Close to where I live there are public tennis courts. They sit on the edge of a small park at the end of Franklin Avenue. The edge of the park and those courts also rests above the west side of Symington Avenue. This is the wall directly under the tennis courts. I imagine the white painted squares are compliments of the city and serve to cover up some tags or graffiti. I was taken by the triptych of panels, the wild and unruly weeds and plants and the discarded cardboard from a twelve of Budweiser.On the north side of Queen Street West just west of John Street is this place. Back a few years ago it was an average bookstore called Pages with aspirations to be a good bookstore, but it went out of business before it could achieve its dreams. It now looks like the space is being used as yet another condominium sales office focusing on the kitchen design of the units. It’s either that or this is actually a kitchen design store.It’s been a while since I’ve wandered in the alleys around Richmond and Queen. I spotted this down a passage beside the restaurant Jules. It’s simply a dumpster that someone has hired to renovate some place. I was drawn to the three rectangular planes created by the doors and the sides of the dumpster. There’s also a wonderful distressed texture of scratches on both doors. The ramp is another trope that seems to be surfacing in a few of my images lately. I not sure what that’s about, but here it is again.On the west side of Spadina just north of Queen is another empty condominium sales office. In this instance for a sadly marketed place called Trend. This is a view into the sales office. The wall mural must have been made in the hopes of making the prospective buyers feel like stars. If they had been in marketing they would have quickly seen through the sad psychological ploy, turned around and left. I bet these places when completed will be as cheesy as the graphics.A few years ago I fund a little treasure trove of spots to photograph in the Bay and College area. I went back this week to see how the area had changed and discovered this service driveway behind a large condo building. I’m guessing these are air intake or ventilation exhaust pipes, at least the candy cane looking ones. I’d further suppose the controls or gauges beside are unrelated. Whatever this array of stuff is, it’s so pristine that it looks fictional to me. Of course the concrete drive is sullied with flecks of gum and other detritus, but the landscape is sort of surreal and strikes me as very Thomas Demand looking.Another plywood ramp in a section of the still-vacant main floor of the MaRS building on University south of College.
I never thought of writing a post about Fifty Shades of Grey. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading the book, and never really thought about the movie, but now that the official trailer has been released and –weirdness of all weirdness–I’m in the film, curiousity has taken hold. Self-interest wins in the end.
Clarification: my art is in the official Fifty Shades of Grey theatrical screener. More specifically four photographs from my “Wandering” series. You can see them pretty clearly for two very short portions of the trailer that takes place in the fictional office of Christian Grey. In the book there’s a direct reference to a small mosaic of work by Irish artist Jennifer Trouton that hangs beside the door to Christian Grey’s office. You can read about that work here. My guess is that because Fifty Shades of Grey was filmed in Vancouver, the set designer simply opted for an easier solution for an art source and rented my pieces from Bau-Xi Vancouver. It may also be that Jennifer Trouton’s awesome little paintings were unavailable. Whatever the reason, I’m pleased. Exposure and publicity doesn’t come that easy for any artist and I welcome the interest this might generate. It’s nice to have people look at your art.So at about :24 seconds Christian Grey walks by a grouping of four photos. Then a little later in the trailer you can see two of the four works over the main character’s shoulder.You can see larger versions of each image by clicking the images in this grouping below. All of these were used in 36 x 36″ dimensions in the film.
The large painting of ghostly ships in the direct background is a work by Ed Ruscha. I wasn’t familiar with it but Christopher Knight pointed to this in the Los Angeles Times. The director Sam Taylor-Johnson is a well-known contemporary artist in her own right, associated with the group of British contemporary artists labeled the YBA. She apparently borrowed a lot of work from very big name artists for the film including John Baldassari and Ed Ruscha. Here’s another shot of an original Ruscha painting from 1987. The piece in the scene is a derivation of this work called Brother, Sister.There’s also most likely a multiple piece by John Baldessari in the office called National City, but I’ve only seen this in a still image. Here’s a pic of the actual art work in an article from the American Suburb X website.So I’m hanging out with John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha. That’s just so weird. Ed Ruscha is one of my favourite painters, and John Baldessari is right up there as well. I love Ruscha’s text based work like this piece from 2003, Pay Nothing Until April.
You can see the whole Fifty Shades of Grey trailer here. Who knows, maybe when the film comes out in February 2015 my work might see a bit more screen time. That would be spectacular but really this .0001 second of interest is pretty cool in it’s own right. Either Sam Taylor-Johnson actually liked my work enough to hang it, or the stylist on set at the time did. Either way it’s sweet and provides me with something to think about. By the way the first I heard about Sam Taylor Wood/Johnson was in 2004 for her Self Portrait Suspended series. A series that has been often copied in the ten years since.
Here’s a detailed description of Everything Expensive Thing in Fifty Shades of Grey, Explained from Bloomberg writer Justin Ocean. He was nice enough to add me to the list although in reality my work–comparatively speaking–is quite inexpensive : )
In other awesome Bau-Xi Photo related news, the AGO will be working with the gallery and some of my work in a few retail pop up shops they have initiated. Bentley Dupont West of Christie is also hanging in the AGO cafe on the lower level, and four pieces from my ongoing subway series will make it to the walls of the SkyCharter terminal at Pearson. I love Bau-Xi Photo and everyone there who has always supported what I do, even if it’s a little odd.