Whenever I visit my hometown, my first stop after the airport is either Coney Island, McKellar’s Confectionery or the aptly named Thunder Bay Restaurant. You see, there’s this thing Thunder Bay has about coney sauce. Anything you order can be served with a huge helping of gravy, and yes, they pour it all over the burger too, in fact, over everything on your plate. And the burgers and hotdogs always have the most delicious coney sauce, ever! Locals love to debate which place has the best. You can even buy it in jars at the local farmers markets.
There’s nothing like it anywhere. Some of the confectioneries drawn on the map still have lunch counters and serve french fries in paper bags! The best!
Here’s a close-up of the part of town I lived in:
I’ve only included places that are still in business. The places I frequented as a kid are long gone
Inside the McKellar Conf. Note the portrait of Gus Kelos on the wall, by Thunder Bay artist Ray Swaluk. Gus would balance dogs on his arm as he readied them for customers. Legendary!
Westfort essentials: Coney Island and The Salsbury Grill. What I remember most about Coney Island is their phone number – it was almost the same as my parents. We frequently received calls!
Merla Mae is another favourite!
Thunder Bay’s cuisine is not limited to this coney stuff, either. I’ve done a lot of work based on the other local delicacy, the persian:
I have many more projects about my home town in the works!
At the beginning of 2014 I set a goal to revamp my entire portfolio. It was a very busy 12 months of drawing new food, patterns, typefaces… Excited to start sharing some of what I’ve been doing!
What I am most excited about is that I have returned to portrait work. It’s continuing to evolve and influence the rest of my work.
Playing around with colourful line work in this portrait of Gore Vidal
And here’s something new that came out of all the doodling I did in my notebook when I was traveling around the UK and Denmark last May:
I follow (and sometimes break) a few rules for this new look
I’ve also updated some of my older work and have a number of revamped maps (I love drawing maps):
I love drawing maps and buildings too!
I’ll be updating my portfolio throughout the year. For more frequent updates and a look at my processes, follow me on Instagram!
Xtra! magazine released it’s final print edition. The art director asked the publication’s favourite illustrators to be part of the special final print edition and the image above is my contribution.
My concept: Pink Triangle Press has taken on many roles with Xtra! — patron of the arts, educator, entertainer, community leader, political activist… the list goes on. Most of all it has provided a voice to a community and inspired courage and commitment that has resulted in many positive changes to the lives of GLBTQ people right across Canada, and beyond.
Xtra! will continue publishing a daily online edition.
I grew up in a place called Green Acres. When I was really small I would go to Phil’s Shoe Box at Green Acres Plaza for new shoes. I’ve named my series of shoe-themed prints after that place.
Shiny gold foil shoe horn print, Empire Shoes!
Got a whole little shoe shop happening in my Etsy Shop!
There are a lot of extra steps when using gold foil. Black ink is applied last, and prints are set to dry
I printed the shoe horn as a companion piece to the shiny silver Brannock Device I printed last year:
My drawing of the classic Brannock Device. Silk screened in black ink and silver foil!
Later on, I found myself walking down Yonge Street, and I spotted these abandoned shoes:
Y is for Yonge Street, the longest street in the world
They gave me the inspiration to go home and draw a bunch of odd shoes for another print:
This antique frame I found at a local thrift shop suits this vintage-style print pretty nicely!
One final mini-print, which I just finished yesterday:
Who doesn’t love a shoe sale?
A group show I am making something for. Handmade 3D objects by illustrators.
867 Dundas Street West
If VV Boutique can stock holiday stuff this early, so can I!
I’ve always like Xmas cactus, and my favourite thing about the holiday season is all the tinsel! This must be the shiniest silver Xmas-tree-shaped cactus ever! Covered with prickly pears in all different colors, it looks just like a decorated tinsel Xmas tree!
Photographing reflective silver foil is difficult. Best to show with different angles of light.
Getting the silver foil printed was a bit of a job – something I learned in school is that one should never assume your printer understands your instructions, even when you correspond specifically about special finishings. The first batch came back from the print shop sans silver foil! They gracefully accepted responsibility and re-printed them without delay.
On the inside I took the opportunity to add a little twist to one of the most traditional holiday greetings: A Very Merry Cactus and a Prickly New Pear!
Perfect to mail out to your cactus loving friends this coming holiday season!
Order early, limited supply! Available in packs of five, in my Etsy Shop.