the economy, as seen by marc johns

Whimsical and surreal Canadian artist Marc Johns has his finger on the pulse of the world, in my humble opinion. Here is his take on the state of the economy (which, unfortunately, doesn’t necessarily apply to just one country right at this moment).

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See more at Marc’s Flickr stream, website and blog.


sérigraphie cinqunquatre screenprint art

I need to show you one more peek of what I saw at the Renegade show last month, and then I’ll stop for a while. I love LOVE all the inventive, urbane silkscreen work that the French Canadian team of Alice Jarry and Jason Cantoro do for their design and printmaking company, Sérigraphie Cinqunquatre. The motifs of Alice and Jason are a bit different but their bold styles, high levels of technical skill and unconventional points of view converge seamlessly into quite the formidable collection. The edgy, heavily textured pieces are rough, multilayered and extremely handmade, and their unique style translates directly into unusual print sizes too: from the odd 8″ x 22 1/2″ all the way up to a grand 4′ x 4′ (mounted on wood).

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Did I mention that I love this collection? I’ve got 2 pieces right now and look forward to having a few more adorn my walls…

See all of Alice and Jason’s truly wonderful work at their website, where I am really enjoying practicing my reading in French (there is an English version too). If you are lucky enough to be in New York or Chicago, you can view select works in person at the Glowlab and AllRise galleries, respectively.


jesh de rox photography

I know some of us think wedding photography can be so cheesy, but have you seen these wondrous images from contemporary Canadian artist Jesh de Rox? They are simply extraordinary, with an elegant, vintage timeless feeling achieved using modern techniques. His intimate and textural style feels like it comes much more from an whole, artistic point of view than the old methodology. And the breathtaking results transcend the traditional ideas of wedding photography and what we thought were its subsequent limitations. These are thoughtful portraits that can so easily be diplayed everyday in your home instead of in a dusty old album.

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The loosely styled, posed-but-not-stiff looking images capturing the beautiful nuances of a moment in time were exactly the kind I had wanted for my own wedding so many years ago (15 years to be exact!). We did our best to articulate it to the person we had hired to shoot the wedding, but it really did not work out the way we pictured it in our minds. We can always hope for something exciting if we do a 20th vow renewal though…

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For those of you lucky enough to be living in Western Canada, Jesh takes on a few commissions per year, so you might be able to ensure that the dreamiest, happiest day of your life will be recorded in the most special way. If not, you can always enjoy more of Jesh’s stunning portfolio on his website, and follow along with him on his life’s journey on his blog.


sixth and elm wood accessories: miniview

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we are circling back to some lovely burned wood boxes and frames i featured back in march for today’s miniview, since i loved them so and i think you all did too! these tactile pieces are made by toronto artist tellie finley. i think her collection is so pretty, collectible and timeless, and was curious to know more, so i asked three quick ones…

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q: how did you get into this type of craftwork?
a: i got into woodburning as a child with a cheap kid’s woodburning kit and i was horrible at it. almost anything i am good at it seems that i have to fail at the first time, and it isn’t until i pick it up again that it starts to feel right. in a fit of boredom one cold winter i thought longingly of the cheap woodburning pen that used to burn my fingers after a while and, seeking some warmth since my husband refused to turn up the heat, i dug it out and started to burn a design on some scrap wood. then i burned on a blank wood picture frame. then our spice rack. soon my husband was hiding all our wooden items, sure that i was going to brand every piece of wood we own.

although i have graduated from the child’s wood burning pen, this was a recent upgrade and many of my original designs were done with nothing more than that children’s woodburning kit from 1989.

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q: what inspires you to create these pieces?
a: i am inspired by anything lasting, timeless. the first (and most popular) piece i created was the french script box, which uses the text from love letters that are almost 900 years old. i love the lasting impression the written word can have and i try to create pieces that compliment the age of such.

nature is another thing that inspires me with it’s permanence. to look at an ancient redwood tree and try to imagine how many lifetimes of men it has stood sentinel is quite an experience. i think that is why i am drawn to wood as a medium, and woodburning as an art. i try to use wood from earth-friendly sources and i feel that i am giving wood a way to live on as art after it’s life as a tree is over. and i can’t deny that i love having my house smell like a permanent campfire.

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q: do you have an arts background?
a: i did go to arts school, but it was for performing arts. i learned vocal, violin and drama for nine years, but i still think it was relevent as it meant i was surrounded by creativity. i don’t think being classically trained in a particular art is a requisite for being an artist, however.

every artistic technique i have ever learned was from the internet. a lot of great advice and some really bad advice all cobbled together to form the core of my “formal” training. a little success and a lot of failure has sufficed for my apprenticeship. time, more than formal instruction, made me the artist i am today. my official advice to beginners is simple: just keep doing it until you don’t suck at it anymore.

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you can find tellie’s beautiful creations at her etsy shop, and see what else she is up to on her blog.

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thank you tellie!


jennifer squires photography: let’s chat!

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i am always drawn to beautiful still life photography. one good photo can expand my mind to think that maybe out here in the (sometimes) cold cruel world there are beautiful and joyous things we pass in the everyday. this brings openness and clarity and calm, and it also leads me to stare and stare at canadian artist jennifer squires’ gorgeous collection of images. soft and consistently pleasing, none of her pieces are hard on the eyes, which compels me to keep looking with confidence. let’s have a chat with jennifer and find out more!

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q: where do you live, and where do you create your artwork?
a: i currently live and work in london, ontario. i work primarily on location so i create my photographs anyplace that inspires me.

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q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have been photographing professionally since 1996, but i’ve been taking pictures my whole life. i hold a diploma in photography, and a diploma in advanced photography from fanshawe college (where i was later asked back to teach in the advanced photography program), here in london, ontario. after college i began work as a producer and first assistant at a corporate and advertising studio in toronto, ontario. in 2005 i moved back to london to pursue freelance work, and i opened my online shop in february 2008.

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q: what conditions do you think must be present in order to create an outstanding image?
a: i don’t think there are specifically any physical conditions that need to present to create an outstanding image, that is, with the exception of some sort of light. it’s more that i have to arrive at certain points internally; first i need to connect with my subject (be it a person, place, or thing), then i need to observe my subject and find the hidden beauty, next i consider design aspects – what to include, what to exclude, composition, etc, and lastly i need to address all technical elements. then all that’s left is to have fun!

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q: which do you prefer more and why: shooting people or shooting objects?
a: honestly, there was a time when i preferred to photograph people. then there was another time when i preferred to photograph places and objects. i think now i’ve found a great balance between the two, when i need a break from one i can go to the other. it’s a beautiful thing!

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q: what is the price range of your collection?
a: my art collection ranges from $10-$225, depending on print size which can be as large as 24×30 or as small as 4×6. typically an 8×10 is $45.

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q: what is your inspiration for your photo collection?
a: i am constantly inspired by the world around me and i use photography to search for simplicity and meaning in the beauty of the everyday.

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q: can we go anyplace to see your work in person? are you currently exhibiting in any shows or is there anything else meaningful you would like to include here?
a: at the present time my work is not being exhibited in any shows but it can be seen online at my website and etsy shop.

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thank you jennifer!


cedar stump side table

ooh i love these versatile holeystump stools from canada’s thout. these substantial pieces are made from white cedar, which apparently is a weed tree up there. i can think of at least four different places i could use these, whether as side tables or for extra seating.

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delightfully rustic!

find them in four colors and three different sizes at design public.

via more ways to waste time (leah has great taste — go over there if you can!)


fun zodiac art by the primped paperie

i like the stylings of these whimsical zodiac prints from calgary’s amanda spicer that she makes for her primped paperie. and not just because my birthday is in less than a week either. amanda has thoughtfully portrayed each of these astrological signs just perfectly.

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if these aren’t a terrific gift for a girlfriend, i don’t know what is!

see more cuteness at the amanda’s etsy shop, mintd shop and blog.


acme animal fun metal art

i think these funny tabletop sculptures and clocks from the canadian team of don gidley and sue parke are so much fun! i love the scratchy texture on all their handmade pieces and all the bright colors they use. you can really tell they enjoy making their delightfully whimsical collection.

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find a wonderful assortment of don and sue’s work at uncommon goods, the human arts gallery, conversation pieces and maddi’s gallery.


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