Great Willy Wonka Wall of China Town

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Just on the edge of China Town in San Fantastic-rancisco is a tech co-op space called The Vault. It’s underground, it’s full of computer-bound entrepreneurs, and it’s on the old site of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory (circa 1863). That’s right, this one’s an antique.

As nobody in the space seemed to have the foggiest idea of the place’s historical significance, the community manager (SO MANY STARTUP WORDS) decided an old advertisement for the chocolate factory would be the perfect fit for the reception area’s mural. Only problem was that I’d never actually done any text on a mural – ever… And as this was more of a ‘replicate and exaggerate’ sort of job, I needed to be a little more planned/precise/particular about how I would get this thing up on a wall, rather than just freestyling it as I usually do. It was also to be on a grey wall and using only black paint, unlike my standard bright colours – so I managed to pull the ‘artist’ card and bargain a bit of gold into the equation too.

The whole thing was rather a trendy sounding idea.

So I did a bit of photoshop work to see how it could be placed, fused the advertisement with some doodles from an old Ghirardelli sign that I liked, projected it on the wall, slapped some masking tape on the straight line edges, and got hectic with the black paint. When I say hectic, I mean as precise as possible. (Neck pain for days. I’m fine now though, thanks Klaus for the amateur chiropractic work.)

I did have to take some liberties with the text as the blocky resolution of the projector proved to be only adequate for a rough guide. Anyway, once it was all done, I had intended on gold leafing just the shadow of the heading (as planned, and shown in red on the projection). Needless to say, that freestyling side of me came out in the eleventh hour, and significantly more gold leaf ended up getting chucked on the wall. Which I’m stoked about, because not only does gold leaf look like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket, it is also just basically extremely epic.

I have been breathing out gold leaf dust flecks ever since, like a mythical creature. Note to future users of gold leaf: probably wear a respiratory filter unless you plan to attend some sort of dungeons and dragons convention every day for the rest of your life.

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Marmot Matrimony

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The RULES? I cast them aside!

So when my Californian wilderness enthusiast pals Casey and Allie were getting married this month, I decided to boycott the wedding registry and draw them a couple of marmots instead.

Have You Been Working Out?

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… ‘Cause you’re looking buff!

(CLASSIC GAG.)

The portable piece to match the Flatiron mural is complete! The background is an abstraction of a section of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and creeping in from the left there is an American Buffalo/Bison. The ‘canvas’ is birch wood (takes me back to my architecture university days of model making!), so it took a little bit of extra priming. Big ups to Klaus who collaborated with the taping, geometries and colour advisory… And also helped me with the opening gag for this post.

Let it be known that the proceeds of this work is directly funding the software with which I’m writing my next screenplay. Literally, art for art’s sake. It’s like that movie ‘the human centipede’ – except without all the people dying. Maybe it’s more like an arty ecosystem. I think I should buy a felt hat. Or grow out my armpit hair.

Did I mention the house this work is for is in an area called Cow Hollow? Bovine coincidence? I think not.

Wait! I’ve got one more:

Q. What did the buffalo say when his son left for school?

A. Bison.

Gold.

Painty Pointy Precipice

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I was commissioned to paint this mural for a house in Cow Hollow. The request was for the image of a Bison as a tribute to Boulder, Colorado (and which I also thought was appropriate considering the mural’s location).

Enlisting Klaus, we set about taping up and painting an abstract version of the Flatirons rock formation for the background. I then-

Nope. No, I then did nothing else.

I intended on drawing a giant Bison on this chunk of dining room wall, but never got the chance. It seems our patron was so pleased with the work, that he wanted us to leave it as-is, and paint him a separate artwork that is in keeping with the theme, but one that he can also take with him when he moves out of the house one day. How good is that? Keep ’em peeled for part 2!

Get Your Order in Before Thanksgiving

Over the last 2 years of living in the United States, I have been surprised by how often I am asked: “Do Australians celebrate Thanksgiving?”.

The enquirer usually figures it out immediately after the question leaves their lips, swiftly taking into consideration the origins of the holiday. This will generally be followed by a sheepish explanation of their mistake and a quick departure.

That’s right, the answer is no.

But if we did….

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What Does the Fox Say?

 

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In the interest of staying relevant and on the pulse of popular culture. Wait. Let me start again. In a convenient coincidence, I have just finished a mural of foxes in the same week as the release of that catchy new hit single  “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” (dingadingdingding ding) touted as this year’s Gangnam Style – so you know it’s a ripper.

Finally someone (three former members of the Harvard Fox Club) let me paint a massive double-height wall in their residential home with the help of many pals, two big-ass ladders, a ton of nachos and the occasional beer. After drawing a shockingly vague sketch on an old cardboard box of how I wanted the geometries done, it took about a month (a few nights every week and a party) and here’s the progress:

Yep, little guy on the right is totally dreaming up those shapes.

An overwhelming number of people who came to see the mural commented how strikingly ‘3D’ it appeared in person. About 4 people. Such feedback pleased me as it is, after all, 2 dimensional pretending to be 3 dimensional. Which is not that many dimensions compared to how many we might actually be existing amongst according to string theory. Anyone who has ever wondered about space and time should watch the series The Fabric of the Cosmos: It’s fascinating.

Special thanks to all who helped: Klaus, Paul, Pascale, the 2 Canadian Alex’s, Katie, Kramer and all you cats at the post-masking tape party. And the landlord – for not spewing about it.

If you think this is the last fox post, buddy – you are wrong. All good things come in threes.

Foxen. It’s the plural.

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My life thus far has been a decoupage of mixed emotions and messages surrounding the common fox.

1. My mother hates them as they kill all the chickens and only eat one – necessitating her locking them in their coop every evening. She also used to go shooting foxes on farms as a young vet student.

2. My godmother’s family share the name Reynard and swathe their house in ornate figurines and tasteful imagery of delightfully mischievous, handsome foxes.

3. My favorite Dr. Seuss book was Fox in Socks… Which resulted in my ICQ name and first email address back in the 90’s (Wow. Just wow, that I just said that) being Fox In Sox. At hotmail of course. Also, I thought, what a foxy and appealing name to the pimply braces-clad boys who might court me via the internet in the hopes of sharing a bag of Wizz Fizz at the train station after school the next day; or more desirable even, that we might both be attending the same school-organised dance (I was enrolled at an all girls school, inter-school dances were our livelihood) where I would put on an impressive display of branding, upholding my web presence as the ‘fox in sox’ by donning a pair of knee-high rainbow socks.

4. I was also a big Roald Dahl fan as a kid, and frankly, Fantastic Mr Fox carried on like a complete jerk.

5. My closest family friend has a penchant for arctic fox fur, seizing any opportunity to travel to a climate cold enough and accepting enough for her to adorn herself in her plethora of luxurious wintry garments. Mind you, she’s in the Reynard family so I imagine that had some influence.

6. My most-viewed video on the internet to date involves Banjacks and Pervis (Anna Bennet and I) purchasing fox furs from a vintage store and wearing them while we have a spitting competition in the park. It’s called Vintage Furs.

So where does that leave me? Loving them? Hating them? Killing them? Filming them? Well I’m clearly thinking about them. And in doing so, Klaus and I noticed a flaw in the English language. Check it out:

One Ox, Two Oxen.

So…. I propose

One Fox, Two Foxen.

Come get some, Oxford dictionary. Or should I say, Oxenford dictionary.

Anyway, all this fox business came up as I’ve been asked to paint a fox mural with a friend from work this weekend. We shall name it Foxen and be paid in beer. Thus inspiring the following:

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So yeah. Foxen. It’s the plural. Spread the word.