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!
There’s a nice double-page spread in the current issue of Yankee Magazine, with this postcard-like map I illustrated. Now, if I only knew how to drive – it’s not really that far from where I live, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to explore this part of the U.S.
For an oddball source of inspiration, I must have watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry half-a-dozen times while I was working on this job! It was filmed in a part of New England that feels very much like the route depicted on this map.
The feature-length article has loads of great photos too!
Many thanks to Lori Pedrick’s wonderful art direction on this.