A lil’ collaboration

I know this amaaaaaaaaaazing, blows-my-mind artist who works under the name Psychelation (psychelation.com) and he drew a very handsome lion. A very sexy lion, in fact. And it was a commission, and so he was requested to have the lion holding up an all-seeing eye, which he drew of course. But he wasn’t stoked about that part of it, so he made a print of the lion, and I painted a hunk of amethyst in watercolours, and set that into the lion’s hands, covering up the other. I’m honoured to have been able to add something of mine into such an incredible drawing, and hope there will be many more collaborations to come with this flippin’ genius!

lion collaboration

psychelation + mad rabbit

Art that took 10 years to finish: a forest deity.

In 2004 I went for a hike on the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton with a dear friend. We found some deer bones by the railroad tracks and I felt compelled to collect them, wash them, and together with other bits and pieces I had collected on hikes and the like over the years (pockets are for filling, ya know), I forged a creature small in stature but large in spirit: a sort of forest diety representing all the life of the forest, the passage of time, rebirth and renewal. He is made of all organic materials, and notably, his heart is the hard, smooth, dark, shiny seed of some unknown tree that floated right up to me on the surface of the ocean in Costa Rica, some many years earlier. I adored him and respected him, but became greedy in my desire to keep him close. But he does not belong to me, and cannot belong to anyone. After nearly 10 years in storage, I finally took his crumbling body and fresh hemp twine back to the same area of the escarpment with that same dear friend. While Joe was so kind as to document the process, I rebuilt this creature of sticks and bones, selected a subtle place for him at the base of a tree, and adorned him with flowers. I built a medicine wheel around him, gathering stones of appropriate sizes and placing them around him – a large stone in each of the four cardinal directions, and a smaller stone in between each of these. Properly returned to his home, we hiked back, and he remains there to grin in the moonlight, be sniffed by squirrels, have spiders’ webs crocheted into his ribs, be landed on by butterflies, and gradually melt back into the forest.

Photography by Joe Sneep and Candace Bell, 2013. To see the rest of the images, visit the Forest Spirit page on my official website, here.

Rebuilding the Bone Man

forest spirit

mad rabbit apARTment therapy

Right to the point: check out my art in an uber cool Toronto loft here.

The Thinkers in Shelly's loft

So pictured above, hanging out with their new furry orange friend Molly, are three of my peeps with a couple of Kate Domina‘s girls. Remember The Thinkers? Well this is their home, in the chic, funky loft apartment of Shelly and Tim, just featured in Apartment Therapy.

My art, in a very hip apartment, recently featured on Apartment Therapy. 

Having trouble finding images of my work on the A.T. page? Click “open slideshow” under the top image, or any of the images, and click through.

Also nice to see that the creations of mine and Kate’s are still buds – Kate and I did a show together downtown last winter. Her art is pretty sweet – if you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you get to it!

xo

Day One of the TOAE (of three): CHECK.

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Oh boy, did it rain!

But the forecast for tomorrow says no rain. Ergo, you should come to the show.

(Nathan Phillips Square, 10:30am – 7:30pm, booth yellow 15)

So, first of all, I got some blog love right here which was very, very sweet indeed (and from the Gladstone, too! Thanks, Max-the-Gladstone-Guy!). I was selected as one of the Gladstone’s top 4 fav’s of the show (goodnessme!) and if you check it out, you can see me braving the rain with a smile.

And now, a sleepy bedtime thought about today before I pass out (HARD):

So I’ve noticed…

A lot of people make funny faces when they look at my art, and I love that. I think people often make funny faces at art in general, especially when it confuses them or makes them think.

My favourite is when people look at my work and smile. Not just a polite little smile for me; when, regardless of me, they get a happy, goofy grin for the art itself, and sometimes they even laugh. And if I can make people smile and laugh by doing something I love – well. I don’t know that it gets better than tat.

It’s just this tiny moment shared with another, whether they know I see them or not, and that’s what makes doing these shows feel so good.

(That and getting crazy inspired by other super cool artists that I get to meet!)

Another beautiful thing: when a couple people or more come to my booth together, and they smile at the art, then they often they start telling stories.

“You know, when I was a kid, I used to…”

“This makes me think of:

  • this one time when…
  • this guy I know…
  • this book I read…”

I catch the beginning as they walk away, sharing something inspired or remembered by an image I created. Happy heart, right here.

Or, if I’m really lucky, they’ll tell that story to me. I’ve collected them over the years. They can be beautiful, tragic, charming, or wildly funny.

You never know what will comes out of someone’s mouth after being exposed to some product of creativity: something symbolic that they can attach a piece of themselves to, or that will make an association in their mind and pull something out from deep within; something that in someway, for reasons you probably will not know, touches their heart.

We really are just walking collections of stories.

Come to the show tomorrow and add to mine.

 

xo
candace

Colours and Deer and My Life as a Quilt

ImageHowdy there, Earth Wanderers. Thanks for stopping by my lil’ old art page today. As a thank you for visiting, please behold this deer bursting forth from a flurry of colour and shape. I painted this in honour of playfulness, in honour of mystery, in honour of being okay with not always knowing things.

A good while back I drew an image for a friend’s band, to be printed on t-shirts when they sold out of the ones they had currently printed. I haven’t shown it anywhere online because I felt it was the band’s exciting news – to announce new t-shirts or some such thing – and I didn’t want to steal their thunder. But as it happened, the band broke up and the shirts weren’t printed, and that’s too bad because the music was beautiful, but it’s okay because life is better to be unpredictable than predictable; it’s good at keeping us on our toes like that. And it’s also okay because I got this cool image out of it. So below is the drawing done for the band, and above is how I played with the idea of the image afterwards, just for myself.

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And that is my story for today.

Life is such a fun collection of stories. Not every individual story is fun, but looking at the collection, it sure it a colourful, wacky, and usually hilarious assortment. Up close, sometimes it can be depressing, but scale back to the big picture, and sometimes it comforting to know that the experience just added a different hue to a most colourful quilt. Our lives are crazy patchworks. I’m going to let mine blaze like a worn and tattered banner of weirdness and beauty. Regret nothing and fly it high.

Be gentle with yourself.

Be excellent to each other.

Party on.

 

xo.

 

 

Happy Belated Zombies!

It was my brother’s birthday recently, and I gifted to him a creation a bit different from other paintings of mine. Blue sky, green grass, pretty pink flowers unfolding to greet a sunny day, some white out-buildings with trellises in front and an inviting stone path, to be traversed by… zombies! It’s a post-apocolyptic attack on frumpy old lady style! Happy birthday, bro.

an experiment in simplicity.

I started a piece with a couple of deer, which I intended to paint in, and then didn’t get it finished in time for the show I had wanted to put it in. So for the sake of experimentation, I spent an evening with it and took it in a completely different direction. The background had been painted, but not the figures. I liked how the palette knife-application framed them, and I decided to leave them blank – they looked kind of cool like that. But it still needed something. In the end I added some minimalistic marks in different colours and decided it was done after all – just a very different style. I brought it to the show as an experiment.

Well, it turned out to be one of my most popular pieces. Huh!

I still prefer the more painterly route of rendering the characters over top of the transfers, but this is a fun style to play with on the side too. I think I’ll do some more – some big guys, some smaller ones… Whaddya think?