Friday, April 30, 2010...


is as good a day as any to finally post some larger versions of my GMO work (which was up at the show - see last post) from this semester past. These pieces are fairly wordy so I won't say too much here, other than that eight months ago I knew little and really cared little about food and agriculture, despite having grown up on farms and worked with plants and produce for years. From the ethics of production to impact of transportation, food and agriculture has been a topic of growing concern recently, and biotechnology, despite lurking in fields and supermarkets for over twenty years, is still a very mysterious and controversial topic.

Most North Americans probably aren't aware they've been consuming genetically modified foods on an almost daily basis for years now -I was certainly one of those before I started my research last Fall. What I can say is this: I went into the subject blind and neutral, thinking I would just do a quick piece on what made GM crops different from conventionally crossbred crops.

It certainly didn't take long to find myself leaning to one side of this hotly debated fence, and that was as much because of the concerns being raised as it was the fact that I had a great course on propaganda going on at that time and had the tools at my disposal to really dissect the arguments. I was strongly put off by the attitude and rhetoric of the pro-GM side, whose aggressive tactics were very telling of a group most certainly not motivated by the altruistic claims so often put behind Biotechnology. I certainly don't mean to imply all biotechnology is dubious - in the medicinal field it appears particularly useful and the risks better contained - but the current practice of crop biotechnology, influenced as it is by questionable political and economic factors, can neither be said to be safe nor forthcoming.

It was a real challenge to focus the information down and produce an illustration project out of it, mainly because there is a fine line between so much text that no one will want to read it and so much art that the information just becomes a pretty picture and loses credibility. In any case, I said I wouldn't talk TOO much, so without further ado, here is the 4 piece series (produced with watercolours and Adobe Illustrator).

*references available upon request, of course!

Thursday, April 29, 2010...


marks one week since the grad show and our new website going up, so it may be about darn time to talk about that! But first, a note on why not to expect expedient cooking when an artist is in the kitchen:

Vegetables are so very fun - look at all that personality!

So, the Sheridan Illustration 2010 grad show ran last Thurs/Fri on Queen St. in Toronto and as usual those two days met my maximum allowable yearly dosage of downtown Toronto. Queen St. is just a very... interesting... place, where a lot of extremes contrast against each other. Everything moves faster downtown and the press of people and cars makes you move faster too. You really get caught up in it. I think this year (the 3rd grad show I've been to at the Queen St. location) I paid more attention to the people and places and less to the grad show itself, which despite looking better each year, no longer holds much interest for me. That's unfortunate in a way, because this year it was my turn so to speak, but I couldn't help feeling it was all a big, shiny pat on the back. Not that that's bad (after four years the grads deserve a pat) but it's not so much the dress-up and mingle occasion I used to think it was. So instead of camping out at the show, I hit the streets with Jill and a friend.

Here are the very few photos from those days. We were too distracted doing things to take pictures of ourselves doing things, so you'll have to take my word for it.

We ended up sitting under this ad on the GO train and there was definitely a "..." moment. I haven't seen a campaign that's that in your face in awhile.

This was another ad on the GO I ended up under. Very fitting!

A shot my board and its neighbour-boards during Friday when no one was really around (which described most of Friday).

And finally myself standing in front of my comparatively anemic looking board, on which I took the risk of displaying only my GMO work to present a single, focused message. Unfortunately, the room was so packed that nobody was ever going to stop and read this when there was so much colourful, feel-good art nearby. In hindsight, I likely should have stuck to things with more visual impact and less controversial content! But, if I got at least a few people talking about GMOs then I guess that's a plus.

And last but not least, the new t42 website is indeed up at and in the coming days I will try to do a little feature here on works removed and works added, and maybe Jill can add her two cents as well. Until then, I'm off to try and figure out what kind of snake bit my hat in the woods today!



they vant to suck your energy D:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010...


marks the end of formal classes. Art school is out forever.

What can I say, I feel like this day is not a moment too soon. It's time to curl up into the fetal position and start regenerating my life power.

This year's group has a website with some work here.

And now for something completely random.

And something less random, a couple quickies for a friend's vampire energy project. Jill has a fun one to post from this project too so I'll get her to post that as well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010...


has been a slooow day so far, but not for lack of things to do! It's just been getting harder to get going each day towards the end of the school term and, especially with the weather so nice right now, sit myself down at the ol' computron and plug away at those annoying loose ends that need to be wrapped up. That's really a bit of an understatement, as this has been by far the worst semester of college I've ever experienced with many projects being complete write-offs.

I see it's been over a month since my last post, but there still isn't too much I can put up yet. I'll probably put up my work on food and GMOs closer to, or after, final presentations and the grad show in two weeks. Jill also assures me *ahem* that the new website will be done before then, so I'd also like to do a post looking back on some work from Lotus Ink that I'll be shelving and some newer work that will be going up on the t42 site. So, at some point in the near future there should be a tidal wave of new content on this page, but for the time being all I can really show are the new business cards we've done up and a little promo card for the show.

These are fresh out of the box from Overnight Prints. I was getting nitpicky over the cut job on the cards but hey, considering that even with the surprise $40 COD it still cost about 1/3 of what it would have to get it done locally I shouldn't complain.

A note about the promo card: Canada and the US are a couple of (if not THE) last countries in the developed world to implement some form of labeling for GMOs. A number of countries have banned them outright while others import them for use in industrial products but not human consumption. When I started my research on this topic last Fall, I, like most people, had no idea what GM food was, how it was created, or that I was even eating it. After eight months of reading, writing, and illustrating about GMOs, I would support a complete moratorium but at the very least I think we deserve the same choice the rest of the world has to decide for ourselves whether we want to risk our health in this giant experiment of GM food. According to the stats I've seen, 80-90% of Canadians feel the same way, but the last bill put forward in 2008 that proposed such labeling was defeated in the House of Commons. Rest assured though, it will not be the last. More on this topic when I post my work!