Saturday, June 25, 2011

Craft Day

Yesterday I joined the OCAD crew for our first official craft day.

Well, it wasn't really official, or anything - just an excuse for us to get together and learn a bunch of artsy crafts, plan personal projects and take a ton of pictures. This month's craft: book binding and lino cuts! I took the day to learn how to do perfect binding - a necessary step if I'm going to make my zines work for the coming fall.

I was originally planning to staple my zines (simple, cheap and fast), but the comics are too thick to staple, so I had to find a way around it. I was lucky enough to have Paul Tseng there to give me the shotgun tutorial on how to do perfect binding. He's absolutely amazing with any sort of technical crafts, and he gave me the breakdown on how to make one, ghetto style: two butterfly clips, two boards, book glue, and a paintbrush.

My first couple of tries turned out a bit wonky, but hopefully that will improve with practice. I plan to make myself a press in the future, just to make the process more streamline.

We're hoping to make Craft day a monthly thing. Next time: screen printing. Here's to hoping we stick with the plan.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lord of the Gas Guzzlers and the War on Graffiti: the Weekly Street Art Post

Up until this point, my blog has been fairly apolitical. I don't post about politics, talk about politics, or allude to them in my illustrations.

That's not to say that I'm apathetic, or that I'm uniformed. I've tried to avoid satirical commentary because I feel like my opinions detract from art that has - up until now - been inherently apolitical. However, there is a time and a place for the occasional comment on absurdity, and after watching and reading about local affairs for the past several months, I have decided that today is the day.

For those of you who live in Toronto and the surrounding GTA (or are expatriates, like myself), you're probably well informed about our illustrious mayor, He-of-the-puffballs and Lord-of-the-Gas-Guzzlers Rob Ford.

Our mayor has a vision of greatness. A world of unparalleled aesthetic tastes. From the approval of his brother's idea that we rename our subway stops after corporate sponsors (you are now departing Spadina-McDonalds, please enjoy your Big Mac), to his proposed defunding of those obvious, left-wing pinkos running so-called "art circles" within our city, Ford's vision of Toronto the Tacky knows no bounds.

Now I can't say for sure, but I think that - back when he was learning how to become the best mayor ever - Ford read a book, called "How to Wage a Successful Moral Campaign." Being the whip-smart, politically savvy man that he is, Ford must have seen the obvious correlation between polling popularity and the successful wars on drugs and terror, because he decided that he wanted to be one of the big boys as well. He needed an enemy to fight, a war that he could win, so he looked long and hard through the annals of Canadian crime (filled with gravy-hating and hockey riots) and found a menace that he just had to beat.

In October of 2010, the "War on Graffiti" officially kicked off, and as Torontonians everywhere can tell you, his moral campaign has been a resounding success.  He appointed an arts czar, like any righteous crusader would. He's taught us that there's no difference between gang tags and street murals. That property owners are never qualified in the realm of aesthetic tastes. That the long history of graffiti is nothing a quick hose-down and a photo shoot can't fix. Why, he's made graffiti artists so contrite, they even drew murals in his honor. And, at long last, I too - a former detractor - have renounced my ways.

That's not to say that this war has not had it's share of difficulties. There are still those out there who resist our supreme overlord's brilliant vision, who deface our streets, but their numbers are few, and their murals are dwindling.

In honor of Ford, Lord of the Gas Guzzlers and mayor of Toronto the Tacky, I hope to speed this process along. I shall devote one post per week to exposing these degenerates' vandalism, to documenting the last pockets of resistance that hide on our streets.

Don't worry, fellow comrades. I suspect this series of posts will be fairly short. After all, the War on Graffiti is nearly won.