Monday, October 22, 2012

Home is where the heart is

When I was 17 my Father’s job took my family to the United States. Due to conflicts in the school systems, it was most practical for me to stay behind in Canada. The house was sold and my Dad, Mom, and Sister moved to Toledo Ohio. I moved out on my own and finished high school and college, in the process moving seven times between Peterborough and Toronto, taking up residence in apartments, basements, and rooming houses.
Without a familiar place I could go back to I felt like I was in a constant state of transition. I felt like I no longer had a home. So, when I was twenty-one, and after a year of working I was determined that I was going to buy a house and begin to build a new home for myself.
After a short search I found a place. It wasn’t in the best neighborhood but I fell in love with the house and made an offer. In June 2001 I moved in to 215 Stewart St. and set to work making it my own.
I decided to rent out a room to help pay the bills. After a chat with an old friend one night at the Red Dog I had my first tenant, Pete. It was Pete who affectionately coined the name, “The Tenderloin,” which my house came to be known as by all our friends.
The Tenderloin became a gathering place of friends and neighbors. It was home to a family of misfits, several of which would come to do a stint as a resident at some point or another. For me as I assume is the case for most, your twenties are a decade of ups and downs but I always had one constant, my friends and our home.
After 12 years and many life changes it’s time to move on. This week I’ll be handing over the keys to someone else and walking out of the front door of The Loin for the last time. The move is more then just a change of address and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I am a little emotional about it. The change represents a closure to a very wild and more carefree period of my life.
As I close one chapter I open a new one though, and this is a positive change. I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I feel in command. I finally feel physically, mentally and financially stable. The highs may not be as high but they greatly outnumber the lows, and are generally of a more satisfying nature. I’m confident and content, and ready to take on the responsibility of making my next home reflect this new place in life.
When I hand off my keys I’ll be acquiring the keys to beautiful house in my desired neighborhood. Like 215 Stewart, 430 Donegal is a century home with lots of charm and character, and once in there I know the transition will be an easy one.
Although I won’t be branding the new house “The Tenderloin II,” the spirit of The Tenderloin lives on as I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without it, and of course the people that made it what it was are still my closest friends and will always be welcome wherever I may call home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Progess...

I've been working on this piece for what seems like ages now. Lots of lines makes it rather tedious. I'm almost done. Unfortunately it is only one panel in a triptych... Two more to go.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slaves To The Beast Factory

Here's a little animation I did for the upcoming Artspace members show Future Tense. Future Tense is part of Peterborough Artsweek and also a celebration of all things technological, falling in line with the opening of Artspace's new media lab!

The show runs from September 8th to October 27th with an opening reception on Friday September 14th at 7pm.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No No

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Human, Sebastion Finklestein Presents His Kill To The Oracle In A Display Of His Dedication To The Pursuit Of Good


Living in a century home you never know what's you may find. Birds in the walls, animals in your basement, many years of shoddy plumbing patches. The other day while changing light fixtures in my basement I came across this small, old key hanging hidden in the floor joists. I wonder what it opens? Is there an old treasure chest buried in my basement? Anyone want to bring over their metal detector and join me in searching for treasure?

Entrapment, what lies in wait for the slaves of lust.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fixing Downtown?

How does Peterborough improve our downtown? Seems to be a pretty popular question and everyone’s got their two cents worth to throw in to the mix. He’s mine.

First, I think people have some pretty high expectations of what our downtown should be. But what you got to keep in mind is; Peterborough is not Toronto, it’s not Ottawa, it’s not Montreal. Peterborough is a city in the middle of rural Ontario with a small population. It is for the most part a blue collar town where the majority votes conservative and is more likely to be interested in sports then the arts. There is very little opportunity in the creative sector here causing a creative brain drain which draws talented young folks out of our community to the larger centers. The group of people that are involved in downtown and in the arts and in music, and that have decided to stay here, we’ve got a cool little thing going on. We’ve got to keep in mind we’ve done pretty well with what we got.

I am tired of idealists that have this, ‘if you build it they will come’ attitude that just isn’t true. If you build it, a few may come, a few may poke around then leave, but most still probably aren’t going to bother coming at all. The masses have poor taste. They listen to Nickeback, hang out at the mall and buy their art from Homesense. The champions for the downtown/independent/cultural cause are already downtown and their buying power is reflective of the current state. If you want to bring the rest of the population in, it takes more than a great town square, restored heritage buildings and some more independent shops. Someone has to sell it to them that this is where they want to shop, eat and spend their spare time. In addition people resist change, it has to be easy. There must be lots of parking, less unsavory characters about, comfortable amenities, restaurants they recognize. It has to be dumbed down and polished up. Is that really what’s best? I want to see improvements but not on those terms.

Driving unsustainable development is bad practice and just plain stupid. You have to develop the need first or else you’ll just have some lovely looking empty parks and deserted shops and cafes with for lease signs in the windows. Trying to sell Natas and Plush to a population that prefers Tim Hortons and Walmart is a pretty tremendous feat. This is a complete 180 in the culture and habits of an entire tribe of people. If we as a city want to see downtown improve, then we need to not hope to change people but to focus on developing the foundations for support by growing the faction of the population that cares. Foster the creative industry, and other industries for the matter to create good jobs that will draw in the young people and creative people with disposable incomes and the desire to live and spend their time and money in our downtown. Once that need is there, I’m sure there will be no problem finding people and organizations willing to develop a means to satisfy it, that’s the easy part.

Demonic Electronic

The beginnings of the next animation project. This attempt will be done in Adobe Illustrator.

Looking at our home town with rose coloured glasses, or in some cases, beer goggles?

First, I want to express how much I love living in Peterborough. It is a beautiful little city in the midst of a beautiful area. The cost of living is reasonable. Toronto is just over an hours drive but also just far enough away that we have our own distinct culture and our own respectable little arts and music scene. I happen to have a decent job, great friends and a lot of opportunity to get involved with my community.
In addition there are some wonderful restaurants and many independent businesses still striving in our downtown core. This is a great deal more then I can say for many of the other North American cities of similar size that I have visited in the last decade.
It’s true we’ve got a lot to be proud of. But... And, I may not be too popular for saying this, there’s a whole lot going on that isn’t so rosy and the lack of attention it gets concerns me about the future of the community.

To sum it up, there are a couple big things that really worry me about the quality of my own future here;

First, Peterborough’s unemployment rate has been hovering not far from last place among similar size urban centers in Canada. Of the job pool that we do have there are very few options for those of us in a professional field. Of course this is a trend across Ontario which has traditionally relied on the manufacturing jobs that are fleeing overseas for cheaper labour to meet he demands of a consumer culture. This is well known. But what action is being taken to find a replacement for that industry here?
A favorite topic of the Twitterverse is the rise of the creative class. Richard Florida’s beautiful utopia, a future where young smart people get paid for being creative and thinking. Knowledge based industry, is supposedly North America’s last great hope to remain relevant in business, but where is it? I see our politicians handing out grants to entice manufacturers to add or keep a handful of jobs or bringing in call centers to create minimum wage phone jockey positions. What isn’t visible to me is anyone really developing plans to attract new forms of sustainable long term industries in our region.
Young educated people that support the independent businesses mentioned above are finding that they have no choice but to leave Peterborough for city centers like Toronto and Montreal because the professional and/or creative jobs they are after just don’t exist here.

Second, there is no denying that drugs and petty crime have become rampant. I’ve owned a house near downtown Peterborough for 12 years; in the last few I have witnessed a noticeable decline in mine and nearby neighborhoods. I’ve had my vehicle broken in to multiple times now, merely to steal the change out of my ash tray but causing a great deal of damage in the process. The building my studio is in has also been broken in to and vandalized. Break-ins, robberies and even home invasions have seemed to become more and more common. Perhaps this is partly a symptom of our high unemployment. Perhaps it also has much to do with an overabundance of places for addicts to get free methadone but very few options for real treatment to kick their addictions and become functioning members of society. Bumping up police budgets is a band aid. We need to correct the root cause by getting people help and getting them jobs.

The point I really want to ensure I make is, that there is great stuff that is going here and that has happened because groups of dedicated citizens love this place and take it upon themselves to improve their own quality of life as well as those around them. The cities management and area politicians boast of the achievements of our community as if their own and love to play off and encourage this local pride, subsequently avoiding some real issues that they need to deal with. In the long run if these negative trends continue all the stuff we think is great will just not be sustainable. Young educated people, artists and professionals are going to leave to seek opportunity elsewhere and with them go the support structure for independent business, the arts and music scene, what I believe to be key factors in this Peterborough culture we all cherish so much.
I think it is great that so many bloggers, tweeters, writers feel the need to brag about how awesome our community is, because they are right. However, I would just feel more encouraged if there were a few more shit disturbers out there that were willing to take off the rose coloured glasses for a moment and challenge the city and its subsequent organizations to make some much needed improvements before we have nothing left to brag about.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Work In Progress

As mentioned in my last post I'm working towards building a show by the end of this year. Everything is coming along quite nicely and I can't wait to get some of this stuff done!

A Major Undertaking

Well, it took me several months but I've finally finished one of the largest paintings on canvas I've ever done.

It is titled; On evils consumption of Rosemary Woods, and the interconnectedness of all things. And it is 4 feet by 5 feet. This will be the focal piece for a show I am currently building and am really excited about. I hope to have all the work completed in 2012 so I can start seeking venues for it.

A New Small Work

First Work For This Years Artspace 50/50

Artspace's annual fund raiser the 50/50 is coming up this spring. This year I decided to get on the ball and make a few brand new small works for it. This one is the first of a series of four paintings on paper, framed.

By The Pound

Just down in the city this weekend dropping off work for the second annual By The Pound show. This year the exhibition will be held at Goodfellas Gallery at Queen and Noble in Toronto. The opening will be Thursday February 9th, go check it out.