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i’ve made a pocket version of my amigurumi storybook, ‘the boring life of spencer, the ennui dog’.  it’s a children’s story for adults, with love, adventure, a 3-headed duck and a little backstabbing.  it’s available now in my online shop.  and i’ll be showing it at the fringe festival here in saskatoon, starting tonight.

back in 2006 i was invited to take part in an art book fair at aka gallery in saskatoon.  i’d just started this blog.  my first solo show of drawings was opening soon and i was still drawing for that show.  the art book fair was scheduled just a week after my show opening.  i didn’t have a book of drawings, or any other book to show.  but i wanted to take part, so of course i said ‘yes’.

i’d already been making a few amigurumi animals, but i didn’t have a story.  so i sat down a couple of nights after my show opening and wrote a story.  i spent a couple of days going around town taking photos with my amigurumi (it was super-cold, some of the “special effects” were hard to get right, i had to go to value village to find a pink jeep for the big ending).  paul and i stayed up late one night to do the layout and i got it printed the next day, at an office printing shop.  i bolted the pages together and took it right to the art book fair.

everyone seemed to really enjoy the spencer book.  that summer i brought it to the fringe festival and people were lining up in front of my table to read it, bringing their friends over.  i thought about getting it printed professionally but it seemed like too much trouble.  i always meant to make a smaller, affordable version of the book, but life kept getting busier and that never happened.  i did design a set of ‘spencer’ postcards that i’ve been showing at the fringe festival and selling in my online shop.  and the 3-headed maximum team power duck doll who played the bad guy in the book, made an appearance as part of a show i did at the mendel art gallery.

well, now i’ve finally made a mini-version of the spencer book that you can buy and take home with you.  it’s roughly 4 x 6 inches in size, so you can carry it in your pocket.  just take it out and read it when you need a little laugh. or you can come to my blog and read the whole story here. click the thumbnails to view the pages at full size or click the link below to launch a slideshow.

[nggallery id=spencerbook]

i’m taking part in the saskatoon fringe festival again this year, starting tonight until august 8th.  it’ll be the 4th time i’ve showed there in 5 years.  i’ll be selling this petit spencer book as well as my prints and postcards.  come on down to broadway avenue to meet me.  i’m planning to attend as many days as i can.  i’ll probably have elijah with me for some of the time, since he’s having a very emotional separation anxiety these days.

hope to see you there!

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‘jealousy’ — drawn on the street at the fringe festival, 2008

the fringe festival is finally over (well, three weeks ago).  it was very productive in many ways.  i got a nice suntan and a knife stuck in my heart.  as usual, people said to me whatever they felt like saying.  it was wonderful and amusing.

i was surprised that many people remembered or recognized my drawings from my show at the mendel gallery over a year ago.  some people even remembered them from my show at royal red gallery at phonographique three years ago.  a few people told me there were looking for me at this fringe this year since i wasn’t there last year.  the best moment was when a guy told me that he’d had seen one of the drawings, ‘inseparable’ somewhere, but he couldn’t remember where.  he left then came back just to tell me the postcard was up on the fridge door at his friend’s house.  he was so excited he came back for the third time to show my work to one of his friends.  i was very touched by all this.  so thanks and arigato!

i kept track of comments that i enjoyed.  so here’s the diagnosis;

  •  ’you should do medical illustration.  you’ll be great!’ — i don’t think so…
  • ‘do you draw family portraits? i have a photo here.’ — no thanks…
  • ‘she’s a freak!  she’s a freak!  she is a FREAK!’ screamed a guy with his full body tattooed and wearing a scary outfit with spikes.
  • ‘i LIKE it!’  said 8 year old boy who flipped through all the drawings.
  • ‘i wish i could draw…’ — i feel the same way
  • ‘ahaha!  look at those boobs!’
  • ‘these are amazing!’
  • ‘i had the EXACT same image ( an elephant coming out of my belly) recently.  i should draw that!’
  • ‘do you like creepy stuff?’ ‘no’ ‘… then why do you draw creepy stuff??’ — good question!
  • ‘do you take any drugs?’
  • ‘you look normal, but i know you aren’t!  you are not normal!’
  • ‘did you draw these?  they are so weird and grotesque.  and you are so adorable!’ — do you want a candy?

i feel so energized and encouraged.  thanks for all the encouragement and cheering as well as your nasty looks.  i did a couple of drawings sitting at my booth and i’ve been drawing away ever since.

more soon, including news about shows i’m doing in september…

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ah~, it’s so nice to be on the street with my drawings.  i started busking at the fringe festival here in saskatoon last night.  this is my first fringe since elijah came along.  and this is my first time ever being away from elijah for more than an hour.

i’ve been showing my drawings at galleries nowadays, which is very nice.  but i really like being on the street, where most of the people who come by are there just to look around, not because they’re particularly interested in art or in my drawings.  i like the randomness of having people stumble upon my work and seeing their reactions, good and bad.

the busking areas at the fringe have been very busy already this year.  i’ve been setting up on broadway, near 10th.  i have a little table with books of prints and postcards that people can browse through at their own speed.  there are a couple little stands that i put single prints in, so people can see them from a distance walking by.

some of the prints and postcards are of my newer drawings that i’ve never made into prints before.  the only one of the newer drawings that i’ve shown in saskatoon before is ‘new wings’.  the other new drawings are on first view, but i’ve already put the images up on my blog.

for the fringe festival i do a different printing technique than the archival prints i sell in my online shop.  they’re not as expensive to make, so i can sell the 8.5 x 11 prints for $10.  postcards are sold for $2 each, or 6 for $10 (i’m from kansai, i have to offer a good deal).  people keep telling me the prices are way too cheap.  i want them to be cheap enough that even little kids don’t have to worry about the cost if they find an image of mine they want to take home.

this year i’ve already had a lot of people coming up to me who know me from somewhere — my blog readers, people who remember me from previous shows in saskatoon, and even some asian girls who saw my drawings in the hong kong fashion magazine, milk.

a couple people asked for my autograph.  i double-checked to make sure they weren’t out of their minds.

i got a few negative reactions — people saying ‘urrghh’, or ‘creepy’ — but not as many as i was expecting.  one older woman did sniff at me with a disapproving face, which i was glad to see.  i don’t know why, but those negative comments don’t hurt me anymore.  i kind of enjoy them.  a couple of harsh comments go a long way to motivate me to draw more.

i ran into some of the local artists as well — artist kris moffatt, poet taylor leedahl who is representing local book company jackpine press, artist carole epp, and young artist michael.  i’m hoping to meet the artist kristin bjornerud who will be back in saskatoon for the summer from hamilton.

if you’re in saskatoon, come and see me on the street at the fringe festival!  you can say whatever you want, and you don’t have to pretend to be nice.  i’ll be happy to see you anyway.

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yep yep!

i knew it! we need to learn uchuu-jin lingo to communicate with martians!

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vocals by grace slick of jefferson airplane…

seven, seven, se~ven.

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