Tuesday, October 30, 2018

White Tears review

White Tears
By Hari Kunzru
Published in The Kitchener Citizen, October 2018

White Tears is the latest offering from author Hari Kunzru, who specializes
in “translit” -- a literary genre that seeks to collapse space and time while
maintaining narrative traction in the reader’s mind. Kunzru accomplishes
this so masterfully in White Tears that you will gladly surrender to his
ever-shifting reality.

Seth, our protagonist, is average in every way and therefore serves as a blank
screen on which other characters are crisply projected. The achingly cool (and
ultra rich) Carter Wallace is the focus of his attention, and takes him on the
coat-tail ride of his life to New York, where they become music producers.

Through Carter, we enter a world of record collectors: mostly white men who
are alienated by the present, and obsessively collect the past. The rarest and
most prized treasures are early blues records made by black slaves, ex-slaves
or descendants of slaves. It is not enough for Carter to listen to the music -- he
wants to own it, by any means necessary. He becomes increasingly unhinged
as he hunts down one record, the extremely rare and groundbreaking Graveyard
Blues by mythologized figure Charlie Shaw -- one we are not sure even exists.

When he at last gets his hands on it, the universe of the novel is flipped upside
down. Reality disintegrates and space, time, and sanity become fluid and shifting.
The book gains dizzying momentum, and you’ll find yourself devouring pages to
find what happens next. Kunzru shows how seemingly innocent acts of appropriation
are echoes of the total forms of violence they descend from. The collector’s desire to
own black music springs from the same well that fueled slavery. In the world of White
Tears, however, the would-be possessors come to be possessed themselves by the
ghosts of retribution. Dark secrets materialise, and the final pages sew everything
together neatly like an intricate quilt, as interlocking and systematic as oppression itself.

White Tears is an entrancing, fast-paced mystery full of twists and turns that feel at once revelatory and inevitable. But it is so much more than a great read -- it is a metaphysical examination of white privilege, cultural appropriation, and selfhood that in the end will leave you with the satisfying sense that justice has been served.

Amy Winehouse painting

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ode to Amy Whinehouse

Unchained Melody

A cataclysmic cat eye
a bouffant too close to God
A missing tooth
and something else inside you
that made you reach out
even to the paps outside your flat
lunging in blood stained ballet flats
It made you cry for Blake
when YOU were the gold chain
YOU were the lioness
And something in you belted out
that last night
but they took the very wind from you
they printed something broken
tracked what Perez posted
something they could never have
in your final days
the way you swayed
with melting tar and melody
the amber, booze soaked memory
and leopard print bruises
from a trite bon mot
even after your passing
and a last resort in Bermuda
with your father and betrayer
and now you,

melt in her legacy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Sometimes Late At Night

"Sometimes Late at Night" by Agile Like This. Lyrics written and performed by Caroline Wesley, Music by Dan Schickerowsky, Video by Ellie Anglin.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Eat Me Famous

My newest zine, Eat Me Famous, co-created with Caroline Wesley, Ryan King, Dan Schickerowsky and Molly Patterson (and more!) is now available at Open Sesame in downtown Kitchener, or from me if you catch me on the street. Full of food/celebrity pun artwork and poetry, it's finger lickin' good honey!

Digital art for Pride Month!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Trixie Mattel

I try to branch out from drag art, but it pulls me back. Here is a new painting of Trixie Mattel, star of RuPaul's Drag Race, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3, and The Trixie and Katya show.
This is on paper 11" x 14" paper in watercolour, india ink and with added sequins.


Working on a new zine/comic about working at the Library. Here is the cover.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Collages for Emilie

I made three collages out of old kids books, comics, and Disney books, some of which Danielle gave me, for her newest baby, with David, named Emilie! I hope she likes them!

Quilt for Andrea

In December of 2016 I started a quilt for my soon-to-be wife Andrea. I got a beautiful vintage ring for our wedding, and she didn't want anything other than the gold band from our engagement, but i wanted her to have a wedding gift too!  Unfortunately other art stuff took precedence, and it was intermittently put on the back burner, but I finally finished it, only a year later!  It's all made from batik fabric, which kind of reminds me of tie dye, which Andrea loves. the back is outer space fabric that she picked out, and I made a label and embroidered it with glittery thread.  Here it is!

Joyce theatre drawing, for Meagan

I went to NYC for the first time this year. I've always wanted to go but never have been able to, or never made it happen. I finally got there, with my best friend since high school Meagan Snyder, who was four months pregnant. We stayed in a great ram shackle hostel in Chelsea and we had the time of our lives. My favourite thing was just looking at buildings and people. One building I especially liked was this theatre right by our hostel that said JOYCE giant neon letters. I drew a picture of it for Meagan, whose Grandmother's name was Joyce, and will be giving her future daughter Joyce as a middle name.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cream Soda collage

I've been experimenting with more abstract collage styles, using a lot of kids books and graphic novels (my love Daniel Clowes), stamps I got in NYC and small illustrations.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Our Ink, Our Stories for KPL

In September I started my dream job at the Kitchener Public Library, as a Library Assistant (helping people sign up for library cards, check in and check out books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, helping people use the internet, the printer, access classes and resources) at the main branch of the library, which is like a beautiful art gallery as well as being a breathtaking work of architecture, as well as a place that houses a lot of very happy personal memories of reading, learning, art and community, but also at the four community library branches (Forest Heights, Country Hills, Pioneer Park and Grand River) which each have their own distinct personality and populations they serve.

In addition to loving the work, I also love the organization and what they stand for. I also work with and for some of the nicest, coolest, smartest people in the area. I honestly enjoy going to work every day and actually believe in what we do. It's so unusual! Unlike some libraries, the KPL is super progressive and forward thinking in it's vision, and in the last year enrolment has increased by 20%! The library is so much more than a place to get any book, movie, or piece of music for free, but it's kind of the true manifestation of democracy - a non-capitalist town hall - where anyone is welcome regardless of where they are at in life, where people can come when they come as refugees to Canada, when they get out of jail after twenty years, when they don't know how to use the internet, when they have five kids and are about to have a nervous breakdown, when they can't read, when they have a disability, when they want to make art or use technology or make music but can't afford the supplies, and they are all welcomed as our customers. Or you can come use the library if you have everything you could want and need in life, and you'll get more than you could ever imagine out of it. You can borrow musical instruments, toys, try virtual reality, make a 3D print, make a podcast, make a video on our green screen.

As if the job couldn't get any better, one of the people I work with - Meg Harder, is an amazing artist and person, and asked me to help her with a really cool project that the CEO Mary Chevreau asked her to take on, and I've been loving to contribute to it. The project is Our Ink, Our Stories, and it is a blog telling stories of the residents of Waterloo Region through their tattoos (or other uses of ink/paint on their bodies).

Resist Psychic Death banner, Night/Shift 2017

Posing on the banner

the scheming duo, with banner draped on Andrea's car

the banner hanging outside of J&P Grocery

The banner lit up and on display - only sagging slightly - on November 4th 2017 for Night\Shift.

Some explanation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


RESIST PSYCHIC DEATH is the title of my project that will be revealed for Night\Shift 2017 in Downtown Kitchener on November 4th.

Inspired by the quilts of my mom, Margaret Anglin, the use of banners as tools of protest by feminist artists such as Allyson Mitchell, and the 1992 song Resist Psychic Death by the feminist punk band Le Tigre, I am creating a large scale (6 x 15 feet) felt banner in bright, feminine colours that reads RESIST PSYCHIC DEATH, and is decorated with hand crafted felt flowers, sequins, rhinestones, and pom poms, that will be hung above the entrance of J & P Grocery in Goudie's Lane. 

RESIST PSYCHIC DEATH is a call to the viewer to continue to think critically and revolt against oppression despite political forces (Trump, Alt-Right Hate Groups & Canada 150 celebrations) that ask us to suspend/silence our outrage. 

It also elevates the use of traditionally female and therefore de-valued art forms, as well as cheap, tacky "craft" supplies to the level of "high" art - ya dig?
So this was the drawing I created to base the banner on, that I pitched to the good folks at Night\Shift. They in all their greatness said, yes - go for it. 

I started with my felt flower garden.
and I made them into monsters using rhinestones, pom poms, googly eyes and discarded earings.

Like this one with a tear drop of breast milk falling from its eyeball.

and this one with vampire fangs and a labret piercing. 

Then I started the letters. This was the longest part of the process because I hand cut the letters, purple zig zags, then stitched them together.

And they were each two feet high - as evidenced by Eric Rumble, creator of Night\Shift, here seen holding the Y from Psychic aloft in the Goudie's Lane.

It took a lot of math to figure out how to make the letters the right size. I hope I got them right!

then one day this crazy huge piece of candy pink felt showed up in the mail. It was a bit unweildy.

But I had some strange creatures assisting me. 

My studio - aka an old formica table in the rear end of our tiny apartment. It does the trick!

Then I glued on the flowers. To quote famed drag queen Ben De La Creme "This? Oh this is all hot glue and desperation!"

Then I added pom poms, because everything's better with pom poms. 
this thing's starting to look really friggin' good and wacky, and we're gonna light it up like the fourth of july! So come see it in all its finished glory on November 4th from 7pm-midnight, hanging in Goudie's Lane (right above the entrance to J & P Grocery!). 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bald Britney

I painted this portrait of Britney Spears (pictured bald, as she briefly appeared after shaving her head on that shining moment in 2007) as a commission from my good friend Emily Gove. The background is inspired by Gustav Klimt, who I've been in to lately, despite his philandering.

Bald Britney, Watercolour & Ink on Paper, 2017.