Tag Archives: sign

The calm before the storm

Small-Feats-tote-board

The tote board read “80” when we finally locked up NAC on Saturday night.

Small Feats, the fundraiser for the Niagara Artists Centre, was a packed house. The local arts community lined up to see and buy 150 pieces of original work and bid on some amazing pieces donated by Shary Boyle.

Work is still available for sale until Thursday at NAC during regular hours, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Matador sign painting

Matador, 8"x10", acrylic on canvas

Matador, 8″x10″, acrylic on canvas, 2015. © Rob Elliott/Swizzle Studio

When I ran Swizzle Gallery on College Street in the early 2000s, I always took visiting artists to the Matador. The late-night speakeasy had a big dance floor and good country bands and felt like a secret (even if everyone including the cops knew about it).

I’ve done several drawings and paintings of the Matador’s sign over the years. I’ve heard the strange sign came second hand from a bowling alley and was inverted, but like most stories about the Matador, I can’t confirm this one.

(L) Matador, 8"x11", monoprint and coloured ink, 2002, (R) Matador, 5"x7", acrylic on canvas board, 2001

(L) Matador, 8″x11″, monoprint and coloured ink, 2002. (R) Matador, 5″x7″, acrylic on canvas board, 2001. ©Rob Elliott/Swizzle Studio

I was recently commissioned to do a new painting of the sign by someone who regretted not buying one of my earlier paintings. The result, based on some new photos I shot on a freezing cold night in November, is at the top of this post.

Matador sign, 2014.

Matador sign, 2014. ©Rob Elliott Swizzle Studio

This painting has me inspired to paint more music venue signs, maybe large. The El Mocambo and Silver Dollar are obvious candidates, but I might also do some less-remembered signs from Toronto and my hometown Vancouver.