister In The Sun (Bridesmaids)
  104. Devo – Gut Feeling (The Life Aquatic)
  105. Shirley Bassey – Goldfinger (Goldfinger)
  106. Dream Academy Please please please (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
  107. Hot Pants Road – The JB’s (City of Gold)
  108. Christophe Beck – Bramasole (Under The Tuscan Sun)
  109. Mark Mothersbaugh – Ned’s Theme (The Life Aquadic)
  110. Pete Rodriguez – I Like It Like That (Chef)
  111. John Morris – Step By Step (Clue)
  112. John Morris – Main Title / Trees to Dogs (Clue)
  113. Christophe Beck – Roma (Under The Tuscan Sun)
  114. OMD – Tesla Girls (Weird Science)
  115. Joe Kraemer – Good Evening, Mr. Hunt (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation)
  116. Q Feel – Dancing in Heaven (Girls Just Wanna Have Fun)
  117. Hugh Harris – Rhythm of Life (Uncle Buck)
  118. John Barry – Pretty Busy (The Black Hole)
  119. Artie Shaw – Autumn Leaves (When Harry Met Sally)
  120. Jóhann Jóhannsson – Kangaru (Arrival)
  121. Henry Mancini – Moon River Cha Cha (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
  122. Henry Mancini – Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
  123. Sister Carol – Wild Thing (Wild Thing)
  124. The Sandpipers – Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls)
  125. Celebration – Heartbreak (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot)
  126. Henry Mancini – Latin Golightly )Breakfast at Tiffany’s) 
  127. Ennio Morricone –  Main Theme (Duck, You Sucker)
  128. Johnny Pate — Shaft In Africa (Shaft In Africa)
  129. George Fenton – Title Music (Clockwise)
  130. Georges Auric – Main Title (Roman Holiday)
  131. Malcolm Arnold & Buxton Orr – Main Title (Suddenly, Last Summer)

So…. What are your favourite movie scores or soundtracks? Leave me a message in the comments and I’ll try to listen to it.

Check back next month to get the ART STUDIO PLAYLIST for April. It’s dedicated to songs and music about spring.  It will be guaranteed to put a smile on your face and spring in your step. Cheers!







Photo by Kyle Owerko

I love covers! I think the best covers are ones where the musician or band makes it their own or presents it in a new music style. Ambient versions of pop songs or indie folk version of disco songs always bend my ear. So this play list is dedicated to covers. It’s a pretty mixed bag. There’s everything from Adele doing a live cover of the Cure’s Lovesong to a surfer rock version of Swan Lake to the cast of Glee singing the Beatles’ Blackbird (don’t knock it until you’ve heard it). There are some famous bands doing covers of other famous artists and some covers of famous songs done really well by those yet to be discovered. I’ve even included a few covers of the same song so you can hear how different they can sound.


Click the image above to hear the this month’s playlist.

There are 150 tracks in total which I’ve compiled over the month and have been listening in the studio. I hope it keeps you company while making art or doing whatever it is you do in the studio or at home or in the car …or where ever you are listening to this. Someone of it you’ll recognize right away and others you’ll have a-ha moments when you realize what song it is. See how many you can guess without looking.

To play tracks in sequence, click the media player above, or you can fish though the track list below to pick out ones you like best.


  1. Sugar For Sugar – ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’  (New Order)
  2. The Pretenders – Everyday Is Like Sunday (The Smiths)
  3. Wilsen – Oblivion (Grimes)
  4. First Ghost – Hotline Bling (Drake)
  5. Maxence Cyrin – Where Is My Mind (The Pixies)
  6. Ember – Broken Arrows (Avicii)
  7. Gallant – Learn To Fly (Foo Fighters Cover)
  8. Ember – Cold Water (Major Lazer feat. Justin Bieber and MØ)
  9. Adele – Lovesong (The Cure)
  10. BEATFROG – Dancing Queen (ABBA)
  11. Jannik Brunke & Alycia Marie – Closer (The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey)
  12. Mu – Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush)
  13. Lion Babe – She’s A Lady  (Tom Jones)
  14. Shakey Graves – Paradise (John Prine)
  15. Suzy & Alex – Please Please Please (The Smiths)
  16. The Killers – Why don’t you find out for yourself (Morrissey)
  17. Deftones – Please, please, please, let me get what I want (The Smith)
  18. VV Brown – This Charming Man (The Smiths)
  19. Mariachi Rock – Close To Me (The Cure)
  20. The Lost Fingers – Pump Up The Jam  (Technotronic)
  21. Witch Queen – Bang A Gong (T. Rex)
  22. Bossa n’Stones – Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones)
  23. The Nebulas – Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
  24. The Supertones – Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
  25. Greg Laswell – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
  26. Waxx & Pomme – Hotline Bling (Drake)
  27. KI Theory – Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode)
  28. Mackenzie Johnson – Gotta Have You (The Weepies)
  29. Stanley Black – Mack The Knife (Kurt Weill)
  30. Du Går Aldrig Säker – The Passenger (Iggy Pop)
  31. Madonna – American Pie (Don McLean)
  32. Spellbound – People Are Strange (The Doors)
  33. Shonen Knife – Top Of The World (The Carpenters)
  34. Sonic Youth – Within You Without You (The Beatles)
  35. Amy Winehouse – All My Lovin’ (The Beatles)
  36. Glee Cast – I Say A Little Prayer (Dionne Warwick)
  37. Glee Cast – Blackbird (The Beatles)
  38. Miley Cyrus – Jolene (Dolly Parton)
  39. Whitney & Shannon – Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
  40. Bat For Lashes – A Forest (The Cure)
  41. Death Cab For Cutie – Love Song (The Cure)
  42. The Get Up Kids – Close to Me (The Cure)
  43. Tanya & Dylan –The Lovecats (The Cure)
  44. Dean & Britta – Friday I’m In Love (The Cure)
  45. Fujiya & Miyagi Your Silent Face (New Order)
  46. The Wombats – True Faith (New Order)
  47. Scala – Teenage Dirtbag – Scala (Wheatus)
  48. One Voice Children’s Choir Diamonds” (Rihanna)
  49. Lousia Wendorff – Blank Space/Style (Taylor Swift Mash-Up)
  50. Mark Ronson feat. Daniel Merriweather – Stop Me (The Smiths)
  51. Kawehi – Ramble On (Led Zeppelin)
  52. Kawehi – Heart-Shaped Box (Nirvana)
  53. Kid Beyond – Wandering Star (Portishead)
  54. Portishead – SOS (ABBA)
  55. Kungs ft. Molly – Money On My Mind (Sam Smith)
  56. MÖWE – Pump Up The Jam (Technotronic)
  57. Angus And Julia Stone – Chandelier (Sia)
  58. CHVRCHES – Tightrope (Janelle Monae)
  59. Rare Monk – Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers)
  60. Xavier Dunn – Fuckin’ Problems (A$AP Rock)
  61. HAIM – Hold Me (Fleetwood Mac)
  62. Thief – Cry Me A River (Justin Timberlake)
  63. Future Sunsets – Goodbye  (Who Is Fancy)
  64. Future Sunsets – Rather Be (Clean Bandit)
  65. Future Sunsets – Thrift Shop (Macklemore)
  66. Sleeping At Last – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers)
  67. Keane – Under Pressure (Queen)
  68. Pomplamoose – Beat it (Michael Jackson)
  69. Pomplamoose – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham!)
  70. Pomplamoose – Video Killed the Radio Star (The Buggles)
  71. Conte – Thrift Shop (Macklemore)
  72. Conte – Doin’ It Right (Daft Punk)
  73. Slow Hands – Towers (Bon Iver)
  74. Aoife O’Donovan  -You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio  (Joni Mitchell)
  75. James Vincent McMorrow – Wicked Game (Chris Isaac)
  76. Sungha Jung – Somebody That I Used To Know (Goyte)
  77. The Andy Lim Trio – Killing in the Name (Rage Against The Machine)  
  78. Karen Souza – Creep (Radiohead)
  79. Beark & the Virtual Band – Wonderwall (Oasis)
  80. The New Low – Elastic Heart” (Sia)
  81. I Prevail – Blank Space (Taylor Swift)
  82. Living In Fiction – Love Me Like You Do (Ellie Goulding)
  83. Magnet – Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan)
  84. Summer – Seigfried (Frank Ocean)
  85. MØ – Lost (Frank Ocean)
  86. Jack River – Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby (Cigarettes After Sex)
  87. Battleme – Hey Hey, My My (Neil Young)
  88. Oh Archie – When You Sleep (My Bloody Valentine)
  89. Jake McMullen -Dancing On My Own (Robyn)
  90. Seu Jorge – Life on Mars (David Bowie)
  91. Ember Island – Creep (Radiohead)
  92. Mister Wives – Same Drugs (Chance The Rapper)
  93. The Album Leaf – On A Plain (Nirvana)
  94. King Deco – Needed Me (Rehanna)
  95. Moonlight Matters – Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics)
  96. Jessica Lang – Life On Mars (David Bowie)
  97. Deftones- The Chauffeur (Duran Duran)
  98. Eagles of Death Metal – Save A Prayer (Duran Duran)
  99. Phantoms – Cocaine (Eric Clapton)
  100. Freedom Fry – Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
  101. Seiho & Ehiorobo – Adore (Prince)
  102. Vōx And Dylan Brady – I (Kendrick Lamar)
  103. On The Run – All That She Wants (Ace of Base)
  104. Brika – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? (Arctic Monkeys)
  105. KAMAU – Hey Ya (OutKast)
  106. Henry Green – Electric Feel (MGMT)
  107. Jawster’s Waxy – Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
  108. Classixx – Bird of Prey (Fat Boy Slim)
  109. Gang Of Youths  – Heroes (David Bowie)
  110. Brothertiger – This Must Be The Place (Talking Heads)
  111. Debbie Neon – Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)
  112. Lene Lovich – I Think We’re Alone Now (James & the Shondells)
  113. The Last Year – Just What I Needed (The Cars)
  114. Mac Miller – Vienna (Billy Joel)
  115. Kill J – Barbie Girl (Aqua)
  116. Echos – The Hills (The Weeknd)
  117. EDEN – Billie Jean (Micheal Jackson)
  118. (Freedom Fry 1979 (The Smashing Pumpkins)
  119. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Laid (James)
  120. Morgan James – Cecilia (Simon & Garfunkel)
  121. Miami Horror – Sober (Childish Gambino)
  122. Childish Gambino – Marry You (Bruno Mars)
  123. Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell – This Must Be The Place (Talking Heads)
  124. Goldroom – Mykonos (Fleet Foxes)
  125. Saxsyndrum – Dance, Dance, Dance (Likki Li)
  126. Angel Olsen – unfucktheworld (Aldous Harding)
  127. Wonderful Humans – Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
  128. Xavier DUnn – Fuckin’ Problems (A$AP Rocky)
  129. Spazzkid – Something About Us (Daft Punk)
  130. Vaults – Hunger Of The Pine (Alt-J)
  131. You Blew It – In The Garage (Weezer)
  132. OK Go – Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)
  133. Alice Jemima – Breezeblocks (Alt-J)
  134. RBTS Win – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (The Smiths)
  135. Nouela – Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
  136. Wild Cub – “The Mother We Share” (CHVRCHES)
  137. Some Kinda Wonderful – California Love (2Pac & Dr. Dre)
  138. Darkside – Planet Caravan (Balck Sabbath)
  139. Daughter – Get Lucky (Daft Punk)
  140. CHVRCHES – Bela Lugosi’s Dead (Bauhaus)
  141. Kelly Sweet – In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
  142. A Mini Tribe – These Days (Nico)
  143. The Lemonheads – Mrs Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel)
  144. LORDE – Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Tears For Fears)
  145. Twin Shadow – Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
  146. Professor Antena – Boys Don’t Cry (The Cure)
  147. Chromatics ft. Ida No – Ceremony (New Order)
  148. DWNTWN – Chocolate (The 1975)
  149. Ooh Child – Beth Orton (Five Stairsteps)
  150. Sia – Oh Father (Madonna)

I’m sure I missed some great covers. If you have a favourite, please paste a link to it in the comments (the little speech bubble icon at the top beside the blog title). Also, if you like this play list, feel free to share it.

Check back in January for another ART STUDIO PLAYLIST. It’ll be quiet music for the quietest month of the year. Cheers!










I was stopped again on the street today by a well dressed man on his way to work. “Those are colourful pants!’, he said. Yes, yeah they are.  “You should sell those!’, he continued… and so the conversation goes…  It is not uncommon for me to get stopped like this on any given day while wearing my painting pants. I must admit, in the people traffic wearing black and grey and brown and blue, they are a conversation starter – in line getting coffee, at the grocery store, or out running errands. I’ve even worn them in the summer with sandals and a white linen shirt. It makes for creative evening attire and perhaps makes me more approachable. People are curious to know where I got them.


I think my first pair of painting pants were an old pair of doctors pants, cut off at about the knee for more freedom of movement. I liked the drawstring which made it easy to get in and out of. The fabric was light and comfortable, but like jersey material, they didn’t hold the paint. Often, it would soak through to my skin, leaving me with thigh markings in a tribe all my own.


I opted for denim jeans, choosing ones a bit too big for me made it easy to slip out of at the end of the painting day. Many times I’ve asked friends for their old jeans and put them to good use.  On several occasions I’ve been loaned pants with the request that I wear them while painting and then give them back. It seems some of my best work ends up on my clothes.


I can’t exactly explain why, but I have saved all my painting pants since I started painting full-time and I keep documenting them when each pair are ready to be retired.  I sometimes wonder if they might look good framed and hung on a wall. There seem to be secrets and stories hidden in each of them. Other times, I think it would be fun to make a coffee table book with my art followed by the clothes I wore while making the paintings. It’s like keeping a bit of a diary in paint and fabric. If you look through some previous work, you can probably pick out what pants were worn during certain paintings. I think a fund raising auction would be amazing if it consisted of only artists’ painting clothes in large shadow boxes. Imagine owning the painting clothes of one of your favourite artists. What a treasure to have something so personal.


For now, my retired pants sit folded on a shelf in my studio, and they’ll likely stay there until I figure what to do with them. If you have an ideas for a good use for them, feel free to leave a comment by clicking the speech bubble icon to the right of this blog title above.

…And for those curious, I wear a 36 waist and am always in need of new denim pants for painting. Feel free to email me and drop by the studio for a visit.


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Friday nights at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre was a staple for me in university. I’d travel down with friends from York University, dance the night away and end up taking the ‘vomit commit’ back to residence. Those nights, in the early 90’s, were special and provided my first feelings of belonging in my coming out years. Later, I started seeing theatre there, and to this day I make my way over to see as many shows as I can. So, when Francisco Alvarez called this September to ask if I would create this year’s art multiples for ARTATTACK!, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s annual fundraising art auction, he barely finished asking, when I said YES!

We decided on the Church Wellesley Village as a starting point and I knew it should be colourful. I had made ‘Lemon Go-Round’ earlier this year, so I wanted to pull some inspiration from that. It was also important to highlight some of the green spaces in the area and i realized there are many important place in the area that have helped to share the village into what it is today. The plan was that each of the twenty pieces would be hand embellished with at least 25 difference and I would hide the word ‘LOVE’ in a different place in each one.

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It didn’t take long to get the original art completed. There were lots of bright colours and it felt really playful. I kept thinking about all the vibrant characters I’ve met at Buddies through the years. I’ve met interesting creatvies, thoughtful writers, hip staff, and really talented performers, as well as dedicated players behind the scenes. It felt like all these personalities help to give shape to the artwork. While the painting is a view of the area from above, woven through it are lots of fanciful faces and kooky things going on. Oh, the Shenanigans!

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The original is 20×20 and was brought to Dimitri Levanoff at Image Foundry to create a high resolution scan and to make prints. Dimitri was a great help with deciding on paper and how to make the work look best as a print. The prints are 16×16 with a one inch border. We decided on a Hahnemühle bright white paper which really makes the whites pop and using gouache for the embellishment makes it almost impossible to see where new elements have been added.

As you can see in the video above, I had a lot of fun hand embellishing each print. It took me a bit longer than anticipated, but the final images are really great and something of which I am proud. The community has be been very kind to me through the years, so giving back feels good.


While it is publicized there are over twenty-five differences in each piece, I got a little carried away and that number is probably closer to two hundred. When looking at the images in rapid sequence they look like a short piece of animation.

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Sonja Scharf and Kelly Kyle and their team at Akasha Art Projects on Church Street have framed each of the twenty artworks. I have worked this dynamic duo on many projects and they always do an amazing job of making my art look fabulous. The white border and  white frame makes for a clean and crisp presentation and was a perfect choice. Sonja and Kelly are huge supporters of the arts, the LGBTQ community and, important causes so it has been a special pleasure to work with them for ARTATTACK!

Giving new work a name is always fun and can sometimes be challenging. A big thanks to my partner, Rick, who took a look at it and called it JUICY FRUITS!  A very fitting name indeed.


Some of my favourite places in downtown Toronto are included in this painting. If you look you can find Church Wellesley Village (look for the pride flag), Allen Gardens, Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson Univerity Toronto City Hall, Queens Park, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Dundas Square, the former Maple Leaf Gardens, The Carlu, The Eaton Centre, The Royal Ontario Museum, University of Toronto campus, the 519, Barbara Hall Park, Nathan Phillip Square, Ontario College of Art and Design University, Grange Park, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Gardiner Museum, Akasha Art Projects, Hart House, Moss Park, Old City Hall and many more…

Lastly, I was delighted to hear the day after Juicy Fruits became available, Buddies had already sold half of the limited edition multiples. Currently, there are only five left. If you are interested in getting one and in supporting Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, you can find out more on the ARTATTACK! website.

ARTATTACK! live auction will be held on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street.  Find out more about the event, participating artists and get your tickets here.

I hope to see you there!



The Man With The Plan.

Ouuuuch… I planned to hit the ground running, but running turned to slowly walking with my head in my hand by the time I got to the bathroom at the inn. I was up late finishing the first painting and a bottle of wine on an empty stomach can take its tole. I’m not a fuckup. I’m just a slow learner.   Brush teeth, sink bath, Advil, water. More water. Coffee. Road.

I arrived in Gander on time to meet Stan, a guy my friend had also solicited to help with the moving of this heavy and multi-part artwork.  She has a knack for getting people to do free labour for her. Burners are like that. I find this both admirable and annoying. I arranged to meet Stan at the van rental parking lot because I have to return the one I have. I arrive there first. He finally pulls up in a tan VW bus with a jerky stop-go stop.

‘Heeeeyyy’, he says with smoke swirling around his head. He looks like Shaggy from Skoobie-Doo, but older, long after the Mystery Inc disbanded and became married with children.  All the stereotypes stayed intact.

‘I don’t think your van is going to be big enough to pick up the artwork.’ I explain.

‘Nodda problem. bro. it can fit on the roof’

This is going to end badly.

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We drive to the airport where the boxes are waiting. Several staff discuss the best way to attached the boxes to the vehicle and finally decide on the use of a forklift, a tarp and the better part of a spool of yellow nylon rope. Everyone pitched in to help except one guy who stood nearby silently vaping and judging. I was judging too, but I at least knew how to tie a few helpful knots.

The way back to Twillingate was slow. The car rocked back and forth with the top heavy load and a few times I could feel the car go up on two wheels.

“Whouldn’t it be cool if the van went all sideways and we drove part of the way on two wheels.’, Stan mused aloud.

No, it would not.

I remarked that Stan the man with a plan in the tan van was an old Sesame Street skit I remembered and liked as a kid. Stan laughed and processed to tell me about how his dad met Jim Henson when they were at the University of Maryland together and how he went on to work for Henson into his Sesame Street years. His mother and father are named Dan and Franny and they inspired the skit.

‘Yeah, bro. This is the tan van!’, he says, ‘I sorta inherited after my dad died and my mom moved back to the rock because her family is from here. I’ve had this thing forever. Her name is Tanny. We drive her down to Bonnaroo every year. Not sure if we’re going to make it this year though. Last year she overheated in the wait to get in and we had to push her to get repaired. It was a bummer.’.

His laugh reminded me of ‘The Dude’ in the Big Lebowski. That sort of laugh a stoner guy makes when he’s laughing, but forgets what he’s laughing at and then realizes he’s kinda laughing at nothing, but mostly he’s just making a sort of slow stunned moan, but then finds that funny too. This happened a lot the entire ride back.

We unloaded at the lighthouse as a crew was attaching a winch at the top to pull the bull up. I had to get back to the airport to catch my flight so Stan drove me back. We stopped for lunch and I shit out my hangover and I got my flight to Paris. So much for iceberg watching. I really have to go back.

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I can’t count how many times I’ve been to Paris, but when I go I’ll make it a point of heading to the closest bakery and wolf back a croissant or two. I held off this time though because I’m staying with my friend Jackie who works at Pierre Hermé. It was perfect timing because she was getting off work so I met her at the store and tried a Croissant Ispahan for the first time. ohmyfuckinggod. Lychee and raspberry and candied rose petals. I want everything to taste like this.

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It was pissing rain and we both got pretty wet trying to find a place to have a drink, so we just went back to Jackie’s place which was nowhere nearby.  A hot shower and a glass of wine warmed me and helped us to settle in for a bit of catch-up. Jackie’s been in Paris for two years now learning to make pasties, her tiny kitchen is neatly and densely organized vertically up the walls to the high ceiling.  She was living with a french guy named Gilles for the past six months, but things weren’t working out which I said that was good because if it did work out and they got married to bring them a pail of water. Jackie stared blankly. I think she was tired.

It was getting quite late and Jackie had to work early so she left me a spare set of keys on the table and and left me to work though the night on my new painting. She turned out the lights as she went down the hall. The room felt quiet and still and the wine soothed my travel fatigue.  Rain fell rhythmically on the skylight above me and the view from Jackie’s living room was inspirational. Paris in the rain at 2am. I let out a deep sigh and opened my case and set up a little place to work. I may have left my brushes on the table at the inn in Twillingate so I only had two brushes to work with. I’ll pick up more tomorrow. I could hear Stan’s voice repeat in my head… ‘bummer.’

While setting up, in my bag I found a small heavy box wrapped with a fat elastic bands. It let out a low and clinky rattle when I shook it. Inside were six glass bolts with rubber washers and what looked like a steal core in each of them. I had no idea what they were for or how they got there. Twenty minutes later I got a text from my electric-bull-art friend asking if I had seen any bolts, that they were custom made and she needed them to have the sculpture assembled. Fuuuuuuccccckkkkk.


PARIS AT 2AM.  12in. x 12in.  Acrylic on paper.  2016

Around the World In 30 Days is a somewhat fictional travel journal and fundraising art project which runs May 2 to May 31, 2016.  To find out more about the project or to request a city to be painted, follow the link here.  If you would like to follow along with the adventure, you can joint the event page on Facebook, subscribe to this blog at the top of the home page or see image updates on Instagram.  Please feel free to leave comments by clicking the comment icon at the top of this post.



AROUND THE WORLD IN 30 DAYS – Day 1: Twillingate, Newfoundland

Because It’s Art.

What. A. Day… I woke up this morning and left for Montreal while it was still dark. I needed to drop off some artwork before starting my adventure, then had to catch a plane in the early afternoon from Montreal to Newfoundland so I gave myself plenty of time to drop off the cube van, have lunch and catch my flight. Yeah… not so fast.

I get a call from a friend who finds out I’m traveling with a van and asks if I could please pick it up some of her artwork in Montreal and take it with me. I say sure because I’m nice. Here’s a little tip about traveling with art for friends: Ask how big it is. I didn’t. Big mistake.

I get to this place that is an art gallery/art bar/barbershop/tattoo salon and this heavily tattooed guy shows me what I’m picking up. It’s a fucking MECHANICAL BULL! Yeah, no…. I call my friend and tell her she’s insane and she asks if I could at least take the package to the airport and that she’ll make all the arrangements and she’ll rent me a van once I get there and she misunderstood and thought I was driving all the way to Newfoundland blah blah blah… I’m thinking, I’m a nice person.. it’ll be fine, so …okay.  So here I am with this mechanical bull art thing in an alley to load it into the van and it starts raining and I’m hungry and cranky and this woman asks me if I need a hand and she helps me in with the first box and then I realize its Martha-FUCKING-Plimpton. I’ve cut my hand and it starts raining more so she asks some other guy to help us who does and tattoo guy has no interest in helping and goes back insite and locks the door. Then Martha asks if she can wait in the van with me until the rain stops. I say sure, but I have to leave soon because I’m going to the airport. She says that’s great because she has to go to the airport too, but could we swing by her hotel to pick up her stuff. My flight isn’t for another hour or so and it’s a domestic flight so I think I’ll be fine. It was a little weird riding around in a cube van in Montreal with Martha Plimpton, a mechanical bull, a cut hand, and eating McDonald’s fries. Yes, we stopped and got McDonald’s food. I thought she was a vegetarian too. The media tell lies.

She gets her stuff as quick as a celebrity can and off we go to the airport. I drop off the bull, I drop off Martha, and I drop of the van. All is good in the world. I get my flight and luckily no one sits beside me which was awesome. I sprawled out my stuff like a bag lady checking inventory. No inflight movie, so I watched old episodes of Bob’s Burgers on my laptop. I keep them stored there for just such an occasion. I get into St.Johns and get my connection to Gander. I pick up the new cube van to head to Twillingate, but the art my soon to be ex-friend sent hasn’t arrived. It was offloaded in St. John’s and it’s likely not going to come until tomorrow. So this means I get to come all the way back to Gander tomorrow. FML.
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The ride from Gander came with a soundtrack compliments of K-Rock, 97.4 FM. Bands like The Wings, and The Eagles made for a sunny late afternoon drive. These are songs I remember my dad playing when I was young and this being my first trip to Newfoundland it seemed fitting. My father’s father was from this area so I guess these are my people. Roll on Down The Highway by Bachman-Turner Overdrive was a personal radio favourite as was the story of a guy who was drunk and driving around town on three wheels with sparks flying off the bare rim. Billy Idol, not so much. Listening to the call-in all request afternoon gave me a quick primer in the local dialect. I found myself practicing o’ya, y’know and donchaknow repeatedly and out loud as I arrived at my destination.

Twillingate is pretty the way you imagine most Atlantic ocean-side towns. Quaint houses sit perched along the rocky shore like patient seagulls and all the docks remind me of rugged Hemingway books. It is a place where people wear sweaters in the summer and ‘cidiots’ flee at the end of cottage season. I checked into the Anchor Inn run by these two cool women, Deborah and Rebecca who both have braided ponytails. I think it’s a thing in Newfoundland because since I’ve been here I think I’ve seen about ten or twelve people with the same braided pigtails or ponytails. There was even a guy at a gas station in a truck who had one. He kinda looked like Willie Nelson, but not really. He was weathered and wore a bandana though and I’m sure he goes pot on his property. No overalls. No guitar.

It gets better…  It turns out the women at the Inn know my artist friend and I give them the address of where I have to go to drop off the art tomorrow. They show me on a map where to go and its not far and its still light so they suggest I might want to take a drive up to where it is. I get in the van and start driving north and the navigation gets a bit dodgy which it usually is when you get off the main roads in rural areas and wi-fi becomes one of those things you take for granted when you live in a big city and you start cursing rural life and getting worried you might have tostop and interact with a stranger to ask for directions. Yeah, that. The view was beautiful and other than a few turn-arounds the drive was pretty smooth. I get to the end of the road and the only thing in front of me is a lighthouse.  Yes, a lighthouse.  I spend sometime looking at the view because my cell isn’t working and get back on the main road to come back to the Inn. When I finally get bars again,  I call my friend.


‘You know the address you gave me is a lighthouse, right?’, I say.
‘Yeah, that’s where its going’, she says all matter-of-factly.
‘At the top.’
‘You’re fucking kidding me right?’
“Why what?
‘Why would you put a mechanical bull at the top of a lighthouse?’
‘Because it’s art, James’. She sounds annoyed that I’d question this and says she’ll arrange for it to be ready in Gander in the morning.  (Because I have nothing better to do than chaperone a mechanical bull to the top of a light house… ‘because it’s art.’


I’m back at the Inn now and cracked open some white wine and finished the first of the 30 paintings for this project. Twillingate is a place I could spend some time in. Perhaps next year.
TWILLINGATE.  12in. x 12in.  Acrylic and gouache on paper.  2016

Around the World In 30 Days is a somewhat fictional travel journal and fundraising art project which runs May 2 to May 31, 2016.  To find out more about the project or to request a city to be painted, follow the link here.  If you would like to follow along with the adventure, you can joint the event page on Facebook, subscribe to this blog at the top of the home page or see image updates on Instagram.  Please feel free to leave comments by clicking the comment icon at the top of this post.


stjohns airport


Someone recently asked how colours for my paintings are chosen. If the painting is a commission, I work together with a client and source images to create a feeling of ‘being there’. If I am painting a specific neighbourhood or city, I look at images of these places from street level. Using Photoshop, I extract these colours and build custom palettes to help the client get a feeling for how the final work might look.

Below are twelve new palettes in use this fall along with several images which inspired them. Filling up my fall and winter schedule with bright new work makes me so happy.  For an artist, there is nothing more dreary than using grey and beige during a season when everything outside is turning to brown.

Enjoy the vibrant colours and warm, beachy goodness!


Look at those pants!










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Photo by Pascal Arseneau.


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barrie flag 24x36




If you have an idea for a city or neighbourhood to paint, please leave it in the comments or send me an email. To see past colour palettes, click here.  Images of new work are posted regularly. Subscribe on the main page to receive updates.


If you are in the northern hemisphere of North America, things have cooled off a bit, you might have a bit of Halloween makeup on your face still and you will likely be adjusting to daylight savings time for the next week. If you are in Canada, the leaves are clearly dead, it’s been rainy and cold and snow is inevitably on its way. These are times when an artist’s studio can feel a bit lonely, so… make some tea and invite over a friend or two. It’s red wine season, so a glass or two of that will also do.  Here’s a playlist to keep you company this November. There is something old, something new, something remixed and a cover or two. Enjoy and remember to always live juicy...