‘i’ve got a splitting headache’ (2008)
(click the image to view a closeup)
i’m taking part in a group show titled ‘flatlanders – saskatchewan artists on the horizon‘ opening this week at the mendel art gallery here in saskatoon. the show is curated by dan ring and the new assistant curator, jen budney. 18 emerging artists were chosen from the province of saskatchewan, exhibiting a wide range of media including ceramics, video, printmaking, photography, paintings, drawings, sculpture and installation. you can read more about the show on the mendel gallery’s current exhibitions page.
i’m showing seven new drawings, all featuring wooden heads. none of my work for the show has appeared online yet. i’ll be putting images on my blog over the next few days.
two of the artists are japanese — kiyoko-san and me. kiyoko-san does very beautiful abstract paintings and i draw bleeding heads or breeding heads. i think it’s cool we immigrants are part of this exhibit.
the opening reception for the ‘flatlanders’ show is tonight, from 8 pm until 12am. i’ll be there, at least for the early hours (before i have to take elijah home for bed). if you’re around in saskatoon tonight, please come and check out the show and chat with me :)
i’ll also be taking part in a panel discussion with the other artists in the show saturday at 2pm. if you’re interested in listening to my nonsense talk, please come.
the show runs until january 4th.
Saskatchewan Artists on the Horizon
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, September 26 at 8pm
ARTIST SALON: Saturday, September 27 at 2pm
Mendel Art Gallery
950 Spadina Crescent East
9 am to 9 pm daily
Closed Christmas Day
December 24 (Christmas Eve) 9 am to 5 pm
December 31 (New Year’s Eve) 9 am to 5 pm
during my summer holidays from elementary school, i was supposed to do a drawing every day showing the growth of a “morning glory” flower i planted in the spring. it was a combined science and art project.
i always drew the entire made-up 6-week record of the flower growing two days before school started at the beginning of september. my drawings would end up showing a bigger, more beautiful and impressive flower than actually grew in real life. a big bloom would show up suddenly in my drawings on august 30th or 31st.
one year, my flower died because i forgot to water it. i did the same kind of drawings anyway.
i’m inspired by the ugly patterns on the textiles for baby clothes at the fabric store. happy clowns and baseball patterns and weird pastel-coloured bears with eyes too close together. they are so ugly i’m having nightmares.
it’s been super cold here in saskatoon. it’s already the end of april! it was snowing the other day… i like prairie winter – so cold and painful, but not this long.
i should start spreading cherry blossom heads. they will keep me warm.
jean snow, a canadian writer based in tokyo, invited me to contribute a drawing for a website called neojaponisme. he suggested i try to use the same colour scheme as neojaponisme — red, black and grey. but he was kind to say that i could use my usual style if those colours didn’t suit my work.
i was happy for the suggestion, because i’ve been wanting to do something new. when i started drawing, i did a lot of line drawings using ballpoint pens. these days i do most of my work with colour pencils, gradually adding details and shading and only using my line drawing technique to vaguely outline figure before i start colouring.
so it was a nice brainstorming project to put my usual colour pencil technique away for awhile. i enjoyed working with a pencil again. i quite like the grey colours of graphite and the nuances that can be added by that smudging.
to add a little red to the black and white of my pencil drawing, i gave one balloon head a nosebleed. truth is, it’s a carrot stain from elijah’s lunch. he likes to feed himself these days — he gets annoyed if i try to do it all for him. when he uses his fingers, he’s very accurate and doesn’t miss much. but when he uses a spoon, food ends up all over the place — on the floor, and on his clothes, and in my hair and in this case, on my drawing. carrots flew through the air from elijah’s spoon and magically landed right on the balloon head. i like it — i think it’s very natural. so i didn’t erase it.
the colour of the carrots/nosebleed was more like orange than red. so i used photoshop to color that part, to fit with the style at neojaponisme.
(title :: simple minded)
(click the image to view close up)
i counted. i have 36 of the same plastic doctor dolls. they’re each about 30cm tall, and their heads come off. they’re incredibly handsome. some people ask me if they are barbie’s boyfriend, ken. actually, they’re emergency doctor dolls that i found at a fancy $1 store in kingston, the one with the big red sign (now closed, says my insider information).
the doctor dolls came in plastic packages. they were nonchalantly hanging from the shelf. i instantly fell in love with them. so i bought three doctor dolls as well as two nurse dolls (like this one). when i got home, i regretted not buying more. i thought they’d all be sold by the next day, since i was worried everyone might find them attractive. at the dollar store, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
so i went back right after work. there were still 5 dolls left! that still wasn’t enough, so i asked the clerk to look in the back. she found a whole box. i bought them all.
on the way home, i ran into an acquaintance, a medical student. i was carrying a big plastic bag full of those doctor dolls and i had to try to have a normal conversation with him. “how was school?”, etc. i tried not to draw attention to the dolls, but it was impossible — the bag was too big. he asked me, “what’s in the bag?” i told him, “these are the doctor dolls i bought at the dollar store. they were so handsome i had to buy them all.” he said, “that’s great”, but he was smiling nervously.
(click image to view close up)
born out of me 2004.08.18.11:28:55am in kingston.
i drew this a couple of days before my first ever show — the 2004 women’s art festival in kingston, ontario. i’ll never forget that day. i’d never shown my work in public before. i had drawings, paintings, photographs of my doctor and nurse dolls, amigurumi, and useless toys. i was so happy that people liked my work.
“puku puku puku puku”
the sound of new me’s being born.