Category Archives: Projects

Pizza School ceiling and skyline

I flew down to New York City last month to do some mural work for one of my favourite clients, Famous Original Pizza School. Owners Mark and Jenny Bello hosted me in their energizing city while I painted ceiling and window treatments for the ever-evolving business.

Painting the NYC cityscape in the Pizza School cellar.

I painted a New York skyline for the front window, which will act as a backdrop for Pizza School’s mascot Senor Slice. I had to set up in the school’s basement to paint the plywood piece. It was a tight place to work, but Mark kept me motivated with a regular servings of pizza and a great music mix playing through a Frankenstein amplifier set-up.

Working from a sketch on the Pizza School skyline cutout.

The install was a real gung-ho event, as we tried to finish it before my cab to La Guardia arrived. Mark and I have been collaborating together since the Swizzle Gallery tiki show in 2000, so we work as a good team under pressure.

Mark installing the skyline with Senor Slice looming behind him.

I also spent two days on a ladder painting an explosion of ingredients on the ceiling. Jenny said: “It looks like someone tripped while carrying a basket of produce.”

Garlic, basil, and tomatoes explode from the Pizza School ovens.

As a bonus, I got to meet another Pizza School design regular, Steph Mantis, and work with her on some new merchandise displays. Check out her Forever Slice and other products, she’s has a clever mind!

A trip to New York always fills me with a ton of creative energy for the year ahead. In this case, it also filled my suitcase with a fresh supply of black t-shirts (including a sneak preview of my Electric Peel cobra design)!

New black t-shirts, including Swizzle Studio’s cobra for Electric Peel.

The Swizzle Circus

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.

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.

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 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.

acrobats

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.

Unlucky Jumbo.

Unlucky Jumbo.

Human Cannonball.

Human Cannonball.

Lady Acrobat.

Lady Acrobat.

Gentleman Acrobat.

Gentleman Acrobat.

Jumbo the Elephant.

Jumbo the Elephant.

Roustabouts.

Roustabouts.

Strongman.

Strongman.

Dancing chimp

Dancing chimp

Cotton candy kid.

Cotton candy kid.

Cowboy and Runner Duck.

Cowboy and Runner Duck.

Clown car.

Clown car.

Trick poodle and ball.

Trick poodle and ball.

Popcorn cart.

Popcorn cart.

Empty cage.

Empty cage.

Cannon.

Cannon.

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.

Japan Trip 2016: Hotel TO

Hotel-TO-Osaka-480px

Osaka’s Hotel TO probably isn’t a Toronto-themed hotel. But if it was, it’d be perfect. From the apple alluding to Toronto’s New York City aspirations to the lousy graffiti at the sign’s base, this shabby building is an architectural valentine to my town.

Enough with Drake and his “The 6”. Going forward, Toronto is now “T-Apple”.