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.
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!
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.
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!