The Pyramid, Rob Elliott, 2016. 36″x48″, acrylic on canvas. $1150
The Pyramid, my latest painting, is currently on view at Toronto’s Flying Pony.
At 36″x48″, it is the largest painting I have done in years, and personally one of the most satisfying. The artwork is the second large piece I have done in the 1970s illustration style I usually reserve for my small gouache drawings. The first was 2015’s Frustuck in Berlin, a depiction of family life in East Germany. I find this blocky style rewarding for making these ironic artworks, as a similar drawing style was used in patriotic marketing during the 1970s.
Frustuck in Berlin, Rob Elliott, 2015. 36″x36″, acrylic on canvas. $850
The Pyramid was exciting to work on. As I applied the black paint over the colour blocks, the figures sprung to life and the previously abstract shapes took on their full symbolic meaning.
The Pyramid in progress.
The Pyramid started as a quick gouache drawing I posted on my Instagram account (@swizzlestudio) for the Fourth of July.
The Pyramid can be seen at Flying Pony (1481 Gerrard St E, Toronto) until December 31, 2016.
The Human Cannonball soars over the crowd. The Puppet-A-Go-Go audience has been given boxes of Lucky Elephant Pink Popcorn and balloons for this month’s circus installation.
Swizzle Circus at NAC’s Plate Glass Gallery.
The Swizzle Circus is a carnival diorama with light and movement features, made up of 18 new puppets plus scenic elements. It was created by Christine Cosby and Rob Elliott for Puppet-A-Go-Go’s In The Park four-month residency at the Niagara Artists Centre’s Plate Glass Gallery.
The carnival scene, made up of 18 purpose-designed puppets plus scenic elements, is reminiscent of a classic department store holiday window.
The installation’s main piece is titled “The Cowardly Lion Tamer” and depicts the title character being endlessly chased by a lion on a rotating platform.
The Cowardly Lion Tamer is chased forever.
The window exhibit is installed to be viewed from multiple vantage points. Acrobats soar over the circus floor as a human cannonball flies over the audience (which now includes Prince from the previous Puppet-A-Go-Go window). Roustabouts, circus performers, and trained animals look into the Niagara Artists Centre and towards sidewalk passersby.
In one bit of dark humour, an elephant stands on a railway track next to a sign reading “St. Thomas 1/4 Mile”. This alludes to the southern Ontario town’s main claim to fame: It was here that Jumbo the Elephant was struck and killed by a train in 1885.
Jumbo the Elephant.
Cotton candy kid.
Cowboy and Runner Duck.
Trick poodle and ball.
Swizzle Circus is on view until December 31, 2016.
Puppet-A-Go-Go In the Park features four one-month installations by Clelia Scala, Trisha Lavoie, Christine Cosby (with Rob Elliott), and Alexa Fraser. It is on display 24 hours a day in the front window of the Niagara Artists Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Puppet-A-Go-Go In The Park runs until January 31, 2017.
I like universality, and I like standards. Getting stuff done is simply easier when I know what to expect. I like 2x4s (even if they are 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2″), #8 Robertson screws, and USB connectors. But most of all, I like the 1/8″ headphone jack.
I’ve worked as a reporter, a DJ, and an installation artist. When I needed audio, I could always be sure the jack would fit the socket.
Traveling by car, train, or plane, I could usually rely on a 1/8th” jack. I have a great set of ear cans beside my bed, and knots of $10 earbuds in every jacket pocket.
As a teenager I learned to solder because of the jack, replacing the wires on the flimsy foam headphones that came with my Walkman.
Apple’s move to replace universal headphones with proprietary tech is between the company and its consumers. But it is another move towards tying us to specific companies and telling us how we can use the products we own.