Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Time Flies

Always thought that would be a great name for a garage band, The Time Flies. Kinda SF, kinda horror, kinda mind bending. In any case, it does and this year it did. My to-do list hung over from February lies faded and incomplete taped to my desktop. It's November now and I don't know what happened. I had some serious plans. Our late winter illnesses spread out and engulfed the spring and then summer said a brief hello while zipping by on it's bike and well, here we are.

So I'm simply checking in to say I did, to send another 'there, ok?' into The Universe, a symbol of my waddling intentions.

I remain confounded about my role as shop keeper / gallerist. I need a serious leave of absence away from the public, I take things way too personally and, to boot, I require full time assistance here. I need a crack team of devoted interns to hoist up my flagging morale and to help me get my papers in order. papers like scraps and drawings and photos. My official papers, taxes and the like, are not the problem this time.

I think the problem lies in the fact that the heart of my collection is the art that I myself have made coupled with the papers and objects I consider sacred. These collections are in disarray. They are stacked here and there and I've lost control of them. Before i had a shop my special collections remained tight and tidy, i knew where everything was and I'd go through the boxes and organize.

Those boxes are now equivalent to several cubic meters of material and I feel at sea. With that, a tiny muffled cry into the wilderness, heard slightly over my stubborn reminders to myself to be grateful, I send my hopes and my desires.


Friday, February 26, 2016


With tyke down with a cold and me sneaking by with half of one myself, it didn't happen this week, the usual writing/drawing thing. I still somehow managed to stretch and meditate.
Last night I did so at four in the morning when I found myself suddenly awake and having trouble re-submerging. I got up and hit the rug with some attempted plow positions and general groin stretches (TMI ?). Then I sat on the bench and had an uneventful sit.
Nothing emerged, nothing to write about but here we are.
I recalled how as a teenager the best effects in meditation occurred after I was convinced that I couldn't handle any more of it. Now I'm awestruck when I can sit for ten minutes without a neck snap.
I've also dusted off the aura seeing exercises this week. I figure, I've seen bits before I can see more if I apply myself. Reading Light Emerging by Brennan certainly has it's effects on ones outlook.
I'm just rambling now, rambling my intentions to communicate and commit to being a full-on swinging new age guy. Peace.

Image from forthcoming zine from Toronto's Run Through and plunked here to make up for the ramble above.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Twice a week, very Tuesday and Thursday, I drop the tyke off at daycare and head for the third floor corner seat of the McGill library to pore over the Blue Book, which is my business strategy and enhanced lifestyle notebook, and to pound out an average of ten pages of minimalist comics, today I did twelve.

The Blue Book is where I've been detailing plans and thoughts for my business, Monastiraki, and my art and career in general. In blue ballpoint pen, I write down schedules, attainable goals, ambitions. All in a fairly clear and organized way, cross referencing entries and everything. I do this to warm up. I get into it. Sometimes I find some book on branding and read a page or two to bring the experience up a notch. This is new for me. My notebooks of yore have been havens for scribbles, stoner notes and doodles, all words hardly revisited let alone legible.

When that's done, I crack out a couple of mechanical pencils and my clipboard full of fresh 8.5 x 11 white sheets and start drawing minimal little heads, six per page, each with a few words, telling a simple story. I started this comic project last year and mostly spun my wheels, creating a frustrating stream of consciousness comic about the false starts of the creative process, all in real time.

Since the new year, since I've turned the corner, as they say, the comics are considerably less about humming and hawing and more about the thoughts and experiences I've been having rediscovering my path as a magician who is intent on authoring his life proactively. It's been liberating to say the least. I draw simple lines and write simple words in a way that feels like journaling and comic making. I thought today that if I were to make a zine of this stuff, which I will (for TCAF 2016), I may write as part of my bio on the back cover that the author has shown he can draw elsewhere, this is about something else.

I've often derided what I call 'Head-Coffee-Head' comics, comics that simply show the characters head in some panels, and a coffee cup or other mundane feature in other panels. Well folks, I've come a long way and I'm done for the time being busting my back on ornate guitar solos. I've searched for a way to write and draw quick stream of consciousness work and I've found it. It's one floating head and a few words in an open panel six times per page. I've got a nice stack of the stuff now and I like where it's going. Some of the pages, even when they are part of a sequence, seem to stand up on their own, like a serial, so I'm thinking hard of uploading them as a webcomic. I'll also make a series of 12 or so page zines, each with a simple cover design that repeats, kinda like King Cat.

I'm truly excited about all this stuff, Wr for writing and Dr for drawing, whether it's journal and notebook focus or simple comics. Stay tuned. I'm going to share this stuff.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Turned Corners

Shall I go out on a limb ? Sure, why not.

I've recently rediscovered that authorial authority is within my domain, ie: I'm writing my life.
I've known this for a while but a bout of mundanity, lasting maybe ten plus years has recently been sloughed off. What was revealed was how to continue scripting.
You see, since childhood I made up stories about who and what I was. This continued well into adolescence and adulthood. Somewhere along the way the narrative fell off, the story was dropped and consequently I was at sea. I knew I was somewhat lost but couldn't put my finger on it.
Late last year I started addressing my dilemma. Dissatisfaction with my job and my art led me to realize that I had to find a way to continue telling the story of my life in a way that I wanted it to be told and lived.
I had the past down. I knew what had happened. And I knew there was this vague interval where mythologizing myself was replaced with a pity party, bitterness, frustration, anger and all that.

Since December 2015 many factors have converged allowing me to see that I can resume storytelling, rebuild meaning and continue on my way towards a happy ending or even a to-be-continued.

I am religious. My religion, I remembered, was mine. What religion are you ? Mine. Period. It's my religion. I built it and I build it. My art once paid attention to it and now i'm learning to siphon my art back through my religiosity. Sure, I'm spiritual too if that makes anyone feel better.

I now openly admit to gnostic revelatory experience. I have on occasion been graced with understanding in the form of geometric models that speak volumes to my personal mythology. These models look a lot like the kind you get via the study of esoteric subjects in general. They are hard to word and often are benefitted by diagrams and drawn symbols. They are devices to know and to learn from.

They come at me and they come clearly and better when my head isn't in my ass lamenting my lost sense of meaning. Meaning has returned and it is imperative that momentum is sustained. Momentum will be sustained via regular somatic/spiritual work as well as regular writing and drawing.

Henceforth, and until the next revelatory moment, I will be working on the vertical as it seems I have the horizontal down pat. The voice told me this clear as day. The voice that was so much like my own voice but as if it knew something I didn't. I've been puzzled by how the horizontal becomes the vertical since forever. I've been looking for that crux left and right. I found it in the cresting nexus point of the now. That place where mystery becomes known and collects behind you in an ever widening cloak. It's slippery to write about but it's also head rattling, exhilarating and liberating.

I'll continue this ramble in future posts.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Asemic Scrawl

A close up of a pencil poem

Hold your pencil higher up so it feels like you have less control over where it would go if you pushed down and away while letting go. Add branches to the lines you've made. Twist the pencil with each slight release. See how and where it goes. Repeat.

The Hidden History of Mail-Art

As an occasional mail artist and a full-time collector of books and ephemera I came across this battered old copy of a Ripley's Believe It Or Not paperback. In it's yellowed pages was this account of the popularity of the brand.

Here is what the man himself, Robert Ripley had to say in regards to the scads of post he received as ringmaster of the sensational and the bizarre.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


I've expanded the pages on this blog, adding some CV material under a couple of headings (Books, Art Shows), elaborating a bit on my work speaking on and teaching art as well as telling the reader a little about myself in a new Bio section.

I'm unsure how these pages will grow, if their headings will change, if I'll forget to update them, etc.
I'd like to add a 'press' page but maybe Google is good for that. I'd love to add a collaborations page, documenting the fun I've had working with other artists. We'll see.

As it stands I'm trying to consolidate basic information onto this blog until I get my act togetherish enough to go for a dot com. That may not be necessary depending on how frustrating or not I find working with blogger.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the additions.

The author as a young man poses with the inimitable Sorrell Booke
at a Montreal auto show circa 1983

Making Faces

I can scribble at a frenetic pace. I launch into asemics and soon enough see faces. That place between calligraphy and cartooning becomes evident.

There is a certain collection of gestures I trace when drawing with a pencil or a ball point. Those tools allow a certain grind not feasible with felt tip markers or brush. The line coils out tightly into vertical drops and spins back up, jags along the page, spirals out, repeats. It happens over and over again. The above drawing is more an illustration of me trying to break up the gestures into discrete parts, otherwise I get a long 'run-on sentence' wobbling all over the paper.

Profiles and three quarter views of faces emerge, ugly rockers peeping out behind hairy helmets. These faces come easy, a scribbly dowsing, some lines suggest that nose, others that squint. There is a direct lineage between these faces and what used to be the alien bean motif I was obsessing over years ago, a voluptuous mango replete with fleshy folds. These are the raw cousins of those beasts, the brutish toss offs vs the anal line work of clean hard psych.

These guys are immediate and brooding. They satisfy me and prod me towards pure cartooning. They become finished if I have the patience. They become people, at least the masks that people carry.