Friday, October 29, 2010

Micheal “eyedea” Larsen

I have a new website!!
Please click this link to find more up to date work!

Thank you!!

Micheal “eyedea” Larsen
Spray Paint Stencil'd on Canvas
24" X 36"

October 2010


[This one-of-a-kind piece is now being offered via an ebay auction in which all the proceeds are going to Kathy, Michael's loving mother, and the Eyedea Memorial Fund]

Since his recent passing, I've read a lot of different articles about Michael Larsen and the majority of them have a very similar speech.

Everyone agrees that Eyedea is a staple in the underground hip hop scene and will never be forgotten for everything he's done.

Everyone agrees that he was wise beyond his years and that his lyricism was deep and developed for someone so young.

Truth be told, I'm a fan of Eyedea, but I'm not a crazy-insane-over-the-top fan of his music. Yes, it's good. Yes, it's deep. But I can't think of any of his songs that would make my 'favorite of all time' list.

That being said, here's a [very] short story of why I've taken it upon myself to make a tribute painting and put it up for auction:

A few years back, I went to an E&A + Blueprint show in Montreal. I was so-so excited because I didn't really know much about either acts except that they were well known and respected in the underground scene. I had given a listen to First Born and E and A and in reality, was more curious about how, if at all, Eyedea was gonna pull off stuff like "One Twenty" and "Now" live. I expected one more rap show where some hype dude fills in the blanks and the end of every other line. Boy. Boy. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.

First, he came out accompanied by Abilities and no one else and started with "One Twenty" and instead of being out of breath and dying, he was actually screaming his face off into the mic with 10 times the energy that the recorded version holds. I won't go through the whole show for obvious reasons but by the end, after seeing him kill himself on stage and flawlessly perform back and forth tricks with DJ Abilities that I had never seen before and will most likely never see again, I was aware that I had just witnessed something very special and I felt privileged. His energy level is something that I feel lucky to have experienced and I can't help but feel a little taken aback when faced with the fact that I/we will never be able to experience it again.

After his set, he came off the stage and leisurely strolled though the crowd to get outside. When he walked past me, I extended my hand and said: "That was impressive." He shook my hand, very briefly looked me in the eye and with a chipped-tooth corner smile he answered: "That was depressing?" Before I could correct him, he was gone.

I know he heard me correctly. I kind of thought he was cocky, but in hindsight, I know he was just being his clever, confident self. He was still "on." From the stories I heard on the Rhymesayers Radio tribute show, I now understand he was never "off." He knew how good he was. He wasn't cocky, he was confident. He was totally aware that his and Abilities' live set was something no one else could do.

"They leave our show thinking what these kids do is unachievable/ and they're right/
You never in your life could do as much as we do with just two tech's and a mic."

- Eyedea [E&A Day]

Long story short [kind of]:

I'm a fan of Eyedea's presence as a performer and as a person. His energy level. The way he approached the stage that is life. He was the living proof that hard work pays off and that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to if you apply yourself. It doesn't matter what people say and think... at all. I wanted to make a painting that displayed his overflowing energy since this is how I will remember him. I can say with confidence [learned from the best] that I have succeeded.

This one of a kind piece is now being offered via an ebay auction in which all the proceeds are going to Kathy, Michael's loving mother, and the memorial fund that's been set up. Since I can't begin to imagine what she's going through as well as Eyedea's immediate family and extended Rhymesayers family, I figure it's the least I could do.

[Disclaimer: Of course, I expect some of you will see this as an exposure opportunity for me... to you, I say, exposure is simply a side-effect of what I think is a good deed but definitely not my main goal in this process. I am absolutely not in the business of capitalizing on other people's loss. I am in the business of capitalizing on opportunities to show love and support when/where it is needed and I feel it is greatly needed here & now. I've tried to remain as selfless as possible in this endeavor.]

In the meantime, I send my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and encourage you all to do the same.

More information about Eyedea can be found by clicking here.

Please feel free to share this with anyone and everyone. It's all benefiting Kathy in the end so please help me help her.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zhang Ziyi

I have a new website!!
Please click this link to find more up to date work!

Thank you!!

Zhang Ziyi
Spray Paint Stencil'd on Skateboard
8.5" X 32"
October 2010

In 2000, 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' [C.T.H.D.] grabbed Chinese cinema and threw it right into the unsuspecting faces of the western world. Those who already knew, thought: "Well it's about time." and those who were previously unaware thought: "Wow! Where the hell have I been all this time."

In a nutshell, I was 20 and completely blown away by this movie for multiple reasons:

1- The cinematography
2- The fight scenes
3- The characters
4- The costume design
5- Zhang Ziyi

Seldom have such beauty, skill [acting & fighting], charisma & screen presence come together so perfectly. I fell in love with Zhang Ziyi. Since then, I've seen most of the movies she's been in but the impact she had on me from the original C.T.H.D. has remained unmatched to this day.

Here's a skateboard I've made of her.

The original photographer is unknown to me so I'm not able to credit him/her for the image.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Open Call II

Open Call [Part Deux]

Hey again all you awesome folks out there!

This is an open call to everyone and anyone who can take and/or has taken pictures... whether professional or amateur... super high quality or ghetto fabulous point-and-click...

As you can see from the pictures on my blog, I'm a visual artist who's process begins with a photograph every time. I've been keeping busy with my own pictures recently and also making custom orders, but in the spirit of mixing it up and keeping things interesting I figured:

"What better time than now to get people involved and share the creative vibe?"

That being said, I am officially inviting you amazing people, whoever you are out there in internet land, to email me some pictures you'd like to see turned into custom stencil paintings.

In the world of up-and-coming artists, the key to survival and exposure is mutual promotion so in that spirit, of course, anyone who's photo would eventually be used will get full credit for the original picture [and a link to your website if you have one].

I need to make sure everyone understands that not all pictures work for this kind of work so don't take it personal if your photo doesn't get used. BUT, I encourage you to send them all anyway since in the past, I've used: professional pix, ghetto scanned pix, blurry shots, partial pix, etc. it's hit and miss with what works and inspires me... it can be anything!

[Don't get me wrong... the better quality resolution of the picture the better... I mean, if you have a shot in 300 DPI, please try to send it as such rather than make it smaller for emailing purposes...]

You reserve the creative rights to your photograph and it won't be published in this blog unless you've agreed to it. The painting will be for sale at large once it's done [the point isn't to make a painting with your picture and sell it to you, but if you're interested in the finished product for sure a finder's-fee type discount will be very feasible].

For images larger than 10MB, I suggest a free service called - it's very easy and very convenient.

So on that note... Please send your photohraphs [in .jpg and/or .pdf format] to:

I look forward to seeing what I get!

[And a special shout out goes to my dog Umaa and cat Ignatio (feat. thumbs)... they get a little bored when I'm not painting...]

Peace [...]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Parc & Van Horne

Parc & Van Horne
Acrylics & Spray Paint Stencil'd on Canvas
24" X 36"
October 2010

Once in a while I step outside to clear my head. I always bring my camera just in case I spot something interesting [e.g. trees, trash cans, Lady Gaga, etc.]. I never really look for anything in particular and usually end up dumping 57 pictures of rocks and bicycles. But once in a while there's a randomly taking picture that will scream "stencil me" and so I must oblige.

[Disclaimer: I feel it important to remind everyone that I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be a skilled photographer and that "good picture" doesn't always equal "good stencil".]

This picture was taken in February 2009 back when I still lived on the Plateau by Mile End [how's that for hipster hood name dropping?]. I've wanted to make a painting with it for the longest time and have the multiple photoshop sessions to prove it but somehow I've given up every time due to the intricacy of the buildings, cars and snowy corner so I've put it aside 10-15 times or so.

1.75 years later...

A different approach:

Instead of going with crazy multi-layering, I finally decided to make a pot of coffee, throw some paint around, stencil one layer on top and put this picture behind me. This took somewhere between 10-12 hours of very careful cutting over 3 days but in the end, I'm super happy with the result since I didn't have any concrete expectations.

I feel much better now that I've been able to get this picture out of my "dump" folder and into my "finished projects" folder and mostly that I got to throw paint around in the process [...]

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Woody Allen

I have a new website!!
Please click this link to find more up to date work!

Thank you!!

Woody Allen
30" X 15"
Spray Paint Stencil'd on Canvas
September 2010
Custom Commission Piece - SOLD

A work colleague and friend of mine asked me to make him a custom painting for his new place. Of course I said yes.

He told me he would be interested in a portrait of Woody Allen with a vibe similar to the portrait of Johnny Cash I made last year.


I immediately got on board because I feel Woody is a great idea for a portrait. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't think to paint him before! His face has a unique quirky sadness and despite his controversial lifestyle, he remains one of the most creative minds of his generation.

I hope all you Woody Allen fans out there enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed making it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


12" X 24"
Spray Paint Stencil'd on Wood
October 2010
To be auctioned off benefiting United Way

Why are the most powerful smiles are on the faces of those who have the most reasons to frown?

My employer has made a corporate decision to support exclusively United Way.
Skeptics will say that this is one big tax write-off and blah blah blah but honestly, when it comes down to it, I don't personally care about alternate fiscal motivations as long as the people who need the support end up getting it.
That's the only thing that matters.

That being said, I've been asked if I would care to donate a painting to help raise funds benefiting United Way during this year's corporate fund raising effort.


I've painted one of my dear friends Pierli and a child he met while he was in Kenya a few years ago. When it comes to smiles & hearts, Pierli is a force to be reckoned with so this choice wasn't hard to make. I'm blessed to be surrounded by amazing people in my day-to-day life and he is only one of them.

I can't wait to see how this piece does in the auction. I hope with all my heart it goes for a large amount but in the end, even if it goes for just a few dollars I will be happy because it will have allowed me to do my part and help those truly deserving.

I haven't been briefed on the details of the auction in terms of WHERE, WHEN, HOW. For the moment, only the WHY is known and that's enough for me.

As soon as I know more about this I will be sharing it with all of you so that you can participate [if willing & if possible].

For now, I leave you with a quote from the song "Smile" by K'Naan.

[Smile] When you're struggling
[Smile] When you're in jail
[Smile] When you're dead broke
[Smile] And the rent's due
[Smile] You ain't got friends now
[Smile] And no one knows you
Never let 'em see you down, Smile while you're bleedin'