The Beach’s Studio 888

I wasn’t expecting Studio 888 to be open on Monday, but I walked over just to make sure it was where I thought it was. Aha! The sign points in and, bonus, owner-artist Liz Russ was at the desk.

My interest began with a neighbour’s mention of Liz’s husband, Bill Buxton … a creative phenomenon in his own right. I was disappointed to have missed his Amazing Gadgets Show last April at Studio 888, but Liz said he might do another one in 2018. I’m on the mailing list, now.

At present, Liz has the works of three local artists on display: Sculpture by Rhonda Svarich Kosowan, abstract paintings by Anne-Marie Olczak and photographs by Felicity Somerset. All are producing high calibre, professional work and prices are surprisingly modest, because Studio 888 does not apply commissions.

In a wide-ranging chat, I discovered that Liz Russ and I share a past history as B.C. West Coasters and we both love linocuts. Liz has done many of them and was kind enough to show me the studio countertop workspace where she makes them.

In exchange, I mentioned Stefan Berg’s linos but I forgot to say anything about Sandie Collins, so her link is here for you to find, Liz.

A surprise at Bridgepoint

Sculptor, filmmaker, inventor and naturalist William Lishman is probably better known for guiding migrating birds with his ultralight plane, but he’s also responsible for 20 life size figures I just discovered yesterday, along the west side of a Bridgeport Health terrace.

First, this video introduction.

If you watched the video, you will have seen a couple of the Bridgepoint sculptures, pre-paint. I like them better without the playground colours, but it’s a matter of personal taste.

 Lishman’s is an unconfined imagination. You might enjoy seeing what he’s done with underground architecture.

River resists Craphead

Two hardy canoeists strained against strong winds and currents, towing a full-size replica of King Edward VII’s equestrian statue up the Don River today. This was the fourth and final floating event.

Photos I took today

The plan was to tow King Edward up the river as far as the Riverdale Farm and release him there, to drift downstream and away, rejected by the forces of Nature. Begone colonialism!

The Dirty Don agreed with the sentiment so much, it even resisted the upstream journey, as if to say, “I don’t want him here in the first place”.

Artists Life of a Craphead deserve top marks (Yeah, I thought “Craphead” meant King Edward, too, but no). Their art stunt is perfect in so many ways. It reverses the propaganda use of the Queen’s Park statue without damaging the original sculpture. It gives life to current political views, engages the public with a series of weekend events, it is a collaborative effort and uses natural forces as part of the piece.

Let’s not forget the craftsmanship that went into making the replica. It is very well done, made over a styrofoam core, to look very much like the bronze original it represents. The project also relates well to the sculptures-of-the-past thing going on in Don River Valley Park.

Do you have a little snob in you?

Danica and I followed a sandwich board sign to the second floor of 388 Carlaw Avenue on one of our walks a few months back. It led us to Snob Stuff and a pleasant chat with owner Denise Zidel.

For example, Ashanti fertility figures, carved wood, with provenance. 

I popped in again the other day, on my way to coffee with sculptor Gord Smith, who has his headquarters nearby. Wait, there are connections.

Gord sometimes collaborates with Avron Mintz , making sculptures. Avron came to Canada decades ago, from South Africa. Denise Zidel is an expat from South Africa, too, with her own interesting story. They should meet, shouldn’t they?

Here are examples of Avron Mintz work, a sculpture and a digital image. He works with computer art usually, but he is also a member of the Goop of Five.

So, Avron, next time you are visiting Gord on Carlaw, why not use this link to find Snob Stuff. Denise is in Africa this week on a buying trip, but I think she’ll be back in the shop by November 27th.

What does green mean?

Pavement markings have become a complex language. I’m trying to keep my vocabulary up-to-date, but I haven’t been able to discover the meaning of the solid green patches of varying length in our Woodbine bike lanes.

At first, I thought they warned cyclists that this was a bus stop section, because there happens to be a stop here. That theory fell when I saw more green patches without an associated bus stop. So what does the green mean?

I asked 311. So far no answer. The Understanding Bike Lanes flyer doesn’t explain the green, but has good info on the rules of the road. For example, walk your bike across a crosswalk. Riding across invites an $85 fine. I see that one broken all the time.

Dandyhorse Magazine suggests that the green doesn’t have any single, regulatory meaning. It’s just used to heighten awareness that  cyclists have the right-of-way in those stretches.

Anyway, while trying to understand the green paint, I did come across a pavement marking new to me. Bike dots tell cyclists where to position their bikes to trigger embedded sensor loops under the pavement. Semi-actuated traffic signals may not change  if you wait off the dots.

Good show, good reception turnout

I’d been over to see Elizabeth Forrest’s new work on Wednesday, the first day it was up, because I was looking forward to seeing what she’s been doing since our last conversation. Elizabeth has spent much of her long, international career making prints, often with a strong Japanese influence. Fairly recently, she has been doing more drawing and making sculptural assemblages from her old woodcut boards.

“I wanted to do something freer”, she says. The results speak for themselves. It’s a strong show, largely concerned with circles, concentric ripples and coils. The artist has taken her theme and run with it, producing a works that are very different from one another, but coherent at the same time. Yes, they look freely-made and loose in a pleasantly natural way, but there’s an underlying disciple, intelligence and restraint, too. Beautiful. And the the legacy of those years of printmaking is present, too.

Conversations will be up until December 3rd, Gerrard Art Space, 1475 Gerrard Street East. 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Wednesday to Sunday.



Does PRESTO imply speed … like some kind of instant magic?

Our Toronto Transit Commission knows we are not there yet, so we can continue to use tickets and tokens throughout 2018, but even when PRESTO works as planned, look at these speeds:

Online: Order a card online. Your card will be mailed to you within 7-10 business days.

Top up funds: PRESTO transactions done online may take up to 24 hours to be available for use.

Refunds: Expected processing time is 4-6 weeks upon receipt at the PRESTO office.

So why the haste to make the new south side subway entrance PRESTO only?  

See you when I get my PRESTO card in 2019.