Common/Uncommon

Common/Uncommon is new sculpture. I thought the current object I was making was the endgame, but it appears this and others are only steps in a process in determining a larger body of work.

I present the “Pineapple”. That’s not its real name but it sort of resembles a pineapple. A blue pineapple.

0M6A3274This is, a 10 foot square blue tarp cut into 5 inch squares which are then drilled in the center and pierced with a 12″ galvanized common nail. There may be more nonsensical work in a series of similar objects. I can see different colour tarps being employed in different cut out shapes to make a trio of similar objects. Hopefully this weekend I can find an orange tarp at least. I looked a while back and found a myriad of different shades.

I’m wondering what the most common colour is for a construction site tarp. It must be blue or orange. Those seem ubiquitous. I’ve just checked Home Depot and Rona and both have a very limited supply. They seem to be all about the blue tarp. But Rona does has a camouflage one. I guess that’s for the hunter/end of world enthusiast. OK< looks like I have to break my boycott of Crappy Tire and shop there. They have reasonably inexpensive orange, silver, white and dusty brown shades.

The next step however in Common/Uncommon-came to be me in the middle of the night–will be to sculpt a house painting brush out of three colours of house painting masking tape.

 

 

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Construct (Build or Erect)

Construct (Build or erect) is an idea for a show. My last exhibition had the same name, but I had intended it to be pronounced differently and to refer to a different definition. Construct (Idea or Theory) was a series of photographs of photographs manipulated into different sculptural configurations. I was playing with the idea or theory of photography, a construct of photography. In this new work my intent is to create sculptures out of building material and either display them as they are or again use photography to document them. I will construct work.

Construct (Build or Erect) has been a long time in the making. I’ve always been intrigued by the possibility of re-purposing common material. I’m comfortable with building things having worked in the construction industry when I was younger and having constructed a home from the foundation to the shingles. I can lay block, make concrete and mortar, frame, shingle, and do electrical and plumbing work. I can manage my way around a workshop and worksite.

I first merged the idea of construction and art in a project I did in 2010 for Nuit Blanche here in Toronto.For “The Task” I moved concrete blocks from one location to another and back again over a 12 hour period. 18 tons of block. It was extremely personally rewarding and referenced labour and making–as well as conceptualist, durational, performance and sculptural art.

The first recent attempt at a piece for Construct answered a lot of questions and gave me a lot of ideas. Below is a running account of the work from inspiration to execution. The next step is yet to be determined.

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Construct – Vancouver, April 2016

Construct

April 9th-23rd BAU-XI Gallery2nd Floor, 

3045 Granville Street West, Vancouver

Construct is part of the Capture Photography Festival happening in April, 2016.

Construct is a series of interventions on physical photographic prints. Through shredding, cutting, tearing, folding, crumpling and other acts, photographs are reimagined and reconfigured into sculptural forms. These new objects are then re-shot and the journey—from taking to making and back to taking—allows the viewer to re-evaluate the conventional language of photography. Memory, nostalgia, documentation and other established tropes of the medium become secondary to the form and object, opening a dialogue about what an image is and what it means.

My artistic practice to date has focused on large scale photographic prints. Underpinning that work has always been an overriding interest and affection for painting and sculpture by both the Geometric Abstractionists of the 1960s and Contemporary and Conceptual artist of today and the last 50 years. Construct is a conscious effort to move from “taking” pictures to “making” pictures within this frame of reference. The work in this series uses either existing artist proofs or newly photographed pieces specifically shot and printed to work with the new processes of manipulation. These processes deliberately avoid technology and opt instead for mundane and repetitive physical actions. This also adds an archaic, durational aspect to the work that is simultaneously uncomfortable and meditative.

The following were all created in January and February of 2016.

2.FINAL_36x36_RedBrickWallFoldedRed Brick Wall Folded, 2016 - Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

Red Brick Wall Folded, 2016 started with a 1 foot square photograph of a red cinder block wall taken outside a local Toronto Coffee Time. I didn’t originally photograph this wall with the idea of folding it, but when looking back through images I had, I thought it would work well for either crumpling or stripping.

A few years ago I purchased a book that outlines basics of paper folding for design and architectural purposes, and remembering that I had it I decided to experiment with the red brick wall photo. This process has been rolling around in my brain for a few years but I had never tried to execute. This image verified that my imagined process could be worked with photographic paper.

3.FINAL_36x36_RedBrickWallFolded2Red Brick Wall Folded Verso, 2016 - Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

I felt this second version of Red Brick Wall Folded, 2016 was necessary to explain its companion. Here all I’ve done is flip the folded/dinted paper shape from the first image over and shot it at another angle so that the white back of the paper is not visible. The effect makes it looks like a totally different shape.  I plan to expand and experiment more with this technique. These images represent the first time I’ve tried this despite the fact that I’ve been thinking about doing it for years. This is pretty standard with my practice. I think about something, I think about it more, and then usually forget it for a while. If it comes back to me, it’s usually clearer and makes more sense, which makes it more imperative to execute.

1.FINAL_36x36_BowieCloudsCubed

Bowie Sky Cubed, 2016 – Edition of 7 – Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

All three of the Bowie Sky images in this show were created from photographs specifically shot to be printed, then manipulated and then reshot. The Bowie thing just happened.

I typically plan when I’m going to take pictures, and on this particular day I had planned to go to a parking lot in the city to take pictures of the sky for this series. This relied on it being a clear day and that there was also defined cloud cover. Bowie died the night before.  I don’t look at these pieces as a tribute to Bowie, for me to do that would be trite and contrived. It was how it happened though and these have become a constant reminder to me of how I felt the morning that Bowie died and what he had meant and would continue to mean and symbolize to me. Of the three Bowie Sky images in this show, this one was created first.

11.FINAL_36x36_BowieCloudsStrippedBowie Sky Stripped, 2016 – Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

While making the cubed version of this trio I imagined making this one. The original photographs for these are all 18 x 18 inches square. I have a new cutting board and a large supply of Olfa utility knife blades. I also bought a very snazzy 48” ruler that has a steel insert along one edge, a rubber backing to hold the print down and stop it from moving around, and a substantial handle to lift my fingers away from the blade. These strips are all done freehand with that set up, then the strips are piled and finally re-arranged so they don’t appear anything like the original order in the original photograph. It’s surprisingly touchy work to re-arrange such strips of paper and I had to be very careful not to overlap the strips too much. I found the composition worked better when the white of the Foamcore backing showed through in paces to delineate each strip better.

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Bowie Sky Stripped and Formed, 2016 – Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

This was the last of the three Bowie Sky images. For this I took the strips used to build Bowie Sky Stripped, 2016 and individually curled each one—like you would curl ribbon when wrapping a present. Each strip becomes a circular loop and those loops are then piled together. Originally I hadn’t known they would form a sphere, it was a lucky happenstance. As I piled the loops they just naturally began to fall into a loosely formed ball.  I simply picked the structure up and pushed it together a bit in my hands to form the almost perfect sphere in the shot.  This is photographed at an angle, rather than directly above and straight on like most of my work. The sphere rests directly on a Foamcore backdrop.

4.FINAL_36x36_ColourCirclesonBlack2Colour Circles on Black 2, 2016 - Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

This is another print in the series that began developing in 2013 and like Colour Circles on White 22016 originated in the same way. Both the black and white backgrounds are sheets of Foamcore that I put on the floor of the studio. On top of each background a cardboard tube is placed and the colour discs are stacked and placed on the end of that cardboard tube so they are elevated off the Foamcore. These are shot directly from above. This process allows me to separate the foreground and background in Photoshop and make it easier to separate them into different layers. I can then easily underexpose the black and overexpose the white to remove most of the shadows and eliminate the texture of the Foamcore sheets while retaining the correct exposure for the colour circles.

9.FINAL_12x12_ColourCirclesonWhiteColour Circles on White 2, 2016 – Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

In 2013 I created six inch, circular, colour photographs in Photoshop. These were then printed as chromogenic prints and mounted to Dibond. Originally I took these discs and attached them on sticks and held them out in front of my camera and shot them surrounded by water, forest, or whatever. I’d then remove the stick with Photoshop. There was something about the manipulation that felt dishonest, so I abandoned that work. I then took the discs and started piling them up in the studio.  These are photographs of photographs like everything else in this show, but with these I was definitely thinking of Joseph Albers and Ellsworth Kelly’s work.

13.FINAL_36x26_ColourCirclesStrippedonBlackSoft

Colour Circles Stripped and Formed, 2016 - Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

For this piece I went back into my files and selected an alternate version of an earlier Colour Circles on Black, 2016 print. I printed this derivative 18” square and then sliced up that 18” square photo—that looked vaguely like the 3 foot version in this show—in a manner like Bowie Sky Stripped and Formed. This worked wonderfully. The combination of black and coloured strips curled into loops and formed into a ball make a very graphic photograph. This isn’t surprising to me. Although I’ve had a Fine Art education and I’ve been exposed to Contemporary art in a serious way for the past 20 years, part of my practice is definitely inspired and informed by graphic design work. In particular, novel and record jackets with a healthy dose of architecture and furniture design thrown into the mix.

WORKING_GardinerCircles1Brush Gardiner Expressway Circles Alone, 2016 – Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

This is a manipulation from a 2012 work—Brush, Gardner Expressway. The original piece was exhibited in Toronto for the show Wandering. That original edition was printed at 36? x 36? size, and with that, 3 smaller 12? squares that I considered artists proofs. I used those smaller 12” versions for these circling effects.

In 2013 when I had started working more in the studio I purchased a set of metal punches from eBay for stamping out rubber gaskets. I figured that if they could stamp out rubber gaskets, they could easily stamp out circles from photographic prints. Oddly enough I had no luck with those punches. Fast-forward to 2016 and I bought a small, twelve-dollar, Olfa knife, the design of which is based on a simple compass structure. These images were created with that simple tool.

9.FINAL_36x36_GardinerCirclesinaSquareBrush Gardiner Expressway Circles in Square, 2016 – Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print 36 X 36 in.

This is a derivative of Brush Gardiner Expressway Circles Alone, 2016. That original image is made entirely of the circles that were cut out of an original square print. This image uses both the original desecrated print and the resultant circular pieces. This new piece was created because I felt that the print of just the circles was leaving something out, it was being untruthful to the viewer or at least suggesting something that I wanted to clarify. Here in Brush Gardiner Expressway Circles in Square, 2016 although the original print has been altered, the entire print is used in this version. I’m not really sure why this was important to me but it was. More and more I find myself not really knowing why, or not really knowing why at the time I create something, why I create it. After the fact though I can usually go back to each piece and understand where it came from, but it’s not always completely planned and executed. It’s becoming more spontaneous.

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Sky Crumpled, 2016 – Edition of 7 - Chromogenic print mounted on archival substrate 36 X 36 in.

I started crumpling in 2013. I tried to figure out how to engineer and build a crumpled piece of paper. Realizing that would be bordering on impossible I forgot about it for a while. While cleaning the studio one day I found a bunch of artist proofs. Feeling reckless and still thinking about crumples—I took the plunge and scrunched one up.  It was hard to do. Photographs hold a tangible power and it felt irreverent or criminal. Prints also cost money and it seemed like a bit of a waste. I soon got over those feelings and loved the results. This image for Sky Crumpled, 2016 was shot and printed intentionally to crumple up.  The resulting crumple was lit in the studio with a constant light source and shot it again, then enlarged and printed. The original photograph is 12” square.

This new body of work is ostensibly photography about photography and although it seems a rather abrupt change in direction for my work it developed rather slowly.

I’ve had a fairly short career making art. Although I’ve made things all my life and I’ve taken pictures for about 40 years, I’ve only been producing work, showing it and selling it for about 8 or 9 years. The majority of the work up to this point has been architecture based. In simple terms I take a lot of photographs of buildings and spaces.

Construct sets out to make things and to make those things I’m using photographs. More specifically I’m reconstructing photographs to be objects themselves. These constructed objects could be sculptures that stand on their own and are displayed as sculpture, but I’ve chosen to make them back into photographs. I like the permanence of that image, and I like the idea that they remain as the only record of a physical thing I’ve made.

To me these photographs are proof of things existing that only I’ve seen.

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July 10, 2015

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.IMG_5537 IMG_5572 IMG_5582Back 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.IMG_5630A 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.IMG_5645More 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.IMG_5648

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The End of 2014

The end of 2014 or the year of construction. Our neighbourhood has been marked by major infrastructure and housing projects but I feel like were not the only ones. There’s major renovation going on at the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville with Yorkville Plaza. When I check it out on Google Maps and think about it, that construction has been happening for 2 or 3 years.  The shots below are of the old sales office and a close to completed doorway.IMG_4127 IMG_4124In the Junction Triangle we’ve been besieged by both the UP railway line construction and a major townhouse development. The orange tarps cover the work being done on the rail bridge across Bloor at the Bloor Go Station which will double as an UP Station.  IMG_4106I will be pretty happy to see the end of these railway ties. The smell of creosote is crazy strong every time you walk by them. I do however think they look pretty neat stacked up like this.IMG_4101Also, found: one right handed pink latex glove. If someone was washing up on the path and lost this I can tell you exactly where it is. It’s nestled snuggly on the West Toronto  Rail Path surrounded by aging dog feces. Word.IMG_4105

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April 2014 Wandering

IMG_1203April is looking up. It was warm enough on Thursday to walk to my Doctor appointment, so I took the camera out of moth balls for the two hour journey.

We have a rail corridor adjacent to our street. This is a view from our wonderful pedestrian/bicycle path over the Frost fence into the construction area. I love the play between the multiple horizontal lines of the rails in the foreground, the organically sculpted gravel hills, the colour patterns of the mall walls and the hydro pole that bisects the central focus area.

For the past ten years we’ve become accustom to the sound of Via and Go Trains passing by at relatively infrequent intervals. That’s all about to change. I’m not really worried about it, just disappointed that the government–in its infinite wisdom–has decided to cheap out on several fronts and rather than think about the future they’re saving their pennies to waste in other ways.

The train will be diesel. Strike one. Why in this day and age we are opting for fossil fuel technology I’ll never comprehend. The main cited argument is that electrifying the line would just be too expensive.

Maybe the whole plan of a dedicated airport route is too expensive, period. I don’t travel a great deal, and when I do, I fly out of the island for anything domestic. I can ride my bike or take TTC there. When I fly out of Pearson I also take the TTC. I’m not a big fan of spending piles of government money on “convenience” for an elite group of people and never will be. I don’t give a crap if the frequent flyer business contingent save half an hour on the journey to or from the airport to downtown. We’re building this thing for 1% of the population. Why aren’t we spending all this cash on the TTC?

Strike 2 is the “sound barrier” plan. I’d rather live with the noise and the current chain-link fence. I do now. Instead, we have to have our neighbourhood cloven in two by Mississauga Highway style concrete barrier walls.  Seriously? If I wanted to live in the suburbs I would have moved there 10 years ago. Several companies put forward wonderful “green” wall ideas, that looked extremely cool and fit in with the mentality of the area. Instead they opted for crappy-concrete barrier walls. We’ll see how nice those look covered in tags.

Sad, sad, sad.

 

 

 

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Found Sculpture

Found Sculpture in the case below references the work of James Carl. I had a great t-shirt of a t-shirt that James Carl did and that my loverly wife bought from Art Metropole for me. I really like his work. I think I’ll have to get another of those t-shirts. I also want to get some of these generic white cups and lids. They have this awesome James Carl sculptural quality that I find very attractive. I can imagine playing around with them my white paper backdrop, making one-off minimalist photographic sculpture.

I think of these electrical panel constructions as found sculpture too. They’re simply the coolest collage of wires, conduit, metal boxes and wires. It would be good to get some of these materials as well as the cups and construct elaborate and absurd versions of these modular masterpieces.

There’s already a sculptor who utilizes ductwork, and there’s also the work of Jimmy Limit that comes to mind. He shows at Clint Roenisch. If I worried about my work being like someone else’s I would have never produced anything so who cares.

Sculpture is a definite draw for future work. I also like the idea of found materials and of taking photographs to preserve a record of the sculpture. Living with actual sculptures is not the easiest thing to do. I like how photography translates the sculptural into an idea of the sculptural.

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Canada Day

Canada Day Monday July 1st. I ventured out this morning to shoot and came back with some surprises. These are surprising to myself, maybe not to you.

The first three are taken in vacant lot along the Dundas West Rail Path. At one time this was going to become a large film studio but the plan is now to develop into residential space.  I’ve passed by this on my bike about 100 times in the past year. At one time the lot was well fenced and had on hand security as they demolished buildings. The whole complex use to be an automobile parts plant. The only structure standing is historic.

What are there now in place of the buildings are grey piles of silt. Interwoven into these piles is a tarp like material that flaps in the breeze. I think the tarps drew me to the place as well as the greyness. Today was particularly quiet, there’s easy access now through several gaps in the fence, and there’s no security. The sound of these tarps blowing in the breeze is super-interesting. I filmed it as well just to remember for some future reference.

The following photos are part of the Colour Theory concept. Friends came over yesterday to visit and left us the remains of a lemon tart. When I cleaned up this morning I washed the cardboard plate that the tart sat on and found myself sticking it in my camera bag, These are images of that plate. I think I’ll figure out some way to support the plate in the air with a wand of some sort that I can then photoshop that support out of the frame. Either that or I’ll leave it in. I’m just not liking the hand so much. I do like the glitter reflective gold plate though.

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Eureka!

Eureka! I took some images I like finally! Thanksgiving weekend has been relatively productive. It did take 7 hours of walking around on Saturday and Sunday, but it feels pretty good. I may actually have enough for a show now in January.

I like this image. So much so that I’d like to use it in the January “Wandering” show at Bau-Xi Photo however there’s a problem. The painting in the background isn’t mine. It’s part of the interior design of this future restaurant in the Burano Condo building at Bay and Grosvenor. The painter’s name is Sandro Martini. I’ve asked him via the contact on his website if it’s OK. I legally have to ask because his image is a big part of my image, it takes up about 1/3 of the frame. I’m not sure he’ll reply, if he doesn’t I think I’ll have to scrap the image, sadly. I do really like this image.

Technically the following image was shot on Friday. I’ve started to head out early and walk part of the 17 km to work so I can shoot. Even if I don’t get anything it’s the effort to shoot everyday. This was taken on Dundas a few blocks before you hit Ossington. I like the dark of the alleyway and how it acts as a natural frame for the square patch containing the greenery and the light.

The shot above was also taken on Bay Street after I shot the Burano picture. This is closer to Bloor. I’ve shot this weird stand-alone structure a few times but it’s windows have always been too dirty to get a good shot. Once upon a time it was a very crappy variety store. It took years but someone has finally figured they could utilize the space so it’s been cleaned up impressively and the windows are actually clear enough to shoot through properly now.

On King Street the area just east of Sherbourne has always been a little rough. This butcher has been there for at least 20 years, and more likely about 50. Although the signs in the window are obviously new. They haven’t faded a bit and printing just wasn’t that good that long ago. Maybe it’s not that old and the owners just have a knack of making it look vintage. I love the white contractor’s van as well. This is also a very popular place to take pics just search images for Seaton Butcher Shop

Behind the Eaton Centre there’s a crazy old church. There’s also a literal rat’s warren of pathways and thoroughfares. There’s even a brick labyrinth surrounded by trees which is nice despite the sketchy people hanging around and smoking on a Saturday at around 8:30 a.m. This wall isn’t part of the church. I’m not quite sure what it belongs to. I liked the way the patchwork bricks play with the changing leaves, the greenery and the architectural arches and curves.

This is one of my favourite interior construction shots to date. The combo of the great green tarp, hose, and covered over graffiti is so organized but random.

I meandered back to an old shooting location. This is a Hydro substation of some sort on Charles just east of church. You can see why they called this style brutalist architecture.

On the Esplanade just west of the St Lawrence Market there are a ton of businesses on top of all the stores and each seems to have multiple entrances like this one. I’m pleased with this shot because of the architectural detail, the almost repulsive colours and the weird angle. I’m typically either 45 degrees from subject or looking at it straight on. This 16 degree thing happens very infrequently and so it feels rather novel.

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Finally more Bay Street. Bay was my saviour location this weekend. If I remember correctly this place was a restaurant. It’s a short little building that stands on it’s own and will be torn down to make way for more condominiums. Through the window I shot this structure which was probably the backdrop for their sales desk. I’ll adjust this image so it’s not quite as distorted as it appears in this shot. I like the bizarre nature of this room in general and the weird chunk of extension cord on the fl

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Vacancy 4

The photographs that make up Vacancy 4 were shot this amazing Sunday, morning in the King and Spadina area.

Sometimes I like to revisit old ghosts. Three of the following Vacancy images where shot at a building that I’ve visited 5 or 6 times over the last 10 years. It’s been a presentation centre for condos, ticket office for Tiff before the Lightbox existed and a very long time ago -when I worked on Peter Street- it had been an auto garage. Today it’s in the process of being reconfigured as a presentation centre for the abysmally named “Tux” condos. The photo above was taken through the glass of the north side entrance doors to the building, looking south through the main entrance hall at the presentation desk.

This photograph shows an empty area on the east side of the building facing Peter Street. I’m sure in time it will be filled with designer furniture, pictures of models in expensive formal attire and maybe even a realistic architectural model of the building. I like this image with the 8:00 a.m. Sunday July 8th light pouring in and the paper airplane inspired ceiling decoration. This paper airplane motif is repeated in all the design elements of the architectural renderings for Tux.

Here’s another view of the same interior vacancy from the east side looking directly at the presentation desk. You can see me taking the picture in the reflection of the building’s exterior behind the desk. I’m standing with the camera pressed against the glass window .

This is the last incarnation of this particular building. Strangely enough Tux is going to be situated on the very spot where this building presently sits.

The room below is an older vacant building on Charlotte Street. I was talking to a resident in the neighbouring building and he mentioned this place is slated to be demolished. No doubt more condo towers will replace it. I should have actually gone inside here and taken pictures but I hate confrontation so I opted for through-the-window shots like always despite there being a set of doors that were propped open with a shoe.

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Vacancy 3

I made it down to Queen Street West on Saturday for another Vacancy shoot. I took the bike down for about 6:30 in the morning. It was so nice and quiet and I had the chance to stop in front of Convenience Gallery to check out Roula Partheniou’s show “five o’clock shadow”. I’m very glad I did. Despite the fact that it was way closer to 5:00 a.m. I’ve wanted to see this show since I saw the amazing picture that Tony Hafkenscheid took of the gallery from the street. If I can find a copy of that not taken from Facebook I’ll gladly post it. Anywho, her piece is awesome. It’s slightly scientific, but slightly whimsical. I really like it a lot. If you get a chance to check it out do so. You can walk by the gallery anytime because it’s basically an old convenience store window = accessible all the time. Lansdowne Avenue & Seaforth a block or two up from Queen.

I ended up locking the bike up in front of the crappy looking Bohemian Embassy building which is just across the street and in between The Drake and The Gladstone. I walked over to University then turned around and got half way back before hopping on a streetcar.

If there’s one thing I like about the Bohemian Embassy it’s the vacant stores. They’ve been trying to rent stuff for months, if not close to a year. It’s perfect subject matter for me. Empty, nondescript rooms in a modern boring building. I’ve shot them a couple time now.

Drywall Bohemian Embassy 2012

I love the floor of drywall dust and the straightforward lines and crosses of the mudding in the drywall shot. The following were taken in the same strip of retail attached to The Bohemian Embassy.

These 3 images are basically black & white, without being black and white. Colour images that become ostensibly black and white just because of the nature of the material being shot. I have a thing against contemporary B&W. There are a ton of photographers who use it well, but there are thousands of photographers that just think for some reason it makes their work more artistic. I’m probably being a jerk, but I figure we progressed to colour over time, why shoot in B&W? The real problem I have is that the technique and style is overused. You could tie this conversation back to Roula’s show at Convenience, although I’m sure it wasn’t her intention, five o’clock shadow could thematically touch on that colourization vs black and white film discussion and how it pertains to contemporary photography.

The following images are from King Street, east of Jarvis taken June 5th on the way to work. Again these could easily be B&W. At the very least if Vacancy becomes a show there could be a series of monochromatic shots as one element of the whole. The complete show may simply be a series of high colour shots, monochromatic shots, and drastic contrast lighting shots. It’s not rocket science.

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Vacancy 2

I’m working on the Vacancy photo series. Saturday was pretty successful for me. I got up at 5:30 and went exploring on the bike to St Clair Avenue. I found some stuff I liked so I’m calling this Vacancy 2. I’ll continue to shoot in batches and name them in sequence. I wonder if it’s just me and this series. It’s not very accesible.

I wasn’t inside most of these rooms. I simply take these shots through the glass of the front window or door. I have this complicated and awkward set up with an old tea towel that I have to wrap around the lens where it hits the glass. If I don’t do that I get a reflection of the lens barrel and parts of the street because of the sunlight and the typical construction of double pane glass. One day I’ll get a proper hood built that can attach to the lens and makes things efficient but this works for now.

I’d like to do more black work. A favourite from the work above is the piece that shows a set of partially obstructed windows surrounded by the darkness of the interior space. This uber-contrast is interesting me.

There’s also an image with a checkered floor. I’m a sucker for abandoned chairs in empty rooms, especially when they have checkered floors. I’m off again this first of June to find other forlorn strip of Toronto retail and some new Vacancy subjects. I imagine it will even be more deserted today. I might as well try Queen. It’s been a while since I shot down there. Usually when I venture to a place I haven’t been to for a while there are a ton of new Vacancies. I’m sure Queen street will be no different, however it’s more successful than St.Clair so there tend to be fewer empty places.

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The Clock

This was the original thought for the piece I ended up performing last fall in Hamilton.

The Task but using 1 pallet of blocks in a square space that has some access for filming from
directly above.

Place the pallet of block in the in the north center quadrant which will represent 12 o’clock. Move the pallet 12 times over the 12 hour period so that the finished pallets end up in positions representing the hours of a clock.

This task is completed when the pallet is returned to it’s original position at 12 o’clock 12 hours later.

Film onto a computer hard drive so the camera can be suspended and continuously film. Use larger block than Nuit Blanche to manage the hour between hours.

Do this on an actual stage and the audience can sit and observe like the most boring play in the world. Lighting and music included, it would be very cool if there was a trap door I could use as the escape route to washroom and eating. Maybe in the center of the stage?

Only requires 1 full pallet of bricks and an extra pallet to act as the transfer pallet.

Find a theatre that doesn’t have anything going on for Nuit Blanche. Maybe ask the Nuit Folks. The more elaborate the venue the better.

By selling the piece as a wall clock as a large edition. Make the cost of those pieces simply the cost of the drive required to hold/run the film.

I executed a version of this for the 2011 Hamilton Supercrawl. It was weird being in the thick of things, and I would have preferred to be arthritis free, but all in all I think the people enjoyed either discussing the piece or razzing me about it. I think the curatorial staff was pleased as well.

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