Ideas & Art from Rob Elliott and Christine Cosby

Tag: St. Catharines (Page 1 of 2)

Randy & Friends opens this Friday

Four artists' versions of two East German egg cups. Clockwise from top left: Ernest Harris Jr., Christine Cosby, Rob Elliott, Melanie MacDonald. (Images not to scale)

Four artists’ versions of two East German egg cups. Clockwise from top left: Ernest Harris Jr., Christine Cosby, Rob Elliott, Melanie MacDonald. (Images not to scale)

Ours is a world of stuff. We admire it, collect it, hoard it, and cast it off.

Four artists (Christine Cosby, Ernest Harris Jr., Melanie MacDonald and Rob Elliott) have made art to give pause for thought about our world of stuff. Meeting around a St. Catharines kitchen table back in January, we selected five objects from an assorted pile of favourite things. Each artist set off to make art inspired by these objects, creating at least four artistic responses to each item.

Settling on animal-themed stuff, five curious objects have inspired this exhibit: an otter-topped statuette with “RANDY” stamped on its base, a plastic honey-bear squeeze bottle, a handful of fishing lures, hen-shaped egg cups from the former East Germany, and a rabbit puppet head still in decades-old shrink wrap.

For the past four months,we’ve worked on paintings, drawings, watercolours, and assemblages, sharing photos of our work as it progressed and talking about what we were doing.

Entitled Randy & Friends, the exhibit offered a unique opportunity for the artists to surprise and challenge one another, and to make work that pushes in new creative directions, both in terms of subject matter and technique.

A dense and colourful riot of creative energy, Randy & Friends features the original objects alongside the multiple artistic products inspired by them. Melanie MacDonald made breakfast, served soft-boiled eggs in the egg cups, then photographed and painted the scene as a monumental landscape. Ernest Harris Jr. has painted formal watercolour studies of each of the objects. Christine Cosby and Rob Elliott have invented a 40-year history of the rabbit puppet head and have designed a parody of big museum celebrity retrospectives, complete with costumes and timeline. A pair of oversized textile fishing lures also will hang in the gallery.


Randy & Friends
Subjective Looks at Selected Objects
Christine Cosby, Rob Elliott, Ernest Harris Jr. & Melanie MacDonald
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at the Niagara Artists Centre

354 St Paul St, St Catharines, ON
(905) 641-0331
April 18 to May 1, 2015
Reception: April 18, 7 – 10 pm

Refreshments and snacks will be served


Getting to the show: We really want you to see Randy & Friends. It’s a smart, funny show and we’re all pretty excited about it.

The Niagara Artist Centre is located in downtown St. Catharines, less than 90 minutes south of Toronto. It’s in the heart of wine country, there’s a massive flea market in town, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. Make a weekend of it!

Drive: Take the QEW (exit 47). Print out this QEW Bingo card for your passengers.
Bus: Megabus and Go Transit both stop in St. Catharines. Megabus is the better bet – it stops a block from NAC. Go Transit stops at Fairview Mall, so you need to take a bus or cab to NAC.


The Head Table, documented


After some improvisation by the actors, The Artist dumped The Socialite for a more lucrative romance with The Philanthropist.

For last November’s STRUTT, Christine and I went for broke. We designed and built a six-piece project called The Head Table. Caricatures of the bigwigs who buy a table for the Niagara Artists Centre’s annual wearable art show mingled with the audience before the show and during the intermission. The heads were brought to life by funny and talented actors, who played with oversized phones and acted-up in the best possible ways.

The Head Table returned to the stage for STRUTT”s final number, which featured Acadian hip-hop artists Radio Radio performing their hit Ej Feel Zoo, accompanied by a children’s dance troupe and trapeze artists. The children and The Head Table danced in unison, imitating the moves seen in Radio Radio’s video for the song.


I made the styrofoam heads over eight weeks, in the process filling the backyard and studio with a Christmas display worth of foam bits. Christine sewed the “dickies” that worked as a transition from the heads to the vintage clothing, picked out by STRUTT producer Annie Wilson.


One of the excellent things about STRUTT is how well documented it is. Photographer Brian Yungblutt shoots every performer before they go out on stage (see all the photos HERE), providing an essential record of a night that whips by way too fast. Below, I’ve included Brian’s photos of The Head Table along with my own close-ups, actors’ notes, and production drawings.



socialite-head-table-design-drawing-480px     socialite-STRUTT-full-costume-480px





















Gallery of Opera drawings

Monarch Caterpillar, India ink and gouache, 6″x4″

Last weekend, my drawing exhibit Designs for an Unwritten Opera opened at the Niagara Artists Centre in St. Catharines. The matted-and-framed work made a strong impression on gallery-goers, and I talked myself hoarse explaining all the fanciful ideas behind each drawing.

I have now posted a gallery of all 3o images on Swizzle Studio’s sister website,

Purchase information:

  • The show will be installed until December 15, 2012. All drawings approximately 4″ x 6″, matted in 8″ 10″ white frames, and sell for $80.
  • Purchases can be made directly from NAC (cash, Interac, credit card accepted). Tel: 905-641-0331  Email:
  • Toronto buyers can arrange to pick up their pieces from Swizzle Studio’s offices in Toronto’s west end.
  • Worldwide shipping is available for $25.

Duke of Sasquatches, ink and goauche, 4″x6″

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