July 18, 2015 I took my camera with me when I walked Stella. I look at this basketball court every morning and think “tomorrow I will bring my camera”. Well today I did. It’s an unremarkable basketball court in Carlton park. Maybe five years old. It is well used and my only complaint is that the people who do use it, just throw all their garbage around the perimeter everyday rather than putting it in the recycle or garbage can. Maybe that’s an old man’s beef. I just can’t imagine being so self-centred that you figure someone else will clean your mess up but I guess some people are.
There are four baskets on the asphalt perimeter. When no one is around in the morning I run Stella across the pavement in hopes to wear her claws down a bit. I also like the bounce the tennis ball gets from the surface and the way the dog is able to catch it after the first bounce in full stride. This is one of the moments in the day when I’m pretty happy. The dog is so elated to be simply running, and rolling and sniffing. I wish I was amused by that sort of simple routine. I am amused to watch her every morning. It’s a good start to the day.
July 13, 2015 Found Albers. I’ve been reading Donald Judd’s short essay on Specific Objects. His work and theories are tied with Josef Albers and Dan Flaven. Two artists I like very much. On my way to work the other day I took my camera and stopped riding for a few minutes to take photographs. In a random pedestrian laneway somebody was throwing out a piece of masonite and a piece of painted plywood and had casually leaned both against a fence. The result was like one of Albers Homage to the Square works.
I have a small paperback by Albers called the Interaction of Colour that I’ve had for years. You can still buy it new on Amazon. This really doesn’t have much colour in common with any of those specific homage pieces, but the shape and layout is definitely similar.
I like the idea of found work. I search for it all the time. This other shot is a continuation of my interest in vacant store fronts or offices.
July 12, 2015 Sunday. On this scorching day I ventured off to the AGO for a quick visit. There’s a lot of work up I really like. Peter Doig, Elizabeth McIntosh, Frank Stella, Robert Motherwell, Stephen Andrews, Gerhard Richter, Kent Monkman, Francis Bacon, Brian Jungen, Christi Belcourt, and I’m sure I’m missing a few other favourites. It’s nice to go every weekend for a bit and hang out.
Here’s a found image that reminds me of the Thomas Demand series Dailies. This image doesn’t really look like any specific Demand piece, but generic coffee cups always look like constructs to me and remind me of this work. I love this image for the colours and the simplicity. The only drag was that when I shot this image I crouched to get the right angle and was assaulted by the smell of pure urine. Apparently this is a favourite pissing doorway. Such a perfect shot for me, but I can see this being problematic for others. The colour, composition, and naturally occurring sculptural aspects of things like this are magic to me.
Inside the AGO looking up through the central courtyard and out the skylights. In the haze you can see the outline of the central blue structure that holds the 5th floor contemporary galleries. On Dundas Street West just west of the Go/UP/Via train tracks and before you hit the No Frills at Lansdowne is this weird rental place situated beside a wreckers yard. This is the facade of the building between those two businesses.
July 10, 2015 I finally got new walking shoes. I ended up with canvas Blundstones and I hope they live up to the build and quality of the regular version. They weigh about a million times less and seem to breath more than their clunky but lovable siblings. The initial trial run yesterday went without a hitch until I spilled Gelato on them at the Junction Night Market.
The Wallace Walk condo development by our house is going to be nice when it’s complete. It will drastically change the area but I look at this as a very good thing. The more people, the better. It’s the first time I’ve looked at the website and it’s pretty funny. Marketing really is a job with no shame. The image below is a view from the bridge that crosses what are now the GO/UP/VIA tracks from Wallace to Dundas West. Looking down and a weird angle. Ladder obsession.Back to my circles and squares in the studio. Here I’m fooling around in hopes to capture the kernel of an idea for a painting. I have a sneaking suspicion the idea might be a dud. Oh well, typically it will morph into something else and that’s always a good thing.A shot through the window into the space of the 8-11 collective on Spadina. I’m assuming it’s between exhibitions or they’ve moved. They no longer have a sign up and but that might be a result of the possible legal hassle such a sign might have caused. I love this space right now in it’s very-nearly-empty state. It may however be interesting to see the chaise lounge box become animated with the infusion of electricity.More studio ideas. I found two boxes of analog photo filters. There are a ton of various sized sheets in this and another smaller box. I’m experimenting with a possible series but for now the box itself is fascinating for it’s potential in a Joseph Albers meets dead analog process kind of way.
July 7 2015. Jill sent me an article and photo of Donald Judd’s New York City home at 101 Spring Street. We’ve looked at it before and I remember being mesmerized. I admire his work and the other artist I associate with him, Dan Flavin. I think they have had a huge impact on what I do. Dan Flavin’s fluorescent light work in particular. He was doing that work when I was just entering the world.
This made me think of a piece I could do if I had the patience. Based on sound instead of light. Very simple. I could set up speakers and motion detectors in a room. When a person enters they would hear footfalls and maybe whispering but these sounds would always be moving away from them, triggered and controlled by the motion sensors. These voices and footfalls could move across the floor or up into the ceiling and behind walls. Basically create ghosts with sound engineering. They could even talk about the work itself or directly discuss the piece itself.
Donald Judd might have be a jerk for all I know, but I’d have liked to meet him.
July 5, 2015 was a beautiful day. I wandered around close to home taking photographs. It’s amazing how much I seem to see in a place I’ve seen so many times. I began to doubt that I was capturing anything worthwhile, but then decided to keep going and shoot what I felt like shooting. I seem to be getting more shots I keep lately. Maybe I’m just being more self indulgent than usual.
A few years ago our community was getting a new condo development called Giraffe. We were excited because it would have been a contemporary/environmental build and stood to revitalize the corner of Dundas West and Bloor. The developer ran into difficulty. I bet a lot of people lost a lot of money and never got new homes plus the entire north west block at Bloor and Dundas is empty. The superficial marketing facade for Giraffe is falling off, and the whole place is just a derelict, dirty waste of space. This window in the image below use to be the street facing display of the sales office. The brown paper installed after the project died has crumpled in on itself. I cropped in the ratio of large format frame size 4:5. There’s something I like about the awkwardness in this image.Across from the abandoned Giraffe block is a huge dental office. It sits in the bottom of a very brutalist tower. I try not to look up because it’s so depressing. The only thing that could help this place would be a demolition. Despite this I’m obsessed with tired looking vertical blinds and the main floor has a lot of them. They actually seem to be working better than most vertical blinds. I like these in particular for the simple geometric abstraction, the symmetry between blinds, the reflection on the glass from across the street and the different shadows that are cast on each element of the blind. The backside of orange, wooden, construction signs draws me in lately. Here the sign and it’s wooden support are in front of a newish hydro pole. The grass is super healthy with all the rain we’ve been getting so the colours work nicely here. Note: this is taken on a downward and off center angle. I’m getting more comfortable with asymmetry and and less interested in perfect alignment.Inside a vacant dry cleaner, from outside through the window. Peg board and concrete. I remember it as being more blue, but this is close.Places like this one below fascinate me. This is the embankment wall of an overpass for the subway train to travel on across from High Park. This is just east of High Park station. I assume the cream colour block of paint is covering up some graffiti. Hopefully just tagging because graffiti to me is better than blank concrete. Tagging is a from of vandalism that to me is the lowest of the low. Say something, even if it’s stupid. Tagging is just arrogance and self interest. It’s boring and useless. The only thing tagging does is create these swaths of paint that I find interesting.In the Bloor West Village this is part of the facade of the No Frills and what I’m guessing is the back side of a no parking sign.
July 4. 2015 and I made another trip into the Junction with the goal of re-shooting these vertical blinds in the window of a lawyers office. One of these photographs might be my first painting, but I’m not 100% convinced. I do however think I’ve found something else to obsess about through photography. I can imagine myself finding other windows like these but with different colour vertical blinds. Or maybe they blinds will be interesting enough when just closed differently creating differing thickness and shades of lines. While shooting these I thought I might construct these sort of scenes if I could get hold of manufacturer samples of vertical blinds. Either that or I could visit some vertical blind store and ask to take pictures of different configurations of blinds. but that’s gonna be a pretty strange ask. in the end this might just be a ling term project and I can shoot the blinds when I find them.It’s not as simple as it seems. For one the windows need to be old school display windows, and the blinds need to be in a mid ground area in those windows. I’m not sure how to describe this properly, but these sorts of windows are all over the city, but mostly in older places. Secondly the blinds can’t be properly closed. They need to be offhandedly shut in a way that ensures some of the slats are not lined up in a symmetrical and organized fashion. I’m sure I’ll figure out other criterion as well, but for now this should work and I should be able to find a lot of places that have these.I can totally see these as abstract hard masked paintings. There would be a randomness to the spacing of the lines that I like.
Maybe this is simply about what I find aesthetically pleasing. I don’t find that a problem.
July 3, 2015 was spent almost entirely in the Collingwood Marine and General Hospital with my mom. She was getting some tests done, so I had some time to kill. The following shots are all from that adventure.
All are taken on with my iphone and all—with the exception of the weird circular white thing—in the small, ten person waiting room for patients waiting for CT and Bone scans.
I thought of these as studies for paintings. Minimalist templates to create geometric abstractions with paint.
This first one is some sort of nuclear medicine machine. At least I think it is. It was in the same room as the full body bone scan. The smoothness of the circle and the shadowing appear painterly in real life. I could paint this exactly as I saw it.Below is a photograph of the junction between the ceiling and drape from the same room as above. The blackness in this shot works very nicely juxtaposed with the brightness from the fluorescent light fixture. You can’t even see the cheap foam ceiling titles because they are underexposed.Stacked hospital gowns. If there has ever been a more cruel garment manufactured and used in such abundance, let me know.Meeting of the ceilings in the hallway outside the waiting room.A light fixture in the ceiling of the waiting room.Drapery and wall with exterior light.The point where the waiting room floor meets the rear panel of the changing cubicle and one of my favourite shots of the day. I wish I had taken my actual camera out and shot these in high resolution files. I’m really fond of this whole series.
July 1, 2015 I ventured into the Junction. I’ve shot there countless times but not for a long time with any success. I simply wandered and tried not to think about what I wanted to shoot. I found some things of interest in a place that I thought might be exhausted.
The Junction has continued to gentrify at an outrageous pace. That’s not the worst thing, and hopefully a sparkling new Shoppers Drug mart or Tim Horton’s is still a long way off. You can always tell a neighbourhood has reached the tipping point when those sort of places look to set up shop. By then the tastemakers, artists and generally interesting folks have up and left, replaced by the suburban Proctor and Gamble eating hoards.
I find the illusion that happens in the shot below interesting, how the two dimensional wall mural merging with the discarded carpet roll. The deteriorating plaster to the right side of the frame helps to make sense of what’s happening.On the rail path this is the fence that surrounds a now vacant Toronto Hydro yard. It use to have a bunch of odds and ends strewn around but they did a major clean. Now it’s virtually empty. I’m not sure what they plan on doing with it, but now the place is derelict. I liked the jumble and chaos of this scene. Here below is a side wall of a restaurant on Dundas West east of Keele. This is the front window of what was once a retail store and now is someone’s house or apartment. Every now and then they change up a slapdash installation in the window. This time I chanced upon it there was this cool button “I FEEL GOOD ALL OVER” and to the right of it was an old school globe. I didn’t like the shot of the globe, so I kept the shot of the button. More weird stuff on Dundas West. Just some pipes in front of a store front. I’m pleased with myself for breaking my straight on shooting habit.The reflection from across the street on Dundas west of a strange art decco style building before you enter the Junction proper before Keele. Across the street from the reflected building is another sort of deccoish building that is the Salvation Army.The hoarding for the in construction condo building that’s going up where McBride Cycle used to be once upon a time. These will be called The Duke. I imagine they’ll be quite nice, however the marketing makes me fairly sick.Vertical blinds in a lawyer’s office beside The Sweet Potato oganic food market. I just uploaded everything that was worthwhile from today’s walk. I’ll elaborate a bit more later. Suffice to say I’m thinking about painting and lines/hard edges.