Category Archives: Projects

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”.

Japan Trip 2016: Concrete bubble

Joy Joy Karaoke, Nagoya

Joy Joy Karaoke, Nagoya (click image to view large)

In Japan’s major cities, prefabricated concrete buildings with postmodern touches are everywhere. Twenty-five years after the real estate bubble burst, all those arches and appliques are looking pretty shabby. Some landlords have tried to spruce the buildings up with a coat of colourful paint.

The owners of Joy Joy Karaoke in Nagoya have painted the walls and windows alike with a burgundy-dipped roller. In Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, a soft-edged tower has been softened even more by a mint paint job. Christine remarked that this building looked like some science fiction space cruiser hovering over the city.

These aren’t the sort of buildings most people notice, but I thought they’d be fun to draw.

Mint building, Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Mint building, Shinjuku, Tokyo (click image to view large)