Ghoul’s Gold poster

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I’m working with author Doug Archer on a children’s mystery novel set in small town Ontario. Ghoul’s Gold is the first of a planned series of books featuring the Cold Case Kids. The book features a pre-teen zombie, and is set around the imposing “Imperial lighthouse” on Chantry Island (across the bay from Southampton).

I will be producing the book jacket, several full-page plates, plus some spot illustrations peppered throughout the text. This is a pretty great job – children’s book illustration has always been a big influence on my work, so I’ve had a perfect excuse to spend time cribbing from my shelves of old school primers and comic books.

I lived in Kincardine, not far from Southampton, for seven years, so the novel’s locations are familiar to me. Maybe I can finagle a lighthouse tour out of this gig!

The author’s notes I’ve been receiving about the illustrations have been much more interesting than what I get when I do logo work:

For Angus in zombie form can the hole in his left cheek be slightly more pronounced? I talk about this feature a fair bit in the book, so I think the students will be looking for it.  Also, I talk in the book about parts of his stomach having rotted away — in fact, the Cold Case Kids can see inside his torso because the flesh has rotted away to some degree.  Can this be factored into the picture?

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The Ghoul’s Gold project is going to take at least a year (off and on), and I will be proving technical assistance in getting the book to press as well.

Doug is workshopping the book with a group of school children in Southampton. For Hallowe’en week, he presented to a classroom with a poster I designed, showing a tentative cover and images of the Cold Case Kids. According to Doug, “they thought Angus looked perfectly gruesome and the Cold Case Kids looked like kids they’d want to be friends with.”

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Bazaar Bizarre this weekend

Heads for the installation ready for mounting.

Heads for the Bazaar Bizarre installation ready for mounting.

Andrew Horne puts it concisely to every curious person who walks by the Bazaar Bizarre Collective’s workshop on Rhodes Avenue.

“We’re making art. We’re blocking off the street. You have to come back on Saturday.”

Wooden struts for the installation

Dozens of wooden struts make up the backbone of the installation.

All of that is true. Andrew and I have been spending the week assembling a colourful, anarchic, 20 foot high thing. The timber-and-board construction is equal parts cartoon and carnival. Festooned with lights and flags made from sari fabric, the installation will make a lively addition to this year’s Festival of South Asia. The tower-like construction will be located on Rhodes Avenue at Gerrard Street, and will be installed with the help of volunteers by 2 p.m. Saturday.

Christine sewing banners made from donated sari fabric.

Christine sewing banners made from donated sari fabric.

Bazaar Bizarre Collective working on the art.

Members of Bazaar Bizarre Collective working on the art.

In addition to the installation, Andrew will be showing Bollywood film highlights projected on the wall across from his gallery and coffee shop, Flying Pony, on Saturday evening.

The Festival of South Asia runs on August 23 and 24 from noon to 11 p.m. along Toronto’s Gerrard Street Bazaar (directions).

St. Catherines artist Melanie MacDonald will also be opening her exhibition at Flying Pony on Saturday night, featuring highlights from her recent solo show at the St. Thomas-Elgin Art Centre. These scrapbook-based paintings should be seen in real life to be appreciated. If Pigs Could Float runs from August 23 to September 27 at Flying Pony.

Freeze Frame, Melanie MacDonald, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 60x36”

Freeze Frame, Melanie MacDonald, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 60×36”

Some Canadian Animals

I’m working on a street installation project with Flying Pony’s Andrew Horne. The finished design will be over 15 feet high and feature cut-out cartoon heads by Horne and myself. We’re unveiling the project, Bazaar Bizarre, at the Festival of South Asia along Gerrard Street in Toronto on August 23 and 24.

I drew nearly two dozen heads for us to choose from, including this suite of Canadian mammals that didn’t make the cut (we went with mostly imaginary beasts).

Anyone want to commission me to paint their children’s room or design their tattoos? I think this artwork has (ahem) legs.

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