the agent from the inner circle


the agent from the inner circle; mixed media on cradled wood panel, 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches; the string series continues.

Soon you will understand: she would not be here if things were going well, if certain plans had not degraded, if certain states were not in decay. She is urgency’s pale representative. Skeptical, intelligent, somehow medical. Elegant, too –– in that cream-coloured coat, high at the collar, long to the knee, a swirling heart daubed to her chest. Black-handed, gloved in thin leather. Serious and Staring. A breaker of borders. A carrier of secrets and orders from a distant and unknown centre, saturated with lies and cold authority, a reader of signs, a calculator of efficiency and need, the on-site architect of control, or ruthlessness, or sudden mayhem, in the star-abraded cyan mint of early morning, in the waking light of that-which-must-be-done. Soon you will understand.

You can see details of this painting here.


ink paintings on compact discs


So I’ve been making ink paintings on old compact discs.



I put on the primer very wet, trying to leave some of the original printing so you know who the artist is (with some minimal-aesthetic bands like Radiohead, this is not so easy).



I like the centre hole being in the way. I like the weird smoothness of plastic, the way ink just sits on it.


I do a quick varnish spray over the artwork but at the end of the day these are still less durable than most of my art; you can handle them, but with care.


Each one is mounted on white presentation board (with a drop of rubber cement – the same stuff that holds your new credit card to the letter from the bank – so easily removed) cut to fit inside a matching envelope, so the artwork as a whole is packaged for gift giving (or sending).


I’ll have fourteen of these at the Fat Goose show this Sunday (along with a ton of other work). They’re $30 each. I would have made more but I ran out of time!

as all the heavens were a bell / and Being but an ear / and i and silence some strange race / wrecked, solitary, here


The front/first page of my Flickr. I enjoy seeing the work at this size, like postage stamps.




Some recent art on book board. As much as I dig repurposing old and/or discarded items, and celebrating the ruin in that, I need to move on to some cleaner, sparer work. People are intimidated by the busy, I find; it’s as if they look but don’t see.


A sample of the latest library card art. I paint them over lunch these days (a cheap way to salvage any morning).

So here’s to November … the month that heralds the death knell of Fall, the forgettable opening act of Winter, and the uncomfortable waiting room for the long night of the soul that is Christmas.

p.s. The title is from Emily Dickenson.





… and just today I heard about this #inktober phenomenon, which is a thing made for me if ever there was one. I mean, I don’t even like making prepatory lines with pencil, because of the (a) delay and (b) nerve curdling scratching noise (in fact, I dislike all kinds of dry drawing). My instinct is always to be putting wet brush to surface.

drawingatlunch1x drawingatlunch2x

And now that I’m drawing over my lunch hour again … well, let’s just say I may be rampant with the ‘inktober’ hashtag.

come by my table on saturday afternoon


These are some of the fifty-five library card art pieces I’ll have for sale at my table this Saturday afternoon at the Made in Canada Etsy + Fat Goose Craft Fair (Grant Hall, Queen’s, 10-4). Original artworks on vintage library cards, $10 each or 3 for $20, packaged for gift giving (they’re great to tuck into birthday cards), these work both as bookmarks or miniature paintings to frame in their own right.



I’ll also have cigar-tin stories, copies of my books, and a great selection of various mixed-media artworks, all of it priced at $20 and $30. Get out of the house, go for a walk, enjoy the day and come home with an original work of art –– all for the price of a (cheap) pair of pants. My table is cash-only but at least the bills are small.

How to Die from Graphic Design


How to Die from Graphic Design (in Ten Easy Steps)

An original art book, soft cover, perfect bound, full-colour throughout, 7 x 7 square format, 42 pages.

Essential reading for graphic designers or anyone thinking about studying graphic design: a step-by-step guide to the slow but steady poisoning of your artistic ambition and the eventual death of your creative self! Tongue-in-cheek? Perhaps. First and foremost this is an art book, filled cover to cover with my own original artwork in every media.


I made this little book at the end of a ten-month leave (without pay) from my graphic design job – a leave where I found myself doing far more graphic design than I intended (or wanted). Things devolved to the point where I could only think of graphic design as a kind of insidious killer, like stress or waterborne microbes or the spouse who pretends not to hear your cries for help from the bottom of the basement stairs (and instead turns up the volume on Madame Butterfly).


Of course I’m having some fun here, describing a creative profession as a kind of long-form suicide, but at the same time I find it pretty rich that people who want to make a living from the power of their visual imagination are drawn into the very industry that will (with the notable exception of those at the very top of the pyramid) ruthlessly crush anything original or experimental in its path.


All of the artwork is my own –– painting, drawings, illustrations –– with some unwitting spot contributions from my five year-old daughter, Oona.


I have nine copies of this book. The first six orders will come with an art-map poster (a poster folded like a map) of the back cover artwork, a photographic print of one of the interior artworks, and an original piece of library card art for use as a bookmark. The next three orders will come with an art-map poster of one of the interior artworks, a photographic print of one of the back cover artwork, plus an original piece of library card art for use as a bookmark. All copies are signed.



If you want the book only, you can find it on Amazon or Blurb.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some graphic design work to do.


cigar-tin story number twenty-eight / an open letter


An Open Letter to Whoever Abandoned the Semi-crushed VCR in Our Back Alley,

So … it went on for about a month, I’d say. That semi-crushed VCR just sitting there, in its semi-crushed box, abandoned in our back alley, and no one coming along to claim it, to rescue it.

No one’s going to want that, I thought. Even in our neighbourhood, where culture arrives exclusively in the form of tattoos and misheard expletives, no one has any semi-crushed copies of Rambo or Cobra or even Rocky III that they want to see anymore. I’d say they’ve moved on. I’d say the consensus is that Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen and even Mr. T (!) have nothing left to teach us anymore. That they’re just decadent, monosyllabic spectacles from an embarrassing decade.

Full disclosure: I’ve never seen Rambo. I know Brian Dennehy is in it. He’s good. He does a lot of theatre now, that guy. And I know Stallone has that line about ‘pushing me’, and where that leads. Seems like the kind of movie that would be perfect for a semi-crushed VCR, if you ask me.

I don’t know, maybe it’s another technology thing. Maybe nobody watches semi-crushed VHS tapes at all anymore. Maybe everyone’s into DVD’s now, or even semi-crushed Blu-Ray.

Or maybe it *is* the semi-crushed thing. To be honest, we already have a lot of semi-crushed stuff in our neighbourhood: semi-crushed toys, semi-crushed shopping carts, semi-crushed bottles, semi-crushed dog shit, semi-crushed cigarette butts, semi-crushed spiders, semi-crushed squirrels, semi-crushed front doors, semi-crushed roofs, semi-crushed garages, semi-crushed fences, semi-crushed lawn ornaments, semi-crushed housing prices, semi-crushed childhoods, semi-crushed hopes, semi-crushed dreams, semi-crushed attempts at post-secondary education, semi-crushed marriages, semi-crushed employment histories, semi-crushed credit scores, semi-crushed relationships with local law enforcement, semi-crushed attempts at parenting, semi-crushed promises to stay away from solvents, semi-crushed efforts at not yelling obscenities in the street, semi-crushed psyches …

I could go on. But all I’ve ever wanted is an ending for this bit of performance art or public theatre or whatever you want to call it, for that semi-crushed VCR to go back to whatever semi-crushed hole it crawled out of, so we can all get back to our semi-crushed lives.

And then one day it was gone. “It’s gone,” I said to C, in that higher tone of disbelief.

“No it’s not,” she said. “Someone just moved it around the corner.”

Nicely done, I thought. Nicely done.


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