General information Hijinx

Global banking and a globetrotter’s book

I love Tim Baynes drawings. His loose yet precise travel sketches are full of energy and humour. When I heard the British artist had published a book of drawings, Drawing on Experience, I contacted him to purchase one. What followed was a parochial to-and-fro between our banks which made any talk of global markets seem like nonsense. Tim wrote an entry about the whole adventure on his blog, complete with a photo of my much stamped letter.

Drawing From Experience is great, but when Tim publishes a sequel, I’m just going to meet him in Paddington Station and pass him a £10 note.

Hijinx Projects

Rocking scooter

Plywood rocking scooter and drawings by Rob Elliott. Shanghai Scooters, Niagara Artists Centre, August 2011.

I built a plywood rocking scooter to accompany my drawing show Shanghai Scooters, mostly for the challenge. After months of controlled studio work, I had an urge to get down to my basement workshop and see what I could create with power tools.

I started with a 1950s Popular Mechanics template for a “Rocking Lion”, built a paper maquette based on the Chinese scooters featured in many of my drawings, and scaled up the design to be cut out of a single sheet of plywood. Once I had the wood pieces assembled, I sculpted the body with a jigsaw and added stylized headlights and machine parts to give the scooter heft. A lick of house paint and the ride was ready for its debut.

The finished scooter was a hit at the opening reception. It carried the weight of an adult, and despite some vigourous rocking, it never tipped (and nobody lost a toe).

The rocking scooter gets a workout at the opening reception.

General information Hijinx

The meteorology of art openings

Last Saturday’s Shanghai Scooters reception was a lesson in how temperature affects art openings. August openings are perilous anywhere, with vacations and outdoor fun reducing the crowds. But Southern Ontario’s notoriously-humid late summer nights can render social butterflies into air-conditioning junkies.

Despite NAC’s efforts to get a breeze going, there was no way around the fact that spotlit area where the art was displayed was ten degrees warmer than the unlit side of the gallery. Add a bowl of spiked punch to the cooler side of the gallery and there was little chance of anyone taking more than a quick look at the drawings. Like moths against an invisible screen door, the patrons crowded at the threshold until we shut the lights off at 11 p.m.