Steve Cowan is an exceptionally talented and award winning guitarist with all the chops you could want. I was super pleased to be asked to do the album art for his first album of classical guitar music "pour guitare" which is an amazing and stunning collection of contemporary Canadian classical guitar pieces, many of which had never been recorded before this. The album design was a bit of a challenge in a couple ways, for one it was my first 8 panel cd package with a lot of liner notes to format and it involved a lot of portraiture work which isn't really in my regular wheelhouse. Steve was very hands on in the process and it was refreshing to have so much feedback throughout and not be questioning whether or not the client likes what I'm doing. I've known Steve for years now and we collaborated before when I made a music video for his prog-metal band Surgeon a few years back, I'm not nearly good enough a guitarist to be in a Steve Cowan band but it's super nice to be able to collaborate like this on occasion.
Jake Nicoll is a fantastically talented, young songwriter/musician/producer who has slowly taken over the St. John's music scene over the last few years either producing the albums of or playing behind pretty much every musician in town. But it's in his own music that he shines brightest. Jake asked me last summer if I would be into making a music video for his new album he's working on, On the spot I said "of course!" and then promptly waited 5 or 6 months for him to send me some tracks to work off of. I'd pick on him each time I'd run into him asking when he's gonna gimme some mixes already? And he'd be all "soon, soon, I'm working on it!" and then I'd give him some stink eye because I'm a complete asshole. Little did I know that Jake was working on a 23 song magnum opus song cycle that spans two whole albums and is some of the richest, most deeply felt and beautifully crafted songwriting to come out of this city in a decade or more.
So I'm listening to all the tracks for a few days trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a video and I narrowed it down to about 5 songs I wanted to work on. I was thinking "well this one and this one would be the easiest, this one would be great, My Friends might be my favourite song but it's so very, very sad it might be hard to sell as a hit single". A day or two later I remembered this experimental footage I made for an abandoned project of my own 2 or 3 years ago that I've just been sitting on ever since, it never really fit any of my own songs. But then it hit me and I played the footage in one window while playing the song under it and the mood, tempo, atmosphere and subject matter of My Friends fit so, so perfectly with the footage I was totally floored. I barely had to edit it! it was fate. The final edit came together really quickly so I had a finished video for him within a week of getting the mp3s. It kinda felt like cheating (although, when I made the footage originally I spent like 6 weeks or so making it) so I'm making a second video for Jake very soon. When that'll be done I have no idea. In the meantime watch this and please do yourself a favour and buy all his albums.
It's the RPM time of year again, this year me and my good friend the unbelievably talented AE Bridger made good on our years of talking about someday collaborating for an album, and made this thing. We basically set up a stereo mic set up in his living room and would improvise together in front of it and hopefully something we liked would happen then we would change instruments and jam over whatever we recorded and build layers that way. Afterwards we'd take the mixes home with us and on our own and try to jury-rig them into functioning songs, we picked a secret subject matter write around and I think that helped bring it together quickly. I'm very happy with the end result, it's a very organic sounding album, you can really get a feel of the room in the final product. I hope people can get into it like we have.
Every year around the holidays instead of being a well adjusted human being and going outside the house and reconnecting with family and friends I hustle my arse off inside my house to make an original christmas music video to be ready by tib's eve. It's a weird thing I've decided to do and this is my 7th year doing it, if I keep at it in 5 years I'll have 12 songs which is an appropriate number for a christmas album at which point I will stop writing these things and put out a cd or something which will be my christmas gift for everyone that year I guess. This year I made a kinda smooth 80's pastiche using my sexy flu voice and the awesome saxophone stylings of Chris McGee. The video was made by filming through a boiling glass kettle and the song has the second lowest content of immediately objectionable lyrics of any of my christmas tunes. Giv'er a view and Merry Christmas ya'll!
I have the lovely honour of being including in the new issue of nationally distributed arts and culture magazine Riddle Fence! They picked three of my paintings to accompany a story by Robert Chafe. It's a beautiful issue and a real treat to be a part of, I'm very happy with the way the paintings looked on the page. Check it out on a art magazine rack near you!
So pleased to check this years Overcast's Peoples Choice Awards issue to see that I got voted 2nd Best Book Cover, 2nd Best Recording Artist Who Rarely Plays Live, 3rd Best Illustrator and (most surprising and flabbergasting) 3rd Best Visual Artist in Town behind the illustrious company of Mike Gough and Will Gill! Holy Moly! Pretty cool pretty cool. I'm gonna have to start playing more I suppose.
Made this here ridiculous poster for a big show with some of my favourite acts in town. Everybody should go.
Had the wonderful privilege of being a part of this years Cards For Sarah. My drawing of a freaky reindeer is one of 10 Christmas cards from some esteemed local artists all to support the charity of Young Adult Cancer Canada in memory of the dearly departed Sarah Turpin, a very young mother of three children under three years old. It's a great cause and it's a beautiful set of cards perfect for your festive holiday gift card activities. Buy the whole set of 10 here!
Super pleased to have a piece of mine included and lovingly silkscreened into the latest edition of A Whale and Other Disorders from Pink Eye Prints. This "zine" is an unprecedented 12 by 18 inches and every page is expertly silkscreened and handbound in such a way as to easily unbind and separate out into individual prints. So essentially you are purchasing a collection of 15 or so beautiful prints from a pile of talented local St. John's artists. Purchase it here! Perfect Christmas gift.
On November 13th I have the privilege of exhibiting some very fresh new works at Gallery 24 downtown. It'll be 8 new drawings in a follow up to my "Birds of Newfoundland" series, this time "Aquatic Invertebrates of Newfoundland" (such as the Atlantic Rock Crab above) along with a few new paintings which aren't of aquatic invertebrates but are decent to look at regardless. I'm sharing the gallery space with the fantastic artist Ying Guo who will have some beautiful distractions to see as well. The openings at Gallery 24 are always fun and lively so be sure to show up and hey, don't forget your cheque books and credit cards at home, culture ain't free! (I guess sometimes it is, but you'll want to take some of this home with you)