Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WW152: PIXIE HILL STUDIO, WAFFLE 'ZA and TIES TIES TIES!

Welcome again to Wonderful Wednesday!!!!
Here are the 5 things that I LOVE this week…….enjoy….

1.) Um….brilliance comes in many many packages. For me…..one of the most important tools of out time is….the waffle maker. Yes. You know I am right! I have posted A LOT of recipes that involve this VITAL kitchen device. THIS is another great idea……TOTALLY gonna do this one…..
WAFFLE PIZZA!!!!!
OH
MAH
GAWD!!!!!!!!




2.) I love me some 'Sherlock'! I really  really do……want proof? Read this. Or this. Now…..this artist may be a slightly bigger fan than I am…….just check this out. Fellow Canadian creator Nichola "Knickertwist" Battilana. You must go and check out her website - Pixie Hill Studio! Not only is she a big Sherlock fan, she is also pretty clever! This is an altoid tin converted into the set from 221B Baker St. I really LOVE this!




I want to share WHY she created this. She is really funny in her explanation"

"I've gone a little bit mental over Sherlock ever since watching the entire series while in my sick bed. Benedict Cumberbatch is now my newest imaginary boyfriend and I am smitten with all things Sherlockian. Since dear old Sherly (that's what I call him... we're besties) pulled me through my life threatening illness (not really but let's go with it) I thought I should commemorate and celebrate our relationship in some way. A keepsake just for me. And so, here is my altered Altoid tin of 221B Baker Street."





You can also check her out on ETSY!

3.) Dear Jennifer Nettles. I have a HUGE secret crush on you. Even without the rest of Sugarland…I still LOVE you. Yes…she is a huge country star…but I just cannot get enough of her voice!!!! AND I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE!!!!! ;-)


On her solo album 'That Girl' she still has A GREAT BIG VOICE…..oh man. 


You can check her solo album HERE!

4.) I just came across some more ties that I think are pretty good. Thank "Perpetual Kid" for these:
A STICK ON BOW TIE!!!!

Excuse the hipster here……but LOVE the "stick on" bow tie!!

Cat people…..this one is for you!!!
You best friend will be all ready for the Oscars in this!!!!!!

Funny for a doctor friend of yours!!!

5.) THIS IS GENIUS! YOU MUST WATCH ALL OF THESE CLIPS! If you are an elderly person (LIKE I AM) you will kick yourself for missing these clips from Adam Scott and Paul Rudd.
THEY ARE A MUST MUST MUST!!!!!!!!!
It is so great. "The greatest Event in Television History" all the clips recreate old tv themes. SO FREAKING GOOD!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

COMPARING IS DESPAIRING: A cautionary tale.

HAPPY MONDAY!!!!
Wow…..that is an oxymoron…..am I right?
And speaking of morons…….(seamless segue Rob!!)…….
I wanted to talk to you about insecurity!
Normally - I keep this blog upbeat, but stay with me for the 'happy ending' on this….
It is not a secret that last year was kind of a career low for me.

Not in the number of shows - or the amount of press - or even in the production of the work….
I am talking just about the actual dollars and cents.
I know, you are thinking…
"Rob….you are lucky to do what you LOVE everyday.....you can't expect it to be easy/lucrative!"
While I am grateful for being aware of my passion - and having the inherent craziness to do it full time…….let's be clear….it is a job!
It's not so much luck….as it is work. HARD work.
I am my accountant, my web-builder, my marketing manager, my salesperson, my administrative assistant…and I am the talent at Rob Croxford Artistic Endeavours Inc.
(and my boss can be a real B*ITCH)
Now…having said all of that, I would love to say that LUCK has nothing to do with it.
Unfortunately there is an element of 'right-time - right-place' to the art world!
Last year, the stars did not align for me in sales. Which is kinda important when you are a
FULL TIME ARTIST.
Without income, my children cannot eat……(and by children, I mean ME!)
Yes, I am fortunate that I have a VERY kind husband that believes blindly in me…but still…it really made me feel sad, and horribly insecure about my work…….
In addition to losing my confidence, I lost my studio space, and a bunch of gallery representation.
IT WAS NOT GREAT….and the result was an overwhelming feeling of FAILURE.
Truthfully - I have NEVER been insecure about my paintings.
NEVER.
But having limited success made me feel like people did not like my artwork!!
Artists are NOTORIOUS for feeling insecure about our art - and then comparing our success to our peers! The "why not me" complex is EASY to get!!!
It made me question how to go forward making art…..which is a bit debilitating to the creative process.
I thought the time had come…..that I should finally take the advice of all the galleries that told me that I needed to just paint landscapes, and cut out the wording and the politics. Essentially cutting the 'me' out of my work. The idea was that if I completely 'dumbed down' the work, that I could start selling again.

When I realized that I cared more about other people's opinions, I realized that I needed to step back and take stock of things!!!
I am now realizing with the help of my team of professional care-givers and electro-shock therapist, that insecurity is not productive…in fact it is COMPLETELY self-defeating!
And I think I have realized, that what makes my work 'good' is the fact that it is cheeky, and playful and as such I NEED to stay the course! I will try some new things - in art and business…..
But Willy Shakespeare said it best…….
"To thine own self be true, yo!"
Now let's fast forward to the good news…….this week one of the galleries that I thought had "dumped me" sold 2 MAJOR pieces! And I have sold a bunch of prints from my show at the JCC!
For the first time in a YEAR I feel like I am gaining a little momentum again!!
I am THRILLED that these older - but FANTASTIC pieces just sold…..



YAY ME!
Ok…so what am I sharing so MUCH today?
Not to brag. NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is what I want you to take away from this:

1) Artists - stay the course. Believe in your passion -- even when the odds are against you! You will be
    tested!!!! Weather the storm and keep moving forward

2) Artists - take stock - be able to look objectively at your work/habits and see what is working/not
    working! - do what you can...so that you can do what you love!
    MAYBE THAT IS GOOD ADVICE FOR EVERYONE!!!??

3) Everyone else -the biggest moral of my tale is that you MUST run your own race
    - do NOT waste your time in comparing. Comparing is despairing!

So there you go!
I hope you can take something away from my story.
The thing is, the ending of my story is still unwritten. Yup….that is SCARY, but I feel excited again about the future! I guess that means my old confidence is returning!
HUZZAH!

Friday, January 24, 2014

NEW YORK - NEW YORK

Happy Friday friends!
Well….I am FINALLY ready to show you one of the new pieces that I am working on for The Artist Project. Don;t know what T.A.P. is? Read THIS post!
For the rest of you…..here it is…..as I painted it……..and then the final…..


Here it is as I am working it up!!! (you betcha - that's my drawing taped to it to guide me!)


It's a big boy!
Yup, 3 foot by 4 foot.
It I was thinking it was an old postcard……..
I tried to paint this a little looser and painterly than my other works!
The final painting (BELOW) has more of an outdoor billboard kinda of look…..but I am REALLY happy about the look.
It was a scary one - as I am not a purple and orange kinda guy! 
Those are just NOT my signature colours…but it was great to try something new!!!!

"Apart of it…", 36" x 48", Acrylic on Canvas
I know what you are thinking……"Hey Rob, are you gonna make some prints of this bad boy??"
The answer? Yes!! 
I haven't decided if I will do them like my other paper prints or even more exclusive canvas giclees??
What do you think????????
I would love your opinion!
Have a  great weekend, y'all!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WW151: WOODEN BOW TIES, CROCK POTTING and GEORGE ON AMAZON (again!)

Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday y'all!
Here we go…..5 things I LOVE this week!

1.) Here you go art lovers…….the top 10 MUST-SEE art shows in Toronto this winter at BlogTO
You'll notice The Artist Project is on there!
No special mention of how FANTASTIC the booths at the END of this show are….especially #830!!
(READ MORE ABOUT ME AT THE TAP ON MONDAY'S BLOG)

2.) Hey Fancy boys……this one is for you…...OH MAH GAWD……I SOOOOOO NEEEEEEEED one of these……a WOODEN bow tie!! Yup! You heard me right wooden bow ties made from recycled furniture!! Thanks to Vinyluse for this collection handmade bow ties!


Crafted in Italy with recycled wooden materials like abandoned floors, disused chairs, and furniture!

 There are 9 nine wearable pieces that are part of the series each take the name of a different renowned artist from history. The ‘dali’, for example, is mustache-shaped in homage to the master’s trademark facial hair, while ‘matisse’s’ geometric voids reference the celebrated frenchman’s cut-out art.
This is my favourite!It's a moustache!! HINT HINT!! ;-)

LOVE IT!!!


3.) Ok food lovers…..I give you this! I did a version of this last night…..but NOW I know what I would do differently……..TRY THIS:

 I love my crock pot…….so read this recipe at www.creative-culinary.com


MMMMMMMMM!!!
Not just for football games…..I assure you it goes great Downtown Abbey!
(Yes..I KNOW I got that wrong!)

4.) Ok nerds…one for you……I was gonna save this for May….but there is so much here to waste your time….TIEFIGHTERS - your one stop for nerdy Star Wars stuff. It is amazing!!!





Thanks to Husband and Warren for this tie waster!

5.)  Yes…..I gave this the #5 position before in August of last year….….but it is worth revisiting…….George Takei is a busy guy……what with all those amazon products to review…..
CHECK HIM OUT HERE! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!


Monday, January 20, 2014

MONDAY MONDAY….BAA DAA BAA DAADAA…..

YEESH! That title REALLY dates me.
Ok….so I have been --and I borrow this expression from those colourful Brits -- up to my tits in tigers!
(must I explain?)
If you are loyal reader, you know that January and February are HIGH PRODUCTION months for me. That is, I produce more art in these 2 months than most other months.
WHY?
Because generally, December is not a big painting month for me…..and so the PANIC sets in….and then I get seem type of flu/plague that lasts 2 weeks - knocking me on my keister…which then makes
me PANIC MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!
So that is where I am at.
I have NOT forsaken you friends and readers!
I wanted to talk about a few housekeeping things, and a few new things….and a few things borrowed and a few blue things……so here we go…...

1.) Remember to check out the last 4 days of "Times and Toys"!!!


A bunch of my "Sign of the Times" paintings, along with a bunch of my "Tin Toy" Series paintings.
Together at last - for the first time!

LAST DAY TO SEE IT IS: Thursday January 23rd, 2014

at the The Miles Nadal JCC (right on the corner of Spadina/Bloor in Toronto) 
** HOURS: Monday - Friday 9am - 9pm; Saturday - Sunday 9am - 7pm

Remember - I WILL NOT be showing these works at my next show……..which brings me to…..

2.) MY NEXT SHOW: The Artist Project, Toronto.

It's (hopefully) all new this year at The Artist Project….a BUNCH of brand spanking new paintings - ever been seen by the naked eye!! As many of you know, I don't put the new wok on my website until AFTER the show opens………but you can see exclusive sneak peaks at my latest works as I finish them - HERE ON THIS BLOG!
Ok….so…..this marks my SEVENTH year doing this indoor exhibition.
It is a great way to spend a day (or night).
Come out and see 200 of the best artists around! I hope you can make it out to this FABULOUS SHOW!

I am located at Booth #830 -- yes….waaaaaay at the back…..unless you START at the back…….
and who wouldn't????

Here's the skinny:

Thursday February 20:  7PM – 11PM Opening Night Party (19+ Event)
Friday February 21:      12PM – 8PM
Saturday February 22:  11AM – 8PM
Sunday February 23:    11AM – 6PM

For discounted tickets…go here….

It is happening again this year at the Better Living Centre
195 Princes’ Boulevard, Exhibition Place
Toronto, ON

3.) New work preview…….if you are not following me on Instagram or Twitter, you have missed the sneak peak on TWO brand new works…….

"Union Station", 24" x 36", Acrylic on Canvas, COMING SOON!!!!!!
I will post the final image from "Union Station" this Friday!
It is FINISHED…...I just need to take the time to photograph it!
I am entering it in the Spacing Transit Poster Contest.

The painting on my easel right now….looks like this:


It is going to be a 'poster' for New York City!!!! And it is shaping up nicely!!!
Ok….that's all I got for today!!!
Thanks for letting me into your day!!
Later Gaters!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WW150: WAFFLES, @MIDNIGHT, THE PEBBLE! OH MY!!!

WOW!
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY OF THESE!
I have a LOT of time on my hands!
Yeesh!
Ok friends……here are the 5 things that I LOVE this week……

1) Ok…..I love brunch….I love grilled cheese…..why not THIS:


 Thanks to DAMN DELICIOUS for this one!!


COME ON!!!!

2) This one is straight from Etsy…..Emily Stoneking sells various knitted dissected animals in a series she calls aKNITomy. CLEVER!!



Her knitted wares include your typical science lab specimens like; a frog, a mouse, and an earthworm, an alien, a bear, a rabbit, a bat, and even a human head. Emily says “I love to explore the places where art and science intersect. I am also interested in using cuddly materials (like cozy knitting) to create objects that many people are usually squeamish about.”
Well done!!!


3) I am A LITTLE behind on this…..but if you get a chance….you should PVR "@ Midnight"…It is a comedy program - is 30 minutes - and ALWAYS makes me laugh!!! Chris Hardwick is the host….and "will lead three celebrity contestants down the ultimate internet wormhole. Culling from the darkest recesses of social media, they will compete to determine who has the funniest take on the day's pop culture."




SO FREAKING FUNNY!!!! Need proof?? How about this #hashtag wars….so funny….so filthy…..
Tune in on Comedy every night at midnight!!!

4) And speaking of geeking out…..I am IN LOVE with my watch from Christmas……THE PEBBLE!!!! It is the most unnecessary gift I have ever gotten…..and yet I LOVE IT SO……What is it???? It is a super device that I NEEEDED!!
Here is the cool part……it is a smartwatch……that sends updates from my phone via bluetooth!
O
M
G
This guy REALLY sums it up for me!!! It is funny!
LOVE IT???
MEEEEEEEE TOOOOOOO!!!!

5) Downtown Abbey is baaaaack!! (yes….I said Down Town!) If you are a fan of DTA like I am……..this will make you laugh….."I guess they will have to get another maid….."
HA HA HA!!!


(thanks Cindy)

Friday, January 10, 2014

ONLY 9 THINGS TO CELEBRATE???

Yes…time again for a little introspection.
Do I have the time for this? NO!!!! I have a BIG SHOW opening in 6 weeks from now. YEOWSA!
But more about The Artist Project in a couple days…...
Until then, let's see what happened for me last year….I know it sound like bragging - but don't think of it like that! Think of it as me 'taking stock' of a kinda BRUTAL year in art!
So…let's get to it……..
What was so great about last year????

1)     I created about 50 new original artworks….a little down from last year! Generally, I was happy
        with my "artistic direction" for the year…..especially considering how much time went to creating
        smaller affordable pieces like these:


       If I added all of these to my list of completed works….I could claim to have created an additional
       33 pieces of art!
       So that would bring my numbers up to over 80!
       THAT SOUNDS MORE IMPRESSIVE!! Ok - let's go with that!!!
       PLUS……I also spent a great deal of time in production with my prints and giclees…...

2)     Not only did I develop a line of 6 heat transfer prints, but I also created a series of TWELVE
        limited edition giclèes! I even developed some bags too!! THAT IS CRAZY!!! The prints have
        been a great success so far, and I continue to produce them - and add to my inventory of
        reproductions! I have 2 sizes available, and am looking forward to adding MORE soon!
        Now…the numbers are harder to count…..but it looks like last year, I was able to move about 100
        reproductions in varying sized last year! Which is really great!!!!

         See my FANTASTIC PRINTS HERE.
         or on my ETSY site!

3)     Now the prints are hard to keep an exact inventory of because I was able to solidify my
        partnership with Spacing Magazine! I LOVE SPACING!!  
        If you don't know them.......READ THIS
       blog post...….and check them out at Spacing Magazine.
   
       Not only do they carry my prints online:

      But they also showcased them at both WOTS and at Christmas in a POP-UP SHOP
   
So weird to see them all together in a line. I LOVE IT!

        I hope 2014 prints more with me and Spacing!!!!!!

4)     Speaking of press…...I was THRILLED with the press from this year!
        ESPECIALLY A GREAT PROFILE IN NEIGHBOURHOOD LIVING FALL 2013!
        Not only was my work on BOTH covers…..

      But Neighbourhood Living included a FOUR PAGE spread all about me and my illustrious art 
      career! It is a really enjoyable article writen by Tracey Coveart. (more of her writing HERE)
      Read the whole story HERE.


       ……now that seems like enough press right?? Well then there was these:
        - Check out this LINK to Torontoism.com (Thanks Richard Silver/Jackie Marchildon)
        -  A fantastic mosaic artist and aspiring writer wrote a GREAT little piece about me! Check out 
            Natalie at www.Fragmentalist.com
       -  mentioned on 3 other blogs last year including the Grid and Blog T.O!!
       -  Peter Glaser's column "Northern Roadsides" explored the history of Ontario Place. Using a 
          photo of my work in The Society for Commercial Architecture. You can check out the SCA 
          on Facebook HERE......or their website at www.sca-roadside.org

 

5.)    I WON AN AWARD!!!!! Finally!!! I mean, all you need to do is work full time for 9 years, 
        and then you are recognized for your talent! ;-) Re-READ this post to remember!
        Or you can re-read about it on the Cabbagetown site...…



6)      I did 108 Blog posts last year!!!! Down a bit…..but certainly respectable!!
          I hope you read ALL of the posts???
         Go back and re-read them all now……then come back to finish this post!
         ;-)

7)      A record amount of rain and number of group shows….this year for all it's faults included a
          record of 12  shows last year!!!!
       -  “Holiday Art Market”, Artscape Barns,
       -  “Canadiana” , Project Gallery, Toronto, ON
       - “Just my Type”, #Hashtag Gallery, Toronto, ON
       - Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Show, Toronto, ON
       - Riverdale Art Walk, Toronto, Ontario
       - Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario
       - “Monsters & Robots”, and “Pony Paddock “ Atomic Toybot, Toronto, ON
       - The Artist Project, Toronto, Ontario
       - The Toronto Home Show
       - The International Home Show
       This does not mention the galleries and retail locations that supported me in a significant way last
       year…special thanks to:
       - MJG Gallery
       - Atomic Toybot
       - Red Church Gallery

8)      ONE solo show of work last year……..

My "Sign of The Times" Series paintings and my "Tin Toy" Series are STILL UP!!!!!

When?      Wednesday December 18th, 2013 - Thursday January 23rd, 2014 
Where?     The Miles Nadal JCC (right on the corner of Spadina/Bloor in Toronto) 
** HOURS: Monday - Friday 9am - 9pm; Saturday - Sunday 9am - 7pm



     

9.)    Thanks to my long suffering  (and greatest fan) husband, I was ONCE AGAIN,  somehow able to
        make a living in the arts!! It was a harsh year, with harsh weather to deal with!
        AGAIN…… I am sooooooo grateful for those who purchased my work this year.
        I am grateful for the Galleries that were able to stick with me this year - especially mark at 
        MJG GALLERY
        who has turned out to be a world class kind of guy!!!
        Finally, thank you loyal readers for checking in with me, I appreciate every one of you.

       Thanks for taking the time!  
       And remember your comments are most welcome here!