Tag Archives: Toronto

G that’s a big letter

I got to work with the awesome Melanie MacDonald last week on this giant Google G. Mel needed a tight cutter to get this pop-up shop job done in a hurry, so she gave me a call. Cool job to work on, and the installers and project designers were super nice folks.

Ramm Design Labs built the four room project for the Pixel 3 “record shop” , popping up at 202 Queen Street West, Toronto November 27 to December 2.

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.

Bazaar Bizarre this weekend

Heads for the installation ready for mounting.

Heads for the Bazaar Bizarre installation ready for mounting.

Andrew Horne puts it concisely to every curious person who walks by the Bazaar Bizarre Collective’s workshop on Rhodes Avenue.

“We’re making art. We’re blocking off the street. You have to come back on Saturday.”

Wooden struts for the installation

Dozens of wooden struts make up the backbone of the installation.

All of that is true. Andrew and I have been spending the week assembling a colourful, anarchic, 20 foot high thing. The timber-and-board construction is equal parts cartoon and carnival. Festooned with lights and flags made from sari fabric, the installation will make a lively addition to this year’s Festival of South Asia. The tower-like construction will be located on Rhodes Avenue at Gerrard Street, and will be installed with the help of volunteers by 2 p.m. Saturday.

Christine sewing banners made from donated sari fabric.

Christine sewing banners made from donated sari fabric.

Bazaar Bizarre Collective working on the art.

Members of Bazaar Bizarre Collective working on the art.

In addition to the installation, Andrew will be showing Bollywood film highlights projected on the wall across from his gallery and coffee shop, Flying Pony, on Saturday evening.

The Festival of South Asia runs on August 23 and 24 from noon to 11 p.m. along Toronto’s Gerrard Street Bazaar (directions).

St. Catherines artist Melanie MacDonald will also be opening her exhibition at Flying Pony on Saturday night, featuring highlights from her recent solo show at the St. Thomas-Elgin Art Centre. These scrapbook-based paintings should be seen in real life to be appreciated. If Pigs Could Float runs from August 23 to September 27 at Flying Pony.

Freeze Frame, Melanie MacDonald, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 60x36”

Freeze Frame, Melanie MacDonald, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 60×36”