Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Kid gets a New Home

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The Kid gets a New Home
[or "How I went to breakfast with Buck 65 & his wife, Emily"]

SHORT "facts only" VERSION:

I read on Buck 65's website that he's been super down because his hero, Gary Carter, is very sick.
I emailed him to offer my painting of Gary Carter in an attempt to lift his spirits.
On June 26th, I went to his Jazz Fest show at Club Soda.
The next morning I had breakfast with him and his wife.
She gave me a huge Schwartz's brisket.
I gave them my painting of Gary Carter.
We talked about baseball and other stuff.
Then my bike had a flat tire so I walked home.

LONG "overly dramatic" VERSION:

A few weeks ago, in the beginning of June, I was up late because I couldn't sleep. I grabbed my laptop and sat in the yard catching up on some updates from my favorite websites. In my half sleep I stumbled around the web and eventually navigated onto Buck 65's website, that, these days, seems to be predominantly of a personal blog with bonus info. There was a new post entitled 'Broken Shoulders' and this got my attention right away. "What's wrong with Buck?" I thought.

The post [link] spoke to me in a very personal way since I've been, and continue to be a huge baseball fan. It's a sport filled with little things: Superstition, strategy, secret codes, unwritten rules, smells, sounds, etc. So when Rich writes: "I am so deeply invested in baseball as a fan that when my favorite team or player loses or performs badly, it fills me with an honest-to-goodness despair that sometimes I have a hard time shaking" I understand 100% what he's talking about.

But here's what really got me:

He writes: "My next problem is that I found out last week that my childhood hero, Gary Carter is gravely ill. [...] I really love this man and this news troubles me in a profound way. It’s hard to express what Gary Carter has meant to me in my life. He’s my hero! I met him when I was 12 years old and he was the greatest guy you could imagine."

This got me thinking about my own relationship with baseball, with my own heroes, and how it feels when one of my heroes is facing his own mortality. Then I thought about the painting of Gary Carter that I made in March of 2009. That painting, old as it may be, remains one of my favorite and is probably the one that got me the most attention a few years ago when I was just starting. I have received so many comments about it and it has sparked so many impromptu Expos conversations that I have to believe that it's something special. In some way, I may not be where I am today had I not painted him then.

[Above: Me in March 2009... No idea where this is going to take me in 2011]

Being born in 1979, though, I never had the chance to experience Gary in his prime while he played in Montreal. By the time I was 9 and started to play ball, he was already with the New York Mets. Keeping that in mind, it remains impossible to be blind what he meant , and still means to the city of Montreal. So because I was too young, I never could really consider him a hero, but I do recognize him as a staple in Expos history and that's why, when I wanted to paint a tribute to the team, he's the first guy who came to mind.

Since then, the painting has been sitting in my office with a bunch of others and has been gathering dust for the past little while. So I figured I would seize this opportunity try to give it a new home and do something good at the same time.

In the relationship between fan and artist, it's usually very one-sided [excluding live shows, maybe]. The artist gives all and the fans take all. What I saw here was an opportunity to create a role reversal. Many times in the past, when I've been down in the dumps, I've referred back to Buck 65's vast music catalog in order to find some light get through a rough patch. I thought that if I offered him my painting of his hero, Gary, maybe this could help shine some light for him in his time of need. So I emailed him via his website and crossed my fingers.

A few days went by and I eventually got an answer from a very flattered Rich and, to my great pleasure, he was super excited to get his hands on the painting. In an email, he writes, "I just got your message and saw your painting. I can't believe it. It's so great. And if you want it to be rescued from collecting dust, I'd sure be happy to hang it on my wall [...] I look forward to shaking your hand." I can't really explain how psyched that made me. One of my favorite artists of all time was looking forward to shaking my hand... what? Long story short, we planned to meet at some point around the time he was scheduled to come play Montreal's Jazz Fest in the end of June.

The show was excellent. It's hard to describe but these pictures display pretty much what was going on: A very animated Buck on one side of the stage and a very calm, elegant Marnie on the other. In fact, there were times where it looked like they had some sort of bet where Rich would act silly and try to make her laugh while she sang her parts...

After the show I introduced myself to Emily, Rich's wife. The first thing she said to me is: "That's so cool, our cat's name is Kevin!" Can't say I expected that one. Only after she realized I was "the emailing man who had the Gary Carter painting" did we make arrangements to have breakfast the next day. I didn't have a chance to speak with Rich the night of the show.

So the next morning I biked over to their hotel and waited for them in the lobby. I don't really know what I was expecting when they first appeared from the elevator... but to have Emily open with, "Do you like brisket?" was definitely not a scenario that had crossed my mind. After clarifying for me, at my request, that brisket is a piece of uncut smoked meat, I answered "Yes, of course I like brisket." So she handed me a huge piece of meat from Schwartz's that a guy had given them the previous night. It seems they couldn't keep it with them due to having no portable refrigeration possibilities. Surprised? Confused? Grateful? All of the above and an overall good start...

Se we proceeded to go for breakfast across the street. Now, what do you talk about with someone who you've heard on record for almost 10 years and have of always wanted to talk to? You talk about baseball. You talk about trying to make it in this world as an artist. You talk about cats. You tell stories. You talk. Period. I learned a lot about him and gained perspective about myself as an artist as we discussed re-establishing the parameters of successes and failures over eggs and fruit.

The best moment was when I told him that my girlfriend's mother had rolled Gary Carter's perm back in the early 80's. The man in front of me, who has been responsible for many of my favorite moments ever in music, reduced in age to 12 years old and couldn't say anything but, "No! No! That's incredible!" Jaw dropped and eyes bulging. Good times.

After breakfast, we exchanged a few more pleasantries and each went our separate ways. He was off to film a live performance of "Final Approach" with Quebec's own Marie-Pierre Arthur for a local TV station and I had to go home to finish a graphic design contract. It was upon returning to my bike that I discovered I had a flat tire. That morning, I had had a thought about that before leaving... it went something like this: "Whatever, I'm going to meet Buck 65... I don't need the pump and spare tube I never leave home without... it's going to be fine."

So I walked all the way home...
But I must say, it didn't bother me all that much...


Rich and his wife are truly amazing people because of how simple they are. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to share a meal and to hang out with them, if only for a little while. It's not given to everyone to have a chance to meet one of their favorite artists and for that I am truly grateful. I am even more grateful that Rich happened to be so approachable that not even 2 minutes into talking with him did I forget what he is and what he represents to better discover who he actually is. Not to mention, it's pretty cool that one of my paintings will now hang in his house... and that I've been able to provide him with a one of a kind tribute to his childhood hero.

So I guess the lesson here is to never stop reaching out to people... cause in the end, that's just what they are... people.

Take care friends... The best is yet to come.

P.S.: I'm sorry if this post is a little on the looooooooong side. In order to make it up a little bit... Here's some "making of" shots from 2009...


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Spray Paint Stencil'd on Canvas
24" X 24"
May 2011
[custom order]

This is Zoe.

A colleague from my old work place got in touch with me and asked me to paint her daughter. She sent me a few pictures of her and after a little back and forth to establish the right size as hammer out budget details I was able to put this together for her.

I'm super psyched that she's told me it looks perfect in the spot she had prepared for it in her house. If this gives anyone ideas for gifts and such, of course, feel free to contact me at my regular email address P.Summind@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing about your great project ideas.
Take care and have some fun on hump day!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Mixed Medium on Skateboard
32" X 8"

May 2011


I was sent a few pictures from around the world by my amazing friend Rachel in my last Open Call and I finally got around to using one of them. I've been meaning to for the longest time since she's been one of my very first supporters. The picture I've used was taken while she was living in Montreal a few years ago.

For this piece, I started with a blank deck that was originally stained yellow by the manufacturer. I cut out a shallow groove to create the illusion of a rectangular frame and then sanded the surrounding area down to its original wood grain color. Once this was done I painted inside the frame and stained outside of it. It was my first time ever using wood stain [it's never too late!] and I'm psyched to incorporate it in my work in the future.

I hope you all enjoy it. It's currently hanging at Studio Bizz Iberville at 2488 Mont-Royal East until the end of the month and then it's being shipped out to Rachel who's decided she had to have it as soon as she saw it.

Of course, in the future, or present, if you'd like to send me your pictures you may continue to do so at any time at P.Summind@gmail.com. As usual, there's not guarantee I will use them but I'm always happy to receive random images from people and see what can be done. Thanks in advance for playing along!

On that note, take care of yourselves and loved ones and have yourselves a wonderful week. Don't be shy to share this blog with your friends & leave comments on the posts.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Les Eaux

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Les Eaux
Spray Paint on Re-Used Canvas

20" X 28"
May 2011

There's something about some urban structures that just sticks to your eyeballs and it's hard to understand why that is. For example, sitting in the Mile End hood of Montreal, there's this old, abandoned looking building with a huge water reservoir on it. I wasn't able to find any information about this particular building but I did find dozens and dozens of user uploaded pictures of it which leads me to believe that I'm not the only one who's interested in it. It "looks" abandoned but honestly, whenever I used to walk/jog/bike by there, I always had the impression that there might still be some buzzing in the beehive.

I used to live 2 minutes away from this spot and also used to bring my dog Umaa to a secret dog park right by it on a regular basis [Plateau & Mile End residents know it as the bridge burner spot]. So I, myself, also have an abundance of pictures of this building and had always wanted to paint it properly. And now here we are.

****** BONUS ROUND ******

Once again, without further ado, here's the abridged version of the "making of" for those cats out there who dig the process!

Re-use of an old Obama painting I had made in November 2008 [My friend's 1 of 2 copy of this piece has now become 1 of 1!]:

He's a tough guy... just won't go away without a fight:

Sky colors:

Doesn't look like much yet... I agree:

Let's stick a building in there:

More steps, more cutting:

Starting to look like something:

How about a fire hydrant in there:

[some steps missing]
And then one last layer of black to make it all come together:

So here we are!

This painting as well as all of my most recent, unreleased work can be seen for the whole month of June at Studio Bizz Iberville [2488 Mont-Royal Est]. Keep your eyes and ears open for a mid-month vernissage or maybe even a
"taking down the art show" event!
Who knows!

It's a gloomy day in Montreal but that doesn't mean that nothing can be done... It's a perfect day for making coffee and revisiting a novel you've already read or have been meaning to read. I would suggest something by Kafka, Welsh or Orwell.

If you're not in the reading mood then I would suggest watching "La Haine." I will leave you with the trailer and hope you enjoy the rest of this Sunday!

P.S.: When I was 18 or so, Vincent Cassel from La Haine was my doppelganger! Random!

Take care and go make some love today.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Escorting Superman

Escorting Superman
Silkscreen on Cardboard
10.5" X 18.5"
April 2011

I've started this blog post 4 times and have erased what I'd written each time...

It's very difficult, nearing impossible for me to talk about this silkscreen poster. I can't find words that do justice to how it felt for me to watch over the person who watched over me my whole life in his last hours. The ultimate role reversal.

So I'll use an old literary device: show rather tell.

Naturally, I don't think this piece can speak to anyone quite as much as it does to me. But it's possible that some people will recognize themselves in this one... So I share this with you.


Plus que des Barbeaux

This piece is part of a poster expo called "Plus que des Barbeaux." It's currently up in Lachine at 2901 St-Joseph. The place is open for visitors on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I went by yesterday and must say, if you're into silkscreen stuff... it's worth a visit. It's on until June 19th.

There are 34 different, original posters [6-7 copies of each have been made for the show], all of which can be purchased for 20$. For the copies that will not have been purchased during the show, you may contact me [for mine - above] or the individual artists since we are all being given the remaining copies post-expo.

All the posters were designed by the individual artists are then silkscreen'd by the good people at Moniker Designs.

Here are, in no particular order, some of my favorites from the show:

Clio Honig:

Jason Wasserman:




Jimmy Baptiste [co-organizer]:

As usual, I hope this finds you well.
Don't forget people, father's day is coming up.
If you still have your dad... call him, visit him, hang out with him...
It means the world to him.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coin de Bullion [feat. The Making Of...]

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Coin de Bullion
Mixed Medium on Recycled Canvas
36" X 36"
May 2011

What is recycled canvas? Simply put, a canvas that was once something else... and now is something new. A few years ago, I was asked to participate in a friend's photo shoot for school in which I portrayed Jesus Christ... I know! Some of the photos came out pretty sick and I had decided to make a piece with one of them. The canvas was plastered with torn out bible pages that created an interesting background but the idea never really came together visually in the end so the piece was never shown to anyone except close friends of mine who came to my place. Since then it's been sitting under a bed sheet waiting, waiting.

Of late, I've been tightening my budget belt a lot more than usual and, as luck would have it, I'm recently REALLY into the concept of re-using old canvases that have been gathering dust in my studio space [how convenient, right? Right.].

I've also been asked by people to show a bit more of what goes into making one of my pieces and I figured this one would be as good as any to show you! So without any further ado... I present to you:

"The making of Coin de Bullion"
[The semi-abridged version]

Here's the original picture I took while out on a dog walk [pretty random, I'd say!]:

So here we go!

I ripped off as much of the bible paper as possible but since it was glued on there something wicked I couldn't get it all off and so there are still some "good book" remains lingering. I sanded it down to give if a nice smooth feel so that I wouldn't be too lumpy.

Then the actual painting could begin! Rollers and acrylics first.

Followed by some spray paint fade for the sky.

Skip ahead a step [creation of the main background beige-ish layer] and right into the second layer stencil which will be used for the white highlights [ironically done first!].



Next I created 2 new stencils for the following 2 shades of brown [only the first of these 2 layers is shown below]:

It's all in the details. Notice the cross-walk sign is the only thing that's not blue or brown...
Why not?

And finally one layer of black [some pictures missing]:

And... the final unveiling:

So there you have it!
A step-by-step view into what makes one of my paintings come to life... I hope you've enjoyed the ride and will share with your friends and family.

This painting as well as all of my most recent, unreleased work can be seen for the whole month of June at Studio Bizz Iberville [2488 Mont-Royal Est]. Keep your eyes and ears open for a mid-month vernissage or maybe even a
"taking down the art show" event!

Who knows!

So as usual, thanks for playing along and I wish you all a great, great time.
Until we meet again!