I just wanted to welcome another fine retailer to the Rob Croxford merch. family!
Mon - Wed - 10am to 6pm
Thurs & Fri - 10am to 7pm
Saturday - 10am to 6pm
Sunday - 12pm to 5pm
124 Cumberland Street
Canada - M5R 1A6
Phone: (416) 962-3916
They have tonnes of GREAT stuff...cards, stationery, gift wrap, journals....and well....pretty much anything made of paper!
OH....and now they carry a selection of my DELIGHTFUL postcards!!!
Below....is only half the store - as you can see it is chock-o-block:
This place has been around for over 40 years!!!
If you haven't been....YOU MUST go!
So....this is a great new print available in my store - and is also available as a postcard:
It is based on my painting.....and I told you all about the production of this piece HERE! So here are the deets on this print:
A Giclée (pronounced "jhee-clay") is a sophisticated inkjet method of printing on acid free watercolor paper. These are produced for Rob by a professional Giclee Printer on an Epson printer with K3 pigment inks. Each is printed in 2 sizes, 16" x 20" ($80.00) and 8" x 10" ($35.00). These are small editions.....so you'll wanna get 'em while you can!! The imagery is 100% MINE, and is based on a portion of a previously painted original. The paper is high qualtity, acid and chlorine free 100% cotton rag paper. Which is NICE paper!
You can buy this one in my store....and you can also buy it in Hamilton at The Hamilton Store or at The Cotton Factory.
You can't see the original right now......because it is currently hanging at Hamilton City Hall:
That's me above with Mayor Eisenburger of Hamilton!
SUPER EXCITING TIMES FOR ME!!!
So....there you go!
Go buy a postcard or print of the NEWEST Hamilton print!
So....for part of March and April I did an art challenge with a few other people. WHAT IS AN ART CHALLENGE?? Basically I was required to post a photo (on a private Instagram account) every day of SOMETHING artistic that I did...which meant I couldn't take a whole day to complete something! The ONLY proviso was it COULD NOT be like my regular artistic practice.
Now....being a type A....I FREAKED OUT.....
I am not good at putting something out there that is not PERFECT...or at least not perfect to me...in that moment!
So it was a real challenge for me...and my fragile ego!!
HOWEVER, it was a safe way to try new things....without exposing myself to judgment or ruining 'my brand'...
(oh man, I hate that term! ;-)
Some of the things worked out....and others.....well....not so much....
BUT I have decided to share SOME of the VERY MIXED results with you guys.....
I also did some video work....most of it is pretty STOOOPID....but please enjoy....
See? DUMB!!! The next video sparked my INTENSE LOVE of slo-mo!!
I love the sound when my hand hits the puzzle....
Then there is this one....
Paint it Black......
Then below is a can that I cut and reassembled on a music box...
I call it "Dancer Escapes"...
I love it when she kicks the can and it begins to warp!
It was totally an accident!!
FINALLY this is just a backstage tour of my Theatre paper piece...
THE BACKGROUND is copy-write of Kim Atlin 2017
So there you go.....after 30 days I have some new ideas....and had some fun! I hope you enjoyed seeing the highlights....
So...I KNOW I promised a bunch of new land/cityscapes to you guys....but I have really been feeling the love for my robots!
I am hoping to have a whole show of new robots to debut SOMEWHERE later this year....or maybe next year??
IF YOU KNOW of a place that my space themed stuff would be a perfect fit....I would LOVE to hear from you!
IN THE MEANTIME.....enjoy this new bot.....
I am trying to scale back the amount of BUSYNESS in my paintings...
I was hoping I could make this work without having to paint every area of the canvas board.....
NEGATIUVE SPACE is HARD for me...I am just NOT a "less is more" kinda guy....I'm more of a MORE IS MORE kinda guy!!
BUT....see what you think....
.....I kept adding details - because I found it so boring - and my husband would keep giving me advice on SCALING back! SO GLAD to have had his help (and that I don't have to pay him)!
HERE is the final bot (sorry for the watermarks - I'm paranoid) :-)
Meep Morp Bleep
(that's robot talk for Thanks Guys!)
I am busy gearing up for the summer exhibition season, and still waiting on what seems like 100 gosh darn juried proposals and entries. BUT hopefully it all will become clear in the next month.
STAY TUNED FOR DEETS!
In the meantime, gentle reader, I want to talk to you today about commissions. Yes, commissions. Because my art is so specific, I sometimes meet a client who loves my thang (sorry - I will try not to use that word again!) but wants me to create something more personal for them!
Truthfully, I find commissions a bit more stressful, as I am inherently a people pleaser! BUT COMMISSIONS CAN BE SUPER REWARDING TOO. It is often the opportunity to translate someone else's vision into my own. It kinda reminds me of painting for the theatre!
This commission was SUPER.....it was for The Cotton Factory. Here is how they describe themselves:
"In the heart of lower Hamilton, this formal industrial building from 1900 is a prime example of adaptive reuse. It has been transformed from a cotton mill into a creative industries complex, with space for workshops, galleries, office space for creative professionals, and studios for artists."
Honestly, it is a STUNNING complex, that is going to help reshape that area of Hamilton! I LOVE IT!
OKAY....let's see how this commish shaped up....
The first step is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS the research and inspiration. The gallery below has some of my inspirations and some of my research photos...
So with all that in my head, I do a bunch of rough sketches to try to translate and distill the ideas.....
I then send this rough idea to the client and get their opinions....before I begin to refine the drawing!
....once I have a final drawing that is approved by the client, I translate it to the painting surface...I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but I did take the photo BELOW just after....
...I then begin to block in areas....normally I work up ALL the areas at once....but as I mentioned, I wanted this to be PERFECT - so I worked up each area separately! (Like a crazy TYPE A, neurotic artist-type!)
It takes a while to get it right, as you can see above, at first I painted the lettering in grey.....but that ended up changing, as the painting began to reveal itself to me!
....working up The Cotton Factory Building....
...more work on the shadows and such.....
...as you can see....I changed a few of the architectural details of the building that bring it back in time a bit, by making the windows and doors more in line with the 1900's version of the building!
THAT is something you can do with a painting....
Here....a LOT is done.....I changed the Hamilton lettering to green, but was finding the whole thing a bit HEAVY and ill proportioned....I also thought the black border too demanding for the piece!
...I subtracted the bricks and put in more lightness....I fixed the exterior border....but NOW THERE ARE AREAS THAT ARE TOO LIGHT! I KNOW!!! It's all a bit Goldilocks-like! I did fine tunes the banner at the top - THAT is working now!!
...By putting in a traditional Victorian wallpaper pattern, I have balanced the colours a bit better....I have also added a small more industrial border at the top.....the next step involves a series of white washes and colour glazes to give the painting a sense of age. It's the part that makes my work more 'believable' as an old poster!
HERE IS THE FINAL PROJECT:
I was thrilled with the final look.
Once I get to that point it is safe to show the client.
If at that point, the client has any concerns, I can address them.
It doesn't often happen...let's face it, I am usually my own WORST critic! It helps though when you are crystal clear about how the piece will take shape! Generally, if you like what it is that I do, you will be happy with the result!!
So there it is! My latest commission. If you are interested in doing a commission with me, I would be thrilled to chat with you about it!
You can just email me!!
ALSO.....look for prints and postcards of this fantastic piece coming VERY soon!!!!!
So lately I have been trying to do some things that are outside of my comfort zone...artistically. I have been experimenting with some new subject matter, and I have been creating art for a number of juried art calls....
I WOULD LOVE to tell you that it is going wonderfully....so far I am feeling a bit dejected by the process of entering - getting juried - and being found 'unworthy'.....
READ THIS POST to understand my feeling on that....
BUT then the final paintings are turning out so well!!!
This one is a fine example.
I painted it for a call entitled "Live Longer, Piss off Your Heirs".
I think it is really good...here is how I describe it:
For many years I thought living longer was the object of the game. Now, as I steadily roll into middle age, I disagree. I now think the name of the game is to do it your own way, and love your life fully! This sentiment is reflected in my personal life and with my art! This brand new painting “One Hundred Vices” is clearly about the things that aren’t supposed to make life better……but do. Smoking, drinking, eating, looking needlessly glamorous….if that isn’t living life……I DO NOT KNOW what is.
So, there ya go....here is how it came together....and then the final image!
I think this piece is excellent.....look how wonderful it WOULD look in this room...now imagine it for YOUR room!!!!!!!
Have a great weekend and a Happy St Patrick's Day!!!
Picture it....it was 11 years ago, I was showing my work on a cool, rainy Saturday in September at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto. Despite the nasty weather, there were a number of people out buying art! I had only done a handful of outdoor shows at that point, so I was pretty nervous about whether people would like my work - or just walk right by!
WHAAAT??? Self doubt from an artist??? It can't be!!! ;-p
Then a man came up and started to talk to me about this painting:
The gentlemen had a lot of questions. A LOT. It was great to have someone who was SO interested in my work! The interaction went on for quite some time, before he decided to buy it. In hind-sight, there was something very soothing and vaguely familiar about his voice....but when you're in the middle of hocking your art, it is hard to think of anything but the sale!
Anyways, I take his credit card, and then ask him for ID.
The man looks at me, there is a really awkward pause, and the man raises an eyebrow....as if to say "REALLY??". I went on to apologize, and tell him that there had be a rash of fakesters taking advantage of poor artists. (Which was true! Because people can be awful!) Truthfully, he looked a little perturbed, but then who wouldn't? There is something off-putting about having your identity and legitimacy questioned!
So I finish the transaction, hand him back his card and his ID, all the time feeling 'strange' but not understanding why. I then wrap up his original art, and he walks away...into the sunset.
Within a couple of seconds, the artist in the neighbouring tent comes over. "Wow, Rob! That's great!" she says to me. I reply cavalierly "Ya, nice to have someone enjoy the work!"....You know...NO BIG DEAL....and she replies "Especially a Canadian celebrity!". I stood there, confused, looking at her like SHE was insane. She continued "You know who that was, right?" I looked down at the sales receipt in my hand...
(YES - it was a paper receipt - that is how we did it back then!)
I looked up at her and said "It was Stuart McLean."
There is is long pause in conversation where this artist was looking at me, waiting for me to clue in. It seemed like an eternity - although I am sure it was only seconds...until I said...
"OH FUCK! It was Stuart McLean! CBC Stuart McLean! Vinyl Cafe Stuart McLean!! FUUUUCK! I KNEW I KNEW THAT VOICE!!!!"
The other artist gave me a sympathetic look, and said "Don't worry, I am sure he didn't realize that you didn't know him." And I nodded...."Ya. Probably not!" and walked away!
Except of course he knew. DUHHH. It really could not have gone WORSE!
It was a great lesson to me. I tried in the years since, to be more attentive to people's body language, and also to try to stay out of my own head when chatting with clients!
ADMITTEDLY though, the sale really gave me a boost of confidence. I mean, if someone clever like Stuart McLean liked my art enough to buy it, it MUST be good! At that time, it really helped to reassure me.
(YES I KNOW my therapist would have a lot to say about seeking validation from others.....get off my back ;-)
I went on to put his name on my CV as a badge of honour.
I feel truly blessed for the confidence boost I got that cold wet weekend over a decade ago, from a CBC legend! He never knew how much it helped!
Normally I'm not one to post about celebrity deaths, but this time I needed to. Yesterday Mr Stuart McLean passed on. It is sad for his family, and also sad for all Canadians....period. We lost a great storyteller!
If you don't know anything about him...(SHAME ON YOU...you should look up his many albums and CBC podcasts on iTunes.....you will not regret it!
He will be missed!
Well, it's submission season. YOU KNOW how I love it.
Recently I got a rejection letter for a project that was VERY important to me. It was a concept that I was THRILLED with, that I think was PERFECT for the event that rejected me. What makes it worse is that it was for a project that is very close to my heart, so it has cut a little deeper than most of my jury rejections.
About a year ago I wrote a blog post about the feelings I have when rejected to art shows or juried proposals.
It was very honest, very hopeful....and kinda funny too:
GO AHEAD - READ IT....just don't tell me if thought it was NOT funny!!
ANYWAYS.....I just re-read it, in hopes that it would help me sort through my feelings....which is when I realized that rejection from shows is the great illustration of the 'cycle of acceptance'....and I wanted to share this with you all......
Okay, for illustration purposes (and so I don't bad mouth an organization that I think is actually really SPECTACULAR) let me set up a fake rejection scenario...
I applied to the Smarty Pants Academy Art Show for Clever and Talented Artists. This year's theme was "Bowties and how to Wear Them"! SADLY, I just received my NO THANK YOU from S.P.A.A.S.
(For the sake of this post let's pronounce that SPAAZ -- you know.....like rhyming with 'HAS'!)
At first, I am SHOCKED!!!
I cannot believe that I didn't get into this show. I mean, how could there be a MORE suitable candidate? Is there a bigger SPAAZ than me??? I AM TRUELY SPAAZ MATERIAL!!!!! My concept was great, and I have been doing this for ages.......AAAAND I have more bowties than almost anyone I know! They must not have looked carefully enough at my application! Could it just be an oversight??
STAGE 2 (ANGER): You know what?? That's not fair! I work hard. I had a good idea.....I am mad! I deserve better! I AM A GOOD ARTIST!!!!!
(cut to an hour later.....)
STAGE 2.5 (AGGRESSION): FUCK THEM! Ya....I said it. They are stupid! I hope every artist they DID pick gets chlamydia! No.....I hope the whole academy is swallowed up by the earth.....in a fiery blaze......etc.....
UGH....and now the barista SPELLED MY NAME WRONG??? STUPID IDIOT!!! HOW DARE YOU??? DO I NOT WARRANT EVEN THAT MUCH?? JSUT CORRECT NAME SPELLING??? IT IS NOT BOB!!!!!!!!! I SHOULD THROW THIS SCALDING HOT COFFEE IN YOUR FACE.....YOU HORRIBLE HUMAN!!!!!
(You know....like normal...not murder-y.....NORMAL ANGER...kind thoughts....not overblown....not irrational....just normal! :)
Then.....a little later.....
Stage 5(DEPRESSION): This is a great one....it starts with the feeling that you should stay in bed....not shave.....throw out all your bowties....giev up art...join a convent......you know....as you do...
Then turns to something like this:
Yup.....the full Tammy Faye......and it lasts a while. It's hopeless after all! NO ONE CAN HELP! I should just give up....and then there is this.....
...where I try to eat myself into contentment.......thankfully I don't normally have a full box of mini chocolate bars around the house.......or it might become this:
......nothing like liquor to solve the problem, to fill the hole that anger has left.......lots and lots of booze to dull your feelings....
The Depression stage usually is the most unpleasant....and the most detrimental to actual work production......and to relationships too!! (SORRY EVERYONE!!!!) :-)
I find that this stage lasts longer than the next...
STAGE 6 (BARGAINING): in this one, I just start thinking...geez....maybe a miracle is not gonna happen?? Maybe if I can get out of the misery-guts phase, and perhaps take a shower, I can be more effective to find more solutions....YES...I CAN JUST NEGOTIATE AWAY THE PAIN!!!!! EASY!!!!
Well.....at this point I have exhausted all my feelings, I have tried rewriting my proposal - and rethinking it and re-planning it - and then letting my rejection shame me everyday! Then I try crafting my bowties (and some hot glue) into a wreath - a wreath of happiness.....but really....it doesn't do much.
Truthfully, THIS is when the good stuff happens.
I take down the proposal that I have stapled to the wall with a sign that says "You're a failure, AGAIN, Rob!" and I put it away.
You know, maybe I will circle back sometime....
THAT....is the last stage....Stage 7 is ACCEPTANCE!!!!
I mean, it could have been worse. I think I can use this experience at some other time....I can perhaps re-use the concept? But if I don't .....I don't!
I am gonna be okay! GOSH DARN IT!
...and that is how the stages of acceptance work - they work in your life too!
SO....what's my point with this long and selfie-heavy blog post????
The point is, to share, to let you know that when you feel sad or mad or depressed....you are not alone. I think I hit the nail on the head with my other post....
(SURE YOU READ IT?? I PUT A LINK ABOVE.....BUT HERE IT IS AGAIN!)
...even if I am MAD right now....it will pass....as will that ENTIRE quart of candy cane and chocolate ice cream that I just ate!!!
Here is what I said last year.....
"...here's the thing. I would rather be passionate about my art and feel the pain of rejection, than be too jaded - to feel hurt! AND I would rather feel hurt than be completely uninvested in ANY outcome!
.....Hurt leads to healing! It makes you stronger and smarter and more well rounded.
....BLAH BLAH BLAH.....
.......(something great) could be just around the next corner! Or better yet - YOUR BEST SELF could be the reward!
So to my fellow rejects, I embrace you.
To those who recently got an acceptance letter, I toast you!
To those who rejected me, screw you.....I MEAN....thank you for the opportunity, and I hope to be reconsidered next year.
.....so brace yourself for whatever comes NEXT....Todays rejection could be tomorrows acceptance - and vice-versa! 😜
Onward and upward brave artists everywhere!"
There you have it. Straight from brave last-year-Rob.
He seems smart! Let's listen to him!!!!!
ONWARD and UPWARD!!!
Hey you guys!!
So, this is a painting I did in 2015.
I was happy with it.
Well.....that is to say, I was mostly happy with it. Often times, I run my ideas past my closest friends and advisors - just to make sure that it is something THEY would want. For the most part it helps keep my work with a succinct theme and flava. (YES! I JUST USED THE WORD FLAVA!!! ;-)
Here is a post I did on my old blog about this particular painting...
CHECK IT OUT...
But this painting is NOT what I wanted it to be about.
I wanted it to be about appreciating Kensington Market, and celebrating it's reputation! I also wanted it to be kinda funny.
It is not.
So....this week I one back to the drawing board on this guy....and came up with this......
I LOVE it. I think it is funny. I think it tells the story that I want to tell the FIRST time i painted it. Kensington Market: it is extraordinary STILL.....and there is so much to see/do/buy there!
(Including fruit and weed!)
The lesson here is, that maybe you should always go with your gut.
OR maybe the lesson here is, it is never too late to change???
OR maybe it is just okay to say that NOTHING is carved in stone FOREVER!(or in this case painted in acrylic) So be open to the possibilities!
I dunno....maybe it's ALL THOSE THINGS?
What say you???
Have a great week y'all!!!!
Crazy world, huh? I feel like I need to make a few statements....which is unlike me - as I like to keep things bright and breezy! BUT it is increasingly hard to be blind to the hate filled cloud of despair that is hanging above us all!
Truthfully, as a person of GREAT privilege, I really feel stupid talking about how scary the world has gotten lately.
I am a man, I am white, and I grew up in a middle class Canadian suburb. That is the very definition of privilege.
I am both truly grateful and ashamed of it.
I cannot fully understand what the world is like for a person of colour. I cannot fully understand what it is like to be a woman in a man's world. I cannot fully understand what it is like to be poor and disenfranchised. I CAN try to have empathy, I can try to be accountable in my every day dealings with people, I can strive to help in any way I can.
Granted, as a gay guy, I am more attuned to being the recipient of hate. I do understand being afraid for my safety because I am different. I have always felt the effects that come from being hated or feared because of something I cannot change. So maybe that is why I feel so affected by the horrible state of the world.
Or maybe it is just because I am a person. A person who lives in the world.....and hopes for better. Better from myself, better from my friends, better from those who CHOOSE to think less openly, and better from legislators and the people in power.
Let's just be better than this.
Let's love more.
Let's stand up to the bullies and hate mongers and all the jack-wads that say ignorant things because they are small minded.
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!