Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ness Lee's Me Love You Long Time

Alright, guys. Another delayed post. Again.

Back in October I attended a gallery showing at The Gladstone Hotel for my good friend and illustrator Ness Lee. It was her first solo show, entitled Me Love you Long Time, which deals with "love and bullshit, alongside her work from the series I don't Speak Chinese."

It was an interesting show, and it was really neat seeing how Ness' style has solidified and evolved over the years. I'm also a huge, huge fan of the colors she uses. It's the red. I'm such a hopeless sucker for red.

I didn't stay long at the event - maybe an hour and a bit - but I managed to snap a couple pictures of the show before I left. Really cool stuff.

The info table, with all the pretty postcards:

Below, Dough Nut Men.

Ness also had these little figurines displayed around the room alongside her illustrations, including her Sumo Plush. They were really neat.

More mini illustrations, including the Tough series.

 The illustration Money!

From left to right, Noodle Danse, Cheer Up Porkchop, and Can't Stop Thinking.

At for the last, one of my absolute favorites, Practice. I love the textures for it.

Before I end the post, there's something I wanna to get off my chest, and while its not really related to Ness' show, it is at the same time? Or all events, really. I guess writing about the show just reminded about it.

For most of the past year (ever since the spring), I've been really, really busy, and I haven't had any time to go to shows, or do any sort of networking, or see what kind of new illustrations are out there, or even work on my own stuff outside of limited class projects. So now, being able to venture out into Toronto again, to interact with people and see what's being created - even if it's only for a couple of hours - feels awesome. It's like... I dunno. Like I have a pulse. Isolation can be stifling. It's a weird thing to say, but I've been such a hermit for so long that it's become somewhat detrimental. It's good to be involved in things again, and to be productive. Really, it is.

And I'm out.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

5th Annual Zine Dream Fair

So. This post is months and months old, like everything else.

Back in August I went to the 5th Annual Zine Dream Fair - it's a local zine festival that's been happening every summer for the past couple years. It's not my first time going - in August 2011 I went to the 4th Annual Fair, just to see what everything was about.

Like the previous year, this summer's event was small, cozy, and catered to a local hipster-ish crowd. Zine Dream isn't exactly my sort of festival, and after two years with consistent results, I can honestly say that I feel a bit out of place,when trying to navigate through the nuances of the fair's particular audience. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy going, of course, or that I can't find neat stuff if I try.

My haul for Zine Dream is always smaller than my haul from other events, but I think that's because there's a smaller selection. I'm also really picky about what I buy. I've gotten more selective over the years, and I tend to avoid handicrafts and go straight for comics.

The goodies, from this year's 5th Annual Zine Dream:

Like I said, not much. But! I managed to stick to my $20 budget. I also picked up copies of Jeannie Phan's Coping with Paradise and Bodies in Cosmos.

Below, Jocelyn Cheung's Sketchy Journal Vol. 1, as well as a cat-head necklace, by Justine Wong: my only craft purchase of the day (besides pins).

A zine by a new artist I haven't heard of before, Joseph Nowak:

I can honestly say the only reason I picked it up is because I was attracted to the red. I'm such a sucker for red. It always gets my attention. The comic inside were pretty good, though! I really liked it.

The final two purchase I made I'm really excited about. The first is Fiona Smyth's The Neverweres, a graphic novel for young adults about the end of the world. I have a soft spot for dystopias and creative apocalypses, and I've been meaning to pick up a copy of her book for what seems like forever.


Fiona was a prof of mine at OCAD U, and I learned a lot from her. So! I made sure to get my copy signed, because I'm picky like that:

The second thing I'm super excited about is that I'm a contributor for The Wilding Zine Vol. 5! I picked up an issue at the fair.


The Wilding is also run and composed by Fiona Smyth, who does a wonderful job of putting everything together. I did the comic for this volume almost a year ago, but things have been so hectic for so long that I honestly sort of forgot about it. It's kind of cool seeing my stuff in print (my own zines don't count).

All in all, a small haul, but a good one. Looking forward to hunting for more stuff next year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Back from the Dead

So I've been gone for a long time.

A long, long, long time. And this time, it was totally unintentional. For real.

At this point, I think I'm gonna stop promising to post on a regular basis. Every single time I promise, that wonderful thing called life decides to veer in the opposite direction, and I end up not posting for ages. It's like I'm jinxing myself. So, no more promises. Lots of apologies, though. And attempts at correcting my bad behavior.

Life has been pretty brutal and unbearably stressful for the last little while. A bunch of things happened back to back, and blogging went by the wayside. I'm months behind in positing, so if the content I put up is over half a year old, I APOLOGIZE PROFUSELY. I didn't mean to do. I swear.

To make up for my unanticipated (but predictable) absence, I've illustrated the last couple months in a series of heartfelt visuals. Enjoy. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There is nothing left for the consumer to Classify...

There is nothing left for the consumer to classify. Producers have done it for him. Art for the masses has destroyed the dream but still conforms to the tenets of that dreaming idealism which critical idealism baulked at. Everything derives from consciousness: for Malebranche and Berkeley, from the consciousness of God; in mass art, from the consciousness of the production team. Not only are the hit songs, stars, and soap operas cyclically recurrent and rigidly invariable types, but the specific content of the entertainment itself is derived from them and only appears to change. The details are interchangeable. The short interval sequence which was effective in a hit song, the hero's momentary fall from grace (which he accepts as good sport), the rough treatment which the beloved gets from the male star, the latter's rugged defiance of the spoilt heiress, are, like all the other details, ready-made cliches to be slotted in anywhere; they never do anything more than fulfill the purpose allotted them in the overall plan. 
From Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Currently Reading...

Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception:
The ruthless unity in the culture industry is evidence of what will happen in politics. Marked differentiations such as those of A and B films, or of stories in magazines in different price ranges, depend not so much on subject matter as on classifying, organizing, and labelling consumers. Something is provided for so that none may escape; the distinctions are emphasized and extended. The public is catered to with a hierarchical range of mass-produced products of varying quality, thus advancing the rule of complete quantification. Everybody must behave (as if spontaneously) in accordance with his previously determined and indexed level, and choose the category of mass product turned out for his type. Consumers appear as statistics on research organization charts, and are divided by income groups into red, green and blue areas; the technique that is used for any type of propaganda.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Dahlia, my new mascot.

Dahlia epitomizes everything I love about fashion: a plethora of hybrid influences cobbled together to create something ostentatiously ornate and gaudy as a bird of paradise. If I could dress this way I would. Unfortunately, I do not have the time nor the money to procure such a getup, so I figure I'll live vicariously through my illustrations until school's over. After that, I can once again devote my time to finding pretty clothes.

I started this illustration last summer, but didn't get a chance to finish it until now. The image is pretty large (11"x17" spread), but Blogspot's got this new(ish) thing where all images automatically re-size, so I've included some close ups for details that may get lost in the larger preview. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Truths (Circa 2009)

Ten Truths that I know are True
  1. Sex still sells.
  2. Reality is a construct.
  3. Everything dies eventually.
  4. The 'right way to think' vs. the 'wrong way to think' is subjective.
  5. The world's strongest and most steadfast currency is the overwhelming desire for MORE.
  6. When the minority becomes the majority, their beliefs become the norm.
  7. We are all more ordinary, less attractive and less special than we would like to believe.
  8. True brilliance is rare and precious as it is transient: it never lasts for vast amounts of time.
  9. The human species is as cosmically insignificant as an amoeba is to the sun.
  10. Perfection is unobtainable because the essence of perfection is subjective and ever changing (but that doesn't stop us from reaching for it).

Ten Truths Perpetuated by Society that are Lies
  1. Equality has been achieved. 
  2. The best things in life are free.
  3. Human beings are essentially good.
  4. We are free to make our own choices, regardless of circumstance or external forces.
  5. Activism and a positive outlook will eventually wipe out various forms of human suffering.
  6. The letter of the law is always determined by unbiased, calm, analytical assessment.
  7. Governments and institutions have your best interests in mind.
  8. During times of great duress, people will overcome their differences and come to a lasting solution that benefits all.
  9. A university degree is the cure for all your woes.
  10. If it's peer reviewed, it's true.

 Ten Truths that I Wish were True
  1. That sleep was unnecessary.
  2. That perfection was obtainable.
  3. That human beings were essentially good.
  4. That the best things in life were always free.
  5. That there was an undo button for all the mistakes you've made.
  6. That governments and institutions had your best interests in mind.
  7. That the financial burden of getting an education wasn't so great.
  8. That aging was not an eventuality, but a choice.
  9. That minimum wage was higher.
  10. That I had a lifetime supply of Lindor chocolate.

It's so weird, reading my old writing (and kind of amazing what I can find when I end up digging through my school notes).  Things change. Ideas mature. Although I gotta admit - I still agree with 90% of the content on these lists.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Paintbrush Carrying Case: A DIY Tutorial

So I was planning to post this MONTHS ago, but I kind of forgot about it. Like forgot about it in a bad way. Or got distracted. Probably both.

Over the Christmas holidays some OCAD friends and I participated in an artsy version of Secret Santa. The whole thing was very laid back and lots of fun. I prefer making gifts to buying them, so for my contribution to the gift stash I made a paintbrush carrying case out of recycled materials I found around the house.

Really easy to make, durable, and extremely convenient. I'm sure there are plenty of different methods for constructing one, but I've posted instructions on how I made the case below.

What you'll need:
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Thread
  • Needles
  • Scissors
  • Bias tape
  • Cotton broadcloth
  • Pre-made Dishrags or Tea Towels, preferably out of canvas or something heavier (you can buy them in packs of two or three at most dollar stores)
  • Sewing machine

Step 1: Assembling Supplies

Pretty self explanatory. You'll need your basic sewing supplies (listed above), dishrags/tea towels, as well as some sort of broadcloth or canvas. When buying tea towels make sure they're made out of something heavier, as it needs to be durable enough to transport supplies. For my project I used what I had around the house - red bias tape, brightly colored towels, and decorative paper (to wrap the gift).

Step 2: Setting Things Up

Before you start cutting and pinning your fabric, you need to pre-wash both your broadcloth and your tea towel to shrink them. If your material is synthetic it won't shrink that much, but cotton will definitely warp so make sure to check the specs of the fabric's weave. After you wash your fabric, iron it flat and lay out your broadcloth with your tea towel on top, making sure to match up the grain. Pin your tea towel to the broadcloth to firmly hold it in place. 

Step 3: Cutting things to Size

Next, take your scissors and cut your broadcloth around your tea towel, leaving a 1" - 1.5" border. Don't worry if you have a few uneven edges, as it will be hidden in the final project. Do not remove the pins until after you're done cutting.

Step 4: Folding the Edge

After your done cutting your broadcloth, plug in your iron to warm it up. Remove the pins from your fabric, and - carefully following the border - fold your broadcloth over so that it is approximately .5" smaller than your tea towel on all sides. Press these folds flat, then place the broadcloth back against the inside of the tea towel to line up the edges. 

Step 5: Pinning the Edge

Next, pin your broadcloth and tea towel together with the inside facing in. You won't be turning your carrying case inside out to hide the seams (I'll get to that in a moment, so don't worry). Make sure that both pieces of fabric are lying flat against one another to avoid stretching the grain when pinning.

Step 6: Sewing the Edge

After you're done pinning, take a thread the same color as your broadcloth and do a double threaded slip stitch all the way around your piece of fabric to hide the raw edges of your lining. Learning slip stitch is a lesson in of itself so I won't go into details here, but once you're done, you should have a (relatively) neat edge securely sewn that hides the loose threads beneath. 

Step 7: Mapping out Basic Measurements

Once that's done, iron out your piece of fabric to make sure there are no bumps between your lining and your exterior canvas. Next, fold your piece of fabric 1/3 of it's length (this measurement varies on how large your piece of fabric is and how tall your paintbrushes are, so feel free to vary it).

Step 8: Securing the Fold

Once you've decided on your fold, pin the fabric on either side. Stitch the fold along the edge at a .5" seam. Do not turn the pocket inside out - the stitching is meant to show on the outside. 

Step 9: Mapping out your Pockets

After the sides of the fold have been secured, pull out your paintbrushes (and sketchbook, if you want to create a pocket for that as well). Place them side by side within the fold to figure out how much room you need for each pocket, pinning along the sides. After you're done pinning, find something to mark your lines to help you sew relatively straight. In my case I used the vertical patterning on the fabric, but in lieu of that a couple marks with a fabric pencil or marker (available at most sewing stores) will do.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

Once you've sewn your pockets, there's really only one step left. Take your bias tape and cut off the length needed to securely hold your carrying case together. When determining the length of the bias tape it's best to place your paintbrushes inside the case and fold it in three, as the pockets will expand depending on the contents you're carrying. Once you have your length of bias tape, fold it in half and secure it to the outside of the case with a simple row of stitching (either by hand or by machine). Double check the length to make sure it's accurate, then seal the ends of the bias tape using clear nail polish or some sort of anti-fray serum. And you're done!

As a side note: my packaging for the gift, complete with hoodie drawing and horribly articulated Christmas card. I don't think I've sounded that tongue tied in awhile.